Hometown: Las Vegas

Travel Specialty: Fish Out of Water

When Ricky Moreno was 18, he emptied his savings account to take a solo backpacking trip to Europe. He’s been traveling ever since, thanks in part to a stint as a baggage handler for an airline. He’s now been to 40 countries and 4 continents, and he’s just getting started. 

What excites you the most about travel?

The adventure! Travel forces me to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings, and the people I meet give me a whole new perspective of the world to bring back home. It also gives me an excuse to gorge myself on delicious new foods without feeling bad about it.

What do you like least about travel?

I can deal with scammers trying to cheat me out of my money, and I don’t mind brushing my teeth with bottled water, but my least favorite thing? Those ridiculous airplane seats! They’re way too small.

What was your favorite travel adventure?

My favorite adventure was camping out in the Maasai Mara of Kenya. After chasing some zebras and getting a front-row seat to a cheetah race, my group stumbled into a lion’s den. A few cubs playfully approached our open-air safari car, which sparked tension in the entire pride, causing a bunch of huge lions to surround us and start roaring as we cautiously inched our way out. It was one of the most terrifying and exhilarating moments of my life!

What do you like to do for fun?

I like walking into my house to my dog, Milk, jumping up to greet me. I like cooking spaghetti with prosciutto and mushrooms, just as my grandma taught me. I like playing home-run derby at the baseball park with my friends, just to prove that I’m still the home-run king.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Ding Dongs.

Why do you want to be the next Travel Channel Star?

I would love the opportunity to open up the world to the everyday person. Travel today is so accessible yet still so intimidating to so many. I have the know-how to prove how fun and affordable travel can be and the ability to prep people for their own crazy adventures while keeping viewers on the edge of their seat — wondering how far I’ll go to get a laugh or make you cringe. I was born for this!!