I use antibacterial hand gel on airplanes, but I've heard that it may do more harm than good. What's the best way to avoid unwanted germs and illness while flying?—T.J., SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
According to Rae Jones of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, what your mother told you still rings true: washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective way to avoid catching a cold or the flu. Dr. Stuart Levy, a Tufts University researcher, says there doesn't appear to be any real benefit to using antibacterials. "In fact, the frequent use of these products might lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria—creating a bigger problem for everyone—and I discourage casual application," he explains. But hand-washing isn't always convenient on a plane. When the Fasten Seat Belt sign is illuminated, towelettes containing alcohol are the next best thing—you can even wipe armrests and tray tables at the beginning of a flight to kill any lingering germs. And if a passenger in your vicinity is coughing, sniffling, and sneezing, ask for a seat change. Airlines will reseat you if the flight isn't full.
Can you recommend some great tented-safari itineraries in Kenya and Tanzania? —G.S., SEATTLE, WASH.
One of the best is from Abercrombie & Kent (800/323-7308; www.abercrombiekent.com; tours from $9,865 per person, double): its 14-day East African Hemingway Safaris include stops at fully equipped tented camps along the route. You'll travel from Mount Kenya to Lake Manyara to Serengeti National Park, seeking out Grevy's zebras and herds of impala. Another of our favorites is offered by Micato Safaris (800/642-2861; www.micato.com; nine-day tours from $10,000 per person, double). After a few days of luxury tenting and rhino sightings in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, you're flown to Tanzania's Ngorongoro crater, where you'll spend several days exploring the grassy floor inside the now-extinct volcano and observing exotic fauna. With its focus on privacy and independent travel, the newly launched Exclusively Yours Africa (800/421-8907; www.exclusivelyyoursafrica.com; 10-day tours from $7,350 per person, double) is perfect for personalized tours in both countries—try a massage overlooking Kenya's Laikipia Plateau Reserve, take a camel safari, or sleep outdoors under the stars.
How can I get tickets for this summer's FIFA World Cup games in Germany? —N.S., QUEENS, N.Y.
We've heard that Germany expects more than 5.5 million soccer fans to attend games this summer in 12 cities across the country. The opening match for the quadrennial event will be held June 9 in Munich's new Herzog & de Meurondesigned Allianz Arena, with the final game a month later in Berlin's Olympic Stadium. Tickets are available through the official ticketing center (www.fifaworldcup.com), which is open until the 15th of this month; from February 15 through April 15; and, for last-minute attempts, from May 1 through the end of the tournament in July. Prices range from $40 to $700. Many cities have cultural events planned for visitors, including soccer-themed theater performances in Stuttgart and an exhibition highlighting the relationship between "football" and television in Berlin.
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