Smart travel advice: try something new

Wendy Perrin describes herself as a “travel junkie” but that may be a little bit of an understatement. She’s traveled all over the place logging countless miles through 90 countries as Condé Nast Traveler’s director of consumer news and digital community, and more recently sharing “secrets every smart traveler should know” on her blog Wendy Perrin Travel Solutions. Last month she took on a new role as TripAdvisor’s first-ever Travel Advocate. When I met her back in the early 90s, she was Condé Nast Traveler’s ombudsman – the same job I eventually found myself in for National Geographic Traveler. Her passion for the job inspired me to help others.

What makes her the world’s smartest traveler? You do. “What really makes me smart is my readers,” she says. “They are diehard savvy travelers, and I get thousands of emails from them. When I offer advice, they reply with their own hard-won travel insights and recommendations—and boy, do they know how to get the best travel experiences for their dollar. What makes me smart is that I listen to them.” Her advice for a smarter trip: Try something new. “Do an activity during your trip that you’ve never done before,” she says. “Try ziplining. Ride an elephant. Learn to surf. Doing something for the first time makes a trip vividly memorable and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment.”

The World’s Smartest Traveler is a weekly series about the visionaries who inspire us to travel smarter. Its curator, Christopher Elliott, is the author of the upcoming book, How to Be The World’s Smartest Traveler (National Geographic Books).