It seems like now more than ever, we could all use a good belly laugh. Which is exactly what you get when you check out Travel Channel’s new unscripted hit series, Trip Testers.
Seasoned foodie and travel journalists Jeff Miller and Jason Kessler make for a match made in bro heaven, scouting out popular vacation destinations and making recommendations as they find hidden gems, bargains and of course, adventure.
When this duo isn’t on the road, Kessler, a former writer on NBC’s The Office, is co-owner of Little Spoon Frozen Pudding, while Miller is the bandleader of the world’s first indie rock tribute band, Black Crystal Wolf Kids. We hit them up for show stories (new episodes air Mondays at 11/10c) and travel tips.
“Vacations are adventures, so live a little: Try a new skill, like surfing, or take the plunge on a zipline. Make a vacation story that’s more interesting than, ‘I read books on the beach and drank Mai Tais.’ ”
What’s the best advice you have for guys who want to travel?
Don’t be afraid to change your plans. See an amazing-looking, packed-to-the brim restaurant in a strip mall on your way to the tourist-trap dinner you’ve had reservations for since before you left town? Drop the res and go with the local place, you never know what you’re going to get.
Let’s talk about the concierge.
Don’t trust them. The concierge may know the city really well, but they’re not going to share the secret spots with you. Instead, you’re going to be sent to the same tourist-loving places they send everyone. Skip their one-size-fits-all approach and ask someone who really knows: the hotel bartender.
Good point. So we should try something different?
Step outside your comfort zone. Vacations are adventures, so live a little: Try a new skill, like surfing, or take the plunge on a zipline. Make a vacation story that’s more interesting than, “I read books on the beach and drank Mai Tais.”
Make friends. If you just stay on the tourist track, you’re only going to meet fellow travelers and they’re as clueless as you. Go off the beaten path, befriend some locals, and get an insider’s perspective that you’ll never find on TripAdvisor.
Tell us a story about someone you guys met.
We try to get as local as possible. When we were in San Antonio for our show, we met a 95-year-old dude who runs a toilet seat museum out of his garage. I promise you you’ve never been to a toilet seat museum unless you’re in San Antonio!
If you’re on a long trip somewhere, what’s the first thing you do?
Find a laundromat. When you’re on the road for more than a week, it’s tempting to try to pack clothes for every single day. Resist the urge to carry your entire closet with you and find a laundromat that does fluff-and-fold instead. You’ll save money on checked bags and save time digging around trying to find a clean pair of underwear.
You guys have travelled to many places and met a lot of people. Is there anything you wish people could be really aware of?
Learn how to say thank you. The worst kind of traveler is the one who thinks they can impose their own way of life onto their destination. Integrate yourself wherever you are and learn how to say thank you in the local language. A little graciousness goes a long way.
On the show, you’ve done lots of adventurous activities, like jetpack flying. But what if you just want to relax?
Don’t be afraid to take some time off, literally. Sometimes, the best part about a vacation is giving yourself permission to take a nap. Savor it. Who has time at home for that?