By Bianca Mendez
From the outside of an Instagram filter looking in, the life of a travel editor looks amazing. They’re jet-setting off to trips around the world, feasting on amazing food, and meeting interesting locals along the way. However, being a travel editor isn’t all about catching flights. Read on to learn what travel editors and writers really do on their job, plus their favorite trips thus far.
Aly Walansky, Freelance Travel and Food Journalist
What she wishes people knew about her job: One common misconception about travel editors is that going on trips is an excuse to be OOO. But, that’s far from the truth. “While it may appear from social media that we’re always on vacation, we’re not,” says Walansky. “We often have REALLY intense schedules that begin early in the morning and end late at night with no downtime.”
Coolest trip she’s been on: A seasoned travel writer, Walansky has been on some pretty amazing trips, but her favorite thus far has been one to Sansepolcro, Italy. “We took pasta making classes, chocolate making classes, and went wine and olive oil tasting,” says Walansky. “It was just breathtaking, and I still have a few friends from that trip!”
Jennifer Bain, Editor/Writer of the Toronto Star
What she wishes people knew about her job: Yes, even when they’re OOO, travel editors and writers are still expected to find time to catch up on assignments.“I put out two travel sections a week by myself with about a dozen original stories, while grappling with hundreds of incoming emails every day from destinations and writers from around the world,” says Bain. “I worked seven days/100 hours a week for two solid years before starting to burn out.”
Coolest trip she’s been on: “I went to Nunavut in northern Canada last year with Arctic Kingdom and camped on the sea ice in a yurt in polar bear country,” says Bain. “Each day, we would take snowmobiles (driven by armed Inuit guards) to the floe edge (where the end of the ice meets and open ocean) and look for narwhal and beluga whales.”
Gina Samarotto, Editor-in-Chief of Private Air New York
What she wishes people knew about her job: The life of a travel editor is a go-go-go lifestyle that gets old really fast. “Air travel is exhausting, even if you’re fortunate enough to be traveling ‘up front,’” says Samarotto. “I haven’t mastered being in two places at the same time, (yet) but recently felt like I was getting pretty close when after a nearly 30 hour travel day, I never even left the airport. Rather, I had just enough time to get off one plane before running to the gate for my next flight to Europe.”
Coolest trip she’s ever been on: Samarotto got to party with the royals on a trip to the United Arab Emirates. “I spent a day with one of the king’s falconers training raptors in the Arabian Desert before going to a cocktail party that night and mingling with members of both the Middle Eastern and British Royal Families,” says Samarotto.
Jenna Mahoney, Travel Editor at Bridal Guide
What she wishes people knew about her job: Sure you jetting around the world, but most of the time, you’re doing it alone. “Getting a plus one on global escapades can be rare,” says Mahoney. “I’m lucky because as the only dedicated travel editor in the honeymoon space, I do get to bring my husband along for many adventures. However. as a responsible adult with a pension, he has a job with limited travel time attached.”
Coolest trip she’s ever been on: “Cool things I’ve done that are totally crazy and like how is this my life?” asks Mahoney. “Going to the Trevi Fountain, then being handed a velvet bag of lira and a glass of champagne. By the time I got back to my room there was a framed photo of me at the fountain avec champs and throwing the coin into the fountain,” recalls Mahoney.
Kaeli Conforti, Travel Editor and Writer at KaeliTravels.com
What she wishes people knew about her job: With packed travel itineraries and other matters to attend you, travel editors are constantly busy, meaning that while they want to answer every email, sometimes life gets in the way. “Travel editors may not have time to respond to every single pitch we receive from writers,” says Conforti. “I used to get several hundred a day and read through them during my commute, but know that we are vetting and usually talking through most of them with our own editors at weekly editorial meetings.”
Coolest trip she’s ever been on: “Back [when I was the digital editor at] Budget Travel, I went on a ton of press trips,” says Conforti. “My two favorites were the solo road trips I did through South Dakota and Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks, both of which became summer road trip pieces for BT that I’m still very proud of.”
Bianca Mendez is a writer and editor who has contributed to Refinery29, TeenVogue.com, Bustle, and other publications. Her perfect day in NYC consists of trying the latest fitness class followed by a night of wining and dining. Check out more of her work at biancammendez.com, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.