Travelers' Intercom

As my tour group was being driven to the airport in Turkey (June ’19, pg. 20) for our various flights to the US, one member asked, “Do you all have the Mobile Passport Control app?” We all shook our heads ‘no.’ “You have to download it,” he continued. “It’s saved me so much time at Customs.”

Intrigued, I took a look at the app on the Google Play store on my Android phone. As it was described, this free app allows you to fill...


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...

Courtyard at the Magistral Palace of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta — Rome. Photo by Bill Thames

During my trip to Rome in September 2017, I visited the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM).

SMOM is an institution dating back to the Crusades. Originally known as the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, it once operated a hospital in Jerusalem. Pope Paschal II recognized the order in 1113 and declared it sovereign.

When the Saracens conquered the last of the Crusader kingdoms in 1291, the Order moved to Cyprus. In 1310, the Order moved to Rhodes after conquering that...


During my frequent travels over the past 20 years to and through Rome, Italy, most recently in April 2019, I’ve stayed in a small B&B named Residenza Risorgimento (Piazza Risorgimento 59, Rome; phone +39 06 686 4375,

With six rooms and one apartment, the B&B is in a perfect location for sightseeing. The piazza on which it’s located is right at the Vatican City wall. Turn left and walk two blocks and you’re in Saint Peter’s...


When I booked the Costsaver trip “Cossack Explorer,” April 14-27, 2018, it seemed it would satisfy my desire to visit cities like Veliky Novgorod, Smolensk and Minsk. Though I had visited nearly all of the other cities on the itinerary several times before, I was willing to see them again on the general theory that there’s always something new to experience.

I found the tour listed in a Costsaver brochure at an AAA Travel office, where an agent booked my trip. The...


My husband, Richard, and I wanted to see several countries in Eastern Europe on a private tour by car. (Negotiating trains and long-distance buses proved an impossibility, and a cruise would hit only coastal towns.)

My husband searched the Internet with these criteria in mind, wrote inquiries and chose ZagrebTours (Lopasiceva 12a, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia; phone +385 99 4825 035,

They put together a trip that would start in Zagreb, Croatia, and that met our...

View of different rooms at Hotel Robledal in Costa Rica. Photos by Edna R.S. Alvarez

If you wish to have a lovely introduction to Costa Rica before beginning your tour around the country or you want one last little bit of Costa Rica before leaving, I highly recommend Hotel Robledal (El Roble 124, Alajuela, Costa Rica; in US/Canada, 812/ 962-4386,

It’s located a mere 15 minutes from Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José, yet it carries the charm of Costa Rica instead of the feel of an airport hotel.


A tower-house in Kokkala, Greece, with steps leading to a small bay. Photos by Linda Huetinck

My husband and I spent considerable time planning a June 27-July 26, 2018, trip to Greece, one that would avoid foreign tourists. Since we had visited Athens in 1984 (when there were only two other people at the Acropolis) and again in 2007 and had also visited a number of Greek islands, we wanted to experience the small villages of Greece (after a short trip to Athens).

We were joined on this trip by our son, Will, and his daughter, Cherise; our ages ranged from 86 down to 9...