Travelers, It's A Buyer's Market, Greenberg Says

What's The Deal

April 19, 2009|By MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN | MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN,michelle.deal@baltsun.com

Peter Greenberg knows a little something about travel. He has been around the world, probably several times, and keeps a base of operation in six different cities, including New York, London and Bangkok.

He's a journalist well-known for his work as travel editor on the Today show, among other TV appearances. Last fall, his book Don't Go There! The Travel Detective's Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World, made the New York Times best-seller list by outing those stinky, dangerous or otherwise undesirable destinations.

This month, his radio show, Peter Greenberg Worldwide, came to audiences from Lucerne, Switzerland. But last weekend, he broadcast live from Baltimore's Inner Harbor (you can listen to it at petergreenberg.com). They're two destinations thousands of miles apart, but Greenberg brought us together with some kind of traveling magic.

"I've always had a love affair with Baltimore," he said in a recent phone interview. "There are a couple cities that I would say are the most underrated cities in the world. Chicago is one. So is Baltimore."

While visiting, Greenberg took in an Orioles game at Camden Yards and promoted his new book, Tough Times, Great Travels, which he hopes will get travelers moving again in today's paralyzing economy.

"I wrote the book to give people permission" to travel, said Greenberg, who believes our innate desire to experience other cultures means the travel downturn is temporary.

"The leisure travel industry will bounce back very fast because we wouldn't know what to do without it," he said. "It's never been a better buyer's market. Everything is on sale. Not just in this country, everything in the world is on sale. Everything is a bargain of staggering proportions."

Greenberg, who dismisses the idea of the staycation, suggests saving money by being a "contrarian traveler," that is, by going when other people are staying. He also suggests asking for what you want.

"You are in the driver's seat when it comes to figuring out how much you're going to pay for your trip," he said. "Call the hotel and ask: Can my kids stay free? Can you throw in the parking for free? If you don't ask, you don't get."

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