Travelers' Intercom

I was alone, exploring the historic Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, Korea, in 2006 when I was approached by a young woman. She was followed at a good distance by a group of young teens.

The woman explained that she was a teacher at a rural school and that her class of 7th graders was learning English. She shyly asked if I would take a few minutes to talk with them. I told her, “Yes, of course!”

The kids were so excited, chattering away. We talked for half an hour....


For years, I never considered myself a globetrotter, so I never enrolled in the Global Entry program (, which allows expedited clearance through Customs for preapproved travelers upon arrival in the US. Members can enter using automatic kiosks at select airports.*

I had learned how simple a quick-entry system can be while on a trip to Australia in February 2020. Upon arriving in Sydney, all passengers on the flight were allowed...


Our Global Entry status was going to expire in July 2020, so that April we went onto the Trusted Traveler website ( to renew. On the website, we answered a few questions and paid $100 each. (Our joint-account Capital One Venture credit card refunded one of our renewal payments.)

We were expecting to get an automatic renewal, since all of our travel was already recorded in our passports and our fingerprints were on file. Instead, we got “conditional approval...


My wife and I planned a trip to Antigua for July 10-17, 2021. Antigua requires proof of a negative RT-PCR test for COVID taken, at most, seven days before entry. As such, my wife and I went to our local CVS Pharmacy on a Monday, five days before our Saturday morning departure, and had the nasal swabs administered. We fully expected to receive our test results from CVS no later than Wednesday morning.*

However, by Thursday there were no test results reported, and, most disconcerting,...

Our “permission to board” email from the Bahamian government, after our COVID test. Photos by John Leach

Eileen and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on July 17, 2021, cruising in the BAHAMAS aboard the Crystal Serenity of Crystal Cruises (Miami, FL; Actually, we were on two back-to-back 7-day cruises, July 10-17 and July 17-24, each with the same round-trip itinerary, starting in Nassau.

Our cruises were spectacular, and not just because it had been so long since we last cruised. Everything on the cruise went well, and even after 16 months with no...

The Duomo di Milan (Cathedral of Milan). Photos by Liz Fischer

On a summer trip to Europe in 2018, my husband, Bill, and I flew from Switzerland to Italy, where we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Milan – Malpensa Airport (888/465-4329, for $100 per night, with breakfast. I highly recommend this airport hotel. After several weeks in Europe, it was very nice to have cold air-conditioning, an elevator and an ice machine!

We would stay there again the night before we flew home, but after renting a car and touring other parts of...


On a birding trip to the Dominican Republic in March 2021 (Sept. ’21, pg. 14), the only problem I had was with a taxi ride that I had arranged from the airport to my hotel upon arriving in Santo Domingo.

In advance, through the Taxi Department of (, I had booked the ride for $34.50 with Dominican Limousine (Calle Italia, Plaza Bavaro Shopping Center No.221 A, Punta Cana, República Dominicana; phone +1 829 956 0092, www....

Dancers in southern India. Photo by Norma Jenkins

For the tour “Soul of India,”* March 1-21, 2020, to be followed by a 3-day post-trip to Dubai, I left the US on Feb. 29, flying to Dubai and then Chennai, India.

All 14 of the travelers on this Overseas Adventure Travel, or OAT (Boston, MA; 800/955-1925,, trip had already visited northern India, the country’s more popular destination, with the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, etc.

Having arrived a day early in Chennai, I spent it exploring the city. There...