Travel Briefs

The Münzkabinett in Berlin, Germany, has one of the largest numismatic collections (coins and tokens) in the world, and among its more than 540,000 objects are medals, paper currencies and medieval seals. The Münzkabinett, itself, can be visited only for scholarly work; however, thousands of its items are put on display in museums on Berlin’s Museumsinsel (Museum Island).

Until Oct. 27, 2019, one of those museums, the Bode-Museum (


Single travelers in Sydney or Melbourne, Australia, can sign up with Opera for One to join a group of fellow single opera junkies before the show, meet their opera guide and mingle over canapes and drinks before being seated in the same section.

Opera for One tickets are not available for all shows. To see available dates and book tickets (at the B Reserve level), visit A Melbourne opera ticket costs AUD144 (near $102). Sydney ticket prices were...


The 3-hour “Small Group Spy & Espionage Tour of London” is offered by the company Evan Evans (London, England; phone +44 20 7950 1777,

The bus tour is led by a former member of the British government, and it visits the headquarters of British Intelligence sections MI5 and MI6 as well as spots where spies secretly exchanged information. The tour ends at the former home of MI6, St. Ermin’s Hotel, for martinis at the bar.



Using the app Refundit, free on Apple and Android, travelers can easily apply for and receive VAT refunds in Belgium, with other EU countries to be added soon.

To be refunded, a user first takes a photo of his receipt, then uses the app to upload the receipt along with a photo of his passport and boarding pass. A confirmation should arrive within minutes. There is no need to visit a Customs desk or fill out any forms at the airport.

Using Refundit incurs a 9% handling fee on...


Travelers with a layover of more than six hours at Atatürk Airport (IST) can take a private guided tour of Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district, including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and more, in a Mercedes van. The “Istanbul Layover Tour” must be booked in advance, costs $275 for up to six people and includes transfers from and to the airport but not entry fees or food. Visit to book. A custom tour can be...


The Federal Aviation Administration upgraded its safety rating for the air authority of Vietnam to "Category 1," meaning Vietnamese carriers now can be granted approval to fly to the US and any of its territories. The upgrade also allows Vietnamese airlines to enter into codeshare agreements with US-based airlines.

The flight- and hotel-booking sites and stopped offering air tickets and hotel rooms for Venezuela on their websites without announcement in early February.

At press time, American Airlines was the only US-based airline with flights to Venezuela (Caracas), along with only six other international airlines: Copa Airlines, Aruba Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Iberia and Air France. Venezuelan airline Avior operates one route to the US, servicing...


Milan, Italy, is hosting a "Milan and Leonardo" program in 2019 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death. Visit for a list of events.

One significant event is the "Leonardo e la Sala delle Asse tra Natura, Arte e Scienza" exhibit, May 16-Aug. 18, at Sforza Castle (Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano; phone +39 02 8846 3703,, where visitors can witness the restoration of a vaulted ceiling...