Ask Joan

Opera at the Met in New York, the right holiday for a person with special requirements, going it alone in Asia and South America

Can you help friends of mine who wish to visit the New York Metropolitan Opera this year? They are looking for a guided tour or accompanied visit to an opera as they are both getting on in years. – JS, Dublin
The Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts is one of the world's most famous opera houses. There are lots of package trips to New York but I do not know of any specific tours that would include an opera outing.

They could book a trip with or and stay in a hotel such as the Empire, the Hudson or the Comfort Inn Central Park West, close to the Met. The website is an ideal way to find a licensed tour guide and they could hire a native New Yorker to take them to the Met.

My husband and I plan to take an autistic 46-year-old female relation on holiday this year. She has travelled extensively with her mother for years, but unfortunately she is unable to travel.

We need a destination that is relaxed and has plenty of places to visit (she’s a good walker). But she needs constant attention and distraction, so visual stimulus would be important.


Accommodation could be either good secure self-catering or a four-star hotel that has either adjoining rooms or family rooms suitable for three adults, a swimming pool that is not too large or deep, and nightly entertainment would be a plus factor. Our ideal airport to fly out of is Knock and we'd like to travel in May . – KM, Mayo
From Ireland West Knock Airport in May, Concorde Travel has holidays to the Algarve using Ryanair flights three times a week. The best thing about May is the low prices and you can stay in a four- or five-star resort on the Algarve for €450-€650 per person sharing for a week.

Vilamoura would be a good base as it is a lovely town with a marina, seafront walk, a good selection of restaurants and entertainment. The choice of hotels includes the five-star Dom Pedro Marina and the four-star Tivoli Marina, both of which have junior suites. The three-star Hotel Praia Sol is a 15 minute walk from the marina and has family rooms.

From Vilamoura you can take boat trips, and explore towns in the Algarve such as Loulé with its gypsy market on Saturdays, or the old city of Faro.

The Tourist Train, a combination of bus and train, is a great way to see places on the Algarve.

I have a four month period in which I have to wait to start a new job in London. I want to grab this opportunity to travel for four to eight weeks consecutively, or two individual stints. I'm 24 (female) and seeking adventure. South America and Asia would be my preference, but I'm open to anything. I've a budget of €3,000-€4,000. – AS, Dublin
It might be possible to do this trip on a round-the-world ticket, but you would need a specialist travel agent to work out the best possible routings to get value for money. When you add South America and Asia into a trip, it becomes more expensive, due to the mileage. Make a visit to Usit or Trailfinders to see what their agents can come up with.

Fares to Asia, point-to-point from say Dublin to Bangkok, will be under €1,000 and you could then explore south east Asia by train, boat and Air Asia, the regional low-cost carrier. Flights to South America will be similar prices and you can use Gol airlines to get around.

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