Eli Orzessek finds the answers to your travel questions.

I am a grandmother visiting the United States in December and am travelling on my own on Hawaiian Airways via Honolulu. I have a 12-hour stopover there before going on to LA.

I was advised not to book any tours as sometimes there are delays getting through Customs or hold-ups in traffic.

Do you have any suggestions where I should go or what I should see if I take a taxi into town from the airport? Probably would want to spend between four or five hours.

Going into town is definitely worth it with a long stopover. Bring your togs and towel if you're keen to get in the water — there's time for a swim at Waikiki beach and you could always have a meal around there too. Unwinding with some sand, sea and sun seems like a great way to relax between flights. The area is touristy for sure, but, after all, you are a tourist.

If you're after retail therapy, the Ala Moana Shopping Center is a shopper's paradise. It's the world's largest open-air mall, with 290 stores and 80 dining options.

Honolulu's Chinatown is another great place to wander, with plenty of restaurants, bars, seafood markets and art galleries to explore.


If you're a history buff — and you're arriving in the morning — visiting Pearl Harbour could also be an option. It's a 15-minute cab ride from the airport and tickets are free, but you need to get there early to get them. Then you may need to wait for the tour to start — but with a 12-hour stopover, you should be fine.

I'm planning a 10-day cycling tour in the Japanese Alps. I'm an experienced cyclist but this is my first trip to Japan. What do I need to know? What should I expect?

Before you go, familiarise yourself with the climate you'll encounter and pack appropriate clothing. I'd also recommend bringing some shoes you can easily slip on and off. You tend to need to do that a lot in Japan.

Brush up on road rules, as well as what you can and can't do on a bike. It's against the law to wear earphones, carry an umbrella, use a phone, obstruct pedestrians, ride without a light at night, or under the influence of alcohol. In most areas you're not allowed to cycle side-by-side — although there are some exceptions in areas marked by signs, but this is limited to two bicycles.

You'll want to wear a helmet — although it's only compulsory for those under 13.

Be sure to have comprehensive travel insurance booked, in case of any accidents.

If you need to take your bike on the train, you'll have to pick up a special bag — this is known as a "rinko bukuro" and can be bought at a cycle store for around 3000 yen ($38).

If you're taking a guided tour, book with a licensed operator. If you're planning DIY, stop in at a cycle shop for tips and maps — but be aware that not everyone speaks English. For a few key phrases of cycling terminology check out japancycling.org/v2/info/lang/japaneses.shtml
Eli cannot answer all questions and can't correspond with readers.
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