Journalist Spotlight

Charles McCool

Travel: Writer - Ninja - Rebel

Charles McCool is a how-to travel expert, author, trainer, and blogger; his articles and travel advice have appeared in hundreds of sources, including Condè Nast, Frommers, Orbitz, Smarter Travel, TripAdvisor, and USA Today.

He wrote "Winning the Airfare Game" and has over 25 years experience researching, implementing, and optimizing trip planning techniques with a focus on saving money, time, and stress on all aspects of travel.

His road trip travels seeking epic ice cream, BBQ, and mojitos have taken him to all 50 states and several dozen countries.

1. Why travel writing?

My mission is to help create a world of happy travelers. Travel writing reaches a larger audience than when I did seminars.

2. If you weren't a writer what would you be?

Just a plain, ole semi-retired, empty nest, world explorer.

3. Favorite destination visited so far?

Unpaved roads. I have met very few paved roads I have not thoroughly enjoyed. Specifically, the extreme southwest corner of New Mexico, where I drove for 90 minutes without seeing any signs of human activity. Not a person, house, or vehicle (even abandoned). Oh, and no cell service!

4. If money wasn't an object, where would you go on your dream trip?

Marianas Trench. I think only 1 or 2 humans have been there. Really, though, a southern hemisphere RTW trip. Galapagos, Easter Island, Patagonia, Antarctica, South Africa, Maldives, Perth, Tasmania, Melbourne, New Zealand, South Pacific. Then repeat along the top of the world. Then along the equator. Then up and down in 3 or 4 places. Not that I have thought about this topic. :D

5. Favorite method of travel: plane, train, automobile/other... why?

Convertible blaring Sirius XM. My soul is happy when driving very small roads with the top down and no set destination.

6. Favorite travel resource you refer to (site, blog, magazine, etc.)?

Like most, I suspect, I do not have one resource. ITN is one of my favorite travel magazines. For deals, I check Secret Flying, Travel Zoo, and others. I am impressed by countless blogs and channels. The creativity of points bloggers astounds me. Twitter and Facebook are favorite resources, as I can find anything from inspiration to article links to specific recommendations of ice cream flavors. Oh, but Yelp is probably the resource I use the most.

7. Most unforgettable travel memory?

I went skydiving two days ago. From a plane. On a press trip. Still amazed that Visit Southern Delaware sponsored travel journalists to skydive (how cool is that?) and that I (and one other person) fell from the sky and landed on the ground without hurting anything. Surreal. Also, seeing the Roman Colosseum the first time and a family trip to Iceland earlier this year provide some of my most vivid travel memories.

8. Your favorite travel find (hole in the wall, diamond in the rough)?

One favorite? No way. The trite "off the beaten path, hidden gem, lesser known" world is my domain. A great local ethnic food truck or dive restaurant might be within a half mile of an interstate exit - so I drive past the fast food gatekeepers to find them.

9. Fill in the blank: Happiness is serendipitous travel.

10. Favorite quote?

I love quotes. "We are lost but making great time." and "Nobody goes there anymore because it is too crowded." are favorites. I also love, "There only rule is no rules."

11. Who is a person you would like to have coffee with?

Substitute a mojito, since I do not do coffee. I have been thinking about this for too long and can list dozens. Time to decide. I will go with Jimmy Buffett. I love his integration of work and life, theme of fun and happy, and world travels. We will have much to discuss.

12. If someone was going to play you in a movie who would it be?

Good gosh, hopefully me. If not, then Will Ferrell. Not even sure we look alike but I laugh almost every time I see him on screen.

Charles McCool
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