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Ask Peter: The 45-Day Booking Rule, Change Fees & Travel Safety

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Later today Peter is hosting a Twitter Party  to help you plan your late summer to fall travel…because summer isn’t over yet. And in fact the greatest deals are still to be had. Follow along today (use #VisaKnowsTravel) starting at 3pm ET/ noon PT. It’s not just expert travel information that Peter is sharing. Every 10 minutes Peter will give away a different $100 Visa gift card.

Peter doesn’t just answer your travel questions on Twitter, he also solves travel dilemmas on air each week on Peter Greenberg Worldwide. YOu can call (1-888-88-PETER (1-888-887-3837)), email him (, tweet questions to @petersgreenberg (use #askPeter), or post questions on his Facebook page.

This week Peter focus on travel logistics. He shows how to extend flights, the best time to book, the missing link in food safety abroad and the politics behind travel to Egypt. Keep reading to see this week’s answers!

Joni asked: My sister wants to extend her stay a couple of weeks. She flies Southwest. In your expert opinion, how can she get a cheap extension?

Peter replied: Normally, it is impossible to get a cheap extension. Airlines have made a humungous amount of extra revenue with ticket change fees, so don’t expect to be an exception to the rule here. That being said, Southwest doesn’t charge passengers a ticket change fee. The airline allows you to extend it and pay a small addition if there is a fare difference. My only recommendation for your sister is to plan as much as possible so that you don’t get hit with a fare increase. Luckily, she is flying one of the few airlines where she will only have to pay a fare differential and not a ticket change fee.

For more information on ancillary fees, check out Peter’s recent report, Ancillary Fee Update: New Fees & What You Can Do.

Sofia Growden emailed: My question is about a trip we are doing to Cancun. I’ve heard a lot about the water and making a point not to drink it. Including ice cubes and any drinks that would include ice cubes. I’m a fanatic about cold drinks and usually ask for an extra glass of ice on the side. Any suggestions??

Peter answered: Good job for thinking ahead. I watch people make this mistake all the time and not just in Mexico. Most people know to be vigilant about eating cooked food from reliable sources, but then they order a coke with ice. Here’s the deal in Cancun, most major hotels will have their own water purification system and that actually purifies the ice too. If you are out on the streets, that is when you need to worry and I would avoid the ice when eating out. And if you are really unsure about your hotel, bring the chef bottled water and ice cube trays. I’m sure he will be so amused that he will make Sophia’s special ice—or at least he will make you think that he is.

For more information on staying healthy when water quality is questionable, read Avoiding Montezuma’s Revenge: Talking with a Travel Doctor.