5 Minutes With Mary Jo Manzanares

For McCool Travel’s 114th travel profile, I am happy to present Mary Jo Manzanares of Traveling With MJ. I have followed Mary Jo like for-evah on social media. We finally met in person at a TBEX conference in 2015, where she was the conference director (she recently left that role). I was struck by how similar our favorite travel memories are.

Mary Jo Manzanares‘ bio: “Mary Jo Manzanares, aka MJ, is a publisher, writer, Flight Attendant, and avid traveler. In addition to her personal travel blog, Traveling with MJ, Mary Jo is founder and editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine proving informational and inspirational travel recommendations for value luxury travelers. Her travel ethos is Value Luxury—that sweet spot where experience and price intersect to create WOW.”

McCool Travel interview: Mary Jo Manzanares kayaking in The Philippines
Mary Jo Manzanares kayaking in The Philippines

Mary Jo Manzanares of Traveling With MJ


While I say I live in Seattle, because most people know where that is, the truth is that I live in the ‘burbs, in Federal Way, Washington.

Always in my luggage…

Electronics and cables (which includes laptop, phone, camera, and Kindle), swimsuit, notebook and pen

3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

  1. Italy, especially the hill towns in Tuscany
  2. A balcony cabin on a cruise ship sailing anywhere
  3. Paris

A favorite travel memory is…

The first time I went to Italy. It was nearly a 24-hour trek, including an all-night flight getting there from home, but when I stepped off the train at the Colosseo station, walking out into the bright sunlight, and looked across the street at the Colosseum, it brought tears to my eyes.

3 favorite travel brands…

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. Travel off-peak when I can, whether that means shoulder season or planning a mid-week stay.
  2. Remain flexible, on dates, destinations, flights, hotels, all the details that make up travel plans.
  3. Know what’s important enough to you to spend your money on, and what is immaterial. Knowing when to splurge and when to save helps create the kind of vacation that is special to you, rather than what everyone else does.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are …

  1. Trying local food and wine.
  2. Enjoying the cafe culture of a destination, having a cup of coffee or glass of wine, sitting and people watching, and spending a least a part of each day savoring the destination and experiences, rather than rushing through to the next place or thing.
  3. Taking photos that will preserve my memories for when I’m at home.
McCool Travel interview: Mary Jo Manzanares sipping butter beer
Mary Jo Manzanares sipping butter beer

8 word (or less) travel mantra…
“Enjoy value luxury – luxury for real people.”
favorite non-travel website …
Amazon. I can buy almost anything there and have it delivered quickly It’s a lifesaver.
most memorable souvenir …
A mola made by the Kuna Indians from San Blas, Panama. We got it about 15 years ago, took it home and framed it, and it’s hanging in our family room now.
favorite cheap eat …
Street food – whatever is local.
recent discovery …
That Washington State has over 900 wineries. I knew we had a lot, but had no idea it was that many. I’m on a quest to visit them all.
I am fortunate to have met …
My husband. He’s my best friend, favorite travel partner (although we have distinctively different styles and preferences), and brings balance to my life. We met in 1974 and have been together ever since.
I would like to meet …
Hillary Clinton

McCool Travel interview: Mary Jo Manzanares relaxing in Japan
Mary Jo Manzanares relaxing in Japan

Thank you so much, Mary Jo, for taking a few minutes to share travel inspiration and tips.
Follow Mary Jo Manzanares on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, and her website.

Check out McCool Travel’s previous interviewsMcCool 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: Valerie Stimac

Follow McCool Travel on FacebookTwitterInstagram, PinterestFlipboard, MediumLinkedIn, and Bloglovin.

5 Minutes With Mary Jo Manzanares was originally published on McCool Travel.com on Dec 5, 2016.

Sharing is caring!