Maxa minimizes difficulties of travel


August 27, 1991|By Steve McKerrow

Two weeks is about the limit for Rudy Maxa. Staying home in Washington any longer than that, he says, and "I just gotta go somewhere."

The personalities columnist for Washingtonian magazine goes somewhere a lot -- an estimated 150,000 miles a year of traveling, in fact. And his humorous observations of, and solid advice for, other travelers are offered to public radio listeners in "The Savvy Traveler," twice monthly reports presented on the program "Marketplace."

The business-oriented American Public Radio show airs here at 6:30 p.m. weekdays on WJHU-FM 88.1, and Maxa's segments are heard every other Tuesday. Tonight's topic is how to tip properly.

"I'm the curmudgeonly traveler," says Maxa, who talks about the many uninformed travelers he sees in terms that evoke the great Mark Twain title "Innocents Abroad."

"I'm astounded at the number of people in airports who don't know how to read an airline ticket, who don't know the difference between non-stop and through flights. I see people standing in line in terminals to get boarding passes and I want to say, 'What are you doing?'" he says.

So his travel talks tell people how easy it is to get boarding passes before arriving at the airport, how to book tickets for special rates, such as bereavement fares, how to rent cars and other practicalities of all kinds of travel.

"I'm not a camper, I have to admit that," says Maxa, but he does devote segments to train travel and other modes of getting somewhere.

"I travel a lot on business, of course, so I approach travel as a business. I'm fascinated by the mechanics of it," he notes, adding that it has been a lifelong passion.

The columnist's father was an Army officer, and frequent moves were so much a part of his life, says Maxa, "that I sort of thought that's what life was."

"The Savvy Traveler" debuted about a year ago on "Marketplace," and has proven popular enough that Maxa recently cut a pilot for a regular half-hour edition of the show.


* By now, a whole generation of movie-goers has missed the phenomenon of Martin and Lewis. No great loss, some would say. But the 1951 Navy comedy "Sailor Beware," which can be seen at 8 tonight on basic cable's The Family Channel, is the quintessential Jerry Lewis/Dean Martin collaboration, at the height of their popularity long before the celebrated 1958 separation.

* May is mom's month, of course, but the daytime show "Live With Regis & Kathie Lee" is nonetheless making tomorrow another Mother's Day edition.

The show (at 9 a.m. on WBAL-Channel 11) is a repeat-with-updates of this spring's "Mom's Dream Come True Contest," in which viewers nominated their mothers to win reunions with their widespread family members, as well as other wishes.

The segment brought the syndicated show its best ratings ever.

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