Travel Tips from Pauline Frommer

At a  DC Travel and Adventure Show I was fortunate to spend 5 minutes each with Pauline Frommer and Samantha Brown. They are two of the most prominent and well-known travel experts and they have so much knowledge to share.

travel expert Pauline Frommer at a book signing
Pauline Frommer signing books, from

Pauline Frommer gave two talks. Here are some fantastic tips from her first talk, “Travel Smarter: When to Splurge and When to Scrimp.”

Individual preferences vary, of course. Pauline polled the audience for each travel category and there usually was a good division between scrimping and splurging. She even admitted to disagreeing with her father, Arthur Frommer, on one category (which one? see below):

Travel Tips From Pauline Frommer

  • Lodging. Scrimp. With alternate lodging and home exchanges, in particular, you can get greater value for less money. Two resources she uses are and; use the overlay map with categories such as food (good) or vice (avoid).
  • Airfares. Splurge (involuntarily). She suggests buying airfares now as expectations are that airfares will continue to increase. For airfare searches, Pauline likes and For business class flights, she suggests using and
  • Car Rentals. Scrimp. Look for firms that do not annually turn over their inventory. Mom and pop agencies can be found on Pauline also suggests using Autoslash and Priceline/Hotwire.
  • Sightseeing. Splurge. Look for small group adventure tours rather than anyone using a bus. “If a bus is involved, it will be a big tour company.” She particularly likes Gap Adventures (now G Adventures), Intrepid, Adventure Center, and Djoser. These companies use local transportation and stay in local guest houses. Per day rate is on the order of $50 instead of $200 for bus company.
  • Food. Depends. Sometimes street food is preferable and sometimes you want to take advantage of world class chefs. Pauline suggested signing up for and using Groupon and Living Social. “NEVER ask a concierge for a dining recommendation.”
  • Cruises. Scrimp. This is where Pauline and her father differ. He likes to splurge on cruises. Pauline says to use public transportation to visit excursions and save a ton of money–and avoid the crowds. An example she cited was visiting the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska ($80 cruise fee or $3.50 public bus). Some resources with discounted excursions include and

How about you? Do you scrimp wherever possible? Always splurge?

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4 thoughts on “Travel Tips from Pauline Frommer”

  1. Nooooo! Don’t tell me flights are expected to get even more expensive! I was hoping gas prices would go down by the end of the year when I plan to start doing a lot of flying! Love the article though. 😉

  2. I love reading about travel tips considering I am on a one year journey across the country to find the true America. I am scrimping all along the way while trying to find lodging and jobs in each of the respective cities. Thanks again!

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