Columns

Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, a sandstone monolith in Australia’s Northern Territory, draws many a tour group. Photo by Gail Keck

In these precarious times, many senior ITN readers are finally considering traveling on group tours or are traveling more on these tours than they have in the past. There are many reasons for this trend.

First, the matter of personal safety and security is an increasing concern, especially at certain travel destinations. There is an undeniable element of safety in numbers, particularly on well-organized group tours.

Second, many globetrotting seniors, for a variety of reasons,...

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Travelers in Venice can now enjoy a visit to the Doge’s Palace at night, when crowds are smaller.

Nighttime's the right time -- and reservations are smart any time -- when it comes to seeing the great sights in Northern Italy. With all the crowds heading for the same few attractions, popular sights and destinations are packed, and ticket lines are long. For 2020, officials thankfully have promised longer hours and easier opportunities to book entries in advance. Here's the latest:

At Venice's St. Mark's Basilica, it is now easy to reserve an entry...

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The pointed arches of Gothic cathedrals allow for dramatic stained-glass windows, such as the ones in Chartres’ cathedral.

Though visiting Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral won't be possible for the foreseeable future following a devastating fire, there are plenty of fine examples of Gothic cathedrals -- and other Notre-Dames even -- that you can see in France.

When traveling in France, I can't help but marvel at the towering Gothic cathedrals that mark the centers of many towns. I like to imagine what it was like to be a pilgrim 600 years ago, hiking for days to a particular...

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Explore the sectarian neighborhoods of Belfast with a local guide who can offer insights and commentary on the area’s political murals.

Belfast, Northern Ireland's capital city, is perhaps best known for the sectarian strife that took place here during the era of the "Troubles," and as the birthplace of the Titanic (and many other ships that didn't sink). While these two claims to fame are hardly uplifting, Belfast's story is hardly a downer. This unsinkable city, just two hours away from Dublin by train, makes for a fascinating day trip.

Wandering through cheery downtown...

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In London, the courtyard at Somerset House transforms into an ice-skating rink every year from mid-November to January.

For scenes straight out of a box of old-fashioned Christmas cards, head to England. Many classic Christmas trappings, from caroling to mince pie and wassail, have been part of English tradition for centuries.

Other holiday customs have their roots in the 19th century. Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert, popularized the decorating of Christmas trees and the sending of Christmas cards. Around the same time, Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol --...

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ATMs are a frequent target for travel scams in Europe — if anyone’s around, cover the keypad when entering your PIN.

Europe is a surprisingly creative place when it comes to travel scams. Many of the most successful gambits require a naively trusting tourist, but seasoned travelers can be taken in, too. We should all be wary of the numerous subtle scams -- a cabbie pads your fare, a hotel business center computer records your password, or a waiter offers a special with a "special" increased price. But if you're cautious and not overly trusting, you should have no problem. Here are some...

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Carvings on the Whare Runanga, a Maori meeting house built in 1940 at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand. Photo: ©Rafael Ben-Ari/123rf.com

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 527th issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine. 

Your neighbors aren’t interested in the photos from your latest trip? Well, you’ll find an eager audience here, so send in a few (with captions). Or write up a couple highlights of your journey. ITN subscribers will appreciate it. These are your travel kin.

David E. Johnson, Jr., of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, wrote, “Thanks for the wonderful information you...

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In my March 2019 column, I made the following statement regarding a type of overseas emergency-medical-evacuation insurance policy offered by Divers Alert Network, or DAN (Durham, NC; 800/446-2671, www.diversalertnetwork.org), and their “membership” coverage: 

“I no longer recommend this type of coverage because, in case of a medical emergency, it will take you only to the nearest appropriate medical facility, and there is no provision for medical costs. If I...

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