Q With the Ellis Island Immigration Museum not reopening in 2013, what is there to see on the island? Is it worth the expensive ferry trip?
A The museum has always been the high point of that trip for me, and you are correct, it's not scheduled to reopen in 2013. But the Statue of Liberty on nearby Liberty Island is scheduled to reopen July 4 now that post-Hurricane Sandy repairs have been made. If you've never been there and your visits to New York are infrequent, seeing the Statue of Liberty up close and personal is worth the trip.
Q I'm a woman traveling to Morocco. What can I wear while I'm sightseeing that won't make me sweat?
A I'd suggest short-sleeve cotton sundresses of modest length or maxi-dresses, and bring a shawl or large scarf to cover your arms in case you visit any sacred sites. You'll want to wear sandals that are more substantial than flip-flops. Keep the toe show to a minimum. I wore this sort of outfit when I was in Morocco and felt perfectly comfortable temp-wise and culturally.
Q My husband's best friend was posted to an Army base on Oahu, and we were thinking of visiting in August. His company is subject to rolling deployments over the next six months, and he's not sure when he'll be home. How long is too long to wait before we risk having trouble finding decent flights to Hawaii and a nice hotel?
A Oahu has more than 30,000 hotel rooms, not including condo rental units and bed-and-breakfasts/inns. You shouldn't have a problem finding a room in August. If you're worried, you can always book and cancel -- just be sure to check the cancellation policy. As for flights, as long as you're flexible, you should be fine.
Q It has been a long time since I've stayed in a hotel, so I'm not up to date on tipping norms. I'm taking the kids to New York and staying at the Marriott Marquis. Whom do I tip?
A Basically anyone who assists you during your travels: cabdrivers, bellhops (if they carry your luggage or hail you a cab), housekeeping, concierge (if they help you plan an outing or make a reservation), hotel wait staff (but not the hostess). But don't tip if you feel that you've received subpar service; let the manager know about the lapse.
Q Are Uniworld cruises comparable to the Viking cruise ships?
A There are several luxury river cruise companies; both Viking and Uniworld are among them. AmaWaterways and Avalon are two others. They're all comparable, though each has its own personality. Avalon has sleek, urban-boutique-hotel decor, while the decor on Uniworld is more upscale-formal. Remember, they cater to an older, more educated crowd, so if partying is your thing, go elsewhere.
Today's column comes from the travel staff of the Washington Post.