Meet Jen and Ted of Thrifty Nomads [INTERVIEW]

jen and ted in china
Huashan Mountains, China

VroomVroomVroom had a pleasure of interviewing Canadian travel bloggers Jen and Ted of Thrifty Nomads. The former high school sweethearts, who are now happily married, decided to quit their jobs and sold everything they have in 2012 to embark on a new adventure – and that is to travel the world. Please read our exclusive interview with Jen and Ted below to get to know them more and get some cool travel tips.

VVV: I’ve read that your trip to Las Vegas had a huge influence in your decision to give up your life in Canada. What’s with the Sin City that made you decide to continue travelling all over the world?

J & T: Our trip to Las Vegas was the first international trip we ever took together. It was exploring the Grand Canyon that really left a lasting impact on us. Coming from Canada, the desert landscapes were starkly different from anything we had ever seen before. The red dirt, neon sunsets, and quirky Las Vegas – it was all so new. When we got home, we couldn’t stop replaying the incredible scenery in our minds. It was that trip which made us itch to keep seeing more. Although we were inspired to see much more of the world, we continued to take our brief 10-day annual holidays for a couple more years after that. Gradually we grew weary of this and decided to take the plunge, sell all our possessions, quit our jobs, and travel long-term. That was the best decision we ever made!

jen and ted in Morocco
Sahara Desert, Morocco

VVV: Some of our readers wanted to know how to be a thrifty traveler like you guys. Can you please share three money-saving tips for those planning to travel with a limited budget?

J & T: Our first tip would be to book ahead to secure good prices. It’s a huge risk to wait until the last minute! What is more likely to happen by waiting is having a lot less selection and inflated prices due to limited supply. An increasing number of booking sites allow free cancellation (including VroomVroomVroom), so you’re better off to book ahead and at least reserve a good price risk-free.

Our second tip would be to go to countries where your dollar goes far. This will stretch your travel budget enormously! Southeast Asia, South America, Eastern Europe, and Africa are regions that offer great value to travellers.

Lastly, another tip for reducing travel costs would be to take advantage of the sharing economy. Couch surfing, AirBNB, and house sitting are all great ways to meet locals and save hugely as opposed to forking out big bucks to large corporations and chains.

VVV: You guys have explored different parts of the world, but which place would you consider visiting again in the near future?

Japan is a place we reflect on often, and we’ve already thoroughly explored it twice. We always talk about going back! Japan has really captivated us with its intriguing culture, quirky “isms”, friendly people, and delicious food. It’s also a very safe destination for travellers, and you never need to worry about theft or being taken advantage of by locals there.

VVV: Do you have a bucket list of places that you would like to visit soon?

Some places we’d really like to visit include Iceland, Scandinavia, India, and Sri Lanka.

jen and ted in Chile
Torres del Paine, Chile

VVV: I’ve read about your article on booking a cheap car rental and we really appreciate that you recommended VroomVroomVroom. What type of car would you advise people to book to keep their travel costs low?

We usually book the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle for trips. While many people are tempted to upgrade to bigger, swankier rides, our strategy is always to stay compact. You will notice a significant difference on your fuel savings in doing this, and they are much easier to drive in tight spaces, especially within Europe!

VVV: Since you enjoy driving around to different places, what do you think is the best city to go on a road trip?

In general, Europe is a fantastic place to drive. You get a great deal of variation packed into a small area. I think our best road trip was in Austria and Germany. We drove through Germany’s Black Forests, the Romantic Road and its quaint medieval villages, and down into Austria along the epic Grossglockner (which is a road literally winding through the Austrian mountain peaks). It was amazing!

VVV: How long do you see yourself travelling? Any plans of settling down in one place for a longer period of time?

We’ve spent the past 5 months house sitting in Sydney, Australia, which is probably the only place where we feel at home (we lived here for a year in 2013 and actually have permanent residency in Australia). So these past 5 months have felt a bit “settled” in a way, although we have been bouncing from one house sit to the next. We are thinking maybe next year we’ll settle somewhere – a home of our own – to at least to have a base to drop our bags in between our travels. But we’ll never get tired of travelling!

VVV: This is a random question that we usually ask our bloggers. If your life will be made into a movie, what would you call it and which actors would you like to portray you?

Good question! Well, I would definitely give the task of naming the movie to someone other than myself! But maybe something like “Never Ending Voyage” to convey this new way of living we’ve uncovered. I’d have Jennifer Lawrence play me (Jen) – she just seems fun and outgoing in real life – and Ted would have Leonardo DiCaprio cast as him (Leo does have that rugged backpacker look, after all!).

If you want to get in touch with Jen and Ted of Thrifty Nomads or see their latest adventures, you can follow them on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.