Best of Travel: Travel Channel Host Samantha Brown
Samantha Brown, host of Travel Channel’s “Great Weekends,” “Passport to Europe,” “Passport to Latin America,” and “Great Hotels,” knows a thing or two about travel. She will be sharing her advice at the upcoming Travel and Adventure Show in Philadelphia March 21-22. In addition to presentations by Samantha and other travel industry experts, the show will also give travelers access to tourism boards, top chefs, and cultural performers.
We asked Samantha about her ideal round-the-world trip, the strangest place she’s ever spent a night, and the one place she can’t believe she’s never been.
Q: What is the most spontaneous trip you’ve ever taken?
A: Last November, late in the month, my husband and I decided to take my mom to Germany to see the world famous Christmas Markets of Nuremburg and Munich. We had four days in December where we could make it happen. I remember I called my mom and quickly asked her if her passport was up to date. When she said yes, I told her, “Great! I’ll call you right back.”
Q: Would you rather take a guided tour of a new city or explore it on your own?
A: I travel mainly for work so my free time is very limited. Because of this, I just like to go off by myself and wander for hours. But when I travel for vacation, I love a good tour right at the beginning of my trip. It orientates me for the rest of my stay and I learn things I would have never known by going to a website.
Q: If you were planning a round-the-world trip, what five countries would you want to be sure to visit?
A: I would want to focus on smaller, less-visited countries: Bhutan, Madagascar, Oman, Malta, and Montenegro.
Q: Is there anything you’ve wanted to learn how to do while abroad (cooking class, dance lessons, etc.) but have not yet done so?
A: I’m really scared of the water so surfing, snorkeling, and wind-surfing have never really excited me. But there’s something about kite-surfing that I would love to try. I feel as though the thrill of getting swooped up in the air would be one of the best feelings in the world.
Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what five things would you want with you?
A: Peanut butter, a Swiss Army knife, a pillow, a blanket, and a book about how to survive while stranded on a deserted island.
Q: Where is the most unusual place you’ve stayed when traveling?
A: I went ice camping, which means you spend the night in a sleeping bag on the ice—no tent, just the ice. You’re told to put a Snickers bar under your hat because your body spends so many calories keeping warm you wake up starving at 2 a.m. When you do wake up (you never really fall asleep), you’re cold and do sit-ups in your sleeping bag to generate more body heat, which I had to do. All of this was very unusual to me.
Q: What is the strangest cuisine you’ve eaten, in the US or abroad? Did you enjoy it?
A: Chinese food, which represents an epic swath of cuisine and all of it is so mind-bafflingly different than the Chinese we get in the US. Every day we would just let our crew, who were all Chinese, order our dishes. They would explain what the dish was, which still didn’t give me any clue as to what I would be eating. But then it would arrive and it was a revolution.
Q: What is one place you’ve never been that is at the top of your must-visit list?
A: Istanbul, Turkey. I can’t believe I still haven’t gotten there.
Q: Would rather take a vacation at a beach, in the mountains, or in a city?
A: I love cities. I love the confluence of people, culture, and energy. I could walk for hours just exploring side streets.
Q: If you had to choose another country to live in for a whole year, where would you go?
A: I would put myself in London, England. I think the experience of living there would be life changing, but London would also provide an amazing launch pad for a variety of European countries. To think France, Italy, and Germany could be quick weekend getaways!
Want to see Samantha and the other headlining speakers this weekend at the Philadelphia Travel and Adventure Show? Get tickets for just $9 with the promo code “JETSET”!