5 Minutes With Chris McGinnis

For McCool Travel’s 74th travel profile, I am pleased to present Chris McGinnis. Chris operates the TravelSkills.com website, with amazing travel tips geared toward business travelers (but often valuable for consumers). He is co-founder, with Johnny Jet, of the popular #TravelSkills chat on Twitter. I first knew of Chris—back when the years started with the number “1”—from his column in the Atlanta newspaper. I finally met Chris this past December at the FTU conference.
Enough from me, let’s hear from Chris McGinnis.
Chris McGinnis’ bio:
“Chris McGinnis is the founder of the TravelSkills.com blog and has been offering money-saving, comfort-enhancing travel tips, and advice for over 20 years. Nearly 100,000 travelers read TravelSkills.com every month. Chris has been a travel correspondent for CNN, a travel columnist for BBC, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He’s also penned two books about travel. Based in San Francisco, he jumps on a plane traveling across the country or around the world at least 25 times a year—at the front end of the plane as often as he can! He’s just back from a business trip to Ireland. [ed. trip was in mid-March]”

Chris McGinnis - TravelSkills
Chris McGinnis – TravelSkills


Chris McGinnis

I grew up in Atlanta, GA (you’ll know that when you talk to me) but have been in San Francisco for the last 10 years, so that’s what feels like home now.
Always in my luggage…

  1. iPhone
  2. my own clock; because I turn my iPhone off at night and don’t trust hotel wake up calls or my ability to set a strange bedside clock
  3. pocket-sized moleskin for notes

3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

  1. London, always London
  2. Tokyo, cool & modern exterior with a warm, welcoming heart
  3. Anywhere in Canada always feels just right to me

A favorite travel memory is…
Catching the norovirus on the plane to Paris, getting very sick a day later, and having a butler at the Hotel de Crillon bring chicken consomme to my bedside in a big nickel urn and ladling it into fine bone china. Getting better just in time to fly home.
3 favorite travel brands…

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. use credit cards as much as possible on overseas trips and avoid changing money
  2. book rental cars on Hotwire.com
  3. time my personal trips during annual dead weeks or shoulder seasons

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are…

  1. taking photos of my business class meals at various angles and in various light
  2. taking tours of the 3 brand newest hotels in whatever town I’m in
  3. plane spotting in exotic locations or global hub airports 

8 word (or less) travel mantra…
“Be nice”

Chris McGinnis - TravelSkills
Chris McGinnis – TravelSkills

favorite non-travel website (besides your own)…
most memorable souvenir…
My partner and I both travel so much that we have a pact NOT to bring home any souvenir EXCEPT refrigerator magnets. You should see our refrigerator!
favorite cheap eat…
I know it’s politically incorrect, but I sneak in a Chick-fil-a sandwich nearly every time I go back to Atlanta (you can’t get it in SF). In SF, it’s a chicken fajitas burrito at Pancho Villa in the Mission.
recent discovery…
Wonderful walking paths along old canals in London near Paddington station. Also recently discovered the High Holborn neighborhood in London—central, interesting, and off the beaten tourist path.
I am fortunate to have met…
Carly Simon! On the ferry from Martha’s Vineyard to Woods Hole. I was on my way home from summer vacation. She was hawking her newest CD, recovering from Lyme disease and mourning the loss of her favorite horse. I wrote about that unusual encounter here.

Thank you very much, Chris.
Follow Chris McGinnis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TravelSkills.com.

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: Anita Oliver and Richard Nash.

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22 thoughts on “5 Minutes With Chris McGinnis”

  1. Nice interview! Not everyone would admit to a secretive run to Chick-Fil-A. I liked him even more when I read that part. 🙂

  2. It’s always interesting to learn something about the person behind the blog. I also enjoy learning other peoples favourite places to travel to…it also says something about the person as well as making me think about whether I would like to go there! Japan is on my wish list!

  3. Great interview. I’ve not been to Tokoyo, but London is also one of my favourite locations. And, as a Canadian, I was pleased to read that anyplace in Canada feels right to Chris.

  4. We’ve read Chris’ travel pieces and posts. But thanks for sharing a little more of the man. Love his comments on how he has fun traveling (by touring the 3 newest hotels and taking photos of his business class meals) – you can tell he’s a “working” travel writer :-).

  5. Great questions – it made me stop and think how I would answer them. Thank you I will check out more by Chris.

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