Get out of town! Travel writer Pauline Frommer to speak in La Jolla


By Ashley Mackin

Pauline Frommer, co-author of the famed Frommer’s travel guides, will discuss trends in travel and unique destinations, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5 at Warwick’s Books, 7812 Girard Ave. A Q&A session will follow.

“One of the biggest clichés in travel writing is the promo ‘things the guidebooks won’t tell you,’ she said in an interview with La Jolla Light to advance her visit. “But we have a lot of pages to fill every year, so we will tell you.”

She shared one tip for vacation planners: Watch out for “price creep,” where travel expenses slowly rise higher and higher. Her presentation will include strategies to make sure every dollar goes further, regardless of the budget.

One way to save money when traveling is to visit less-traveled vacation spots, of which Frommer will name a few that are worth the trip. She said she often opens her talks — which she will do at Warwick’s — with some photo slides without naming the country where the photos were taken. Once she discloses the country, she said the audience is often shocked. “They might think (the photos were taken in) Italy, for example, and when I tell them where it actually is, they are all really surprised,” she said.

She also looks into events happening around the world in a given year, and how financial changes might benefit American travelers. “We recommend Berlin this year because it’s the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, so there’s going to be extraordinary celebrations going on. Plus, hotel and meal costs are some of the cheapest in Europe,” she said.

“Our list also includes Bali because the Indonesian rupiah has crashed 30 percent against the dollar. If you go to Bali this year, you’ll spend 30 percent less than you would have last year,” she said. As of press time, one U.S. dollar is worth 12,195 rupiah.

Frommer said she relies on locals and researchers to find destinations, and then the places to go when travelers get there.

“Most of our writers live in the city they’re covering, so they tell you the restaurants with a really creative chef, and restaurants you won’t find in any other city. They also tell you the activities that speak to the zeitgeist of what you are going to see,” she said.

“Everybody always says about guidebooks that they only send travelers to where tourists go. That’s not what we’re asking our experts to do.”

One spot that Frommer said she loves, but doesn’t get to visit enough, is La Jolla.

“Years ago, when I was an actor, I was in the touring company of ‘Les Miserables’ and we were in San Diego for a couple of weeks andIfellinlovewithamaninLa Jolla,” she said. “I guess you could say that colors my view of La Jolla.”

She recalled walking hand in hand with this man along the coast and going to the La Jolla Playhouse on her days off. “I guess La Jolla has a glow around it in my mind,” she said, and though now happily married to someone else, she still said she equates La Jolla with “romance and sun- dappled beaches and everything good in life.”

With a good amount of traveling under her belt through the theater, it was a natural transition to start travel writing with her father, Arthur, founder of the Frommer guides.

When it came to creating a website (

) Frommer became the first editor because she knew more about the Internet than her dad. “I realized I enjoyed editing and writing more than I enjoyed acting,” she said, and continued to contribute to the guides every year.

The Frommers publish several guides, including a day-by-day guide with landmarks and must- see places; 24 walk-able destinations, complete with maps; best destinations for families with children; and the global “500 Places” guide that explores the perks of different destinations.