In response to Christopher Reynolds' article on Mexico ["How Safe Is It for Travelers?," Sept. 9], I wanted to share our experiences traveling to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.
Our daughter, who was raised in Huntington Beach, moved with her husband to Ixtapa in 2007, where she is now fluent in Spanish and works in a lovely hotel on Ixtapa beach. We have visited them each year in the spring and fall since 2007. We have had remarkable experiences: surfing at the most beautiful, deserted beaches, walking and gathering shells, photographing the beautiful array of aquatic birds and wildlife. We have even seen whales from the shore while they were feasting on krill.
We have never felt unsafe. We have experienced roadblocks, but we do not fit the profile of traffickers and have always been waved along by the federales.
The people of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo are friendly, warm and welcoming. If you're traveling to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, you'll have a wonderful time enjoying the beautiful hot weather, blue ocean, lovely, quiet beaches, and some of the best food you'll ever want to eat.
Heidi J. Kline
Frequent flier will take Southwest
I read "Frequent Flier, Here's How to Take Your Seat" by Catharine Hamm [On the Spot, Sept. 2]. Here's my experience: I'm a lifetime Gold member with American Airlines, which seems to have no effect in getting a mileage ticket. Three times I tried to get a mileage ticket as much as six months before departure and could not get one for 25,000 miles; however, they were available for 50,000 miles.
I gave up on American and got a Visa Southwest credit card, and I'm very happy with it. Seems that if Southwest has an available seat, you can go. I have obtained two mileage tickets with Southwest so far and have been amazed at how easy it's been.
The sultan liked Greece too
Amanda Jones' fine article on the Greek Islands ["You're the Captain," Sept. 2] reminds me of the words of an Ottoman sultan, who, at the head of a mighty, invading Turkish army, told the Leros islanders: "We are here to free the people of Leros. This has nothing to do with your abundant supply of corn."
Evan Dale Santos
Go to Vegas and spend. Please.
Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman criticizes President Obama for "suggesting that people not spend a lot of money" in his city [Travel Ticker by Chris Erskine, Sept. 9]. In the president's defense, perhaps he is tired of giving out bailouts. But just think of all the cocktail servers, hotel maids and restaurant busboys who benefit from people's lavish spending.
People who work hard for their money should be free to spend it as they please. People on welfare and dead-beat bill payers should not. As for Goodman's special cocktail, the "No-Bama," it is a hit, I bet.
Theft in Barcelona
In regards to "Travel Theft" [Letters, Sept. 9], you would think a hotel lobby would be a safe zone. But in Barcelona, Spain, a small group came to the check-out counter behind me and liberated my backpack off my luggage.
There were security cameras, but I was later told the cameras didn't work. There was no apology or offer of a discount. This hotel was lovely, so I was surprised at its lack of security and concern.
Nonetheless, I will return to Spain one day, rent an apartment and eat my way through the country.
Escaping to Yachats, Ore.
My wife and one of our sons and I just got back from a trip to Yachats, Ore., which was written about in a Weekend Escape on Sept. 2 ["A Coastal Backyard" by Jeremy Kohler]. South of the Yachats River is the Yachats Inn, which might be a better choice than the Silver Surf. You can rent both rooms and suites with kitchens, and the ocean is just steps away, plus it has a swimming pool and a hot tub.
We love Yachats, our favorite spot on the Oregon coast, and we've been going there as a family for a quarter of a century.
Insurance woes in Russia
My wife, Margo, sustained a nasty fall during our trip to Russia, which resulted in a total hip replacement and a 12-day hospital stay in St. Petersburg.
We had four levels of insurance: Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross Plan F, American Express travel medical, plus the trip interruption /medical insurance offered by our travel company, Grand Circle.
The Russian hospital demanded payment on a daily basis. I paid daily via credit cards. The bill: $40,000.
The layers of insurance were of no help whatsoever (for the $40,000 bill) during those 12 unforgettable days.
I was told by the insurance gurus that I was responsible for the daily charges and that my reimbursement would take place at a later date. It took several months.
Advice: Have $50,000 to $100,000 of ready cash or credit cards available when in Russia.