McCool Travel interview with Valerie Stimac of Valerie & Valise

5 Minutes With Valerie Stimac

For McCool Travel’s 113th travel profile, I am happy to present Valerie Stimac of Valerie & Valise. Valerie is a longtime contact on Twitter and Facebook. She is currently traveling in Europe through the rest of 2016 and is deciding where to go afterwards.

Valerie Stimac‘s bio:

Valerie Stimac is the eponymous writer of the travel blog, Valerie & Valise. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to publications like Roads & KingdomsTravel + Leisure, and AFAR. Her true passion in travel is exploring the emerging space tourism industry.

McCool Travel interview with Valerie Stimac of Valerie & Valise

Valerie Stimac of Valerie & Valise

Valerie Stimac of Valerie & Valise

Hometown…

I grew up in Eagle River, Alaska, but now call Seattle, Washington home.

Always in my luggage…

A little bag of lavender—it smells like home, and keeps my bag a bit fresher than it might otherwise be on trips longer than a few days.

3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

  1. London, England
  2. Dubrovnik, Croatia
  3. Kinsale, Ireland
McCool Travel interview with Valerie Stimac of Valerie & Valise

Valerie Stimac of Valerie & Valise

A favorite travel memory is…

Standing on the Great Wall of China. It was on my bucket list for a long time, and I remember being especially cognizant of the fact I was doing something really important to me. It helps that I was also in awe of the magnitude of the wall!

3 favorite travel brands…

  1. Virgin Galactic (SPACE TOURISM!)
  2. World of Wanderlust – I consider her to be a “brand” even though she is primarily a blog.

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. I am an Airbnb deal finder – I can spend hours browsing listings to find the best one at the lowest price, often by being flexible on dates.
  2. Similarly, I save money when I rent a car by adjusting the pick up and return hours – often an hour or two of flexibility saves a lot!
  3. Finally, I prefer to cook about 70% of the time when traveling (hence staying in Airbnb). I save my hard-earned cash for a few delicious meals, and still have money for other activities.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are …

  1. Eating street food – I love not quite knowing what I might receive, and watching the vendors at work.

8 word (or less) travel mantra…

“Life’s too short to wait at baggage claims.” (Usually I say “Life is too short to wait at the baggage claim,” but that’s 10 words!)

favorite non-travel website …

My alma mater (Grinnell College) has a private social network website – I’m on that every single day!

favorite cheap eat …

I haven’t been to Southeast Asia, so I don’t know *real* cheap eats, but I’m a big fan of currywurst in Germany (usually around 5€), gyros in Greece (around 3€), and street tacos anywhere that doesn’t charge $10 for 3 little tacos.

McCool Travel interview with Valerie Stimac of Valerie & Valise

Valerie Stimac of Valerie & Valise

recent discovery …

The Alsatian Wine Trail. I mean, it has been in existence for millennia, so it’s not like I “discovered” it, but it was introduced to me on a recent trip to Colmar, and made me very excited about medieval town, winemaking, and delicious flammkuchen.

I would like to meet …

Anthony Bourdain. I jokingly call him my spirit human—what I most enjoy is that he is allowed to be his authentic self and still be popular in the travel world. I aspire to be as authentic as he is, in my own way.


Thank you so much, Valerie, for taking a few minutes to share travel inspiration and tips.

Follow Valerie Stimac on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, and her website.


Check out McCool Travel’s previous profilesMcCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes post: Mar Pages.


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3 Responses to “5 Minutes With Valerie Stimac”

  1. Postcards To Seattle November 16, 2016 at 10:05 am #

    I loved the tip about changing the hours on a car rental – that’s actually really smart! We haven’t booked our car rentals yet for Ireland or Iceland, but I’m going to play around with that now.

    • McCool Travel November 28, 2016 at 7:46 am #

      Thank you for the note. Love how travel tips can come from different sources.

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  1. 5 Minutes With Mary Jo Manzanares • McCool Travel - December 5, 2016

    […] Check out McCool Travel’s previous profiles. McCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes post: Valerie Stimac […]

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