Nancy D. Brown is a freelance travel writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her What a Trip blog specializes in luxury travel and hotel reviews. She specializes in equestrian travel at Writing Horseback. Nancy's travel articles have been published in Shape magazine, Alaska Airlines, Diablo magazine, Chicago Tribune, East Bay Times & San Jose Mercury News, among others.
Nancy was nice enough to answer our questions below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Nancy: I took my first trip to Europe in college and have been traveling ever since. My husband and I quit our jobs a year after college and backpacked around Europe for three months; that trip set the hook for my addiction (and passion.)
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Nancy: I publish two blogs; What a Trip and my equestrian blog Writing Horseback. I've combined my passion for horses with my professional travel writing career.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Nancy: Typically my best vacation is my latest trip because it's somewhere new to me. l loved riding a Fjord horse in Bergen, Norway and I enjoyed writing about the Iditarod for the Chicago Tribune. I'd never been to Alaska in the winter and who doesn't love hanging out with huskies?
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
Nancy: I have so many places on my wish list! I'm excited to visit Cuba, as well as Iceland. Both places have fabulous horseback riding.
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Nancy: I always pack Ghirardelli chocolate with me to give to people that I met along my travels. Most everyone knows our Golden Gate Bridge, but it doesn't fit in my luggage.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Nancy: Always keep your passport current and, heaven forbid, if you don't own a passport, get one!
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Nancy: I'm fortunate to have many friends who are travel bloggers: Donna Hull at My Itchy Travel Feet, Ava Stritt of Spa Travel Gal & Carol Perehudoff of Wandering Carol are all friends who I've enjoyed getting to know during my travels. Don't even get me started on Instagram; I love looking at everyone's amazing pictures including Deb & Dave at ThePlanetD.com, Spencer Spellman & CaliforniaThroughMyLens
TA: What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?
Nancy: The Galapagos Islands are on my list. It's a unique part of the world.
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Nancy: I always pack travel snacks like almonds, beef jerky, a protein bar and tea bags. I try to be as self sufficient as possible when I travel and good snacks make me happy on a long flight.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you've ever been given?
Nancy: Remember to smile and pack your patience. We are fortunate to live in a day and age where long-haul flights are common place and travel is relatively easy. Missing a connection is tough and travel with kids can be difficult. Sometimes it helps to take a deep breath, close your eyes and remember your favorite vacation memory...chocolate helps, too.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
Nancy: We all tend to over-pack. Remember back to your last trip and think about the clothes you wore. Pack only what you need.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you've ever visited?
Nancy: I'm a 4th generation Northern California girl. I love my city of San Francisco. It's definitely not the most affordable city in the world, but we offer a lot of beautiful places to visit, have great food and wonderful weather.
TA: What are the best places to travel solo and why?
Nancy: River cruises are great places to travel solo. Most couples, or people traveling with friends, are open to meeting new people. I've met several solo female travelers on river cruises because often times the companies wave the single supplement. Also, the itineraries are planned for you, so solo trips are very safe because you have built in travel buddies, including the tour guide.
TA: What's something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
Nancy: I don't like hearing a lot of complaining about what they miss from their hometown. Travel is about embracing the here and now and discovering new foods, places and people. Be open to new possibilities.