Travelers' Intercom

Google Maps’ GPS (at the very bottom, it says “297 km 11:46 AM”) versus the car’s GPS (“Arrival 11:58, 299km”). Photo by Joe Whitehouse

After returning from our second driving trip in Japan (July 2-12, 2018), my wife, Arnette, and I wanted to share some tips that could be useful to others who would like to see this beautiful country by car.

Driving in Japan is not difficult for several reasons.

• Highway signs are in both Japanese AND English, and routes are well marked.

• We found the locals to be very helpful when we asked for assistance.

• Nearly all the rental cars have GPS,...

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Upon arriving at Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) in Oranjestad, Aruba, in March 2018, I was impressed with how well the process worked. Not so with our departure. We were advised to arrive three hours before our flight time, and we did. We just didn't expect the process to actually take 2½ hours or to be so exhausting.

There was one place before the line made it into the terminal, itself, where there was a handful of chairs, but beyond that there was no place to...

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Our first stop for sampling wine, cheese and meats. Photo by Norman Dailey

When my wife, Susan, and I travel to a new city, we have certain "go to" ways to find the best way to see local sights. In no particular order, we might go on a free walking tour, take the hop-on/hop-off bus, search the Web for guides or use ToursByLocals (toursbylocals.com) or Viator Private Tour Guides (tourguides.viator.com) to hire a private guide or book a day tour. (We generally avoid group tours.)

For a trip in July 2018, we used ToursByLocals to book four tours in...

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My husband and I went on a trip called "The Baltic Capitals & St. Petersburg" with Overseas Adventure Travel, or OAT (Cambridge, MA; 800/955-1925, www.oattravel.com), Oct. 2-17, 2017.

Although the pace was rather hectic, with us sometimes not stopping for lunch until after 1 p.m., with touring until dinnertime (often at 8 p.m.), we loved the trip for its variety, its mix of city and country and its organization. I think a lot [of our enjoyment] had to do with the guide....

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Panorama of the walled city of Mdina. Photos by Theodore Liebersfeld

My first trip to Malta was in 1985. My revisit in May 2017, after a lapse of over 30 years, made me wonder how I could have forgotten about the picturesque scenery, varied topography and fascinating history.

Via Expedia.com, I booked four nights in Sliema at The Victoria Hotel (Gorg Borg Olivier St., Sliema; victoriahotel.com) for $114 per night.

Sliema is a small, lively city located just across Marsamxett Harbour from Valletta, Malta's capital. The handy ferry to...

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Combining spectacular scenery with historic sites, "Classic Germany" is a 15-day tour offered by Odysseys Unlimited (Newton, MA; 888/370-6765, odysseys-unlimited.com).

For the tour (including single supplement), insurance and airfare (Miami-Frankfurt and Berlin-Miami), the cost came to $7,016. I left Miami on July 12, 2017, and returned July 26.

Our tour took in the Rhine, the Black Forest and the Bavarian Alps. In my mind is a collage of sights.

I remember...

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I loved all three of the countries that a friend and her daughter and I visited in June 2018: Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania.

For Bulgaria, we got connected with a fantastic guide, Martin Semerdjiev (phone +359 883372115, martinert@yahoo.com). I had contacted a guide in Bulgaria whom I learned about through ITN, Patrick Peneff, but he was booked, so he sent me Martin's name.

For $300 for all three of us, we used Martin's services for two days. We paid him when we got to...

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Abdellah (center front, in hat and vest) in Meknes' Sunday market. Photo by Stephen Addison

If you are planning to visit Morocco and are interested in visiting synagogues, cemeteries and other sites important to the history and heritage of Judaism there, consider choosing Abdellah El Harras (phone +212 666 946 043, elharrasabdellah@yahoo.fr) as your guide*.

In May 2018, my wife, Paula Owens, and I took a customized tour of Morocco arranged through Marrakesh Voyage (Livingston Manor, NY; 212/925-6151,

marrakesh-voyage.com), and Abdellah was assigned to be our guide...

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