Back before the advent of the famous guidebook series, travel to Europe was considered a “once in a lifetime” experience, only for the wealthy. Frommer showed people how travel to Europe could be economical and rewarding.The idea for the popular travel guides was born while Frommer was a GI in Europe. Frommer was based in Germany. Whenever he got a weekend pass, he hopped on a train to Paris or hitched an Air Force flight to England.There is an interview with Frommer on the Frommer website. He spoke of his days as a soldier, when he discovered that budget travel was not only feasible, it was preferable. He spoke of a day in Paris when he was sitting at a sidewalk cafe, “I was sitting in a sidewalk cafe writing letter home, nursing a little glass of wine for several hours — to enable me to keep sitting at that cafe. I looked up and saw a motor coach of forty or so American tourists passing by with everyone’s noses pressed to the glass looking out at the life of Paris from the inside the bus.At that moment, I realized that the difference between them and me was that they had money and I had no money–and because I had no money, I was having the time of my life. That if I’d had any money, I would not be sitting at an exotic cafe, meeting Parisians and involving myself the the life of Paris… I would be in that bus, having a second-rate experience.”Frommer went on to say that he realized that when traveling “the less you spend, the more you enjoy”.The Frommer’s Travel Guides were created with the purpose of making travel better and more accessible, with the philosophy that budget travel was a more authentic experience. The popular series of travel guides was started with “Europe on 5 Dollars a Day”. At the time, travel to Europe was a grand event, with wealthy travelers traveling with steamer trunks of clothing. Wealthy travelers would only stay in first class hotels, because they thought that second class hotels would be hazardous.Frommer guide emphasized having an authentic experience, Frommer likes to treat travel as an opportunity to learn and grow intellectually, not just as a trivial entertainment.When asked what the best travel advice he ever experiences was, he said is was in regard to taking too much clothing along on a trip. Frommer said, “We damage the trip by doing so…People can travel with a fraction of the the items they normally take with them”.There have been changes to the Frommer’s guides over the years. The first guides were “Europe on $5 a Day” The dally amount had to increase with inflation. As the hotel prices went up, the dollar per day amount had to increase. The guidebooks also expanded to cover travel all over the globe.When asked which destinations have change the most over the past 50 years, Frommer said “The islands of the Caribbean have, in many cases, been destroyed by the cruise ship industry”. He went on to say that many of the quaint little port cities in the Caribbean have been overwhelmed by the tourist industry. .
When asked which destinations have changed the least, Frommer said “The country towns of Europe. The small cities outside the major capitol have, in many cases, retained the way of life they enjoyed 2– years ago, especially in the Alpine area, the mountain villages of Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria and even Northern Italy.”The Frommer’s tradition will continue. Pauline Frommer, Arthur Frommer’s daughter, is writing travel guides for the publisher. Frommer’s Travel Guides are published by parent company, Wiley Publishing.