posted on 07/07/2011 via
BabyBoomerTrips.com: We would like to take you back to a time when you were first starting to think about traveling independently. Can you relay some personal travel experiences from when you were just starting to travel solo? Were your travel experiences very simple, such as going to "the lake," or the nearest "big city," or was it something more exotic like backpacking through Europe, hiking through Nepal, or taking a VW van cross-country? How much planning was involved back then, and what were your information sources?
Tom Parsons: I first traveled independently when I worked in the Human Resources Dept at Pier One Imports. I was given a company credit card to book airfare, hotel and rental car. Not a lot of planning was involved. After extensive company travel, I began to investigate ways to save the company money - this is when I started Bestfares.com.
BabyBoomerTrips.com: In your early travel days, how did you view the idea of flying to some distant country or a third world country? How does this compare to now?
Tom Parsons: When I was 9 years old, my family moved to South America. I grew up in Chile. We flew there on a prop plane that made what seemed to be 20 stops. The plane had a problem with an engine, so we were forced to land and wait as repairs were made. When we moved back to the United States, my family took a cruise back. Now there are big jets - not a lot of stops.
BabyBoomerTrips.com: A fair amount of time has elapsed since you first started to travel independently. How has the travel industry changed since that time? How have your personal travel habits changed?
Tom Parsons: The travel industry has changed dramatically since I first started flying. There are now so many fares and so many types of tickets, it helps to do your homework before traveling. I think the traveling public is still getting bargains on airfare, considering the rise of today's fuel costs. However, hotel rates have sky-rocketed. Today, I understand the industry pricing and do the right research before booking my trips.
BabyBoomerTrips.com: Do you still have a "Dream Vacation"? If so, where/what would that be?
Tom Parsons: I don't really have a dream vacation - I think I've been everywhere I'd like to go. I would like to spend more time traveling in Europe.
BabyBoomerTrips.com: List your top 5 favorite travel destinations.
Tom Parsons: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; San Diego & San Francisco,California; Vancouver, Canada; and Clearwater, Florida
About Tom: Who is this man called the “godfather of budget travel and deals,” the “king of cheap airfares” and the “seer of the skies?” By Tom Parsons’ own admission, he is nothing more than a regular traveler who wants to save money and help others save. And that he does. Other people collect stamps or precious objects. Parsons collects cheap flights and discount travel deals, then he tells everyone about them.
Parsons now appears on over 100 radio and television talk shows each month, dispensing his knowledge of hidden travel deals and cheap airfare secrets to audiences of shows ranging from NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America and The Oprah Winfrey Show to nationally syndicated radio such as Bloomberg Business Radio and the AP Radio Network. While his days are packed, Parsons is still likely to be found chatting with the receptionists and cameramen along the way, giving them advice on an upcoming trip. His interviews have the same popular appeal, lighting up phone lines with every visit.
Since 1983, Parsons has become the Ralph Nader of the air. He has established a reputation as the traveler’s friend and confidant, someone the average consumer can trust to be fair and honest and always on the consumer’s side. His goal is to inform the general public about the truth in the travel industry. And always, his mission is about saving money.