Travel Style: Pauline Frommer

Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.

Pauline Frommer

Name: Pauline Frommer

Occupation: Travel Writer, Editor and Radio Talk Show Host

Hometown: New York

Residence: New York

Website: Frommers.com/pauline

Twitter: @PaulineFrommer

How often do I fly: Several times a month

How many countries: I have no idea! I started traveling with my guidebook writing parents at the age of 4 months, so was country hopping well before I was able to keep lists.

How many continents: 5

Favorite American city: My hometown of NYC

Favorite International City: Difficult question! Right now its Barcelona, but that could change

Least Favorite Country: I’ve never met a country I haven’t enjoyed. Truly!

Favorite World Heritage Site: It’s very had to pick just one world heritage site. The most recent one I visited was Tikal in Guatemala and I can honestly say that if the Mayan prediction about the world ending in 2012 is correct, I don’t think I’d mind so much if I could see it all fall apart from the top of one of those incredible pyramids. (PS: The Mayans actually didn’t predict the end of the world in 2012, though it is suspicious that Snookie’s baby is due to arrive on the exact date that the current Mayan calendar ends).

Favorite Airline: Don’t have one. I see airplanes strictly as vehicles for getting from point A to point B and try  not to obsess over them

Favorite aircraft type: Those that remain airborne

Aisle or window: Aisle

Favorite Airport Lounge: I fly economy, so don’t have access to airport lounges. Would rather use miles and money for trips, not upgrades.

Favorite US Airport: Any one I can get into and out of quickly. As I said, the flying part of the trip isn’t key for me.

Favorite International Airport: See above

Favorite Hotel: Really enjoyed my recent stay at the Parrot Nest Lodge in San Ignacio, Belize. It was very rustic, quite cheap, but with such a lovely spirit to it (not to mention wonderful hosts, an unofficial zoo on property made up of the owner’s wonderful pets and a serene location). I’m not sure it’s my favorite hotel, but I did enjoy my time there.

Favorite Cruise Line: Don’t have one

Favorite Island: I like the Isle of Manhattan, for obvious reasons. I’m also mad for Sicily (such extraordinarily kind people, astounding sites from so many centuries, and oh! the food) and Bali (for eye-candy scenery and culture, it’s hard to beat).

Favorite Fancy Restaurant: Pierre Reboul in Aix en Provence. It features cutting edge molecular gastronomy, so the meal’s a bit like a magic show. At my recent dinner there, we began with arugula ice cream pops and foie gras creme brulee and ate provencal fish soup formed into a solid bar. Beyond being extremely creative the food is truly delish. A very worthy splurge.

Favorite hole in the wall: Num Pang, NYC. Terrific bahn mi sandwiches on a menu that changes near monthly.

Favorite fruit: Mango

Favorite food: Cheese

Least Favorite Food: Blue cheese

Drink of Choice: Manhattans (clichéd, I know)

Favorite Travel Movie: Midnight in Paris or Up In The Air

Favorite Travel Show: Amazing Race

Favorite Travel Books: The Frommer guides, of course!

Right now I’m reading: Postwar by Tony Judt, an eye-opening history of Europe from the end of World War II through 2000. It will change the way you look at the modern world, I promise.

Five things you bring on a plane: Fuzzy socks, a good book, my carry-on luggage (I never check), a meal, contact lens solution

What you always seem to forget: I try to use up my foreign currency, especially coins, before I leave a country, but always find some after a trip tucked away in a strange place. I then vow to bring it the next time I return to that part of the world and inevitably forget.

From duty free store: Nothing. After moving recently I realized that I’ve accumulated too much stuff over the years and that having too much is a sort of trap (I’m tired of living with piles). So I’ve made a vow not to buy anything new until I get rid of something old.

Favorite travel I-Phone app: Xpense Trkr. I photo my receipts rather than carrying them around and am able to input my travel expenses quite quickly. Makes doing taxes much easier (since I try to write off as much of my travel as possible).

Worst travel moment: When my then 8-year-old daughter got stuck in the middle of a zipline in Costa Rica and was dangling several hundred feet off the ground, screaming her head off in panic. The guide was able to shimmy out and get her, and she ended up loving ziplining,  but I’ve never felt as irresponsible as a parent before. That was a terrible moment.

Dream Destination: South Africa. I’ve never been and am dying to go.

Favorite website: My baby: Frommers.com

Best Travel Tip: Don’t be scared of getting lost in a new destination. You usually find the most wonderful things and meet the loveliest people when you do.

Johnny Jet

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About the Author

Johnny Jet

I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

5 Comments on "Travel Style: Pauline Frommer"

  1. I’ve lived in Belize for 6 years and haven’t heard of the Parrot’s Nest. Need to check that out. Lots of good information.

  2. Johnny and Pauline, interesting interview but too many cop-outs in the answers. As a travel writer (both of you), I would expect to see definitive answers. Favorite airline: Don’t have one. Least favorite country: I haven’t met one I didn’t like. Both answers really inspire me to want to travel. Come on and answer the questions even if they aren’t the most politically correct responses given your current writing/blogs. Johnny you shouldn’t have allowed Pauline to give cop-out answers.

    People value your opinion and expect you to say something and back it up. That doesn’t necessarily make the other responses less favorite. In all your travels you must have had a bad experience somewhere that may or may not have been tied to the country or exceptional service on an airline that might be worthy of note. Be opinionated!

  3. Hi Kevin,
    You seem to have missed the point of those answers. I am very opinionated; read my columns and books and you’ll see that. But I truly don’t consider air travel to be the “meat” of the travel experience, and think too many travelers obsess over it unnecessarily. I don’t, so I don’t have a favorite airline. I try to sleep when I’m on a plane so that I can save my strength for on-the-ground experiences. And I’ve slept equally poorly on JetBlue, United, Delta and every other airline you can name. I don’t find many substantial differences one to the next, and so go with whichever can get me to the destination the cheapest, so I can spend my money on experiences in the destination. That’s what really count in my book and a lesson I hope to pass on to other travelers. To say that Airline X, Y or Z is so much better than others would be lie in my book. Airplanes are simply a way of getting from point a to point b.

    As for having a least favorite country: maybe I’m a Pollyanna, but I truly have never disliked an entire country. I always have experiences that excite me when I travel, wherever I travel. I don’t think this has anything to do with being “politically correct”. It has more to do with being open. In the last six months I’ve been to Wales, Israel, Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, France, Canada and to cities across the US. They each had their pleasures. Belize challenged my physically like I’ve never been challenged before and that was exciting (I rappelled down 300 foot cliffs, scrambled through caves and had other adventures with my daughters). Israel prompted soul-searching about my identity that I can’t sum up in a sentence here, but that proved life changing. St. Vincent and the Grenadines was idyllically beautiful and relaxing. France was gluttonous (both in terms of art and food) and exciting, as I was there during the recent elections. Each of these countries touched a different part of me and didn’t dislike any of them.

    Anyway, I’ve written far too much here. Hope that clarifies my answers.

    Best,

    Pauline

  4. Thanks for your comment! While I understand the point you are making, knowing Pauline, I know her answers aren’t cop-outs. But I appreciate your feedback. As you know we interview a ton of frequent flyers for Travel Style so you’re sure to get a variety of responses and opinions.

  5. Pauline and Johnny, thanks for your candid responses that filled in a lot. Keep writing about your travels.

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