Travelers' Intercom

For our May 2019 trip to Azerbaijan, my wife and I booked Elnur Babayev as our driver/guide. We found him on TripAdvisor and contacted him through his website,

The booking processes went smoothly, with Elnur communicating promptly by email in good English, and we soon had our itinerary set for Azerbaijan. We paid $950 for a 4-day tour, including hotels with breakfast.

My wife and I flew to Baku, and Elnur (who also goes by the nickname Elba) was waiting for us at...


My wife and I took a private tour of the Balkan countries with Bulgarian guide Martin Semerdjiev ( We selected him after seeing a reader’s report in ITN (Dec. ’18, pg. 36). It was a bit of a risk to sign on to spending 24 days with one person, but we were very pleased with the result.

Starting and ending in Sofia, Bulgaria, we did a loop, going to Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Romania. Martin planned where we would...

An egret escort on the Amazon. Photos by Rosemary McDaniel

If you’re crazy about wildlife, enjoy small-group travel, are reasonably mobile and want to learn about unique cultures, the “Amazon Riverboat Adventure in Depth” cruise is for you. I took this cruise in Peru, June 30-July 8, 2018, with G Adventures (Toronto, Canada; 888/800-4100,

Sharing accommodations, I paid $1,662, which included two internal flights, two nights in a hotel in Lima, two bus rides from Iquitos airport to Nauta and back, six...

Castel Fragsburg is nestled in the Italian Dolomites. Photos by Beth Habian

Since I was going to be in Italy for a tour of Tuscany in early May 2019 (Aug. ’19, pg. 6), I decided to stay on to spend time with my friend Maria Rizziello.

I met Maria in 1999 when I traveled with her company, Treasures of Italy (Asti, Italy; email or visit, to celebrate my 30th birthday. I was then invited to travel with the company as a representative of ITN twice in the years that followed (Jan. ’09, pg...

Thali plate. Photos by Inga Aksamit

India is a huge country with many regional food specialties. Prior to a month-long trip in India that my husband and I took late in 2017 (Nov. ’19, pg. 30), I had eaten at Indian restaurants in the US but always got the same few dishes. On our trip, I began learning more vocabulary about various ingredients and types of preparation.

I admit that the following guide is oversimplified, and it’s a mishmash of terms from the regions we traveled (we did not go to the south nor...

Lake Masek Tented Lodge. Photos by Jerry Vetowich

Tanzania was not even on my 3-year future bucket list, but when I received an announcement on Dec. 20, 2017, from Galapagos Travel (Aptos, CA; 800/969-9014, that they’d be offering a trip there, my husband, Jerry, and I took only minutes to decide to join it. We signed up by New Year’s Day for the Nov. 7-24, 2018, trip.

We had been on five previous Galapagos Travel tours, to the Galápagos (June ’04, pg. 66), Antarctica (Jan. ’08, pg. 72...


During the summer of 2018, I discovered the TIMESHIFTER app, which creates plans to lessen jet lag based on your sleep pattern, chronotype and flight itinerary. TIMESHIFTER is a science-based circadian algorithm app developed with a Harvard Medical School professor who works with astronauts and Formula 1 drivers.

I decided to download it and give it a try.

My November trip to Myanmar for the hot-air balloon festival would be perfect to test the app. After selecting the...

Aardwolf in its den near Splash Camp. Photos by Cynthia Kennett

While researching safari destinations in early 2018, my husband and I read Paula Adams’ article about her custom Botswana safari (April ’18, pg. 33) and decided that was what we were looking for.

Based on her recommendation, we worked with Roger Turski at Safari Lifestyles (Maun, Botswana; phone +267 7606 1186,

We, too, highly recommend him. He responded promptly to emails and planned a safari suited for us.

Our total cost for a 10-day...