View of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

The Philippines and Taiwan had been on my bucket list for years, so when a brochure hit my mailbox from Zegrahm Expeditions (Seattle, WA; 855/242-0967 or 206/285-4000, www.zegrahm.com) with a tour featuring both countries — in addition to the southern Japanese islands — I was halfway there. 

The clincher was three magic words: “No single supplement.” I booked the trip.

“Asia’s Subtropical Isles: Philippines, Taiwan & Japan...

The Palace of Njasvizh, near Minsk, Belarus.

In 2016, I booked a cruise through the Black Sea, but it was canceled because of turmoil in Ukraine and Turkey. That cruise was particularly attractive to my wife, Susan, and me, as it would have gotten us closer to achieving ITN’s All of Europe Travel Award, so I decided to look on the Internet for a land-based tour that would visit some of the Eastern European countries that were on the cruise itinerary. That search led me to a small English company that helped me turn lemons into...

A floating community outside of Manaus.

We decided South America would be our travel destination this year, so we booked a 22-day “Amazon Exploration” cruise on board the Regatta, a 684-passenger ship operated by Oceania Cruises (Miami, FL; 855/335-2728, oceaniacruises.com). The ship left Miami on Feb. 2, 2017, sailing first through the Caribbean and finally reaching the mouth of the Amazon River on the night of Feb. 10. 

The cruise fare for the two of us was $15,744, which included balcony-cabin...


A number of readers had strong reactions — some positive and some negative — to the article “The Ugly Tourist (And How Not to Be One)” by ITN Contributing Editor Rick Steves (June ’17, pg. 53). 

In his article, Rick wrote, “Europe sees two kinds of American travelers: those who view Europe through air-conditioned bus windows, socializing with their noisy American friends, and those who are taking a vacation from the US, immersing...

Jann Segal on a hike at the Featherbed Nature Reserve in Knysna, South Africa.

During some of my recent adventurous travels, I was greatly disappointed to learn that I get severe reactions to all of the various antimalarial drugs. For this reason, I thought I would never be able to go on an African safari. 

However, I consulted my physician and did a significant amount of research, and, with the information I discovered, I was able to take a magnificent trip to South Africa with Grand Circle Travel (Boston, MA; 800/221-2610, www.gct.com). I booked...

The Masai men’s dances included a lot of singing and jumping.

My wife, Sandra, and I had twice previously traveled in Southern Africa with Pierre Duval (Feb. ’13, pg. 46 & March ’14, pg. 26) of BushBaby Safaris (KwaZula-Natal, South Africa; phone +27 [0] 34 212 3216, bushbaby.co.za), and he has become a friend.  

When Pierre told us that he was expanding his range to Tanzania and Kenya, we were delighted. Seeing the annual East Africa migration has been on Sandra’s bucket list for years. 

This circular...

Children pausing during a parade through the streets of Oaxaca.

A long day of flights from Boston to Atlanta, then on to Mexico City and, finally, Oaxaca left us ready to crawl into bed upon our arrival at our final destination… had we not been met by a parade of young children marching just outside the entrance to our hotel. Called comparsas, celebratory processions like this are kickoff events for the 3-day festival called Day of the Dead, which takes place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 each year. 

We were in Mexico to join Jim Cline Photo...

We were lost for hours on our drive from Burgos to Santiago but discovered incomparable landscapes.

Following a wine-focused cruise through Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, France and Spain, which ended in Barcelona in September 2016, my friend JoRene and I decided to explore the Basque Country of Spain (and France) by car. 

My preferred method of travel is to be independent and meander. The experiences that can be had are so much more serendipitous when you’re not on a schedule or traveling with a group. There are pluses and minuses with both, but this mode of travel...