Treat yourself to a picnic in a park with a view — and make friends with the locals while you eat. Photos by Rick Steves

Although we’ve had to postpone trips to Europe due to the pandemic, I believe an occasional dose of travel dreaming can be good medicine. The following is about one of my favorite European activities — a tasty reminder of what’s waiting for you at the other end of this crisis.

As a budget traveler, there’s no better experience than a picnic sourced from a local market and then eaten outdoors with a lively square, peaceful park or rejuvenated harborfront as a backdrop. Picnicking is simply the best way to enjoy Europe’s edible specialties...

An open-air market with the Baroque backdrop of the Church of Saint Francis Xavier — Palermo, Sicily, Italy.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 533rd issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine.

Over the decades that ITN has been in publication, covering destinations outside of the United States and its territories, occasionally a subscriber has requested that this magazine cover domestic travel as well. In responding, I have always gone back to what ITN’s founder and original publisher, the late Armond Noble, originally had in mind, noting the amazing benefits that have resulted.

What Armond saw a need for was a travel magazine that would print articles and letters...


Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 533rd issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine, keeping the celebration of travel going while we’re waiting for the coronavirus-imposed worldwide shutdown to be lifted.

Subscribers offered mixed reactions to our publishing the May issue online only, something which we could not avoid under the circumstances, as I explained last month. 

One subscriber wrote, “Yuk! Not happy.”

Another, “I don’t take the computer to bed with me.”

John McManus of Santa Barbara, California, wrote...


In his May ’07 “Discerning Traveler” column, Philip Wagenaar described how, when going through security checkpoints at airports, anywhere, he places on the moving belt, for inspection, his quart-sized zip-lock see-through baggie with sundries in it, each of the sundry containers capable of holding no more than three ounces of liquid or gel, of course. Next to that, again for the inspectors to see, he places a 4-ounce bottle of contact lens solution.

He explained that the Transportation Security Administration website,, under the heading “Travelers...


by Philip Wagenaar, Contributing Editor

I heaved a sigh of relief. I had just filed our income tax return. It was March 2, 2003. Now I could fully enjoy our cruise, which left on March 10. I only had to make sure that the IRS would receive my payment by the April 15 deadline.

I figured I had two options. I could either send the tax due before we departed on our cruise and lose more than a month’s interest or I could ask our daughter to mail the check on April 14. However, if she forgot, I would be hit with a big penalty.

Fortunately, the EFTPS (Electronic Federal...

Château de Chenonceau, built between 1513 and 1517 in France’s Loire Valley, became a royal estate of King Francis I as part of a debt settlement in 1535.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 532nd issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine, back in print form after doing an online-only issue last month. Crazy times, right?

We sent out email notifications about that to our subscribers for whom we had current email addresses (our first mass emailing ever). I’m sorry we were not able to send notices to the rest of you. Here’s most of the text of the message we sent:

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the May 2020 issue of International Travel News will not be in its usual printed format. Instead of mailing...

It’s easy to find Wi-Fi at cafés, transit hubs, tourist offices and public squares throughout Europe. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

When I took my first solo trip to Europe in 1973, I must have kept my parents on the edge of their seats.

The day after my high school graduation, I headed to the airport accompanied only by a good friend, a rucksack and a youthful sense of adventure. Throughout the months-long trip, the only way of communicating with my folks back home was through postcards, since paying for international calls was beyond my Europe-through-the-gutter budget. Still, I managed to send a postcard covered in cramped writing nearly every day.

These days, traveling with a smartphone or tablet...


Last month, I presented the first batch of the On-the-Road Travel Tips (and my own comments, where appropriate) from readers responding to a request in my January 2020 column. In the spirit of continued sharing of travel wisdom, I invite you to keep them coming.

Applying to anything that makes your travel experience work better for you while actually traveling, your travel tip (in 125 words or fewer) can involve luggage, clothing, electronic devices, transportation, accommodation, dining, etc. See my email or address at the end of this column.

Nili Olay (Naples, FL) —...