Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Armchair Traveler?

What a dilemma – I am between trips, no pro-tem calls, and a man without any other hobbies except travel planning, travel dreaming, travel literature, and of course going traveling. What is a guy to do? I found out that you can feed the travel fix with traveling on television. Although there are not a lot of choices, the programs that are about travel do show up on a daily schedule. Well, we do have to exclude the food shows and RV shows (the preferred travel companion will not be caught dead in a motor home, as that is just another way for a spouse requirement of cooking and cleaning). However, I have found four shows that do make me want to go traveling and they all have separate pluses and minuses. If you like to travel, or dream about travel, check out the following:

Rick Steves’ Europe – I have been watching Rick travel around Europe and give travel advice for years. He is kind of like an old traveling companion. He is a PBS favorite and often can be seen on those pledge marathons to support public television. I have to admit that I have supported PBS on occasion in order to get his current travel books, which have become a staple of our European travels. Rick and his team have now produced over 70 programs and have built his travel writing, tours, and filming into a travel empire out of the store in Edmonds, Washington. You can find his books on every European country, and the touring bible, Europe through the Backdoor, at any bookstore or on his website. The books are updated every year. Rick Steves’ website is excellent, giving travel updates, traveler feedback, and plenty of advice and suggestions. The website travel “store” also shows all his books, maps, travel gadgets and luggage. Check it out at

Globe Trekker – Globe Trekker is quite a contrast from any of the other programs that are mentioned herein. This series is titled as adventure travel, but it really is travel on the cheap and is hosted and narrated by young travelers in their 20’s and 30’s, who do a lot of traveling on buses and in the back of pickups. These shows are interesting because they get into a lot of locations and situations that you won’t see on the other programs. The series has now been on television for six seasons, with number seven coming up. The company producing the show markets the program on either PBS or the Travel Channel, depending on the market. Each show is an hour in length and shows destinations all over the world. To see what is offered, the destinations, the narrator-travelers, and where you might find it on the TV dial go to

The Seasoned Traveler with George Bauer – This is the newcomer of the group and is aimed at the older more mature traveler (define this as the baby boomer generation with money). Each program has segments on favorite food, favorite hotels, and favorite drinks. The programs can be from anywhere in the world and includes a lot of United States destinations. They have even had a program on RV’ing (shudder). On the website at you can learn about George, the available episodes and the station list. It is produced by KCTS, the PBS station in Seattle. George has also published a book available on the website, titled The Seasoned Traveler: a Guide for Baby Boomers and Beyond.

Samantha Brown – When our cable company in Chelan finally gave us more than 30 channels, we received the Travel Channel and I discovered Samantha Brown. I have to admit that I am a sucker for a cute, blonde, perky, female travel host with a great sense of humor. On the Travel Channel you can see her usually twice a day (previous shows) with the new shows appearing on Friday night. Her two series are called Passport to Europe and Passport to Latin America. I think she is a very popular feature on the Travel Channel and she also does other specials such as cruising, favorite hotels, and U.S. destinations. My favorite travel companion enjoys Samantha because of her upscale clothing and high end hotels. This is not a frugal traveler! The Travel Channel website has a lot of options for learning from Samantha, to include her hotel recommendations, travel blog, travel guides, podcasts, travel journals, and fan wiki (whatever that is!). All of Samantha Brown’s information, and all the other shows featured on the Travel Channel can be found at

So if that vacation isn’t in the cards this year, just settle into your favorite lounge chair and grab the channel changer.

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