People continuously postpone traveling because they presume that the “perfect time” will come, but what if we told you the best time to travel is always now? Wes is joined by Pauline Frommer, The Co-President of FrommerMedia, Editorial Director of Frommer’s Guidebooks, author of the best-selling “Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City” and “Frommer’s New York City Day by Day”, co-host of The Travel Show podcast and keynote speaker, to tackle the finer points of traveling.
During the episode, Pauline shares her family history in the travel industry, resources for budgeting travel stays along with why travel guides can be useful tools for your trips. Pauline also touches base on COVID traveling regulations and recommends getting travel insurance accompanied with details on the range of coverage. Later in the episode, Pauline weighs in on cruises, utilizing a travel agent, and beautiful places to visit regardless of their outdated exterior. Pauline also reveals tips for getting a good sleep during your venture and why she believes people enjoy traveling so much.
Read Show Notes From This Episode (click to expand and read notes from the full interview)
- Pauline Frommer joins us.
Pauline gave the keynote at the podcast convention in Memphis.
Between January 2022 and now, travel prices have gone up 5% almost every week. Wes ties it into inflation.
Wes ties travel back into happy retirees. They travel. Wes says our biggest downloaded podcast is about travel.
Wes asks about Pauline’s family history. Her dad was drafted into the war but he spoke foreign languages. So his army buddies would quiz him and ask him for tips on getting around in Europe. He got out of the army, spent a year as a lawyer, and then had a revelation that maybe more other people would enjoy hearing travel tips, too.
Global freeloaders, couchsurfing.com. Womenwelcomewomen. You can still travel cheaply.
Workaway.com – people say work for me for 4 hours a day and I’ll give you free room and board. Pauline’s daughter did this in Japan.
So Wes says you can travel on a budget with the shared community.
Pauline gives a pitch as to why you should still buy a guidebook. A lot of the stuff online is disguised marketing. Review writers go to all of the hotels in the area.
Guides to Italy, Ireland, NYC (Pauline writers) – those always do well. All the books are written by local authors. Other ones have “parachute” writers. She says that’s how Lonely Planet does it.
Top 3 brands in trusted travel guides: Frommers, (she doesn’t say. I’m guessing Lonely Planet is one)
Pauline says Frommers has never taken a cent from the hotels they stay at, etc. Totally objective.
Wes asks if Pauline ever gets pushback from hotels. She says yes. Was once doing a book signing in New Orleans and a man in a chef’s hat came up and said “I want you to taste this! You said we were a tourist trap!” Funny story.
Pauline brings up one of their researchers who look up the best travel search engines.
Wes says we’re up to 4 new websites he’s never heard of in the last 5 minutes.
Wes brings up COVID travel. Supposed to go to Manchester for a golf trip.
Pauline says right now there are 100,000 COVID regulations with travel.
Pauline says frommers.com – they put a lot of resources into explaining all the regulations.
They mostly do classic guidebooks. They tried “romance” or themed books and they didn’t do well.
Pauline has been recommending that if people travel internationally, they get travel insurance because if they get COVID they can get stuck somewhere. Yesterday a friend from college got stuck in Barcelona. There’s no insurance company that’s best for every traveler and every trip. Insuremytrip.com Squaremouth.com Tripinsurance.com – you go there and put in your age and details of your trip and they send back policies. For some reason, the most expensive one always covers the least. It’s always one of the middle-range ones that cover the most.
CFAR – cancel for any reason insurance. That’s what Pauline is recommending.
Before COVID, travel insurance didn’t cover pandemics. But now they do.
Certain parts of the world are still closed to outsiders: Japan.
New York is maybe the most popular around the world. They bring up how someone wrote “New York is dead” and Jerry Seinfeld got mad.
New York City has a larger population than 40 of the 50 states. It was never dead but less was going on. Broadway shows are still cheap because they haven’t gotten all their business travel back.
Hudson Yards – climbing the outside of a skyscraper.
Wes asks Pauline about her favorite place in Michigan. Traverse City. Mackinac Island. She just spoke in Traverse City.
Pauline says because of climate change some of the best wines in the world are in Michigan.
Italy #1, NYC #2, and Paris always do well. Orlando is a big one, especially right now. What Disney has done with pricing is mind-boggling. Fast pass is gone. You have to get Genie + and it’s really confusing.
Wes brings up “Round the World Robyn” – calling into his radio show. She’s a millionaire next door type. Figuring out how to help Robyn take a safari trip.
Pauline says there are ways to take big family trips cheaper. Rent a house rather than hotels.
In some places, air BnB is more expensive than hotels. VRBO tends to be a little cheaper.
Wes asks about travel agents.
Pauline brings this up for destination expertise:
Our Mission: To Save the World From Mediocre Trips – Wendy …
Pauline talks about cruise lines. Says always go with a travel agent for cruises. Wes says Babs in his office is the consummate cruiser. This is for her. Wes asks where to go for a cruise travel agent. Pauline wasn’t sure.
Look for the word “ahoy” in cruise travel agents.
Uniworld is a good river cruise
The dirty little secret about river cruises – is they all share the same guides on land except for “Tauck.”
Pauline’s 93-year-old dad still runs the company with her.
Pauline says the Antarctica cruises are great but hard to save money on. She’s never been there because she gets sick. The Drake Passage is the roughest sea. She can handle regular cruises.
Wes brings up Memphis. Says the signage looks really old. Wasn’t sure about it. First trip to Memphis. But a day in, after some great bbq, he’s really liking how authentically old it feels.
Pauline says Moloka‘i is one of the most authentic places. Used to be a leper colony. Leprosy is now called Hansen’s disease. She said it still looks like a place from 100 years ago. They don’t get many visitors. Fascinating, gorgeous place.
In Italy, tour guides are known as wearing “dead man’s shoes” because it’s hard to get a new tour guide license. So you get a lot of burned-out tour guides. Bored. In Israel, you get some of the best because it’s a really hard test to become a tour guide.
Wes asks for tips about getting good sleep while traveling. Pauline says when you’re in a new place your body senses danger and both brain hemispheres don’t sleep. But you have to fool the reptilian part of your brain to think you’re at home. Bring something that smells like home. Bring your own pillow. Something to trick your brain.
Wes says he has a sound machine at home.
Wes asks why does travel bring joy? Pauline says we’re saturated with media. “If it bleeds it leads.” We’re always learning about the bad things. But when you travel you see all the good things and beauty with your own eyes. Ignites wonder within us.
Wonder is the key to being a good human being.
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