What is it like traveling with an influencer? I recently went on a trip to Turkey with Ellie from The Ginger Wanderlust. Ellie is a professional photographer who is fulltime traveling the world, very inspiring! I had some hesitations before signing up, but luckily my expectations were met and I had a great time. If you are curious about the experience, or interested in solo travel… read the blog!
Why I signed up
When Ellie (@Thegingerwanderlust) announced on Instagram that she would organize an all girls trip to Turkey with Trovatrip, I was immediately interested. However all the COVID limitations and the fact that I have a little son made me hold back with enrolling. The trip had my dream itinerary, visiting Instanbul, Cappadocia, Pammukale and Ephesus, places I had been wanting to visit for some time. It felt like such an unique opportunity to be able to visit these sights with a professional photographer and girls that have similar interests to me. A few weeks later Ellie announced that she would bring one of her best friends Charlotte (@Charlottejaynewalton) with her, who inspired me to visit Lanzarote with her beautiful pictures, making the trip sound like even more fun. I kept thinking of signing up with Trovatrip… but I felt a bit guilty leaving Hielke with little Hugo for 9 days. When my friends announced that they would be going on a trip to Ibiza and asked me to join, Hielke encouraged me to go. However that trip had very bad timing and I asked him if he would be fine with me joining the Turkey trip instead. Hielke totally understood that this would be the dream trip for me and allowed me to enroll. When Hugo broke his legs two weeks before the trip, I almost wanted to cancel the trip, but luckily I didn’t. Hugo recovered super fast and while I was waiting on my plane to Instanbul, I received the good news that the fracture had completely healed.
Before: The fun already started weeks before we would go on the trip, by chatting in the group chat and making plans for Turkey. Ellie and Charlotte were already in Instanbul and Cappadocia before the group arrived, to check out restaurants and photo locations. We didn’t even arrive to Turkey yet and Ellie had already planned several extra photoshoots to add to the schedule. As the group was international and traveling from all sorts of locations, I had to travel by myself from Amsterdam. Schiphol was in absolute chaos due to a lack of personnel, I almost didn’t make my flight and it was very nice to have an online group of people to commiserate.
The group: I immediately felt welcomed by the group and found this one of the most fun parts of the trip. It is such a luxury to travel with people who have the same interests and we immediately hit it off. Nobody complained about getting up early for photoshoots, everybody voted for a late night if that meant we would see Pammukale during sunset etc. Besides photography, most group members were into Abba, wine, horses, cats and flowy dresses and nobody took themself too seriously. I guess those are the kind of people Ellie attracts as followers… Everybody was always helping each other take videos, photos and posing. The girls were incredibly well traveled and everybody made travel a priority in their life, so for once I didn’t feel out of place. I sometimes feel a bit stupid with my blogging hobby and I loved how supportive everybody was. Having an international group was such a fun experience too, I loved learning about American, British, Colombian, French and Macedonian culture! We even discussed politics 😉
Our hosts: Ellie turned out to be a lovely host. I expected Ellie to be a very upbeat and funny person and luckily she was exactly that. She interacted with the group a lot and went to all activities with us. Charlotte was a very fun person as well and we were very lucky to have her too, as she also helped out loads with photography. Your host can really make or break the experience and Ellie exceeded all expectations. I found the little peak into Influencer/travel blogger life very interesting. Ellie and Charlotte were incredibly hard working during this trip, spending the day with us from 6Am until 10PM, creating content and posting on Instagram, while helping us out with taking pictures and videos. I was super tired after another busy travel day, but they were busy arranging their next jobs. Ellie traveled to Ireland with Tripadvisor and the Irish tourism board right after this trip, while Charlotte went to the Canary Islands with the Spanish tourism board. An incredibly inspiring way of life, but also very exhausting!
When I signed up I didn’t know we would also have a local guide, but I was very happy that we did. Ayse was very knowledgable and went up and beyond to give us an amazing experience. Ayse and Ellie worked together very well. Ayse gave us a great introduction into Turkish history, culture and food, and arranged the best restaurants so we could try all food Turkey has to offer. She was also flexible with the schedule and made sure we were in the popular spots when it was less busy or during sunset. In the end we learned just as much about history as in a normal group trip, but we also did a full on Instagram/photography trip!
What did I learn: I found the trip a very stimulating environment to learn about photography. Ellie was always there to help us with our camera’s, posing or editing. I was a bit disappointed with my pictures from the Galata Tower, I wanted to take them on my own camera and wasn’t able to properly do the settings necessary. This stimulated me to study my camera and now I am able to do manual adjustments, instead of just shooting in Av or Tv mode. It actually is really easy on my Canon, but apparantly I needed this push to start doing it. This example also learned me that I should ask help quicker, if I let somebody help me with the pictures I would have had nice pictures. We planned a lot of photoshoots around the light, so during sunrise or sunset and it really makes a difference in quality. When traveling with my family I am not always able to do that and it shows, but when traveling with a baby you just have to accept that you cannot have it all.
The downsides: As I was super happy with this trip, there hardly were downsides. The schedule felt incredibly rushed, as we were making our way through Turkey in only 9 days. I felt that we did not have enough time in Instanbul and Cappadocia and that we were only able to scratch the surface. However, I knew that upfront and if the trip would have been longer I wouldn’t have joined because of leaving Hugo. Another thing is the price of the trip… because it was organized by Trovatrip in collaboration with Intrepid, two travel companies had to make money off it. Of course we also paid for our professional photographer and our local host. I paid $ 2200 for this 9 day trip (excluding my NL-Turkey flight), which is quite expensive when you consider how cheap Turkey currently is and what the hotel cost is per night. I did check other photography trips and they charge roughly the same or more for similar destinations. I found the experience really unique and found it worth the price. The biggest downside of all is not seeing these girls anymore, all girls made the trip so worthwhile. I hope to catch up with them during my future travels or when they are visiting the Netherlands!
Concluding: I would highly recommend going on a focused group trip by yourself. My group trip was focused on photography and was super girly, but there are many sorts of group trips that focus on specific hobbies. Trovatrip offers trips that are focused on health, exploration, yoga, fitness, hiking and food for example. It is really liberating to go on a trip by yourself and I felt incredibly spoiled by having everything arranged and getting to share this experience with great like-minded people. Ellie is already organizing a trip to Peru, which I am going to skip because I have already been there, but I would love to go on another adventure with Ellie, the girls or Trovatrip. Luckily, I still have an incredible set of pictures, so I can always remember this trip!