Rick Ingersoll, the founder of FrugalTravelGuy explains the mission of the blog quite simply as “helping regular folks see the world at prices one can afford”. And at that very moment I knew that I had to speak to this retired mortgage banker turned global frequent flyer and pick his brains.
Since founding the blog in 2007, Rick and his entire FTG team have helped out regular folks to travel the world upfront and in style. He has also authored a handbook aptly titled “The Frugal Guy Travel Handbook”. Rick and his wife Katy have been on two “Around the World” itineraries in either J (Business) or F (First) class, using points, miles or vouchers. He has collected over five million frequent flyer miles and currently has over 1.5 million of them. The Frugal Travel Guy blog has also been awarded the best budget travel blog over 3 years, in 2009, 2010 and 2011 by tripbase.com.
Excerpts from our chat:
- Rick, why do you travel?
Rick - The people. We have been blessed to visit over 60 countries and met amazing people. They have made our experiences and shared their world with us. Getting on planes is a requirement to see the world. As long as we have a comfortable seat and can safely get to our destination we’re happy to get on the plane.
- I know you enjoy and encourage people to travel in style, in the front of the aircraft. Any interesting instances while flying?
Rick - The journey is part of the experience, but our eye is on the prize at the end, the destination. Our memorable experiences have most always been at our destination. I’ve met several readers of the blog on at the airport or on a flight which is always fun. Meeting fellow travellers leads to great conversation. A few years ago I met Dave Winfield in an airport terminal and spoke about travel and our experiences. We’ve kept in touch; he’s a great guy.
- Do you have a favourite airport?
Rick - Hilton Head and Savannah are our current home airports. Easy in and easy out makes it a plus for us.
- Talking about airports, what addition/s you would like to see them adopt? (besides Wi-Fi)
Rick - More quiet spaces. Airport lounges are a fantastic place to relax but in places where there are none, quiet places to read are relaxing
- Do you have a preferred airline and a favourite aircraft?
Rick - The airline that gets me to my destination safely and comfortably. American has treated me well in the past few years, but I’ve flown just about all of them.
As far as favourite aircraft is concerned, as a big guy every bit of space helps. For those long haul flights any plane with a flat seat so I can sleep is a winner in my book
- Which is your destination of choice?
Rick - We love the island of Kauai. Perfect weather, beautiful scenery and wonderful people. I like to call it FTG west headquarters. Our time with family and friends that we’ve been able to share has been some of the best.
- This is going to be right up your alley. I know how much you love to help out folks with their travel, what advise would you give to all those who want to travel the world frugally?
Rick - Write down your goals and priorities, and make them tangible. Make sure you hit one of your goals within a year. If you have good credit, use that excess good credit to make it affordable. It has worked for us for years and anyone can do this.
- Which website, guide book etc. you refer before and while your traveling? What’s your study for a country/city like?
Rick - I talk to my friends and family that may know about the destination and always look through the forums on flyertalk. The US State department has a great site for information on foreign countries as well which I recommend
- What role do you think social media/twitter has played in propagating Travel?
Rick - I think it has done some fantastic things for customer service with almost immediate access to people empowered to help solve problems.
- And finally, as this is GlobeTrotters on Twitter, which are your three must follow accounts on twitter
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