Travelers' Intercom

Aardwolf in its den near Splash Camp. Photos by Cynthia Kennett

While researching safari destinations in early 2018, my husband and I read Paula Adams’ article about her custom Botswana safari (April ’18, pg. 33) and decided that was what we were looking for.

Based on her recommendation, we worked with Roger Turski at Safari Lifestyles (Maun, Botswana; phone +267 7606 1186,

We, too, highly recommend him. He responded promptly to emails and planned a safari suited for us.

Our total cost for a...


During the summer of 2018, I discovered the TIMESHIFTER app, which creates plans to lessen jet lag based on your sleep pattern, chronotype and flight itinerary. TIMESHIFTER is a science-based circadian algorithm app developed with a Harvard Medical School professor who works with astronauts and Formula 1 drivers.

I decided to download it and give it a try.

My November trip to Myanmar for the hot-air balloon festival would be perfect to test the app. After selecting the...


In January 2019, my husband and I booked a Baltic Sea cruise for August on Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess. At the time of booking, we purchased travel insurance from Travelex ( Because we had purchased this insurance within two weeks of booking our cruise, the policy waived preexisting conditions.

We were so fortunate to have had this policy in place because two days prior to our departure, my husband had a medical emergency requiring hospitalization...


I thought I’d pass along a tip for travelers who depend on their iPhones, in the unfortunate case someone loses theirs.

First, on your iPhone, find the app “Find My iPhone” and activate it. If your iPhone goes missing, you can then log onto iCloud (possibly using someone else’s iPhone) and remotely track your phone and, if necessary, erase the data on it.

However, if you rarely use iCloud, you may not have your iCloud password memorized, so write it down...

Castello de Gargonza. Photo by Bill Kemp

My wife, Paula, and I took the “Village Italy in 14 Days Tour” from Rick Steves (Edmonds, WA; 425/771-8303, in May-June 2019. Counting a repeat-traveler discount and a payment-by-check discount, we paid $4,200 per person, not including airfare.

The tour emphasized food and wines, with an extensive cooking class and many wine tastings included in the price. We visited Siena and Assisi as well as smaller, out-of-the-way places in central Italy. We...


When traveling from city to city within Croatia, bus transportation should not be ruled out.

In August 2019, I landed in Zagreb and took the airport shuttle ($5) to the city’s main bus station, then made my way to Hotel Sliško (Ivana Bunica Vucica 7, Zagreb; phone +385 1 6184 777,, a short, 3-block walk away.

Having booked a stay there for a few nights later, I stored my large suitcase at reception, then walked back to the station with just my carry-on and...

Irkutsk’s statue of a <i>babr</i>, a mythical beast (part tiger, part beaver), portrayed on the city’s coat of arms. Photos by Ken Levine

Traveling independently across Siberia on the Trans-Siberian Railway was one of my more challenging trips. (I don’t speak Russian.) The following tips concern the train ride, itself.

I rode four different trains from Vladivostok to Moscow, Sept. 7-22, 2018. The trains’ routes, numbers, etc., were Vladivostok to Ulan-Ude (7 N, 1st class [65.5 hours]), Ulan-Ude to Irkutsk (69 Y, 2nd class [8.3 hours]), Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg (81 I, 2nd class [53.5 hours]) and...

Scene in Sochi, Russia. Photos by Len Yates

My wife, Olga, and I visited Azov, Russia (Olga’s hometown, pop. 80,000), for a couple of days, then traveled south by overnight train to the Sochi area, on the Black Sea. After five days, we took another overnight train back to Azov for four more days. For this Sept. 9-19, 2017, trip, we made all of the arrangements ourselves.

At the Rostov-on-Don International Airport, 51 kilometers from Azov, Customs processing was still just as slow, hot and uncomfortable as ever....