Travelers' Intercom

During a 7-week solo trip all over Italy, I met up with a friend to take a private 4-day tour in southern Italy arranged through Puglialy (Via Abate Angelo Tambor­rino, 28, 72017 Ostuni [BR], Italy; phone +39 377 3802459,, which I found on Trip­

The cost of our Oct. 18-21, 2019, tour was €1,950 (near $2,150) for both of us, including all site admissions but not meals (except for one) or our hotel.

Prior to the tour, I had gone back and...


I biked the Danube cycle path from Donaueschingen, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary, approximately 1,260 kilometers (793 miles), in June 2018. I did this because most older people do not give themselves physical challenges, and I wanted to give myself a challenge and a reward for staying in shape. I found I was able to slowly increase my mileage as the days continued. 

During the first half of this trip (June 6-16), biking alone before meeting friends in Passau, Germany, I managed...


My wife, Sue, and I travel often, and we only use carry-ons. We each own a Briggs & Riley ( International Carry-On Expandable [$569 for 2-wheeled or $599 for 4-wheeled] and one backpack or laptop-size roller bag. 

The B&R is unique in that the handle is mounted on the outside, so the interior space is completely available for storage. 

Another great feature is that the main body of the bag expands, giving you 25% more space, if needed (...

In Shimla, the former residence of the British Viceroy of India now houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Photos by Inga Aksamit

My husband, Steve Mullen, and I traveled independently through India for a month in November-December 2017 (Nov. ’19, pg. 30). We started with the Golden Triangle, a tourist circuit taking in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. We loved it, but some of my most vivid memories are of other places we visited, including Shimla.

I think of Shimla as a spur of the Golden Triangle. From Delhi, we traveled north to Shimla, a historic town in the Himalayan foothills. Every hot, humid summer...


My husband, Bob, and I and nine friends enjoyed 12 fabulous days and 13 nights seeing France like locals, not tourists, with Julia and her father, Stephane, of Trip­­­USAFrance (Arlington, VA; 703/485-6894, During the whole tour, April 12-25, 2019, we felt like we were guests of the family while experiencing a varied and enriching itinerary. 

TripUSAFrance has a well-thought-out package for nine days of travel in the south of France described on...


My wife, Susan, and I took a group tour through the Caucasus in September 2019 and wanted to share a problem we had in Baku, Azerbaijan. 

Many local businesses indicated that they accepted Visa and Master­card, but when we went into a tourist office in Baku’s Old Town and attempted to use a credit card to book a private tour, our cards were declined; we tried two Visa cards, one from Chase Bank and one from Bank of America. Luckily, we had enough local currency to pay...


I enjoyed reading the letters from people who travel with a minimum of high-tech equipment (Sept. ’19, pg. 29). My husband and I have been using “dumb” flip phones. I do have a tablet that I use for email, since friends at home like to read my daily trip reports, plus I have my books loaded on it. But something happened on our last trip that made me rethink not having a smartphone. 

Our luggage got left at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol when we flew through to...

A canal near our Airbnb apartment in the centre of Amsterdam. Photos by Alan T. Ramsay

My wife, Thea, and I have visited Amsterdam in the Netherlands several times over the last few years, most recently in June 2019. We often get asked by friends and family for advice about visiting there, so I came up with the following notes.

Amsterdam is a great city for just “chilling” — wandering around the centre, enjoying a coffee or beer, watching people, window-shopping, etc.

Beware of bicycles. Cyclists will ring their bells and expect you to...