Travelers' Intercom

Many travelers recommend purchasing a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) when traveling to Japan. A good deal, the JR Pass allows unlimited travel on JR trains, any shinkansen (bullet train) and some JR bus lines, but if your trip does not involve much long-distance traveling by bullet train or you will be staying in particular regions, the JR pass may not be the best option. My wife and I have found a cheaper and more convenient way of traveling in Japanese cities and towns.

Unlike cities in...

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<i>Topinambaux</i> (Jerusalem artichokes) and other winter vegetables — Paris. Photos by Kitty Chen Dean

Like everyone else, my husband, Richard, and I have vacationed in Paris in warm weather, but after one trip some years ago and another Feb. 7-27, 2020, we became convinced that winter is a better time to visit. It can be chilly but not as cold as New York, and it can be rainy but only intermittently.

First, fewer tourists are about. The queues in front of the Louvre are shorter, and at opening time they’re hardly existent. Montmartre and the Place du Tertre aren’t crowded...

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On trails from the Seceda lift station, refugios offer hikers food and drink. Photos by Ann Cabot

The chalk-white ridges of the Dolomites in northern Italy provide accessible high-altitude hiking for people of all ages and abilities. This unique part of the Alps is composed of uplifted ancient coral reefs.

Alpine meadows adjoining the massive peaks put the hiker at eye level with cloud-capped mountaintops, so I was excited to be able to hike these high peaks by myself at age 75. I borrowed hiking poles and set off in mid-September 2019. I chose September to avoid the high tourist...

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I often read something in an issue of ITN, then cut it out and save it in a folder pertaining to that location. My New Zealand folder had collected several articles, and it came in handy when, on the spur of the moment in December 2019, I booked a 15-night cruise around New Zealand with Azamara Cruises (Miami, FL; 888/532-5828, www.azamara.com) for Feb. 23-March 9, 2020.

Including a 150% single supplement, I paid $6,148 for a partially obstructed cabin. Airfare, booked through Azamara...

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Aboard Oceania Cruises’ MS Insignia, which was docked in New York City, my husband, Michael, and I were halfway through a September 2019, 17-day Canada and New England cruise when he began to have trouble walking. His right leg was swollen, and he was running a fever.

The ship’s medical team summoned an ambulance, we were taken to a hospital in the city, and Michael was put under observation. I returned to the ship at around 2:30 a.m.

After getting a little sleep,...

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Melk Abbey in Melk, Austria. Photos by Robert Siebert

I took a 14-day cruise from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Budapest, Hungary, aboard the ms Treasures, a riverboat in the Tauck (Wilton, CT; 800/788-7885, www.tauck.com) fleet of vessels.

The price of my August 2019 journey was $7,590, which included all meals, beverages (including alcoholic), sightseeing and gratuities. I had a Category 1 cabin, which didn’t require me to pay a single supplement.

In Amsterdam, our Tauck group took a tour of the Rijksmuseum. Only part of...

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A tribesman at the Tumbuna Sing Sing — Mt. Hagen, Papua New Guinea. Photo by Sandy Fassett

The year was 2005, and one of the trips my husband, Larry, and I had on our bucket list was Papua New Guinea. Shortly after seeing an advertisement in ITN promoting tourism to PNG, we wrote to the address given. The agent Greg Stathakis responded immediately with all the information we requested, and he was always available for further questions.

Due to out-of-state college tuition bills, a wedding, grandkids arriving and a few health issues, that dream trip was put on hold for...

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Tour members sipping wine on the terrace of a room in the Tivoli Sintra Hotel in October 2019 — Portugal. Photos by Jean Moss

What is it about this funky little black-and-white magazine that makes people love it so much? Well, a lot! Perhaps the story leading to my personal discovery of ITN will explain what attracted me.

To go way back, after majoring in French in college in Maine, I spent a year at the Université de Caen in Normandy, France, graduating in 1973 without a clue about what to do with French besides teach, which I did not think was right for me.

What I really wanted to do was go back and...

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