Travelers' Intercom

In January 2019, my wife and I booked a flight from Minneapolis to Portland, Oregon, on Delta Air Lines, the first leg of a June 2019 trip to South Korea, but we got our signals crossed and double-booked — a goofy first for us — so we had to cancel two of the tickets. They were nonrefundable economy-class tickets for $310.40 each.

The usual online flight-cancellation routine levied a $200 fee for each ticket and offered a future travel voucher for the balance, just $220...

Fyllis Hockman fashioning perfume at Tijon Parfumerie — Saint-Martin. Photo by Victor Block

People who travel to the French/Dutch Caribbean island of St. Martin and spend all of their time on the beautiful beaches or shopping for bargains are missing a below-the-radar attraction.

For a trip that my husband, Victor, and I took in December 2019, I looked online for things to see and do and found that, on the French side of the island, visitors to the Tijon Parfumerie (1 L’Esperance Grand-Case MF 97150, Route de l’Espérance, Grand-Case, Saint-Martin;

Children running toward us as we passed a school in Baranagar. Photos by Stephen Addison

For those of you planning your first trip to India, this report provides supplemental advice based upon experiences my wife, Paula Owens, and I had on our trip. We don’t usually take tours, but India is a challenging place to visit on your own, so we ended up traveling there with Uniworld (Los Angeles, CA; 800/349-7397,, Nov. 21-Dec. 3, 2019.

These tips cover topics that were either not addressed or, more commonly, did not receive sufficient emphasis in the...

Typical monigotes in Puerto Villamil. Photo by Rod Smith

There are only so many New Year’s Eves we get to experience in our lives. One of the most memorable for my wife, Karen, and me was on Dec. 31, 2019, in the town of Puerto Villamil on the Galápagos island of Isabela.

December 31 started out with various organizations and vendors gathering on the main square, where a large stage had been set up at the end of the dirt street. In the afternoon there were two soccer games, the first with young males, then one played by females.


My wife and I were about to take our first trip with Odysseys Unlimited (Newton, MA; 888/370-6765,, and on Dec. 26, 2019, we made a deposit on the tour “Norwegian Splendor,” starting on May 17, 2020, to visit Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Then we discovered their very rigid air policy. For one thing, we could not book a day-early arrival at our first stop before the main tour due to, as they claimed, “our airline contracts.”



I took the cruise “Inspiring Italy” with Oceania Cruises (855/335-2416,, Aug 6-16, 2019. Including air in Premium Coach (Miami-Venice and Nice-Miami, each via London) and travel insurance, I paid $8,621, booking through an AAA travel agent. The fare I paid entitled me to three shore excursions of my choosing; any others, I paid for.

Arriving in Venice, I was transferred to the MS Sirena. I had been to Venice five times and was looking for something...

Stephen, Madeleine and Vera with orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesia. Photos by Stephen Dem

In October 2013, in Westways Magazine (an AAA publication), I read a brief article by travel writers John and Sally MacDonald that chronicled their travels with their seven grandchildren after they had granted each of them a Dream Trip.

I began to think about my own travels. I had traveled to 50-plus countries, and my wanderlust had started when I was very young. At 19, I hitchhiked halfway around the world. After getting married, I convinced my wife, Vera, that we should sell our...

A 13-year-old Connor Harrison with 100-plus-year-old tortoises — Galápagos Islands. Photo by Nancy Kerr

My husband and I, along with our daughter and our 13-year-old nature-loving grandson, toured the Galápagos Islands, Dec. 22-29, 2019, using Galapagos Alternative (Galápagos Islands; phone, in the US [Florida], 352/316-8348,

We first contacted the company in mid-April 2019. We found them through a Google search, and they were, by far, the most responsive, in a personal way, of the companies we contacted. Javier Moreno and his wife, Jill, have...