This week’s NileGuide 5 interview features Juliana Shallcross, the Senior Editor of HotelChatter.com since 2006. She’s also the managing editor at Jaunted.com, the Pop Culture Guide to Travel, as well as the newest site from SFO*Media, VegasChatter.com—a daily user’s guide to Las Vegas. Follow along with Juliana on Twitter at @juliana6.
1. What’s the most underrated destination you’ve been to?
Las Vegas. No, seriously! I’m talking about the other side of Vegas–not the casinos and the nightclubs. So many folks go for that quick in and out trip, expecting some sort of “Hangover” experience. But really, there’s so much else to do there.
Just a half-hour off the strip is Red Rock Canyon where you can go rock climbing, hiking or biking. There’s downtown Vegas which has a more Old Vegas feel (and cheaper prices!), the Neon Graveyard where they keep all the old signs and marquees, and you can take day trips out to the Hoover Dam or Grand Canyon.
Back on the Strip, I could spend a month eating my way through town at the new restaurants. There’s countless shows to see (although I’m more partial to the Broadways hits than the magic ones) and Vegas is actively building an arts scene there. So hopefully, people can take an extra day to do one of these things on their next trip.
2. How do you kill time when you’re stuck on a bus or plane?
Usually, I’m working. Or brainstorming for story ideas. I miss the old days when we didn’t have in-flight WiFi because I would do logic puzzles or catch up on half-read New Yorkers. But with in-flight WiFi, I always feel the strange pull to do work. Or else, I play Scrabble on my iPhone.
3. What’s the strangest place you’ve visited on your travels?
It would have to be the medieval torture museum (Museo della Tortura) in San Gimignano, Italy. Those “instruments” were sick. I am very happy to be a law-abiding citizen in the 21st century, thank you very much.
4. What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at a new destination?
Stare out the window. If I have a window seat, I start studying the landscape as the plane’s landing. Otherwise, whether it be on the train from the airport or in the car ride to the hotel, I just tune out everything and watch this new world go by. Then I usually have to film my hotel room for work.
5. If you could give one tip or piece of advice to travelers, what would it be?
Ok, I have two: My general tip is to leave at least a half-day to just explore whatever you feel like exploring. Take a map but nothing else. My best day in Paris was the one where we just walked around with no real purpose. We stumbled upon so many great shops and sights.
More specifically, buy your tickets to museums or events online. It’s a great timesaver because you don’t have to wait in those long queues when you arrive. Plus you can get the email confirmation sent to your phone so you dont have to carry around a piece of paper. And you may even stumble upon a promotion code for a discount too.
[Image: Juliana Shallcross]