Tom Maletta Caught the Travel Bug
Tom Maletta is a sales and marketing consultant specializing in business revenue growth. With over 20 years of experience honing his knowledge of the Arizona market, Maletta has helped hundreds of companies reach their growth goals. Outside of his professional duties, Maletta’s true passion is traveling off the beaten path and exploring new places throughout Arizona and the world. Along with his wife and three children, he has traveled to various places few people have even heard of, and he is passionate about helping others find their own love of travel. Maletta shares his passion and expertise through his travel blog.
What is your hobby?
Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies.
How did you get started with it?
I love the feeling of discovering new places and experiencing different cultures. It’s a great way to learn about the world, meet interesting people, and give my kids a better understanding of things happening around us. Travel also helps me appreciate all that life has to offer in ways I couldn’t if I stayed home. Seeing how people live and interact with each other from different parts of the world can be eye-opening and inspiring. From exploring the waters at St. Augustine to the immense mountain views at Yosemite, there’s something special about being able to experience the world in such a hands-on way.
Tell us what you love about it
I love the adventure of traveling off the beaten path and discovering new places, cultures, and perspectives. It’s a chance to slow down and appreciate life more fully. Traveling helps me step outside my comfort zone and see things from a different angle. I’m also lucky to have the freedom to explore different parts of the world, whether spending time in cities or hiking in national parks. Plus, I make memories with my family that we’ll never forget.
One of those great memories was watching my kids feed the iguanas while in Roatan, Honduras. The area is known for its wildlife, coral reef, and stunning beaches. It was a great chance to educate them about the importance of conservation and sustainability.
What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?
My boat is one of the most significant expenses I’ve had with traveling. I love fishing and being on the water in my MasterCraft wakeboard boat, so it was an easy decision to make. One of my favorite memories on the boat was when a Spanish Mackerel jumped IN the boat. You can’t ask for easier fishing than that!
Another resource I’ve invested in is a GoPro camera. It’s the perfect tool for capturing and sharing our travels with others. I even bought underwater housing, so we can capture all of our exciting adventures underwater as well.
We always try to pack light, but we do bring essentials like comfortable shoes, clothing layers, a map or guidebook (depending on where we’re going), and lots of snacks.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?
I usually shop online for the best deals on my travel gear. I love REI and Amazon because they have a great selection of quality equipment at reasonable prices. My go-to outdoor brands are Patagonia, North Face, Columbia, and Keen. If I’m looking for boat equipment, I’ll usually head to West Marine or Bass Pro Shops.
I also like to check out local stores wherever we travel to pick up souvenirs—it’s an excellent way to support the local community. I think handcrafted items made by real people beat buying another coffee mug with my name on it any day.
How much money have you invested into it, and how much should a beginner invest to get started?
I have invested a lot of money in travel, but you don’t need to in order to enjoy the hobby. There are plenty of trips one can take without having to break the bank to do so. I would recommend starting with close trips and then going further if you enjoy it.
Are there any good books for beginners interested in your hobby?
I really love the book “Into the Wild” by Jack Kerouac when I’m looking for motivation to continue traveling.
Are there any online videos you recommend to help beginners?
I don’t watch many videos, but I would recommend the podcast Extra Pack of Peanuts (which can be found in all major podcast streaming services).
How has your hobby changed your life?
My hobby has made my life more engaging and taught me how to be open to new experiences. I’ve learned to leave my comfort zone and how to be unafraid to ask questions.
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
My biggest advice is to get out there and go! Thinking about all the details can be overwhelming, so don’t let that stop you from experiencing new places. Start by exploring your local area and take small trips to nearby cities. As money and opportunities for more extensive travels arise, use those to branch out and explore the world.
Planning a budget is also a big part of traveling. You want to have enough money for flights, lodging, food, and activities. Look out for sales and discounted airfare to save a few bucks. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for advice—other travelers will often have excellent tips on the best spots to visit or stay.
Get a travel buddy. Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or a family member, traveling with someone else can help make the experience more enjoyable. It’s always better to have someone to share memories and adventures with.
There are a couple of great resources for beginners, such as The Rough Guide and The Lonely Planet, which provide great information on where to go, what to see, and how to prepare for a trip. Some of my favorite books on going off the beaten path include the DK Eyewitness series by Dk Children and the National Geographic guidebooks.