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Check out my recent interview with Pauline on the importance of travel, her experience in the travel media industry and some really thought-provoking tips for how to plan and make the most of your next adventure! My parents would go to Europe every year to update the original Europe on 5 Dollars a Day book and they brought me along in the early years this was before there were throwaway diapers or even portable cribs and they would push me into a drawer for the night.

So, travel has essentially always been a part of my life — it is the greatest blessing of my life. In the recent years, I have been the editor in chief of Frommers.

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I also write a nationally syndicated column on travel for the King Features site. PF: For me, trips are usually related to me broadcasting my radio shows, from somewhere exotic or local — but always somewhere just wonderful. Our latest broadcast was in Montreal, which was a delight. This last big trip to Chile was a family vacation. But all vacations are working vacations for me because I have to constantly be creating content for my column and Frommers. People have a misconception about how our travel guides are written.

PF: My assistant Zac and I read and read and read.

We look for the best local journalists. We really want people who have unique voices and good research chops. Writing is really the most important thing to us. So we read a lot.

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So You Thought Travel Guidebooks Were Dead? Guess Again

And if we find a voice we like, we reach out to that person! PF: I think my creative process is spurred by deadlines, to be honest with you. PF: I think we were one of the very first guidebook series to do a website — we were very, very new on the web. All of our books are also in eBook form, we have mobile apps — we consider the web to be extraordinarily powerful for travel information.

And we were one of the first sites to have forums, where people could post questions and have other readers answer them. We also encourage our guidebook authors to answer questions in the forums as well. PF: I can talk to people who might want to get into travel writing as guidebook writers and my big tip is move to a country where the language is not English.

So read the classics. Read Mark Twain. Read Edith Wharton, read Bruce Chatwin — there are so many out there. Read as much as you can to see how people do it. I sometimes teach at it, and Don George of Lonely Planet and a number of other publications, is there — so is Tim Cahill, one of the founders of Outside Magazine. You have all of these great people who you can network with, who you can learn from, in one place. People come out of that conference with writing jobs.

Best travel guide to take to Florence? Frommers, Fodors, Rick Steves?

Many of the basic skills are not being taught anymore. If you have that skill, you will have a career. PF: Much of the time, where I travel is out of my hands. In this series of tips, you'll find some terrific ideas to help you get the most out of every trip.

This time around, I share some insight about taking care of yourself while on the road. In this series of monthly tips, you'll find some terrific ideas to help you get the most out of every trip. Find out what medical services your health insurance covers. To protect yourself, consider buying medical travel insurance. Very few health insurance plans pay for medical evacuation back to the U.

Consider purchasing medical travel insurance if you're going to a country where the medical facilities are poor. A number of companies offer medical evacuation services anywhere in the world.


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If you're ever hospitalized more than miles from home, MedjetAssist tel. Any foreign consulate can provide a list of area doctors who speak English. Consider asking your hotel concierge to recommend a local doctor -- even his or her own. For travel abroad, you may have to pay all medical costs up front and be reimbursed later.

A guidebook writer's guide to travel guides (cont'd)

In terms of the listings in a guidebook--the sights, restaurants, hotels, shops, bars and nightlife, performance venues--I visit and evaluate probably about twice as many properties as end up in the book in the case of hotels, about three times as many. Then I take all my notes and impressions and try to create a good balance consisting of the best examples to suit every taste and budget. Some people want chic boutique inns, others a charmingly ramshackle place that may lack amenities but where they feel like part of the family.

Some want home cooking like grandma used to make, others want elaborate, refined cuisine and bow-tied waiters. It's not my job to tell them which to enjoy; it's my job to help them find the best purveyors of each. I try to be tough but fair to every place, always keeping in mind my bosses: the readers who are going to make their travel decisions--and spend their hard-earned vacation budgets--based, at least in part, on my advice.

So I try to point out the pros and cons, the good and the bad, of every establishment--and I try to steer clear of brochure-speak, that fluffy, cliche-ridden writing that gushes enthusiasm but never tempers the over-wrought praise with a non-nonsense check on the practicalities. No place is perfect, but there are plenty that are wonderful each in their own ways despite their flaws.

I'm probably not going to even bother mentioning a cigarette burn on the hall carpet in a cheap, friendly, central, and otherwise clean little one-star hotel--but I'm going to and have pounced on such a failing if there's a charred hole on the threadbare hall runners of a supposedly five-star luxury hotel. Not that those sorts of hotels have a real place in the new Pauline Frommer's guides. Most guidebooks seemed aimed squarely at the wealthy, which only perpetuates the myth that, in order to indulge in international travel, you have to be either stinking rich or willing to stay in hovels and hostels with the backpackers.

Neither is the case, and the Pauline Frommer's guides are designed with the vast majority of travelers in mind: middle class travelers who might need to keep an eye on that budget but still want to enjoy life. These books are perfect for just such an audience--and go beyond merely saving money plenty of books help you do that to show you how to have a far better, richer, and more rewarding trip not in spite of spending less but because of it.

Any places that you return to repeatedly? RB: Oh, boy. That's like asking someone to pick a favorite child.

Hot Vacation Destinations of 2018 with Pauline Frommer

I do, however, find that I particularly enjoy the less-trammeled and less famous corners of Italy. There's Apulia the stiletto heel of Italy's boot-like profile , with its rich foods and wines and idiosyncractic ancient cultures than range from the cave-city of Matera technically just across the border in the Basilicata region to the whitewashed cylindrical houses with pointy gray stone roofs called trulli in Alberobello and the Valle d'Itria.

In the Alto-Adige region north of Trent, hard against Austrian border, everyone speaks Tirolesische a medieval German dialect and they have festivals on the high Alpine plains consisting of tournaments waged between neighboring villages of horseback prowess that seem straight out of the Middle Ages. Then there is the Friuli, north of Venice, where they produce fruity white Tocai wines in the foothills of the Slovenian Alps; the Valle d'Aosta, with its frescoed castles and rib-sticking cuisine tucked under the looming shadows of Monte Cervino called The Matterhorn on the Swiss side and Monte Bianco The French call is Mont Blanc ; the hinterlands of Sicily where the churches are converted Greek temples and ancient myths still pervade modern life; and the mountains of Abruzzo and Le Marche, where witches dwell in the caves, potters still create hand-painted ceramics in the medieval styles, and castles crumble Romantically off craggy peaks.

Was it difficult to find these inexpensive places, or do they abound and no one writes about them? RB: Mostly the latter. Almost nobody writes about them or, at best, they are covered in a catchall section in the chapter at the beginning or end of the book that deals with general information about traveling to that country , and therefore few tourists even know these options are available.

They are, admittedly, a wee bit more difficult to find if only because the vast tourism machine--from guidebooks to Websites to the local tourist office brochures--is so geared to promoting the traditional travel styles, putting much more emphasis on hotels and major sights rather than, say, rental rooms and tours of Turin's industrial sector fascinating, by the way. It's not that the intel isn't out there; you just sometimes have to know to ask for it.

A guidebook writer's guide to travel guidebooks (continued)

The Pauline Frommer's guides are unique in that they tell you how to do so. The single greatest resource in travel is the local tourism office.


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Increasingly, they post it all on their Websites; if not, at least they'll have printed information in the little office by the train station or on the main piazza once you get to town. Another nice thing about alternative accommodations: they rarely book up far in advance, as happens with most of the best inexpensive family-run hotels in town of which there are so few, and they're in all the guidebooks, so you've got a lot of competition for those rooms.

Even if you arrive in the evening and the tourist office is already closed, you can just pop into a bar, ask to borrow the pagine gialle yellow pages of the phone book , flip to affittacamere rental rooms and just start calling around. By the second or third call, I usually have a room for the night--often quite basic, but at one-third the cost of the hotels in town, and sometimes with fantastic views over the boats bobbing in the harbor or onto the carved balconies of a baroque palazzo as with all of the random examples I've been giving, yes, I'm thinking of actual experiences I've had.

Padding your trip with excess dollars only serves to help insulate you from the cultures around you. To travel on a budget is to travel richly indeed. Sure, five star hotels can be wonderful indulgences--the luxuriant spas, the expertly prepared fusion cuisine, the solicitous concierges, the soft pillows piled like clouds on the king-sized beds--but frankly I'd rather stay in a rented room in the apartment of a local radio producer in Rome, or shack up in a rustic farmhouse bedroom in Piemonte and spend my evenings on the terrace with the owner, sharing a bottle of his own wine, gazing over the moonlit vines, hearing tales of the agricultural life in Italy.

Besides, I can spend up to a week living like that for what it would cost to spend a single night in a five-star luxury hotel. After all, I still haven't been to Sardegna…. WE: Thanks so much, Reid. I want to travel with you! This explains why this new book, Pauline Frommer's Italy: spend less see more is so enticing to me. Thanks for sharing your insights into the travel writing business, and your experiences with Italy and this book!