Reston is home for Charles and Julie McCool, but more often than not you’ll find them on the road.
Emailing from a chair once occupied by Jimmy Buffet in Pascagoula, Charles McCool shared some travel tips for Restonians hoping to see the world on a shoestring budget.
Charles McCool said he worked in a cubicle office space in downtown Washington D.C. until 2.5 years ago. Since then, Charles McCool says he’s been traveling full-time and working remotely.
“My personal budget was tight so I heavily researched ways to stretch my dollar but optimize my travel opportunities,” said Charles McCool. “This year my wife and I have flown to Copenhagen and Ecuador for free (using credit card points).”
Recent features on the McCool Travel blog include dining recommendations around Gettysburg and website recommendations to help prepare for trips. Julia McCool’s blog features more local free outings, like Ten Free and Fun things in Washington D.C.
One of Charles McCool’s top recommendations is for travelers to be flexible.
“Being flexible is my number one rule of travel,” said McCool. “When someone locks in the idea of taking a certain trip at a certain time, that inflexibility often leads to higher prices. For instance, going to Disney World in mid-June (after school is out) or the Caribbean for Spring Break; those are peak travel experiences. Being flexible means, in these cases, maybe doing a road trip to US National Parks.”
On some of the more bare-bones trips, McCool says little touches like getting food from grocery stores instead of fine restaurants can help make a difference in the travel budget.
McCool said his next big trip planned won’t be until a June cruise, but he’s looking into bicycling from Houston to Key West in March or April.
“You do not have to invent, or re-invent, the wheel,” said Charles McCool. “No matter where you want to go, and how you want to do it, there is undoubtedly someone who has already done so (and most likely has a travel blog to talk about it). General suggestions include reading various travel blogs and websites (like mine), be involved in Facebook and Twitter discussions, find people doing what you want to do and ask them for advice.”
Photo via Twitter