April 20, 2022

Travel Hacks for Planning Your Best Trip Ever

#53: Award-winning travel journalist Brandon Presser shares advice on choosing accommodations, critical factors to consider when planning a trip, his top travel hacks, and his favorite off-the-beaten-path points of interest. He also discusses his traveling philosophy and shares his top lesser-known travel destinations!

Brandon Presser (@brandpress) is a freelance features writer and travel expert. He’s written 50+ travel guidebooks, contributes to numerous influential publications, and can be seen on Bravo's television series, Tour Group where he led a group of eclectic travelers around the world. He recently released his latest book: The Far Land: 200 Years of Murder, Mania, and Mutiny in the South Pacific.


Selected Links From The Episode

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Connect with Brandon Presser: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Brandon’s Work:

Brandon’s Hospitality Jobs:

Madagascar Club Sandwich: Le Pavillon de l'Emyrne

Japan Recommendations:

Book mentioned: Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending

Travel Shoes: Palladium

Iceland Recommendations:

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Full Show Notes

What most people get wrong about the way they travel and plan vacations (1:25)

Advice about travel planning and critical factors to consider when choosing your destination (1:59)

What's so fulfilling about authentic travel (4:04)

Why having a ‘checklist’ may not result in the most meaningful travel experience (5:28)

The most effective (and non-insulting) ways to show generosity while traveling (9:27)

Authentic travel experience versus a ‘commercial vacation’ (10:44)

A career as a fixer and advice for finding a trip planning guide (13:36)

Writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet (16:10)

How social media has changed travelers’ need for guidebooks and review sites  (18:11)

The importance of using your instincts, hotel concierges, and online resources (21:14)

Having stayed in 3,000+ hotels, Brandon offers advice on what to look for in a ‘nice’ hotel (27:02)

“I want the amenities in the room to be thought through and I don't want people to skimp on a crappy Q-tip. I want a good Q-tip.” (29:39)

Using a quality rating metric of club sandwiches! (29:51)

Why Japan, as a destination, is always at the top of Brandon's list (32:20)

The downsides of a career in travel writing, and even living in incredible places, especially on someone else’s dime (37:43)

Favorite luggage and travel footwear (39:32)

Finding the balance between taking photographs and being fully immersed in your travel experience (41:48)

“I don't want a photo that someone's already taken a better version. I want to capture my moments of serendipity,  that's what I use photography for"  (43:50)

Capturing a moment of incredible juxtaposition in Kyrgyzstan (42:48)

Brandon distills his favorite travel hacks (44:00)

Alternative cost-effective travel locations (45:42)

Why traveling within “our regional bubbles” will be more accessible right now and in the near future (52:31)

Brandon’s bucket list of travel destinations (54:08)

What constitutes a true ‘visit’ for the purpose of country counting (56:51)

Working high-end hospitality jobs at Nobu, The Plaza, and Barneys (57:21)  

Brandon on his search for ‘Eloise moments’ (01:00:41)

Top tips and tricks from years in travel service (01:03:51)

How carrying tokens of gratitude can affect your travel experience (01:07:54)

The Far Land: 200 Years of Murder, Mania, and Mutiny in the South Pacific (01:10:06)

Travel Recommendations for Iceland and Japan (01:15:40)

Where to find Brandon online (01:19:42)




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