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L.A. Times Travel Show: Arthur Frommer recommends hotel alternatives

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To combat rising airfares, travelers should plan to steer clear of expensive hotels in favor of apartment rentals, longtime travel guide author Arthur Frommer said during a Saturday keynote speech at the L.A. Times Travel Show.

"I would suggest if you can't reduce the price of airfares, you at least stay in an apartment on your next vacation," the longtime travel guide publisher said. "I've learned it's just as comfortable and just as interesting -- most deluxe hotels are the most boring places anyway."

He pointed to the websites Airbnb, Rentalo and Homeaway as some of the places people can visit to find apartment rentals. "You save a great deal of money and bring yourself a great deal of spacious and more comfortable accommodations," the travel guru said.

The emphasis on seeking out cheaper accommodations is a consequence of airline mergers and surging international taxes that are raising the price of airfares. Frommer said airline passengers should expect to pay at least $200 more than they used to, even if they find a relative bargain on websites such as Kayak, Skyscanner, Momondo, Vayama or DoHop.

"This is is an extremely difficult situation," he said. Frommer also advised fliers to look for non-direct flights to save money. They might spend several more hours in the air, but a family of four could save thousands of dollars, he said.

Later in his address, Frommer lamented the decreasing quality of vacations because of increasing crowds in big destinations. An increase in Asian travelers means more tourists racing to the same spots as their Western counterparts. 

Frommer also talked about the bargain cruise industry, which he feels has been "destroyed" by catering to the "inane values of young people." He cited Royal Carribbean's newest ship as an example, which includes a bumper car rink, a roller skating rink and a basketball court.

"When you hear about these developments, ask yourself why it's even necessary to take the ship to sea," Frommer said. "They can just incarcerate you along the Port of Long Beach for a week for a $100."

The upshot, he said, is that those who want to avoid the kiddie cruise have to take expensive luxury cruises to get a good experience. Vacationstogo is a helpful website for those seeking Mediterranean cruises, he said.

The Travel Show continues with actress Alyssa Milano at 3 p.m. Saturday, TV personality Adam Richman at noon Sunday and radio host Henry Rollins later Sunday. 
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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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