Going Places

Matthew Brumley is the founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which organizes group travel to destinations around the world for various clients, including KNKX. "Going Places" is our new weekly travel segment exploring all aspects of getting from Point A to Point B.

Ways to Connect

David J. Phillip / AP

How do you fly with pets? Heading to the airport with a furry friend in tow often means new rules and regulations. Knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley looked into some best practices, and offers this advice:

Before You Book

Call your airline to make sure there’s room. Space for animals can be limited, both in the cabin and in the pressurized compartment below the passenger cabin.

Matt Long / Flickr

Seattle is within easy driving distance (less than five hours) of some serious wine country, whether it’s in eastern or central Washington, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, or parts of British Columbia.

There are hundreds of options to suit hundreds of tastes. There’s no way any list we’d assemble would be thorough enough to cover the whole region. So instead of asking knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley where we should enjoy our region’s wine country, we asked him how we should enjoy wine country.

Here’s his advice:

Drive There, Then Park It

Matthew Brumley / KNKX

When in Rome, they say, do as the Romans. It’s not bad advice in the Pacific Northwest, either.

Natalia Mandelli grew up and lives in Rome, where she’s a professional tour guide. She’s a colleague and good friend of our usual “Going Places” travel expert, Matthew Brumley.

Mandelli visited the United States last month, and spoke to 88.5’s Ed Ronco about going from tour guide to tourist.

Nick Ut / AP

Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, received a note from a listener named Jeremy with an unfortunate tale. Jeremy and family planned to travel to Europe. The flight was booked and there were still 86 days left on their passports -- far, far longer than the trip would take.

But when they arrived at SeaTac Airport, Jeremy says they were told they could not fly to France, because their passports were set to expire too soon. He writes:

Ed Ronco / KPLU

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley can list expensive destinations, none of which might surprise you.

“New York, London, Paris, any large city in Scandinavia,” he said, “Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai, and Seattle hotels in the summertime.”

Ha.

But lately there have been some surprises – places Brumley has known for years that have seen spikes in how much it costs to visit. That includes Havana, Cuba.

“Hotels that were $250 a night … are now charging over $550 a night,” he said.

Some Ideas For Saving Money On Your Next Vacation

Aug 18, 2016
btwashburn / Flickr

Traveling on a budget can be a challenge. Airfare often starts in the hundreds of dollars, and hotel bills can quickly get there. So can gasoline costs, if you're driving. Still, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says there are ways to save money while you travel, and in many cases, it can even enhance the experience. Here are some of his suggestions:

Apply Your Miles

Eric Shea / Flickr

Summertime in the Pacific Northwest means many of us are hosting relatives or friends from out of town. But how do you do that here? There are plenty of options, from outdoor adventures, to fine dining, to riding the ferry (seriously, if you don’t live here, it’s a pretty unusual thing to do).

This week in our “Going Places” travel segment – or maybe this week, “Staying Places” – KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley offers some advice on how to entertain visitors.

Matthew’s Advice

pfly / Flickr

A few weeks back, I mentioned on the air to KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley that I was hoping to escape to Washington's coast for a few days. Brumley offered up his suggestions on places I should try.

Not too long after, we had a listener appreciation party here at 88.5, and a listener named Jon Roanhaus asked if I'd taken the trip yet. When I said I hadn't, Jon asked for some scratch paper and quickly made a list of five good options.

Peter Dejong / AP

Travel involves tipping, from the airport shuttle to the hotel to the restaurants, and sometimes even the bathroom. KPLU travel expert talks about some of the places you might be expected to leave a gratuity.

Restrooms

In some places, you’ll find a bathroom attendant to offer you soap or a towel. Other public restrooms require a fee for entry, or a small fee to get toilet paper on your way in (we’re looking at you, Cuba). It’s a mostly thankless job, and your tip is always appreciated.

Chefs

Don Wilson / Port of Seattle

The world can feel dangerous these days.

The recent terror attack in Nice, France, and the attempted military coup in Turkey are just two recent examples. But KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it’s important to temper our fear with knowledge.

John Allen / Flickr

Usually, when we check in with our travel expert Matthew Brumley, he’s talking to us about some far-off destination that we need to reach by plane or boat or train. But this week on “Going Places,” he’s traveling by the book.

 

Below, find our favorite books that are either about travel, or make us want to travel. And add yours to the list, in the comments section at the end.

Matthew’s List

Michelle Lee / Flickr

Let’s be real: It is difficult to leave the Pacific Northwest in the summer. So we asked travel expert Matthew Brumley to find a place that’s nearby, but still feels like a good getaway from the hustle of daily life.

He talked to us from the town of Ganges, on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

 

Getting There

Grotta Giusti

Traveling can take a lot out of you. The flights, moving from city to city, trying to see everything — it can be exhausting. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says when he's on the road, he looks for opportunities to rejuvenate at spas and saunas. He estimates he’s been in about 70 of them, in 10 different countries.

His first time visiting a sauna was when he was living in Denmark, and some friends invited him to go with them to Sweden in the winter.

mout1234 / Flickr

This week on Going Places, we head to the south of France. It's popular among visitors from outside and within Europe, thanks in large part to its sunny and warm Mediterranean climate.

Danna Brumley is the wife of KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley, and the Brumley family Francophile.

“I studied the language. I worked at EuroDisney. I did everything I could to stay in the country,” she said.

Last year, she spoke to us from a cafe in the town of Arles, in France's famed Provence region.

Itinerary

Nickay3111 / Flickr

Washington has more than 150 miles of coastline from the top of the Olympic Peninsula down to the mouth of the Columbia River. And KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley it’s worth exploring, and can offer you a variety of experiences, whether you want big fancy hotels, or just some tent camping in a quiet place.

There are lots of ways to make this trip. South Sound residents will probably want to head through Olympia and then up the Olympic Peninsula. Brumley takes a northerly route, starting from Seattle.

A Culture Of Relaxation In Italy's Lake District

Jun 8, 2016
Matthew Brumley / KPLU

Picture it: You walk out onto a patio in the early morning hours. Some church bells chime in the distance. You sip coffee. In front of you: the Alps, soaring out of a huge lake, with the towns of Bellagio and Varenna at your feet.

This is life along Lake Como, in northern Italy's Lake District. This place has a distinctive feel, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

Rino Peroni / Flickr

Wine, in Italy, is more than something to accompany dinner; It's a cultural experience and a source of national pride.

So says Natalia Mandelli, a guide and sommelier in Italy, our special guest on this week's Going Places.

"I feel proud to be Italian when we talk about wine," she said. "When we think about red wine, we always talk about French wine. But Italy has a very big heritage of local grapes."

Where To Find Wine

Tatyana A. / Flickr

All month, we've been following KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley as he journeys through Europe. Below, you can hear him in the Hungarian capital, Budapest; the Tuscany region of Italy, and the Italian city of Bolgona. 

This week, we went back into the archives for one of our favorite episodes of "Going Places." Brumley was in Vienna, standing near a church, getting ready to tape his segment with KPLU's Ed Ronco, back in Seattle.

And then, the bells started:

Vienna, Brumley says, was the Seattle of the 19th century -- an epicenter of music, coffee, and culture. 

Surprises, Music, Lots Of Food In Italy's Bologna

May 19, 2016
Roberto Taddeo / Flickr

Bologna, Italy, was an early home to higher education and music in Europe -- and it remains an epicenter of both. That's where we find KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley for this week's edition of Going Places.

We reach him sitting in the Piazza Maggiore, which looks at the Basilica di San Petronio and the Palazzo d'Accursio. It's in the palazzo that you'll find one of Bologna's great surprises.

neiljs / Flickr

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley is working in Europe this month. He’s been with groups in Budapest, Hungary, and was just recently in Berlin.

“I was in a 1910 ballroom, hanging out with some cabaret singers,” he said.

He’s not kidding.

But now he’s changed his pace a little. After a 90-minute flight to Florence, Brumley finds himself in Tuscany. The places he’s visiting are outside the city, and smaller than usual tourist destinations. But he says they’re very much worth the detour.

Cities To Explore

Matthew Brumley / KPLU

The Hungarian city we now know as Budapest has seen a lot. Originally two cities, Buda and Pest, it was fought over for centuries by the Romans and the Ottomans, among others.

In World War II, it was partially destroyed by British and American bombings. But now, Budapest is a prime destination for visitors.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley called in from the deck of the MS Amadeus Brilliant, on the Danube River in the heart of the city.

James Melzer / Flickr

Here at Going Places world headquarters (really just the KPLU newsroom, but go with it, OK?) we're big fans of travel experiences that allow for some unexpected discovery. But it's still good to be informed about your destination before you arrive, says our travel expert, Matthew Brumley.

Here are some tips on how:

Read Local News And Listen To Local Music

Brumley downloads local radio station apps and reads local newspapers before he heads to a vacation destination.

For A Good Summer Getaway, Consider Staying Nearby

Apr 21, 2016
Cameron Birse / Flickr

The unseasonably warm weather of the last few days has KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley thinking about summer. Now is the time, he says, to start planning a summer vacation. And he says staying put in the Northwest is a great option.

This week, we offer advice for planning your trip, and a list of nearby getaways Brumley has found worthwhile.

Book Now, Cancel Later

Holland America

Christina Opalka has been researching travel trends for the cruise industry since the 1990s. This week, she offers her perspectives on why it’s worth your time to make your next vacation buoyant.

Not All Cruises Are The Same

There are megaships you can stay aboard for the entire trip, with restaurants, theaters, spas, pools and more. And then there are smaller ships focused on remote natural wonders, where you can get in a kayak with a guide and paddle near a glacier.

Natural Beauty And Turbulent History In South Africa

Apr 7, 2016
Matthew Brumley / KPLU

South Africa’s history includes apartheid, civil unrest, and political scandals. Just this week, President Jacob Zuma survived an impeachment vote on charges he used public money to upgrade his private home.

But the country is also a favorite among travelers, including our own travel expert Matthew Brumley, who was recently in Cape Town.

"I've been coming here for 10 years," he said, "and I'm going to figure out a way to move here at some point in my life. I'm sitting here looking at Table Mountain with what they call 'the tablecloth' over the top."

Chris Ford / Flickr

“I hope I miss my flight sometimes.”

Not words you expect to hear from a flyer as frequent as our travel expert, Matthew Brumley. But he's a huge fan of layovers, including those that begin when the pilot comes on and announces a flight delay before takeoff.

“I’m always very happy about that, because I’m thinking, ‘I think I’m going to miss my connection,’” he said. “I love layovers.”

It helps to know the city, or to even have friends there, Brumley said. But even if you don’t, a layover – accidental or planned – can be a great way to see a new place.

Brumley: 'Something Big Is Happening' In Cuba

Mar 24, 2016
Ramon Espinosa / AP

 

During his historic visit to Cuba this week, President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro -- and ordinary Cubans, who are about to see big changes in their country. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has visited the country dozens of times. In fact, he returned from his most recent trip the day before Obama arrived.

"Everywhere in Havana, they were desperately trying to fix everything," he said. "Ernest Hemingway's house was getting a fresh coat of white paint."

Ingmar Zahorsky / Flickr

Maybe it’s the busy primary election season that has us in this mindset, but we’ve been thinking a lot about voting lately. And our Going Places team wondered what it’s like in other parts of the world.

This week we hear from Danna Brumley, who is an experienced guide and world traveler, much like her husband, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

She and her family wound up in Costa Rica during an election once. She says the country is already festive for travelers, but on Election Day, it's like "New Year's Eve, all day long."

Don Wilson / Port of Seattle

[Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information about loopholes how airlines and travel websites deal with 24-hour cancelations.]

Finding a good deal on airfare can be tricky. The prices change quickly. There are conflicting reports on when airlines post their sales and specials. It all seems kind of arbitrary. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it’s all a matter of knowing where (and how) to look.

1. Shop Around

Screenshots

Way back when (you know, 10 years ago), travelers carried these things called guide books. Maybe some of them still do, but most of that information now lives in your smartphone. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has some favorites. Here they are:

1. KAYAK

What it does: The search website’s app lets you look for flights, car rentals, hotels and more.

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