Keith and Tina Paul retired early so they could travel the world. Now, in addition to having their own adventures, they're looking to help other people retire early and travel through their blog, RetireEarlyAndTravel.com. They were kind enough to answer our questions about their travel interests, opinions and experiences. You can read the full interview below...
A little bit about Keith and Tina's business...
Keith and Tina Paul are early retirees that live abroad and love to travel. They put their love for travel, writing, and photography into a website they started called Retire Early and Travel. Now they travel the world and share their travel experiences along with how they achieved early retirement on their blog. They love to help others retire early and live abroad.
TA: Where are you from?
Keith & Tina: Pasadena California but we have lived in Cuenca Ecuador since 2016.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Keith & Tina: We have been doing international travel since we were 18 years old. We love to experience new cultures and most importantly to learn.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Keith & Tina: We and our readers like cultural and historical experiences when we travel. Our readers also like comfort so the accommodations and type of travel needs to be very comfortable.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Keith & Tina: Our best vacation has been 42 days in Eastern Europe. We traveled via Eurail to 9 countries. We just loved the culture and easy going demeanor of Eastern Europe. Our favorites were Croatia and Slovenia. The outdoor cafe culture really agreed with us, not to mention the fabulous wineries. Also, since Keith's ancestry is from Croatia, we were able to do some genealogy travel and met some great people that taught us a lot of Keith's past.
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
Keith & Tina: We really want to visit China. Asia travel is high on our bucket list.
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Keith & Tina: Our number one travel accessory is our air mattress. We believe a good nights sleep is so important for travel so we carry an air mattress that makes any bed the perfect sleep for us. After trying many, we found the Klymit Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad to be the best.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Keith & Tina: Don't be afraid to travel. Even with language barriers, it's so easy. And be open to different cultures so you can fully experience the trip. Lastly, life is short so don't wait until you retire. Get out there now and experience the world.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Keith & Tina: We love Afar magazine and we watch the vloggers Vagabrothers.
TA: What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?
Keith & Tina: Slovenia. You don't hear a lot about it but it was fabulous.
TA: What are the top 3 websites you use for research/inspiration when planning a trip?
Keith & Tina: Our top 3 websites we use for research are TripAdvisor, Afar Magazine and Lonely Planet.
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Keith & Tina: If you travel a lot, invest in Priority Pass. Having access to VIP airport lounges makes travel so much better. We get the Priority Pass free as part of our Chase Sapphire Reserve visa.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you've ever been given?
Keith & Tina: Be patient. If you are from the US, this can be tough. But not everyone moves at the pace of the US.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
Keith & Tina: Not knowing the language. With Google Translator and hand gestures, you can always get by. The easiest way to solve the language problem is to hire private guides at your destination. We are big believers in private guides for the best experiences.
TA: What's a travel scam travelers should be wary of?
Keith & Tina: Because we travel so much and live abroad, we are hyper aware of scams. The only time we ever get scammed are with taxis overcharging us. A great way to avoid this is to use Uber if you can over a taxi when traveling.
TA: Which country has surprisingly good food?
Keith & Tina: Peru had fabulous food. Try the ceviche and anything Alpaca.
TA: What was the most romantic place you ever visited with a partner?
Keith & Tina: The Amalfi Coast in Italy. We think sitting on the patio of one of the hilltop restaurants in Revello is the most romantic.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you've ever visited?
Keith & Tina: We think that where we live is just lovely. Cuenca, Ecuador. You won't find a more affordable place without sacrificing creature comforts. Cuenca sits at 8400 feet in the Andes with perfect spring time weather year round.
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?
Keith & Tina: We think the most underrated destination is Slovenia. Beside Lake Bled, you just don't hear much of Slovenia. It turns out that it was beautiful. The capital of Ljubljana is the most fantastic city. Not too big, not too small. The country has some great wineries. They are small boutique wineries that have fantastic wine. Slovenia is definately a country we would go back to.