Travelers' Intercom

My husband and I were able to access Granada, Nicaragua, for a lovely excursion during a “Portraits of Panama” canal cruise with Oceania Cruises. On the Sirena, the cruise started in Miami and ended in Los Angeles (but did not have an actual stop in Panama), and our excursion was on Nov. 29, 2019.

A private guide, Gerald Duran (+505 896 62487 on WhatsApp, email or visit, provided the four of us with a very good tour. Our...


About to join a cruise-tour in Greece, on Oct. 1, 2019, I had lunch at a taverna on Adrianou Street in the Monastiraki area of Athens. The restaurant was in a row of similar tavernas located nearly opposite the entrance to the Ancient Agora.

When the waiter brought the bill, I gave him my USAA Federal Savings Bank Visa credit card, and he went to the back of the restaurant to process the transaction. He returned a few minutes later with a wireless card reader and tried to process the...

Joan Anderson and Tom Kilroy at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

After our 3-week home exchange in Nimes, France, in June 2019, Joan Anderson, my companion of many years, and I were reminiscing about how we got into this wonderful way of traveling.

It all started in 2004 when we attended a travel club meeting. A representative from HomeExchange (based in Paris, with an office in Cambridge, MA; gave us information about the company, its listings and the concept of house swapping.

I heard someone at the meeting say,...


The article “Travel Tips for the Less Able,” by Paula Prindle (Jan. ’20, pg. 40), was good. I will be 80 this year. I’m blind in one eye, my hearing isn’t perfect, and my knees now balk at stairs. But I still love to travel, even though I’ve lost my travel buddies! Every country has its beautiful parts that are awesome to see and good people who are worth meeting and understanding.

So that travel is more comfortable and doable, there are a number of...


In his January 2020 “Boarding Pass” column, ITN’s editor described how a subscriber’s Google search had led him to unofficial websites where he would have spent more money than necessary for a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority pass, or ETA (pgs. 55-57).

The editor’s advice on how to avoid unofficial websites was good. One of the things he mentioned was that when doing a Google search, paid ads are listed at the top of the results.

I did the...


After seeing the new requirements for a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority pass (NZeTA), I decided to just get it over with and apply for one, since I’m going there next year.

I used the link provided in the article (Jan. ’20, pgs. 55-57). After trying three (!) times to wade through the questions and never getting to the online registration, I gave up and just asked Google.

I came up with an app for the NZeTA. After I downloaded it, it took five minutes to...


A month before my 83rd birthday, I left for a 3-week solo trip in Europe. It began with a 2-week river cruise out of Budapest (Aug. 8-22, 2019) and ended with a week’s stay in Amsterdam, the terminus of the cruise.

The cruise, “Grand European Tour,” was with Viking River Cruises (Woodland Hills, CA; 855/338-4546,

Not counting my stay in Amsterdam, my total cost of $5,798 included round-trip international air from Oklahoma City, $367 for an...


Prior to embarking on a 7-country cruise in late October 2019, my wife, Patti, and I spent four days in China, and while in Shanghai, Patti discovered that she was blocked from accessing her Gmail account.

I learned from the desk clerk in the hotel we stayed at that all Google services (including Gmail, search and Maps) are blocked in mainland China, as is Yahoo.

We were able to access Google in Taipei and Hong Kong, so we used Gmail there.

I recommend obtaining an...