Going Places

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

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Mandy Evans was just two days into her three-week vacation in the United Kingdom when it happened: searing pain in her abdomen at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night.

She stuck it out as long as she could, but by 5 a.m., the front desk of her hotel put her in a cab to St. Thomas’ Hospital in Central London. She was diagnosed with a gallbladder infection, and admitted to a ninth floor room.

“On the plus side, I ended up with views of Parliament and the London Eye (ferris wheel),” Evans said.

It was an inauspicious start to a long-planned holiday, and it’s an experience shared by countless travelers around the globe.

Matthias Leibing / Flickr

Germany's capital city of Berlin is one of the most international cities in Europe.

Lemsipmatt / Flickr

Bring up the former Yugoslavia in conversation, and most people won’t picture sunshine, beautiful seaside towns and great food. But KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says that’s exactly what you’ll find.

“The Adriatic (Sea) and the rocky coastline that goes from the top, by Trieste, all the way south to Dubrovnik, is so breathtaking it’s painfully gorgeous,” Brumley said.

5 Reasons To Consider A Vacation In B.C.

May 8, 2014
David Stanley / flickr

We could probably write a whole book on things to see and do in British Columbia. And many have. But KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says the reasons you should consider a trip to B.C. can be boiled down to five points:

Tano Pecoraro / AP

Italy is crowded these days, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

"From May through early October, it can be packed," he said. "Especially in those cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence."

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Imagine getting a $700 phone bill. It happened once to KPLU travel expert and tour guide Matthew Brumley.

“I was stuck in Capetown in a cable car, heading up to Table Mountain. And I had some things I needed to get done, and I had to call the office back in the United States,” he said.

What Brumley didn’t realize is that even though he wasn’t actively using his phone, it was still sending and receiving data.

Going On A Cruise? Try The Smaller Boats

Apr 17, 2014
Michael S. Nolan / www.wildlifeimages.net

If you want to kick back and relax without thinking too hard about your itinerary, your destinations or dinner, your best bet is a cruise aboard one of the big mainline cruise ships, no question. They all offer reasonably priced, all-inclusive getaways aboard a giant floating resort.

But if your style is to get active, get educated or get away from the crowds, then you might want to consider a smaller cruise line, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley. 

No Limes, And A Sense Of Perspective In The Air

Apr 10, 2014
Ed Ronco / KPLU

A shortage of limes is causing trouble for some airlines, according to a report by the Associated Press. Many carriers announced they would temporarily stop using limes during drink service aboard their aircraft. That includes Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, which estimates it goes through 900 limes a day. 

Some bloggers reacted to the news as though they'd just eaten a lemon instead.

"Diet Coke without lime is like Bert without Ernie," wrote Ben Schlappig, on the BoardingArea blog.

AP Photo/Millennium Hotels and Resort

One of the most intimating parts about travel is booking the hotel. So many choices — where to begin, and how to find a deal?

Follow these five easy steps, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley, and you’ll get the most bang for your buck.

Visiting The Parks: Avoid Campsite Loserdom

Mar 27, 2014
Jim Peaco / National Park Service

You know how it goes: You’re sitting around on a Wednesday afternoon, and you decide to take the family camping over the weekend. Maybe to a national park.

Well, here’s a confession from our own travel expert: He’s one of you.

“If you’re like me, you’re the dad who gets the Charlie Brown campsite,” Brumley said.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

There are seven countries in Central America, all smashed into a thousand miles of land between Mexico and Colombia. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says among those seven countries, you can find just about anything you want, from adventures in the wild to full-service resorts.

Knowing These Tips Can Save You Big Bucks On Airfare

Mar 13, 2014
J. David Ake / AP Photo

If you’re looking for plane tickets, you’ve probably spent time navigating various websites, wondering if there’s any rhyme or reason to how airfare is priced. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says there is, in fact, a method to the madness.

Matthew Brumley

The recent arrest of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is the latest volley in Mexico’s war on drug cartels. It’s also a reminder that the country is dealing with problems, including those that could easily scare off visitors.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

One of the unpleasant but important facts about travel is that tourists are often victims of crime. A tourist can be an easy mark for pickpockets, con artists and thieves. The crimes often come in forms you wouldn’t expect. 

“I’ve been a victim three or four times," said KPLU travel expert Brumley.

Sochi Has Us Dreaming Of A Trip To Russia

Feb 20, 2014
Jim Heintz / AP Photo

The Winter Olympics come to a close this weekend in Sochi, Russia. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley spent the games reflecting on his time in Russia. 

Brumley, who was once an exchange student in Moscow and worked on the the Trans-Siberian Railroad in the 1980s, says you should consider making the trip.

“It’s a time capsule,” Brumley said. “When you travel through Siberia, it’s as if someone set the clock back a hundred years.”

10 Tips On Understanding French Culture

Feb 13, 2014
Courtesy of Matthew Brumley

French President Francois Hollande's visit to the U.S. this week included mentions of the two countries' long-standing friendship, one that dates back to the American Revolution. But citizens of the two countries sometimes find themselves at odds.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley lived and worked in France early in his career. He says the French aren’t being rude. In fact, as a culture, they’re extremely polite. Knowing that before you get on the flight to Paris can make all the difference, and there are 10 easy tips to make sure things go well. But first, a story.

Matthew Brumley / Photo provided

Colder temperatures this week might have you thinking about warmer places than here. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley just got back from Cuba, and says going to Havana is easy and completely worthwhile.

Cuba Is Opening Up

It's true, Cuba is opening up, but it’s not completely open yet, says Brumley. You’ll need either a missionary license or people-to-people license, usually available through organized tour groups. Once you’re legal, though, the rest is easy.

Joe Kafka / AP Photo

So you go on vacation and your guide says he knows the best place to get leather jackets in Madrid. Or the best restaurant in all of London. Or maybe he’s getting a kickback from the business in exchange for shepherding tourists through the front door, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

What’s Wrong With That?

Two things, says Brumley say.  The stores they’re taking you to could have inflated prices. Also they’re wasting your time.

Noah Berger / AP File Photo

The tourism industry is one of the largest in the world. According to the United Nations, one out of every 11 jobs worldwide is related to tourism.

“When you travel, it has real implications for the people you’re visiting,” said KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley. “There are two sides to this: there’s the environmental side, and there’s the socioeconomic side that has to do with the people themselves.”

So how do you travel responsibly? Here are some tips from KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

Courtesy of Matthew Brumley

So, you're planning the next big family vacation. There are lots of questions to consider: Where to go, what to do, who to invite. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has these five tips for families looking to travel together.

Matthew Brumley

When Nelson Mandela died in December, the eyes of the world once again focused on South Africa. Earthbound Expeditions founder and KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it’s his favorite place on the planet, and worth a deeper look than the headlines can offer.

"It's a truly remarkable place. There's no other country I've been to on this planet that has more diversity," Brumley said. "The history is phenomenal. It dates back hundreds of thousands of years, and the culture is multiracial. It's the Rainbow Nation."

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