We are thrilled to announce this month’s Who’s Who in Travel guest is Samantha Elizabeth Brown, Travel Expert, Travel Goddess and an American television host.
Samantha is notable for her work as the host of several Travel Channel shows including Girl Meets Hawaii, Great Vacation Homes, Great Hotels, Passport to Europe, Passport to Latin America, Great Weekends, Green Getaways, Passport to China, and Samantha Brown’s Asia.
Her loyal TV audience and travel followers adore Samantha for many reasons, especially her sense of humor and positive attitude!
Over the last 13 years, Samantha has traveled around the world visiting over 220 cities in 49 countries and 30 in the United States creating over 160 hours of programming (and counting).
Samantha’s fun personality combined with her travel knowledge, insights and wit, make her the perfect travel buddy…even if you join her virtually on her travels.
We consider her the ultimate Global Adventuress and it’s our honor to present Samantha as this month’s Who’s Who in Travel!
Sharing our exclusive interview with Samantha below – ENJOY!
WHO'S WHO IN TRAVEL: SAMANTHA BROWN
Interview with Samantha Brown
First Trip…how old were you and where did you go?
I was probably 6 or 7 . It was a road trip from NH to PA to visit all my aunts, uncles and cousins. We did that trip every year and it was the highlight of my summers.
Passion for Travel…at what point did you discover your passion for travel?
Surprisingly it was a few years into my travel career. I had already been shooting all over Europe but it wasn’t until I went to Latin America that I really developed a passion for travel. For me Latin America was all about being in the moment and enjoying a culture as it is today. So much of Europe for me was about visiting museums, monuments and castles-all the things that kept me in the past. When I got to visit countries like Peru, Nicaragua and Brazil I really felt the thrill of participating in the “what’s happening now”. I now approach all my travels this way.
Perfect Travel Day…if you could be anywhere morning, noon and night, what would your day look like?
I love to begin my day at a local coffee shop and enjoy catching up on emails, work, news. Then I head to the nearest park and go for a run or find an excellent hiking trail. Head back to hotel, shower and then head out to an “up and coming” neighborhood. I always want to know where those new neighborhoods are where chefs, artists and artisans are changing and challenging the dynamic of a location.
Travel Advice…what 3 tips can you share with other travelers
- Create a ritual. I know this sounds counterproductive when you travel but I love to find the coffee shop I’m going to begin every day at. I get to feel the ebb and flow of a destination better when I’m there everyday then a different place. A ritual could be anything, Yoga in a nearby park or a glass of wine at the same outdoor café. It slows us down and reaffirms that we should be savoring our travels.
- Travel with Peanut Butter. I travel with a large jar of it, If I’m checking luggage or small packets if carrying-on. Peanut Butter is my survival food and you can always find things-bread, pretzels, a banana that go with PB.
- Travel with a neck scarf. I call neck scarves the Swiss Army Knife of fashion for it’s 101 uses. It can be worn around your neck or shoulders if you’re cold, it can be wrapped around an airplane pillow so your head doesn’t actually touch the airplane pillow. It can clean the screens of laptops, smartphones and e-readers. And most importantly it doesn’t matter how bad my hair looks after a red-eye flight—wrap a scarf around your neck and I look a little more put together.
Your Carry On…what 3 items do you always travel with?
- Pinky Balls-these a pink rubber balls that can be found in toy stores. I put them on the floor and lay down on them so they are between my shoulder blades. I push up from my knees and roll down my back working out all my sore muscles.
- Baby powder-after being on my feet all day, a little Baby Powder goes a long way in reviving my tired feet. This was an old trick I learned from my waitressing days.
- Tea- I’m a tea drinker so I’m like a little old lady who keeps packets in every bag ready to go.
Funniest Travel Moment…you have a great sense of humor, and probably have several funny travel moments – can you share one?
I was on the island of Crete and stopped in at a little grocery store looking for Peanut Butter (I had forgot my jar) Peanut Butter really doesn’t exist outside the U.S and so I tried to explain what it was to the store owner and his wife. I was hitting a pretty big language barrier until I acted out an elephant. That’s when the wife realized I wanted peanuts. She dug around into her shelves until she actually found me a bag of peanuts. I then ran over to the dairy section and got a big block of butter. I put the bag of peanuts on top of the butter. I kept saying “Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter then both husband and wife got it and yelled OH!!! Peanut Butter!!!! Yes! Yes! we all cheered like we won the Family Feud but then the husband said “no, we no have”.
Scariest Travel Moment…have you ever lost your passport, gotten lost, or had an unexpected encounter? What did you do?
This was close to ten years ago but I had arrived in Belize City and wanted to go out for a walk. I asked the front desk if there were any areas I should avoid walking along and was told not to worry. I turned down a street and felt something was wrong but didn’t know what it was. Since there was no one on the street I kept walking. Pretty soon I was approached by a man and then another, then another until about 10 men were around me taunting me. I knew it was bad. But as quick as they came they dispersed and the moment was over. I don’t blame Belize, that encounter unfortunately can happen pretty much anywhere now in the world. But the lesson I learned was to always trust the hairs on the back of your neck. I knew something was wrong before it happened. Now when I feel something isn’t right I turn around immediately. But I’m happy to say that in over 15 years of travel I’ve only had that one really scary encounter.
Best Adventures…what are your top 3 best travel adventures?
- A seven day trip white water rafting thru the Grand Canyon down the Colorado River thru the Grand Canyon
- 5 days in Cambodia exploring the ancient city of Angkor and visiting a fishing village of homes that are built on 15 foot stilts so that when the tide comes in the homes appear to float on water.
- Rio de Janiero-I fell totally in love with this city from its gorgeous beaches up into its mountain neighborhoods. It’s an urban adventure that includes an amazing city as well as natural show stoppers like Sugar Loaf and a rain forest.
Best Fall Destinations….any recommendations on best destinations for this Fall?
One of my favorites is Dutchess County in Hudson Valley New York. It’s breathtaking. Winding country roads that dip you deep into valleys where the foliage consumes you soon lift you above it all onto its hilltops to reveal a sweeping scene straight out of a painting from the Hudson River Valley School. It’s also known as horse country so you’ll see horses grazing on rolling pastures next to their immaculate barns. And then there are the homes that make you oooh and aaah as much as the fall colors. You can roll along enjoying the enchanting farmhouses with fishing ponds, federalist mansionettes and the turn of the century estates of those who once made a lot of money providing milk to NYC. Stop by the town of Millerton to sample teas at Harney’s, search for your next great book at the independent Oblong Bookstore and have lunch at a the local diner.
Where is Samantha off to Next?
I’m shooting The Trip for Travel Channel but can’t disclose the location!
MORE ABOUT SAMANTHA BROWN...
More on Samantha Brown…
Sharing the following from her website, click here
Samantha Brown was born in Dallas, Texas and spent her formative years growing up in New Hampshire. Normal travel back then was loading up the family station wagon to visit relatives in Pennsylvania. Her biggest international trip was driving across the border once to Canada for a Quebec family vacation in junior high school… Oh the things to come!
After falling in love with the performing arts in high school, Samantha decided to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in fine Arts from Syracuse University. The week after graduation Samantha moved to New York City, with her cat, to pursue her dream of being on the stage. Not surprisingly this lead to 8 years of waiting tables, auditioning and various roles in off to off off off Broadway productions.
How She Got the “Best Job in the World”
Samantha’s career as a television travel host happened by accident. A producer spotted her work in a commercial and recommended her to the Travel Channel in 1999 to audition for a new show being developed called “Great Vacation Homes”.
The audition almost did not happen… Samantha missed her first audition in Jacksonville, Florida after she failed to make a connecting flight. Thankfully It was rescheduled again for a week later. Her initial flight the second time was also delayed and Samantha had just five minutes to make her connecting flight. She sprinted to the gate and arrived 10 minutes after the final boarding call.
A sympathetic attendant encouraged Samantha to try to board the plane, so she continued her run on the tarmac toward the small 50 seater jet located about 100 feet away. A dispatcher interrupted her sprint, telling her it was too late to board.
Breaking down and through tears she told the dispatcher she had been waiting on tables for eight years hoping for a dream job like this. He relented, and told her only the flight’s pilot could overrule his decision. As the dispatcher boarded the plane and explained the situation to the cockpit, Samantha ran the 100 feet and positioned herself under the nose of the plane. She looked up at the captain, opened her arms pleadingly and shouted “PLEASE!!!!”
A decade of series followed, including Great Hotels, Girl Meets Hawaii, Passport to Europe, Passport to Latin America, Green Getaways, Passport to China, Great Weekends and Samantha Brown’s Asia. Samantha’s fun-loving style has made her a revered and engaging television personality whose approach is less expert, less host and more a person you would want to travel with.
Over the last 13 years, Samantha has traveled around the world visiting over 220 cities in 49 countries and 30 of the United States creating over 160 hours of programming (and counting). After all of that traveling she reluctantly accepts her title as a travel expert, preferring jokingly the more humble title of Travel Goddess.
She calls herself an airport geek and enjoys her time spent in them (unlike everyone else in the world). Once in an airport, she loves to check the large departure board for where people are traveling to. Even just seeing the names of exotic destinations like Istanbul, Casablanca and Jaipur make her want to travel more.
What Samantha enjoys most about travel is not necessarily the “must do’s” of a destination; visiting museums, castles and monuments. Her passion is to focus on the people, their culture, and the privilege of spending time in their everyday lives.
In 2011 Samantha debuted her stylish line of luggage on the Home Shopping Network. The line quickly became a “customer pick” and went on to be one of the top brand launches for the year. Living out of a suitcase for over a decade, Samantha has enjoyed designing luggage as well as accessory cases, handbags and a packing system that bring ease and elegance back into travel and remind people that when it comes to their life they should Go Ahead and Jump In!
Samantha welcomes clarifying an age-related issue that has been promoted on the Internet. Her Wikipedia page incorrectly states that she was born in 1969, one year earlier than her actual birth date. She would like to set the record straight that if she was going to lie about her age, it would not be by one year.
Typically, Samantha embraces the situation with humor. It’s a style that has endeared her to a large and loyal television audience.
Visit the Samantha Brown official website and find out more about world traveler and television host Samantha Brown. If you would like to keep up to date on her travels, please follow her on the various social media feeds as well as her newsletter!