At McCool Travel, Charles McCool shares insider tips, hidden destinations, and helpful pointers for saving money and having fun. McCool’s been discovering the ins and outs of traveling the world for over 25 years. In his 5 Minutes interview series, McCool has interviewed experts—from author Paul Theroux to Travel Channel host Samantha Brown, to extreme sports superstar Travis Pastrana—and loves sharing their travel advice. McCool works with destinations and brands to promote fun and unique travel experiences to highly engaged audiences.
Charles was kind enough to answer some of our travel questions below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Charles: More than 25. I was looking for excitement away from work and loved exploring new places.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Charles: Cool, happy, and fun.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Charles: I am still researching that. :D Just this past year, I have been to Galapagos, Lapland (Finland), and many other places that are amazing.
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Charles: Trite but my sense of adventure
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Charles: Be flexible
TA: Where was the most unusual place you've ever stayed?
Charles: I slept on a golf course the night before my 30th birthday.
TA: What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten overseas?
Charles: Calf brain pâté. Part of a culinary experience with Chef Anthony, the head of cuisine for Viking Cruises. So much amazing food and drink.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you've ever been given?
Charles: Pack as little as possible and buy what you need/want at the destination. Rather than stressing about your toothpaste, have some fun shopping at local markets.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
Charles: I think most travelers over plan their itineraries. Most of my most vivid travel memories are from serendipitous experiences thus I try to not plan whenever possible.
TA: What's something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
Charles: Drives me crazy when people eat at fast food chains that they can visit at home. Get out and try local fresh food!
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?
Charles: Mississippi Gulf Coast. Magnificent beaches, amazing 500 year old oak trees, fresh seafood (shrimp capital of the world), quirky and artsy people and vibe, and so much more.