Meet the Speaker: Guidebook Editor & Radio Host Pauline Frommer
As a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and editorial director of the Frommer Guides, Pauline Frommer knows a thing or two about travel. Lucky for us, she’ll be sharing her expert advice at the upcoming Travel & Adventure Show in Washington, DC February 22-23. The show not only features expert speakers but also gives travelers access to tourism boards, top chefs, and cultural performers. We talked with Pauline about her upcoming presentation and her thoughts about travel in 2014.
Q: When and how did travel become a significant part of your life?
A: When I was four months old. That’s when I started traveling with my guidebook-writing parents. We traveled a minimum of four months out of the year.
Q: Why do you think traveling is important?
A: I think that there’s no better way to expand yourself as a human being and educate yourself than travel. It’s a wonderful tool to educate yourself and make yourself a more well-rounded, intellectually curious person.
Q: What topic(s) are you speaking about at the Travel & Adventure Show?
A: I always talk about places that people overlook but really should visit. I talk about ways to save money. And I talk about trends in travel. Since I pay for my own travels, I’m a strict budget traveler. There’s no way I could make a living otherwise, so I’m always looking for the best bargains.
Q: How do you hope to inspire future travelers who attend the show?
A: There’s less to be afraid of than they think. There’s so much worry that goes into travel planning so I try to show people straightforward ways to really create memorable vacations.
Q: What is one piece of advice you wish someone had shared with you before you set off to travel the world?
A: Well this has more to do with my job; I learned to appreciate the value of photos for remembering what I need to write down. I not only take notes when I travel now, I also extensively photograph things on my cell phone, and it makes it so much easier to do the writing I have to do later. But I think actually for travelers too many photos can take you out of the moment, so I’m not sure if that’s advice I would give to regular travelers, to be honest with you. I think sometimes you lose being there by putting that phone in front of your face.
Q: Do you have one destination you find yourself visiting over and over again? What makes this place so special?
A: Not by choice. I’m really somebody who much prefers going to a variety of destinations. There are places where family is, so I go to them over and over. For example, we tend to go to Stowe, Vermont, and Nantucket every year because that’s where my husband’s family gathers.
Q: What was one of your most memorable travel experiences in 2013?
A: I loved Morocco; I absolutely adored it. I took a tasting tour with my two daughters with a wonderful local outlet called Plan-it Fez. This woman, a British expat, took us through the markets of Fez and we would stop every once in a while. We tried 10 different types of honey, and we tried snails and mushroom soups and bread fresh from the oven. She would tell us about the 1,000-year-old traditions that went into the baking of the bread, the making of the soups, and the gathering of the honey. My daughters, who can be picky eaters, tried it all. It was just a magical day.
Q: Do you have any travel predictions or trends you see happening for 2014?
A: I think a lot of Americans are going to Central America. Folks who used to go to Europe have been shell-shocked by the cost of airfare there and the cost on the ground, so we’re seeing a real trend toward Central America, which is a wonderful, culturally rich destination. There are a lot of adventures to have. I think people are being happily surprised by Central America.
The triumvirate of destinations within the US reigns supreme. Those are Las Vegas, Orlando, and New York City, and they seem to still retain their interest. We can’t get through a radio show without a question from a reader about Italy. Italy still remains the place where Americans who are going to Europe seem to be desperate to want to go to, and for good reason.
We’re seeing a lot of people using social media to help plan their trips, asking friends of friends, taking those friends out to dinner, and using it as a way to break down barriers between themselves and the people in the destinations.
And the biggest trend in travel, of course, is the substitution of apartments and rooms in people’s apartments for hotels. Airbnb this year became the biggest lodging company in the world. It has more beds by far than Hilton, Starwood, any of the big names.
Want to hear Pauline and other travel experts speak at the Washington, DC Travel & Adventure Show February 22-23? Purchase tickets online and get $2 off with the code “JETSET.” And be sure to stop by and say hi to the Jetset Extra team in booth 818! See you there!