TV host Samantha Brown shares top travel tips and trends ahead of 7th season of ‘Places to Love’ – The Points Guy

During her time as host of “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love,” Emmy-winning travel host Samantha Brown has sampled cheese and chocolate in Vienna, visited a turtle hospital in the Florida Keys and played rugby in Auckland, New Zealand, with a professional women’s rugby team.

These adventures represent only a handful of Brown’s experiences in the 74 countries (and counting) she has visited over the past 20 years. Out now on PBS, the Season Seven premiere of Brown’s show finds her in Darwin, Australia, where she receives a traditional Indigneous Australian welcome and visits the Mindil Beach Sunset Market for local eats and entertainment.

Indigenous Australian welcome ceremony in Darwin, Australia. SAMANTHA BROWN MEDIA

Through it all, Brown has remained steadfastly committed to highlighting the people who make a destination what it is while honoring their land, culture and traditions.

TPG spoke with Brown to learn more about the upcoming season of her show and to gather tips that can make our own travels more responsible and rewarding.

The trend toward sustainable tourism

“When you think of sustainability, there is always a lot of time and space given to nature and animals, but there is also this human storytelling component to it,” Brown told TPG. “Sustainability is such a huge term, and we try to define it in the series in its entire scope because sustainability can mean protecting the water, the mountain air and the animals, but we rarely talk about the sustainability of human beings and their stories.”

Clamming in Newport, Rhode Island. SAMANTHA BROWN MEDIA

When visiting new destinations for the show, Brown and her team demonstrate sustainable — or responsible — tourism by carefully choosing the right people to tell each story and considering how those people benefit from tourism.

“Our tourism dollars can make a huge change in places, for better or worse, so we always strive to do it for the better,” she said.

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For example, Brown and her family visited Juneau, Alaska, in Season Six. They learned about dog sledding from a third-generation musher and 2023 Iditarod champion, and they gained insight into the native Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of southeast Alaska at Sealaska Heritage. By focusing on the people who have been a part of that land for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years and patronizing businesses owned by those same people, Brown can present an authentic experience that benefits viewers looking for travel inspiration and the local community.

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Portland, Oregon’s International Rose Test Garden. SAMANTHA BROWN MEDIA

“We pride ourselves with this show that we don’t do anything that a normal traveler can’t experience,” Brown said. “We’ve already done the work for you so that you can have the same wonderful experiences that you see on the show.”

Even if you aren’t visiting one of the many destinations featured in “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love,” you can still incorporate these sustainable tourism practices into your own travels. How? By being mindful of your physical and cultural footprint when you visit a place and seeking out experiences that allow you to connect with a place and its people on a personal level.

Related: How to choose an Indigenous-led travel experience

This could be as simple as “going where the locals go,” according to Brown. “Inhabiting their spaces while also recognizing that those are their spaces can naturally bring you into more sustainable travel practices,” she added.

Tourism can — and should — support the people sharing their culture and traditions with you. Finding businesses and activities that honor this tenet will take some work on your part ahead of your trip, but planning can be part of the fun.

Related: 8 sustainable travel tips from expert green travelers

Travel is about connection

A walking tour in Melbourne, Australia. SAMANTHA BROWN MEDIA

For Brown, travel is really about the people.

“Travel is this beautiful thing that gives us the opportunity to connect with other human beings and understand one another,” she said.

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This notion goes hand in hand with seeking out authentic, diverse experiences, and it’s something all of us can do when we travel. Rather than sticking to a jam-packed itinerary where you hop from museum to museum (or spend all day posing for photos in front of Instagram-famous hot spots), leave room in your schedule for exploration, discovery and, ultimately, connection.

When you visit a local business, museum or attraction, strike up a conversation with the proprietor, a tour guide or a local resident. Not only can they steer you toward the best cup of coffee in town, but they can also help you gain a deeper understanding of the area’s history and traditions.

“In travel, we naturally open ourselves up to other people much more than we do in our daily lives,” Brown said. “We have more opportunities for these great interactions with people.”

Related: This new travel company will pair you with an expert local guide to plan the trip of your dreams

Enriching travel experiences on a budget

Visiting Route 66 on a road trip. SAMANTHA BROWN MEDIA

Brown is also a firm believer that travel is for everybody.

“If you make it about people, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have these experiences,” she said.

Related: How I spent $0 using points and miles on an epic Highway 1 road trip

The easiest way to travel on a budget is by looking within your own home state. You won’t need expensive plane tickets because everything is driveable.

“I traveled a lot when my kids were babies, and we just kept it simple by visiting destinations that were a couple of hours from our home,” Brown said.

Related: Here’s how you can visit national parks for free in 2024

She recommends considering your home as a “hub” and the potential destinations one to two hours from your home as the “spokes.” Your spokes may be the mountains, a lake, a cute small town or a national park.

“Even if you don’t go far, it’s a fresh start,” she said.

If you choose an affordable hotel and free or inexpensive experiences, you can keep the budget manageable. For example, national parks often offer free ranger-led programs that teach you more about the local flora and fauna and history of the area you’re visiting.

Should you decide to visit a new town, research the town’s history before your arrival. You may find it has a unique history that you can learn more about during your visit.

Related: How to travel on a budget: Here are our 22 top tips

Bottom line

“We travel because we want to belong,” Brown said. Through her show, Brown encourages travelers to “get away from thinking of themselves as a consumer and more of just a person wanting to communicate with the world and see themselves in it.” This way, we can have these more meaningful, enriching travel experiences.

If you are looking for some travel-planning inspiration, you can watch the first episode of the seventh season of “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love” now on PBS. New episodes — which will include visits to Canada, Israel, New Hampshire and Oregon, among other destinations — are released weekly.

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