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.


The Spanish city of Barcelona sits on the Mediterranean coast, just a couple hours’ drive from the French border. More than 1.6 million people call it home, and it’s the capital city of Catalonia, an autonomous region that, lately, has been pushing for independence from Spain.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it’s also worth your time as a vacation destination.

J Pat Carter / AP Photo

Most of us can neither fix nor fly airplanes. So when a flight is delayed or canceled, there's very little most passengers can do about it.

Alessandra Tarantino / AP Photo

Credit cards are essential travel tools for many. But they’re also targets for thieves and also easy to lose. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says the most important thing is not to panic. 

Nick Kenrick / Flickr

A fax arrived at KPLU not too long ago, claiming to be from the “HR Department.” Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.

How Many Of These 50 Must-See Cities Have You Seen?

Sep 4, 2014
Nathan Nelson / Flickr

Have you been to New York? How about Lalibela, Ethiopia? Or Siem Reap, Cambodia? Those are three of the cities on a list titled “50 Cities To See In Your Lifetime.”

KPLU is going to Cuba this winter! Our previous tour was so popular we are offering two different trips, departing Jan. 24 and Feb. 7. Discover music, culture, art and dance in beautiful Cuba! Don't delay spots will fill quickly.

Click here for the full itinerary and pricing.

Valentina_A / Flickr

The holidays are still a ways off, but if you’re thinking of heading out of town for Christmas — and not to a relative’s house — now is the time to plan.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has spent about 10 holiday seasons outside the country. This year, he’s taking his family to Costa Rica, and they plan to exchange inexpensive gifts from the local crafts market.

Farm Stays And Urban Adventures In New Zealand

Aug 21, 2014
AP Photo/Tourism New Zealand

It could be argued that New Zealand bears at least a mild resemblance to the Pacific Northwest. It’s got rugged terrain, lush vegetation and, of course, plenty of water nearby. But that’s where the similarities end.

“When it’s dark and cold, and gray and depressing here, it’s absolutely stunning and sunny there,” said KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

Its placement in the southern hemisphere makes Seattle’s winter the perfect opportunity to enjoy a New Zealand summer.

Andy Simonds / Flickr

We hate to say it, but the end of summer is near. But you know, autumn isn’t half bad around these parts, and there are plenty of places for quick, easy and affordable getaways. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has some suggestions. 

Culture, Wildlife Await You In Diverse India

Aug 7, 2014
Molesworth II / Flickr

India is a natural wonderland and also host to some of the world’s busiest cities. Its 1.2 billion people make it the second most populous country on Earth, and it’s second only to the United States for the number of people who speak English.

Why You Should Take Your Hobbies With You On Vacation

Jul 31, 2014
AP Photo

Traveling, whether around the globe or across the state, doesn’t have to be all about food, lodging and tourist attractions. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it also can be about trying familiar things in new places.

First of all, this advice isn’t for everybody. If you want to see the sights, lounge around the pool or the beach, or spend the day in museums, by all means, go for it. Those are great things to do on vacation.

But for travelers who enjoy blending in, and almost becoming a local, bringing your hobbies along on vacation can be worthwhile.

5 Tips For Using Your Frequent Flyer Miles

Jul 24, 2014
cheukiecfu / Flickr

If you get on a commercial airliner more than a few times of year, the chances are pretty good that you’re building up frequent flyer miles, either through your credit card or an airline, or an airline’s credit card. 

Whatever the case, when it comes time to redeem those miles, things can get tricky. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has a few tips.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

A pod of orcas makes its way across Elliott Bay. A small seal basks in the sunlight. Children are sailing in Bainbridge Island’s Eagle Harbor, a cruise ship is pulling out of port, and over near Blake Island, the smell of wood smoke makes its way out over the water. Just another summer day in the Puget Sound.

Ours is an area surrounded by water, which not only provides great nature and excellent scenery, but serves as a big liquid highway to a variety of quick and easy getaways. Most of these locations are accessible by road, but our focus here is on using the water.

Zengame / Flickr

Don't be ashamed. We all procrastinate. The car needs an oil change. The living room needs to be vacuumed. And you still haven't planned your summer vacation.

We can't help you with the first two, but if you're still looking for a getaway this summer and finding no available reservations, read on. 

Ed Ronco

Matthew Brumley had researched his rental car in advance, found a good deal and booked early. Then he got to the counter in Cabo San Lucas, and the clerk asked him if he had insurance. He told her he did, but she insisted he needed extra coverage.

“That slapped on another $30 a day,” said Brumley, KPLU's travel expert. “Then there were taxes and VAT charges.”

Ed Ronco

When you drop below the clouds as you fly into Ireland, it’s as if you’re looking down at a great rock draped in a velvet green blanket. The Emerald Isle is famous for those rich green hues, as well as music, poetry and whiskey.

But Ireland has a newer claim to fame, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley: its food.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Here’s how not to do it: 8 a.m.: breakfast, 9 a.m.: Eiffel Tower, 10 a.m.: Arc de Triomphe, 12 p.m.: lunch in nearby café, 12:30 p.m.: Louvre, 3 p.m.: Notre Dame, and so on.

That's too much, too fast, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

“We approach everything with our giant list, and we feel we’ve had a successful day if we’ve checked everything off,” he said. “We become trophy hunters.”

When In Rome: The Value Of Blending In On Vacation

Jun 5, 2014
Zione / Flickr

Yes, it might be a cliché by now: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." But the old proverb is true, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley. When visiting the Italian capital, the best way to experience it is to blend in.

youkaine / Flickr

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.