5 Minutes With Spencer Spellman

For McCool Travel’s 59th travel profile, I am honored and pleased to present Spencer Spellman. I met Spencer online (not yet in person) from his work as Editor-in-Chief of Expedia Viewfinder. His travel articles have also appeared in National Geographic, AFAR, Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets. His new venture, WhiskeyTangoGlobetrot, is formally launching today. How’s that for a McCool Travel exclusive?
Spencer Spellman’s bio:
“Southern born and bred, Spencer was bitten by the travel bug at a young age, flying on a plane for the first time at age five and by himself for the first time at seven. While he continues to travel around the world in search for the best whiskey, Spencer now calls Los Angeles home, where his search is for the best cocktail. Spencer has written about food, drinks, and travel for a number of websites and publications that have included the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, and Yahoo, just to name a few. See a more candid version on his website, www.whiskeytangoglobetrot.com.”

Spencer Spellman dogsledding
Spencer Spellman dogsledding

Spencer Spellman

A little rural North Carolina town called Graham. I think the saying “If you blink you’ll miss it” originated here. I now call Los Angeles home. Which is basically the exact opposite.
Always in my luggage…
Headphones. If I happen to leave home without it (which has happened once), it’s the first thing I buy when I get to the airport. Music really zens me out. That and I typically make a playlist representative of the destination I’m traveling to before going.
3 favorite home-away-from-home places…
Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, and Big Sur. No matter how many different places we travel around the world, I think there are a handful of destinations that we gravitate toward and travel to repeatedly. These are my three destinations.
A favorite travel memory is…
It’s really my first trip on an airplane. I remember it so vividly, even though I was just five years old. I was so wide-eyed when I walked onto the plane and had barely stepped onto it before the pilot asked me if I wanted to see the cockpit. He gave me a mini tour and then gave me a model 767 airplane that I’ve kept to this day. I’ve been traveling ever since.
3 favorite travel brands…
Naturally, I have to say Expedia, who I worked alongside for nearly three years. I still regularly use their mobile app, most recently on a last-minute road trip that got me 30% of the hotel’s already discounted rate. Additionally, Hotel Tonight and TripIt. I love how they’ve each brought innovation to a constantly evolving industry.
3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. Use apps like Expedia and Hotel Tonight. They have mobile-exclusive deals I won’t find elsewhere.
  2. Travel when no one is traveling, as in mid-week and early or late-night flights. I’ll take the red-eye flight if it means I’ll save a couple hundred dollars.
  3. Travel off-season and shoulder season. I typically travel the second week of January every year since so few people are traveling then, and therefore flight and hotel prices are pretty cheap.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are…

  1. Finding a local dive immediately upon arriving to a new destination.
  2. Splurging on one meal every trip.
  3. Discovering the signature local beer, wine, spirit, or cocktail of a destination.

8 word (or less) travel mantra…
“Invest in experiences, rather than things.”
My favorite non-travel website…
Brain Pickings. It really values the art of writing, history, philosophy, and a ton of other things and helps me check out from the over-stimulated world we live in.
most memorable souvenir…
the bottle of booze I bring back from every destination I visit

Spencer Spellman
Spencer Spellman

favorite cheap eat…
street tacos
I am fortunate to have met…
The last living student of Mr. Miyagi, yeah, as in The Karate Kid. At the time, Kiichi Nakamoto was 83 years old, and the way he talked, it was as someone who had really lived life, and not like I have.
I would like to meet…
Bill Murray. I just want to be on a hike with friends or at happy hour and he just show up and we shoot the shit for a couple hours.

Spencer Spellman
Spencer Spellman


Thank you very much, Spencer. Best wishes on the new venture, WTG.
Follow Spencer Spellman on TwitterGoogle+Instagram, and WhiskeyTangoGlobetrot.

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: The Gypsynesters.

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2 thoughts on “5 Minutes With Spencer Spellman”

  1. I always followed Spencer Spellman as he has been my favorite. I loved reading this article.

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