Boarding Pass

By David Tykol

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 370th issue of your monthly overseas travel magazine.

January 2007 is when new rules would have gone into effect requiring all cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda or Canada to show a passport, but that deadline has been pushed back to June 1, 2009, by legislators, who inserted a provision into a Homeland Security Department appropriations bill.

The requirement on having a passport for a land border crossing, which was to have taken effect in 2008, has also been postponed.

Air passengers, however, are still expected to show their passports for all foreign travel.

Q. What was the first film to show a flushing toilet?*

That’s a sample question asked of AQA, which stands for Any Question Answered (, a text service available in England and Ireland to which any question can be submitted using the text messaging feature on mobile phones. The answer is texted directly back to the phone within minutes.

Recently, Virgin Atlantic Airways began offering the service on board, internationally, through its in-flight entertainment system. Passengers can send questions and receive answers via their seat-back TV screens.

AQA is a privately owned company that has over 500 researchers working from home answering questions 24 hours a day.

The very first question asked of AQA was “What’s the population of London?”

Oh, and to end the suspense. . .

*A. The debut of the flushing toilet on the silver screen came in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic “Psycho.”

This issue of ITN includes several items on driving, so I thought I’d share a few warnings and guidelines recently provided by the German National Tourist Office for people planning to drive on the Autobahn:

  • Some stretches of the Autobahn have speed limits.
  • The right lane must be used when it is free (clear), and overtaking on the right is forbidden.
  • Do not flash your headlights or left turn signal at a car moving slowly in front of you.
  • Children under 13 are not allowed in the front seat of any vehicle with a back seat.
  • Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere.
  • There is no turn on red!

Mike Thiel, founder of Hideaways International (, adds one more tip: “Check the spare tire when renting a car. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of nowhere, getting a flat and realizing there’s no spare — or that it’s flat.”

Wayne Smith of Poway, California, wrote, “I frequently travel, taking tours, cruises, etc., and often am asked for tour information. I almost always point to and recommend ITN. Many of the large cruise ships have small libraries. I always take along some older issues of ITN and ‘dump them off’ in these libraries. It is surprising, considering all of the shipboard activities, how quickly these magazines are ‘snapped up’ by passengers.”

Mrs. George Curry of Upland, California, wrote, “I share your wonderful publication at my local bookstore, and here’s a list of some interested people who would love a sample copy.”

Don Searles of San Diego, California, wrote, “We took an Overseas Adventure Travel tour of Guatemala and Costa Rica earlier this year — great trip! We had 15 people in our group, and when I circulated a copy of ITN and a piece of paper around our van, everyone signed up for a complimentary copy, even our guide. If this is selling, it’s an easy job.”

ITN will send a sample copy of the next-printed issue to each of your traveling friends. Just send us their names and addresses. Better yet, buy someone a year’s subscription. It’s only $24 — cheaper than taking someone to a movie and much more useful! — David Tykol, Editor