McCool Travel interview with Wendy Perrin, TripAdvisor Travel Advocate

5 Minutes With Wendy Perrin

Welcome to McCool Travel’s 95th travel profile. In my prior interview, with Paul Theroux, I said that it might have been my finale. In my mind, there are only a handful of inspirational travel persons I want to interview.

One of those persons is Wendy Perrin.

I was very fortunate to recently be on the same cruise with Wendy Perrin and humbled to spend time talking travel with her. Wendy is very busy; as she told me, “juggling two jobs and a family.” In addition to being the first Travel Advocate for TripAdvisor, she runs her own travel planning and resource business at WendyPerrin.com.

Wendy Perrin’s bio:

Wendy’s got an encyclopedia of travel solutions and fixers at her fingertips, amassed during the two decades she spent at Condé Nast Traveler and in her current role at TripAdvisor. As TripAdvisor’s first-ever Travel Advocate, Wendy advises its more than 315 million monthly visitors—the world’s largest travel community.

Wendy Perrin, Tripadvisor travel advocate

Wendy Perrin, photo from maritimematters.com

Wendy Perrin

Hometown…

New York City, midtown Manhattan

Always in my luggage…

I always keep a packed laptop bag and wheelie. When I return home after a trip, I do laundry and repack for the next trip. My laptop bag has a hotspot (international and domestic), hotspot charger, outlet splitter (my whole life!), car charger, laptop computer, and more. In my wheelie, I have a pashmina scarf, neck pillow, Clif bars, black and neutral clothes with color accented scarves. I never check bags!

3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

Well, there is no place like home. Every place is different but two places remind me of my childhood: my aunt’s house in Atlanta is special to my soul (it’s where my father grew up and where I got married) and parts of Cape Cod where my family vacationed.

A favorite travel memory is…

My first date with Tim, my husband. We met when he was living and working as a photojournalist in Germany. In January 1999, when he was on assignment photographing the refugees in Kosovo, he took a break and flew down to meet me in Cape Town, South Africa. We found an impromptu rental car and drove around the Cape of Good Hope and realized we were compatible travelers, really hit it off, and have since built our life together.

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. travel in low season or shoulder season (depends on the destination)
  2. have picnics. Go to the local market, it is cheap and atmospheric. Meet great people.
  3. collect miles and points

3 ways I have fun while traveling are…

  1. put my laptop down. I am online so much that it is a great relief when I can ignore my computer.
  2. taking my kids to foreign places and seeing them make friends. Like watching them play soccer in a Spanish town square and make friends with the local children.
  3. meeting people who can take you places you otherwise do not know about or cannot access. Getting invited into private homes, which happens a lot to me thankfully. I bring stickers and postcards from home for children and that seems to open doors with their moms.

8 word (or less) travel mantra…

“Make your next trip extraordinary!”

Wendy Perrin, Tripadvisor travel advocate

Wendy Perrin with Sir Richard Branson

favorite non-travel website …

Google, I use the most. New York Times, I read the most. Land’s End, I really use the most (to order clothes for the kids).

favorite souvenir …

In Byblos, Lebanon, I became friends with Pepe Abed, a swashbuckling ancient Lebanese explorer and scuba diver. We had dinner at his seafood restaurant, the Byblos Fishing Club, overlooking the sea. There, Abed had a private museum of undersea Phoenician artifacts he had discovered from Mediterranean Sea shipwrecks. We hit it off. He gave me a book about himself and a necklace that he told me (in French) he had made himself, from artifacts he’d found under the sea. I do not know if the artifacts are actually ancient relics but I am kind of afraid to take it out of the country.

favorite cheap eat …

Paprikawurst from my favorite würstelstand across the street from the Vienna Opera House. So delicious and only 4 Euros. When in Vienna, I will always catch a show and a paprikawurst. It’s like the best wurst. [ ed. note: we both chuckled at that pun. ]

recent discovery …

Viking Star, a great way to do the Mediterranean Sea during the winter. Unusual for a ship to do that and Viking is doing it well. So much indoor space, with cozy chairs and blankets. So comfortable. Great indoor pools. A new way to do Europe in low season. [ ed. note: the interview took place on her veranda while we were on the Viking Star. ]

I am fortunate to have met …

Madeleine Albright. I asked her about the Department of State’s travel advisories and whether they really have to be so alarmist, scaring U.S. citizens unnecessarily. She said that one of the goals of these advisories is to protect State Department employees and that saving even one person from harm is worth it. Now I understand, but the advisories still affect the thinking of a wide swath of U.S. travelers to whom they don’t apply.

I would like to meet …

Stephen Sondheim. I know all his lyrics. My family was very musical and my parents knew him, but somehow I still have not met him.

McCool Travel interview with Wendy Perrin, TripAdvisor Travel Advocate

Wendy Perrin, TripAdvisor Travel Advocate


Thank you very much, Wendy, for taking a few minutes to share your travel inspiration and tips.

For more information about Wendy Perrin, please visit 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: Paul Theroux.


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19 Responses to “5 Minutes With Wendy Perrin”

  1. Patti Morrow January 4, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    What a great interview! I loved hearing her tips and personal stories!

  2. Kristin Henning December 31, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    This is a wonderful interview. Thanks for introducing Wendy and her travel world to us.

  3. suereddel December 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    Great interview Charles! I loved the look in her carry on bag and would love to know what hotspot she uses.

  4. MoreTimeToTravel (@MoreTime2Travel) December 29, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    Great interview! Nice to benefit from Wendy’s experience and advice~

  5. Janice Chung December 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    Really enjoyed reading the interview. I’ve followed Wendy for a while now and she has had some amazing experiences worth sharing. Plus, she’s met some incredible people…liked the Madeleine Albright story.

  6. Shelley December 28, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    Thanks for another great interview. I checked out the link and it looks like Wendy has a wealth of travel tips to share.

  7. Donna Janke December 28, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    Fascinating interview. It made me wish I had a whole afternoon to sit down with Wendy Perrin and learn more about her.

    • McCool Travel December 28, 2015 at 6:34 pm #

      That would be great, huh? I had about 30 minutes. Thank you, Donna.

  8. Anita and Richard @ No Particular Place To Go December 24, 2015 at 3:55 am #

    Fascinating interview of a travel expert and a great snapshot of interesting places visited and the intriguing people she’s met. So glad you’re still posting and sharing interviews with travelers. Anita

    • McCool Travel December 24, 2015 at 7:41 am #

      It did take awhile between interview posts but I am being a smudge more persnickety about my subjects now. Thank you for the note!

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