By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: We're students from Europe studying English here. We have USA visas and wish to fly to New York City and Washington, D.C. Do you have any suggestions on plane tickets and accommodation information, preferably at discount prices. Our travel dates are April 12th through April 14th. Any suggestions are appreciated.

A: The best bet is to work with a travel agency specialising in discount air travel. I spoke to a ticket agent at the Flight Centre where their slogan is "lowest airfares guaranteed" and learned your special routing with the extra flight to Washington D.C. may pose some challenges price-wise.

Carriers like American Airlines do provide flights to both cities for a return ticket priced at $675 per person. This includes all taxes. Need more info? Contact the Flight Centre at 1.888.WORLD.31. Since you'll be visiting Washington D.C. in April, you'll be in time to see the famous cherry blossoms which have bloomed here since 1934. The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 25 to April 8. If Mother Nature is kind these japanese gems will be around when you arrive.

Also, spring is considered one of the best times to visit Washington, DC. Expect the accommodation prices during cherry blossom season to be higher than during winter. There are discount hotel chains known for affordability. One hotel you may wish to consider is Days Inn Gateway which is located minutes away from the White House, the Capitol, and the Vietnam Memorial. An overnight bedroom costs $89(US). For reservations, phone 202-832-5800.

Recently the New York Times reported that finding a modestly priced room in the Big Apple will take some work. However, Howard Johnson is always a good bang for your buck. Located near Times Square, Howard Johnson 34th offers one room, double occupancy for $129 (US) plus taxes. For reservations, contact Howard Johnson 34th at 1-888-651-6111.


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