Today's interview features Cacinda Maloney of PointsandTravel.com.
How, why and when did you get started to blog your thoughts on travel?
I started my blog in August 2012, but have been traveling every six weeks of my life for 18+ years now.
What is your blog all about?
It is about what I call "value luxury". I came into the blogging world a bit different than a lot of my travel blogger friends. I was traveling so much, that I had all these frequent flyer miles and hotel points in different programs and I was wondering what to do with them and how to maximize them, so I started reading points blogs for about 3 years. Then I thought, now that I know how to used them, I need to know where to go, where to stay and places not to miss. So I started my destinations blog. I then realized there were all different kinds of blogs out there and mine was luxury, only I needed it to be of value, since I was using these miles/points as I was transporting 4 people across the world and back. That is how I got into my "value luxury" destination blog. I don't backpack and I don't hostel.
Are you a full-time blogger? If so do live a rich lifestyle? 🙂
I work full-time, owning a rehabilitation clinic, but will be going full time blogging in the near future. Let's just say, I live a comfortable life. I work hard, I play hard.
What's your favorite country/place you have traveled to and why?
Hard one. Italy, hands down, come on, it is Italy.
Where would you want to live if you need to settle?
Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America. Spain.
If I would be looking for beaches, mountains, city life, nightlife – where would you send me?
Depends on where you have been, there are amazing places all over the world, but lets say the best cave wine bar in the world that I have ever been to is in Ipoh, Malaysia and is owned by a Jeff, a Chinese billionaire! Or the best, unknown cool washing machine cove ever is in Zapallar, Chile or how about scuba diving in Aquaba, Jordon, that is cool.
What places/country is the most overrated?
The top spot you have not yet been.
Greek isles, Seychelles, Maldives, Palau, (Wakatobi,) Indonesia, Africa, Brazil, Easter Island, Croatia, Cuba
What was the most embarrassing travel situation you ever faced?
Almost missed my flight to Thailand, when I goofed off all day the day before the flight because I thought it left in two days, not one. I went in to get my seat for my flight two days early, when it said I left in the morning, I was shocked… but, since I am a pre-planner, I was almost ready anyway, I was just shocked that it was all the sudden.
Another embarrassing moment came when I bought a train ticket to some town in the Cinque Terre, Italy. Apparently the way there from Genoa, was not he same way back or I took a different line and didn't realize it. The town where I was supposed to get off, we didn't pass and then suddenly I am on the train with an inappropriate ticket. I thought, "no big deal. I will just get off at the next major stop and no one will know." Well, sure enough, some hefty, old Italian Lady cop came by and asked me for my ticket, which of course, I had the wrong one and which of course, no one had ever asked me for a ticket all the way up there and all the way back. But she busted me and made me pay a fine of 50 Euros on the spot. Good thing I had the cash on me, otherwise she said she was calling the cops. It sort of turned me off to the Cinque Terre region of Italy, so I never wrote about my time spent there!
What was the most rewarding travel situation you encountered?
Absolutely. Auschwitz – that was a hard day. The Hermitage – crazy wonderful. Meeting a violin maker in Forli, Italy – wow! Petra – left me utterly speechless. The Chora Church in Istanbul – unbelievable, as well as the Hagia Sophia. The Stats Opera House in Vienna – enchanting. Machu Picchu – no words. And these are just a few off the top of my head.
What is your most embarrassing travel pet peeve?
How anxious I can get before I get to the airport. Nothing specific, but I just don't like to be late, unlike my husband, Dr. P&T, who is always late and running.
What is the (most) famous person you have met while traveling?
Sergio Castilo, their most famous Chilean sculptor
Lee Abbamonte, the youngest American to travel to every country in the world, whom I now call my friend!
Randy Petersen, the founder of Flyertalk, Milepoint and the first well-known frequent flyer, also a friend!
What's you recent food discovery from your travels?
Just took a Thai cooking class in Bangkok, that was fun. Blog post soon to follow.
What was the most complicated flight itinerary you ever booked?
I try to stay away from complicated, and since I own a business I have a hard time maximizing my time abroad because I need to get back ASAP, so nothing too complicated.
What is your favorite hotel you stayed at?
Hotel Splendido, Portofino, Italy, An Orient-Express Hotel
The Banjaran Hotspring Retreat in Ipoh, Malaysia
Castaway Island, Fiji
Do you have a travel product that nobody has ever heard of that is a real gem?
Love the mifi from XcomGlobal, can't leave home without a it!
What airline/hotel are you craving to try?
Singapore or Emirates airlines…Any Four Seasons, Shangri La, Ritz-Carlton or Orient-Express properties.
What are your favorite travel websites and why?
Now, that is a tough one! I never read a travel blog in my life before I started writing one! I only ready points blogs, so of course, I have to say BoardingArea.com but now I read actual travel blogs and my all time favorite is Yomadic.com – this guy, Nate, is the most gritty travel writer I have ever come across.
What gadgets help you out on your travels?
Macbook Pro, Lumix HD Point and Shoot, Canon Rebel HDR. I don't leave home without them. Getting a new phone soon, so hopefully I make the right decision on the one that works great for a travel blogger.
What is your biggest learning from earning so many miles and points?
Probably from either the coins back in the day or the US Airways Grand Slam, back in the day or the Club Carlson 50,000 points promo, which had me hopping across the country and playing many accounts for that one. I know these are all old, but I have so many points that…I don't play as many games these days.