Q: Can you recommend any good tour operators offering rafting trips on the Colorado River? —Tom O’Neal, Cove Neck, N.Y.
A: There are several outfitters to choose from, whether you’re looking for a one-day outing or a longer, more intensive experience. Rocky Mountain Adventures (one-day trips from $67 per person) goes to the Upper Colorado, where Class I and II waters are easy and calm. In Utah, Western River Expeditions (day trips from $71) leads an eight-hour journey down a 22-mile stretch of rougher, Class III and IV rapids. And if you want more adventure, veteran outfitter O.A.R.S. (four-day trips from $1,758) organizes 4- to 18-day rafting-and-camping excursions through the Grand Canyon.
Q: My wife and I want to take a wine cruise this fall. Any suggestions?—Roger Mertz, West Bloomfield, Mich.
A: Recently, both riverboats and ocean liners have been adding more wine tastings, classes, and vineyard shore excursions to their itineraries. An 11-day departure from Avalon Waterways (November 1–11, from $2,809 per person) winds along the Rhône River, stopping at the medieval Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the oldest domaines in Provence. On a 12-day Italian voyage on Oceania’s Regatta with Food & Wine Trails (October 5–17, from $2,799 per person), you can sample bottles in Rome and Sicily and spend a day at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, a 240-acre estate in Tuscany. Stateside, Celebrity Cruises (800/647-2251; celebrity.com; September 28– October 10 and October 12–23, from $799 per person) is hosting workshops by Riedel during sailings in the Pacific Northwest. You’ll learn the ins and outs of wine tasting, including how to match grape varietals with the right size and shape of glass.
Q: I want to go to the June 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. How far in advance do I need to buy tickets? —John Baxter, San Jose, Calif.
A: Nearly half a million fans are expected to attend the games, which will take place in nine cities across South Africa, including Johannesburg and Cape Town. It’s best to apply early at the official FIFA World Cup site (fifa.com/worldcup)—tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis until November 16. Or, if you’re looking to explore the region while you’re there, consider a package with tickets included from one of FIFA’s three authorized agencies. Destination Southern Africa runs 5- to 30-night trips from the opening to the final rounds, while Cartan Tours arranges optional safari extensions to Kruger National Park. Sports travel specialists Great Atlantic Travel & Tour will create a custom itinerary, with add-ons such as wildlife drives to spot the Big Five.
Ask an Expert: Travelandleisure.com Deputy Editor Adrien Glover
Q: “What are the best travel-related applications for the iPhone?” —Michele Lewis, Glencoe, Ill.
A: “Many useful services are available, but a few have been really essential to me during my travels,” says T+L Web guru Adrien Glover. “Near+Now (free) is a great tool for finding restaurants, bars, and nightlife spots in your area, and makes recommendations based on your favorites. The recently released FlightTrack Pro ($9.99), now paired with the online travel organizer TripIt, is indispensable for the frequent flier—it tracks flight cancellations, delays, and last-minute updates. And if you’re planning a road trip this summer in the U.S. or Canada, Cheap Gas! (free) pinpoints gas stations near your location or in any other zip code, sorting them by distance and price.”