Chances are, if you follow a lot of travel-related accounts on social media, you’ve come across Jen Ruiz, or as she’s more well known to her thousands of followers, Jen on a Jet Plane. A previous lawyer turned full-time travel blogger, TEDx speaker and #1 best-selling author, Jen helps young professionals see the world for less and experience more. If you’re looking for budget and solo travel secrets, remote work guides and bucket-list destinations then Jen is your girl.
What made you want to leave the legal world to become a full-time travel blogger and TEDx speaker?
The year before my 30th birthday I set out to take 12 trips in 12 months while employed full-time as an attorney. I was squeezing in trips anywhere I could, taking long weekends and holidays anywhere I saw an opportunity.
I found such great flight deals that I decided to write a book on finding cheap flights. It became a #1 Amazon bestseller and Readers’ Favorite Award winner.
Emboldened by the success of my first digital product, I transitioned to travelling and writing full-time. I’ve since written four more books and given three TEDx talks.
Any tips for other people looking to become more of a digital nomad in the future? Especially with Covid having more and more people working remotely?
There are so many ways to make money online! Whether you want to be a salaried employee, freelancer or start your own business, if you have the internet you have possibilities.
If you want to be a salaried employee, I recommend going to virtual job fairs and connecting with hiring managers. Power To Fly has been hosting these regularly online since the pandemic.
If you want to be a freelancer, you can check out sites like TopTal and PeoplePerHour.
Finally, if you want to start your own business there are dozens of ways to monetize your expertise online, from selling courses to hosting virtual summits.
Do you have a favourite corner of the globe that you can share with our readers?
I love the south of France in summer. The endless lavender and sunflower fields look straight out of a dream. There’s nothing like world-class art and cheese to pass a day.
I also love the Caribbean and have a soft spot for Puerto Rico, where I am based. I recommend people go beyond Old San Juan to explore the rainforest, hidden caves and natural pools.
Do you have any travel tips you can share?
I am a big fan of the Overdrive and Netflix apps when I’m taking a long flight. Overdrive lets you download ebooks from your library straight to your phone, for free. Netflix lets you download whole TV series ahead of time that you can later watch on airplane mode in the plane. I always download one or two new shows the night before a flight.
Whenever possible, buy tickets ahead of time for the main attractions at your destination. There’s nothing more disappointing than arriving in Athens, for instance, and not getting to see the Parthenon. This is doubly true where there’s reduced capacity or admission to places. Not to mention, if you book ahead of time you can skip the line and save valuable time during your limited vacation.
If you think flights are too expensive, make sure you’re getting flight alerts! I recommend Scott’s Cheap Flights. He has a team around the world that is constantly scouring the web for deals — when they find one, you get an email notification. It’s that simple! I’ve found deals like a $300 roundtrip flight to Argentina and a $70 roundtrip flight to Aruba using Scott’s flight alerts.
What’s next on your bucket list?
I would love to go to Egypt! I want to see the pyramids, the last remaining ancient world wonder. They have a new museum in Cairo with an impressive collection of antiquities.
I would also like to visit Turkey. I dream of staying in a cave hotel, walking in ancient history in Ephesus and visiting two continents in a day in Istanbul.
What do you think the future of travel will look like?
I think travel is making a comeback, bigger and better than before! By now people realize that freedom and time are not guaranteed. Hopefully, they take advantage of any chance they get to see the world.
One thing that may become a burden on travel is the introduction of vaccine passports and incentives. The important thing is for people to comply with all laws and travel safely, taking into account not just their preferences but the preferences of locals at their destination.
Hopefully, we can move forward as an industry in a more sustainable way, championing longer periods of travel as made possible through an increase in remote work, more time outdoors generally, and reversing the effects of over-tourism in popular urban destinations.
Please let us know where to find you!
You can find me on my website, Jen on a Jet Plane. You can also find me on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter under the same name, @jenonajetplane.