5 Minutes With James Hills of Mantripping

For McCool Travel’s 127th travel profile, I am happy to introduce you to James Hills. I am a man and a love to travel. So, I was thrilled to become acquainted online with James, who is the founder of the ManTripping brand. One of the below photos was taken in the past couple of days at New Orleans Mardi Gras. See if you can guess which one.
James Hills‘ bio: “James loves to travel and explore new places and awesome things to do. He started ManTripping.com in 1998, because at the time he had extra time but no money to travel. Today, ManTripping continues to be a mixture of great places for men to go on a guys weekend as well as places that he’s been fortunate to be able to explore. Additionally, the site includes coverage of lifestyle advice, gadgets, cars, food, drinks, and fashion content designed for men who love to travel. He also organized “Blogger Mancations” through the male blogger network, Men Who Blog. ”

McCool Travel interview with James Hills of ManTripping
James Hills of ManTripping

James Hills of Mantripping

Hometown …
I’ve moved around quite a bit and my family is spread out across the country, so I don’t really have a home town. However, I’m loving San Diego and Southern California right now, so that’s home at the moment!
Always in my luggage …
Extra SD cards, a backup mobile phone, and extra underwear and socks in my backpack to erode the potential disaster if my main bag is ever lost 🙂 People may laugh at the idea of having a backup phone but on a trip to Idaho last year I crushed my main one in the door of a car and luckily had a backup and was able to still work ok during the trip. Who’s laughing now!
3 favorite home-away-from-home places …

  1. Las Vegas is turning into my go-to-getaway spot and now that I’m getting more familiar with off-strip locations the city is becoming a lot more exciting.
  2. I also love exploring the Southern California Desert with Joshua Tree, Salton Sea, and Borrego Springs. There are so many weird, wacky, and unique places to explore.
  3. My last home away from home is probably DFW airport since it seems like I pass through there while coming or going at least a couple times each month.

A favorite travel memory is …
Last fall while exploring North Dakota, I was sitting at a winery sipping wine with the owner and chatting about various topics. He suddenly asks, “Have you ever driven a combine?” An hour later I’m sitting inside the cab of this giant machine learning how to drive it as well as read the output from sensors. It was an AMAZING experience that I could never buy or even ask for again. Those are my favorites since as a travel blogger, we all get sort of spoiled by “another 5 diamond resort” but it’s those personal experiences that few others can say they’ve done that I love.

James Hills and Heather in North Dakota, ManTripping, Men Who Blog
James Hills and Heather in North Dakota

3 favorite travel brands …

  1. I absolutely love my Tenba Roadie camera bag. They make amazing stuff.
  2. I also had an incredible experience with Viking Cruises last fall exploring Christmas Markets along the Rhine.
  3. Finally, I’d say Pelican because they are the maker’s of my favorite suitcase right now. It isn’t exactly the lightest, most compact, or spacious but it looks bad ass coming off the carousel and nobody else has one, so I know it’s mine the second it comes off the conveyor belt.

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are …

  1. I tend to fill up on free breakfasts at hotels and skip lunch except when I’m somewhere that I want to experience the food.
  2. I have a fully unlimited mobile data plan with T-Mobile, so I can avoid paying hotel WiFi rates and it includes International data roaming so I can stay in touch wherever I am without worrying about roaming or finding an international sim.
  3. Finally, I tend to go for cheap hotels when I travel on my own dime since unless you are going to use the amenities at a fancy hotel it’s rarely worth the expense assuming the cheap hotel is still in a safe area and is clean.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are …

  1. I’m generally extremely conservative at home with how I dress but for some reason, the moment I get on board a cruise ship or into my hotel room at Mardi Gras the freak comes out. It’s fun to dress up and be a bit silly 🙂
  2. I also enjoy trying local beers and alcohols. You never know what you are going to find, but it seems like everywhere you go they have figured out how to turn sugar into alcohol no matter where the sugar originated from.
  3. Finally, I love to travel with my wife, Heather, she always makes things more fun!
Travel interview with James Hills of ManTripping.
James Hills of ManTripping at New Orleans Mardi Gras

8 word (or less) travel mantra …
Explore things you’ve never realized you loved.
favorite non-travel website …
favorite cheap eat …
Street food 🙂 One of my favorite items was a reverse fondue in Basel … instead of dipping pieces of bread in cheese, this was a hollowed out baguette that they poured cheese into. Took us a few tries to figure out how to eat it without making a mess, but it was so good!
recent discovery …
That bacteria is all around us … you can get really sick even with just a small cut or abrasion if you are in the wrong spot at the right time, such as in a hot tub that happens to have something in it.
I am fortunate to have met …
Kach and Jonathan from Two Monkeys Travel Group—they’ve inspired me that you can make money as a “Travel Blogger” and not just balancing “Travel” with “Paid Lifestyle Posts” that I had been doing. I don’t plan to drop the lifestyle sponsorship because it works well for my site. However, now I’m looking at ways to make actual money from the travel work too!
I would like to meet …
More of my blogger friends in real life, so let’s get some awesome trips lined up and start pitching destinations together … rather than waiting to be called on!

Travel interview with James Hills of ManTripping.
James Hills of ManTripping

Thank you so much, James, for taking a few minutes to share travel inspiration and tips.
Follow James Hills on Twitter, InstagramFacebook, Pinterest, and ManTripping.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: Nicolette Orlemans of Culture With Travel.

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2 thoughts on “5 Minutes With James Hills of Mantripping”

  1. I met James and Heather last year at the Travel Adventure show. Super nice folks and funny for extras.

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