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.

Going Places is hosted by Ed Ronco and produced by KNKX Public Radio. 

Hit the road this summer toward the Canadian Rockies, says KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley
Ed Ronco / KNKX

So you want to get away for a summer vacation, but you'd rather not spend a fortune, and you'd rather not travel overseas. 

Head north, says KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley.

Dan Noon / Flickr

Ah, the summer road trip. Remember? Miles and miles of highway, stuffed into the backseat with the cooler, that extra suitcase that wouldn’t fit into the trunk, and the coffee mugs Dad forgot to bring inside before you left?

Growing up, year after year, you could count on staring at blurry trees and big green highway signs, uncertain if you’d ever be allowed out of the car again, or if you were just going to be rolling down the turnpike until you were 30.

And then you get to age 30, or 40, or 50, and you think: That was fun. Let’s do that again.

Ed Ronco / KNKX

This week on Going Places, we’re answering listener mail. Have a question of your own? You'll find a link to ask it at the bottom of this story.

Matthew Brumley / knkx

If you've been listening to Going Places long enough, you know how Matthew Brumley prefers to travel. He takes his dining advice from the bellhop, not the guidebook. He flies to a major city and then tries to get out of town and explore the countryside as soon as possible. And he talks to as many locals as he can.

Ryan Kang / AP Photo

The legal fight over President Trump’s travel ban is working its way through the courts, in part because of a lawsuit brought by Washington state.

The ban is suspended while that happens, but seeing the ban take effect a few weeks ago got knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley thinking about his own passport.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The snowfall earlier this week that blanketed much of Western Washington created some problems for travelers. Flights were canceled or delayed at Sea-Tac Airport as crews worked feverishly to clear runways. 

Ramon Espinosa / AP Photo

A delegation from Washington state recently visited Havana, on the first Alaska Airlines commercial flight to Cuba. Among the group of elected leaders and other dignitaries was University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce.

Dan Noon / Flickr

Travelers from the United States spend a lot of time abroad, mostly in Europe. Far fewer head to South America. KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley has five things everyone should see and do in two South American countries — Chile and Argentina:

Books Can Take You To Far Away Places, For Real

Jan 19, 2017
Ed Ronco / knkx

They say reading a book can take you far away. That’s usually a metaphor.

But for many, books inspire literal travel, to follow in the footsteps of great authors or stories.

“Literature is a really big pull for travel,” Brumley said. “Just think of the impact [Ernest] Hemingway has had on Havana. People are visiting his bars, and his house is stunning.”

Ed Ronco / knkx

Last week on Going Places, we talked about the ethics of traveling to countries with oppressive regimes, or whose governments might have tense relationships with the United States.

It got us thinking more generally about being a responsible traveler. Most of it comes down to just being a kind and thoughtful person. But knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley has some specific tips to help you travel responsibly:

Ed Ronco / knkx

Previously on our Going Places segment, we've discussed visiting places like Russia, North Korea and Cuba. In fact, we talk about Cuba a lot, in part because it's changing so quickly.

All three countries have varying levels of tension with the United States. And travelers often wonder: Am I doing the right thing by visiting? 

Composite image / Various sources

Knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley will not give you a list of places to go in 2017. It’s not you; it’s him. He hates lists.

“I don’t know who’s writing them. I don’t know who these experts are,” he said. “To be honest with you, I think it’s a bunch of baloney.”

There are a few reasons for this. Let’s, uh, put them in a list:

Hacienda La Colora / Flickr

Once upon a time, traveling overseas meant it was difficult to call back to the United States, unless you carried a calling card or wanted to pay exorbitant fees. That’s not the case anymore.

This week on Going Places, special guest Tyson Verse tells us some of his recommendations for keeping in touch while traveling. Verse is a tour leader who spends a lot of time in Asia.

Provided by the Senior Nomads

About four years ago, Debbie and Michael Campbell were sitting around the house with their daughter, Mary, who lives in Paris and was visiting Seattle for the holidays.

They were talking about what Debbie and Michael might do in their retirement. Travel was at the top of the list.

“She asked us if we had ever heard of Airbnb, which we had not,” Michael Campbell said. “So she promptly opened up her laptop and gave us a little tour.”

Tyson Verse / Earthbound Expeditions

Thailand has become a hub of tourism in Southeast Asia. Tyson Verse has traveled there extensively as a tour arranger and guide. 

"There's nothing like a nice evening stroll with a little mix of curry-scented air with exhaust from the tuktuk three-wheeled taxis floating by," he said. "It's magic."

He's our special guest on this week's Going Places.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

The death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro topped international headlines this week. What happens now to Cuba? We called our friend Alejandro Infantes, a tour guide in Havana, for a look at what’s going on there right now, and what the future might hold for his country.

Faungg / Flickr

So many people help us get where we need to go when we're traveling. Highway workers. Rest stop workers. Ticket agents. Flight attendants. Bus drivers. Pilots. Ramp workers. Baggage handlers. The list goes on and on.

This Thanksgiving week, we're listening back to a 2014 conversation about gratitude, between knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley and 88.5's Ed Ronco.

Daniel Peckham / Flickr

This is a story about a missed flight and a new friend.

Matthew Brumley, our knkx travel expert, was trying to get home from Munich, via Amsterdam. But between a de-icing delay on the ground in Germany, and some extra security steps he had to take with his luggage in Amsterdam, Brumley missed his connection.

cheukiecfu / Flickr

Thanksgiving week marks the opening of the holiday travel rush. Back in 2014, Ed booked a flight to Michigan scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving. Foolish mortal.

“Don’t do that,” said knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley.

It’s not SeaTac Airport’s busiest time of the year (that’s summer, they say), but it’s pretty close. In this encore presentation of "Going Places," knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley offers tips to make it manageable.

(And yes, you can bring pie!)

1. If Possible, Travel On Thanksgiving Day

Matthew Brumley / knkx

The last time Matthew Brumley was in Prague, we talked about the city itself. It has an incredible history, astonishing architecture, and great food. But Brumley says there’s a lot outside Prague worth seeing, too. And the best time to do it is in the fall.

Bohemia and Moravia

Bohemia is centered on Prague. The region full of rolling hills is famous for castles and villages, carp ponds, and, of course, beer.

Katie / Flickr

When knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley was a student in Copenhagen in the mid-1980s, he says no one knew much about Halloween. But that is changing. Brumley has been overseas for about 15 Halloweens, and has watched it catch on, gradually.

Why?

“It’s Hollywood,” he said. “It’s the exportation of American traditions.”

Maybe it’s not the movie industry specifically. But as American popular culture spreads around the world – through films, music, the internet and more – so do our traditions.

A replica of the Oval Office is one part of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
Mark Weston / Flickr

As the nation prepares to pick its next president, we thought we’d take a moment and get some perspective on the people who’ve already held the job.

Knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley says he loves visiting presidential libraries and museums. There are 13 official presidential libraries, and a host of museums dedicated to past presidents.


Dave Nakayama / Flickr

This time of year makes us think of a particular scene in the NBC television series "The West Wing," in which President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is recording his weekly radio address.

“The weekends will be devoted by many of you to leaf peeping, and football …” he says, his voice trailing off as the engineer stops recording.

Catchpenny / Flickr

No one travels alone. Even if you're a party of one during your journey, we all rely on others to get where we need to go. This week, we offer two stories from knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley -- one about needing help, and the other about paying it forward.

Needing Help

A Road Trip Along California's Rugged Coastline

Sep 29, 2016
Michael Theis / Flickr

The towns of coastal California are great escapes. Far from the gridlocked expressways of San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco, they provide relaxing time without the crowds.

But knkx travel expert Matthew Brumley says for him, this trip is all about being behind the wheel of a car.

“It is one of the great drives on the planet,” he said, from a stop in San Luis Obispo. “Today when I was driving, I could see surfers just bobbing out in the waves, and I was longingly looking at them.”

Not Expensive, Unless You Want That

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.

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