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Travel

Go Away With ... Pauline Frommer

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Like her father, Arthur, Pauline Frommer writes travel guidebooks. She also hosts the nationally syndicated radio program, "The Travel Show" with her dad. But when she was a teenager flying around the world with her parents, Frommer wasn't always enamored with the travel lifestyle. "I dreaded going on trips with my parents," says the fortysomething New Yorker. "I found it very difficult to be away from my friends. And since my parents were travel writers, a lot of what we did when we traveled was fact checking, which can be dull, if you're not the one doing the checking." Fans may follow her on Twitter (at)frommerstravel.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. Frankly, I find it impossible to pick just one place! That would be like saying, "I'm only going to eat pizza for the rest of my life." Sometimes I prefer city visits, other times the mountains enthrall me. I do find that I'm most fond of the last place I've been, if that helps.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Taiwan was a surprisingly fascinating place to visit. Because it didn't suffer through the Cultural Revolution, as mainland China did, it has a robust religious life and visiting the temples there is just fascinating. Plus, the food in Taiwan is really, really incredible and unusually varied, since it takes as its influence cuisines from across the mainland of China, Japanese food and the foods of the 17 indigenous tribes of the island.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. I have no idea if I loved my first trip because I was only four months old! Every year, my parents went to Europe to update the book, "Europe on $5 a Day." When they did so with me in tow as an infant, they joked that they should name the title of the book to "Europe on Four Diapers a Day."

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. That depends on the season. In the summer months, there's nothing like slipping away to the Berkshires, because there are so many great theater and music festivals there. In the winter, if I get away -- and I usually don't since I host a nationally syndicated radio show on Sundays -- it's to Philadelphia or Washington, D.C., to go museum hopping.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?

A. I was recently in Belize and stayed in a charming place called the Parrots Nest Lodge (http://www.parrot-nest.com/). It was very cheap, they loaned guests inner tubes so you could float down the river that abutted the back yard and a number of the rooms were in tree houses. Plus, the family that ran it was really lovely, as was their daughter who played with my daughters. It's always a plus to have kids around!

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. New York, Barcelona, Beijing, San Francisco and Rome

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. Well, I'm heading off to Morocco later today. Very excited as I've never been there before.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. A good book, contact lens solution and extra contact lenses, chargers for my devices -- since I usually have to work from the road -- and a meal for the plane.

Q. What would be your fantasy trip?

A. Well, I'd love to visit Antarctica on a cruise where I'd be guaranteed no seasickness. But that's a real fantasy since the Drake Passage is notorious for rough waves and I get seasick easily.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A. I read a lot! Guidebooks, of course, but also works of history and novels set in the destination I'll be visiting. "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie was a wonderful book to prepare me for India and I'm loving "The Sheltering Sky" by Paul Bowles in preparation for my Moroccan trip.

(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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