Q: Where can I find the best hotel deals online? —Jacob Kipp, Lafayette, Calif.
A: “New functionality at tried-and-true booking sites has made finding low rates simpler than ever. Bing recently added a tool that allows you to compare current rates with historical ones in thirty U.S. cities; a map pops up with hotel options flagged by color (green is a steal, yellow is average, and red means steer clear). The Orbitz Hotel Price Assurance Guarantee refunds you the difference if another user on the site gets a better deal than you. With its Welcome Rewards program, Hotels.com now incentivizes loyalty by giving you points toward free nights every time you book.” —T+L features editor Niloufar Motamed.
Q: I am planning a trip to the East Coast this summer. What are some of the best hiking trails? —Isabele Kimpton, Wooster, Ohio
A: New York’s Mount Jo is a great choice for beginners, thanks to its free, guided nature tours up a two-mile path with summit views of the Adirondack High Peaks region. A more difficult challenge can be found on Vermont’s third-highest peak, Camel’s Hump. The gradually ascending 6.8-mile Monroe Loop culminates in panoramic views of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. And Mount Desert Island, in Maine’s Acadia National Park, offers two short but technical trails: the 1.6-mile Precipice and the one-mile Beehive, both of which involve steep climbs with the chance to view endangered peregrine falcons.
Q: Can you recommend an outfitter offering a classic cultural itinerary in Egypt this fall? —Mark Gregory, Setauket, N.Y.
A: The 15-day Discover Egypt trip from eco-friendly Intrepid Travel (intrepidtravel.com; from $1,215 per person, double) covers the major sites—the Sphinx, Giza Pyramids, and Valley of the Kings—and includes an overnight stay with a Nubian family in a traditional mud-walled house. Lindblad Expeditions (expeditions.com; from $4,700 per person, double) is offering a 10-day Egyptologist-led Nile cruise aboard the 54-person Salacia with shore excursions to the Temple of Horus and the Luxor Museum, among other spots. Finally, Ker & Downey (kerdowney.com; prices vary) creates customized itineraries that may include guided tours of Cairo’s bazaars and ancient Alexandria.
Q: My husband and I are visiting Paris next month. Any ideas for an affordable three-day itinerary? —Margaret Brown, Fort Worth, Tex.
A: Make the new 29-room BLC Design your base, before heading to Pinacothèque de Paris, a contemporary art museum hosting the city’s first Edvard Munch retrospective in 20 years. Come evening, the ever-changing menu at Frenchie (dinner for two $98) features dishes such as cauliflower soup with candied lemon. The next day, try the Mozambique shrimp at Yam’Tcha (lunch for two $80) and catch a performance in the Jardin Shakespeare (jardinshakespeare.fr), as part of the city’s annual theater festival. On your last day, take a guided tour of the brand-new Institut Français de la Mode, in the Cité de la Mode et du Design, an industrial design complex.