March 2007

I’m traveling to Egypt soon. Which tour companies offer the best glimpse of the country?

—Lori Brown, Tuscon, Ariz.

The 11-day "Splendors of the Nile" trip from Abercrombie & Kent (800/554-7016;; from $5,385 per person) hits Cairo, Giza, and the Valley of the Kings—and includes four nights on a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor. Geographic Expeditions (800/777-8183;; 10 days from $5,045 per person) customizes itineraries—head to the eco-lodge Adrère Amellal, then travel to Mount Sinai (where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments) and tour St. Catherine’s Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Can you recommend some affordable B&B’s along the Amalfi Coast?

—Ashley Norwood, Arlington, Va.

In Positano, check into the Villa Rosa Positano (39-089/811-955;; doubles from $221) for wide ocean vistas from a sprawling, 12-room, whitewashed house. Book a room on one of the top floors—the higher the better—to ensure unobstructed views. The lofty rooms at the 19th-century Villa Lara (39-089/873-6358;; doubles from $175), perched on a terraced hillside, have sweeping views of the area’s tiled roofs. The friendly staff here sets the seven-room B&B apart. For away-from-it-all privacy, try Al Borgo Torello (39-089/858-164;; doubles from $104), in the small medieval village of Torello. Of the four rooms—all named for flowers—the Rose and the Sunflower have stunning panoramas of the Amalfi coastline. We recommend the Rose room for its secluded balcony.

I’m going to Thailand this spring—what precautions should I take to stay healthy?

—Tom Wallace, Miami, Fla.

While no immunizations are required for entry into Thailand, it’s a good idea to make sure that your regular vaccinations are up-to-date. Your doctor may also suggest that you get the hepatitis A vaccine and bring along antimalarial drugs, especially if you’ll be traveling to rural areas. Most of the diseases you could contract in Southeast Asia are a result of either insect bites or contaminated food and water, so protect yourself: Use insect repellent containing deet, and wear pants and long sleeves whenever possible. Also, make certain that your food and drinking water come from clean sources. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s Web site (

Any ideas for a beachside villa with a personal chef?

—Kenny williams, Brooklyn, N.Y.

On Anguilla, Sand Villa (877/993-0100;; $7,142 per night) is a two-story, four-bedroom hideaway with a staff of two maids, a butler, and your own chef. Or try Villa Castellamonte (866/845-5210;; $23,100 per week), on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The seven-bedroom mansion with two huge kitchens is set on a 50-foot-high seaside cliff with stairs to the white-sand beach below. Besides a chef, there’s a resident concierge and masseuse. And the Golden Mandarin at Wailea Beach Villas (808/875-2818;; $2,500 per night), on Maui, is a 3,500-square-foot villa with a huge outdoor Viking grill on the patio, where your personal chef will prepare freshly caught mahimahi with braised Kula greens by the plunge pool.