Beth Reiber

Consult with me

Growing up, Beth Reiber couldn't wait to get out of Dodge. Her first trip abroad was at 16, when she was one of a dozen U.S. Girl Scouts chosen to spend one month in Sweden, where, to her delight, she learned scouting was co-ed. After earning university degrees in German and journalism, she worked for a small-town Kansas newspaper, moved to Germany and began selling freelance travel articles to newspapers across the United States and then served as editor of a travel magazine in Tokyo.  Her career as a free-lance travel writer has spanned more than three decades and taken her to about 45 countries. In addition to her articles and photographs that have appeared in more than 55 publications and websites, she is the author of nine guidebooks. She has been writing Frommer's guides to Japan for more than 30 years, including Frommer's Japan, Frommer's Tokyo, and most recently, Frommer's EasyGuide to Tokyo, Kyoto and Western Honshu. She has trekked through Japan's castles, meditated in gardens, been rendered speechless by museum collections ranging from the profane to the profound, slept like a baby in Japanese inns, soaked her travel-weary bones in countless hot springs, and inspected more hotel rooms than anyone in their right mind should ever have to see. Since 2009 she has been a VISIT JAPAN AMBASSADOR, an honorary title awarded by the Japanese government for her contributions in promoting travel in Japan. She has also written extensively about Hong Kong and Macau and was the author of Frommer's Hong Kong almost as long as she's been writing about Japan. After years roaming through Europe and Asia, she returned to Lawrence, Kansas, for her home base (it's cheaper) and to raise her two sons, mostly as a single mom. When not on the road, Beth can be found trying out new recipes, getting dirty in her garden, reading and writing fiction, hanging out with friends, keeping peace between her dog, cat and chickens, and trying to keep up with her 20-something-aged sons sons.

Posts by Beth Reiber

You asked...we answered!

  • 1
    What is the most important thing you've learned from traveling?

    Traveling defines who I am, so it’s difficult to imagine what I’d be like if I’d followed a more traditional path. Certainly I’d have made more money as an employee with a steady paycheck than as a free-lancer, but I’d probably also be more uptight and less able to go with the flow. Because go with the flow is what it’s all about when traveling, and it’s the unexpected—and being able to embrace it—that sometimes makes a trip better than imagined or not as bad as it could have been. Traveling has taught me that experiences are better than material things, that there are a million ways of looking at things, and that curiosity and compassion feed the soul. With that philosophy, it doesn’t matter where I am. Even my backyard can be a jungle.

  • 2
    What's your favorite mode of transportation? Why?

    My own two feet is my favorite way to explore my surroundings. I live a five-minute walk from downtown so that I can walk most places I need to go. In a new city, there’s no better immersion than walking, whether it’s from lower Manhattan up its spine to Central Park or from Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui to Mong Kok. When writing and updating guidebooks, I spend my days exploring cities one neighborhood at a time, and by the end of, say, a month in Tokyo, I’ve seen more of the city than most Tokyoites care to see. For greater distances, from city to city, I prefer public transportation because it’s the best way to see the country like a native. In all my years of travel, I’ve rented a car only once, in Ireland, and though it was a blast (I loved asking directions; the answers were always soliloquies!), it didn’t compare to that train ride to Jaisalmer or the bus to Cusco.