Which Countries Did You Visit in 2010

By Armond Noble
This item appears on page 85 of the February 2011 issue.

The ITN game currently in play is “Which Countries Did You Visit in 2010?” There will be a bevy of prizes for the lucky selectees. E-mail your entry to ArmondNoble@yahoo.com or write to Country Game, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818-1940. Be sure to include your name and ZIP code. Don’t be tardy; deadline is February 28, 2011.

We’ll also be offering prizes for the winners of our next essay contest. In 300 words or fewer, write on “I Prefer Paris.” The deadline for that is March 31. Also include the address at which you receive ITN. You can find the essays and winners of the previous contest, “I Love London,” in this issue on page 48.

Our travel award certificates have proved to be immensely popular. Some readers have almost a wall-full of them. So here is a brand-new one. It’s the “I Traveled” award. It’s for those who have been to Ireland, Italy, Israel, India and Indonesia, thus being exposed to the cultures of Northern Europe, Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia and Southeast Asia.

The cost is $7 and the certificate will look nice in a frame. Soon we’ll have an award for having visited at least 10 of the 12 countries in the Caribbean. Each certificate has the recipient’s name on it. Just like a diploma. Which, in some ways, it is.

Just mentioned was the Mediterranean. Reminding me that there is a terrific little country there that doesn’t get the number of travelers it truly deserves. And that is Cyprus. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

For those who have recently joined up with ITN, I’d like to point out some sharp contrasts between this magazine and other publications in the travel field.

One is that our feature destination articles are not written by “travel writers” for pay. Instead, they’re written by travelers who are writing from the heart and not through necessity. They believe in sharing the good — and the bad.

Speaking of the bad, no other publication is printing the travails encountered in foreign lands like ITN is. These warnings are intended to protect you by helping you avoid the misfortunes suffered by others. We should all be thankful that there are those who are willing to recount their unpleasant experiences in order to benefit others. The key word for ITN readers is “sharing.”

Other magazines will run one color photograph spread over two pages. While there are those who think that such is truly very “elegant,” we would rather use the space to (as we did in last month’s issue) inform travelers about the necessity of having a “vignette” (road tax permit) when driving in Slovenia, without which one faces a $400 fine. (That warning came courtesy of Allan Lonnberg of Aptos, CA, who had to pay a fine.) That’s the kind of data I just don’t see in any other travel magazine. We’re looking out for you.

Now, my annual appeal. Please, when considering which companies to book your travel with, give your first thought to advertisers found in ITN. No, that isn’t as chauvinist as it might first appear. Here’s my logic.

Last year I sent an issue of ITN to about 1,000 companies in the travel industry, inviting them to advertise. I may be biased, but when someone who is trying to sell travel to travelers doesn’t get excited about ITN, I wonder if they have a pulse. This lack of enthusiasm, I believe, also may reflect on the travel products they offer.

Please give first thought to the companies that you’ve been seeing on our pages. Many of them have been with us for a decade or longer.

Don’t forget: we like to hear from you. And next month, due to the response, in this column you’ll read some photography tips we hope you’ll find useful.