Teenagers travelling alone
GO ASK JOAN:Your travel questions answered by JOAN SCALES
Augusta for the Masters
I am thinking of taking my husband to the Golf Masters in Augusta next April as a surprise for his 50th birthday. How can I arrange tickets and accommodation for this, and is it better going through a tour company? – NJ, Dublin
Going through a tour operator would be the ideal way to plan this trip as it neatly packages all the elements of flights, accommodation, tickets and transfers. Killester Travel have organised the Magnolia Tour for the US Masters from April 11th for four nights. The four-night trip includes flights from Dublin to Columbia, South Carolina, entry to the Masters on Friday and Sunday, accommodation in the four star Marriott Hotel, full hospitality in the Northwood Club, and transfers throughout the event, with an optional golf day on the Saturday - for €5,500pps, tel: 01-833 6935 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you were to go it alone, then you would be looking at the following costs: flights are around €720 each. Official tickets were sold out months ago. Tickets are available from online websites from about €620 each per day, for the lowest priced, but be careful where you buy them.
Most good quality hotels are already booked by tour operators and two- and three-star hotels are looking for €200-300 per night. You will also need a car, or use taxis to get around. So you could shave a bit off the package price.
Culture and sunshine
Myself and a few friends have decided we would like to book a sunshine break for February or March. We are in our mid-20s, on a small budget and would ideally like a place where we can be around locals and experience the culture of the area, rather than just clubs and bars aimed at tourists. - CH, Dublin
Sunshine in February and March limits you to the Canary Islands, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt.
Going with a tour operator, an online travel agent or using direct flights will keep the costs down. Most tour operators, such as sunway.ie, thomascook.ie, directholidays.ieand online agents clickandgo.com, lowcostholidays.ieand steintravel.iewill have a week in the sun for about €299pps.
This does limit you to usual mass tourism places. But as you will be a group of friends, you will find fun. Go where the locals go, the old town in many places is usually where the young people hang out.
Solo travel for teens
I want to send two 16-year-olds to Los Angeles during their Easter holidays. As they will be travelling unaccompanied I would like them to travel directly from Dublin to LAX and have checked the Aer Lingus website but cannot find any direct flights. I would be willing to travel as far as London Heathrow with them if there is no "non-stop" flight. I have been quoted a fare from Ireland with British Airways of around €625, is this good? Will they have to go through custom clearance in Dublin and London? - FMC, Laois
There are no direct flights from Ireland to Los Angeles so they will have to travel via another airport. If you are able to travel to Heathrow with them, this seems the best idea. Otherwise, they would have to change in a US airport. The fare you have been quoted is good and unlikely to fall any further, particularly as they are travelling at a busy time. If you do book them with British Airways, you can avail of the Skyflyer Solo service for unaccompanied minors for around £50 each way, and they will be assisted to their flight. They will clear US customs and immigration in Los Angeles only. Make sure to leave plenty of time for connecting and tell them it can be a long walk to the gate from the departure area.
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