Book Lufthansa direct or pay fee. Extra passport pages. Where Were You In 2014?

By David Tykol
This item appears on page 2 of the August 2015 issue.
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Overlooking Burnley in Lancashire, England, and resembling a windblown tree, the musical sculpture “Singing Ringing Tree” comprises steel scaffolding poles. The pipes have been tuned to emit, in several octaves, a slightly discordant hum in the wind. Photo: @Brenda Kean/123rf.com

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 474th issue of your monthly foreign travel magazine, the one that YOU help write.

Just back from a trip outside of the US? If you’re a subscriber, tell us about something that other travelers might want to know regarding a place you visited — how to save a couple bucks or get somewhere more efficiently, perhaps a pretty sight or why a certain time of year is a good time to visit. At what point did you have the thought, “I wish I’d known that before”?

Maybe you have a caution for someone or found that a particular attraction didn’t measure up to the hype. ITN readers are the ones who want to know. Anything from a single line to a few hundred words may be printed in our Travelers’ Intercom section. Send your comments to editor@intltravelnews.com or to ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818. Include your mailing address (where you receive ITN).

Or consider picking out several of the photographs you took and submitting them along with text of closer to a thousand words or more as a Feature Article. Did your trip have a theme? Was there a particular place that caught your imagination? Is there a story you can tell about your travels? If you’re sending a Feature Article and photos by surface mail, use the address above. If you’re emailing them (preferred), send them directly to our Features Editor, Beth Habian, at beth@intltravelnews.com.

ITN is largely comprised of letters and articles from our subscribers. We’re waiting to hear from you.

Meanwhile, we’ll do our best to keep you informed of news affecting travelers.

 

On June 2, the German airline Lufthansa announced that, starting on Sept. 1, 2015, any customer purchasing a ticket from someplace other than its own website, ticket counters or service centers will be charged a 16 fee (near $18). That means the fee will be garnered whenever someone books a ticket through a travel website such as Orbitz.com or Travelocity.com as well as when purchasing through a travel agent.

Any airline in the Lufthansa Group, including Germanwings/Eurowings and SWISS, will have the same policy.

Ticket aggregate websites like Kayak.com, which do not sell tickets but only list search results, still will list Lufthansa tickets. Search results will show the cost of a ticket available on Lufthansa’s website, without the additional fee, alongside the costs of the same ticket, including Lufthansa’s fee, on ticket-selling websites. 

Though Lufthansa’s announcement has been unpopular, it looks like it will proceed as planned. If it does, and its ticket sales don’t fall, expect to see other airlines following suit.

Here in the US, Delta Air Lines has been steadily removing its ticket listings from travel websites. Since 2010, when the airline stopped allowing its tickets to be sold on CheapOair.com, BookIt.com and OneTravel.com, Delta has expunged its tickets from 21 ticket-selling websites. Earlier this year, Delta ended its relationship with European ticket seller Skyscanner.com.

American Airlines briefly joined the fray in August 2014 when it removed all of its tickets from Orbitz.com, citing a contract dispute (Nov. ’14, pg. 4). The dispute was resolved within a few days, but it was clear that the airline was looking for a way to exert more control over its ticket sales. 

 

In the Travel Brief “Extra passport pages nixed” (June ’15, pg. 4), ITN reported that after Dec. 31, 2015, the US State Department will no longer offer the service of adding pages to US passports. Currently, the standard passport has 28 pages, 18 of them blank. Reportedly, starting next year, travelers will be able to choose the 28-page passport or, at no extra cost, one with 52 pages (43 of them blank).

ITN subscriber Lyndelle Fairlie of San Diego, California, read that and, to verify it, wrote to Maureen Mullens of Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris (800/527-5330, www.cheesemans.com). Ms. Mullens emailed ITN, “I found that this info was nowhere on the State Department’s website,” and she questioned the veracity of the news item.

ITN has since learned that this change in policy was not yet a done deal but, rather, a “proposed” rule. We also learned that, according to federal guidelines, a new rule is “proposed” for a certain number of days to allow for public comment, after which the rule will either be implemented as originally proposed, implemented with slight modifications, based on public comment, or redrafted and proposed again. 

However, a proposed rule does not require either permission or revision to be enacted, and the State Department may decide to enact the rule as proposed regardless of the results of public comment. 

This particular proposal was open for public comment from April 29 until June 29. Like Ms. Mullens, ITN could not find on the State Department’s website (www.travel.state.gov) any mention of the proposed rule. Rather, the proposal could have been found — if one had known to look for it — at www.federalregister.gov by doing a keyword search for “passport pages” and clicking on the proposal headline. Comments could then be made by clicking on the “Submit A Formal Comment” box. (Note: A person’s comments cannot be read by the public.)

Though the passport proposal is now closed to public comment, I described this process in case you are aware of a proposal and want to comment on it. To view the current list of proposed rules, visit www.federalregister.gov and click on “Proposed Rules” in the green “Current Issue” bar near the top of the homepage.

Though the State Department had made no announcement as of press time, on June 30 websites of US embassies overseas began adding disclaimers saying they would no longer be able to add pages to US passports after Dec. 31, 2015.

 

OVERSIGHT DEPT. — We thank Vaughan Parker of Santa Barbara, California, for alerting us to an omission on the map accompanying the Feature Article about London in our July issue.

On the map template that we used, the line marking the border between England and Wales was missing, contributing to our not identifying the country of Wales. (Basically, it’s on the western side of central England.)

 

Where Were You In 2014? 

In a tradition started by ITN’s late publisher, Armond Noble, each year we ask our subscribers to tell us the countries and territories they traveled to — outside of the US — in the previous calendar year. We reward a few randomly chosen participants with prizes. I’ll announce the prize winners in a moment, but first I’ll share what we learned about where a number of subscribers found themselves in 2014.

Those who responded to our unofficial poll were a very well traveled bunch in 2014, on average visiting almost seven countries or territories apiece. So which place welcomed the most ITN readers?

In first place, with 23.8% of our respondents having visited it, is the United Kingdom. 

In second place, with 18.8% having gone there, is France and in third place, Germany (17.5%). The country most visited by ITNers in the previous year, Italy, came in at No. 4 this time (16.9%), followed by Canada and Mexico, each at 12.2%.

Drawing from ITN’s Official List of Nations (plus two outliers, Antarctica and Western Sahara, with no country officially claiming administration of either), I’ll continue with our ranking of destinations according to how many ITN subscribers reported visiting them in 2014.

We have 7. Spain, 8. Croatia, 9. South Africa, 10. Austria and Thailand, 12. Turkey, 13. Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Russia, 17. Netherlands and Switzerland, 19. Australia and Japan, 21. China (a mention of both China and Tibet was counted as a single China visit), Greece and United Arab Emirates, 24. Belgium, Finland, India and Sweden, 28. Argentina, Indonesia and Singapore, 31. Estonia, Hungary and Morocco 34. Iceland, Ireland and Montenegro, 37. Colombia and Romania, 39. Bulgaria, 40. Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile (includes visits to Rapa Nui), Czech Republic, Ecuador (includes visits to Galápagos) and Slovenia, 45. Brazil, Costa Rica, Myanmar, Panama, Saint Kitts & Nevis and Sri Lanka, 51. Israel/West Bank/Gaza, Nepal and Oman, 54. Barbados, Bhutan, Dominica, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Serbia and Vietnam, 62. Cambodia and Saint Lucia, 64. Albania, Grenada, Jordan, Lithuania and Namibia, 69. Latvia, Peru, Poland, Philippines, Seychelles and Tanzania, 75. Fiji, Georgia, Guatemala, Laos and South Korea, 80. Cape Verde, Cuba, Maldives, Monaco, Mozambique and Trinidad & Tobago, 86. Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Honduras, Slovakia and Zimbabwe, 91. Armenia, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Egypt, El Salvador, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Swaziland and Uruguay, 102. Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Nicaragua, Qatar, Taiwan, Vanuatu and Zambia, 115. Antarctica, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Mongolia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, San Marino and Uzbekistan, 123. Benin, Cyprus, Kosovo, Lesotho, Palau, Samoa, Suriname, Togo, Turkmenistan and Ukraine, 133. Dominican Republic, The Gambia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, North Korea, Paraguay, São Tomé & Príncipe, Tajikistan and Venezuela, 144. Andorra, Bahrain, Belarus, Comoros, Moldova, Pakistan, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Tunisia, Uganda and Vatican City, 155. Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gabon, Haiti, Kiribati, Libya, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Tonga and Western Sahara.

No subscribers reported visiting the following countries: Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Nauru, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu.

Subscribers also reported traveling to nonsovereign territories, places that have certain levels of self-governance but are administered by other, often distant, countries (each shown here in parentheses).

The nonsovereign territory most visited in 2014 was the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten (administered by the Netherlands), with 3.6% of respondents having gone there. Each other territory mentioned was visited by fewer than 3% of respondents.

From the most visited to the least, other Caribbean and North American territories mentioned were Aruba (Netherlands), Turks & Caicos Islands (UK), British Virgin Islands (UK), Cayman Islands (UK), Curaçao (Netherlands), Saint-Martin (France), Bonaire (Netherlands), Saint-Barthélemy (France), Greenland (Denmark), Martinique (France), Guadeloupe (France), Bermuda (UK), Anguilla (UK), Saba (Netherlands) and Montserrat (UK).

The nonsovereign territories visited in and around South America were French Guiana (France) and the Falkland Islands (UK).

In the Atlantic and Mediterranean, readers visited the Canary Islands (Spain), Gibraltar (UK), Azores (Portugal), Madeira (Portugal), the Faroe Islands (Denmark) and St. Helena, Ascension Island & Tristan da Cunha (UK).

In the Pacific and Asia were French Polynesia (France), New Caledonia (France), Pitcairn Islands (UK), Christmas Island (Australia) and Niue (New Zealand).

Around Africa, readers visited Réunion (France) and Mayotte (France).

The biggest jump in visits in 2014 was made by Mauritius, which went from zero in 2013 to 3.8% of our respondents having visited last year. Palau, also with zero in 2013, had visits by 1.1% in 2014.

The biggest drop was with, collectively, five of the ‘stan countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). In 2013 they were visited by 12.6% of respondents. In 2014, the percentage was 4.98. 

Understandably, the number of visits to war-torn Ukraine slumped, with our percentage going from 4.45 to 1.1.

 

In addition to affecting some editorial decisions, knowing where ITN subscribers are going helps us in promoting the magazine to potential advertisers. The more advertising there is in an issue, the more pages we can print and the more travel reports you can read. When you contact a travel firm whose ad you saw in ITN or whom you read about in this magazine, let them know you noticed them here.

Now, who won what in our drawings? This time, because our unofficial poll involved visits taken in 2014, we’re giving out 14 prizes.

Our grand prize winner, Norm Loeffler of New Braunfels, TX, won a 3-year extension to his ITN subscription. We have three second-place winners of 2-year extensions: Bruce Berger of Mountain View, CA, Sharon Searles of Novato, CA, and Kenneth Sherman of Jackson, NJ.

Each of seven third-place winners won a year’s extension to their subscriptions: Elaine Ballard, San Antonio, TX; Donna Pyle, Boulder, CO; Jonathan and Susan Hayes, Corvallis, OR; Alan Athy, Pompano Beach, FL; Louise Robitaille, New Bedford, MA; Vicki Zimny, Morton Grove, IL, and Claude Novak, Lisle, IL. 

Three participants each won an ITN coffee mug: Raymond Prince, Maple Valley, WA; D.L. Shearer, Escondido, CA, and Leroy and Martha Lance, Fullerton, CA. 

To all of you who wrote in, thank you! In the first few months of 2016, I’ll be asking which countries you visited this year, so please keep track.

 

World traveler Margo Mata of Carlsbad, California, wrote, “I’m a longtime subscriber to ITN and always talk it up when I’m on a group tour. Love ITN!”

Arlene Lichtenstein of Commack, New York, wrote, “We love ITN and always tell fellow travelers about it on our trips.”

And Jo Thomas of San Mateo, California, wrote, “ITN is my favorite magazine! My best friend just retired and I gifted her with a subscription.”

If you have someone in mind who might appreciate ITN, visit our website and click on “Subscribe” or call, toll-free, 800/486-4968. A gift card can be sent in your name. We always welcome more voices to this travelers’ forum.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.
Overlooking Burnley in Lancashire, England, and resembling a windblown tree, the musical sculpture “Singing Ringing Tree” comprises steel scaffolding poles. The pipes have been tuned to emit, in several octaves, a slightly discordant hum in the wind. Photo: @Brenda Kean/123rf.com

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 474th issue of your monthly foreign travel magazine, the one that YOU help write.

Just back from a trip outside of the US? If you’re a subscriber, tell us about something that other travelers might want to know regarding a place you visited — how to save a couple bucks or get somewhere more efficiently, perhaps a pretty sight or why a certain time of year is a good time to visit. At what point did you have the thought, “I wish I’d known that before”?

Maybe you have a caution for someone or found that a particular attraction didn’t measure up to the hype. ITN readers are the ones who want to know. Anything from a single line to a few hundred words may be printed in our Travelers’ Intercom section. Send your comments to editor@intltravelnews.com or to ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818. Include your mailing address (where you receive ITN).

Or consider picking out several of the photographs you took and submitting them along with text of closer to a thousand words or more as a Feature Article. Did your trip have a theme? Was there a particular place that caught your imagination? Is there a story you can tell about your travels? If you’re sending a Feature Article and photos by surface mail, use the address above. If you’re emailing them (preferred), send them directly to our Features Editor, Beth Habian, at beth@intltravelnews.com.

ITN is largely comprised of letters and articles from our subscribers. We’re waiting to hear from you.

Meanwhile, we’ll do our best to keep you informed of news affecting travelers.

 

On June 2, the German airline Lufthansa announced that, starting on Sept. 1, 2015, any customer purchasing a ticket from someplace other than its own website, ticket counters or service centers will be charged a 16 fee (near $18). That means the fee will be garnered whenever someone books a ticket through a travel website such as Orbitz.com or Travelocity.com as well as when purchasing through a travel agent.

Any airline in the Lufthansa Group, including Germanwings/Eurowings and SWISS, will have the same policy.

Ticket aggregate websites like Kayak.com, which do not sell tickets but only list search results, still will list Lufthansa tickets. Search results will show the cost of a ticket available on Lufthansa’s website, without the additional fee, alongside the costs of the same ticket, including Lufthansa’s fee, on ticket-selling websites. 

Though Lufthansa’s announcement has been unpopular, it looks like it will proceed as planned. If it does, and its ticket sales don’t fall, expect to see other airlines following suit.

Here in the US, Delta Air Lines has been steadily removing its ticket listings from travel websites. Since 2010, when the airline stopped allowing its tickets to be sold on CheapOair.com, BookIt.com and OneTravel.com, Delta has expunged its tickets from 21 ticket-selling websites. Earlier this year, Delta ended its relationship with European ticket seller Skyscanner.com.

American Airlines briefly joined the fray in August 2014 when it removed all of its tickets from Orbitz.com, citing a contract dispute (Nov. ’14, pg. 4). The dispute was resolved within a few days, but it was clear that the airline was looking for a way to exert more control over its ticket sales. 

 

In the Travel Brief “Extra passport pages nixed” (June ’15, pg. 4), ITN reported that after Dec. 31, 2015, the US State Department will no longer offer the service of adding pages to US passports. Currently, the standard passport has 28 pages, 18 of them blank. Reportedly, starting next year, travelers will be able to choose the 28-page passport or, at no extra cost, one with 52 pages (43 of them blank).

ITN subscriber Lyndelle Fairlie of San Diego, California, read that and, to verify it, wrote to Maureen Mullens of Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris (800/527-5330, www.cheesemans.com). Ms. Mullens emailed ITN, “I found that this info was nowhere on the State Department’s website,” and she questioned the veracity of the news item.

ITN has since learned that this change in policy was not yet a done deal but, rather, a “proposed” rule. We also learned that, according to federal guidelines, a new rule is “proposed” for a certain number of days to allow for public comment, after which the rule will either be implemented as originally proposed, implemented with slight modifications, based on public comment, or redrafted and proposed again. 

However, a proposed rule does not require either permission or revision to be enacted, and the State Department may decide to enact the rule as proposed regardless of the results of public comment. 

This particular proposal was open for public comment from April 29 until June 29. Like Ms. Mullens, ITN could not find on the State Department’s website (www.travel.state.gov) any mention of the proposed rule. Rather, the proposal could have been found — if one had known to look for it — at www.federalregister.gov by doing a keyword search for “passport pages” and clicking on the proposal headline. Comments could then be made by clicking on the “Submit A Formal Comment” box. (Note: A person’s comments cannot be read by the public.)

Though the passport proposal is now closed to public comment, I described this process in case you are aware of a proposal and want to comment on it. To view the current list of proposed rules, visit www.federalregister.gov and click on “Proposed Rules” in the green “Current Issue” bar near the top of the homepage.

Though the State Department had made no announcement as of press time, on June 30 websites of US embassies overseas began adding disclaimers saying they would no longer be able to add pages to US passports after Dec. 31, 2015.

 

OVERSIGHT DEPT. — We thank Vaughan Parker of Santa Barbara, California, for alerting us to an omission on the map accompanying the Feature Article about London in our July issue.

On the map template that we used, the line marking the border between England and Wales was missing, contributing to our not identifying the country of Wales. (Basically, it’s on the western side of central England.)

 

Where Were You In 2014? 

In a tradition started by ITN’s late publisher, Armond Noble, each year we ask our subscribers to tell us the countries and territories they traveled to — outside of the US — in the previous calendar year. We reward a few randomly chosen participants with prizes. I’ll announce the prize winners in a moment, but first I’ll share what we learned about where a number of subscribers found themselves in 2014.

Those who responded to our unofficial poll were a very well traveled bunch in 2014, on average visiting almost seven countries or territories apiece. So which place welcomed the most ITN readers?

In first place, with 23.8% of our respondents having visited it, is the United Kingdom. 

In second place, with 18.8% having gone there, is France and in third place, Germany (17.5%). The country most visited by ITNers in the previous year, Italy, came in at No. 4 this time (16.9%), followed by Canada and Mexico, each at 12.2%.

Drawing from ITN’s Official List of Nations (plus two outliers, Antarctica and Western Sahara, with no country officially claiming administration of either), I’ll continue with our ranking of destinations according to how many ITN subscribers reported visiting them in 2014.

We have 7. Spain, 8. Croatia, 9. South Africa, 10. Austria and Thailand, 12. Turkey, 13. Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Russia, 17. Netherlands and Switzerland, 19. Australia and Japan, 21. China (a mention of both China and Tibet was counted as a single China visit), Greece and United Arab Emirates, 24. Belgium, Finland, India and Sweden, 28. Argentina, Indonesia and Singapore, 31. Estonia, Hungary and Morocco 34. Iceland, Ireland and Montenegro, 37. Colombia and Romania, 39. Bulgaria, 40. Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile (includes visits to Rapa Nui), Czech Republic, Ecuador (includes visits to Galápagos) and Slovenia, 45. Brazil, Costa Rica, Myanmar, Panama, Saint Kitts & Nevis and Sri Lanka, 51. Israel/West Bank/Gaza, Nepal and Oman, 54. Barbados, Bhutan, Dominica, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Serbia and Vietnam, 62. Cambodia and Saint Lucia, 64. Albania, Grenada, Jordan, Lithuania and Namibia, 69. Latvia, Peru, Poland, Philippines, Seychelles and Tanzania, 75. Fiji, Georgia, Guatemala, Laos and South Korea, 80. Cape Verde, Cuba, Maldives, Monaco, Mozambique and Trinidad & Tobago, 86. Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Honduras, Slovakia and Zimbabwe, 91. Armenia, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Egypt, El Salvador, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Swaziland and Uruguay, 102. Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Nicaragua, Qatar, Taiwan, Vanuatu and Zambia, 115. Antarctica, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Mongolia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, San Marino and Uzbekistan, 123. Benin, Cyprus, Kosovo, Lesotho, Palau, Samoa, Suriname, Togo, Turkmenistan and Ukraine, 133. Dominican Republic, The Gambia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, North Korea, Paraguay, São Tomé & Príncipe, Tajikistan and Venezuela, 144. Andorra, Bahrain, Belarus, Comoros, Moldova, Pakistan, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Tunisia, Uganda and Vatican City, 155. Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gabon, Haiti, Kiribati, Libya, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Tonga and Western Sahara.

No subscribers reported visiting the following countries: Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Nauru, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu.

Subscribers also reported traveling to nonsovereign territories, places that have certain levels of self-governance but are administered by other, often distant, countries (each shown here in parentheses).

The nonsovereign territory most visited in 2014 was the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten (administered by the Netherlands), with 3.6% of respondents having gone there. Each other territory mentioned was visited by fewer than 3% of respondents.

From the most visited to the least, other Caribbean and North American territories mentioned were Aruba (Netherlands), Turks & Caicos Islands (UK), British Virgin Islands (UK), Cayman Islands (UK), Curaçao (Netherlands), Saint-Martin (France), Bonaire (Netherlands), Saint-Barthélemy (France), Greenland (Denmark), Martinique (France), Guadeloupe (France), Bermuda (UK), Anguilla (UK), Saba (Netherlands) and Montserrat (UK).

The nonsovereign territories visited in and around South America were French Guiana (France) and the Falkland Islands (UK).

In the Atlantic and Mediterranean, readers visited the Canary Islands (Spain), Gibraltar (UK), Azores (Portugal), Madeira (Portugal), the Faroe Islands (Denmark) and St. Helena, Ascension Island & Tristan da Cunha (UK).

In the Pacific and Asia were French Polynesia (France), New Caledonia (France), Pitcairn Islands (UK), Christmas Island (Australia) and Niue (New Zealand).

Around Africa, readers visited Réunion (France) and Mayotte (France).

The biggest jump in visits in 2014 was made by Mauritius, which went from zero in 2013 to 3.8% of our respondents having visited last year. Palau, also with zero in 2013, had visits by 1.1% in 2014.

The biggest drop was with, collectively, five of the ‘stan countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). In 2013 they were visited by 12.6% of respondents. In 2014, the percentage was 4.98. 

Understandably, the number of visits to war-torn Ukraine slumped, with our percentage going from 4.45 to 1.1.

 

In addition to affecting some editorial decisions, knowing where ITN subscribers are going helps us in promoting the magazine to potential advertisers. The more advertising there is in an issue, the more pages we can print and the more travel reports you can read. When you contact a travel firm whose ad you saw in ITN or whom you read about in this magazine, let them know you noticed them here.

Now, who won what in our drawings? This time, because our unofficial poll involved visits taken in 2014, we’re giving out 14 prizes.

Our grand prize winner, Norm Loeffler of New Braunfels, TX, won a 3-year extension to his ITN subscription. We have three second-place winners of 2-year extensions: Bruce Berger of Mountain View, CA, Sharon Searles of Novato, CA, and Kenneth Sherman of Jackson, NJ.

Each of seven third-place winners won a year’s extension to their subscriptions: Elaine Ballard, San Antonio, TX; Donna Pyle, Boulder, CO; Jonathan and Susan Hayes, Corvallis, OR; Alan Athy, Pompano Beach, FL; Louise Robitaille, New Bedford, MA; Vicki Zimny, Morton Grove, IL, and Claude Novak, Lisle, IL. 

Three participants each won an ITN coffee mug: Raymond Prince, Maple Valley, WA; D.L. Shearer, Escondido, CA, and Leroy and Martha Lance, Fullerton, CA. 

To all of you who wrote in, thank you! In the first few months of 2016, I’ll be asking which countries you visited this year, so please keep track.

 

World traveler Margo Mata of Carlsbad, California, wrote, “I’m a longtime subscriber to ITN and always talk it up when I’m on a group tour. Love ITN!”

Arlene Lichtenstein of Commack, New York, wrote, “We love ITN and always tell fellow travelers about it on our trips.”

And Jo Thomas of San Mateo, California, wrote, “ITN is my favorite magazine! My best friend just retired and I gifted her with a subscription.”

If you have someone in mind who might appreciate ITN, visit our website and click on “Subscribe” or call, toll-free, 800/486-4968. A gift card can be sent in your name. We always welcome more voices to this travelers’ forum.