5 Minutes With Tim Leffel

For McCool Travel’s 159th travel interview, I am pleased to present Tim Leffel. I tell people all the time, and maybe I have even told you, that my favorite book about travel writing is from Tim Leffel. It is called Travel Writing 2.0. Tim and I have shared a few beers, none so refreshing as after our treacherous second day of trekking in Nepal. Tim is also the TBEX North America Conference Director, which is an essential conference for travel bloggers of all levels.
Tim Leffel’s bio: “Tim Leffel is an award-winning travel writer who has been at it for more than two decades and has supported his family for around ten years after going pro. His publishing company runs five websites and blogs, including the Cheapest Destinations Blog established in 2003 and Perceptive Travel, established in 2006. He is the author of multiple books including A Better Life for Half the Price, Travel Writing 2.0, and The World’s Cheapest Destinations.”

McCool Travel interview with Tim Leffel.
Tim Leffel in Greece.

Tim Leffel:

HOMETOWN …
Rawley Springs, Virginia, but have lived in five states and three countries.
ALWAYS IN MY LUGGAGE …
Refillable water bottle, water purifier (where needed), electrical adapter (where needed), portable mouse, mini tripod, quick-dry clothing, double-duty shoes, sun hat, basic toiletries. That’s about it!
3 FAVORITE HOME-AWAY-FROM-HOME PLACES …

  1. Guanajuato, Mexico (my real second home)
  2. Yucatan of Mexico
  3. Sacred Valley of Peru
McCool Travel interview with Tim Leffel.
Tim Leffel in Peru

A FAVORITE TRAVEL MEMORY …
Spending three years total traveling around the world with the woman who was my girlfriend and then my wife.
3 FAVORITE TRAVEL BRANDS …
I have profiled some of them in my travel gear posts, but ExOfficio, Craghoppers, and Tilley for what I wear, Oboz, Ecco, and Lowa for adventure shoes, Eagle Creek, Osprey, and Sea to Summit for other things.
3 MONEY-SAVING TRAVEL TACTICS I USE …

  1. Travel slowly instead of rushing. You will spend far less on transportation.
  2. Keep the variables open. The more options you remove, the more you will pay.
  3. Look for “the second right answer” when booking flights: using miles, alternate airports, alternate airlines, off-peak times, etc.

3 WAYS THAT I HAVE FUN WHILE TRAVELING …

  1. turning off the phone to truly be in the place
  2. getting lost on purpose
  3. trying random restaurants that look interesting in residential neighborhoods
McCool Travel interview with Tim Leffel.
Tim Leffel, wife, and daughter in Guanajuato, Mexico.

8 WORD (OR LESS) TRAVEL MANTRA …
Travel is not a competition.
FAVORITE NON-TRAVEL WEBSITE …
The Oatmeal because we all need a good laugh sometimes
MOST MEMORABLE SOUVENIR  …
A carved spirit stick I bought in Sumatra in 1998 during the Asian currency crisis. The workmanship is beautiful and it comes apart in three pieces for packing. The seller said his brother worked on it for about a month and he quoted me a price that was less than $9. In Indonesia it’s common to come back with a price that’s half or less what they quote you to start the bargaining process. I didn’t have it in me at that point when U.S. dollars were worth a crazy amount. Best nine bucks I ever spent.
FAVORITE CHEAP EAT …
Street food in Mexico – especially late night tacos al pastor when bar-hopping.
RECENT DISCOVERY …
The Balkans. My next edition of The World’s Cheapest Destinations will include Bosnia, Montenegro, and Albania. Great adventure destinations and terrific values.
I AM FORTUNATE TO HAVE MET …
My then-girlfriend Donna, because she was the one who yanked me out of my cushy comfort zone, got me to put all my stuff in storage, and go backpacking around the world back when that was a very strange thing for Americans to do. That’s when I started writing articles as a freelance travel writer.
I WOULD LIKE TO MEET …
Tim Ferriss, Richard Branson, and Anthony Bourdain. I think that would be a very enlightening dinner party.

McCool Travel interview with Tim Leffel
Tim Leffel

Thank you so much, Tim, for sharing your travel inspiration and tips.
Follow Tim Leffel on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TimLeffel.com.
McCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes travel interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes travel interview: Katie Quinn of QKatie.
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