Talk Travel: Do two passports double the headache?

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:

Q: Is there a rule about which passport to use when you have dual citizenship and 2 passports? My husband has Canadian and U.S. Citizenship and passports from both countries but we reside in the U.S.

A: I also have dual and use my U.S. passport most often, since I reside in the States. I would suggest your husband uses his U.S. passport. No need to unnecessarily complicate your return to the States.

- Andrea Sachs

Q: We are looking for tickets to travel to Milan in late December. We are planning to visit our son, who will be studying abroad there. Our dates are not flexible. Do you have any tricks to find decent airfare prices? I cannot find anything less than $1,000 and have been looking for a while.

A: By late December, do you mean the week encompassing Christmas? If so, it's always more expensive to fly over the holidays. You can get fairly cheap fares to several cities in Europe at other times of year, especially if you're willing to travel light, sit in a middle seat, brown bag it and take connecting flights, but not in late December, especially with no flexibility.

- Carol Sottili

Q: I am trying to figure out whether I'll be allowed to enter Canada with my U.S. passport in August even though passport expires in January. I have not been able to figure this out from various websites.

A: For all international travel, the rule is that your passport should be valid six months beyond your return date. You are fairly close to the six-month mark, so you should be okay, but if you are worried, renew your passport.

- A.S.

Q: I'm dreaming of a Mexican vacation for Thanksgiving. I'm on the west coast so Cabo and Puerto Vallarta are closest. Which one makes more sense? We are a family of four with two teenage boys. My family loves outdoor stuff, and zip-lining and all of that. Mom (me) enjoys sitting by the pool, sightseeing - like museums and history and such - and non-difficult activities like hiking.

A: I'd choose Cabo over Puerto Vallarta. Cabo has several zip-lining adventures and nice beaches. And take a look at La Paz.

- C.S.

Q: I have three nights in Beijing on my way to Mongolia. Any recommendations for what area in Beijing to stay in near the city's most popular sights?

A: Beth Chang, a Washington Post editor who visits China often, suggests Hutong, one of the alleyway neighborhoods that have mostly been destroyed. If you can stay in a hotel in or near a Hutong, you will be close to attractions, such as the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven, and will have the opportunity to see one of these neighborhoods with their courtyard houses before they are all gone. Nanluoguxiang Hutong is known for its shopping.

- A.S.

Q: I read today that American Airlines is changing its Basic Economy fare to allow passengers to bring a carry-on bag in addition to a personal item. The stories I've seen say the change takes effect Sept. 5. What I haven't seen addressed is whether people (like me) who already hold Basic Economy tickets for flights after Sept. 5 will be included in this, or whether the policy change just applies to tickets purchased after Sept. 5. Do you guys know?

A: The notice on American's site says, "Customers flying Basic Economy will be allowed 1 free carry-on (in addition to a personal item) to all destinations, starting September 5, 2018." I take that to mean that if you're flying on or after Sept. 5, you can carry a bag with you at no extra charge.

- Christopher Elliott

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