The ultimate packing hack and other tips from a full-time travel blogger

Traveling for a living may seem like a fantasy, but for this influencer, it’s part of everyday life.

We caught up with Chloe Gunning, TravMedia’s Travel Influencer of the Year, to chat all things flight, food and overseas travel.

How did it feel to be named Travel Influencer of the Year?

It means a lot. This means that I have been recognized by my peers for my work as a travel blogger, for sharing content and inspiring people to follow in my footsteps.

I was at this very lavish ceremony in London, and you never imagine yourself going on stage to receive an award. You are already preparing to congratulate everyone.

I’ve been nominated for quite a few awards over the past few years and I never win anything. So being called on stage, I really couldn’t believe it. I still look at the award every day and think how amazing it was to be recognized by so many amazing people.

How did you become a travel influencer?

My journey to becoming travel influencer is a bit strange. In fact, I spent most of my twenties working in the media in London, then I got a little burned out and wanted to try something different.

I took a break and went on a trip. It was probably the old cliché: I went to find myself. But I soon discovered blogwhich is the best thing I could find because I started using it as a platform to share photos and stories from my trip to Central America.

Once I got home, it grew from there. I fell in love with this amazing platform. It was a way to reach new people and share great stories of my time.

That was seven years ago now, so I’ve been doing this for quite a while.

What does your daily routine look like?

I run the travel blog Wanderlust Chloe and my life revolves around it. As a travel influencer, I do a lot of collaborations with tourist offices, Airlines companies and hotels.

Often, I go on a press trip where I have to visit a destination or live an experience. And then when I’m there, I’ll be taking photos and capturing content for all my social media channels.

That implies a lot of travel – at least two to three trips per month. Then come home and work on all the content, edit the Pictures, make videos and obviously share everything too. It’s a busy lifestyle for sure.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a travel influencer?

In terms of travel blogging, I got into it because I love travel and I love meeting people. I indulged in different cultures and understood how other people lived on this planet. And I got into it for the right reasons, because I was just passionate about it.

I know many people today could see this glamorous lifestyle, fly around the world every week, every month and every year, but that’s not really how my job works. I would say to anyone who wants to get into this industry, get into it because you love to travel, you want to share stories, and you think you have something to give the world.

A lot of people say ‘be authentic‘, because that’s part of why they want to read a blog. This is because they associate themselves with the writer and the same is true on Instagram. I think it’s about finding your voice, but also being yourself and not changing.

What’s your number one travel hack?

I always use packing cubes. I don’t know how many people use them, but they are small containers that you can use to separate all the items in your suitcase.

You could have one for your underwear, one for your sweaters, one for your jeans. And then when you come to pack, you have these really nice, manageable things to put in there.

Another travel tip is to check the weather forecast before you leave. I do this so I can plan a little capsule wardrobe, where I know every top will go with every pair of jeans. It’s all in a raw color palette.

This means I won’t be in conflict all the time, and I think that’s really helpful – especially if you’re traveling with just a small suitcase or carry-on.

What is your favorite destination in Europe?

I think my favorite destination in Europe is probably the city of Cadiz in Spain. It’s not as well visited by European travelers as Barcelona and Seville, but it’s beautiful.

It has so much history. It’s quite compact with all the little streets you walk down, and there are lots of medieval buildings and a Roman amphitheater.

The food is also amazing in Cadiz. He has Andalusian influences, and lots of delicious tapas places to try, as well as great seafood because it’s on the coast. It’s just one of those places that really stole my heart.

What’s it like to be a solo traveler?

I still do solo travel and I really appreciate them because that’s how I started my travels. I was quite passionate about single woman travel and the fact that being a woman shouldn’t stop you from exploring the world.

I think there’s something pretty special about travel alone, because you have no one to rely on to keep you company. You have to do everything yourself. You do all the planning, but you also get stuck in all the sticky situations and have to figure them out on your own.

And I think those moments are quite telling as a person: how you deal with pressure or difficulties on the road. The more you do it, the more you realize that there are many other people who are on this road and they all want to meet people too.

Before long, you find yourself in a bar at 2 a.m., talking about the last place you traveled to or your plans. I love these moments. They’re pretty special, those random friendships you make on the road. I don’t think you do that when traveling with a partner.

What’s next on your travel itinerary?

In a few weeks, I’m leaving for San Sebastian in Spain, which has been on my bucket list for five or six years. I am a big foodie, I travel mainly to eat. And San Sebastián is one of the gastronomic capitals of Spain.

I already have plans to explore the bars and restaurants there. There are 11 Michelin star restaurants, so I’m thinking of going there one night for a very special meal.

I think if you go somewhere you have to try all levels of cuisine from street food to high end.

Watch the video above to learn more about being a travel influencer.