Do you know of any good yoga trips to Italy this spring?
—J.H., VIA E-MAIL
On the weeklong yoga-and-cooking retreats run by L'Orizzonte (646/602-9711; www.lorizzonte.com; from $2,175 per person, double; April 21-28), guests stay in a 16th-century castle in Puglia and take two to three hatha classes daily. Most days also include a lesson in southern Italian cooking or an excursion to a nearby town such as Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Farther up the boot, Sunflower Retreats Holidays (44-116/259-9422; www.sunflowerretreats.com; from $560 per person, double, breakfast only; April-October) hosts weekly trips to the hilltop village of Casperia, in the heart of the Lazio region. Daily yoga sessions are held outdoors; after class, you can relax at the local hot springs or get a massage. If you prefer to practice your vinyasas on the beach, head to Sicily with Virayoga (212/334-9960; www.virayoga.com; $2,200 per person; May 23-30). You'll stay at the Becchina Estate, a collection of secluded villas on the coast surrounded by lush olive groves, and take two anusara (a form of hatha yoga) classes every day.
Lately, it seems as though airport screeners are getting way too intimate. How can I lodge a formal complaint?
—A.N., VIA E-MAIL
In December, as a result of negative feedback from female travelers who felt humiliated by overly invasive pat-downs, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued new guidelines for screeners. Now, unless your chest area sets off the hand-held metal detector or there is an "irregularity or anomaly" in your clothing outline, screeners will start the pat-down below your chest.
If you still feel uncomfortable with the way a screener is examining you, say something to him or his supervisor. According to TSA spokesperson Ann Davis, passengers chosen for a secondary screening are required to have their search done by someone of the same gender. If you're uneasy about having the inspection done in public, you can request a private screening. To report your experience, contact TSA customer service (866/289-9673; firstname.lastname@example.org.) "We take every complaint seriously," Davis says.
Can you recommend a few African destinations that are easy to navigate on your own?
—A.W., VIA E-MAIL
For an intrepid traveler there are many options—among them Asmara, Eritrea; Tripoli, Libya; Essaouira, Morocco; and Dakar, Senegal. But Cape Town, with a gorgeous coastline, superb wineries nearby, and a friendly, English-speaking population, has a more developed tourist infrastructure. You might also consider going on a safari, which provides you with a built-in social group during the day while still leaving you time to yourself in the evenings. Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa have some of the best game reserves and high-end safari camps.
Whatever place you choose, check the country's Consular Information Sheet on the State Department's Web site (travel.state.gov) for detailed information on health risks, street crime, and regions to avoid.
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