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TRAVEL Q&A

One Passport or Two?

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By K.C. Summers
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, November 2, 2008

Q. I'm interested in flying to Dubai, to board a cruise ship that will be sailing to Oman and Bahrain. Last month I toured Israel for a week. Will there be a problem going to the above-mentioned Arab countries with my U.S. passport bearing Israeli stamps?

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Ray Lum, Arlington

A. Not those particular Arab countries. Spokespeople for the embassies of the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain all said your Israeli-stamped passport wouldn't pose a problem. But it's true that some Arab countries might not admit U.S. citizens if they have Israeli stamps or markings in their passports, said U.S. State Department spokesman Steve Royster. Contact the country's embassy or consulate if you suspect your destination might have these rules.

If you have an Israeli-stamped passport and are planning to visit Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon or Syria, you can apply for a second passport. Along with your application, you'll need to submit your original passport, two passport-size photos and a signed, dated statement describing the nature of your trip and why you need the second passport. The cost is $75. For details, call the National Passport Information Center, 877-487-2778. There's no information about alternative passports on the office's Web site, http://travel.state.gov/passport, but you can download the application form there.

My family would like to visit Ireland next summer, but my 75-year-old mother has arthritis and can hardly walk. She may need to use a wheelchair and will most certainly need handicapped-accessible lodging. Do you know of any travel agencies that specialize in travel for disabled people?

Cheryl Aubin, Vienna

Try Accessible Journeys in Ridley Park, Pa. (800-846-4537, http://www.disabilitytravel.com), or Flying Wheels Travel in Owatonna, Minn. (877-451-5006, http://www.flyingwheelstravel.com), both of which specialize in travel for people with physical disabilities. Each company offers custom itineraries as well as group tours of destinations worldwide.

If you decide to go the group-tour route, Flying Wheels, in business since 1970, has three trips to Ireland next summer. "Highlights of Ireland," offered June 6-15 and Sept. 5-14, visits Dublin, County Kerry, Galway, Connemara, the Dingle Peninsula and County Limerick. There are usually 12 to 15 people per group, said company president Barbara Jacobson, and transportation is on a fully accessible luxury motor coach. While the company chooses lodgings that are wheelchair-accessible, Jacobson said, Irish hotels don't always have a full complement of wheel-in showers. But she said the mix of the groups is usually such that some participants are able to walk, so things generally work out.

The cost is $3,100 per person double and includes lodging, daily breakfast, some dinners, entertainment, baggage handling and a full-time driver-guide.

Airfare is not included.

Your Turn

Readers had more recommendations for the couple looking for a budget weekend spa getaway within two or three hours of Washington (Travel Q&A, Oct. 19). Jane Peak of McLean likes Capon Springs and Farms in Capon Springs, W.Va. (304-874-3160, http://www.caponsprings.net; rooms from $104 a night double), in the foothills of the Alleghenies about two hours west of D.C. Wayne Hachey of Fort Meade recommends Wintergreen Resort, three hours from Washington in central Virginia (800-926-3723, http://www.wintergreen resort.com; rooms from $151), with hiking, biking, a spa, golf, tennis and nearby wineries.

Send queries by e-mail (travelqa@washpost.com) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Please include your name and town.


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