Travelers' Intercom

I have a Merrill Lynch BankAmericard (Bank of America) credit card* on which I earn points. The card's brochure promises you can get a ticket for a round-trip flight costing up to $500 in exchange for a minimum of 25,000 points.

In January 2018, I attempted to exchange 50,000 points for two round-trip domestic tickets for my wife and myself. However, the Bank of America agent and her supervisor refused to reserve regular Economy-class seats for me on American Airlines (AA), even...


My wife, Karen, and I needed Russian visas in order to take the tour "Waterways of the Tsars," traveling from St. Petersburg to Moscow with Viking River Cruises (Woodland Hills, CA; 855/338-4546,, June 1-13, 2018.

To obtain our visas, we completed the form provided by Viking and asked them to send us the Invitation Letter that the Russian Embassy requires for a visa. Viking first replied that they wouldn't do this until a certain number of days...


My husband, Jack, and I took a vacation to Russia, June 26-July 7, 2018, traveling on a 12-day river cruise offered by Value World Tours (Fountain Valley, CA; 800/795-1633, We had a fabulous experience both on and off the ship.

As for the cabins on the M/S Sergei Yesenin, only six suites were available on the sun deck, but they were brand new and well appointed. The pricing was great compared to that of other companies. We paid about $5,500 for two in an...

Marilyn Armel at the entrance to the amphitheater at Beit She’arim.

In the fall of 2016, I realized I wanted to visit Israel after seeing a Jerusalem exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I had previously traveled on a trip for which the Archaeological Institute of America (Boston, MA; 857/305-9350, had been a cosponsor, so I found their site.

Their trip "Israel: Treasures of the Holy Land," which took place May 11-22, 2017, was everything I wanted — a small group (14 people) accompanied by a...


While in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sept. 27, 2017, the group I was traveling with stopped by the tourism information office in the Old Town. As that day happened to be World Tourism Day, we were told to draw a ticket from a box and were given a prize: free tickets to an Old Town walking tour. Our guide was wonderful!

Visitors met at 4 p.m. in front of the Vilnius Cathedral and were split into two groups. Seven of us (three friends, three college students from Latvia and I) joined Sigitas...

Entrance to the Imperial Hotel — Museum Meiji-mura, Inuyama, Japan. Photo by Jane B. Holt

On a day trip from Nagoya during our March-April 2016 sakura (cherry blossom) trip to Japan, my husband, Clyde, and I headed to Inuyama and its open-air architectural Museum Meiji-mura ( Our target was Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel.

The museum site encompasses 60 cultural properties that were saved from planned demolition and reconstructed in a lovely, 250-acre setting. The structures date from 1867 to 1989 — the Meiji, Taisho and Shōwa...

The <i>Shakti</i> in a lagoon in Raja Ampat. Photo by Donna DeGaetani

Lying in the Pacific Ocean's Coral Triangle, the Raja Ampat archipelago, in West Papua, Indonesia, is among the places with the world's richest diversity of corals and fish. A 2001 survey in association with Conservation International recorded 450 species of hard corals and more than 950 species of reef fish.

As an avid snorkeler, I was attracted to the biological diversity and remoteness of the islands' waters, so I enrolled for a 12-day, May 2018 live-aboard excursion...


When taking a trip with multiple destinations, my wife, Patti, and I want any lost luggage to find us in the destination country.

For example, we flew to Lima, Peru, in May 2015 and inserted our names along with our hotel name and address into our luggage tags. From Lima to Cuzco, we inserted the name of a new hotel, and the same for our flight to La Paz and the trip back home. This way, if our luggage was lost, it was more likely to be delivered to our destination hotel.