Samantha Brown Interview

We were privileged recently to get to have the chance to speak with Samantha Brown at the Travel & Adventure Show in Washington, DC. Samantha Brown is a travel host and expert who’s taken us all over the world on the Travel Channel with shows like Great Hotels, Passport to Europe, Passport to Latin America and Samantha Brown’s Asia. She’s also designed a line of luggage for HSN and continues to be a very stylish traveler. Samantha Brown has been an inspiration for both of us and we were thrilled to get travel tips from the Queen of Travel herself. (P.S. Kari just wants to note that she’s as friendly, sweet and fashionable as she seems on TV, look at that dress!)

Samantha Brown Interview by The He Said She Said Experience
Samantha Brown with Kari and Baby G

Kari: We know that you are busy traveler, busy mom. How do you travel with your kids? What are some tips you have for parents traveling with young children?


Samantha Brown: I think the biggest fear is the airport and airplane experience. It was the biggest fear of mine, it still is. It makes even the most seasoned travelers feel like “I don’t know what we’re doing” but there are a few things that my husband and I did before hand that really helped. And that was we rehearsed the security line the night before. We rehearse the security lines. So our kitchen table becomes [the security line] we put a salad bowl for a bin. We train for this basically. “Who takes the bag?” “Who gets the computer?” “Who just holds the kids?” So you do that and you do better. As they get older, it gets better because now you’ve practiced it, and it becomes fun, and they’re doing something in the safety of their own home. They’re familiarized. It gets them to knowing what’s going to happen, what they’re going to do. Then they think the airport is an amusement park. There’s no reason to make them feel anything other than that. This is an adventure. “Make sure you have your teddy bear.” “Is your teddy bear here, and push it through.” “You go through a doorway and that’s the metal detector.” It’s kind of going through it and making it a play thing, so that when you get to the real experience everyone knows what they’re doing and it’s just kind of fun.


Kari: We are totally rehearsing that. I love a good dry run!


Samantha Brown: Another piece of advice I read and it does work. When you get that preboard for the child. Say you {RJ} go ahead right away with the car seat, and you {Kari} take Baby G down with the stroller and you’re {Kari} down on the jetway gathering things, because someone is always going to help you pull that stroller down, someone is always there, but you {RJ} get the car seat set up so that when you {Kari} walk in you just put Baby G in the car seat and there no waiting in line, being pushed. The older the kids are, even if they’re 2 and under, they’re on their feet, they’re exercising and then they go in at the last minute and everything’s set up for them. We do that with the twins. He goes in with two cars seats, set them up, and by the time I have the stroller down and the diaper bag here, we come on and the car seats would be ready, and they go down right away. It really works.


Kari: We’re remembering that.


Samantha Brown: And you’re {Kari} doing preboard too. You’re just kind of the late, packing things collapsing the stroller, bringing it on.


Kari: What are some essentials that you think are good to bring with you? I know there’s all kinds of baby gear that everyone says is really important when you travel.


Samantha Brown: I just go to the dollar store and get a grab bag of things to keep them busy. I think every child is different, but I’ve found that my children love stickers. Stickers, Stickers, Stickers. And they can put them on the back of the seat, on the windows. Even those big stickers, the jellies. Those are a huge hit. You get a cheap calculator for a dollar so they have buttons to push. Maybe they like sound, so something that makes little crunchy sound for them. All of the stuff that will keep them occupied, that they can play with. Obviously that changes as they get older and older. Once they get a certain age group where mine are at, books didn’t work at all, toys don’t work at all, it had to be new. If I brought something they liked from home, nah, weren’t interested.


Samantha Brown Interview by The He Said She Said Experience
If you ever get a chance to hear Samantha Brown speak at an event like the Travel & Adventure Show you’ll definitely be educated and entertained.

Kari: We know you’ve traveled to so many different destinations, and what I’ve always loved is your style. I look back on those episodes of Great Hotels from years ago and am like “That outfit still looks awesome” Your coat in Austria, the blue one, I love that coat! So what are some ways that you can maximize, because I’m looking to cut down my suitcase, what are some tips to be stylish, cultural appropriate, place appropriate. What are some tips you have?


Samantha Brown: I think you always have to know where you’re going and dress for that country. So if you’re going to Muslim countries, like in Southeast Asia, you need to cover up, no short shorts and tank tops. So that will dictate your wardrobe. Europeans always dress very nicely, so I dress really nice, in Europe. In South America it’s much more casual, you actually don’t want to dress overtly American. American register money, we’re all wealthy for some reason in their eyes. So just understand what the dress codes are and plan accordingly. I always stick to, my rule is I do 3 pairs of pants, 5 tops, and maybe a nice dress, and if you have that and all the tops and the bottoms match, you don’t have three outfits, you have 9 outfits, and you can interchange them. All we ever wear are jeans, dark jeans, maybe black slacks and a pair of khakis. So there’s no reason to bring three pairs of khakis, just bring three pairs of pants. I always have scarves and accessories will make an outfit. Like those earrings. (gestures to Kari’s earrings) If you had studs and a scarf, it’d be a very different outfit. So you don’t add bulk with clothing, you add looks and styles with accessories that take up little weight, and take up little space.


Kari: What are your top three places to travel to?


Samantha Brown: Berlin is one of my favorite cities in Europe. Cambodia is one of my favorite countries and I love Nicaragua too. They’re great places. I know one’s a city and two are countries.


RJ: Wow. They’re very different experiences it sounds like.


Samantha Brown: Yeah, and I think that what really defines them is that each place really represented a poor history. Nicaragua with the Sandinistas and the Iran-Contra affair, Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge, Berlin with World War II, and these are all places that are slowly, at some stage, some are further along than others, rising above that. Especially Cambodia, that was a 30-year war, finally ended, but it’s been 18 years, and they see Westerners as their sea change. Some of the people were so lovely. They want to get to you know, you want to get to know them. There’s a real mutual appreciation. Nicaragua’s the same thing, you just represented, okay, our luck is changing. You don’t get that when you go to Paris, because nobody cares that you’re in Paris. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but they don’t care.


Kari: People’s stories and accents, that’s what makes traveling exciting. I love art and I love culture, but I love people. I’m convinced more and more that there aren’t boring people. Wherever you are there’s always someone interesting.


Samantha Brown: There’s a way to get to know them, even with very little language between you. You can have a really great conversation. Sometimes English gets in the way, when you both speak English. There’s always a challenge when they spoke one language, I spoke another, and we had five words, but we would figure it out. It was really gratifying.


Kari: We have one last silly question for you.


RJ: If you were a superhero, which one would you be?


Samantha Brown: I have to go back to my Underoo days. I had Wonder Woman. She has an invisible jet. I could go anywhere. I wouldn’t have to fly commercial anymore. I’d have my accessories all set.


Kari: That’s perfect! You can’t beat that.


We’d like to thank Samantha Brown for proving our theory that she’s one the coolest people on earth and for giving us great tips for traveling with Baby G! With her advice we’re ready to seize the open road!


Just some more fun ways to keep up with Samantha Brown!
Just some more fun ways to keep up with Samantha Brown!

You can keep up with Samantha Brown and find out about her future projects on travels on her website.


(All images belong to The He Said She Said Experience)

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