Samantha Brown is the girl next door with the best job in the world. In one unexpected, life changing moment, she went from travel novice and struggling actor to professional traveler and TV host of her own show. As a result, for the last 13 years, Samantha has gotten to journey to some of the most fascinating destinations across the globe and document her incredible experiences for a travel series bearing her name on the Travel Channel.

As a Travel Channel host, Samantha has visited dozens of countries, hundreds of cities and countless hotels around the world, all while immersing herself in the beautiful people and cultures she encounters in each place.

Samantha Brown Travel Channel LogoIn the most recent edition of her travel series, Samantha Brown’s Great Weekends, Sam explores the very best in weekend getaways. From Sundance to Montreal, or Philadelphia to Savannah, this series has Sam traveling to destinations all across the U.S. and worldwide. Previously, Sam traveled through various areas of China for Samantha Brown: Passport to China. In Passport to Latin America, Samantha took viewers to 20 cities, revealing colorful landscapes and warm populations. Prior to that, Sam delved into European culture, traveling to 65 destinations from magnificent capitals and tiny mountaintop villages to ancient seacoast towns in Passport to Europe.

From her high energy, carefree attitude and genuine enthusiasm that come through on every episode, it’s clear that Samantha truly enjoys showing Travel Channel viewers how extraordinary it is to be a part of everyday life in another part of the world and how the language barrier can sometimes be a bridge to a deeper communication, one that she respects and cherishes.

With all of those miles banked (she stopped counting after she hit the million mark) and all that time spent globetrotting (230 days a year), it’s no surprise that Samantha knows a thing or two about travel and the importance of good luggage. In May 2011, she put her expertise to more good use and debuted her exclusive collection of fashionable, yet highly functional luggage on HSN.

Samantha Brown with piece from her luggage collectionEach piece of her travel-friendly luggage – upright suitcases, carry-ons, totes, and a weekend bag – was inspired by Sam’s personal adventures around the world. The Samantha Brown Luggage collection launched following a meticulous 2 year design process, but Samantha’s vision for the luggage really began well over a decade ago when she boarded her first flight for her job as a world traveler.

As Samantha explained in her HSN blog, “Luggage can make or break your journey. I wanted luggage that could be both strong and beautiful with a design that inspired you to get out there and experience life. I didn’t see it in the stores, so I designed it myself.”

But, her luggage isn’t just about beauty, it’s got brains too. Each detail is a well thought out improvement or solution based on a piece of failed luggage that Sam owned, and the lesson she learned from that experience. The features were chosen to make travel as easy and stress-free as possible. In fact, one of her upright suitcases even comes complete with a built-in scale in the handle, so you can know if you meet weight requirements before you get to the airport. Genius!

Prior to her life as a professional jet-setter, Samantha graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Musical Theatre and spent a number of years pursuing acting in New York City. Her off-Broadway credits include Brutality of Fact at Primary Stages and June Moon at the Variety Theatre.

What Else She Shared… More With Samantha Brown

WYSK: What is the most interesting item in your handbag right now?

Foam EarplugsSB: The most interesting thing in my handbag has to be earplugs. I travel with earplugs, just those cheap, $.25 foam things you get in Home Depot. I find that I’m actually really sensitive to sound, especially in an airport. I think a lot of the stress in airports is actually noise related. So I always have them with me. But, I also find that when I go to the mall and into like a hip women’s shop, they’re blaring the music… I hate that too; I go into a coffee shop, there’s music. Everyone has to have music at 10 on a volume scale and so I just pop in my foam earplugs and I’m in my own private Idaho. So, they’re in my purse always.

WYSK: What gadget or technology can you not live without to do what you do?

SB: It would have to be my smartphone. I’m not going to give the maker because I hate them right now. They have made my life miserable. I actually just came back from their center where you talk to someone about the problems you’re having, it’s like marriage counseling. I’m like, “You don’t understand… I’ve been trying to reach out to this phone for so long, I’ve been taking care of it, I put in my password and it still doesn’t respond to me.” You realize that you have a relationship with this thing. This morning I put in the wrong password and it wiped out my entire contents of the phone and the guy at the center said, “Well… that’s uh, ya know a security measure that we put in to the phone.” I’m like, “You don’t understand, no one wants to steal these phones anymore because they stink! So don’t worry about the security measure.” I’m just a little upset right now… I need to put in my earplugs (she laughs).

WYSK: What is the last book you read?

SB: I’m reading a book now called The Happiness Project. I just thought, “what a great title”. And I learned a lot because I’m genuinely a very happy person and some people have criticized me for that. My biggest critics have said, “oh, she’s too perky” or “she’s always happy” and “travel can’t always be that good”. So, it was good to read someone who actually acknowledges that it takes a lot of effort to be happy; that it’s not just something you are; that it’s actually a lot easier to be cynical, to be downtrodden, to be critical. I liked reading that, so I’m enjoying the book.

Hotel SoapWYSK: What is your biggest pet peeve?

SB: My biggest pet peeve is plastic wrapped hotel soap… you know the kind. You get into the shower and by the time you step in it’s too late. You look down on that plastic wrapped soap because with wet hands you will NEVER be able to remove that plastic from that soap. And you’ll try… you’ll try thinking if you could just get your nails underneath that little sticker that holds all the plastic together you can get the plastic off, but you can’t. So you begin to claw it, you maul it like you’re a bear. Then out of complete desperation you put the whole thing in your mouth. So, plastic wrapped soap has reduced me to the omnivorous habits of nocturnal varmint. I hate plastic wrapped soap.

WYSK: What is your favorite indulgence?

SB: It’s chocolate. I love chocolate. I love dark chocolate. I love milk chocolate. I even love white chocolate. Chocolate (she sighs)… I have to have it every single day.