Travelers' Intercom

Family residence at Aigas Field Centre — Beauly, Scotland. Photo by Edna R.S. Alvarez

Aigas Field Centre, in Beauly, Scotland, is the home of conservationist and nature writer Sir John Lister-Kaye and his wife, Lady Lucy, who warmly welcome guests for either bespoke holidays or preset week-long group holidays covering themes such as bird-watching, mammals, history, mushrooms, hiking, etc.

The center is dedicated to restorative ecology. Woods with indigenous trees have been established, and there is a lovely loch on the premises plus various trails for exploration. Field trips are operated by “rangers” who are trained naturalists and ecologists.



I earned my first airline-mileage-award ticket in 1990 and have been fairly successful in obtaining many award tickets since then for the dates and routings I’ve needed.

A friend who is a member of an airline’s frequent-flyer-mileage program recently had a problem booking an award ticket 10 months out from when she wanted to travel. She had already done the first step, checking the airline’s website, but with no luck. I gave her the following advice, and I hope it will be helpful to others as well:

1. Find a list of the airline’s partners. The list can...

Quinta do Seixo vineyards and the town of Pinhão (and our docked ship, Queen Isabel, at back right). Photo by Stephen Addison

Having traveled on several river cruises with both Viking and Uniworld, my wife and I were pleasantly surprised to discover that cruising the Iberian Peninsula’s Douro River was a nice change of pace.

If you’re considering a cruise on the Douro, here are some of the more unique aspects to expect. (This letter is based on pre-trip research, the experiences of friends who took Viking’s Douro River cruise in 2015, and our experiences on an August 2017 river cruise with Uniworld (Los Angeles, CA; 800/257-2407, that began with a 3-night stay in Lisbon...


After discovering that my ATM cards would not work at automatic teller machines in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2013, I got a chip-and-PIN debit card from Andrews Federal Credit Union, or AFCU ( It had been mentioned in ITN (March ’14, pg. 40) that these would work in Europe.* I also got a preloaded chip-and-PIN debit card from AFCU in 2016.

I visited Milan in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Though I had no problems using my debit cards in ATMs, I tried both debit cards at Trenord ticket machines and at the city transport system ticket machines on each visit and they...

In a letter in ITN titled “Travel insurance inquiry,” a reader's question is followed by Wayne’s answer: “There is no ‘stand alone’ trip-cancellation insurance available.” — The last company to offer it was Travel Guard, and they canceled that back in 1992. A discussion of your options.
Inside Bistro Fotić in Zagreb, Croatia. Photos by Deanna Palic.

While searching for discounted business-class fares from Los Angeles to Zagreb, Croatia, I came across Your Business Flights (Las Vegas, NV; 800/359-3050,

After I filled out the contact form through the website, a woman named Giselle contacted me by email, and since I was trying to negotiate something better than what she could offer me, I received a phone call from German.

This was on May 25, 2017, and, for flights two months later, Giselle and German were able to book exactly what I wanted at a lower cost than what I found offered by other flight...

The Britannia Royal Naval College (commonly known as Dartmouth) and our guide, Peter. Photos by Bob Dear

In summer 2017, my wife and I paid our annual visit to Cornwall and Devon, England. After a week in a National Trust apartment near Port Isaac, Cornwall (“Doc Martin” country), we rented an apartment in Dartmouth, Devon, through Coast & Country Cottages (1 Sail Loft, Mayors Avenue, Dartmouth, Devon, England, TQ6 9NG, U.K.; phone +44 1548 843773,

The apartment where we stayed (13 Bakers Dozen, Dartmouth House) was fully equipped and centrally located. We paid about £900 (near $1,159) for our week-long stay in the modern, 2-bedroom, 2...


I was scheduled to fly on United Airlines from Dublin, Ireland, to Washington, DC, on June 16, 2017. After hours of delay, United canceled the flight for mechanical reasons. In addition to putting passengers up at an airport hotel and rescheduling their travel for the next day, United provided a sheet explaining our rights to compensation under European Union (EU) rules.* According to the sheet, I was entitled to €600 (near $700) in compensation, since United was not able to deliver me to my destination within four hours of the originally scheduled arrival time.The sheet...