The most common mistake travelers make is not making a decision.
“We don’t pull the trigger,” said travel expert Rudy Maxa. “When you see that good fare, buy it. You have 24 hours to change or cancel even on a non-refundable ticket.
“Don’t call all of your friends and ask them what they think. If you see a good fare, grab it.”
Maxa, who is one of America’s best-known travel experts, was featured at the Tulsa Town Hall speaker series on Friday at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
The 2017-2018 season will close with an April 13 appearance by Piper Kerman, speaking on “the real life story of Orange is the New Black.” Next season’s Tulsa Town Hall lineup was recently announced and includes Vicente Fox, the outspoken former president of Mexico, and journalist Lara Logan.
Maxa spoke for nearly two hours, an hour-long lecture that was preceded by an hour-long question-and-answer with some of the season ticket holders.
The most common question? Where do you get the best deals? Who offers the best deals?
“There is no one magic bullet,” said Maxa during the Q-and-A. “There is no one best site.
“The blessing of the internet is that there is so much information. The curse of the internet is that there is so much information.”
He is the host and producer of “Rudy Maxa’s World” on PBS.
He’s done 98 shows for PBS, including six in recent months. His latest shows feature three in Japan, two in Hong Kong and one in Bangkok.
Maxa began his career as an investigative journalist at the Washington Post. He evolved into a travel journalist through a radio show and has written for National Geographic Traveler, Forbes, GQ, Playboy and USA Today.
While Maxa travels the world for both business and leisure, he favors travel to Asia.
But his current favorite trip is to South America. He has taken the same trip three times in the last five years — Buenos Aires, Argentina and the Uruguay countryside.
“Uruguay is just a very pleasant country,” Maxa said. “Buenos Aires is a very exciting city. Buenos Aires has great places to eat. The people are very friendly.
“Uruguay is just nice. I enjoy being there.”
As far as train travel, Maxa said he recommends it everywhere — except in the United States. “In Europe, the trains are really fabulous and they run on time,” he said. “The European trains are very fast. Then, in Asia, the trains are even faster and nicer.
“Not domestic train travel. The only area of heavy use, between New York and Washington, D.C., is full of twists and turns and is not very pleasant.”
His tips for exotic travel do not include some of the more popular locations such as the South Pacific. He recommended several trips to eastern Europe.
“Probably the most exotic place I’ve been recently is Uzbekistan,” Maxa said. “It is very remote and very interesting. There are beautifully restored mosques.
“Also, Estonia is really stunning. It is beautiful. And, I really like Croatia.”
Maxa admitted he doesn’t do much cruising but highly recommends any type of European river cruises. “It is a great way to travel and the cities are all close,” he said.
One of the trips he’s hoping to take in the near future is “going down the Mekong River” in southeast Asia.
Another important question from Tulsans was a solution for jet lag.
“No answers for jet lag,” he said. “I’ve tried everything. Nothing helps. It kills me every time I fly over to Europe.”
Another common travel question was how to pay overseas. “Always pay in local currency or have the card charged in local currency,” Maxa said.
He said he got the travel bug after seeing a poster in a London tube station. “It said remember the time we almost went to Istanbul?”
His most important message at the Tulsa Town Hall was simple.
“Travel,” he said. “We don’t travel enough. Just go somewhere and watch the waves roll in and let your mind go.”