EUROPE Europe Travel Tips with Veteran Tour Guide @denniscallan

europe travel tips from expert tour guide dennis callan i am chris this is yellow productions i do travel guides that are fun in form of entertaining and today by the magic of the internet we are joined with expert tour guide and youtube channel host dennis callan dennis welcome to the live stream hi chris and everybody thanks for having me on absolutely it’s a pleasure uh so dennis has led over 80 tours to europe he also has over 2 000 videos on his youtube channel recently past 100 000 subscribers pretty exciting dennis has been doing this youtube travel thing for a long time actually when i was just getting started on youtube dennis i think already had a ton of videos up on youtube and so in today’s video dennis is going to share with us how to save money in europe where to find the best food um and some of dennis’s favorite routes by travel by train in europe but before we do that we’re going to find out a little bit about dennis if you are watching the archive and you just want to get straight into those tips i’m going to put like a link in the description to the time stamp for that and so it’ll be in one of the chapters up here but so dennis let’s get into a little bit about you and then we’ll get into your tips so how did you get into the tour guide business to start leading those 80 tours well i’ve been a tour guide for about 30 years so it’s quite a while now and the way i got into it was due to my photography i took a trip on my own before i was a tour guide or even thought about leading trips to europe in 1985 with a still camera and i shot a thousand slides it was like no three thousand a hundred boxes of slides that’s a lot of slides and started putting on shows in my community here in honolulu which is also where i met my wife and i started getting a bit of a following from these slideshows and that’s led into uh talking to a friend of mine who ran a little travel agency and he set me up on my first europe tour which was a bus tour and i was basically just along for the ride i had recruited a dozen customers to come along with me and so i learned a lot from being on that bus tour and i also learned that i didn’t want to do any more bus tours nice nice and so my my travel career has been all about traveling through europe by train okay well very cool and so what it’s a great way to go we can talk a lot about that during our segment here yeah for sure so uh traveling by train and 80 tours what what kept you you know starting it from that first tour bus to then doing 80 of them well my love for travel uh as a little kid we traveled around i was a military brat and long island london california back to long island then college in rhode island and then honolulu by the time i was 21. so i traveled in my youth and was always an interest a great interest of mine and that trip in 85 was a mind blower that really changed my life so i just kept doing it and and the joy of being a tour conductor is well you’re getting paid to travel so that’s pretty good deal that is a pretty good deal and also even even beyond that you’re having the satisfaction of bringing a group of people through some of the finest places in the world and telling them about it and educating them and giving them the opportunity to learn so much and also managing the tour working with people being friendly and easy to get along with and all those important things that go with being a travel agent as well as knowing uh when to let them go off on their own people need free time my trips were pretty structured i’d have a daily calendar and usually the morning was pretty full with walking tours and whatnot but always time free time and then evenings free to go out and have a nice meal yeah cool well what no you know it was a dream job people when i tell people what i did they go oh god you’re so lucky and and i i am and then and then chris to add to it all the creative element of documenting every trip with my video at the same time and this is how i accumulated uh so much video footage over the years to make those couple thousand movies that i’ve created and uh that that was really a bonus and it was good for my travelers because they all got then a nice video program but months later after the tour was over yeah that’s cool and so what made you decide to take those videos to youtube and maybe not just keep them for yourself or not just share them with those travelers well there’s a deeper story there i i got started making videos 30 years ago before there was any youtube and my start was showing the videos on uh the honolulu public access channel right on we still have public access but back then public access was something that at least a few people watched not many but i did gain an audience over the years i was on public access for 20 years and and during that time i had as much as 10 000 phone calls all together from the viewers and that that was how i got the tour business rolling not through youtube but through public access but all that creativity of making movies for public access really taught me how to make movies and i’ve applied that skill into the youtube project which i’ve been doing for about 15 years now that’s cool i’m seeing in the chat uh people are saying you have a cool setup behind you dennis first of all can you can you tell us where in the world you are right now uh and then tell us maybe a little bit about what we got behind you well i’m just showing off my editing system i i use um five different monitors six monitors sometimes with a mac pro desktop computer to run it all uh operating with the uh premiere pro video uh editing system only takes about 20 minutes and you’re rolling through so the prettiest umbreon countryside you’ll ever find and the right this is what i do all day i sit here at my computer and i’m even though we’ve been locked down for two years with kovid i’ve been vicariously on tour uh the whole time i i put in a lot of time editing you know how long it takes to to make a video it takes me a lot yeah oh eight days to make a 15-minute video and you know we make a little money from youtube right but it’s less than minimum wage i think we can calculate the hours that we put in yes it’s the it’s it’s a thing that we do for for passion all of us youtubers and and to uh share with people what what we’re doing that’s my motivation i i don’t really need the money to i’m not doing it for the money i’m doing it for the creativity the active creation it’s satisfying to finally finish that 15-minute movie after those 10 days of work you’re more prolific i don’t know how you do it with your long-form um videos and your full-time job i no longer have a full-time job i’m no longer leading tours i i retired from that it was a great career and now i i travel but on my own yeah yeah well i have this large uh crew of pandas they help me with all the editing so it’s kind of like an editing panda factory that goes on yeah that’s right that’s right uh so uh dennis before coming to youtube did you have any like filmmaking experience before it or photography experience well as a kid i was always interested in uh photography i had a camera as a young kid of course that’s before the days when everybody had video nowadays everybody’s a filmmaker if you’re 10 years old but i had a uh eight millimeter film camera when i was in high school and i did a little shooting not a lot but i did a little bit and then uh really not much until later in my 20s and got involved in it once again and but never stopped yeah right on well let’s go ahead and get into some of your travel tips for europe uh and let’s start with itinerary yeah sure you mentioned that let me uh let me change my screen back here i got a more pleasant screen maybe just with some nice pictures for my little backdrop soothing here we go travel tips yeah isn’t travel fun it’s just it’s such a great experience especially if you do it right but you know nowadays travel oh people go on cruises used to be people went on bus tours and that was a painful way to go in many ways but now now people go on cruises and that’s kind of a lazy way to travel you just sit back and then you arrive in a port the buses pick you up for your three-hour excursion and then you’re back on board the ship uh back to the buffet line and the bar and the evening entertainment and but that’s what that’s not my style of travel and so my videos are not geared to that at all i’ve done a greek cruise video but other than that i’m all about walking tours getting into a city and spending some quality time uh it could be half a day it doesn’t have to be two three days or a week you can go to a small town like the project i’m working on now with small towns of umbria and you if you know what you’re doing but yet you want to know what you’re doing so let’s talk about what are we doing yeah for sure well and and i know as a as a tour guide right you probably had some favorite routes through europe so what what what were some of your favorites oh yeah i definitely uh developed itineraries for my tour business uh it was things that that i put together myself based on my own interest and recognition that these are the important places to go so i’ve got half a dozen european itineraries and they are my favorite my main itinerary was rome to london by train and that hits the highlights three days each here we go in rome florence venice lucerne paris and london and traveling by train and though that gives you enough time in a place that you can really do some quality walking do some exploring um with me as the guide learn where where the basic streets are to go if you don’t have a guide then you want to do your preparation ahead of time but we we can talk about tour prep slightly later but those those six cities that’s the place if you haven’t been to europe i suggest you do this now i also have descriptions of these itineraries on my other website which is tours by train and that has got i used to use that for promoting my tours so i have fairly detailed descriptions there but i’m no longer selling it i’m giving it away so these have now become do-it-yourself guides on my website tours by train and there you’ll find uh there we go thank you you’ll find a lot of information about each of those those places on that particular trip italy my favorite country london my favorite city so that itinerary really puts it on i did that trip 30 times so wow 30 times yeah that’s awesome and you didn’t get tired of it never got tired of it yeah and let you say something there’s no harm in going back to a favorite place uh over and over you’ll get a lot more out of it on repeat visits i’m with you that people always say chris aren’t you tired of going to tokyo but like every time i go to japan i’m like i need to go to tokyo because i just love that place um but i know you had some other classic itineraries what are some of your other favorites yeah let’s talk about some of them uh there there is the uh would you have a slide maybe on the next one up on the slides we can go with that my my central europe trip uh yeah look at that starting out in heidelberg and then down to munich again all by train beautiful trains there and these are pretty short rides two to three hours onto salzburg and vienna over to budapest and then to prague and then we double back through nuremberg on to frankfurt to fly out at the frankfurt airport so these trips are about 18 days uh i would find that for group travel 18 days was about enough that most people could handle and it gave us two to three days in each place so these are classic uh central europe destinations such beautiful cities yeah i know i just love every one of them a standard people question peop a standard question people always ask uh is you know how much should you budget for like a trip like this and obviously you probably had a price tag on it but yeah if i were to estimate the cost of my trip uh today of any of these trips really that’s per person sharing a hotel room it would and this includes the airfare from hawaii by the way so that’s about another two thousand dollars so let’s omit the airfare ground only for 18 days is about four thousand dollars per person and that does not include lunch and dinner or souvenir shopping yeah so uh let’s make it five to six thousand dollars now this is traveling using nice hotels three stars and some four star hotels you could do it more cheaply uh with a two-star hotel or a a no-star hotel or a thousand-star hotel sleeping outdoors nice nice that’s there you go thousand-star hotel sleeping outdoors i love it um rhonda asked the question which country do you get the most value for your money in in europe well that would be eastern europe um i haven’t gone too far east but of those countries we just saw certainly in prague and budapest the uh the dollar goes your money goes better than it will in in the other big cities and also if you go to a small smaller towns in any part of europe it’ll be less expensive than going to the famous big cities so yeah eastern eastern europe but most people want to go to western europe uh frankly that’s my bias that’s been my experience i i would like to get beyond budapest someday but uh as far as western europe goes it’s not cheap uh that’s that’s definitely true but there’s ways you can save some money as i mentioned on the hotel choice um also traveling by train you can go second class train uh now depending on your itinerary you might want to buy a rail pass rail europe is the the main source of rail passes you can go on their website and see what they’ve got or if you were just let’s say in italy like i’m heading uh for northern italy in may next year i’ll be traveling around from one little town to another you can just buy tickets on the spot or if you’re in the south of france in nice and the riviera you can just buy your tickets on the spot and it can be pretty cheap to do that one of the great bargains is that taking the bus from nice to monaco it’s about two euro it’s a one-hour bus ride along the most beautiful coastline and it it costs to europe because you know the europeans they subsidize their transportation so the european um taxes go to help pay for your ticket yeah for sure well i know uh rail passes uh when oc girl and i went to switzerland a few years back you know we bought the swiss rail pass and it was just that’s the deal yeah the trains in switzerland are just fantastic and uh oh let’s talk about switzerland yeah bring up switzerland yeah it it is so beautiful the i did a very extensive swiss video series that you can find on my channel on my youtube channel i’ve been i’ve been to switzerland a number of times but uh i did three really nice tours comprehensive trips through the main destinations and those videos have gotten more views than any of my other videos so that it’s a very popular place because switzerland is wonderful to get around by train you mentioned the the euro the swiss rail pass that is a good value with the groups we would go first class which is even nicer yeah but second class um every bit is good the train gets there at the same time and swiss trains are they’re all comfortable and on time second class the windows slide down and you can get a nice unobstructed picture or fresh air or what have you whereas in first class they don’t so very often i’d be running back to second class to roll the window down and have the swiss um curse me out because they don’t want the window open but i get my shot and then put it back up again but yeah switzerland it the towns are pretty and obviously the scenery the mountains the hiking the cable cars and everything is so efficient and the people are quite friendly they all speak english the ones that you’ll be dealing with they’re well-educated hospitality has been in their economy they invented hotel hospitality really tourism the first victorians uh from late 19th century would go from england on down to switzerland uh along their grand tour so yeah it’s a great spot so that itinerary i would go to interlaken a fabulous place as a home base because from there you’re right in the heart of the bernese oberland so you’re near the shilthorn and you’re near the jungfrau an easy several hours by train from interlochen to get up to the tops of both of those mountains there we go interlock them and then down to zermatt a unique town with no cars and the whole town is just pedestrian oriented and you’ve got the uh not just the famous matterhorn but uh you’ve got uh other great mountains all around zermatt to to go up and do some hiking uh well i would go in the month of may i really like um late may early may not so good because there’s still snow on a lot of those mountain trails and then you can’t walk on them if they’re covered with snow you can’t see the trail so avoid early may late may is perfect or of course summertime it’ll be a little more crowded but you want to save a little money you want to also look for the shoulder season which is may and any place in europe may and october are ideal times to go dennis there’s a question uh from points traveler about sleeper trains do you recommend people in europe take the sleeper trains between cities the high-speed trains sleeper trains people that sleepers sleeper cars you know sleepers are coming back they uh i’ve been on a few sleepers many years ago and they kind of went out of fashion but now there’s a lot of companies yeah and sure you you can save uh in some ways you save on a hotel bill and you save a night because you’re in transit and it can be can be very efficient so certainly putting in one or two overnights on a sleeper can be good uh so some of these trains it doesn’t have to be a sleeper if it’s first class the um well in the old days they had these compartments nowadays it’s not so much compartments on trains anymore it’s more like airline seating but with the compartments you can pull the seats together which i did a few times and sleep just for free no extra charge that is but yeah the sleepers yeah why not um i’m looking forward to doing some of that myself nice uh a question in the chat too about what’s your favorite country in europe you mentioned that eastern europe is cheap you mentioned that everybody you take wants to go to western europe what’s dennis’s favorite favorite places wherever i am but uh it in truth italy it’s got to be italy i i keep going back to italy i’ve been there 40 times and keep going back for more because of those little towns those historic well-preserved pedestrian lanes and the old stone buildings and the relaxed lifestyle and the food and the wine and the mountains and the the train service is good uh it’s quite efficient in italy it’s improved a lot over the years and there are just so many towns to visit it’s astonishing tuscany and umbria each have got at least 20 places that would make a good destination and that’s only one small chunk of the country and then there’s roman florence and venice naturally so it’s it’s got to be italy but switzerland france and england those are my other go-to places and favorite city is still london the i guess the language is uh helpful and it’s delightful to hear that accent and the theater and the pubs and and the city itself is really a series of villages all connected together and makes uh for great walking it’s three stories four stories high so you’re not overwhelmed with gigantic high density and it just as pleasant as could be and the buses and the tube and the river boats are all good for getting around there too and then you’re in striking distance of the rest of england now there’s another tour i do we can talk about england england a british isles itinerary sounds good i’ve done that trip a number of times and we started out in london and then yeah we go down to to bath again by train and then up to york over to the lake district to get from york to the lake district it’s tricky to go by train now england has some problems with some of their routes not so good for trains so uh we would usually commission a private tour company you can do it by train it’s just a bit of a roundabout the tour company would take a drive through the the uh the dales the yorkshire dales are so pretty and then uh time in the lake district windermere and so on uh staying in bonus is a good place to stay and then again to get up to edinburgh by train um almost impossible so there too we’d have a bus you can go by bus we want my private bus and then uh do a day trip out of edinburgh up to the highlands and then back to edinburgh the same night edinburgh is such a great city too and then we fly over to ireland and do a uh in ireland if you’re on your own you you could go by train uh it’s somewhat limited but you can go from dublin to galway by train it’s just two hours take you over to the west coast and galway is just a beautiful city a wonderful place you can also go from dublin to killarney and to cork by train so you could do it but i find that ireland is better handled either by driving uh if you’re in a car you’re driving on the wrong side of the road but the roads have improved a lot or um who can do a tour now there’s a place for a bus tour i was knocking bus tours earlier but there certainly are appropriate places to do a bus tour and the british isles is one of them and um certainly ireland is another one bus tour sure yeah speaking of ireland and accents when oc girl and i went to ireland and by the way we did that train from dublin to the the west coast and that was a lot of fun but the accents we were like are these people speaking english i think it’s english but you’re like wow it’s impressive yeah but the uh the the british accent is definitely you know it’s kind of the front the fun proper accent right i feel like somebody’s reading a a bedtime story of peter rabbit to me or something when they speak in that proper british accent um i love it yeah well living in london as a little kid for three years uh made me that much fonder i i was there from when i was uh four five six and seven right on in london and i had a british accent i lost in about two months in california i’m sure at age seven now i don’t have any accent uh living in hawaii for 50 years but no no local pigeon yeah no not not yet speaking of living in hawaii somebody asked where can they get dennis’s cool aloha shirt yeah hawaii all right this is uh tori richards tori richards all right very good i buy my aloha shirts from costco because i always find they have a pretty good set of aloha shirts uh in hawaii so yeah they’re pretty cool um then we got some more itineraries while we’re on itineraries i want to talk kick out another one let’s do it uh what you got scandinavia and russia by train we fly into st petersburg and um we have a local guide uh take care of logistics and bring us on tour and whatnot in st it’s worth about three to four days at least in saint pete to see all those palaces and then um we take the train to helsinki it’s about a oh they’ve got a high-speed train now and so it’s about four hours and it’s another beautiful city helsinki uh just great great spot so many things to do there and then we take the boat it’s not shown on this map but we take the ferry over to talon it’s a three-hour boat ride with our suitcases and we’re not going to spend the night in talon but we just deposit the suitcases at the ferry station and they have secure uh lockers there and then we have a free day in town a medieval medieval city that’s got wall around in castles and turrets and cobblestone lanes and restaurant waiters in costume and the whole deal it’s talent is a great spot then we take an overnight ferry to stockholm very comfortable ship it’s like a cruise ship and then from stockholm it’s by train over to oslo and then um either an overnight ferry down to copenhagen to continue or sometimes we’ll take the train from oslo to bergen and that’s a great experience i’ve got a video about that that’s one of my most popular i’ve had probably a million viewings on oslo de bergen they call it norway in a nutshell and then you can you take a book right on a fjord as part of that trip to the the train goes to phlegm and then you get off the train and on a boat through the big uh a song of fjords and get to bergen and that town is also worth a day or two and fly out of bergen they’ve got a major international airport so that’s a nice very nice trip it helps in st petersburg it really does help to have a local guide so you can you know look into travel arrangements ahead of time to do that you want to arrange things ahead of time in many cases maybe one more itinerary and then we can talk about preparing for a trip yeah sounds good i’m just gonna have one comment on this one which is uh you mentioned the norway in a nutshell tour that is the first video i uploaded to the yellow production channel on youtube uh was oc girl and i doing norway in a nutshell that we did that to phlegm and it’s like snow so much that the vehicles there look like tanks because they’ve just got like you know all those treads on them uh and then we also did that overnight cruise ferry from oslo to copenhagen and realized or was it yeah norway yeah norway to denmark and it was uh realized that everybody who was on there except us was buying alcohol because it’s duty-free and the duties for alcohol are like you know that’s a food with the helsinki to uh talon but i guess in scandinavia they do put a very high tax on alcohol trying to discourage people from drinking indeed mediterranean oh this is such a gem it’s a long trip barcelona to rome between all the the trains and then the local buses and the local trains and whatnots that there’s about at least 20 legs of transportation a lot of them were just day trips but it’s a very uh lively itinerary that i’ve created there starting out in the great city of barcelona one example of over tourism barcelona has been suffering from too many tourists taking their housing you know airbnb and so the barcelona’s been cracking down on it so a lot of my personal work is um actually steering away from places like barcelona to get to smaller towns but uh you can go there you’ll have a great time everybody can fit into barcelona and then by train up to cockazone i’ve got a photograph of somewhere down below for you of uh carcassonne’s castle at night oh yeah that’s good and and the map carcassonne is such a magical place it was a as you see a fortified medieval village with two walls around it and turrets and the on the interior go back to that map and you can see the inside of cockazone is really quite small it’s a couple hundred meters from one end to the other and there are three little hotels one of them deluxe and many restaurants to take care of you so it’s worth spending a night or two in in kakazon and and then back to the itinerary we continue on from there to avignon which is a major capital of provence it’s just a fabulous place with so many day trip opportunities out to niem and pontuga and over to oral down to marseille orange there’s so much to see around avignon you could easily spend a whole week there we stay for four days and the town itself is largely pedestrian shopping zone and there’s the old pope’s palace which they have done a amazing job of providing uh exhibits inside when i first went inside that uh 30 years ago it was the palace was just an empty cold shell with nothing no furniture just empty rooms now they’ve got assisted reality you hold up an ipad in front of your eyes and it shows you what the room looked like fancy fancy exhibits everywhere at the post palace is amazing you know the pope left rome for about 100 years there was three different popes who lived in america and that was the center of the catholic church so this a lot was built there and it’s still standing and then to nice which is really the uh probably the best i would say in terms of so much to see in the town and nearby on this itinerary uh you’ve got ken and monaco and san paul de and other towns nearby here we go nissan the french riviera grass and teeb they’re just and so accessible you can take the public bus from nice up to sao paulo takes less than one hour and it’s only a couple of euro for that otherwise along the coastline the trains run oh every 10 15 minutes there’s another train coming through and and there’s a place where you can just buy your tickets point to point and it’s quite cheap uh also a niche you can buy um a special pass that’s just for the riviera and that’s inexpensive train pass good for three or four days or a week or what have you and so just lovely sights to see along the coastline there and monaco what a town that is what a country ah the beach the pebble beach of nice nice beautiful all right and you know in all these places let’s kick over to hotels for a minute and hotel choices um i i always like to stay in a centrally located hotel i don’t care so much about the other amenities the hotel might have or whether it’s two stars or three stars or what have you but being in a central location in all of these places that we’re talking about is so important because when you’re traveling you really don’t have a lot of time and you don’t want to be wasting time having to take a train or a bus in from the burbs and or being in a location a hotel location that has nothing to see around it in terms of walking but when you’re in a central location oh you just step outside the door and take a left and there’s things to see all around you you’ll be eternally entertained by the right choice hotel so many times when i’m going to a new place that i haven’t been before not with a group but just on my own i’ll study uh google maps i’ll take a look at tripadvisor and uh there’s so many mapping apps now and and so on expedia that will right away let you know where all these hotels are it’s so easy now it used to be before the internet you had to buy a guidebook and then try to figure out from this europe on ten dollars a day of course that was advantage too it was a little bit cheaper but uh you can you can get by um on 300 a day that’ll cover your hotel and your food i’d say that’s comfortable minimum 300. yeah it’s it’s funny dennis you mentioned uh staying in the city center i i couldn’t agree with you more though the one one time that that backfired for me was when we were staying on a hotel right off the champs-elysees in paris and we got there on a sunday and i wanted to get like some bottled water and i asked the you know person who works in the lobby i’m like hey where can i get a bottle of water around here on a sunday and he’s like around here on a sunday no no because everything around the champs-elysees that was like grocery stores was closed you know it was like because it’s a business district right and i was like okay lesson learned in general don’t arrive into france on a sunday because everything’s closed right yeah and arrived with hotel reservations one time i arrived in paris and with no reservation on my 1985 trip and i had to leave town wow wow city until real long on the 85 trip by the way talking about arriving on a sunday or holiday i again that was my first europe trip i arrived from hawaii i flew to london and i arrived on a holiday it was a bank holiday of some kind and i come up in hobron near the british museum i was staying at a b b nearby had never been there didn’t know where i was and with the holiday everything was closed and the streets were empty right it was like a ghost town i had nobody to ask for directions or it was very disorienting for sure i figured it out finally well and i would say that’s one of the pro tips like you know traveling to europe or any country is like check the holidays in the country you’re going to right to make sure that you’re not like hey i’m going to go there and it’s it’s monday and it’ll be awesome except everything’s closed because it’s a holiday right unless you’re a festivity buff there there are all these festivals and sure there too if you want to see a festival you better plan way ahead of time and be prepared to spend more money for your hotel but uh they have those festival calendars and it’s really kind of fun to be in a place where there’s costume parades going by and all the dancing in the streets of the music that has a lot going for it indeed uh ronda in the chat wants to know how many countries you’ve been to have you totaled up that number dennis have i been to how many countries i was counting the towns if i may i’m building this new website uh towns of europe and i was counting the towns in europe that i’ve been to and it came to 200. so i was i was kind of surprised uh by that i filled up many a passport with uh stamps of countries but really in in europe it’s uh yeah tours by train and my the new website we’ll talk about that later in the towns of europe um you know not that many countries maybe a dozen european countries and i’ve been around i’ve been to asia some i’ve been to south america i led six tours in south america and um have been on several trips to asia so quite a bit mostly i’m sitting home in hawaii editing editing right video yeah and i’ve because i get asked that question so much i’ve i’ve totaled the number for me which is 27 but you know there’s all these other people that are like you know i’m trying to go like 100 countries or whatever and so dennis what what do you think about you know what i would call um check check mark travel to be like hey i just want to go to all these places versus like going to a destination you know for a longer period of time where where are you on that spectrum you know you know that brings up the related issue of the uh the selfies and people going to a place just to get that selfie shot and yeah sorry but uh that doesn’t cut it with me i’m i i just don’t do that and they don’t even see the place they’re they’re there for a quick check on the bucket list and get their selfie shot and then take a picture of their friend and then off they go to someplace else you know moving along you want to slow down there’s something called slow food leisurely meal and there’s related something called slow travel and you want to drop anchor for a while and stay in a place and while you’re in a place you can certainly keep busy and buzz around and you want to also take a little time to sit down at the cafe and watch the other people go by yeah on that notion of selfie travel one of the videos i did was um you know tips to travel to los angeles and i was in front of the staples center in los angeles the big icon where they do basketball games and i got my tripod set up and this tour bus shows up right next to me in front of the staples center lets out a group of 20 people that literally are out of the bus for one minute to assemble take a picture from the staples center and then really get back on the bus and there they go and i’m like wow that was you know you i don’t even know why you stopped because you could have just seen it from the window for the sake you know right it’s like nope what’s the point what’s the point why not just uh stay home and watch your youtube video if you can’t do that that’s right uh so a lot of slow down a little bit and smell the flowers and all that kind of thing and and meet some locals you want to stop and you know bother a local on the street corner and ask them what’s the name of the street or do you know a good restaurant around here or things like that and we can talk a little bit more about that um i think we kind of wrapped up the itineraries that those were my biggies my my big trips one two three four five six uh i did a spain tour also but i’m i’m really not as uh experienced in in spain and there i go along with my my friend who was spanish who was leading the tour but another great country to visit beyond barcelona no question about it yeah let’s let’s hit traveling like a local uh and so a lot of people say they want to travel like a local you mentioned meeting the locals you mentioned slow food how do you think people best travel to travel like a local yeah well it’s it’s hard you know because we’re not locals but we can at least try and and fit in uh somewhat um you want to say hello you want to say monger you enter a french door you say bonjour you find out what are some of the local habits the local customs you want to be polite not not a rude traveler remember your guests in in their country but it’s always nice to meet some locals and it can be done it’s a little harder if you’re with a group if you’re surrounded by 20 people all the time or again you’re on a cruise ship and you’re three hours in a port but if you’re walking around in a town uh just ask somebody especially younger people they’ll probably speak some english don’t try and stop anybody who’s in a hurry if they’re rushing along or rushing across the street but you might just smile and say hi and if you’re looking for a destination that’s nearby ask them perhaps maybe they’ll walk you over there that’s happened before if they’ve got nothing else to do so breaking the ice can be pretty easy if you’re just a little bit outgoing you don’t have to be a total extrovert but you’ll find it’s a rewarding experience or you’re having dinner you’re in a restaurant and there’s a couple at the table next to you well strike up a conversation ask well what are you eating there one question will do it it opens the door and then you’re into a one-hour discussion with those people saying it’s happened to you it happens to anybody who who wants and it’s really some of the best memories of the trip yeah for sure uh speaking of meeting locals rhonda asked this question are the people in france really rude no they’re not that’s just another myth of travel um they’re they’re not they’re they they can be very friendly just listen to the language listen how beautiful the language is and the the kiss on the cheek when they greet each other they’re kissing each other of course they’re not kissing too many tourists but um they’re fine now french waiters are a little bit notorious they often like to be gruff they they play at being grump but okay well so be it but you know there’s ways to deal with waiters uh let’s talk about food yeah segue into food that sounds good mmm getting hungry picking restaurants is a challenge uh the the problem is that the tourist trap pitfall is going to a restaurant that’s on a big busy piazza a main tourist any marine tourist destination is going to have a a row and circle of restaurants nearby and you have to be wary don’t discount them all some of them really can be surprisingly good but you have to be careful and so some of the things i look for in looking for a restaurant are walking around just on my own and it helps to if you’re looking at the dinner hour so you can see is this place empty or popular or what and you want it popular with locals not with the line of tourists out front of beware of trip advisor number one two three four five listings of restaurants beware of all that because you go to that restaurant and there’ll be 20 20 tourists waiting outside and the place is packed with tourists and the restaurant is so fat and lazy now because they have that high recommendation they don’t even try and so you’re going to have probably some bad service and mediocre food so it’s up to you you have to you have to do it yourself you have to find the place yourself and it’s really quite easy there’s restaurants all over the place you get two blocks away from the main drag and you’re gonna see the local restaurants okay so you identify a restaurant that looks good well it might have a tourist menu outside that’s okay don’t don’t be turned off if you see tourist menu it’s it’s pretty common and it’s often a very good deal so you look at that you’ll get an entree you know a couple of couple of courses you go in the restaurant and you’ll sit down and you look at the menu and up the tourist menu is not there they’ll they’ll offer to you if you ask them but instead they have their normal menu or which does not have that discount so if you do see an attractive tourist menu make note and you know ask them when you’re going okay so when you’re going to restaurant i’ve got some good tips for you first of all look around listen and smell so use your senses use your brain you want to look around first of all to see let’s let’s assume it’s fairly crowded uh you know half full you want to look first of all are people eating so many restaurants you walk into and it’s half full and nobody’s eating they haven’t eaten yet they don’t have dirty dishes on the table they don’t have anything they’re waiting so i immediately turn around and walk out now if they’ve eaten and there’s still dishes there that’s another animal altogether or if they are eating great even if it’s crowded and everybody most everybody seems to be eating well you’re going to have some good service and probably some good food now listen and see if you hear mostly the local language if you’re only hearing um the tourist english then well maybe not so good keep going move along okay so you sat down you’ve ordered your meal and the waiter brings you the course brings you the meal ask for the check when when he brings your meal if you’re not having dessert and i don’t usually have dessert i’m just having you know an appetizer salad and an entree so when he brings you the main course ask for the check because why you might be sitting there a long time after you’re finished eating waiting to catch the tater the waiter’s attention now maybe he wasn’t so busy when you first sat down at 8 o’clock but now at 9 9 15 the place is packed and he’s very busy and he’s not paying attention to you and they don’t have peripheral vision they are blind to any peripheral vision now they think unless they want to talk to you they they don’t want to hear from you so they’ll go what you want to check now they say yes when you can if you would and then he’ll usually fail to do it so the next time you see him remind him oh connect the check please so you’ll get your check and then you can actually pay while you’re eating or just after you finish eating and so when you finish eating you know our time is precious when we’re traveling and we’re tired come on nine o’clock 9 30 at night you’ve been walking all day you’re tired you want to go home and go to bed you don’t wait around another half hour so that way you can leave when you’re done eating those are all super great tips dennis i i think particularly the ones that you gave about look at restaurants if people are eating you know and this is one like you mentioned the busy restaurant on the piazza you know and i’ll i’ll do the store there’s all these people there and maybe they’re not waiting but they’re drinking right they’ve got like booze on their table but no food you know so it’s like okay there’s a place people go drink or there’s a place where people go to smoke or it’s a place where they go to get coffee and they go to socialize but it’s not a place that people actually go to eat uh and then you mentioned the one about all the reviews on tripadvisor you know oh see girl and i we’ve been burned once or twice in our travels as i’m sure you have you know with things where you’re like this restaurant’s so busy let me get in there and then you realize at one point the entire restaurant clears out because everybody else that was in there was on tour group except for the two of us and we’re like oh this is this is a great restaurant you know only tour groups uh come here um oh but you’ll have great food there’s so many of us it’s one of those for sure there’s no question however if you really want to save money if you’re really pinching pennies then it’s cheaper to eat at lunch than it is uh at night you might just have a very light snack in the evening you can even you know go to grocery store and get some takeouts and bring it to your hotel room in the evening maybe a sandwich uh and uh usually lunchtime meals are quite good and less expensive so that’s another option another tip i have as a photographer yeah if you’re interested in twilight which is always a nice time to be out taking pictures and also just walking without a camera just your eyes will enjoy it i try and avoid uh sit sitting in a restaurant at twilight so i’ll go after twilight in the dark that’s when the europeans are eating at eight or nine or in spain at midnight you know pretty late yeah they sure do uh so uh there was a question in the chat actually not a question a comment that i just wanted to read we were talking about your monitor setup earlier but nick said uh your monitor setup is so from the year 30 21 so just in case people didn’t see dense’s fault monitor setup at the beginning there it is um now one one of the things that i think is really important in europe uh and not just us talking about your monitor setup but one of the things i think is really important in europe uh is for people to stay safe so how do you advise people to stay safe from thieves and pickpockets yeah it’s an issue i’ve been i’ve been pickpocketed six times wow wow they only got me the first time that was down in a little town in south america in peru uh all the other times i stopped them or caught them or or what have you uh but it’s really simple to protect yourself from that and that is to wear a safety pin on your pocket and i always hand out safety pins to my travelers and i encourage them to always keep your pocket pinned because there is no doubt there are lots of pickpockets in europe and it’s not just amsterdam amsterdam has become relatively safe i think um every city you go to the you know it’s also not just gypsies with cardboard in front of you these are very uh some very clever people but even with the safety pin oh i was in barcelona doing some filming of a parade and i had my camera held high above my head and i was watching the parade with my pocket safety pin nice and i felt a bump on my pocket and i just wanted the lady away and and she said oh she’s pointed her iphone or something and i thought ah she can’t get me and minutes later i’m going through a bank machine to to create some money and she had undone my safety pitch she didn’t get anything but she undid my safety impressive skilled so maybe two safety pins and you can buy travel pockets uh with zippers that’s another option but i think a safety pin is i was vulnerable because i’m tall i wasn’t paying attention i was you know watching the parade yeah well that’s a that’s a good thing about it they’re not gonna shoot you or stab you uh mug you um that that doesn’t happen that question don’t carry a lot don’t carry your passport with you don’t don’t carry a lot of cash so you can’t be deprived of too much those are good tips a question from the chat from rhonda she asked if there were any countries or places you’ve been to that you generally didn’t feel safe where i did not feel safe yeah well no uh you know taking those precautions and um also maybe like for a single lady not walking um on your own at night on a dark lonely street but no the countries the countries i’ve been to have been fine i was in peru in the late 80s during the shining path revolution and and that was a little scary but that was an unusual situation we we were not allowed to go out at night we were locked down yeah but that’s all gut finish now peru is safe as well too that’s uh that’s a little harsh well uh dennis tell us about your new website that you’re putting together this uh towns of europe it’s a brand new one it’s just under construction in fact only the last week i’ve been starting to build it my web skills are somewhat medium level quality but uh i’m working on it and it’s called towns of and it’s already up and available but it’s under construction so i’ve put together the netherlands part of it so you could take a little look there but the ultimate goal is to have very good detailed and useful descriptions of 200 places at least in europe so 200 of the the fine towns to visit and to provide description maps photographs uh some websites web links and and this will be a site that’s uh not selling anything i’m not selling any tours not selling any hotel rooms there’s no ulterior motive there’s there’s no profit motive although i’d like to get some attention with the site and maybe it’ll draw people to my movies too because there’ll be a lot of links to the youtube videos on there but that’s all well and good part of the educational approach of this website so my my slogan is authentic honest content and it will be the real deal and also i’m hoping that people the viewers will participate not just by looking at it but by contributing by joining in i’m going to make it open to contributions from other people who have been to places that i’ve never been and so if you want to send me an email there’s an email address on that website send me a tickler you can send me some text for example a little story you might have written some pictures and i’ll i’ll build the page onto this website and i’ll give you credit byline credit and put a link to your website or your social media or what have you so you know we can all help each other out that way and and help the traveling public by building a very robust information website right now there’s no single website that you can go to for saying oh i want to browse around in europe where are some places to go there there are some there’s um rick steves is a good example that’s pretty comprehensive he’s one of the champions obviously of uh travel literature uh travel writer and producer so his is pretty good but uh not in great detail not at great length even there timeout is another pretty good website but they’re always uh many of these sites are just filled with ads and links and they’re just really distracting you you’re searching google you think okay here’s a pretty good site you go to it and ah it’s all links for selling stuff so this um towns of europe will be different it’ll be a non-commercial not selling any products not taking any paid placements not taking any free trips or anything like that maybe mention some hotels you know if you’ve been to a hotel and you really like it or restaurant shopping area sure tell us about that so i’m hoping that people will help me out it’s going to take me many months to to get it built but by the time people in your archive are watching this there’ll be more pages built out right now it’s in the netherlands and it’s got a long way to go but it’s a fun project you know i built my other websites and the tour videos website is a good one as an index of my videos and the tours by train is also a good one for those itineraries that we talked about already on you can go to that and you’ll find a lot of the uh information already available on tours by train but this towns of europe will be more comprehensive that sounds good well i look forward to uh a catalog of europe travel that doesn’t have a lot of pop-ups or pop-unders or pop-arounds uh well dennis it comes to this time in the live stream that we do a giveaway yes it’s the time that you’ve been waiting for it’s time for the giveaway and as usual i give away a yellow productions crew shirt we’re going to ask dennis what he was drinking in a moment because everybody wants to know i’m sure somebody wants to know what i was thinking drinking too but we’ll get to that uh but so the question to win and we can’t you can’t see my yellow person’s crew shirt logo here we go the yellow productions crew shirt right there with that logo on it is what does dennis advise that you put in your pocket to stay safe from pickpockets if you answer that question first in the chat you will win a yellow productions cruise shirt shipped to you anywhere in the world i’m just drinking a plain old normal iced tea but dennis what are you drinking out of that orange cup water yeah water for now but carbonated water like a like soda water or a particular type of carbonated water that you like yeah just just soda water and then this evening a couple glasses of wine and lately i’ve been drinking uh some non-alcoholic beer to go along with that to cut down a little bit control my white wine conception oh wine we haven’t talked about the wines of europe but you know all about it it’s inexpensive you go into an italian restaurant get the house wine it’s cheaper than the water frankly yeah it tastes better for sure well i’m seeing a lot of people answering the question right in the chat but yeah but but the first person so we’ll hear we’ll run the winning animation and now we have a winner winner chicken dinner all right and so the winner for some reason i can’t pull up the chat message on the screen like i usually do like i usually do but the first person to say safety pin is gilberto carmona from brazil this is a very special win for gilberto dennis because gilberto has now won 10 times his last win was number nine and he sent me a picture and he said chris i am going to win number 10. and it’s going to be soon and he sent me this picture of himself to say chris for this occasion i bought the number 10 shirt so gilberto that is awesome thank you for always being on all these live streams as with everybody here there we go gilberto gilberto is the biggest chicken dinner winner there we go so that’s uh that’s that all right you have an international audience so like myself you know with my videos by the way it’s 75 outside america yeah that’s impressive i think uh i think i may be 60 outside america but uh yeah definitely i mean that’s the youtube is such a small place right it’s like you know when people people come from all over so i think it’s it’s a great feeling you know getting back to why are we doing it just that satisfaction you know of entertaining people and all the comments that you get the email comments that you get on your videos it’s really gratifying a lot for sure well uh for those of you that know dennis already please thank dennis for being on here if you haven’t you know put a thumbs up on this video so dennis knows you appreciate him being here send him some love in the comments the chat the archive if you this is your first time seeing dennis he’s a wealth of information about europe another place in the world he’s been to make sure to head over to his channel check it out you’ll find a link in the description to it dennis i’m going to give you the last words so my channel is my name dennis that’s the name of my channel there you go that’s it and uh you’ll find that link or you can get that with the wrong button or you can just go ahead and search it right there dennis callan two a’s right there so all right dennis again last words to you i usually say i won’t say goodbye because i’ll see you in the next video but say whatever you want here at the end oh well chris i want to thank you and also i want to thank all of my hawaii travelers over the years the ones who kept me going for these 80 tours without their support and their repeat business they liked my trips and coming back again i wouldn’t have been able to do any of this shoot any of the videos so thanks to them thanks to my wife for her patience while i do do all this stuff and thank you chris very much