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Hotels across U.S. have bedbug problem

>Q. Are bedbugs still a huge problem in hotels in New York? We are going there in October, and I hate the thought of a problem with bedbugs.

A. Bedbugs remain a problem for hotels throughout the country.

The tiny bugs love dark places, making hotel mattresses and closets havens for the creatures; in addition to biting, they like to travel in the dark corners of suitcases. Bedbugs have been on the rise for the past two years, in part because chemicals that kill them, such as DDT, are now illegal.

The best advice is to be as prepared as possible.

Since 2006, online database has allowed users to submit bedbug reports. Earlier this week, the registry still included numerous reports from New York hotels. Click on each hotel listed to see a brief report from guests, along with the date of the occurrence.

You can find sprays and powders claiming to "repel" bedbugs, but most pest management experts argue that such products show minimal effectiveness. So, it's your choice whether to invest in one for the sake of trying. Another option: Some people wrap their luggage in a large plastic bag when not using it.


>Q. My husband and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary this autumn. We've been to many places -- England, Scotland, Italy, Czechoslovakia. We're active (I like to golf) and we like to explore and discover. We're thinking about Croatia. Do you think the destination is worthy of an anniversary celebration?

A. Absolutely, Croatia -- with the history of Greece, the beauty of Italy, the romance of Paris -- is a great choice for an anniversary. Think tile roofs, blue waters, soaring cliffs: What's not romantic about that?

Split, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, sprang from a Greek colony and is known for the ruins of a palace built by Roman emperor Diocletian. The old city of Dubrovnik, farther south on the coast, grew wealthy on trade during the Renaissance. Thick fortifying walls still stand -- you can walk on them -- and the city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most stunning cities in the Mediterranean.

Farther north, you'll find something dear to your heart: golf courses. And there's also the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a gorgeous spot (also a UNESCO site) with a series of lakes connected by waterfalls.

For more ideas and to explore hotels, visit the Croatian National Tourism Board at


>Q: What type of documentation does a grandparent need to take a grandchild on a plane trip? Also, what type of documentation would be needed if only one parent is flying with a child when the parents aren't married? Is this regulated by the airline or does it matter? I always insist on a letter from the other parent and I make sure that it is notarized.

A: You should always travel with a notarized letter of parental consent, when traveling with children who are not accompanied by both their birth parents, especially when traveling to a foreign destination.