Hey, this is getting there with Mike and Amy and we are a travel podcast for the health minded nomads and entrepreneurs.
Mike Bruce 0:24
Today we’re talking with JaredKamrowski. He was a Certified Public Accountant that was on the road 100 nights out of the year. And that really got him used to, you know, finding rewards for hotels, for flights and it became a really fun hobby for him that turned into in 2015, a website called The Thrifty Traveler. So it was just a way for him to kind of pass on his knowledge, pass on his passion and his love for travel. And just two years later, he made the switch to a full time job as the thrifty traveler Jared, welcome.
Jared Kamrowski 0:57
Thanks for having me, guys.
Mike Bruce 0:59
Yeah. So Jared I’m looking at at your About Me page on thrifty traveler and you have several people that work for you. So what started out as a hobby now is a full time business with a staff.
Jared Kamrowski 1:14
Yeah, yeah, you know that’s kind of how all these sites you know, start off you know, a little side hustle. Yeah, I was out traveling hundred nights a year and I got tired of you know, going out to the bar or going out to eat every single night and I kind of poured kind of my heart and soul into creating thriftytraveler.com and yeah, now my wife works for us. She quit her full time job. And, yeah, we have nine full time employees in the course of just a little bit over five years.
Mike Bruce 1:44
That’s incredible man. Talk about a dream come true. To be able to do what you love, and I should ask. So when you turn passion into a job, you still love your your passion, right? Because sometimes you hear about turning you’re passionate of a job and you’re just like, Oh crap, what did I do?
Jared Kamrowski 2:03
Yeah, I will say, you know, once you open Pandora’s box… no, it’s not easy, because if you know, running your own business was easy everybody would do it, but it’s definitely very rewarding. It’s definitely what I love to do, and incredibly challenging. I think that was, probably some of my prior employment, you know, wasn’t exactly what I love to do and pour my heart and soul into so, you know, I’d say yes, definitely thrifty traveler is that thing, but it’s exciting to see how far we’ve grown. But none of it has been easy.
Mike Bruce 2:42
Yeah, I’m sure, I’m sure.
Amy Nubson 2:44
Yeah, running a business, isn’t easy. I can tell that you guys have done really well job just considering how much you’ve grown in the last five years. That’s fantastic.
Mike Bruce 2:55
Yeah. One quick question. Did you have any background in building a website site or, cuz did you build your own website initially?
Jared Kamrowski 3:04
I did you know using WordPress of course but I did build it you know and customized it all myself back in 2015 and it actually looked the same up until a month ago so…
Mike Bruce 3:17
Jared Kamrowski 3:17
It was the same site for five years and then finally everybody was like, alright, it’s time for an upgrade. You know, that’s kind of the thing with being an entrepreneur, if you’re not a problem solver. If you can’t figure it out on your own, like you’re never going to be able to cut it because you need to be wearing all those hats to hustle and figure things out.
Mike Bruce 3:36
Yeah, yeah, it’s either it’s either that or it cost your money Simple as that.
Jared Kamrowski 3:39
That’s right. And when you don’t have any money. Well, that’s a problem.
Mike Bruce 3:43
Especially on a hobby so our first question we have is just what are the services you offer at thrifty travel, because you have both free and paid services.
Jared Kamrowski 3:55
Yeah, you know, if you go to thriftytraveler.com we have you know, just Daily News about the airline industry, you know, tips for traveling, you know, as well as you know how to maximize your credit card, you know, travel rewards, and of course flight deals are what we’re known for. We do have two paid services. Our big one’s called “Thrifty Traveler Premium” which is an international flight deal notification services. You know, essentially, we find international flight deals from over 125 different US cities every single day, and we send those deals right to your inbox. And that’s really how we’ve been able to grow so quickly, you know, over the span of five years has been that service. Then the new one that we just recently launched is “Thrifty Traveler University” which is an online travel hacking course you know, how to become a travel expert, you know, and only a few hours. So essentially what that is is video courses with our team. Obviously, they’re not live. They’re videotaped, but they’re accessible online, you know, whenever, wherever you want and we’ve boiled down all of our Tips and Tricks into 16 different lessons. And we’re very excited about that new service.
Mike Bruce 5:05
Yeah, that’s awesome. When did you launch that?
Jared Kamrowski 5:07
We launched that in November and we’ve been just kind of tweaking it retooling it, and no one really has done anything like it in our space. So we’re very excited.
Mike Bruce 5:18
Amy Nubson 5:19
I got introduced to you from a friend from Fargo, North Dakota actually gave me your information when I was trying to find more affordable deals or flights and so I actually became a member about a year ago and I’ve been watching all the emails and tracking and it’s been really fun seeing it and but also very disappointed when I can’t go. It’s the wrong time or something like that. But it’s been such a great information, even your blog articles that get emailed out have been fabulous. So thank you for that.
Jared Kamrowski 5:50
Yeah, I’m also originally from Fargo so that’s awesome to hear that people back home you know are repping our services and as far as you know, the FOMO of missing out on these deals, one of these times it’s going to click and you’re gonna be able to snag that amazing deal and go, and then you’ll be like, how did I ever you know, do this before?
Amy Nubson 6:10
And why did I wait so long. Right?
Mike Bruce 6:14
So Jared, I’m really curious. How do you guys compile all of these travel deals? Did you create some kind of software? Do you just scour every single day for these deals? What’s the process?
Jared Kamrowski 6:27
You want to know what’s behind the curtain? Yeah, you know, a lot of it, you know, to be honest with you, you know, we do have some automated, you know, tools, web based tools that are constantly scouring fairs because there’s hundreds of thousands if not millions of fairs, you know, every single day that are changed by all the different airlines. So we have some automated tools that for sure do a lot of you know the really difficult, you know, work of finding those cheap fares, but then we do have a team that once our tools find those fares, and they vet them. So that’s really just going into Google flights and making sure these fares exist and then creating, you know, the narrative to help people book and create the notifications that go to people’s either inboxes or at thriftytraveler.com.
Mike Bruce 7:18
Yeah. I mean, so there’s, I mean, that’s a lot of work. That is a lot of work. That’s incredible.
Jared Kamrowski 7:24
Yeah, it’s a system and it works. And it works every day, and our team, yeah, we only have nine people. So it’s relatively small, and I’m very proud of what we’re capable of. And I think, you know, as far as flight deals are concerned, we miss very, very few flight deals, and that’s something that I think is pretty impressive.
Mike Bruce 7:42
Yeah, Agreed. Agreed.
Amy Nubson 7:44
Well, I’ve been kind of monitoring your emails and some of the different deals that you guys send out. And I’m like, Is there a routine or is or like I’ve been trying to see if there’s a trends and I have yet to notice because they’re all over. They’re offered everywhere. And that’s what’s been kind of neat. It’s like some places that you guys send out. I’m like, I’ve never considered that place. So what do you think is like the number one place that people don’t think about to travel to that you guys have noticed is an amazing place to go.
Jared Kamrowski 8:15
Amy bring up a really good point and that is keeping your mind open. What we always say is, you know, let the flight deal be your guide, you know, you might not have ever thought that you want it to go to Havana, Cuba, but when you can fly there from you know, Miami or Minneapolis, you know, for $200 or $300. You know, maybe that opens up your mind, you’re like, Oh, I’m gonna go to you know, Cuba. Why not? Yeah, that’s like, the big thing with us is to keep an open mind. A lot of people sign up for the service or follow us at first. They’re like, you know, I want to go to Hawaii. And that’s it. We’re like, well, just hold up. Like, we’re gonna find you a Hawaii deal, but there’s so much more of the world to explore. So just, you know, sit back and watch your inbox or check out thriftytraveler.com or some of our Instagram accounts that we have for specific cities. And wait and see. And yeah, again, let that flight deal be guide.
Mike Bruce 9:08
Yeah, one of a friend of a friend has been traveling to Puerto Rico now for about a year and a half, like every other month. And, you know, they’ve had some really terrible times over the last couple years in Puerto Rico. But there’s still beautiful parts of the island that aren’t aren’t that bad off. And the flights there are just dirt cheap. And that’s standard flights, because they’re trying to draw more people in and people don’t want to go to areas that have been, you know, damaged by Hurricane or just have random blackouts for far too long. So those kind of situations, that showed up on our radar a few years ago, we realized how much cheaper flights are in areas where something bad might have just happened, but it’s not really you know, too close by but do you see trends in that as well?
Jared Kamrowski 9:55
Oh, yeah, no question. You know, you bring up you know, flights to Puerto Rico. So San Juan would be, you know, the cheapest city to fly into. And after, yeah, the the massive hurricane damage that they experienced, the airlines started, you know, yes dropping their fares for sure. And if there’s one destination in the Caribbean that’s affordable to fly to, it’s for sure Puerto Rico. Yeah. And then last year, the New York Times gave Puerto Rico the number one destination in the world, which I think helped as well. So I without question, yeah, that’s one of the top cheap destinations if you, and you don’t need a passport, you know, and a lot of people don’t realize that. So it’s pretty cool.
Mike Bruce 10:37
Yeah. Amy, you have some questions about tips for using points or accruing points, right?
Amy Nubson 10:44
One of the things I’ve noticed in a lot of your communication is always about how to use your travel points on your credit cards. And I was telling Mike offline, I have two credit card that have 100,000 points each. And I’m like, I have no idea how to use these things and how to, like, get the best deal or, but I do know I want to use them. You know, so what do you usually recommend to people that have never used reward points on their credit cards before? and how to use it through your site or, or any tips at all?
Jared Kamrowski 11:20
Sure, yeah. The most important thing is to earn and burn those points. And you know, definitely find a guide, you know, whether it’s, you know, delta sky miles that you’re earning or chase ultimate rewards or American Express membership rewards, you know, find a guide, even if you know, it’s not at thriftytraveler.com, find it somewhere, just through a Google search and, you know, see what are the best ways to use those miles. And one of the big things we always say is, you know, don’t get points paralysis, where you’re like, how do I get the best value? What is the absolute best value and you, you kind of go back and forth, you’re not sure what to do and you get anxiety and stress, and we say just burn the miles go on a trip that you normally couldn’t afford or you know, a trip that will help you save, and don’t look back, but definitely, you know, going forward, you know, get some kind of a strategy, you know, that will help you you know, maximize those miles and you know, get as many of those signup bonuses as you can to really bolster your points balances.
Amy Nubson 12:20
And in order to use those points do you have to use the credit cards travel sites? Like I have chase. Do you have to use the chase rewards site for those travel or can you use something like that you have that you’ve sent out and use those rewards as well?
Jared Kamrowski 12:36
Sure. Yeah. So for chase ultimate rewards specifically, we do have a guide at thriftytraveler.com, and those are probably some of the most flexible points you know, it’s technically called a flexible currency. You know, you can book flight deals, which is one of the best uses of chase ultimate rewards, you know, finding a cheap flight, and then booking it directly through the chase portal. You know, you log into your chase credit card, and You can book the flight directly there, or you can transfer the points to some of the airline and hotel partners, you know, like a hotel partner like Hyatt. So there’s definitely, you have a lot of different options depending on what you like to do. So definitely, we highly recommend probably the top two cards would for sure be the Chase Sapphire preferred card which you might have or the reserve, as well as the Capital One venture card. They’re just kind of the easiest to use, especially for beginners, and they offer a lot of value. And of course you can read more on that stuff at thriftytraveler.com.
Mike Bruce 13:35
Yeah, some of the side benefits of booking trips, I have a couple different Chase cards and some of the side benefits are terrific. They’ll help you book things. If you call up they’ll help you actually booked the flights. They’ll give you advice on places to stay and then there’s different insurances they add in on top of everything with booking through them, which is pretty cool.
Jared Kamrowski 14:00
Yeah, it’s really important, you know, Mike, like you brought up to know, you know, if there’s like trip delay insurance, if there’s insurance, you know, for your car and vehicle, you know, so you don’t have to pay for that abroad, because some of these cards, you know, do have a higher annual fee. And you definitely want to make sure you’re getting or squeezing as many benefits out of those cards as possible.
Mike Bruce 14:20
Yeah, certainly. And Amy mentioned to me, Amy, what were you saying about paying your taxes with a credit card?
Amy Nubson 14:27
It was one of the articles I actually read from thriftytraveler.com was interesting. It was something like if you’re thinking of opening a new credit card, and you wanted to get the balance and usually have to spend about what three to $4,000 in the first couple months, and they were like, if you’re going to pay your taxes already, if it makes sense and you’re going to pay it off, that would be a way to open up the credit card, or you know, hit the minimum purchasing and pay it off immediately and get the rewards and I thought that was kind of a clever article. I mean, considering most people do have a pretty decent tax bill especially if you’re an entrepreneur like me and already have the money saved for it, but I don’t need another credit card luckily at the moment but i thought what a great strategy if you don’t have a travel reward card to start.
Jared Kamrowski 15:17
Yeah, that definitely kick starts it you know, I would only recommend and of course that article at at our website and also states this you know, don’t just put you know, you got to be earning some kind of a signup bonus, you know, yeah putting the three or $4,000 on the card to earn you know, 50 to 60,000 points or mile bonus makes a lot of sense given fees. But don’t just, you know put your taxes on just a card just to earn you know, one point or mile, you know, per dollar spent or anything like that. Definitely be shooting for those signup bonuses. But, you know, the cool thing is, yeah, you can pay directly through the IRS has some affiliates and it’s less than 2% fees for the card. So, you know, you can put that, you know, three or $4,000 on there for, you know, not too much money surprisingly, especially, you know, if you pay $60 in fees, but you get, you know, five to 1000, you know, 500 to $1,000 in travel rewards, that’s definitely you know, the juice is worth the squeeze.
Amy Nubson 16:18
Yeah, you really want to make sure it’s part of your strategy overall, and you’re being smart about it. Yeah,
Jared Kamrowski 16:24
Yeah. And, you know, that’s kind of how it works. You know, at first you don’t have a strategy and you’re like, this is overwhelming, but over time, you kind of you know, figure it out. And your strategy just gets kind of bigger and bigger and bigger until you have all these different ways to kind of maximize your points and miles.
Mike Bruce 16:41
Do you guys offer any like one on one kind of strategy building for people who are really looking to get into this but kind of need that teacher to help guide you the first time outside of the university that you built?
Jared Kamrowski 16:54
Sure, sure. So for our Thrifty Traveler Premium as well as Thrifty Travel University, we do offer Credit Card consulting. So essentially you tell us, you know what, you work with my co founder, Nick, and you’d send him an email essentially what the cards you have, you know, what you’re looking to do going forward and he’ll recommend, you know, three to four cards that you should consider.
Mike Bruce 17:18
Jared Kamrowski 17:18
But beyond that, you know, Thrifty Traveler University is for sure where it’s going to be because we’re going to just give you all the you know, best tips and tricks on you know how to maximize all of your travel, including points and miles. That’s really taking it to the next level.
Mike Bruce 17:32
Heck yeah! That’s really cool. That’s a great service to add on. Wow.
Amy Nubson 17:36
Well and I know one of the things we talked about was like reducing the stress and the planning and all that but is there a specific airline that you find that helps passenger reduce stress when in traveling?
Jared Kamrowski 17:48
Well, I would definitely recommend you know, some of the top airlines you know, whether you’re you know, so Skytrax is one of the companies that gives out awards for you know the five star airlines worldwide. You know, we don’t have any five star airlines that fly here in the US, but they do have a great list if you’re traveling abroad, you know, as far as you know, domestic carriers are concerned, some of the top ones you know, the biggest would for sure be Delta. Another one Alaska Airlines if you ever get a chance to fly is generally pretty good. And I think Southwest to you know, these are well run airlines and I think you know, if your flights on time, you know, with happy staff, I think, at least for myself, that reduces my overall stress level. But I will say for some of these international carriers, you know, like the number one airline in the world is Qatar Airways, number two Singapore, I mean, just the level of service and the quality of the aircraft and seats and everything. I mean, it’s definitely worth ponying up a little bit of cash, you know, over maybe like a bare bones, you know, flight on Spirit or frontier or something like that. So, especially as I get older, those little creature comforts are definitely worth it to reduce my overall anxiety level.
Mike Bruce 19:02
Yeah, so do you still stand behind, I was watching your TED Talks earlier which, really cool too by the way? Do you still stand by the friends don’t let friends fly Spirit?
Jared Kamrowski 19:12
You know what, there’s a lot of people who love Spirit and understand it. I just say you know for the random person who’s an inexperienced traveler, steer clear of Spirit just to start off with. Because it’s a little bit different of an animal and can be more stressful. But you can for sure stay with Spirit as well. Spirit has improved significantly over the last, you know, five years. But I still got to do my “friends don’t let friends fly spirit!”
Mike Bruce 19:44
Thats hilarious. Yeah, cuz I love Spirit. My wife and I have out of the, I don’t know, 20 times we’ve flown it. The worst thing that’s ever happened is we might have gotten in a half hour late one time and that was, the airline was literally like two hours late getting in and somehow they got us there a half hour late, you know, just unbelievable experiences that we’ve had personally, but I do know people that either they don’t know what to expect from Spirit and they get on and realize they’re getting charged an extra $40 to $50 per bag or, or they just might have had a bad experience in some weird way, you know. But like cancellations on flights? I’ve never had that. And so I’m a little biased so far. As soon as I have one of those bad ones though. My goodness, it might change for me.
Jared Kamrowski 20:29
Yeah, no, Mike. Yeah, you bring up a good point. I mean, yeah, you’ve never had an issue. People definitely have. They’ve improved. Actually Spirit, there was one point in 2019 where they were the, they had the best on time percentage of any US airline. Which is pretty crazy, you know, when you’re beating Delta. They’ve kind of fallen from that number one spot. But yeah, it’s, a lot of times I will say, you know, I recommend flying Delta, you know, they do their advertisements, you know that they’re the on time machine. And generally I’ve seen that to be, you know, pretty true. But of course it does, you know, depend on where you fly from, you know, if you’re in a Delta hub flying Delta, of course, makes sense. If you’re in an American hub, you know, maybe flying an American makes a little bit more sense just for flight pricing. Or just the inability of you know, if there’s a delay or something and you’re in a Delta hub, Delta is gonna be able to find another aircraft to put you on. So there’s all these little different nuances. But sometimes you just gotta fly Spirit and you’ve got to try it out at least once.
Mike Bruce 21:35
Oh, yeah. Cuz the multiple times I’ve flown there’s been you know, some of the flight crews are hilarious and have tons of fun. Other flight crews are just boring but who cares if it cost me you know, $50 round trip to fly from Pittsburgh to Dallas, you know, or $80 to fly to LA like that blows me away, so worth any inconvenience that I might have flying with them.
Amy Nubson 22:01
I think you also have to kind of remember like the age of people, like I would never recommend my mother going on Spirit, you know, just because she’s also that age of like, she thinks she should get everything, included on her ticket and the idea of being charged as like an a la carte, like infuriates her, so it is not like an airline I would recommend for that.
Jared Kamrowski 22:25
That’s definitely, age is a big thing. And well, sadly, just overall, all the airlines are slowly kind of moving to that a la carte model, just because it’s so profitable. But I for sure steer a lot of our older followers and readers, definitely to kind of the main line, you know, American, United and Delta. So I hear you on that one.
Amy Nubson 22:50
Yeah. Do you see any other trends happening in the near future for airlines like things getting stricter or maybe even more relaxed? Like you were saying you think most of them are going to go all to a la carte charging.
Mike Bruce 23:03
Smaller and smaller bag sizes. My goodness. Yeah.
Jared Kamrowski 23:06
Yeah. Yeah, you know, what I’ve seen, you know, almost, you know, all the US airlines now have, you know, move to Basic Economy model. So what that is, you know, they spin it as you have more choice, but essentially what it is, they charge you the same price now, for a Basic Economy fare as you used to pay for just a normal main cabin fair, you know, which included seat assignments and a bag. So, it’s not a good deal. But it’s a good deal for the airlines because they’re making, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars off of it. But one of the things that I am starting to see is I think, it does appear that we’ve kind of bottomed out as far as what they’re going to start charging us for and because there is just a lot of very unhappy people. Because when they show you a basic economy fare, they assume that you’re going to upgrade out of that. You know, there’s only you know, a small percentage of people who actually choose the Basic Economy fare. So I think we’ve kind of hit the bottom. And we are seeing like Delta, for example, is starting to offer some more amenities, especially on international flights, like a hot towel, or some kind of a cocktail or some kind of a pre departure drink which is pretty cool. So we’re starting to see kind of that they’ve ratcheted back on all of the amenities and now they’re starting to add a few back in just to, you know, it’s not huge, but it does seem like a little positive change and, and usually what ever Delta starts doing, especially in the US, United and American soon follow.
Mike Bruce 24:38
That’s good to know.
Amy Nubson 24:40
Yeah, because I know like when I used to travel, I get a little bit travel sickness. So like the pretzels once in a while, was kind of like, just my backup like if I needed to eat pretzels. And now you don’t even get that and I was like, that kind of made sense to me. Like why wouldn’t you offer that to your cabin in case somebody does feel nauseous? Those things kind of, I’m hoping little things come back.
Mike Bruce 25:07
The pretzels are a little nicer than the barf bag for sure.
Amy Nubson 25:10
Jared Kamrowski 25:14
Yeah, you kind of reminded me of another thing. The airlines are starting to improve their catering and food even in economy. So we are seeing that as well.
Mike Bruce 25:23
Yeah, from my point of view, the health guy, like I tell everyone just don’t eat the plane food period. Because this stuff is made to be, you know, put in the weirdest places for long, long periods of time. And it’s not actually food. And if you want to get to your location, hit the ground running, don’t eat the plane food. So it can definitely cause more issues in the long run for your vacation than anything.
Jared Kamrowski 25:50
Yeah, no question some of those sodium bombs and everything. You know, I just flew Alaska Airlines and then Delta back to Hawaii, and they had some great offerings for purchase. Obviously you have to pay for those, but like a protein box or something of that nature, where it’s like a hard boiled egg and some hummus and some other protein items, and I was like, this is actually like healthy, it tastes good, normal. So obviously have to pay for those things. But I think that’s such a great alternative. And Mike, I’m sure you can, you know, back me up, you’re going to feel a lot better when you land on something like that over some of those highly processed questionable foods.
Mike Bruce 26:29
Yeah, so I guess since we’re on the topic, what do you do to stay healthy while you travel? Do you have any routines, any tips for jet lag, things like that?
Jared Kamrowski 26:30
Yeah, yeah, you know, for sure, you know, just with like, jet lag and everything, you know, especially on international flights, you know, the booze is free, but I try to avoid it, if you can, you know, try to get some sleep because you know, alcohol is definitely going to be an impediment to you know, getting some good sleep. You know trying to adjust to the time that you’re going to be arriving at, you know, as soon as you take off, you know, not easy again, but something I definitely recommend. You know trying to go to the gym, workout, go for a run, you know, no matter where you’re at, try to work that in because that’s just going to make you feel just so so much better.
Mike Bruce 27:15
Yeah, that’s a great tip. Another thing that just came to my mind before I asked that question was how often are you actually travel traveling these days?
Jared Kamrowski 27:25
So I’m gone and my wife now who’s joined me, you know, we’re gone for at least a week a month, typically abroad somewhere, but in the US as well. So we’re traveling quite a bit. And, you know, when I’m at home, I go to the gym, you know, every morning at you know, 5:30 but when you’re traveling thats, or you have the time change or jet lag and all that stuff working against you. It’s tough to maintain kind of your workout schedule or you want to do something or you have something going on and ,it’s easy to make excuses. But yeah, you kind of have to. Especially if you’re gone, you know, as much as we are, because otherwise you’re gonna to slip into a pretty unhealthy lifestyle pretty quickly.
Mike Bruce 28:08
Yeah, yeah, that’s a good point, that can happen. Like, if I’m going, if I’m on a plane, I know the 10 families next to me are all buying like Auntie Anne’s pretzels and getting all this junk food because it’s a trip. And it’s a fun part of the trip to have all these weird treats but man, you come back like 20 pounds up in one week and you come back just feeling horrible, your joints hurt, all these things. So yeah, to do that as a lifestyle is going to make a big difference if that’s how you’re always always eating.
Jared Kamrowski 28:37
Yeah, it’s gonna wear you down pretty quick.
Amy Nubson 28:41
Speaking of that, too, since you’re talking about you and your wife both work on your business and you travel one week of the month. How do you travel mobily as a business owner?
Jared Kamrowski 28:54
Sure, yeah, you know, we obviously you know, and you guys understand this as well. You got to remain connected when you’re traveling. So the most important, probably, tool we have, you know, beyond our laptops, of course is Google Fi. If you’ve never heard of Google’s phone service, but you have International Service anywhere in the world, there’s like, I think a handful of countries where you don’t have service and you can just tether your laptop to your phone, and it’s $10 a gig No matter if you’re in the US 10 gigabytes per data, I should say, no matter if you’re in the US or abroad, and it’s on throttled LTE 4g, which is pretty, pretty much unheard of. There’s some comparable plans on T Mobile, and there’s like a little orange hockey puck thing you can buy. But it’s really the best deal, you know, at this point. So that’s really been a lifesaver of ours. Because it’s tough to be you know, in a cab somewhere in some, you know, foreign country and trying to get service, and Google Fi has really been the answer for us.
Mike Bruce 30:00
Amy Nubson 30:01
Yeah, that’s great. And so you bring, you both bring laptops and carry them around with you constantly because I know one of the things we’ve been trying to figure is how to downsize even our equipment so it’s easier to travel and take less stuff with us.
Jared Kamrowski 30:16
Yeah so we carry on no matter where we’re going in the world. You know if we’re doing a quick trip to you know San Diego for the weekend, or if we’re going on a three week trip to Europe we carry on only and then a backpack with a 13 inch MacBook and you know some other items but you know, we try to, we’re minimalist and try to pack as light as we can you know get an Airbnb that has laundry. Yeah, that’s you know, it’s worked for us so far. And a lot of people are like horrified by that because like, “a carry on for you know, a week that’s insanity.” But you know, what we always say is you know, when you come home and you’ve worn you know, you have that big bag, you’ve probably worn like half the clothes, so you really don’t need all that stuff. So just kind of rethinking the way you travel is a big part of the kind of thrifty traveler team carry on lifestyle.
Mike Bruce 31:07
Yeah, I’ve definitely, I traveled with just a book bag as well, my wife and I, no matter how long we stay somewhere, and I have come home with just a book bag that only half of that book bag is cloths. The other half is like supplements or tools that I take with me, whatever. And I still haven’t worn all my clothes. It’s just amazing.
Jared Kamrowski 31:26
You get it.
Mike Bruce 31:27
Yeah. So what kind of software, or do you have different like tools? Like some businesses, they’ll use slack. They’ll use a couple other software programs to keep connected with the team. What kind of tools does the team do you use with the team to stay connected and keep that business rolling?
Jared Kamrowski 31:47
Yeah, that’s a great question, Mike. We use slack primarily, you know, we don’t have a formal office. We meet once or twice a week with our team here in Minneapolis. But other than that, you know, we’re working from home. So slack has really been key and it works well for us, you know, if it’s not just, you know, simple communication, you know, via text, but you know, also those voice calls, you know, helps so much and yeah, there’s obviously some drawbacks to not having a formal office but I’d say, you know, probably the benefits outweigh that, especially for a travel company.
Mike Bruce 32:20
Yeah. And you said you meet up once a week or so. Do you rent office space? Or do you just go to a coffee shop? What do you guys do?
Jared Kamrowski 32:28
That’s a great question. So one of the benefits of the American Express Platinum Business card is you get free WeWork access which is pretty cool. So I’m sure you guys know what WeWork is. And we so we get free access to that as long as we have a meeting there. So we just get a meeting room that our whole team goes there for you know, we pay you know, for maybe a two hour meeting we pay you know, I don’t know less than hundred dollars, once a week which is pretty cheap. But I will be honest with you. Yeah, we do coffee shops here. Our teams getting a little bit bigger now, but we also do just have everybody over to you know, our house here, and we meet around the table because we’re a small enough company and it’s, yeah, it’s it’s nice to be able to host everybody and it’s nice and quiet you can control the environment. Where WeWork is pretty great, but sometimes it’s a little busy there.
Mike Bruce 33:22
Yeah, that’s really cool.
Amy Nubson 33:24
That’s a great follow up question I have because when you travel like well, by trade, I’m a web designer, developer, designer and then I do business coaching so I usually have a lot of equipment or I’m used to a certain setup. Do you ever see like when you travel somewhere else, you go to one of those you know working co-spaces or anything like that or do you just go to coffee shops in different locations? Or do you just stay in your condo or rental place?
Jared Kamrowski 33:49
Yeah, we do you know all three I would say. You know if we’re in like Tokyo, you know, we find you know, WeWork because you know, get your caffeine. Everything is the same as back home, you know, really with WeWork. But you know, if there’s a cool coffee shop for sure set up there. But then you know, sometimes you just want you know, I’m an introvert. So sometimes I just want to stay in our Airbnb or a hotel room and just, you know, knock out as much work as I can, and then you know, head out, grab a bite to eat or check out some of the sites wherever we’re at.
Mike Bruce 34:21
What we’re talking about right now, the business stuff, is there any little tips and tricks that that you’ve come up with on your own that might be pretty unique, that that you’ve never really shared with people that you think can really help somebody out?
Jared Kamrowski 34:35
I would for sure, say, you know, especially if you’re kind of doing that remote lifestyle, we found that, you know, sometimes over communicating, you know, especially with your team has become really important, because when you have that disconnect, you know, where you’re only talking on slack or only via email. There’s miscommunication about, you know, what’s the context of, you know, what’s being said, or I didn’t really understand. So, we’ve really really, you know, told all of our employees, you know, if you don’t understand something, ask. You know, if you’re trying to explain something, over explain it. And that’s kind of cut down on some of the, you know, communication issues with us. You know, that’s a travel company specifically,
Mike Bruce 35:12
That sounds like heaven to me, because my pet peeve is when someone’s like, Hey, can you go let my dog out, and then you realize there’s like, you know, three things you have to do outside to find their keys. And like, they don’t give you any details. You know, I love over explanations of things. And that’s a weird, I’m sure that’s just a weird quirk of mine. But, so I love hearing that that’s part of your culture of your company is to make sure everybody is on the same understanding, same page. That’s really cool.
Jared Kamrowski 35:39
Yeah, and we have, you know, probably way more meetings than a normal company would have, you know, with our employees or different managers and just trying to make sure that we maintain that communication link. So, you know, while we’re not always working together, we at least are on the same page.
Mike Bruce 35:54
Okay. So I watched your TEDx talk, and I just thought it was, it was succinct and it was awesome. And like my favorite parts of the talk, talking about the benefits of travel and my absolute favorite one, you are more likely to get promoted at work if you travel more, if you actually use your vacation time. Can you kind of build on that a little bit? That’s so cool, man.
Jared Kamrowski 36:18
Yeah, I know. It’s insane. I think and I can’t, you know, my TED Talks, been a couple of years in the past, but I think it’s Project Time Out, and they do an annual report of, you know, essentially how little leave people are using in the US and they’ve, they’ve done some research saying that, yeah, people who do use their leave to, you know, head out, travel, you know, whether it’s domestic or international, when they come back, they’re more likely, they’re just a better performer. They’re not burnt out. They’re recharged, they’re ready to go. Yeah and they’re more likely to be promoted, which is, from someone who loves travel, something that I can definitely get behind.
Mike Bruce 36:58
Yeah, yeah. I’m sure if people in your business don’t travel, they don’t even get the job, let alone promoted. So
Jared Kamrowski 37:04
Yeah, if the passion isn’t there, we aren’t hiring them.
Amy Nubson 37:08
Well I know that was one of the things when I had my first corporate job in Fargo, I was shocked that they required you had to take a week off at one time. And it was for mental health basically, as well. And so you were pretty much kind of forced to do a week at a time. And I’m like, that seems silly, but I was also very young at the time and didn’t know it. But now I’m like, that was actually really smart to do. It’s kind of like making them take their vacation. But to me, I can’t figure out why people don’t want to take their vacation. I don’t want to work in corporate anymore because I want more than the week or the two weeks that they would give me.
Mike Bruce 37:47
A lot of people in the health and wellness field, now a lot of the companies that I’ve looked into they actually have maximum hours per week you can work and they have forced vacation time and I love that, like make people do this. It makes your company better. Force them into relaxing and enjoying themselves and enjoying their family you know work life balance.
Jared Kamrowski 38:06
I know I think that that’s becoming you know more of a thing, you know people you know at least in the US are starting to focus you know more on you know, maternity and paternity leave, you know, that work life balance because it seems like for years and years, I know people have just been like sacrificing their life, you know, to their corporate employers trying to move up the ladder, and it can be destructive and as it seems to have been proven by some of these different research projects, you know, is detrimental when you only work, which is so crazy.
Mike Bruce 38:41
Yeah, so our last one that we like to ask everybody is what is your favorite location on this planet?
Jared Kamrowski 38:48
That is not easy. Yeah, you know, you know what, what are my favorite trips? You know, my wife and I now we get to travel you know, everywhere together which is pretty awesome. And she loves cities. I love the mountains. I love the woods. So those are a little conflicting. So, you know, we’ve tried to change it up. You know, we love traveling to Mexico. You know, as much as you know, we’ve traveled you know, all over the world. We’ve been fortunate to do that. We just love traveling to Mexico. You know, whether it’s, you know, some of the, you know, south of Cancun, to some of you know, the newer resorts and cities, they’re starting to blow up there, like Tulum, we’re not the biggest fans of Tulum, but there’s some cool cities around there. We just went to, our whole team went to Oaxaca, Mexico, which is in the interior of Mexico and it’s a big foodie destination.
Mike Bruce 39:41
Yeah, they have some fantastic mezcal that comes out of Oaxaca.
Jared Kamrowski 39:44
Mezcal! That’s it. It’s the home of mezcal and it’s so cheap, and there’s so much culture to experience there. You know, Mexico gets, understandably, bad rap with all the violence that’s happening in certain parts of the country and corruption and whatnot. But Mexico has such a rich culture, history, food, you know drinks, beverages, the hospitality. You know we travel all over the world but that’s definitely one of the places we keep coming back to which is crazy but we really like it.
Mike Bruce 40:15
it’s not crazy at all, I love it. Yeah I’ve only been to Mexico, I’ve been there twice I guess and, or three times and I love the people I love the culture and I think we have a, maybe a group “Thrifty Travelers” and “Gettin There” trip planned right? Like maybe we have a little trip, we all like rent out a big old Airbnb or two side by side and have a bunch of people come down.
Jared Kamrowski 40:39
That’s our thing. Airbnb like getting a big you know, 10 or 15 person Airbnb, no matter if you’re in, you know, Mexico or if you’re in Switzerland. I mean, you could save so much money by doing that.
Amy Nubson 40:51
Yeah, and they always look amazing. But yeah, it’s trying to find those 10 people that are couples go with you.
Jared Kamrowski 40:57
Right, and then you don’t end up killing them.
Mike Bruce 41:01
That’s a good point, right?
Jared Kamrowski 41:03
Because you don’t know your friends until, you don’t actually know them until you’ve traveled with them. You’d be surprised.
Mike Bruce 41:09
Oh, I agree. My sister in law, my brother in law and I and my wife we’ve all traveled together a couple times. And the first trip was pretty tough but you got the being tired from traveling whatever, and then all of a sudden, people are trying to change dinner plans and you’re just, you’re getting mad and then you realize the next day you’re like, that was foolish. So really, like getting to know people better is really fun.
Amy Nubson 41:30
I think friends might be a little more fun than family. I’ve been in Hawaii with my family where they were like fighting in the airport, and you’re like, do we step in? Do we walk away? Pretend we don’t know them? What do we do?
Mike Bruce 41:42
Hah, yeah. So Jared, where can everybody find you?
Jared Kamrowski 41:45
thriftytraveler.com, sign up for our free daily newsletter. That’s going to be you know, the best kind of intro to everything that we have. And then it’s gonna let you find out all about our different Instagram accounts for different you know, let’s say you’re in Minneapolis, Minneapolis, flight deals, we have you know Miami flight deals, we have over 25 different you know, Instagram accounts. Obviously flight deals, tips news at thriftytraveler.com. The Daily newsletter is kind of the key to unlocking all that.
Mike Bruce 42:12
Yeah, and I will say your Instagram account is just a lot of fun. It’s a whole lot of you flying in amazing, amazing like first class, business class things. And then your wife, Mrs. Thrifty Traveler, she has a really fun account to just beautiful, beautiful pictures. I saw one the other day of a little city in Lebanon with these beautiful pink flowers just over, draping over the whole walkway. It was gorgeous. I just love seeing those things and getting ideas. I would never have considered going to Lebanon and now it’s on my list. And Petra, my goodness was that recently that you went to Petra?
Jared Kamrowski 42:45
Yes, Petra is in Jordan and the Wadi Rum as well in Jordan. Two absolutely incredible places. You know, and Jordan’s a very safe country, definitely should visit. And that’s kind of what we’re trying to do you know, you know, you’re talking about first and business class and most people are like yeah, there’s no way that’s ever gonna happen for me, but using points and miles like, we don’t get these flights for free from any airline. We don’t take any freebies from anyone. We’re using points and miles, like we’re walking the talk and showing people how to do this stuff. That’s really probably the most rewarding and fun part is like yeah, we flew, we showered on a plane and now you know, all of our readers and followers you know, can follow those same steps and do it as well because you know if we could do it, they can definitely do it.
Mike Bruce 43:02
Yeah, that’s great. And Amy, where can everybody find out about us?
Amy Nubson 43:32
So you can find out about us at www.travelwithmikeandamy.com That’s our website and it has all of our podcasts and blog articles. We also have a Facebook page. So you can go in there and like us and follow what we’re doing and hopefully we’ll be adding more social media as we go on.
Mike Bruce 43:48
Yeah, and if you’re looking for any kind of business coaching you can get to Amy’s business coaching on on www.travelwithmikeandamy.com and you can get to my health coaching on www.travelwithmikeandamy.com. And honestly if you just want to reach out and find out how to pack a bag really, really small and travel for three weeks. We can give you some tips on that as well. So
Amy Nubson 44:05
I made Mike prove that when I was in Pennsylvania. Like, show me how you can do this!
Mike Bruce 44:10
Yeah, it was fun.
Jared Kamrowski 44:12
It can be done.
Mike Bruce 44:13
It can be done. Jared, this was tons of fun and I have a feeling we’re going to have on in the future again, if you’re okay with that. It was a lot of fun talking with you. And I think we can dive into a lot more things with you.
Jared Kamrowski 44:25
Always fun chatting about travel. Absolutely. I’d love to be back.
Mike Bruce 44:29
Everybody, you have a great day. Thank you so much for joining us and Jared, thanks. Thanks for joining us.
Jared Kamrowski 44:33
Transcribed by https://otter.ai