Interview with Jeff Sauer – jeffsetter.com

We have started an interview series here on mightytravels.com to bring you the best voices of the travel blogosphere.

We kick it off with Jeff Sauer who runs the Jeffsetter Travel Blog.

How, why and when did you get started to blog your thoughts on travel?

I have been blogging since the year 2000 on several topics, including travel. At the end of 2012 I decided to create a blog dedicated to my travels and that is when Jeffsetter was born.

What is your blog all about?

My blog documents my travels all over the world while also covering how to earn points and miles, and maximizing the value of redeeming those points. I try to include my specific examples whenever possible, because I think that it is more meaningful to see real travel examples from real people.

Are you a full-time blogger? If so, do you live a rich lifestyle? 🙂

I am not a full time blogger. I am a digital marketing executive in my day job and Jeffsetter is an outlet for me to document my travels and dream about where I may end up in the future.

What do you think has been your most popular post so far?

My most popular post by page views was after the Hilton Honors 2013 Devaluation. Somehow my angry commentary on this change was the #3 result on Google for a solid 6 months and brought over 15,000 visitors over that time. My other most popular posts are also those that draw in search visitors from Google because that traffic comes in steadily over time vs. news focused posts that only draw visitors for a day or two after being published.

What's your favorite country/place you have traveled to and why?

New Zealand is probably the most beautiful place I have visited due to the combination of mountains, glaciers, coastline and more. It's the most strikingly beautiful place I have visited and I feel that there is still a lot more for me to explore.

Where would you want to live if you need to settle?

If I were to settle in a single place long term in the US, it would definitely be Northern California. I love wine country, the Pacific Coast and the forests of the area. The temperature is quite nice as well.

Abroad, I am not sure that I would want to settle in a single place until I have seen all of the options. I'm more interested in seeing as many new places as possible than I am interested in staying put in one place.

If I would be looking for beaches, mountains, city life, nightlife – where would you send me?

There are tens, hundreds, even thousands of options for each of these travel categories, so it's all about exploring the options and discovering what you like best. I loved the beaches of Mauritius while I was there. The Cook Islands were amazing as well. Same goes for French Polynesia, Mexico, and the British Virgin Islands. They are all beautiful places in their own right and you can't really go wrong with a beach vacations.

How many countries have you been to?

I have been to somewhere around 25 countries so far and I have a goal to see at least 10 more countries in 2014. International travel has always been difficult to do more than 1-2 times a year with my work responsibilities, but I see this opening up significantly in 2014.

What places/country is the most overrated?

I'm not sure that I would call anything overrated, since each experience is unique from a visual, cultural and dining perspective. There are places I have enjoyed less than others, but I'm not sure I would go as far as to call them overrated.

Top spot you have not yet been.

Antarctica to cross a 7th continent off my bucket list. Probably the Maldives from a tropical vacation perspective. That and Southeast Asia are two places I am hoping to visit in the near future.

What was the most embarrassing travel situation you ever faced?

Having a passport on my honeymoon that was expiring in less than 6 months. I did not know that this passport would not allow me to enter Mauritius and we almost missed our honeymoon because I was not aware of Mauritian passport law. I wrote about the scare on my personal blog just before starting Jeffsetter.

What was the most rewarding travel situation you encountered.

Getting engaged or being on a honeymoon trip entitles you to all kinds of awesome room upgrades, perks and other benefits. Definitely take advantage of life events if they happen while traveling. This is how we got the presidential suite at the Hilton Sydney, a beach villa in Mauritius and many more cool upgrades.

What's your most recent food discovery from your travels?

Galaktoboureko in Greece, Moussaka in Turkey and a Tapas restaurant in Asheville North Carolina

Worst/Best pickup line you heard (used if you are a guy!)?

This one was used on my wife (not by me mind you): "Are you Irish, because my Penis is Dublin"

What is your favorite hotel you stayed at?

I would have to say either the Four Seasons in Mauritius or the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa.

What airline/hotel are you craving to try?

I would like to fly International first class on Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Emirates. Basically any airline known for their over the top first class service.

What are your favorite travel websites and why?

I love the blogs on Boarding Area for advice on travel. I also like Twisted Sifter for cool travel experiences, TripAdvisor for hotel reviews, Yelp for restaurants, TripIt to stay organized and just about anything else that helps make travel easier.

What gadgets help you out on your travels?

International power plug adapters, Macbook, iPad, iPhone, Canon DSLR Camera, Canon Powershot

Where do you earn the majority of your miles? Credit Cards, Online Shopping Malls?

Credit card purchases with reimbursable business expenses.

Do you have a simple advice for a beginner – how to collect and use miles easiest?

Get a card like the Chase Sapphire preferred and use it for most every day spend. Earn and earn and earn points that you can then use for flights and hotel. Don't use the Ultimate Rewards points to buy the travel, though. You usually get more value in transferring to a partner and using their points for redemption. United and Hyatt are generally the best in this case.

Can you share a secret with mightytravels.com readers what's an undiscovered gem to earn miles?

There are very few undiscovered secrets that I would be willing to be the first person to "break" on the web. Check out Flyertalk to find the best secrets. Just be prepared to talk in code.

What is your biggest learning from earning so many miles and points?

Points and miles are a currency that loses value over time, so your points will be worth less over time. Often significantly less. Don't horde your points and miles, rather make it a point to use them at least once a year in order to make sure you are making best use of what you have earned.