Kickstarting Your Travel, A Podcast

Kickstarting Your Travel, A Podcast

*** SHOW NOTES ***

Recorded in the beautiful Hampton Inn & Suites Vero Beach, Florida.

Last week was a quick trip to Atlanta, and short of the snowstorm last Monday that caused delays for most everyone except me, it was a fairly uneventful travel week. Which is typical for this time of year as everyone’s home from Thanksgiving and prepping for the next holiday rush, Christmas. Orlando airport has a beautiful Christmas tree in their atrium, and I’m sure at some point over the next few weeks the local school choruses will be there to serenade weary travelers.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I was fortunate enough to have several days off from work. And between the intermittent food comas and the occasional shopping trip, I managed to spend a decent amount of time on the old interwebs. This resulted in ordering a 24″ x 24″ wooden cut-out of the state of Texas and 300 googley eyes before I found myself on Kickstarter which led me down the rabbit hole of travel-themed campaigns.

Unfamiliar with Kickstarter here’s the 30,000′ view,

Kickstarter exists to help bring creative projects to life. A home for film, music, art, theater, games, comics, design, photography, and more.

You post your project/idea along with the budget you “think” it’ll take to get it launched. If you do a decent job selling your project/ideas randos can choose to back it at various financial levels. Normally in return for the financial gift you provide some sort of a reward. It could be a simple shout-out on your website to a full-blown early release of the project if it gets funded.

Here are two of their largest successfully funded projects

COOLEST COOLER:   – (2014) 21st Century Cooler that’s Actually Cooler – $13,285,226 pledged of a $50,000 goal with 62,642 backers.

A 21st Century Cooler? It’s about time!
Regular coolers are boring, break easily and are a hassle to haul around just to carry the ice. The COOLEST cooler is 60 quarts of AWESOME packed with so much fun you’ll look for excuses to get outside more often.

Maybe you want to use the built-in ice crushing blender to whip up some margaritas or smoothies on your next boat trip or tailgate?

Maybe you just want to always have music on hand with the waterproof bluetooth speaker or want to recharge your electronics with the built in USB charger?

A quick search of their website showed “out of stock” for every color and accessory combination I came up with. Hopefully, this is a sign of great business…. but lousy business planning.

Pebble Time – (2015) Awesome Smartwatch, No Compromises – $20,338,986 pledged of a $500,000 goal with 78,471 backers.

On December 7, 2016, Pebble Technology filed for insolvency with Fitbit acquiring much of the company’s assets and employees. The selling of Pebble brand to Fitbit was credited to Charles River Ventures who invested $15 million in the company in 2013. The purchase excluded Pebble’s hardware, as stated by Fitbit.
Can you still use a Pebble watch?
Your watch still works, but most of the things that made it great no longer exist. It’s not a surprise because FitBit, which acquired Pebble, told us the end date at the beginning of the year. However, if you still want to use your Pebble and enjoy many of the features that are now missing, you can.

It appears that both of these products are struggling or at least have challenges.

I’m not a product nor a marketing guru, but I do know the first of the “22 Laws of Marketing”.

The Law of Leadership – It’s better to be first that is it is to be better.
The first person to fly across the Atlantic was Charles Lindbergh. Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon. Roger Bannister was the first person to run the four-minute mile.
What are the names of the people who accomplished these feats second?
Bert Hinkler was the second man to fly across the Atlantic. Buzz Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong onto the moon’s surface. John Landy was the second man to run a mile in less than four minutes (only six weeks after Bannister did). While you may have heard of Aldrin, you’re most likely not familiar with the names Hinkler and Landy.

And in my opinion, that’s why Kickstarter exists….. to be first.

Back to my Thanksgiving Kickstarter rabbit hole. On Kickstarter’s search bar I typed six letters T-R-A-V-E-L hit enter and I was presented with 5000+ travel tagged projects.

Travel Pets: stuffed plush that attaches to backpack and bikes – $45 pledged of $2,000 goal 5 backers.

Travel Pets are unique stuffed animals that have a detachable Velcro strap and can be attached to scooters and bicycles. Travel Pets will are designed and ready for the first order. With your help this fun product will ready to by end of December.

Pledge $6 or more and you get One Panda Travel Pet. I’m hoping this is a couple of kids with entrepreneurial spirit supported by their parents. That being said I can head to my local craft store and drop less than a dollar on some velcro and glue grab one of my kids abanded stuffed animals and create my own poor-mans version of a travel pet.

FAET – $1 pledged of $12,000 goal 1 backer – Shoes with a Metal Detector for Avid Hikers, Travelers, Wanderers and Weird-Toes. Find Jewelry, Lost Relics, Precious Ores!

Know any avid Hikers? Travelers? Campers? Jet Setters? People who need hobbies? Tired of lugging around a detector and want a more hands free approach? With so much ground still unexplored by the wandering feet of the masses, And so much undiscovered history walked on without a second thought.. This project aims at getting closer to our roots, With a sometimes all too necessary technological boost.

As an Avid Hikers, Traveler, and Wanderer I want no sort of a metal plate in my shoe that slows me down at TSA and might possibly slow me down as I wander away from a bear.

Alpha Jacket – $25,231 pledged of $15,000 goal with 140 backers – Travel features without sacrificing fashion.

Why choose between fashion vs function?

Traveling doesn’t have to mean pulling out the cargo shorts from the back of your drawer or wearing that bulky jacket you bought 10 years ago that you only use for international flights.

Own the jacket that’s not only great for travel…but one you’d want to wear year-round.

No matter how you travel, be the alpha.
Alpha Jacket is perfect for the forgetful traveler, the chic business exec, or the wandering nomad.

Durable, fashionable, and with convenient pockets designed for everyday use.

It seems that almost every travel project must contain the word wanderer or wandering, remember, not all that wander are lost. For me a jacket is a jacket, they have pockets, zippers and occasionally a hood. Currently, I travel with two, a North Face packable raincoat and my Patagonia Nano Puff for colder destinations…. both cost me less than $130.00 apiece.

The Alpha Jacket offers some solid enhancements… such as.

  • Detachable hood & ergonomic memory foam neck pillow- Easily remove the pillow after sleeping. Detach the entire hood to transform the jacket into a bomber.
  • Secure pockets – Stop fretting about losing the thing that’s hardest to replace.
  • Power Bank Pocket – Keep your phone charged and never miss another perfect moment.
  • Slim-view water bladder – For hikes, biking, or long walks down the riviera

All great features, but for me, anything detachable is code for “here’s something I can lose”. Secure pockets, my jackets all have zippered pockets. Power bank pocket, not necessary, and I have a slew of water bottles.

For a pledge US$ 129 or more you receive ONE Alpha Jacket Package (Power Bank, Hat, Shirt). Save 32% off an estimated retail value of $159 USD. Another sub $200.00 jacket, not for me, but they’ve exceeded their funds raising goal by $10,000.00.

Rumpl X Loki: The Travel Dog Bed – $47,257 pledged of $20,000 goal with 230 backers – A highly portable, durable, and cozy dog bed for travel, outdoor adventures, and life on the move.

Why did we redesign the dog bed? Because most dog beds are bulky and can’t travel with you. Very few use the technical materials that dogs love and make clean up easy for owners. We wanted to create a high quality dog bed that prioritizes portability and travel, so your dog stays comfortable everywhere.

As a mallet head that has not one, but two dogs….. You’ve heard of a Labrador? Black, brown, yellow… pick a color… We have a Meth Lab. Our other pup is a perfect fit for the Florida climate, a Siberian Husky. Honestly, a self-inflating travel dog bed does appeal to me…… but…

For a pledge $149 or more get the Stuffable Dog Blanket (Smaller Size) for $30 off the retail price ($179). The smaller size works well for dogs under 70lbs. This reward does *not* include the inflatable air mattress insert. does not appeal to me. A better deal is a $49.00 2′ self-inflating camping pad combined with one of the 7 fleece blankets that I have in my closet.


This campaign doesn’t offer any bullet-points, just a few videos. I’ve learned that a solid video with attractive people is important if you’re on Kickstarter. This appears to be the traditional neck pill that’s mounted on a stick which props your head up. It appears to be well designed and embraces the whole form and functional movement. However, for me, it’s too bulky and its assembly reminds me of putting together an erector set while in my plane seat. ***Those Who Supported Us During The Super Early Surprise Reward Are Also Included And Will Receive A Signed Copy Of The United States Patent.

Hopping: The backpacking beer adventure – 36 backers pledged $5,025 to help bring this project to life.

A beer-inspired backpacking journey with a seasoned traveler, Nick Noyes, hitchhiking between breweries and homebrew sessions in inspiring fashion.
“Your life is a beer/travel show.” This was the response from one of my friends when I told him Nick and I would be coming through his city while filming this project.The beer-portion of our show will be what you might expect, at least one aspect: visiting iconic and lesser-known breweries while we drink and discuss the best liquid on the planet.

Dammit Nick, you beat me to it. I’ve managed to drink over 1100 different beers just in my last 8 years of traveling. To add insult to injury, I’ve paid for most of those beers.

I was recently listening to the How I Built This summit and during the interview with Sara Blakely. the inventor of Spanx, she said that inside everyone is at least one million-dollar idea, and I agree. Sara goes on to add, “Ideas are the most vulnerable in their infancy”. Thankfully there’s Kickstarter, which was someones million-dollar idea, that can help them in that infancy stage.

So, I leave you with this, do I start a Kickstarter campaign to cover the annual fee for an American Express Platinum Card.

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