In order to provide you with practical travel tips and gear advice from a variety of perspectives, I’ve decided to launch a “Travel Expert Interview” series. This is the first interview and every week from now on, a fresh interview with leading travel experts and travel bloggers will be posted on the The Travel Gear Reviews.
What better person to kick the series off than with Keith Jenkins, founder of Velvet Escape luxury travel blog, and one of the most influential travel bloggers. To put it bluntly, Keith is a pretty big deal, so it was an honor for me to interview him and feature him on www.TheTravelGearReviews.com. I hope you find this interview with Keith as inspiring and helpful as I did.
What motivated you to start traveling?
My Dad worked at Malaysia Airlines for many years and he would always sit with me when he returned from his trips and tell me all about his experiences. That was pretty much the start of my love affair with travel. When I was eight-years-old, my parents gave me a geographic encyclopedia as a present. I was hooked the first time I opened it.
On your About page, you describe your blog as a luxury travel blog, though you use the term ‘luxury’ to convey experiences, not necessarily five-star hotels and Michelin-star restaurants. How does your traveling style effect what you pack?
Good question! I always pack something that’s smart casual (dress shirt and pants) along with jeans (which I wear 95% of the time) and other comfortable clothing. I sometimes include a pair of black leather shoes next to my regular sneakers and hiking shoes, and a jacket for dinners.
What backpack or suitcase do you use for your travels and why? Would you recommend it to our readers?
I don’t have a backpack but you probably already guessed it. Hehe! I have Samsonites in various sizes. I especially like their B-Lite line which is incredibly light (about 4.5lbs or 2kgs) and fits almost all airline cabin luggage size specifications. I travel with hand luggage whenever possible so every pound I save (on a lighter bag or laptop) means I can pack a few more bits of clothing or an extra pair of shoes. I’m also a fan of Flylite which produces luggage that’s light and which can be ‘shrunk’ or expanded depending on the airline’s specifications. I also always bring a small shoulder bag or knapsack for day trips.
Run us through a basic list of what you normally pack when traveling.
Sure. Here we go: 1-2 jeans, 1 smart casual pants; 1-2 dress shirts, a jacket, 2-3 casual shirts, a few t-shirts; socks and undergarments; shorts, swimming trunks and flip-flops (for warmer climates); a few sweaters and/or hoodies, scarf and gloves (for colder climates); toiletries (I always have two bags ready: one in a transparent plastic bag with small bottles/tubes for my hand luggage; and a larger toiletry bag in case I’m carrying checked luggage); an extra pair of sneakers; a cap, sunglasses, small umbrella and a camera; and my J-Pillow.
What is one item that you can’t travel without and why?
My iPhone. I make calls and send messages with it, take photos/videos, update/check my social media channels, check my emails, read the news, listen to music, play games, check-in for flights, etc… I can’t leave home without it. Well, sometimes I do, when I need a break. Haha!
What is one item you wish you could bring with you when traveling, but can’t?
What advice would you give to travelers in terms of travel gear?
Be selective with what you bring with you and keep it light.
Any travel advice for young travelers, like myself?
Enjoy the experience and let it inspire you. Travel is not only about having a good time and seeing the sights; it’s the best school there is so keep your mind open and ask yourself frequently what the experience has taught you (about yourself and your perspective of the world).
Find out more about Keith:
Keith Jenkins is the Founder and Publisher of the Velvet Escape luxury travel blog. Based in Amsterdam, Keith left his ten-year investment banking career to travel the world and carve out a new career as a travel blogger and social media advocate. He has visited more than 70 countries across six continents. In addition to being a travel blogger, Keith often speaks at travel and social media conferences, and offers social media consultancy and digital marketing services via iambassador.net. He is also the co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network, a community of more than 3,000 travel bloggers. Keith has been featured in The New York Times, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler, and has spoken at TEDxTalk.
Photo Credit: http://unsplash.com