I want to travel to Israel and Egypt via Dubai in June/July next year. Can you tell me what flight and tour options I have?
Travel between Dubai, Israel and Egypt isn't straightforward. Royal Brunei and Emirates fly to Dubai from New Zealand, but there are no direct flights from Dubai to Israel.
You can fly to Cairo from Dubai on EgyptAir or to Amman in Jordan on Royal Jordanian, from where you can fly to Israel.
Several organised tours cover both Egypt and Israel. Peregrine offers an excellent 20-day tour of Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
Other tour companies in this region include Globus, Egypt Tours and GM Tours.
June and July will be hot, with temperatures above 40C.
New Zealanders travelling to Egypt and Israel are advised to exercise a high degree of personal safety. Go to mfat.govt.nz for more information.
Central America tips
A friend and I (both 21 and first-time travellers) are making our own way through Central America to Panama from mid-December to mid-February. We were wondering if you could give us a few "must-do" things for this region.
Made up of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, this compact seven-country link between North and South America attracts travellers with its wealth of culture, ancient ruins, wildlife and outdoor activities.
Guatemala's Mayan ruins are the most impressive you'll see anywhere. Belize has more in common with its Caribbean island neighbours than the fiery volatility of Central America, and features excellent diving, dramatic ruins and pristine jungle. Honduras' slow pace, natural beauty and low-profile tourism is particularly appealing, while Nicaragua has beach breaks, volcano hiking, island paradises and laid-back colonial towns.
Despite being such a tiny nation, Costa Rica draws well over a million visitors every year. The incredibly varied topography means you can cruise a cloud forest one day, climb a volcano the next, and finish passed out on a hot sandy beach.
Panama's charms include its stunning coastline and diversity of tropical birds. Two months is going to be a tight squeeze. An idea would be to keep your itinerary flexible.
The region's peak tourist season coincides with the dry season, which is roughly between Christmas and Easter. Though hotels fill up at this time - and raise their prices - you'll usually find a room.
Ticabus covers all of South America except Belize, where Novelo's bus line travels regularly on the country's major roads. Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree travel forum has an excellent Central America FAQ.
As part of your planning, go to safetravel.govt.nz.
I'm planning a trip to Chile, and since reading Bruce Chatwin's book In Patagonia I'd also like to visit this part of South America. Can you provide some information?
With its legendary gauchos, glacial fjords and stunning scenery, the Argentine region of Patagonia is an evocatively far-flung destination.
The big drawcards are Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, a mecca for hikers, and day trips to the Magellanic penguin colonies at Otway Sound and Isla Magdalena from Punta Arenas. The best way to get there is to fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas (try skyairline.cl; return $120). While in South America, enjoy Chile's spectacular fjords on a four-day/three-night voyage on the Navimag; $480 ferry.