Travelers' Intercom

Photo of the page of International Travel Magazine featuring the Smartphone Strategies article in the Travelers' Intercom section

When traveling internationally with your smartphone, there are ways to avoid the extremely high roaming and international calling and texting rates.

One way is to set up international calling with your service provider, but be sure to do this BEFORE leaving the US in order to avoid having to call your service provider long distance while overseas.

Also, compare the rate of using your service provider’s international calling against that of buying a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card in the country you are traveling to. For example, before traveling to Germany,...

Grote Kerk in the Grote Markt pedestrian area of Haarlem. Photos by Diane Harrison

My parents and I spent six days in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in May 2019. Before our vacation, we ordered Amsterdam attraction and travel passes and discovered that the I amsterdam City Card ( includes attractions outside of Amsterdam, most notably in the nearby city of Haarlem.

A 24-hour card costs €60 (near $68) per person, with prices going up from there, depending on the number of hours. We were in the area for six days, so we each purchased one 24-hour card for €60 and one 120-hour card for €115.

The cost for having the cards mailed to us...

Kalasha women wear elaborate dresses like these daily — Chitrāl district, northern Pakistan. Photos by Linda Huetinck

Three of us, all over age 80, took a fabulous private tour of Pakistan with Hunza Explorers (Village Ghulkin, P.O. & Tehsil Gulmit Gojal Upper Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan; phone +92 333 5 626529, My friends each paid $4,390 per person, double occupancy, which included all meals. I paid that plus a single supplement of $335.

We had contacted the company owner, Karim Tajik, and, after quite a few emails, agreed on an itinerary. He always answered promptly.

During the 23-day trip, April 30-May 22, 2019, we traveled through both southern and...

Cheetahs in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photo: Bob Loveland

A safari that my wife, LaMerle, and I took to see wondrous wildlife and the awe-inspiring landscapes in Kenya with Gate 1 Travel in January 2013 was a trip of a lifetime. This safari in East Africa was our usual one-and-done experience, after which we moved on to the next adventure in another part of the world.

Fast-forward to November 2018, when we were discussing where to go in 2019 and beyond. Out of character, I said, “I wouldn’t mind going back on safari again.” My practical wife replied, “Well, if we’re going to do it, let’s go ahead now....

Gail and the orangutan at the Bali Zoo. Photo by Richard Newlin

My husband, Richard, and I were in Indonesia and needed a car and driver on Aug. 13, 2018, to take us to the Bali Zoo and the Bali Bird Park from our hotel in Sanur.

I had read on about a driver named Made Baragan (phone +6285 237 109 442, WhatsApp +6282 145 299 327 or email, so I contacted him and he agreed to take us to both places and wait for us. We hired him for eight hours at a cost of IDR400,000 (near $28).

Because we wanted to attend “Breakfast with Orangutans” and tickets sell out quickly, Made booked the...

Havana is an open-air museum for classic cars. A one-hour ride in one around the city cost about $100. Photos by Josip Palić

My husband and I cruised to Havana, Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, in January 2019. It was the first visit for Josip, but it was my second visit after a lapse of 40 years.

On my visit in 1979, the land tour was very restricted. Our time in Havana was delegated to mandatory visits to a maternity hospital, an elementary school, the Museum of the Revolution, the Cuban National Ballet's theater and the Tropicana Club. Those sites were informative and interesting, but I felt that a guided visit to the colonial part of town would have made that trip more complete.



I have been reading ITN for many years, learning many things, and felt that I should finally contribute.

On Nov. 1, 2018, I returned from an 8-week stay in Greece, where, as a 77-year-old woman traveling alone, I traveled mostly by rental car without a problem.

My first car rental was in Crete for a week. It was a small, automatic Peugeot — a luxury I felt I deserved. (I usually rent cars with manual transmissions.) When that went well, I rented another one in late October, driving from Piraeus to Nafplio, stopping at the Corinth Canal and the Great Theatre of Epidaurus...

Floral arrangement outside the <i>Westerdam</i>’s main dining room. Photos by Marsha Caplan

It was Oct. 12, 2017, and I was enjoying coffee on our cabin's veranda, watching the shoreline go by and thinking about my cruise adventure, which was coming to an end.

My husband, Michael, and I have been independent travelers for many years. Every two or three years, we would choose a country in which to spend five to seven weeks, then make advance reservations for a rental/buy-back car and for apartments in some locations, and off we'd go. Our last trip of that kind was in 2011, driving across northern Spain, which we recounted in an article in ITN (June '12, pg. 20...