Rick Ingersoll is the world’s expert on frugal travel and flying free and the author of The Frugal Travel Guy Handbook. A retired mortgage banker, he splits his time between Traverse City, Michigan, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. To enjoy his retirement, he and his wife Katy travel the globe, rarely paying full price – if anything at all — for their travel and lodging expenses. Rick has become the expert in rooting out deals others miss or simply don’t know about, and in accumulating airline frequent flier miles and hotel points. He and Katy have been on two “Around the World” itineraries in either Business or First Class, using free frequent flier miles, points, or vouchers. They have taken many other trips (several to Hawaii), always flying up-front for comfort and convenience. They have been to 63 countries in the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America, the British Isles, Scandinavia, Eastern and Western Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. And they went for a five-year period without paying for any of these airline tickets.
Rick’s expertise includes frequent flier mile programs, getting the “bump”, customer service requests, and using good credit ratings to take advantage of bank promotions. He has collected over five million frequent flier miles and has a current “bankroll” of over 1.5 million frequent flier miles and points. He shares his expertise in his book, The Frugal Travel Guy Handbook, on his daily-updated blog, frugaltravelguy.com, and through speaking engagements and seminars around the U.S.
“I just decided to start spreading the word,” Rick told Cymbre Foster of the Traverse City Record-Eagle in March of 2008. “My true intent is to teach people how to do this themselves. There is nothing more fun than taking someone somewhere they have never been before for a price they can’t believe.”
The Frugal Travel Guy blog is a 2009, 2010, and 2011 budget travel award winner presented by tripbase.com.
Once a geek always a geek. Howie Rappaport has always had a knack for getting a good deal. His passions are technology and travel; two things he gets to play with every day. Originally from New York and then Massachusetts Howie and his wife moved just across the river from Frugal Travel Guy headquarters in Savannah, Georgia in 2010. Working in software sales and living 550 miles from his office, when he’s not working from home Howie is either at the office or visiting a customer. His co-workers and family think he’s “crazy” with his travel habits. They just don’t understand why someone would fly from Savannah to San Francisco through New York!
An addicted “minty” and other deal hunter Howie takes things to the extreme. His favorite places to shop are Costco, Sam’s Club, and Amazon (who doesn’t love unlimited free 2-day shipping). He’s been known to say “Why buy one for one dollar when I can get two for two dollars”, and has a curious fascination with the TLC show “Extreme Couponing”.
Howie gives us his point of view as a knowledgeable road warrior that spends a lot of his time away from home. If you ever see him on a plane he’ll most likely be seated in an aisle with his laptop on and connected to the inflight Wi-Fi. He’ll end 2011 with about 250,000 Medallion Qualification Miles and 130+ nights in a hotel. Howie will give the road warriors some insight to how someone else does it, and show us how principles on travel work for whether you travel 1000 miles a year to visit family you don’t see enough or that 50,000 to travel the world. Additionally he’ll give us some tips to hopefully make travel a little less stressful. All that travel equates to some great benefits that he can thankfully share with his family. “I get to travel to places I’d never be able to go to, and to be able to give that opportunity to my family at a price that everyone can afford makes it all worth it”, Howie says when talking about his travel habits. He goes on to say “There’s nothing quite like the look on your mothers face when she turns left towards first class for a 10-hour flight, it’s all about family”.
Ariana is the Managing Editor of Frugal Travel Guy. She has been writing about points, miles and travel since 2012. Ariana is fully engaged in travel hacking and enjoys helping others navigate this hobby. With over 1.5 million miles saved up, she looks forward to traveling to unconventional places and sharing her experience with readers. Prior to joining the team, she wrote and published her own points and miles blog, Pointchaser.com.
MILE HIGH CANUCK
The Mile High Canuck was born, as might be divined from his nickname, in the snow-covered wilds of the Great White North. Specifically, he grew up in New Brunswick, one of the Maritime provinces … imagine Maine, with people speaking bad French, instead of bad English. While he studied Engineering and Computer Science in college, at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, he occasionally contributed to the student newspaper, which may have given him the idea that he could write.
The computer science was more lucrative, however, so he packed up his plaid flannel shirt and his hockey stick, and moved to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Fried Twinkie, making a living as a software developer in North Carolina and Missouri, before hearing the call of the mountains, and moving to Denver, Colorado. This nomadic behavior apparently ignited a dormant wanderlust, which was perfectly timed to coincide with his discovery of “travel hacking”, frequent flyer mile generation, and of course, travel blogs, including the Frugal Travel Guy blog.
Now married to a fantastic woman who amazingly tolerates his dorkiness and his bizarre miles obsession, the Mile High Canuck is still writing computer software in a featureless cubicle by day, counting down the days until his next international trip (and until ski season starts up again).
Christine Krzyszton lives in Northern Michigan and has been writing about her weekend adventures for over five years for weekly newsletters, a baby boomer blog and a regional men’s magazine. She is the author of How to see the World in a Weekend, available in print and KINDLE on Amazon.com. Christine currently has top status with three major airlines (AA, UA, and DL) and is working on a fourth (A3).