Travelers' Intercom

My traveling companion, Judy, and I visited New Zealand in January 2019 on a tour with Tauck (Wilton, CT; 800/788-7885,, which had a wonderful itinerary, covering primarily the Queenstown and Wellington areas. It was a great experience. However, we wanted to see more of the North Island, so we made arrangements for a private tour.

On ITN’s Tours page, we read about AROHA New Zealand Tours (539C Key Road, RD1, Kinleith, Tokoroa 3491, New Zealand; phone +64 21...

One of the gardens at the Ourika Garden Mountain Villa — Morocco. Photo by Stephen Addison

Morocco’s scenic Ourika Valley — by the High Atlas Mountains — is popular for city-getaway trips from Marrakesh, 50 kilometers away, an hour’s drive. There are a number of lodgings and restaurants scattered throughout the area, but finding high-quality lodgings and dining is challenging.

One of the finest restaurants in the region is at Ourika Garden Mountain Villa (Ourika Valley, Aghbalou, Morocco; phone +212 [0] 6 70 72 17 06,, a...


In the mid-’90s, Russian friends invited me to Moscow to see some of their old slides from travels in southwestern Russia. On the wall of their living room, they showed slides of parts of the North Caucasus, specifically, Chechnya and Dagestan.

Their photos revealed beautiful, forbidding, majestic landscapes, and I was enthralled. I was working in Moscow at the time and didn’t think I would ever see these places, as a war had engulfed the area (and would again in the early...


At the end of a South Pacific cruise with Ponant, my wife and I stayed the day at the Tahiti Airport Motel (Faa’a, Tahiti; phone +689 40 50 40 00, on March 19, 2019.

Booked online, our room was a deal at $118 for the afternoon and evening (no cancellation allowed). We checked in at around 2 p.m. and had a place we could spend the day and take a nap until leaving for our 11:59 p.m. flight to Los Angeles.

An overnight stay there would have cost $172...


After picking up a car in Munich, Germany, in late October 2018, we drove to northern Italy for a 10-day stay. While in Trieste for four days and in Cividale del Friuli (an hour’s drive away) for two, we successfully used our US handicap-parking placard without any problem, which was quite convenient. It also was thrifty, because handicap parking places were free of charge.

We wanted to inform ITN readers about a website for mobility impaired motorists:


I want to share with ITN readers how I save on ATM fees.

First of all, I never use a currency-exchange desk — either at the airport or in the city — because of the unfavorable exchange rate and fees. Besides, ATMs are ubiquitous.

I always travel with two debit cards that do not incur a foreign transaction fee (FTF): a Charles Schwab Visa debit card and a Fidelity Cash Management Visa debit card. There are a lot of other banks that offer no-FTF debit cards nowadays...


In the letter “Tips on Booking Hotels and on Insurance” (March ’19, pg. 14), a subscriber wrote, regarding travel insurance, “I used to purchase insurance on every air ticket; the airlines made it so convenient. Then one day I realized that I rarely cancel or change flights, so I would only be on the hook for the amount of the cancellation penalty that the airline would charge. The rest of the value would be available to me as a credit toward a future flight. Now I...


My husband’s cousin, Diana, and I had scheduled a trip to Paris and Amsterdam with Tripmasters (Rockville, MD; 800/430-0484, We had purchased travel insurance through Allianz Global Assistance, which Tripmasters had recommended; we chose the Horizon Plan.

Our arrangements cost us each $1,123.57 plus $73.13 for the insurance. This covered airfare from Columbus, Ohio, to Paris on Delta Air Lines; four nights in a superior twin room at a 3-star hotel in Paris...