Dear Globetrotter: Welcome to the 348th issue of your monthly overseas travel magazine.

In a conference in Geneva in November, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) committed to four initiatives to simplify the airline business and cut costs.

Implement 100% electronic ticketing by Dec. 31, 2007 — no more paper tickets. Implement “bar codes” on boarding passes to replace magnetic stripe technology. Implement Common Use Self Service (CUSS) kiosks at airports for check... CONTINUE READING »

Island paradise or hell on Earth? Three New Zealand judges apparently took the latter view as they sentenced six of Pitcairn island’s few male inhabitants to two to six years in prison for numerous rapes and assaults that took place over a 40-year period on the last remnant of the British empire in the South Pacific.

Pitcairn is the resting place of the famous H.M.S. Bounty, which was burned and sunk there by mutineers in 1790. The tiny island, only 2½ by 1½ miles, is...


—by Chris Springer, Contributing Editor

“Crete” by Barry Unsworth (2004, National Geographic. ISBN 0792266439 — 170 pp., $20 hardcover).

Crete has never wanted for literary attention, but this book is a welcome addition to the library of works on the place. After writing a novel set in ancient Greece, Barry Unsworth sets off to explore Crete firsthand. The storyteller in him is enchanted by the island’s myths, which, he says, “have a darkness and splendor about them that is...


Is its prevention worse than the disease?

This theme has run wild lately with regard to malaria, and it is time to set the record straight. Let’s look at the facts and calm the excitement with some common sense.

To understand why we need protection against malaria, let’s understand what we are fighting. Malaria is a potentially fatal disease spread by mosquito bites. It’s found through much of the world but primarily in the tropics. It infects 300 million to 550 million people...


It was raining when we left Amsterdam on our way to France in May 2003. I put the car on autopilot and drove south until the sun came out.

We found ourselves in Satillieu, a typical small town in the French Ardèche.

We checked in at the 2-star Chaleat Sapet (Place de la Faurie, 07290, Satillieu, France; phone 011 33 4 75 34 95 42, fax 011 33 4 75 69 91 13, e-mail or visit, situated on the Place de la Faurie, an attractive, quiet square...


—Timeless Roads of the Mideast and Mediterranean is written by Ed Kinney.

(Part 5 of 6 on Spain)

Continuing on our April ’04 photographers’ tour, entitled “Spanish Explorer,” the eight of us left the mountainous city of Cuenca and drove to Toledo through the La Mancha area of Spain.

These austere plains, with occasional windmills, were highlighted in a novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, perhaps Spain’s most renowned writer. In 1605, Cervantes published the first of...


Periodically, in future I plan to do “Under the Microscope” columns which will examine in detail various terms and aspects of tours and touring.

This first column will take a close look at advertised tour departure dates listed by tour and other travel operators. When the departure dates are attached to group tour products as compared to individual tours, examination is recommended for the careful, prudent traveler.

When a travel company advertises a departure date...


Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 347th issue of your monthly overseas travel magazine.

An ITN reader and her husband, senior travelers who had some difficulty walking, were on a 16-day river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest in September-October ’03. This was a special trip for them, and they had booked the highest-grade cabin on board and upgraded to business class for their overseas flights.

Three days in, they were informed by the cruise-tour operator that the water...