TV host Samantha Brown talked to Travel+Leisure about COVID-19, future travel, and supporting local businesses.

We’re living in uncertain times, but we can rely on the fact that even though we’re not sure when it will happen, travel will come back. It might be a while before we can explore a new destination, but that gives us time to focus on the most important part of travel — the people. That’s what travel TV host Samantha Brown made clear during an interview with Travel + Leisure last week.

Like many of us, Samantha has had to put trips on hold for a while due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but she remains hopeful. When it comes to rescheduling locations for her travel show, Places to Love, she said there’s no sentiment like, “this destination is canceled and we’re not going back.” It’s just a matter of postponing — which is exactly what she recommends for your travel plans.

“Play it month by month,” Samantha says. If you already have something planned for this summer, hold off on canceling until you get more information. If you want to plan an upcoming vacation, “get a travel agent — they become your advocate — or start calling these businesses yourself and say, we’d love to come but we can’t put down a deposit and risk it going away.” A little due diligence goes a long way, and it’s best to just reach out and talk to the hotels or tour operators you’re considering.

This unprecedented situation is anxiety-inducing and stressful, but there are signs of hope and support happening for the travel industry and its workers. Samantha noted that people are “exploring their own neighborhoods, they’re caring about their own local businesses, and in turn that is the travel economy.” By supporting our own communities, we sustain them, ensuring that one or three or six months from now, we have local restaurants, shops, and experiences that we can continue to share with the world.

“The travel industry boils down to people — mom and pop businesses, small little shops — and that’s who we want to protect. And that’s what we do when we travel, we protect local economies,” she said. “Think local, and soon you’re going to be able to act global.”

Samantha Brown in Sonoma County


While filming for her show is on hold, Samantha is spending time at home with her family, finding the balance that so many parents are searching for as they switch to a work-from-home lifestyle. She’s keeping her kids busy with outdoor walks, PBS Kids shows, and Storyline Online — a website where SAG actors read children’s books.

Samantha is also creating engaging study guides for kids in elementary to junior high school to accompany episodes of Places to Love. The show is geared towards adults, but it’s great for all ages, so with these guides, adults get to “watch a great travel show” while kids “learn more about the geography and the people.” Keep an eye out for those upcoming guides on her website.

As soon as this is all over, Sam says she’s heading to the coast of Maine, where her mother lives. “I turned 50 [last week], and my mom has been making me the same meal for like 35 years. We’re going to miss this year, but as soon as I can, I’m traveling to Maine, and she’s going to make it for me.”