Boarding Pass

By David Tykol

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 340th issue of your monthly overseas travel magazine.

ITN reader Margo Spears of Reno visited the Dominican Republic in February and sent in a trip report (see page 35). She added, “We also learned of a phone scam originating in the Dominican Republic, which we verified after we got home.

“In the scam, someone calls an answering machine stating that an emergency has occurred and to call an 809 number immediately. It turns out to be a Dominican Republic pay-per-call number that charges fees of several dollars per minute. The victim has to pay because he initiated the call. It would be wise to be sure the number is legitimate before calling.”

And that’s just what AT&T recommends. If you cannot verify where you are calling, disregard the call. This 809 scam has actually been around a few years, though how badly victims have been bitten has become something of an urban legend. Visit for details.

Thanks for sharing the warning with us, Margo.

You’ll notice a new Contributing Editor in the back of the magazine this month. Chris Springer will be checking out newly published travel books and telling us which ones are worth reading.

Chris lived in Budapest, Hungary, for more than 12 years, where he edited city guides to Budapest and to Tirana, Albania. He also traveled to most of the former communist-bloc nations. Most recently, he wrote a guidebook on Pyongyang, North Korea. We look forward to his contributions.

Although the “Book Drawing” box hasn’t appeared lately, we will in future issues continue to offer new guidebooks to ITN readers to review. Watch for that.

We’re also making a change regarding ITN Report Cards.

So many of you responded when we asked for tips on Internet cafés overseas (October ’03 through January ’04 issues) that something occurred to us. Many of you could shoot off ITN Report Cards by e-mail in the midst of your travels overseas and we could post them immediately right on our website — your up-to-the-minute travel discoveries and trip tips for all to see.

We can then take them right from the website and print them in the next issue — “fresher” reports all the way around.

So from now on, e-mail your mid-trip reports directly to our Website Manager, Beth Habian, at (please include your surface-mail address) or access the online form.

Of course, we’ll continue to provide the ITN Report Cards that you can mail back from overseas. To get eight of them, all you have to do is, before your trip, send a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to ITN Report Cards, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818.

Keep ‘em short. Keep ‘em pithy. Keep ‘em coming. (And don’t forget prices.)

In the back of each issue along with Report Cards you’ll find ITN’s “Person to Person” section where readers can solicit personal responses to travel queries. Problem is we’ve had a couple of letters from readers who tried to respond to questions but found that their e-mails wouldn’t go through.

If we’re posting a question of yours and you’re asking readers to respond via e-mail, remember that they cannot send you answers if you restrict your incoming messages to a specific list of senders.

Just keep that in mind.

Carol Vorchheimer of Philadelphia is not the only one to request more information from readers on the subject of travel opportunities for the mobility impaired. She wrote, “Articles on travel that is accessible to the handicapped would be greatly appreciated. Cruises tend to be quite suitable aboard ship, but shore excursions for people who have trouble walking can be problematic. Are there companies that rent motorized scooters to travelers overseas?

“What companies specialize in handicapped-accessible travel? What destinations exist that are interesting but on fairly level ground? Which cities/countries overseas are able to cater to travelers with disabilities? Are there some where public transportation can be accessed via escalators or elevators? (Paris isn’t one of them!) Hope someone can help.”

If you can chip in even one tip, it’s likely it won’t just be Carol who appreciates it.

Betty Goff C. Cartwright of Memphis is making a generous offer. She wrote, “I’m planning to move into a retirement home and must compress my possessions. That includes giving away 10 years’ issues of ITN. The collection is complete except for two issues, plus I’d like to keep the four or five in which I had letters or articles of mine printed.

“I will send the whole 10 years worth to the first person who calls me at 901/747-4708 and asks for them — and I’ll pay the shipping cost. If a reader doesn’t want them for him- or herself, perhaps there is a library that could use them. I just want them to go to someone who appreciates them.

“I love ITN and have had wonderful trips through the companies that advertise in it. As a Travelers’ Century Club member, I’ve totaled 307 of their 317 destinations. I’ve settled down to non-adventure travel now; cruises are still a great attraction, however. Many thanks to ITN for the pleasures it’s given all us travelers!”

What a thoughtful gesture. Such nice people subscribe to ITN.