5 Minutes With Christopher Elliott

For McCool Travel’s 71st travel profile, I am pleased to present Christopher Elliott. I have “known” Chris for about 15 years (online) but had not met him until last month. I was fortunate to spend about 25 minutes with Chris after his travel talk at the DC Travel and Adventure Show. He was gracious with his time and shared many travel tips and memories. Let’s see if I can capture the Elliott essence for you.
Christopher Elliott’s bio:
“I didn’t choose consumer advocacy—it chose me. I’m a consumer advocate, multimedia journalist, and customer service expert known for my practical advice and creative solutions to customer-service problems. My work is shaped by a drive to help people, drawing on the best traditions of investigative reporting and service journalism. I’m the author of Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals and How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). I’m National Geographic Traveler’s reader advocate and a nationally syndicated columnist through King Features Syndicate, which distributes my work to publications from the Seattle Times to the Miami Herald. I write a weekly column for The Washington Post and USA Today.”

Christopher Elliott
Christopher Elliott


Christopher Elliott

Raised in Vienna, Austria, home is in Winter Springs, Florida, BUT Chris and his family are currently on an open-ended around-the-world trip.
Always in my luggage…
Chaos—because no one in the family has their own bag. Right now (on the date he was in D.C.) my bag has my daughter’s makeup and hairbrush, my son’s video games, and a stray cat toy.
3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

  1. Big Island, Hawaii
  2. Vienna, Austria
  3. Prescott, Arizona (love the hoodoo rocks)

A favorite travel memory is…
Camp Charlie [headed by Charlie Leocha, who was also present during the interview. Charlie and Chris co-founded Consumer Travel Alliance in 2009. It is now called Travelers United. Ed.] was a group of passionate skiers and travelers. We spent 4 days in Steamboat Springs, skiing and talking about a ski guidebook. There was wine, lots of wine, and spaghetti dinners. That sauce had a lot of garlic.

Christopher Elliott
Christopher Elliott

3 favorite travel brands…

  1. Southwest Airlines
  2. Ritz-Carlton
  3. Disney

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. Cast a wide net. Try offline, ask friends, make calls, look in the classified ads. You never know where you will find the best travel deal.
  2. Time is money. Don’t waste time (or money). Know when to say when.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are…

  1. Travel with my children. It is a limited time opportunity. Who you travel with is more important than where you go. People are more important than the destination.
  2. Hiking
  3. Cooking, especially with indigenous, local ingredients. For instance, we made amazing buffalo burgers in Wyoming.


Christopher Elliott
Christopher Elliott

8 word (or less) travel mantra…
“Safe travels.”
favorite non-travel website (besides your own)…
You got me. I am stumped. I am platform agnostic.
most memorable souvenir…
Pictures of Bryce Canyon. They bring tears to my eyes and changed my view of travel to focus on photojournalism.
favorite cheap eat…
West of the Rocky Mountains, In-N-Out burgers. east of the Rockies, District Taco.
recent discovery…
I am fortunate to have met…
Charlie Leocha
I would like to meet…
Hillary Clinton

Christopher Elliott
Christopher Elliott


Thank you very much, Chris.
Follow Christopher Elliott on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, PinterestLinkedinYouTube, and Elliott.org.

Check out McCool Travel’s previous profilesMcCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes post: Jenny McIver.

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10 thoughts on “5 Minutes With Christopher Elliott”

  1. Interesting guy – and I’m with him about Bryce Canyon. The first time I saw it I had tears in my eyes! It is just so amazing.

  2. I have been following McCool Travels for some time. It’s fun to learn about the man and his family!

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