Just about two years ago I was feeling really burned out with life. I really needed a vacation, even though my budget told me otherwise.
I started looking around Living Social, and a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii caught my eye.
I love Hawaii, and had been to Oahu twice already and Maui once. Every time I go I feel so relaxed and rejuvenated. I love the floral scent of plumeria, and the tropical island breezes.
The group trip was organized by PhotoFly Travel Club and its organizer, Steve Juba. In my conversations with Steve via email before the trip, I pictured him being older, so imagine my surprise when we first met and I’m shaking hands with a fresh-faced 20-something (actually that’s just my guess!).
My worry was that the trip would be somehow disorganized because of this, but nothing could be further from the truth. It was absolutely incredible and probably one of the best organized, and most fun trips I’ve ever been on. And Steve was like the fun little brother I never had. We had some great times singing 90’s grunge music in the car at the top of our lungs, which probably annoyed my younger group travel mates who seemed to prefer Rihanna.
Steve, originally from Boston, now travels the world…and I mean ALL year long, running several travel clubs. I would love to do another trip as soon as my budget allows, especially with his group. So I thought Steve would be a great person to feature in my fourth segment of Cool Careers. Luckily I caught him between trips, as he was packing and nearly out the door for a trip to Southeast Asia.
What led you to this career path?
I was in technology sales and account management for about 5 years. The corporate work structure wore me down quick, and so I started our travel groups and never looked back. The skills I obtained as a communications major, and more importantly in sales, have all been integral to our success as a travel company.
What is the toughest thing about what you do?
Managing time. Being a small business with no full time employees, you end up wearing a thousand hats. Prioritizing tasks and managing time is by far the hardest thing for me.
What is the best thing?
Everything else. Traveling, meeting people, exploring cultures, photography, working from home, being my own boss, and so on.
That is like choosing your favorite child. Just can’t do it. I particularly love the cultures & countries of Australia, Hawaii (not a country but close enough), East Africa, & Southeast Asia.
Since I have a lot of readers on a tight budget, what advice can you give them about how to travel on a budget, or more frugally?
Traveling with a group can save time and money, but it can be cheaper to plan a trip solo (takes up way more of your time though). Traveling on a budget is quite easy if you are willing to stay in hostels and eat cheap food. Many local adventures are totally free or very cheap, and the ones that are more pricey you will probably know about before the trip, so you can budget for it.
Have you ever had any scary/dangerous travel experiences (other than hearing me sing)?
Hearing you sing was music to my ears. And to answer your question: No. None that were significant enough worth noting. EXCEPT, walking across live lava flows on the Big Island (not with my guests haha) is pretty dangerous…
What exciting plans do you have for your business?
We have some incredible new group adventures coming up this year. Our club is, and always will be free to join (just sign up and pay for the trips you want to join).
Our travel club is excellent for those on a budget hoping to save money and still travel the world! We often pair members up to share rooms and avoid the costly single supplements. We also fight hard to get great single supplement rates for those that do prefer to have their own room when traveling alone. My other company, Destination Earth, is very innovative and exciting as well. We create these amazing experiences that combine a higher end vacation with some unforgettable meaning built in. Our mission statement says it all:
“We pledge to enlist our guests in an exciting, transformative experience through unique cultural immersion while enriching the lives of the people we encounter.”
We strive to engulf, immerse, and intrigue our guests while sharing the gift of giving back to the world!