Traveling from Coast to Costa with Founder Andrew Tyree
Traveling from Coast to Costa
with Founder Andrew Tyree
SS: Tell us about Coast to Costa, and how it got started.
AT: Hi there! Coast to Costa is our curated group travel company. We take groups of like minded travelers on rad travel experiences in Spain, Mexico and Cuba. I started the company about 5 years ago. I had lived in Spain for four years before moving back to San Francisco. I traveled back to Spain about a month every year and brought groups of friends a few times and would rent a big shared house for all like 10 of us. With contacts from a restaurant in SF I was working at, Contigo, I started to add wineries and restaurants and the idea sort of took off! Now, 5 years down the line, we do cultural trips all over Mexico and Cuba, as well and work with local folks to create this insider, cool experience.
SS: You definitely have the coolest job title ever ("Travel Expert") but what is your background in?
AT: Yeah, travel expert is a very cool job title. In college I studied sociology off and on but I took a semester off to go to Spain to learn Spanish for three months and stayed for four years. I started teaching English to be able to stay in Sevilla, Spain and it snowballed from there. I later became a translator, opened a business for teaching English to adults in the workplace and even did voiceovers! When I moved back to SF I began working in Contigo until I figured out my next step. I found myself wondering what to do with all of my odd set of skills and coming up with my current career was PERFECT!
SS: As a company only a few years in, what has been your key takeaways for travel success in group trips like these?
AT: People think that traveling with people you don't know will be weird. They get nervous about spending their time off with total strangers but I find that people end up really connecting and bonding on our trips. I like to be around to introduce everyone and "host" the trips. I have a nac for connecting people but I also find that food and a lot of wine on our "welcome dinner" really works! After all, everyone is there for the same reasons. They want to travel and experience these new cultures. They have a lot more in common than they initially think! Also, especially for our Cuba trips, I have calls with people explaining that travel to Cuba will be "bumpy" and will require patience. They need to know going into it that it can be a challenging place and to be cool with that!
SS: How would you define this 'new-flux' appreciation of experience over 'things'?
AT: As a person who has always lived very simply to be able to afford travel and new experiences, I think it's about time that this has caught on! Buying "stuff" is a waste of time for me and has never been very appealing. Travel teaches you things about yourself, it connects you to new people, where buying things is isolating. Travel more, buy less!
SS: What kind of places do you look to bring people to, and why?
AT: We like the off the beaten path places. The types of places we have chosen are places that I have traveled to and have a connection to/have friends from there who have started cool restaurants, surf schools, bars, bike tour companies...I started the company to be able to travel myself to see friends and do things that I like. It ended up that other people like these things, as well. Over the course of the last 5 years it has shifted to not only helping friends with small businesses but we are now very focused on charities and on helping the people (especially the kids) of the places that are so kind to let us enjoy their home countries.
SS: Why group travel versus personal travel?
AT: We like to joke that we're a group travel company for people who hate group travel. Group travel brings a different type of experience. First of all, it takes the hassle out of planning things yourself. You can leave it up to someone who is an expert to help navigate the tricky parts of travel, plus we leave a LOT of free time to explore on your own. That being said, typically the people end up bonding with the group and wanting to hang out with each other a lot. You develop a group culture while experiencing a new culture. People share things, buy each other drinks, make jokes and have super meaningful conversations about all that they've seen in the day. It's a really cool social experiment that is going very well. It's incredible to see it work!
SS: How do you think the millennial travel mindset differs from that of previous generations?
AT: I think millennials are more open a lot of times. Like we mentioned earlier, there is a shift for more experiences as opposed to things. Growing up with more technology, I think that millennials might be a bit more isolated than in previous generations and I think that there is a shift to go back to experiencing things with PEOPLE. It is a very refreshing feeling. It's kind of like a "summer camp in a foreign country with booze for adults" kind of vibe. Also, millennials are willing to jump in a van in a foreign country with a group of travelers and that is RAD!
SS: It seems like there's a wave in less expensive travel options - airlines like WOW and Norweigan, and accommodation options like Airbnb, all catering to the millennials. Do you think these have helped shape the millennial traveler?
AT: I feel that travel has become more and more accessible and I LOVE that. Even if people don't come with us, our whole mission is to get more people traveling! Book a cheap flight, then save up the money. Book now and figure out the plans and budget later. It's great!
SS: What, in your opinion, is the future of travel?
AT: I honestly believe that the future of travel is this small group travel that's been curated. I think we're onto something really big! People are able to experience a place in a way that is totally non-touristy, guided but also with free time to explore on their own. Plus, you meet great people along the way to share the experience with. One couple got engaged, best friends have been made and we have follow up parties and get togethers because everyone REALLY wants to hang out after the trips! It's culture within culture!
SS: What's one thing no traveler should leave home with out (and don't say a passport)?
AT: An open mind. Places are different. That's the point. Expect and appreciate the differences and you're good! Pack snacks if you get hangry. Sunblock or a good hat are good. Coloring books and crayons or pens for kids in developing countries. Be nice and respectful and try to learn "please, thank you and English??" in the language spoken. Or a funny phrase. It goes MILES!
SS: What's an underrated destination everyone should escape to?
AT: The most underrated destination is Mexico. People from California and from everywhere, really, need to always go to Mexico. Food, people, culture, beaches, jungle...it's amazing and is very overlooked, in my opinion. Just DON'T hit the tourist places because they're the most obnoxious.