This travel blogger interview features Charles McCool of McCool Travel. An experienced traveller full of great tips and master of free flights.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I am an amateur traveler hoping to become professional soon.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Personal savings, although in the past year I have been fortunate to go on several sponsored trips. I am hoping to develop a full-time business of teaching people to travel. How fun is that? I also try to earn and burn points for free flights and nights.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
I remember parts of a long drive between Kansas and South Florida when I was 6.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Northern England has so much open space and so many historic attractions. It is an underrated area. In the USA, Wyoming really impressed me.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
I recently had food poisoning in Prague. Not a happy experience.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Plenty. My rental car was missing in Portugal, after we visited the Chapel of Bones. I went to police station and an officer started laughing. He said, “people see officer and move cars. Your car no move. We take it.”
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
The row in front of the smoking section on a flight across the Pacific Ocean. Thank goodness smoking is no longer permitted.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Driving on a curvy, hilly, scenic road with no one else in sight.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I really do not. I want to visit everywhere I have not been. And re-visit almost everywhere I have been.
Can you imagine life without travel?
I can, but it would be a sad existence.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Thinking about travel and planning more trips.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
McCool Travel, http://www.mccooltravel.com
When did you begin your website?
I registered my first website, LowerAirfares.com, before 2000. Not sure when I started this one.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
My travel writing reinforces and certifies that I know what I am talking about, regarding travel skills.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
I teach people how to save money, time, and stress on all aspects of travel. I am independent, not sponsored by anyone, so I provide unbiased travel information.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
I provide seminars and classes to empower happy travelers. I now offer my services to corporations, so that employees can learn travel techniques and become happier travelers. In 2001, I published a book called “Winning the Airfare Game” but it is out of print.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
My most read online article has been 8 Great Scenic Drives in South Florida [http://www.mccooltravel.com/2012/03/8-great-scenic-drives-in-south-florida/ ].
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I was happy to write this article about how my travel tip appeared in the printed Conde Nast magazine [http://www.mccooltravel.com/2015/09/save-on-international-airfares-with-split-tickets/ ].
What is your favourite mode of transport?
Did you have a favourite trip?
I spent 16 months mostly driving around the United States and western Canada but also made two trips to Europe.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Pack light and you can never start too soon.
Do you have a favourite travel tip?
Be flexible. The more flexible you are about how, when, how long, where, etc., you travel, the more chances you have to find the best deal.
What was your all-time favourite travel deal?
From a combination of a courier flight, being bumped (two times), earning frequent flyer points, introductory flights, and finding fun flight itineraries (like stopovers), I was able to fly free for over two years. Actually, I actually made about $25.
What has travel taught you?
That there is no one correct way to do things. Everyone is different so there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? I really am not brand loyal. I like to get off the plane as quickly as possible and explore the destination.
Favourite country? USA has so much variety. Next would be Italy.
Favourite city? Budapest is my current favorite.
Favourite beach? Anna Maria Island, Florida has the softest, whitest, cleanest sand I have seen.
Favourite food? Ice cream
Favourite language? Australian female
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.McCoolTravel.com
Twitter handle? @CharlesMcCool
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/mccools
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CharlesMcCool/