Travel host extraordinaire Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel jet-setted her way to Chicago to speak at the annual Travel and Adventure Show in Rosemont last weekend. I'm leaving on a trip to India and Nepal in less than a month so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to meet this world traveling lady that I adore.
The Travel & Adventure Show boasted hundreds of vendors and activities. I got to meet with many travel professionals, talked with the company I’m using to tour south Asia, rode a camel, petted a parrot and snake, watched dancing from around the world and got to scuba dive!
Samantha Brown gave a presentation titled, "A Comedy of Travel Errors: My Globalization of Mishaps". I learned a lot about her life off camera while abroad. She travels more than 200 days out of the year and has been to over 60 countries. Her passport is decorated with stamps and visas galore.
Her biggest pet peeve is the hotel room bar soaps that are wrapped in plastic. She absolutely cannot stand them. She says by the time you need to use it, your hands are already wet and trying to open them with wet hands is incredibly frustrating.
So to combat her plastic wrapped bar soap dilemma, she created a checklist of sorts to make each hotel room comfortably her own. The first thing she does when she enters a new hotel room is she unwraps all the plastic wrapped soaps. Her next step is to put away all the "riffraff" like brochures, papers and advertisements that are displayed in her space. She then does a test run of the shower water to see how long it takes for hot water to finally begin and also how the shower knobs work. It once took seven minutes for cold water to turn hot for her. Finally, the last item on her checklist is to make sure the hair dryer in her bathroom works. The last thing a television host needs is wet hair on camera.
Some travel advice she offered was that you must visit one country and one state you have never been to and strike up a conversation with the locals. She says it’s intriguing to learn about the lives of the local people.
Other advice she gives is to bring three pairs of shoes on any trip. One pair of shoes for the different occasions you’ll encounter such as high heels for fancy dinners, sandals for the beach and running shoes for the gym or hiking.
Her favorite place to visit in the United States would be that of Santa Fe, New Mexico where she loves the hiking, art scene… and margaritas! Her favorite place in Chicago is Millennium Park! She loves the digital fountains and the cloud gate (bean) and says we live in a great city, which we do.
Towards the end of the presentation, onlookers were able to ask questions to Brown and one woman wanted to know where to go on her honeymoon in the Caribbean. Brown said Puerto Rico was definitely an amazing location because you get the European feel walking around Old San Juan, you can travel to the wonderful island of Culebra and she says it’s a beautiful place with plenty to do.
Brown’s favorite food was some ceviche from a tiny restaurant in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and her least favorite was duck tongue in China.
With my 17 hour flight to India and 11.5 hour time change, I was wondering how Samantha combats jet lag. Her advice is she doesn’t consume any caffeine two days before travel and then when she finally arrives at her destination and feels that jet lag kicking in, she drinks a double espresso. Traveling to Europe is harder for her to adjust to the time than Asia.
Brown says that if you’re interested in hosting your own travel show, to start out by filming yourself and to place your videos up on YouTube and then seek out production companies to produce your travel adventures.
With all the advice Samantha Brown gave, I am more excited than ever to travel to Asia for my first time.
To view photos of the Travel and Adventure Show, please click HERE.