At Travefy, we like to throw the spotlight on travel pros and bloggers that we’re falling in love with. Meet Jess Dante, a seasoned globetrotter and now an expat New Yorker living with love in London.
We sat down with Jess for this amazing travel chat to discuss stylish travel, romantic getaways, and life in London.
Photos Courtesy of LoveandLondon.com
T: How did you find your way into travel and blogging?
JD: I dabbled in blogging for fun up until 2010 when I learned how to create a proper blog using WordPress in one of my college courses.
Since then, I’ve loved everything about it, and being someone who not only loves to travel but now has a career in the industry, travel blogging just seemed and still seems right.
T: What’s the single most troubling thing for an American relocating to London or abroad? How do you cope with it?
JD: I was lucky because when I moved here to be with my husband, I automatically had a group of friends and family to surround me. But so many other expats tell me that they really struggled to meet people in such a big city.
Here in London, there are so many events for expats, bloggers, expat bloggers, etc. that make it much easier to meet like-minded people if you’re willing to put yourself out there.
T: What has been the most eye-opening experience you’ve had traveling?
JD: I spent a week in Nicaragua during one of my spring breaks and it was one of the hardest weeks of my life. We slept outside, hearing gunshots in the distance… we stayed with the poorest community in the hemisphere that didn’t have any drinking water more often than not.
We built a school for a community that couldn’t afford to actually pay their teachers. It was a serious struggle for me to adjust and mentally take in all of it and the fact that these people lived this as their lives. I still think back on that experience and reflect on it from time to time.
T: What has been one of the most frustrating/terrible experiences you’ve had traveling?
JD: That would have to be the time that I was kicked out of the UK and banned from coming back. It’s a pretty long story, so if you want, you can read all about it on my blog.
T: As a master of romantic getaways, care to share your best romantic travel tips with us?
JD: Because we got married before we were ever able to go on a romantic trip together, when we finally were able to, we didn’t take it for granted. My biggest tip is to splurge on one romantic experience on each trip, like a really lovely dinner or a couple’s massage.
It’s one thing when you take the chance to splurge on yourself, but when you can do it together it’s even better. You can also scope out my packing list for a romantic getaway for an idea of what to bring to up the romance factor.
T: What is the most luxrious destination you have ever visited?
JD: I recently visited Croatia for work and stayed at Hotel Vestibul Palace in Split. I had no idea what the hotel was going to be like before I arrived, but my taxi dropped me off with a bellhop who carried my suitcases through a large building that looked like an ancient ruin.
He gave me a few history facts along the way, and when we reached the hotel lobby, I was greeted by each staff member calling me “Ms. Dante”. Turns out this hotel is one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and it’s actually in the Diocletian’s Palace. The concierge told me that where I was staying is where the emperor stayed. It was such a cool experience.
T: What’s your best kept-secret for others who want to have the ultimate stylish travel experience?
JD: I’m a huge believer in the fact that you can be comfortable but still stylish while traveling. Leggings with a long top and scarf is a favorite combo of mine, also a maxi dress works well in the warm weather but will still keep you slightly warmer on the chilly plane. Incorporate comfy fabrics that still look put-together and presentable, and you’ll be just fine.
T: How do you have stylish trip without breaking the bank on baggage fees?
JD: I always accessorize with lightweight scarves and jewelry and try to bring stylish basics that can be worn a couple of different times and ways. Also, if I know that I’ll be doing a lot of shopping, I pack as lightly as possible on the way to the destination so I can get as much as I’d like!
T: What’s your favorite little-known destination do you wish everyone knew about?
JD: I don’t wish EVERYONE knew about it because it may lose some of it’s appeal, but as I mention in my post about underrated places to visit in Europe, I think Bologna, Italy is often overshadowed by Rome, Florence, and Venice. I’ve had some of the best Italian food in Bologna and it’s relatively undiscovered at this point.
T: What’s the next trip you’re going on?
JD: We’ve got a couple of small trips tentatively planned but what I’m really looking forward to is hopefully getting to Vietnam for a couple of weeks in the new year. My husband and I have wanted to visit for a while, and while it’s still somewhat untouched we want to experience the food, the culture and the beach. 🙂
T: What are your 3 must-have items as a stylish female traveler? Why?
- Space Bags, so that you can fit more clothing in less space;
- Colorful, lightweight scarves to make any outfit look a bit more put together;
- Bold lipsticks, to feel super dressed up in the evenings.
Jess Dante is an American living in London after falling in love with a Brit while living in Italy. Got it? She’s the girl behind blog Love and London, is the Editor-in-Chief of The Abroad Guide and is a freelance social media and blogging consultant. Follow her on Instagram for London musings and travel inspiration.