Travel Tips from the Experts: Samantha Brown & Rick Steves

This year’s Travel & Adventure Show brought together the best in travel experts including two of my favorite, Samantha Brown and Rick Steves.

Attending the show in Washington, DC, I listened in to both of their talks and here’s some of the tips I picked up…

Samantha Brown

I love Samantha for her approachable style and friendly personality. Meeting her in person was a treat … she’s the same person you see on tv.

Samantha Brown

When we lived in Europe, we downloaded many of her shows on iTunes before visiting places like Athens, Venice, Zurich, Salzburg and more.

Samantha shared her ‘go to’ resources for travel…Frommers and Rick Steves. And she loves using travel agents to take care of the details.

Current apps she’s using in her travels…

  • Flight Aware
  • Pocket Earth: offline maps and travel guides
  • Google Translate: It works offline and get this…it now has a Word Lens, just point your camera to a sign or text, like a menu, and it translates the text without data connection!!
  • Rick Steves: He’s got tons of Audio Tours you can download on his website and a full Audio Europe Series on iTunes.

Rick Steves

Rick Steves’ presentation was on his very useful Europe Through the Back Door.

One of the best things about Rick Steve  as a travel resource is that he and his team update their tours, guidebooks, info every year. They are constantly doing the hit and miss work so you don’t have to. Then they share the hits!

Rick Steves at the Travel Show

Among the great facts and stories Rick shared, here were some of his useful tips…

  • Get your hands on the travel info in the way you like to travel. It can be Rick or any resource.
  • Travel as if you’re a local or temporary European. That’s what his resources and tours provide. It’s not high end, fluffy stuff. It’s real get the authentic experience stuff.
  • Always go to the Tourist Information Office and ask what’s going on today / tonight.
  • He always gets a local guide for 4 hrs in a.m and at night to get a real flavor of the city. Check his resources or ask the local Tourist Information Office.
  • Art should be fun. Know enough to get excited about it. He’s got some great new guides on art.
  • Always be sure to do something the locals do.
  • Find a restaurant with a hand-written menu. You know everything is fresh and the menu was created that day.
  • Have a picnic. Go to the local shops and pick  up the specialties for a lunch or dinner picnic.
  • Know the word for bed and breakfast in the language where you are. You can find great, local, inexpensive places to stay.
  • And don’t wait in line for entrance / tickets. Always do your research in advance and get tickets to the key sights.

Be sure to check out his website. As Samantha said above, there are great videos and audio tours on his website for free. And he offers what look to be amazing guided tours if you don’t want to do it yourself.

Happy Travels as we head into the fabulous Spring and Summer travel season!

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