TRAVEL

“Free” airline seat assignments for families? It’s about time

Family travel, as rewarding as it can be, is seldom easy. And with increasing airline fees for anything they can charge for, it’s also become much more expensive, especially for cost-conscious travelers who don’t fly enough to have airline status.

It’s not just needing to bring your own food, and pay for your bags. Now families have to pay just to be guaranteed to be seated together.
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Special-needs travelers get a helping hand

Think travel is a challenge? Try doing it with a special-needs child.

Jess Wilson knows what that’s like. Her autistic 11-year-old daughter is prone to anxiety attacks when her family is on the road. So Wilson, a disability advocate who lives in Boston, tries to smooth the way with careful planning.

But you can’t anticipate everything. Wilson recalls an unexpected delay on a recent theme-park vacation, which left her family idling at the entrance of Florida’s Magic Kingdom for about an hour.

“For an autistic child like mine,” she says, “it was torture.”
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Want an early hotel check-in? Here are 7 tips from a pro

Red-eye flights are hard enough. But when you’re heading to a hotel after the marathon trip, all you probably want to do is drop your bags and sleep, even if just for a few minutes. Will your room will be available?

This week, I’ve got clients flying to Australia, from Washington. That’s 23 hours of travel time. They’ll be arriving at 8:30 a.m. And, of course, they want to check-in when they arrive.
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Does “free” travel cost too much?

If you’ve ever been to a travel trade show, you’ve probably seen the freeloaders.

They prowl the floor in small packs, descending on the booths to claim everything that isn’t nailed down — pens, wrapped candy, four-color travel brochures.

Often, they walk by without saying “hi,” absorbing these giveaways with the efficiency of a shoplifter.
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