Travelers' Intercom

In January 2019, my husband and I booked a Baltic Sea cruise for August on Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess. At the time of booking, we purchased travel insurance from Travelex ( Because we had purchased this insurance within two weeks of booking our cruise, the policy waived preexisting conditions.

We were so fortunate to have had this policy in place because two days prior to our departure, my husband had a medical emergency requiring hospitalization...


I thought I’d pass along a tip for travelers who depend on their iPhones, in the unfortunate case someone loses theirs.

First, on your iPhone, find the app “Find My iPhone” and activate it. If your iPhone goes missing, you can then log onto iCloud (possibly using someone else’s iPhone) and remotely track your phone and, if necessary, erase the data on it.

However, if you rarely use iCloud, you may not have your iCloud password memorized, so write it down...

Castello de Gargonza. Photo by Bill Kemp

My wife, Paula, and I took the “Village Italy in 14 Days Tour” from Rick Steves (Edmonds, WA; 425/771-8303, in May-June 2019. Counting a repeat-traveler discount and a payment-by-check discount, we paid $4,200 per person, not including airfare.

The tour emphasized food and wines, with an extensive cooking class and many wine tastings included in the price. We visited Siena and Assisi as well as smaller, out-of-the-way places in central Italy. We had a...


When traveling from city to city within Croatia, bus transportation should not be ruled out.

In August 2019, I landed in Zagreb and took the airport shuttle ($5) to the city’s main bus station, then made my way to Hotel Sliško (Ivana Bunica Vucica 7, Zagreb; phone +385 1 6184 777,, a short, 3-block walk away.

Having booked a stay there for a few nights later, I stored my large suitcase at reception, then walked back to the station with just my carry-on and...

Irkutsk’s statue of a <i>babr</i>, a mythical beast (part tiger, part beaver), portrayed on the city’s coat of arms. Photos by Ken Levine

Traveling independently across Siberia on the Trans-Siberian Railway was one of my more challenging trips. (I don’t speak Russian.) The following tips concern the train ride, itself.

I rode four different trains from Vladivostok to Moscow, Sept. 7-22, 2018. The trains’ routes, numbers, etc., were Vladivostok to Ulan-Ude (7 N, 1st class [65.5 hours]), Ulan-Ude to Irkutsk (69 Y, 2nd class [8.3 hours]), Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg (81 I, 2nd class [53.5 hours]) and Yekaterinburg...

Scene in Sochi, Russia. Photos by Len Yates

My wife, Olga, and I visited Azov, Russia (Olga’s hometown, pop. 80,000), for a couple of days, then traveled south by overnight train to the Sochi area, on the Black Sea. After five days, we took another overnight train back to Azov for four more days. For this Sept. 9-19, 2017, trip, we made all of the arrangements ourselves.

At the Rostov-on-Don International Airport, 51 kilometers from Azov, Customs processing was still just as slow, hot and uncomfortable as ever. Lines were...

Inga Aksamit and Steve Mullen at the Ellora Caves, near Aurangabad.

My husband, Steve Mullen, and I took an action-packed independent trip to India, Nov. 14-Dec. 14, 2017, taking in the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, with additional visits to Shimla, Mumbai, Goa and Aurangabad. I’d like to share some travel tips.

Steve did much of the preplanning, shaping a rough itinerary and making initial flight and lodging reservations. We found it helpful to have a contact in India, and, for travel planning and assistance, I highly recommend...


In the letter “Protecting a Bank Account from Theft” (July ’19, pg. 38), a subscriber said that, while traveling, he checks his bank balances online, not by using an unprotected Wi-Fi but using one that requires a password, such as in a hotel.

Avoiding unprotected Wi-Fi is a good idea, but no one should blindly trust a hotel’s computer network.

Different hotels’ Wi-Fi use different security methods, depending on how their networks are set up. Some...