Q: My husband and I are planning to travel to Europe next year. I have found tours through several tour operators, and we are trying to select the best one. Is there a Web site or other means we can use to evaluate these companies to make sure we choose a good one?
A: When looking for a group tour, your best bet may be to work through a travel agent. There are so many variables -- mode of travel, size of group, destinations -- and a travel agent could help you sort through the offerings of reputable companies to find a trip that suits your style. Many travel agents have been on such tours and can offer personal insights.
That said, if you've already found a few appealing options, you can vet them in a few ways. See if they are affiliated with the U.S. Tour Operators Association, whose members offer tours worldwide and must meet certain ethical and business standards, including carrying at least a million dollars in liability insurance. At its Web site (www.ustoa.com), you can search for members by name. You should also inquire at travel Web site forums. At sites such as www.fodors.com/community and www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree, you can post a question and wait for replies. You could wind up with some eye-opening reviews from travelers who have been on the same tour.
Q: Can you bring vegetables from Canada into the United States if you're driving back across the border?
A: Yes, but there are exceptions.
"In general, products of Canada are permitted to be imported into the U.S. However, at the moment, whole tomatoes and peppers are restricted," says Ron Smith of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Detroit.If a fruit or vegetable was grown in Canada, you can usually bring it back. But no citrus fruits, no corn except if grown in western Canada, and for some odd reason you can't bring back leeks, chives or green onions. For more information, visit www.cbp.gov.