Your Ticket to Getting Cheaper Fare

Friedheim is editor/publisher of Travel Agent magazine.

Question: What precaution should I take to ensure that I am protected if the fare should be lowered between the time my ticket is issued and my departure?

Answer: At the time of booking, establish a deadline at which the ticket can be canceled without penalty. Before that point, check with the agent or carrier to determine if a cheaper fare is offered. If so, have the original ticket rewritten and obtain a refund.

Q: We've been told Nevis is worth visiting on our Caribbean trip. What's there to see and do?

A: Birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, Nevis, an eight-mile-long island in the British West Indies, offers some good beaches, snorkeling and hiking. Comparatively undeveloped but with a few small hotels, it makes a pleasant one-day excursion by ferry from St. Kitts, a few miles away. Contact Caribbean Tourist Assn., 20 East 46th St., New York 10017, phone (212) 682-0435.

Q: Where is the George Patton Museum and what's to see?

A: It's at Fort Knox, Ky., and on display are mementos of the general's military career as well as a collection of tanks and weapons.

Q: When is the bullfight season in Portugal and where do you get tickets?

A: Bullfighting takes place Easter Sunday through September. They are exhibitions and the bull is not killed. Your hotel porter is the best source for tickets.

Q: When I check my baggage onto an airline flight, must it have my name and address on the outside? I'm not sure I like the idea of strangers reading my bag tags to see who's going away or for other reasons that I would consider an invasion of my privacy.

A: Domestic airlines are not allowed to accept bags for checking unless they carry the owner's identification. International airlines are merely required to make available the appropriate labels. Baggage shops sell tags that have a flap that snaps over the name and address information.

Q: We're senior citizens and are planning a trip to Switzerland. Are any special discounts available to us?

A: About 240 hotels in more than 100 Swiss towns and resorts offer special rates to women over 62 and men over 65. Tariffs range from $11 to $60 a day including breakfast, tax and service. Write for the free brochure, "Season for Seniors," Swiss National Tourist Office, 250 Stockton St., San Francisco, Calif. 94108.

Q: Should I take along a photocopy of my passport in case I lose it? And can the photocopy be used in such an emergency?

A: Such photocopies are not acceptable. However, make several photocopies of your passport, itinerary, airline tickets and other travel documents. Leave one copy at home and take one copy with you. It can help expedite replacement of original documents while abroad.

Q: We're planning a motor trip in Europe. Do the car rental firms have unlimited mileage plans?

A: Most rental companies have unlimited mileage rates, which vary from country to country. You can book through travel agents here and abroad.

Q: What's to see and do at the Children's Museum in Boston?

A: The Children's Museum at 300 Congress St. is open on weekends. It is filled with hands-on exhibits of everything from antiques to computers. There are also some historic sights of interest such as a planetarium, aquarium, parks and fairs.

Q: On our trip to Hawaii we'd like to learn scuba diving. What facilities are available?

A: The islands have many dive operators offering introductory courses. Fees average about $40-$50 for a beginner's dive. Various options are available including a three- or four-day dive program leading to certification and costing $200-$300. Travel agents have details.

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