Do you live to travel? If you’ve found your way to RewardExpert, it’s a safe bet that you do. After all, earning enough points and miles to score free airline tickets requires diligence and a well-crafted plan—two things your average sporadic vacationer rarely has. It’s even possible you love traveling so much that you’ve imagined quitting your job and spending the rest of your years journeying around the globe. But while that’s an attractive daydream, it doesn’t leave much room for family, friends, or future retirement savings.
Bruno Barroso, the 30-year-old genius behind Geeky Explorer, a ‘smart travel’ blog that averages more than 70,000 unique visitors each month, has found a way to enjoy the best of both worlds. Not only does he explore exciting destinations as frequently as possible, but he also holds a full-time job as a marketing data analyst. Before taking off on yet another adventure, he recently sat down with RewardExpert to share his story along with a few tips anyone can use to travel smarter.
A Way to Share Knowledge
Born in the Azores Islands of Portugal, Barroso is now based in Barcelona, Spain. He launched Geeky Explorer in late 2014.
“My desire to be a blogger started when I noticed I had many people coming to me for travel advice,” he recalled. “Friends, colleagues and family were always asking me all sorts of questions. The idea of creating a platform where I could share my knowledge made sense. At the same time, there were a ton of travel blogs out there already. If I were to create something, I knew it had to be useful, concise, and truly helpful for travelers. That is how Geeky Explorer was born: I wanted to bring a ‘geeky’ approach to travel by making everyone travel smart and able to find good value-for-money experiences.”
Since Geeky Explorer’s birth, Barroso has visited “Somewhere between 22 and 26 countries,” he said. “That’s not bad for two and a half years, but I want a lot more!”
Traveling to Learn
A desire to learn—both about himself and new cultures—is the driving force behind Barroso’s travel passion.
“Exploring new places, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures is almost a cliché of travel, but when you learn to really value these experiences, they’ll become what you love the most,” he explained. “In my case, I love traveling too because I’ve learned a lot about myself abroad. Reacting to completely new environments, new ways of communication, and unexpected situations has made me grow. I was super shy during my teenage years and had low self-esteem. Travel helped me gain confidence and trust in myself and lose most of the shyness.”
His top past travel experiences include swimming with turtles in the Philippines and exploring rural Vietnam on a motorbike.
“Also, I’d add my first time in Asia,” he said. “When I got out of the metro in Bangkok coming from the airport, I stopped for a minute in silence to see the chaos of motorbikes, sounds, scents, and people. I will never forget that first feeling of seeing with my own eyes the other side of the world.”
In 2016, Barroso journeyed to Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, Andorra, Brazil, Sweden, Nederlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. This year’s travel plans include Morocco and Paris before a trip back to his home islands of the Azores with friends.
“Later this year, I’d like to go to Greece, Dominican Republic, and maybe the U.S.A. as well as take some other short trips in Europe,” he added. “But who knows, I don’t plan that far ahead!”
Smart Travel Saves Money
Visit Barroso’s blog and you’ll find posts brimming with insights to help you choose destinations, secure flights and accommodations, and identify essential resources. For this interview, he took a few moments to put together his five best money-saving tips for RewardExpert’s readers. “Finding a bargain is something that makes me happy,” he said.
- Plan to visit affordable restaurants. “When possible, I like to research a list of two or three value restaurants in advance for every destination and save them offline in Google Maps,” Barroso said.
- Explore on your own. “I usually don’t book tours and always prefer to explore a place my myself, whether it’s a city or an island,” he added.
- Don’t fear street vendors. “I love street food,” he said. “Some people say it’s dangerous, but I always pick the busiest stall or shop and rarely have problems.”
- Travel during weekdays. “Flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday is considerably cheaper than during the weekends,” he noted.
- Don’t eat in tourist areas. “The food is always overpriced and never as good,” he concluded.