Leif Pettersen

Consult with me

Leif Pettersen is a freelance writer, humorist, insatiable traveler, “slightly caustic” blogger and semi-professional wino from Minneapolis, Minnesota. While reinventing himself as a world-traveling, freelance writer, he spent a cumulative two years in Romania, both living in the northeastern city of Iasi and crisscrossing the country inspecting every notable patch of grass for inclusion in various Lonely Planet guidebooks. He’s visited 55 countries (so far), and also lived in Spain and Italy. Pettersen’s exhaustive travels and nuclear meltdown prolificacy resulted in a surprisingly quick rise in the over-saturated, competitive travel writing world. He has been a regular contributor for Lonely Planet (he’s written guidebooks for Tuscany, Romania and Moldova) and LonelyPlanet.com where his articles frequently exceed 20,000 views. His work has appeared in the executive business traveler magazine Global Traveler, MSN, USA Today, Mapquest/AOL Travel, CNN Travel, BBC Travel, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Star Tribune, Travel + Escape magazine, Travel + Leisure magazine, the anthology To Myanmar With Love (Things Asian Press), Rough Guide First Time Europe (6th Edition), Juggle magazine, and vita.mn. Leif’s engaging, humor-driven writing voice is well known in the travel writing community. He has been interviewed by the NewYork Times in an article about guidebook writers, OffTrack Planet, Matador’s “what’s in your backpack?” series and other popular outlets regarding his accomplished 11-year career as a travel writer. He was prominently featured in a Twitter report by the Minneapolis StarTribune. The Observer (Guardian UK) included him on their list of favorite Twitterers, alongside the likes of Lily Allen, Kanye West, Sarah Silverman, John Cleese and Stephen Fry. He was labeled “the Larry David of travel bloggers” by Jaunted.com and was included in Galavanting’s “2010 Hunkiest Men in Travel” list. Pettersen loves chocolate, hates pickles, types with exactly four fingers, can escape from a straitjacket, and in 2014 won a silver medal at the world juggling championships as one half of the duo Duck and Cover. He has not vomited since 1993, making him a consummate travel journalist and excellent party guest.

Posts by Leif Pettersen

You asked...we answered!

  • 1
    What's the most underrated destination in your opinion?

    Romania. It’s about the biggest bang for your buck in Europe and has incredibly diverse natural and man-made attractions, not to mention a head-spinning history, which I exhaustively detailed in my new book BACKPACKING WITH DRACULA. (Buy it on Amazon!)

  • 2
    Have you ever been somewhere that was so bad you couldn't write about it?


  • 3
    What's your favorite mode of transportation? Why?

    Train, because there’s space to more around comfortably and it’s infinitely more dignified than flying is these days.

  • 4
    What is the most important thing you've learned from traveling?

    Something will go wrong, eventually. Just accept that and go with the flow or you’ll go insane.