Saturday Session 06: Time Zone Travelers

Hey there and welcome to another Saturday Session episode! These are our episodes where we have guests on to chat about travel and entrepreneurship. Today, we have on Jaems and Bryan from Time Zone Travelers, and I’m SO excited to have a conversation with them today!

Jaems and I met at last years’ TravelCon which was a conference put on by Nomadic Matt.

It’s essentially a place for people in every aspect of the travel industry to get together and learn from speakers who have made it in their field. It was also an amazing opportunity to meet other travel bloggers and make real life connections with people you follow online!

If you want some more information about TravelCon, we have an episode all about that and you can read the full blog post on it HERE.

listen below!

Time Zone Travelers Episode

I’m going to let Jaems and Bryan jump in here and introduce themselves and what they do and give some background on what Time Zone Travelers is all about!

Jaems + Bryan:

J: We picked that name (Time Zone Travelers) because Bryan works for Delta Airlines and we have been known to go to Paris for a weekend and hop on a flight and hit different time zones, literally within a couple of days travel. So it fits our family very well!

B. Yeah, since we travel standby, we don’t always know if we’re going to get on. We…specialized in family travel, last minute planning and making the most out of the time you do have. Not everyone can take off two or three weeks at a time to see places. We try to see as much as we can in a 2-4 day time frame and share that experience with our followers!

We talked about TravelCon and a little bit about what this new kind space is like. I think anyone who has delved into this newer industry, whether it’s as a blogger, influencer, vloggers, travel writer, or travel podcasting can understand that as a newer industry, there are a lot of things we are all kind of figuring out together.

Q. We’ve all struggled with difficulties figuring out what we want to do and say, and how to best approach that as Travel Bloggers, etc. What have you struggled with the most?

Jaems + Bryan:

B: For me, when it comes to our blog….you know, I was an engineer in college and did some programming, but I never took HTML or CSS or SEO classes…so it can be very overwhelming. We jumped into it…[like] let’s just kinda go for it and I wish we had done some more research as far as building the website. So the SEO, design and trying to do AD’s, and how Google finds your page can be difficult…I think before people say, ‘let’s make a blog,’ do a little bit of research because there’s techniques out there. It’s definitely worth paying for a class — there’s a bunch of bloggers out there who have classes that are $300 - $600, 10 week class where you can watch at your own pace. But, that’s cheaper than paying someone [to design the website] and then you can learn and you don’t have to rely on someone else. It’s intimidating.

J. My role, is trying to build an audience and trying to build it in the most authentic way possible. And that is so hard to do because it’s a competitive world out there! On Instagram and other social media platforms, trying to build your following with doing the follow/unfollow [strategy] or paying for people, or just throwing money at it, it’s very, very important to me and our family that we build our audience as authentic and real as possible. And by doing that, it’s a much slower pace and it [can be] very discouraging….I’m definitely having to work on patience!

You guys specialize in family travel and your family seems hilarious -- every time you guys are on a trip, I follow along on your stories wondering how I can become an honorary member of the fam! And obviously, you two are supportive of each other and your family is included in your posts, stories, and writing. However, I think a lot of people struggle with this! Because I don’t think being a Travel Blogger or Influencer or Podcaster for crying out loud, is something people take seriously at the moment. And I honestly cringe a little bit when people ask me what I do and why, because I am dreading the looks on their faces and what they are going to say and think when I tell them!

Q. Do you find that outside of your family, people don’t really understand what you’re doing with Timezone Travelers, and why you do it?

Jaems + Bryan:

B: So far…we haven’t seen that just yet! And I think one reason is that our Time Zone Traveler page is separate from our personal page, so we try to keep them separate. When we talk with friends, unless they bring it up, we usually don’t…talk with friends about it. We try to keep the business and personal life separate, but so far, we haven’t had an issue with anybody saying that — but maybe when we get bigger and start having more followers, maybe that will come down the road.

J. I feel like most people we chat with…whether it be family or friends who know we have this account are actually very supportive. I think they realize, we couldn’t have this lifestyle if Bryan didn’t work for the airlines, and they realize we are trying to make the best of it, while we can and while the kids are young enough to be at home and travel with us. So we’ve just really had a lot of support. We haven’t run into…haters! So it’s been rather pleasant actually!

Listen to more in the full episode above!

Q. What do you hope to accomplish with Timezone Travelers?

Jaems + Bryan:

B: Our top three priorities are, we want to share our experience and stories to help inspire to want to take a trip…or do an activity they saw us do. The second [priority] is to make it easier — we’ve gone through and shared on Instagram and our blog if we found a good deal, and [how we] planned, and hopefully that can make it simpler, so they can spend less time worrying about what they’re going to do and they can just follow us along.

J: We’re big about trying to provide helpful hints. Don’t get us wrong, we like pretty pictures, but we feel like, if it doesn’t have a lot of substance behind it, we’re not doing what our intentions are. [For example], we like to say, if you’re going to the Colosseum in Rome, you might want to show up at 8AM so you can avoid the crowds and get those awesome pictures all by yourself in front of the Colosseum — we like to have helpful hints!

B: And also [in regards to] public transportation, the first time we went to Europe, it can be very overwhelming when you walk into the Paris airport. There are people who speak English, but there’s thousands of people running around, and it can be very confusing and overwhelming. And [another goal] is just to make sure people feel safe and that no one is going to take advantage of you. Our third goal [with Time Zone Travelers] is to be self-sustaining. So not neccessarily that we’re trying to make millions from this, but if we can sustain our trips to the point that it’s kind of quid pro quo, where it works to keep our travels going, then that is an added bonus, but the first two [goals] are the main ones.

You all do family trips fairly often as well as trips with just the two of you, and have more experience traveling as a family than the average people, I would say! This is something I don’t have much experience in besides a few memories of camping trips as a kid and some other trips as an adolescent. And I’ve been on a handful of trips with friends and their families and it seems like there is always a bit of friction because not everyone wants to do the same things, or go to certain sightseeing, and it’s the same thing traveling in any sort of group.

Q. I know people who flat out refuse to go on a vacation with their families -- even though they love them and get along just fine -- there is just something about being on a trip with family that doesn’t work out well for some people! How do you all navigate this?

Jaems + Bryan:

J: Definitely! Kelsye is not a big outdoorsie person, not a hiker, so if we did a trip like Southern Utah or went to Zion, that is not on her list. She would rather just stay home. But, what we try to do with each trip is include the kids in the planning process. [For example], if we’re set on Northern Italy, we approach each kid….and ask what their must do things are, what do you want to see, what do you want to eat. And the same thing goes for me and Bryan. We try to include in each trip something that everyone wants to do. That way they are represented — they still have to do what other people want to do, but it’s just the way we’ve approached it, to make everyone feel like they’ve been included in the planning.

B: I think if people go into it knowing there is no perfect trip, as far as everything going according to plan. If you go into it, [thinking] it’s going to be an adventure, if something goes wrong, just roll with it. I think people get too caught up and stressed out if something bad happens, or someone got sick…roll with it..,if your plans change, then just enjoy being around your family and realize that could be a funny story down the road, or a good experience that the kids will remember forever. And…the other thing…is how we were raised and how the kids were raised. Part of being a family is that you don’t always get what you want. Sometimes you just do things the family wants to do, and you’re part of the family, so you go along. With that mentality, and the kids being raised that way…they don’t sweat the stuff they don’t want to do.

Listen to more in the full episode above!

Q. What are the common misconceptions you two hear from people about traveling as a family? Too expensive? Can’t agree on a place/activities?

Jaems + Bryan:

B: I think the top two things are money and time. You know, my job is very flexible and I’m able to move things around…and not every job is that way. I think what it comes down to overall, with time and money, is making it a priority. If you really want to travel, then you can travel. We save up money to travel…we could probably have newer cars, brand new clothes, and go out to eat more often if we wanted to, but we prioritize travel. We save money and make time to make that happen — it has to be deliberate thought process.

J: I think it’s real easy coming from us because our airline [tickets] are covered. I think what Bryan said, when you’re making a budget, you make an effort to put that money toward a travel fund, and that starts out small. You’ve heard the, ‘give up a coffee and day’ or ‘ go out to east less often’ but I know folks who would love to travel, but they like to keep up with fashion and they’re buying new wardrobes every season, or they have to have the newest shoes, or the newest car, and we’re just not like that. We try to put every dime we have, for the most part, towards travel because that’s where we want it to go right now.

Listen for more on making travel more realistic and attainable — and not trying to keep up with the Jones’ when it comes to taking trips!

Let’s talk about the ‘influencer’ culture. There’s research which says the ad budgets from companies, brands, and hotels for working with influencers is going to be a ridiculous amount as companies move away from other forms of advertising in the coming years. And, of course, there are people who navigate this exceptionally well, and those who are simply in it for the $. We are just at the verrrrry beginning of reaching out to brands and hotels and have to have a set of standards and ethics that you’re not selling your soul for money when you work with brands!

Q. What are some of your qualms with this up and coming influencer industry and how will you handle this yourself as you grow and work with hotels and brands?!

Jaems + Bryan:

B: Probably the biggest qualm I have is, are you getting an honest review or honest opinion from that person. Especially if they are getting sponsored — is what they’re saying true or are they just saying it because someone gave them a free night or a free product.

J: For instance, my mom and I stayed in a nice little hotel in Paris and I have two friends already book there. I don’t know what I would do if I said…’hey, you should book at this place,’ knowing good and well that it wasn’t going to be a good experience for them. I just couldn’t do that to myself.

Check out the full episode above to hear us talk about maintaining your integrity and ethics as you work with brands and companies.