Rudy Maxa suggests taking the road less planned for

Eiffel Tower
People sunbathe on lawns near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on August 1, 2013.
BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images

For someone who plans trips for a living, Rudy Maxa shows an unlikely love of plans that go awry.

"What you remember are trips where things go wrong," he said Wednesday on The Daily Circuit. "You're sitting next to somebody at a dinner party, and they say, 'I just went to Paris! I just love Paris!' You go, yeah, OK, everybody loves Paris, I've heard this a hundred times. So anyway, 'I went to Paris, and I put regular fuel in the diesel engine, and we got stranded in this town, it was right in Champagne. So we had dinner in Champagne. You know, they serve champagne with every course.' That's where the stories come from. That's more interesting."

He's not just making that example up.

"I put regular fuel in a diesel in the hills of Italy once," he admitted. "Things go wrong for me all the time."

Maxa, host of "Rudy Maxa's World" on PBS and a weekly syndicated radio show, said that even if a plan isn't going badly, it's best to be prepared to drop it when something intriguing comes along.

"If you're not going on a tour, you should always be open, if something just catches your fancy," he said.

"Often your most memorable trip is something you did early in life, and it was the first time. I had never been to the south of France, and my wife and I — I think I was 24 years old, 25 years old, we'd been married a couple of years and we went to the south of France. We didn't know enough to plan anything. There was no Internet then. You couldn't just type in and check all the hotels and lodging options and highways and so on. We just rented a car, and fortunately we went on the fringe, either May or September, so we could find a hotel wherever we went. We just drove around in the hills. Yeah, we went into Nice, and Cannes, and Saint-Tropez, but we didn't stay in any of those. We went up into the hills behind them.

"It was a great, great trip, because we didn't know what we were going to find. We had no idea what to expect."

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