Calling All Readers

A gorilla in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, observing Jeffery Carrier.

The closing of borders worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to the canceling and postponing of countless travel plans. In the interest of comparing how various tour operators, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, etc., handled the disruptions and travelers’ bookings, ITN asked subscribers to write in about their experiences. Many had stories to tell, the first printed in our September 2020 issue, and we are continuing to share their accounts.

As can be seen, not only do companies have contrasting policies, but travelers have different strategies in planning and booking trips...


At the end of ITN subscriber Pamela Zent’s letter “Unexpected Disembarkation” (June ’20, pg. 25), in which she described being left near the dock with her luggage in New York City after having to disembark a ship to join her husband, who had been taken by ambulance from the ship to the hospital, she wrote, “From ITN readers, I would really just like to know if other couples on a cruise have found themselves in a predicament where one member ended up in the hospital onshore and the other had to pack up and leave. What assistance did the ship’s staff offer...

Narasimha, the lion-headed Hindu deity, in Lakshmi Narasimha Temple (UNESCO Site No. 241) — Hampi, India. Photo by David J. Patten

Patrica McKevlin of Charleston, South Carolina, wrote, “In 2018 I finished viewing all of Johannes Vermeer’s paintings, which I was introduced to in the sixth or seventh grade! It was a difficult challenge, but I had wanted to do it for a very long time. I know some travelers who are counting countries, while others are aiming to visit all the capitals of Europe. I would like to hear what types of experiences other people are ‘collecting’.”

Another ITN subscriber (from Iowa) wrote, “On my next trip to India, among other things, I will ‘get...


Narrow-gauge and offbeat railways

Addressing ITN subscribers, we previously printed this information request from Jack and Elizabeth Kaufman of Lake Quivira, Kansas: “We would be interested in travelers’ suggestions for scenic or unusual railroad trips.

“Traveling by rail on narrow-gauge tracks or offbeat routes can provide fascinating insights into rural communities, not to mention incredible vistas. Some tourist spots can only be reached in this way. Whether it’s a route used primarily by locals for daily transportation or something that all visitors...


The Democratic Republic of the Congo set out to vaccinate more than 800,000 children in September in order to curtail what the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling this year’s largest measles outbreak. During the current outbreak, more than 3,500 people have died of measles complications, more than have died of ebola in the country this year.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the countries of Albania, Czechia, Greece and the UK have lost their measles-free status with WHO. Countries are considered to be measles-free if there have been no endemic (native) transmissions of measles...


The July 2015 “Boarding Pass” column contained this query from Barbara Dozier of Denver, Colorado: “I was wondering if you have any information on what to do in the event of a death abroad? How do you go about returning the person to the USA or arranging for burial abroad? My husband and I are seniors in good health and we’re planning to travel to Europe. If something should happen to one or both of us, what do we need to have prior to leaving the US and what do we do in Europe? We just want to be somewhat prepared, should the occasion arise.”


Anne and Simon Lowings enjoying dinner at a ryokan in Japan.

Kip Sturdevan of Encinitas, California, wrote, “Several of our friends have taken walking tours on which the organizing companies had arranged accommodations and made sure the luggage would be moved every day to the next night’s lodging, thus allowing the walkers to carry only day packs. Each day’s hike tended to vary from 7 to 14 miles.

“I am 70 and my wife, 60, and I can’t get her to do anything too extreme, but hiking tours where you carry only day packs and spend the evening in comfort sound attractive. We would like to hear from anyone who has...

Top Ten

An article by Contributing Editor Randy Keck, “Building Your Travel Bucket List” (Jan. ’17, pg. 56), generated the following project. We asked ITN subscribers (March ’17, pg. 15) to each send in two lists of international destinations, excluding locations in Europe (which are so popular among travelers) and in the United States (which ITN does not cover).

One list was to include the Top 10 destinations that they had visited and would recommend for newer/beginning international travelers. On the second, they were to list their own Top 10 favorite travel...