Travelers' Intercom

Answers to a reader’s question: “Is it possible to buy travel insurance covering trip cancellation/medical evacuation, etc., on an ANNUAL basis for us travelers who take several trips throughout the year? (See February 2006 issue, page 46, regarding a new, long-term travel insurance policy, "Travel Protect International," offered by World Travel Center; phone 402/343-3621 and ask for Dan Drennen.)
The Burren at Black Head, north of Doolin. Photo by Louise Messner

Editor’s note: This letter will be presented in two parts, one about the planning and one about the trip.

Early in 2017, my husband, Bob, and I started to plan our annual fall trip to Europe. We had been receiving a weekly email from Travelzoo ( listing the week’s top 20 deals. This newsletter gives us an idea of what’s available. We decided that we wanted to explore the west coast of Ireland: the Wild Atlantic Way. 

One of the deals listed was for a B&B vacation in Shannon offered through the Aer Lingus Vacation Store (...

Architectural marvels in Doha’s Al Dafna district. Photos by Theodore Liebersfeld

One image of Doha, Qatar, that sticks in my mind from my short visit in January 2018 is the huge sculpture of an oyster with its pearl — a popular photo spot. It serves as a reminder of Qatar’s origins as a collection of seaside villages devoted to fishing and pearl farming. 

Another image is the beautiful promenade known as the Doha Corniche. Still another is that of the dazzling skyscrapers packed into the central business district.

And then there is Souq Waqif, with Qatari women fully draped in flowing kaftans and wearing impenetrable hijabs covering their...

Library in Kenwood House. Photo by Stephen Addison

North London’s village of Hampstead first caught my attention when I learned that the tour “Old Hampstead Village,” offered by London Walks (London, England; phone 020 7624 3978,, was the favorite of David, the gentleman who leads that organization, which offers dozens of different tours (April ’18, pg. 15).

If this tour, which is led by David, was his favorite, I had to see what was so special about Hampstead, so on a cool, bright Sunday morning in November 2017, my wife, Paula Owens, and I found ourselves looking for a cup of tea before the...

The king protea <i>(Protea cynaroides)</i> flowers at Kirstenbosch during winter and spring, from May through November. Photo by Alice Notten for Kirstenbosch NBG

A longtime resident of Cape Town, South Africa, I have the following suggestions for anyone planning a visit.

Getting up and down Table Mountain by cable car is a wonderful experience, but if you are fit, try walking up from Kirstenbosch, the botanical garden, open 365 days a year. This is a steep walk with a few stretches of ladders, and it’s easier done going up than coming down.

There are a number of access points to the mountain, not just through Kirstenbosch, and all of them are free, but if you descend through Kirstenbosch, you should pay the “entrance...

We saw Carter Lane, a block southwest of St. Paul’s Cathedral, on London Walks’ tour “Shakespeare’s and Dickens’ London — The Old City.” Photos by Stephen Addison

One of the highlights of each of the two most recent visits that my wife, Paula Owens, and I made to London (December 2015 and November 2017) was a walking tour with London Walks (London, England; phone 020 7624 3978, 

As a veteran of many walking tours on several continents, I haven’t found a better walking-tour operator than this 50-year-old organization.

The concept is simple: tours run regardless of the weather, begin at a Tube-stop exit, last around two hours and end at (or near) another Tube stop. You simply choose a tour and show up at the...


Starting in Helsinki, Finland, my wife and I toured the Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — in August ’08.

After searching many websites for the available transportation options between these countries and for hotel arrangements, we discovered that there was an easier way to bypass the uncertainties in these new member countries of the European Union: we had a complete itinerary prepared for us by Baltic Holidays (Geliu 50, Ringaudai, Kaunas, Lithuania; phone +44 161 818 7140,

It included hotels in Tallinn, Riga and...


I was looking at recent updates for the Singapore Changi Airport that were posted by FlightAware on Facebook, and there was a picture of a new seating area with charging stations between pairs of seats. Airline clubs have lots of USB charging stations, too, and waiting and boarding areas at airports all have a growing number of USB charging ports.The problem is that public USB charging stations open the user to what is commonly called “juice jacking.”USB cables have four wires: two wires for power to charge the device and two wires for receiving and sending data. While you are...