Want to travel smarter? Connect with a local

1-Pauline Frommer

Pauline Frommer is the co-president of Frommer Media. “I started traveling with my guidebook writing parents at the age of four months and have been on the road ever since,” she says. Her father, Arthur Frommer, published Europe on $5 a Day in 1957, revolutionizing not only the guidebook business, but the way we travel. She’s continued that legacy, hosting a radio show on travel and writing a syndicated newspaper column. She’s served as MSNBC.com’s travel editor, a contributor to CNN Headline News, and was the founding editor of Frommers.com. “I’m not sure if that makes me a smart traveler,” she adds. Oh, it but it does.

What makes her the world’s smartest traveler? You mean, other than that she’s the closest thing to travel royalty we have in the United States? Frommer has been everywhere. Her best travel advice? A little advance planning can take you a long way. “Make contact with a local who you’ll meet in the destination,” she says. “It will enhance your travel experience exponentially.” Frommer tries to reach out to a friend of a friend through social media before she goes somewhere. Knowing a native is helpful when she’s at a destination and needs to review restaurants, too. “I’ve found that the conversations we have over these dinners are often the highlight of the trip, and give me far more insight into, and affection for, the destination than anything else I do while traveling,” she adds. Get to know the locals, in other words. You’ll travel smarter.

The World’s Smartest Traveler is a weekly series about the visionaries who inspire us to travel smarter. Its curator, Christopher Elliott, is the author of the upcoming book, How to Be The World’s Smartest Traveler (National Geographic Books). Want to nominate someone for this feature? Send Chris a note.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

  • TonyA_says

    I heard the old man bought back his company from google.
    Can you elaborate please.

  • Justin

    Solid advice. Anywhere I travel, a few rules apply:

    1) Strike up conversation with other travelers. Find out where they’ve gone, what they like, and don’t hesitate to join a group. I’ve met great people by being sociable.

    2) Talk to locals. The best insider knowledge comes from people living in an area. Have I missed important sites before? Woops (Yes). I wing travel for good or bad. Getting lost – I’m a Pro at being lost – has led me to interesting places.

    I go alone so maybe what I do won’t work for families or tourists requiring every element of their trip planned to the minute.

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