Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today! Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do
We’re Jennifer and Tim, an American couple that have called Europe home for the last decade. We started a blog when we first moved to Europe in June of 2009 as a way to chronicle what we were up to and keep family and friends back home up to date. Jennifer worked in social media marketing in her day job, which was as a communications strategist for a university back in the US. She was already blogging on the university blog and in charge of social media strategy and a team that executed it with live chats, social media updates and webinars. It was a natural transition to take our blog from a hobby to a profession. We both attended many travel blogging conferences and trade events like TBEX, WTM and ITB to learn more about becoming independent travel publishers. By 2013 Jennifer was speaking at these conferences and events. In 2015 she left her job at the university to focus full time on turning our website into a full time career. We work with many brands and destinations in a variety of ways and run our website as an online travel magazine with editorial content geared for our readership and monetize it with advertising, affiliate partnerships, ambassadorships and paid campaigns.
You are naturally traveling a lot for your job. What’s generally important to you when you travel?
What is important to us when we travel is finding unique experiences. The Skydeck at the Willis Tower is one of Chicago’s top attractions, but you don’t have to visit it with the masses like everyone else. We seek out the experiences that are special, like the Pie in the Sky VIP experience at the Skydeck after hours where you enjoy a private visit before having a dinner of a Chicago deep dish pizza in one of the four glass boxes that jut out of the Willis Tower on the 103rd floor.
Your blog is called Luxe Adventure Traveler. What does luxury travel mean to you?
We think luxury travel is pretty subjective. For us, luxury travel can span anything from a special experience like the Pie in the Sky dining experience we already mentioned and is really affordable and accessible by anyone to the truly exclusive like staying on an exotic private island. It’s not so much about 5-star hotels and Michelin-star restaurants as it is about finding authentic and immersive experiences.
What are the differences between your private trips and paid trips for brands or destinations? Do you ever travel without working?
The difference between our vacations and editorial or campaign trips with brands and destinations is huge. On vacation, we have no responsibilities. If we feel like waking up late, being lazy and just hanging out on the beach or cancelling a dinner reservation because we’re tired, we can. A work trip typically has a packed itinerary with more things to see and do and places to eat at than any normal human on vacation could ever cover on their trip. It’s an investigative trip to try as much as we can, see as much as we can and do as much as we can to present a selection of the must-dos to our readers. We don’t take the recommendations we make lightly, and personally test out every hotel, tour, activity and restaurant we recommend on our site. We also only use our own photography and video to illustrate our articles, so we might be up before the sun to capture busy tourist destinations in the best light and without the crowds.
Yes, we do travel without working. It’s rare even these days, and until about two years ago we hadn’t taken an actual vacation in years. When you’re building a business you don’t get paid time off unfortunately, and if you’re not working then money isn’t coming in. With building our passive revenue streams through advertising and affiliate partnerships particularly in the past two years, we’re in the position now that we can feel comfortable taking much needed time off to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
What do you enjoy doing on the plane?
Tim usually falls asleep easily on basically anything that moves. On long haul flights, I love watching movies. On short haul flights, I typically read a book.
Which items are always in your luggage?
I always travel with my own hair dryer. Even though hotel hair dryers, especially at luxury hotels, have gotten much better in recent years, you can never be sure of what you’ll get. I know it only takes 10 minutes to blow out my hair with my own hair dryer and I also know it is iconic, which is essential for keeping my hair manageable. I also always travel with make-up removing towelettes, because many countries don’t use wash cloths. They double great as a wash cloth.
I’m curious about the subheading on your blog – “Adventure Travel with a Glass of Wine”. What’s your favorite wine to enjoy after a long day of adventure?
It depends! We like to at least try the local wine when we’re traveling. As we live in Bordeaux, we tend to drink a lot of Bordeaux wines. Our collection spans a lot of countries from France to lesser-known wine regions like Romania.
What’s your craziest travel story?
Just like anyone, even as professional travel writers, we have travel mishaps. We’ve probably had it all happen at some point or another – cancelled flights, caught in storms, lost luggage, getting lost, civil unrest and even the embarrassing like fueling up our diesel rental with gasoline. We can’t think of anything truly crazy that has happened, which is probably a blessing.
I guess the travel story I tell the most is the trip that never happened. We planned to visit Egypt for my 30th birthday in 2010, and just weeks before the trip Tim’s vacation time was cancelled. We planned the exact same trip again the following year for my birthday, and the 2011 Arab Spring happened. We made it Jordan, but once again our Egypt plans had to be cancelled because of the uprisings. I’ll turn 40 in March 2020 and we still haven’t made it to Egypt…yet.
We hope you’ll make it to Egypt at some point – it is worth visiting! Thank you so much for sharing your travel experience with us today. We wish you pleasant travels in the future!