>Q: Given the current situation in Greece, would you feel comfortable planning a quick trip there in, say, August? On the pro side, protests have been pretty much limited to in front of Parliament, and they could certainly use our money! On the con side, we're a little worried about the possibility of strikes. What would you do?
A: It's difficult to predict what the situation in Greece will be in August. The State Department hasn't issued a travel warning on Greece. It has, however, posted a fairly serious warden message to embassy staff in Athens.
"We remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence," it says. "American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times."
Personally, I wouldn't have a problem booking a vacation to Greece right now. I think it would be an adventure.
>Q: My boyfriend and I are hoping to travel to Europe next spring (April or May) for two weeks. Prague is high on both of our lists, so we're thinking of devoting the first week to the Czech Republic. However, we can't decide how to spend the second week -- Croatia, Budapest or another week in Czech? Croatia would probably rank first, but I've read that things on the coast tend to shut down for the winter and run on reduced schedules until the end of May or June. The reduced number of tourists would be a big plus, but would we have trouble finding places to stay and catching ferries/buses that time of year? Budapest would be more convenient and manageable; I'm just not sure we want to devote so much of the trip to big cities. We'll be on a budget, but both places should fit.
A: Lots of people pair Prague and Budapest, two must-see beautiful European cities, and it's easy to do because there are excellent train connections between them. I recommend it for the period when you want to travel, which won't really be the best beach weather yet. No need to worry about spending too much time in big cities -- you can go walking in the Buda hills, or take a short trip to Lake Balaton if you want to indulge in some outdoor activities. You might pop over to the city of Pecs, also, which is a European Cultural Capital for 2010 and has spruced up for tourism.
Croatia, however, is gorgeous, but it's a place where you want to relax, and not be dashing around all the time.
>Q: We're planning a 10-day trip to Utah this fall (Moab, Bryce and Zion) and are debating between the first week in September or mid-October. We're worried it might be too hot in early September (we're planning on hiking and mountain biking), but that it might be too cold come mid-October. Thoughts?
A: Between those, I'd go for October. Just looking at Moab weather averages, first week in September is usually around 90 for a high and mid-50s for a low. The middle of October strikes me as perfect outdoor-exercise weather, at least during the day: a high of the low 70s or high 60s. The lows, though, can dip into 30s. But I'm assuming that it doesn't get chilly until the sun goes down. So hike and bike during the day, and pull on a sweater at night.
>Q: Any recommendations on trips to Egypt? Is it better to sign up with a tour company and let them take you around for a week or two, or just do it yourself?
A: I have friends who have gone without using a tour company, and they pieced together a great trip. Definitely spend a couple of days in Cairo. Obviously go to the Pyramids. Go see King Tut at the Egyptian Museum. Walk around Islamic Cairo and visit some of the mosques. Shop at Cairo's biggest open air market, Khan Ali-Kalili. Check out the Citadel. I would also suggest exploring outside Cairo. Go to Luxor for the temples and the Valley of the Kings. Aswan is another interesting city. And if you have time, the journey to Mount Sinai is worth it. If this all sounds overwhelming, then you can most certainly let a tour company take care of it. But it's also doable without one.
Adapted from the Washingtonpost.com Flight Crew chat.