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Edit: OK! That's all for now. We'll be back later to answer more, so leave your questions down below! Thanks for joining us today and please tune in to Travel Channel tonight to watch our show!
We're the hosts of the super funny brand new show "Trip Testers" on Travel Channel, premiering tonight (Monday 2/6) at 11pm E/P for two back-to-back episodes. Jason Kessler got his start writing for The Office on NBC before becoming a food and travel writer (Bon Appetit, American Way, etc.) and Jeff Miller (u/JeffMillerLA) has been the editor of Thrillist LA for the past decade. We're friends who have somehow turned our jobs into a TV show, traveling the world to find the best ways to spend your hard-earning vacation dollars. Tune in to Travel Channel every Monday night to join us on our adventures.
Jeff Miller is commenting as u/JeffMillerLA. He's legit!
What trip have you enjoyed the most? Any place better than you expected it to be?
We went to San Antonio for "Trip Testers" and I had never been before. I was blown away by how much I like it. Jeff and I had the best breakfast tacos we've ever had and ended up riding a mechanical bull at a combination steakhouse/rodeo. Well, maybe "riding" is too generous. We ended up falling off within seconds.
Hey All! Thanks for coming to our AMA. Go ahead and ask us anything!
Is there anywhere you've gone that you wouldn't go back too?
Great question! For the show, I'd be happy to return to any of the places we visited. Overall, though, I've gone on some not-so-great press trips. While there were parts of my trip to Morocco that were really fun, I just don't think it hooked me enough as a destination to return.
What's the worst part of constantly travelling and shooting simultaneously?
Honesty, it's being away from home with my girlfriend and puppy. Going on vacation for a living is amazing and I love every second, but it's really hard to be away from the comforts of my own bed for weeks and weeks at a time.
Thanks for the response. Follow up question, what is the worst mistake to make as a guest in another country?
I think the worst mistake you can make is thinking that your point of view is correct no matter what. Always remember that you're a guest in another country. Instead of trying to do things your way, defer to the people around you and do your best to immerse yourself in whatever culture you're in.
Is the show a feel-good show that just shows the fun and light side of travel and filters out the rest, or will you also showcase bad travel destinations?
For certainly not every vacation is a success in real life.
I'd have to say that yes, the show is definitely a fun light-hearted look at travel. We look at every destination from our point of view as professional travel writers. Over time, we've learned that nobody wants to read a story about how awful a place is, so we only focus on what's worth doing on your vacation. Of course, there are some places we like more than others but for the most part, everything you see on the show showcases how fun it is (or how scared I am to do it...)
Hey guys, long time fan (and even sometimes FRIEND?!?!) What was the craziest story of exploration either on or off camera? Give me the deets, any curve balls, incredible surprises, depressing "brick walls" - all the fun stuff that comes with traveling and inevitably... soul searching. ;)
Hey FRIEND! One of the craziest things that happened to us was in New Orleans (second episode tonight -- 11:30pm on Travel). We were shooting in an alley, doing an "On The Fly" interview to recap what we had just done and two incredibly drunk dudes came lumbering over demanding to know what we were doing. It really felt like a fight was about to break out at any moment, but luckily the situation was diffused and nobody got hurt. In terms of actual exploration, we found some amazing late night eating spots in almost every city we went to, from noodle joints to BBQ to old-school Tex-Mex to super fresh poke. Those were really some of the best parts of shooting the show -- that happened far from the cameras.
Did you have to overcome any longtime fears on camera and was that an effective way to confront them? Like, say you were afraid of toilets and had to visit a toilet museum.
I told them right off the bat that I wouldn't do anything that would make me feel my claustrophobia, so luckily that was off the table. I mean, we juggled fire knives -- does that count? I wasn't really afraid of them until we started working with live fire. Now I'm not sure if I would ever do that again.
What was your opinion of that (in my opinion) awful racist/classist NIMBY article bashing the Santa Monica Expo line? http://gawker.com/popular-opinion-that-l-a-thrillist-article-on-the-su-1778517804
It got Thrillist a lot of flack and negative coverage for paying for such shitty opinions. (the article has since been taken down)
EDIT: Here's the full article, but i'm sure you know which one i'm talking about. http://imgur.com/a/Pj1hx
I'll just let Jeff answer that one...
Where's the most remote location you've ever traveled to?
I went deeeeeep into the jungles of Thailand north of Chaing Rai to the Four Seasons Tent Camp and had drinks at a bar overlooking the intersection point of Thailand, Burma, and Laos. Now THAT was remote.
How can I get on your show? :)
We get this question a lot! If you could build a time machine and head back to 6 years ago when Jeff and I met at BBQ Boot Camp at the Alisal Ranch, you could become one of our really close friends and then we'd probably try to pitch the show as a trio!
What are the unique experiences you both have had while being on this show and what things have you learnt?
In terms of unique experiences, we visited a 95-year-old man who runs a Toilet Seat Museum, sipped whiskey in a member's only whiskey library, and ate a whole pig's head (not the bones, though). Hard to say what we've learned through the process. Perhaps that going on vacation gives you a chance to see the world with open eyes and meeting new people and trying new things are really what makes a life full and rich.
Will you get to Travel to Asian countries at a point(I.E - Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Israel, Jordan, etc.)?
YES! We really really hope so. Asia was on the top of our list when we started planning the season, but Travel Channel wanted us to start with US cities first. We're DYING to head to Asia and hit Japan, Korea, Thailand, and everywhere else. Any city you specifically suggest?
I do live in the Middle east, but as of Japan I know Kyoto is pretty beautiful and Tokyo is really beautiful when the Sakura trees bloom, Akihabara is basically my dream place(Anime stuff etc.).
Israel truly has beautiful and diverse landscape(born and raised), so expolring the Negev and Carmel by the routes we have in the nature can show pretty things.
That is what I know about what I personally want to see in asia, maybe some of Korea and maybe China to see Hong Kong and Beijing. One more thing, Don't always look at the cities, try to show the nature and it's beauty.
I love Israel and really hope we get to go there on the show. I miss the pita badly. Fun fact: every time Jeff and I have to do voiceover for the show, we go to an Israeli shawarma shop here in Los Angeles. They have the best laffa around.
you NEED to convince Travel Channel to include that in a online video, blur those guys out, book end it with some hilarious commentary, and let the fists fly... or not fly as they did in this case.
What was your favorite off-camera late night spot(s) that I can add to my growing list of international obsessions I will eventually visit (and my list includes things like I've obsessed over for almost a decade that I traversed 3 Asian countries over 2 days without sleeping in any bed or showering... to get to ;D)... GO!
I think my favorite off-camera spots were Star Noodle in Maui, Two Bros BBQ in San Antonio, and Carbone in Vegas. Those are in reverse order of how empty your wallet is going to be when you're done :)
Oh man, how did I forget Star Noodle? Again, please :).
I ended up going twice. Do you think they deliver to LA?
I like toilets! lol
You've got a good shot!
What's something strange that you found? Roadside attraction, interesting person that surprised you, etc.
The number 1 person that comes to mind is Barney Smith, creator of the Toilet Seat Museum outside of San Antonio, TX. This man is a former plumber who started engraving toilet seats decades ago and now has over 12,000 displayed in his garage for anyone to see. It was a trip and Barney was so sweet. Super passionate about his toilet seats and just a genuinely kind man.
What's the funniest thing that happened behind the scenes?
So... Jeff and I started playing a game when we took Ubers to and from hotels. We'd improvise an entirely different profession each time. One of the best ones was when we were in a car passing the Alamo in San Antonio with our sound guy and ended up telling the driver we were in town to paint the Alamo neon yellow. He totally bought it!
YES. We convinced an Uber driver in Vegas that Jason was an award-winning scientist who had figured out how to kill ants humanely using oreo cookies. I wish we had video of all of them!
Oh man. That's one of my biggest regrets. We should have recorded every single one!
the best boom for your buck vacation taht you would recommend?
I'd say to pick a place where you can drive in a reasonable amount of time. Even if that means just doing a staycation where you vacation in your own town. For me, a vacation is anywhere you can forget about what else is happening in your life. If you want a specific destination, I'd look at Iceland. WOW Air offers realllly cheap deals from the US right now.
Were there any pranks on set? If so, what was the best prank?
I stole a lot of people's wallets and then sold the IDs on the black market. Is that considered a prank?
Sounds like a very fun career. As I've never seen the show nor do I have cable, do you show different levels of affordability in this show? For example, if you're looking for cheap activities, we suggest X, Y, and Z! Or if you're looking for culture, check out __'s place!
The show premieres tonight! We do talk about the price of every activity we do and how that figures into people's budgets. Obviously vacation means different things to different people and we try to accommodate everyone!
Is there any place you would never go again?
Tough question! In terms of places we went on the show, we'd gladly go back. As I mentioned in an earlier question that was similar, I don't think I'd go back to Morocco but that was the only place I've ever traveled that I didn't really love and miss when I came home.