Q: I have an international flight coming up in two days. I bought an iPad in original seal box from Apple store as a gift to my niece. I seemed to remember there is a rule/restriction regarding electronics as carry-on? Will I be OK? Or I had better put the iPad in a suitcase?
Please, please don’t check your iPad. Airlines don’t accept liability for checked electronics on domestic flights, and there are restrictions on checking electronics on international flights. If the device is stolen from your checked bag, the airline will probably not honor your claim.
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Q: My teen daughter is going on a field trip to London next spring. What is your best advice for this trip? Also, she does not have a credit card, so what is the best way to safely send her with money? Prepaid cards or other? Medical advice? What to bring?
I’m not a fan of the prepaid cards. Instead, give her an ATM card that she can use there. To avoid fees, talk to your bank about whether they partner with specific banks in Europe. And tell your bank that she’ll be traveling to London. Not sure whether this is a long or short trip, but if short, just remember a lightweight rain slicker, an umbrella and good walking shoes. No special medical advice other than to stay hydrated on the plane. I use saline gel on long flights in order to avoid catching a cold while flying.
Q: I’m looking for an affordable yet lovely Caribbean vacation spot. Nature and birds are a must; cheap flights from Charlotte, a help.
For the cheapest flights, you might consider a package that includes air and hotel. Check such purveyors as Apple Vacations, CheapCaribbean.com, etc. Most likely, you will end up in the Bahamas, Jamaica (more than 300 species recorded on the island) or the Dominican Republic (great bird-watching in Sierra de Bahoruco National Park). Aruba and Barbuda also have bird sanctuaries, but flights might be a bit more expensive.
For exceptional bird sightings, you might also look for sales to Belize or Costa Rica and stay at an eco-lodge in the rain forest.
Q: Now that Southwest is a dominant carrier, it seems to offer fewer cheap fares to Chicago. What do you think?
This happens when competition is reduced as the result of airline mergers. More competition results in lower fares. Less competition means higher airline profits. That’s not necessarily good for you or me.
Excerpted from a weekly online chat hosted by The Washington Post’s travel editors and writers.