Stuart Schuffman is the pimp daddy of budget travel. With one guide book published and another on the way, Broke-ass Stuart scours cities for the best and cheapest places to spend your cash. A former travel writer for Lonely Planet, Stuart started a 'zine about having a blast in San Francisco without breaking the bank, which then became a blog, and eventually, a book: Broke-ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in San Francisco, where he writes about the best places to go in San Francisco when money is tight. (Hint: Eat burritos.) He is currently wrapping up his second guidebook, Broke-ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply in New York, after he spent a year in the Big Apple hunting down the best activities and destinations for penny pinchers.
Stuart was first inspired after an old friend's fiance gave him her
business card. It said she was a travel writer. Stuart, who was working
at a candy shop in North Beach at the time, decided he wanted to be one
too. I emailed him to ask a few questions about his experiences.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you look back on your time in New York?
What comes to mind when I think of my time there? My girlfriend. Is that weird? I experienced so much of the city with her that when I went back last week for a last bit of research, and she stayed in San Francisco, it was strange to be in New York without her. So I think of her, and also Katz's Deli's pastrami. That shit is delicious.
When you're in San Francisco, what's your favorite activity that doesn't cost a penny?
Sitting in Dolores Park on a nice day with all my friends, drinking 40's, BBQ-ing and listening to music. There are few things better in life than an afternoon in Dolores Park.
What's one thing you never leave the house without?
I don't leave without my phone. I actually have a shnazzberry (Blackberry), and I know that it doesn't seem very "broke" for me to have one, but I splurged because I needed it. When I'm out doing research I may not be by the computer for 12 hours, and I'm always getting important emails. Plus, I can email my research itinerary to my phone, so I don't have to waste paper.
What possession or indulgence is easiest to give up when you're traveling on a budget?
Everyone has their own thing. I'm fine wearing the same clothes over and over again, but I don't like to give up eating out. Some people need a new outfit every day, but are fine eating instant ramen for each meal. It's about knowing what you need, and going from there.
Have any advice for aspiring travel writers?
Be disciplined about writing every day. I'm sure as hell not, but somebody's gotta be.