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

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The view from Piaynemo Raja Ampat, Indonesia
The view from Piaynemo Raja Ampat, Indonesia   -   Copyright  Chloe Gunning
By Ben Anthony Horton

Travelling for a living might sound like a fantasy, but for this influencer, it’s a part of everyday life.

We sat down with Chloe Gunning, TravMedia’s Travel Influencer of the Year, to discuss all things flights, food and foreign travel.

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

It means a lot. It means I've been recognised 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 glitzy ceremony in London, and you don't ever imagine yourself going up on stage to collect an award. You're already preparing to congratulate everyone else.

I've been nominated for quite a few awards over the last few years and I never win anything. So to be called up on stage, I really couldn't believe it. I still look at the award every day and reflect on how amazing it was to be recognised by lots of incredible people.

How did you become a travel influencer?

Chloe Gunning
Chloe found herself drawn to travel blogging after a career in mediaChloe Gunning

My journey to becoming a travel influencer is a bit of a strange one. I actually spent most of my twenties working in media in London, and then I got a bit burnt out and wanted to try something different.

I took a break and went travelling. It was probably the old cliché: I went to find myself. But I soon discovered blogging, which is the best thing I could have found because I started using that as a platform to share photos and stories from my trip to Central America.

Once I got home, it grew from there. I'd fallen in love with this amazing platform. It was a way of reaching new people and sharing great stories from my time away.

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

What does your day-to-day routine look like?

Chloe Gunning
Running a travel blog is not all about travellingChloe Gunning

I run the travel blog Wanderlust Chloe and my life revolves around that. As a travel influencer, I do a lot of collaborations with tourist boards, airlines and hotels.

Often I'll go on press trips where I'll be taken to see a destination or enjoy an experience. And then when I'm there, I'll be taking photos and capturing content for all of my social media channels.

It involves a lot of travel - at least two to three trips every single month. Then coming back home and working on all of the content, editing the photos, making videos and obviously sharing everything as well. It's a busy lifestyle for sure.

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

Chloe Gunning
Chloe has been a travel influencer for over seven yearsChloe Gunning

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

I know a lot of people today might see this glamorous lifestyle, flying around the world every week, month and year, but that's not really how my job works. I'd say for anyone wanting to get into this industry, get into it because you love travel, you want to share stories and you think you've got something to give to the world.

A lot of people say ‘be authentic’, as that is part of why they want to read a blog. It's because they associate 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 is your number one travel hack?

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Learn how to pack your suitcase from the bestGetty Images

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

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

Another travel hack is to look at the weather forecast before you go. I do this so that I can plan a small capsule wardrobe, where I know that every top will go with every pair of jeans. Everything's in a rough colour scheme.

That means I won’t be clashing all the time, and I think that’s really useful - especially if you're travelling with only a small suitcase or cabin luggage.

Where is your favourite destination in Europe?

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The city of Cádiz, SpainGetty Images

I think my favourite destination in Europe is probably the city of Cádiz in Spain. It's not as well-visited by European travellers as Barcelona and Seville, but it is stunning.

It’s got so much history. It's quite compact with all of the little streets that you wander up and down, and it has lots of mediaeval buildings and a Roman amphitheatre.

The food is also amazing in Cádiz. It's got 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 as a solo female traveller?

Chloe Gunning
Solo travel can lead to unexpected encountersChloe Gunning

I still do some solo trips and I really enjoy them because that's how I started out with my travels. I was quite passionate about solo female travel and the fact that being a woman shouldn't stop you from exploring the world.

I think there's something quite special about travelling solo, because you don't have anyone to rely on for company. You have to do everything yourself. You do all of the planning, but you also get stuck in all of the awkward situations, and you have to figure them out on your own.

And I think those moments are kind of quite telling as a person: how you handle pressure or difficulties on the road. The more you do it, the more you realise there are loads of other people who are on that road and they all want to meet people too.

Before long, you end up in a bar at 2am, talking about the last place you travelled to or what your plans are next. I love those moments. They're quite special, those random friendships you make on the road. I don't think you do that when you travel with a partner.

Where’s next on your travel itinerary?

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San Sebastián, SpainGetty Images

In a couple of weeks, I'm heading to San Sebastián in Spain, which has been on my bucket list for five or six years. I'm a massive foodie, I basically travel to eat. And San Sebastián is one of the food capitals of Spain.

I've already got some plans to explore the bars and restaurants there. It has 11 Michelin star restaurants, so I'm thinking of going to one for a very special meal one evening.

I think if you're going somewhere, you have to try all levels of cuisine, from street food right up to the high end.

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

Video editor • Ben Anthony Horton