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Go Here, Not There with New York Times Columnist and Alternative-Destination Expert Elaine Glusac

New York Times travel columnist Elaine Glusac is an expert at finding insider alternatives to over-touristed destinations. From Montenegro to Panama, she leads us on an adventure to the world’s most spectacular spots for avoiding the crowds and experiencing travel at its very best. 

New York Times travel columnist Elaine Glusac is an expert at something that has become increasingly essential for travelers: finding the best alternatives to the world’s most popular destinations. She joins Bruce to dive into the top spots for experiencing everything we love about over-touristed spots—minus the crowds.


Elaine starts by giving us a behind-the-scenes look into the New York Times’ “52 Places” article, an annual feature that explores the newspaper’s picks for the year’s most compelling destinations. One spot Elaine has suggested several times for the list—the Great Lakes region—has never made the cut. The Chicago native tells us why she thinks the world’s largest freshwater system is so deserving, and why it’s such an interesting and important destination for travelers to consider right now. 


A couple of Elaine’s other recent stories for the Times cover the concept of alternative destinations, including “Driving Iceland’s Overlooked North,” in which she recounts her family’s adventure in the country’s rarely visited Diamond Circle—a region that offers at least as much natural wonder and drama as the bustling Golden Circle. Her “Go Here, Not There” article—the inspiration for this episode of Travel That Matters—offers up a number of other great options for those looking for all the thrills without all the people. 


Starting with Europe, Elaine suggests Montenegro instead of Venice or Dubrovnik. The small country south of Croatia has incredible shorelines, well-preserved ancient cities, and the deepest rafting canyon in Europe, among other attractions. She also thinks travelers should consider Brittany the next time they visit France, for a more locals’ perspective on the country.  


Moving beyond Europe, Elaine shares her favorite spots for winter sports in Canada, including a network of ice-skating trails in the flooded forests of Quebec. She also discusses Panama (instead of Costa Rica) and its Chagres National Park; Dunedin, New Zealand, where the wildlife resembles that of the Galapagos; and much more. Throughout it all, her inspiring insights and tales are sure to make you think differently about travel—and start seeking out more alternative destinations. 

Links & Notes:

Hosted by: Bruce Wallin

Produced and edited by: AJ Moseley

Music by: Joey Salvia

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