At this weekend’s Chicago Travel & Adventure Show, I enjoyed over an hour-long presentation by Samantha Brown, Travel Channel  host.

Brown reminded us that Americans still don’t take enough time off. It is difficult to make your travel experiences authentic if you start out tired, or are concerned about work. If you expect to do more in less time, the compromising won’t leave you with meaningful travel experiences. More likely, you’ll return home tired.

On a trip, Brown suggests “Don’t spend all your time in the past.” By that she means museums, cathedrals, and monuments. Spend time with the culture as it is today. Enjoy the intimacy of small tangible moments when you meet a friendly local, or walk down a road just to see what’s there. Stop in small shops, experience truly local cuisine.  Brown speaks of taking a walk her first morning in a new place, and choosing a local cafe to return to each day. That’s a way to stay grounded rather than constantly thinking of what to do next.

“Slow down, zone out, be a part of everyday life.”