Travel bloggers and Instagram personalities post incredible photos and videos of their travel adventures, making all us jealous. They go to the stunning locations all around the world, hoping to find the most Instagram-able backdrops and landmarks possible for us all to gawk at. We find ourselves constantly scrolling through our Instagram explore page, staring at all of these photos wishing that was us.
So what is it like to be a travel blogger, or what we now know to be an ‘influencer’? Is it really as good as it looks? We had the chance to have a chat with one of our favourite influencers, Adam the creator of Jetlag Jerry, about some of his favourite travel destinations and his top travel tips. Currently sitting at over 50k Instagram followers, Adam draws his audience in with his stunning photography skills and worldwide locations that appear on everyone’s bucket list.
We asked Adam a few questions…
Why did you start your travel blog?
To be honest, I just started it as a hobby. I had loved travelling and photography and it eventually just snowballed into blog.
Where did your travels take you in 2018?
I got married in 2017 and moved with my wife, who is Polish, to Poland towards the end of the year. In 2018 I was lucky to make my way through many countries I'd never visited before such as: Ireland, Greece, Austria, Ukraine & Germany. Of course, I also travelled to many Polish cities which was wonderful as well.
Best travel story you have from 2018?
I was invited to do a conference for my master's program in a smaller city in Ukraine. With its current situation, I think a lot of people are hesitant to go there, but it's a wonderful country with a vibrant culture and welcoming people. I've been to Kiev and Lviv, two of the bigger cities, but visiting some of the lesser known areas of any country always gives you a more immersive experience.
What are your travel plans for 2019?
It'll probably be my last year living outside of the United States for some time so I'm hoping to go out with a bang. My wife and I are visiting Paris in February as it'll be her first time. I'm also attending another conference in Spain in April. Finally, I'm hoping to get to some of Poland's neighbouring countries such as Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia this summer, although with the simplicity of travelling throughout Europe, the need to plan is much less vital then when I was residing in the U.S.
Have you ever been somewhere thinking it would be amazing but it disappointed you?
Yes, many places. Fortunately, travelling has become easy and quite affordable, allowing for many people to enjoy the benefits, however, this also comes with a downside as the more famous sites are often incredibly crowded. I try to balance this by visiting these places during the off-season, but this isn't always possible. The most obvious example of this was my visit to the Vatican. It was insanely overcrowded and the main site, the Sistine Chapel, was extremely underwhelming.
What is your favourite thing about travelling?
I love getting as authentic a feel for a place as possible, usually through meeting locals and experiencing the culture, whether it’s via food, traditions or other methods.
Do you have a favourite photo you’ve taken?
Wow, that's a really tough one. I've taken photos of everything from landscapes, to architecture, but something I'm really into currently is now and then photos. I try to find photos from historical events that happened at places and then frame them in exactly the same way when I visit. I love the concept, but also feel it enhances my visit because it kind of transports you to another time. I just did a bunch of these shots in my current home city of Warsaw and with its really turbulent history made for some great photos.
Do you have a dream destination you haven’t been to yet?
There's so many places I want to visit, but right now I'd say there are two countries I want to explore. Surprisingly, my home country of the U.S. I've been to a bunch of states, but always neglected many others for international trips. I really want to connect more with my own backyard and see places in the south such as Texas and Louisiana. The second country is Russia. I've never been, but just love their history as it’s so different than that of the U.S.
Your top budget travel tips
Some budget tips are really obvious or easy to find on most other sites. I think, for me, the most important which people usually fail to focus upon is how they spend money. Exchanging money is never ideal, but doing so at a bank will really cut into your rate. There are two things you can do to minimise this, the first being to exchange money in the country you visit, after you arrive, from a local vendor (avoid airport exchanges as they are wildly more expensive then local places in city centres) or just take money from the ATM. The latter is the route I take if I need cash. The bank charges a fee, but it's usually a pretty decent rate and you lessen your risk of getting scammed. However, what is surely most effective is getting a credit card that doesn't charge any fee and gives you the exact rate on that day. I have two go to travel credit cards, Capital One Quicksilver (no annual fee + 1.5% cash back) and Chase Sapphire ($99 per year, 2% back on travel related purchases). Both these cards give you the daily exchange rate and don't charge any transaction fees on international purchases. When I travel I pay for whatever I can by card.
What’s the best travelling experiencing you’ve ever had?
Wow, I honestly don't think I can answer this one. There's been so many great experiences over the years. The ones I enjoy most are the ones that were incredibly authentic. 10 years ago I went to China with a friend from college and we visited his family in a small village. I was the first American to visit there and it was so unique. I've had similar experiences in Europe in smaller cities in Poland and Ukraine where Americans rarely visit. I was welcomed in each of the three countries with incredibly hospitality and just loved the authenticity of those trips.
Your favourite way to travel/style of travel
I know having a style of travel is so popular these days, but I really don't. I would say it depends so much on where I'm visiting and who I'm going with. When I'm with my wife, we like a little more luxury because she is more into relaxation and 'escape', whereas when I travel alone I always do so on more of a budget and rarely relax.
Your must-have travel gear
Besides my Scrubba products, I have a few items I never travel without. The first is an RFID travel passport holder from MochiThings. Another is my wireless Bose headphones. And finally, I just ditched my bulky DSLR camera and am going solo with my iPhone. The new iPhone have such great cameras and it really makes travel so much easier. I bought some small, interchangeable lenses to give some different styles, but other than that, it's the only camera I use these days.
Do you have a favourite destination?
Honestly, I don't. I'm partial to Poland now because I live there, but I'm not so sure that counts since it's my home now. In general, I just love travelling around Eastern Europe. The histories and cultures are at the same time so intertwined but also so unique to each country. The people are really amazing and most of the countries are still somewhat underappreciated, which makes them more affordable to visit and also much less crowded then your traditional hot spots like Italy or Spain.
What is your favourite Scrubba product?
The wash bag was so clutch on our road trip through California. It's so convenient to have a legitimate way to clean our clothes. I hate over packing and having the ability to wash our things during longer trips is a game-changer. I also love the idea of the Laptop air sleeve but have yet to try it out, hopefully soon!
A big thank you to Adam for telling us some of his favourite travel adventures and letting us in on a couple of his top travel tips! It sounds like being an ‘influencer’ is really as good as it seems!