Arthur Frommer's Talk at the BPL
“I would rather die than travel anywhere in a motor coach with 45 other people.”

This evening, as part of the Lowell Lecture Series at the Boston Public Library, I had the chance to hear Arthur Frommer talk about travel. Not really sure what to expect, I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation.

Basically, he talked about “the mechanics of travel” which included 10 or so positive developments in travel as well as some negative travel trends. To summarize, basically each of the positive travel trends dealt with the fact of the increasing evolution of the Internet. Using “the Google” travel has become easier & cheaper because there are so many good resources out there. If you’re really interested it’s all in his book Ask Arthur Frommer: And Travel Better, Cheaper, Smarter, though more pictures & the short lists are after the break.

Arthur Frommer’s best line from the evening: “I would rather die than travel anywhere in a motor coach with 45 other people.”

10 Positive Travel Trends (according to Arthur Frommer)

  1. Internet aggregate airfare searches
  2. Vacation home exchange programs through the Internet
  3. Small group adventure tour operators
  4. Hostels in every major city of the world
  5. Amtrak
  6. Budget buses
  7. Abolition of admission charges to attractions
  8. People offering free accommodation
  9. Budget airlines surviving the economy
  10. New technology (GPS, Kindle, etc)

6 Not-so-positive Travel Trends (according to Arthur Frommer)

  1. Low-cost cruise-lines turning into amusement parks
  2. Visa charges for tourists entering the U.S.
  3. Tourism becoming too popular at certain attractions (Italy)
  4. Limited amount of vacation days for U.S. employees
  5. Government restrictions on travel (Cuba)
  6. Corporate jets
Mr & Mrs Frommer
Arthur & Roberta Frommer were so friendly. When I (briefly) told them about my RTW travel plans, they both sounded so genuinely happy & excited for me. Mr Frommer said, "I envy you."

Other highlights from his discussion:

  • His favorite travel destination? Paris.
  • He suggested using the Australian and British government travel sites (not the U.S. State Department) for checking safety warnings.
  • Said that everyone has an obligation to visit China.
  • Suggested Holland America cruises (despite their tendency to cater to old people) rather than the low-cost cruise lines.
  • Mentioned Gap Adventures several times as a good travel company to book with.
  • Said that not a single state or federal statute guarantees a single day of paid vacation in the U.S.
  • He opposes “wet bikini swimsuit competitions” on cruise ships.


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14 comments

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  1. jcb556

    yes they are. I am a librarian there and go to many events. It is funny how sometimes the ones you think will be standing room only are really empty and vice versa. Tho i expected Mr Frommer to draw a big crowd. did you see RIck Steves? he was great too.

  2. Adam

    I missed the Rick Steves one but I'd bet he's an interesting guy, too. I've been to several of the Dwiggins lectures as well—the 2008 Erik Spiekermann being one of the best.

    And thank you for stopping by here on my site! I'm in the Copley library all the time (I work across the street) so it's nice to have the library visit me here in my digital world.

  3. Monica

    I'm upset too! Lol…slaving for a year and only 10 days of vacation? We're suppose to work to live not the other way around.

  4. Adam

    He was talking about the fact that China is going to (and already has) play(ed) a major role in the future. Also, he said he'd just been to China recently, so I'm sure it was in his mind.

    And yes, he said a lot about the fact Americans don't get enough vacation time. You could just tell that it made him upset and rightfully so!

  5. Monica

    Why did he say that everyone has an obligation to visit China? And I do think that it's better for the productivity of an employee if s/he were allowed more vacation days. We're not machines & even machines need to recharge.

  6. Adam

    It was awesome to meet you the other day, Alison. And I suspect you and Frommer share more than just that in common!

  7. Adam

    Yeah it's amazing that even though he's from a different generation, travel really means the same things to him that it does to me. Just all the more proof that travelers can be travelers for life!

  8. Adam

    He certainly seems like an intelligent, thoughtful, caring guy. And totally genuine, too.

  9. Adam

    Thanks so much! It was one of the better BPL events, though they're often good.

  10. How exciting! I would love the opportunity to hear him talk. I think he is spot-on with the positive and negative travel trends — I couldn't agree more with him. Love his quote about the motor coach!

  11. jb

    i was there and thought it was terrific. You did a great job of summarizing it.

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  13. beersNbananas

    I'm glad Mr. Frommer and I both have similar views on “wet bikini swimsuit contests.” See you tonight Adam!

  14. ShannonOD

    What an incredible opportunity Adam! It sounds like a really neat experience and that man sure does have some words of wisdom – 45 people on a tour bus sounds like hell to me too :-)

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