The Travel Adventure Show takes place in Los Angeles every year and when the dates were announced for 2019, I made sure to sign up. I wrote a post about last year’s show and included some of the travel tips I learned from speakers Rick Steves and Patricia Schultz. This time I listened to Samantha Brown, who’s the host and executive producer of Places to Love on PBS.
She talked about how each “place” was chosen to be featured on the show. The most important consideration is that it must be accessible to everyone and not a V.I.P. destination only available to TV hosts.
Taking on the role of an executive producer is rare for women in the travel arena and it’s a hard job. Samantha Brown doesn’t make any money from the show because it’s on public television. She has to raise all the funding herself through sponsorships. Her reward is being given “the best audience in the world.” Two of her sponsors are AmaWaterways and AAA.
At the end of her lecture, she treated us to her best travel tips
Samantha Brown has been traveling for over 20 years so make sure to read her tips. They’re awesome!
- When you focus on connecting with locals, you become less of a consumer and more a part of the community.
- Food halls and markets are fabulous places to eat fresh local food but if you want to take some of it home, haunt local supermarkets. They have all your favorite local packaged foods with prices that haven’t been jacked up for tourists.
- Always bring cookies to offer the airport check-in agent, especially if you have a lot of bags. They’ll appreciate it and give you better service.
- The historical significance of a destination is always fascinating but so is learning about the way things are now. Look for modern experiences that will give you insight into how things have evolved. Examples might be an immersive art installation, a local musical event, or restoration efforts. When Samantha Brown was in Strasbourg, France looking for experiences she could use for her show, she found out about a workshop tour at the Cathedral. Visitors can watch restoration artisans at work using the same tools they did when the Cathedral was built.
- Create separate emails for your travel alerts. They can easily get buried in your regular email and you may miss out on a good deal.
- Use Twitter as a travel tool for customer service by connecting with airlines, cruise lines, and any other travel needs. Make sure to follow @askTSA and message them if you lose something at the airport.
- If you’re signed up for Global Entry or TSA-Pre and don’t see it on your ticket give TSA a call. They’ll be able to tell you what went wrong. It may be that you or your travel agent were off a number when you entered your Global Entry or TSA-Pre number. Then you can ask the airline to uncheck you and then recheck you in using the correct number so your status will be restored.
- Arrive at the airport an hour and a half before your flight’s BOARDING TIME. (rather than your departure time) It’s even better to get there 15 minutes before that so you have time to pick up magazines, water, snacks, and use the restroom.
- Plan your return to the airport as soon as you arrive at your destination. Look around the airport to find out where the departure gate is. It’s probably at or near the same gate you arrived at. Find out what restaurants are in the terminal if there’s a place to get a massage, and what you can buy at the gift shops so you don’t have to schlep gifts around with you while you travel. Make a note of where the drop-off locations are for rental cars, shuttles or trains. That way you’ll know how much time you’ll need to get to the airport when you return. Some terminals are massive so make sure to take that into account as well.
- If you’re traveling with small children, DON’T PREBOARD. Most of us Baby Boomers no longer have to worry about traveling with kids, but you may be traveling with your grandchildren. Samantha Brown recommends that you do not board until the last passenger is on the plane. If you’re traveling with another adult, have them preboard to secure carryons, car seats, & diaper bags while you and the kids hang out in the waiting area. Once you’re all seated, the plane will take off within 10 minutes and the kids won’t have time to get cranky. I recommend that you give this information to anyone traveling with small children.
- If you want to avoid crowds in tourist areas, keep an eye out for where others are walking. Then, veer off into side streets so you can enjoy a more local experience.
- If you have old running shoes, an old sweater or other old clothes, pack them. When your trip is over, throw them away before you leave for the airport. That will free up room in your suitcase to bring home purchases or lighten up your load.
- The most unappreciated hotel room amenity is the ironing board. Take it out of the closet to give yourself 4 more feet of counter space. It also makes a great standup desk. You can lower it and use it as an activity table for kids or use it as a TV dinner table.
Samantha Brown also has recommendations for her favorite travel gear on her website here.
Unique travel gear you may want to purchase for your next trip
There are hundreds of vendors at the Travel Adventure show and I wanted to show you some of the travel gear I found there that I liked.
The Chester Minima Carry-on
Chester gave me one of their Minima Carry-ons to try out and I can honestly say, I LOVE IT! It’s TSA approved for size at 21.5” x 13.5” x 8.5” (including wheels) and is only 7 lbs. It has a slick-looking outer case that’s made of durable aerospace-grade polycarbonate and 360-degree spinner wheels make it easy to roll around on most surfaces. Two nice features are its built-in TSA approved combination lock for security and hidden laundry bag to store your dirty clothes. It also comes with a leather luggage tag and a protective storage bag. I can’t wait to take it on my next trip. You can order it in black, (as shown) charcoal grey, aluminum grey, ocean blue, sky blue, pink, and sand.
Alpha Keeper RFID document holders
It’s easy to get your identity stolen while you’re traveling but it helps when you use RFID protection to store your credit cards, passport, and other important documents. Alpha Keeper has outstanding RFID products. I tried two of them.
- Neck wallet & hidden RFID pouch passport holder for women & men w\ 2 Luggage Tags – This attractive passport and document holder has 3 layers of RFID blocking materials and is water-resistant. Put your ID in the see-through holder in front. That way you’ll never have to stumble around looking for it when you’re getting on the plane. It comes with 2 easy to find luggage identification tags. If you’d rather wear it around your waist, it also has belt loops.
- RFID money belt for travel with RFID blocking sleeves set for daily use – This fanny pack comes with 7 RFID blocking sleeves. It’s light, slim and fits across your waist so your money and cards are always next to you and safe. Mine is beige but it’s also available in a variety of colors and patterns.
RFID is an acronym for “radio-frequency identification” and refers to a technology whereby digital data encoded in RFID tags or smart labels (defined below) are captured by a reader via radio waves.
Zincuta Ointment by The Apotheca for dry skin
Zincuta Ointment by The Apotheca – Does dry skin drive you crazy when you travel? Zincuta is an ointment that comes in a travel-size tin. It will relieve various dry skin issues including psoriasis, eczema, chapped lips, poison ivy blisters, burn injuries and more. You’ll love the way it smells too because it’s made from essential oils of wintergreen, lavender, bergamot and contains zinc oxide for healing.
VinGarde Valise – I saw this cool suitcase at the Travel Adventure show. Have you ever been on vacation to Italy or another wine region and wanted to take bottles of wine home with you but were afraid they’d break in your suitcase? This is designed for just that purpose. It will carry up to 12 bottles along with your clothes making it an all-purpose wine/travel suitcase. Bring it to conferences so you can bring your own wine and save money on your trip.
Lermende Clear Toiletry Bags – TSA Approved
3pcs/pack Lermende clear toiletry bag – TSA approved travel carry on airport airline compliant bag quart-sized 3-1-1 kit luggage pouch – We all know what a pain it is to make sure our liquids are TSA compliant. Most “baggies” aren’t sturdy enough to hold up for the long haul. These strong and clear toiletry bags are perfect to hold all your liquid items without worrying about leakage.
Hanging Toiletry Bag Travel Kit for Men and Women
Hanging toiletry bag travel kit for men and women -Waterproof wash bag and compact makeup organizer – Bag shaving kit for the bathroom, travel accessories, cosmetics, shampoo, body wash (Black) by TANTO – Hang it on a knob or over the shower. Keep all your stuff in one place, with items divided into see-through handy compartments so you don’t have to search for them. Then, when you’re ready to pack up it all rolls up compactly so you can easily fit it into your suitcase.
Do you have a favorite travel host like Samantha Brown? Who is it? Please leave a comment below.