I’m Robert Reid, a travel expert and writer who’s been the spokesperson for Lonely Planet, the Offbeat Observer for National Geographic Traveler, and a guest on dozens of national TV shows like the Today Show and CNN’s Headline News and radio programs on NPR as well as this Public Radio International.
I’m an Okie expat, having grown up in Oklahoma then formed across the globe. I’ve been lucky to do all sorts of things they don’t say is possible in Tulsa Public Schools. I once drove the Black Sea coast in a 1972 sky-blue Moskvitch, threw lead weights at dynamite in Colombian tejo bars, trained with Canadian Mounties, created my own (now hacked) guidebook to Vietnam, drove pink highways of South Dakota’s backroads at 90mph, counted moustaches across Siberia, and taken in a Waterloo sunset in London. Much of my working travel life has been with Lonely Planet, where I spent over 15 years hiring authors, writing guidebooks, overseeing multi-country titles, debating Top 10 lists, and shaking Al Roker’s hand while discussing travel trends on TV.
In the end, I believe travel’s not a contest. There’s no right way to spend your holidays, and the main reason we hit the road at all is simply because travel is fun.
Need more of a “deep dive” on all things Robert? A bigger “ROI” on your time? Read on.
Writing. I wrote a couple dozen Lonely Planet guidebooks (including Myanmar, Trans-Siberian Railway, Colombia & New York City), and regularly find homes for articles in places including National Geographic Traveler, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ESPN, Huffington Post, World Hum and a column for the Daily Oklahoman. Here’s a sample of my favorite pieces.
Speaking. I’ve taken the stage — or panel cage — at events like the New York Times Travel Show, the Los Angeles Times Travel Show, Google’s NYC offices. And on NPR to debate things like what “real travel” is as well as the Rick Steves show to talk rock’n’roll travel. I had particular fun assembling a “live research crew” at the Travel Blog Exchange in Vancouver to show how simple research skills can boost the quality of travel writing; some even said it was the best of the conference (like this comment, these comments, and even Banff Squirrel). I’ve never written for the New Yorker — refuse to! (joking) — but my discussion on the hidden glory of sandwiches at Brooklyn’s Adult Education series got a mention in it! Contact me here if you’d like me to speak about how to be a travel writer, how to make travel videos for cheap, my “44 little travel rules that no one tells you,” or just about sandwiches.
Videos. I hosted Nat Geo TV’s four-part series on San Diego in 2018, and the Wall Street Journal/Nat Geo video series for Star Alliance that won a Gold “Lovie” award for Long Form or Series Video. My (very DIY) “76-Second Travel Show,” covered unusual travel topics, like how to use Billy Joel lyrics as a guidebook to Long Island, a Monopoly board to see Atlantic City, a trip to Saskatoon to make a “rap rhapsody,” or solving the age-old debate of who’d win in a fight, Vikings or pirates? Once I even interviewed Iron Maiden’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson. For Lonely Planet, I collaborated with Canadian tourism on a series of videos on how to see Canadian cities like a local. Sometimes I wear a cowboy hat while making videos, including for my partially failed series, Right Pants.
Praise. This has all led to people and press saying some nice things about me. In 2019, I won an IRMA bronze for best travel feature for one of my favorite articles. Which is always welcomed at ReidOnTravelNation (ROTeN).
Some interviews. Here’s a list of interviews I’ve done on me and my travels.
Some Media appearances:
CNN (6/2013) Is Mexico safe?
NBC’s Today Show (5/23/11) on travel etiquette. Featuring Armenian brandy.
NBC’s Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on tips for solo travelers.
MSNBC.com. I was the only representative in travel publishing to go to the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill in the middle of the media frenzy, and find swimming in Florida was a serious possibility. I’m proud of being able to answer the question “would you go in the water?” by saying “I was in yesterday actually.” See the MSNBC appearance from the beach (below) and this article.
CNN Newsroom: Expect flight delays over Thanksgiving & ‘National Opt-Out Day’ for TSA’s full body scans.
FoxNews.com (June 2, 2011). How to be a good house guest/host. And what color of robe is best.
See more appearances here if you just can’t get enough.