I'm a Travel Deal Hunter for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I research, write, and publish travel deals and articles for our audience.
I had been working as a teacher for three and a half years when I realized that it wasn’t the job I wanted to do for the rest of my life. At the same time my passion for traveling had grown—I loved planning trips for myself but also for friends. I had followed the German version of TravelPirates for years and when I saw their employment ad, I just gave it a try and applied and luckily it worked out well.
Tobias in Uganda
How many countries have you visited?
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to so far and why?
Three places come to mind that I have enjoyed so much, all of which share a “far away from civilization” motif:
1. A lodge at the Amazon River in Peru, from where we did lots of interesting excursions like swimming with pink dolphins and fishing for piranhas. Humidity was so extreme over there, once you started sweating (which you do) your clothes are never dry again.
2. Pamilacan, a small and peaceful island in the Philippines, where I stayed in a solitary hut on the beach. There was no ferry service so you had to ask fisherman to take you there. At night I pushed my bed outside and slept under the stars which was magnificent.
3. Last summer I spent some days on a house boat going through Tanjung Puting National Park on Borneo. The river marks the border of the park, so on one side you would see wild orangutans, while on the other you could get close to the released (formerly captured) specimens.
Where are you traveling in September? Why did you choose that destination/month?
In September I’m going to visit Tonga, Vanuatu, and Fiji in the South Pacific. It’s usually an expensive trip, but you can save a bit if you combine shorter routes. I’m gonna stay there for three weeks and the biggest reason behind that choice is that I hope to be able to fulfill a long cherished dream: I love encounters with animals and I enjoy snorkeling a lot. Tonga is one of the very few places in the world where you can actually swim with humpback whales! They raise their offspring in the waters around the islands of Vava’u every year between July and October. Regulations are strict and spaces are limited, so you have to book about a year in advance.
Tobias in Isla Contoy, Mexico
What are 3 tips you have for someone looking to plan a vacation on a budget?
1. Of course it helps a lot if you’re flexible in time and destination choices. If you keep following blogs like ours and are able to book good deals quickly before they’re sold out, that’s half the battle.
2. Be creative with your routes. If you wanted to visit the ancient city of Petra from Germany for instance, you would have to take a $300 flight to Jordan. Alternatively, we’ve had flights to the Israeli airport of Eilat for the insane price of $25 return for the entirety of last winter. From there you just have to get to the border, take a taxi to Aqaba, further 2 hours by rental car and you’re there —having spent less than a hundred dollars.
3. When searching for accommodation, take your time and compare different booking sites.
What’s the most underrated travel destination?
Many of the former Eastern Bloc countries in Europe—cheap, not overrun and so much to to see and do.
What song/album/artist gets you in the mood to travel?
I’m always in the mood to travel, no music needed. But there’s one specific album that’s always on my travel playlist: Alanis Morissette’s Unplugged album, because the calming songs make me sleepy on any flight.
Some people like to plan everything down to the tiniest detail when they travel, and some prefer to be completely spontaneous. Where do you fall on the spectrum?
I have to admit I’m very much on the planning end of the spectrum. I don’t do very long travels, but rather more shorter trips, therefore planning everything well is essential. Furthermore, planning is half the fun of traveling for me. You do all the research and slowly everything fits together like a big puzzle. Of course some things can still go wrong in the end and there’s always some room for spontaneous decisions too.
Tobias at the Grand Canyon
You’ve been gifted an all-expenses-paid trip anywhere in the world–where do you go?
I’d go for a cruise to the Antarctic, because otherwise they’re so insanely expensive.
What was your most memorable/unique travel experience?
Experiencing bioluminescence was magical to me. There are millions of microscopic organisms in the sea water that start glittering when set into motion. So you go onto the water at night and wherever there’s movement (boats, swimmers, waves, rain or fish) the water starts glowing for a few seconds. That means you can even see the luminous trails of all the fish around the boat. One of the best places to see that is Bio Bay on Vieques (Puerto Rico).
What kind of trip/destination would you recommend for someone who has never traveled outside the US?
Maybe coming to Europe is not a bad idea for a first trip, since the cultural differences are probably small and public transport is so well established and reliable that it’s quite easy to organize getting around.
Tobias in La Digue, Seychelles
Fill in the blank: When I travel to a new city, the first thing I like to do is __________________
Get to an elevated point to see the whole city and take pictures.
Fill in the blank: When I discovered __________ it made travel so much better
That traveling for two weeks with only hand luggage is easily possible. I’ve never checked in a suitcase since then. You can use cheap hand luggage flight fares, you’re among the first to leave the airport, and you don’t have so much to carry around.
Fill in the blank: I know a lot of people love _____________ when traveling, but I hate it.
I can’t really think of anything I hate. But something that friends are crazy about when traveling and I don’t care about at all is street food. I have to admit that I’m also happy with instant soups and McDonald’s.
Tobias at Preikestolen, Norway
What was your longest trip?
6 weeks in New Zealand. I was visiting a friend who worked there and we did a road trip through the country.
What was your shortest trip?
That would be Athens, where I spent less than 24 hours. A friend had bought the replica of a statue from the National Historical Museum, but they wouldn’t ship it, so I flew over and got it for him. There was also some time left to run up to the Acropolis and see the Parthenon in the last rays of sunlight.
Tell us about a time when you felt like a pirate on your travels.
I felt that way when I flew with my first error fares, like a trip to Tokyo for less than $160 return. When I was checking in for the very first one (Montreal + New York City from Brussels) there was an airport employee that took a close look at my weird itinerary and I felt like the trip would be already over before it started. But after some small talk he wished me a safe trip. Nowadays boarding those fares feels completely normal.
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