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Travel letters

Also: travel insurance, Raymond Burr in Fiji and Cuban travel.

May 15, 2011

After reading Catharine Hamm's On the Spot column ["Savings Calling," May 1], I thought I needed to contribute my experience in London last March. We stayed in a Premier Inn (Olympia) near Earl's Court. It was supposed to be two singles, but they made a bed out of the "sofa" while my friend had a double bed. The room was large but had no useful furniture. I had to unscrew the desk lamp and perch it on my suitcase in order to read in bed. The bathroom was new but poorly designed, with the toilet right under the very small counter. We had to make sure the lid was down or we would lose something. There was a little electric pot for coffee. No other amenities.

The worst part was that they were understaffed with inexperienced young people. It was about $95 per person per night. Breakfast was about $12 more, so we didn't opt for that. Don't believe the information on its website. It wasn't horrible, but it was not the two star it was advertised as.

Donna Fontana

Playa del Rey

I am responding to Ed Schoch's comments [Letters, May 1] on Jane Engle's recent article on travel insurance ["Worries Aren't Covered," March 27]. In 2000, I took a safari through Kenya and Tanzania via Park East and the Auto Club, easily about $8,000. I bought my travel insurance through Travel Guard and got the gold level of coverage, which covers just about everything with very few exclusions. On the second week of my safari, my father, who had been ill in the United States, took a dramatic turn, and I was notified that he would be dying soon. I contacted Travel Guard and Park East. Not only were they cooperative during this horrible and difficult time, but I got back all of my money for the second week of the trip, and they covered the immediate expense of getting me from Nairobi to New York in record time with no additional expense to me. The cost of that policy was $214 — well worth it.

Amy Cavan

Los Angeles

I must disagree in part with the writer who said travel insurance does not make sense. It does make sense in at least one situation.

While on trips to Europe in 2009 and 2010, I had to return home early because my 90-year-old father was hospitalized. When I tried to change my return flight, the cost was more than what I paid for the original ticket from a discount ticket website. Luckily, I had travel insurance that fully reimbursed me for unexpected out-of-pocket ticket costs.

If you are traveling to Europe and have an elderly or physically fragile parent, I recommend that you purchase travel insurance.

Orrin Turbow


Burr's partner wasn't mentioned

Had Amanda Jones' Fiji article ["Relax — It's Fiji Time," April 17] mentioned a resort that was owned by a heterosexual star rather than Raymond Burr, it would have noted that he and his wife had lived there. By contrast, Jones left out that Burr and his life partner of more than 30 years [Robert Benevides] lived at and owned what is now the Fiji Orchid.

The Travel section foolishly — bad business — and bigotedly — bad, period — consistently acts and reads as if gay people don't travel or exist. We spend a bigger proportion of the travel dollar than do heterosexuals, and we often travel farther afield too.

Keith Kendrick


Freedom and Cuba

What freedom is there in a country whose citizens meekly accept a government dictate that they cannot travel where they please ["The Latest on Visiting Cuba" by Jane Engle, April 24]? This makes a mockery of the Declaration of Independence. Who has freedom when he is held captive within his own country?

Keith Fairfield


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