Q. My husband and I are visiting Hilton Head, S.C., in mid-October. We're not golfers. Will it still be beach and pool season? What kinds of activities or day trips would be fun for a 30-something couple with no kids?
October is shoulder season in Hilton Head, with daytime temperatures in the 70s: a little cool for swimming but perfect for beach-walking, hiking and biking. More than 50 miles of bike and nature trails crisscross the island, and many rental companies will deliver bikes to your door. The sand is hard packed, so you can ride right on the beach.
Also popular: dolphin cruises, Gullah heritage tours and restaurant hopping at the island's 240 eateries. More info: www.hiltonheadisland.org.
Q. A buddy and I are planning to travel to Egypt in May; we're flying into Cairo. Can you recommend a reputable tour company there that could provide a thorough overview of Egypt's ancient sites?
Never miss a local story.
Viatour, which specializes in booking destination activities in 75 countries, has a selection of Cairo tour operators at www.viatour.com. For a list of your fellow travelers' favorites, check TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com): From the home page, click “Africa” on the map, then “Cairo,” and choose “Things to Do.” Scroll down to “Tourist Guides Recommendations” for 15 preferred companies. And for an officially sanctioned list, contact the Egyptian Tourist Authority (www.egypttourism .org).
Q. I'm eagerly anticipating a trip to Europe (London and Berlin) in November. Do you have any travel blogs you'd recommend?
We're partial to This Just In, the blog of Budget Travel magazine (www.budgettravel .com), for great budget ideas and consumer advice. World Hum (www.worldhum.com) is an exceptionally well-written and well-edited source for all things travel; check out its London section.
Like its books, Lonely Planet's blog (www.lonelyplanet .com/blogs) is fun and freewheeling; you can search by region or topic.
Q. We are considering a week's vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Is this considered a safe place to travel? Are there any dietary restrictions to be aware of?
Your qualms are understandable, since the Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, is a poor country with great economic inequity. Yet Punta Cana is an extremely popular vacation destination, offering great value in hotel rates, meals, tours and activities, and package-tour operators book planefuls of satisfied visitors year-round. Many of Punta Cana's hotels and resorts are all-inclusives, with most visitors never leaving the grounds. To avoid problems, take the same precautions you would when traveling anywhere (including many major U.S. cities):
Don't carry a lot of cash or wear expensive jewelry.
Travel on main roads and during daylight hours.
Don't leave valuables unattended in parked cars or on the beach.
Take hotel taxis.
Watch your alcohol intake in clubs and other public places.
As for dietary restrictions, you'll be fine eating hotel food, but stick to bottled water and beverages. For more safety tips, see the State Department's Web site: http:// travel.state.gov.