Author Archives: Jamie Christensen

Travel Together in China with Kelley Ferro

Kelley Ferro travels to China in the latest Travel Together video series from USTOA. On her travels with Wendy Wu Tours, Kelley has the chance to live like a local as she explores and experiences China from Beijing to Shanghai with local guides and visits world-famous marvels like the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall. Watch the videos below to see some of the ancient and modern wonders of China.

Exploring Ancient China

I recently explored China with Wendy Wu Tours and I was blown away by how China’s rich history is still very much alive and in full focus today. Bejing & Xi’an both had neighborhoods where I felt like I was stepping back in time. Take a trip through history with me in this episode where we see the terracotta warriors, the hutongs of Beijing and the Great Wall!

Modern China

Just as China is so ancient, it is also so futuristic and advanced. In Shanghai, Xi’an & Beijing, the three cities that I visited on my experience with Wendy Wu Tours, I met up with many young locals and learned a lot about what it was like to live in modern China.

Bucket List: China

China has certainly always been on my bucket list and I was thrilled to get to experience the country with Wendy Wu Tours. I toured 3 cities and found each to be filled with world wonders and bucket list sites. Check out my favorite spots in China—including the Great Wall!

Food of China

On our journey with Wendy Wu Tours, we ate some of the best of the best of China’s exciting foods. From a variety of types of noodles (my favorite being “biang biang”) to soups, dumplings, hot pot and all sorts of street snacks, eating in China was an adventure. We toured the markets and saw the food come from the source. What was my best meal? Peking duck of course!

China: A Country Profile

I had a whirlwind week in China with Wendy Wu Tours and I experienced so much in this exciting, ancient and modern country. From the skyscrapers of Shanghai, to biking the old wall of Xi’an, to seeing the Terra Cotta Warriors up close and exploring the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall—China was full of life changing moments. Here’s a glimpse into what we did on our tour through this amazing country.

[All video descriptions by filmmaker.]

Read more about the #TravelTogether adventure in China here.


Best of Tripfilms Twelve Travel Questions: Best Travel Tips

Over the last two years, we’ve interviewed 50 of our talented filmmakers and filmmaker teams. Here is a collection of some of the best travel tips, crazy travel stories, and filmmaking philosophies from these expert travelers.

We asked 50 filmmakers: What is your best travel tip? 

Be kind. Be humble. Be respectful. Be patient. Smile! Get off the beaten path. Push yourself. Scare yourself. Open your mind. And never take a moment for granted. Okay… that’s like, ten tips. Sorry. Bottom line: travel is a privilege that (unfortunately) so many people don’t ever get toreally experience. So above all, be thankful. And be careful out there! – Two for the Road

Never plan out every last minute of your trip, leave room for some adventure, some spontaneity, and let the wind blow you in some unexpected directions. – James Alexander Adams

Learn from the locals. Don’t just go to museums and eat at McDonalds. Travel is about living culture and the locals are the holders of most of what is valuable. Immerse yourself. – Nomadic Frames

Stay as open-minded, positive and un-structured as possible. Your best experiences will come from things you hadn’t planned on doing, on people you may never have met or talked to during the regular course of your life, and allowing adventures to happen, even if you weren’t expecting them to. Over-planning, timidness and negativity will destroy the chances of any of these things happening. – The Expeditioner

Document the things that you do when you travel, keep a diary, a blog, a photo library or video. It might not seem that important at the time, but you’ll regret it afterwards when your memories begin to fade. – Eight Miles from Home

Just do it. But never do anything while travelling you would not do at home. – Gary Bembridge

Be very open-minded and don’t be judgmental or you may miss out on potentially life changing experiences! – Etherium Sky Films

Keep an open mind. Stuff happens and things go wrong, but if you roll with it you’re way more likely to enjoy yourself. Learn about where you’re going. Educate yourself about not just the places you will see, but the culture. Take an interest in the people and lifestyle of where you’ll be traveling and respect it. – Rural Movement

Don’t judge. Take your time, and enjoy. The world is such a beautiful place and we think everyone needs to see how wonderful it is. – Mindful Wanderlust

Tripfilms Exclusive Secret Tip: Go postcard window-shopping. Not for the postcards, but for ideas on what to shoot. Guaranteed you’ll find some beautiful scenes and angles of landmarks you can go investigate for yourself. – Mike Corey

Don’t let fear hold you back. Remember that the good judgement that serves you at home will also keep you safe on the road, and the majority of people in the world want to help you, not hurt you. – Alex in Wanderland

Live each trip as if it were the last one of your life. – Rubén Alonso

Have no expectations, be prepared to change plans and be open to any possibility. – Kristen Sarah

Give yourself time, be an independent traveler. Fast travel isn’t necessarily the best. Slow travel allows you to really get to know a place, its people, gastronomy, and culture. – David Hoffmann

Trust. – Joshua Johnson

Just get out there and start moving…everything will take care of itself. It’s amazing how things always work when you’re on the road. You’ll meet new friends, have unforgettable experiences and be set for a life of fulfilling adventure. – Ryan Van Duzer

Not an uncommon tip, but one that certainly has helped a lot in the past. Learn a few local language phrases. A simple “good morning” or “how are you” in a local language, goes a long way to breaking the barrier. – Travizeo

Get out of your comfort zone. Some of the best experiences I’ve had while traveling involve breaking out of my comfort zone. Whether it was exploring one of the largest underground caving systems in the world outside of Budapest or reaching out to strangers while I waited and making new friends, the best experiences have always resulted from breaking out of my bubble. – John Piazza IV

Be respectful with other cultures, spend time with the locals, read about the place you are going ahead of time so you don’t end up saying or doing something inappropriate for the people there, don’t be afraid of trying new things, dare, be mindful, and come back safe. – Eduardo Gato

Try not to leave for your trip exhausted. I can’t count how many vacations where I’ve spent the first couple of hours decompressing with a nap in the hotel room—fail! – Gloria Powell

Open yourself up to new experiences, and don’t let the comfort of a routine hold you back from any adventure. – Patrick J. McDaniel

Trust your gut and have fun. – Cailin O’Neil

The way I enjoy the most in a trip is when I live the experiences surrounded by nice people. The best memories I have are the people I have met traveling. So the best tip I can give is to enjoy the travel accompanied and if it is possible with local people. – Josep Gutierrez

Don’t listen to your friends + meet locals, they always know best. – Justin Weiler

Talk to the locals. Leave your “holier than thou” attitude home. Smile and be humble. And try to put your camera down once in a while and take in everything around you. – Sarah Zareen

One of our family traditions is to start planning our next trip on the way home from our current trip. We’ll talk about what we liked and didn’t like. We tend to think “outside the box” and have often planned future trips that were amazing. The trip doesn’t ever happen when we first plan and sometimes a smaller weekend-getaway trip will pop up. But overall, we find talking about our next trip chases away the end-of-vacation blues. – Wesley Adventures

Research, and know where your information is coming from. What kind of person, what their motives are. Take things with a grain of salt and in the end, explore a little more than you thought you would. – Andrew Kamphey

Have fun. Prepare for the unexpected. Enjoy those little moments that are less than perfect, they will make for a great story. – Juliana Broste

Be flexible. We are big planners and usually travel ready with a huge list of to-do’s. We will always be advocates for planning ahead, because that way you can return home knowing you made the most of your time in that place. But, we’ve also had great experiences when things didn’t quite go as planned or a new opportunity arose and we took it as opposed to “sticking to the schedule!” So be prepared, but be flexible. – Jesse and Kimberly Moore

Always bring more underwear than days you plan to travel. Buy a good power adapter. Have a home. – Bobby Christian

Pack light. Just a couple of changes of clothes. Wash along the way. You’ll thank yourself later if you do and curse yourself (every time you move) if you don’t. – SPESUS

Embrace every moment whether you think it’s good or bad. Ultimately it’s all about the experience of life and opening our minds. Live it! Love it! Capture it! – Gina DeGirolamo

Meet, interact and listen to locals. This is the simple philosophy that I travel by. – Gareth Leonard

Pack light! Step out of your comfort zone and embrace the unknown! – Monique Soltani

Best travel advice? Just go with it. Don’t overthink yourself out of doing something. – Kien Lam

Eat where the locals eat. When you are searching for a place to eat dinner, take a walk in the neighbourhood. Go away from the tourist haunts and look for a restaurant packed with local people. You can almost guarantee the food is fresh, authentic, and affordable. – The Planet D

Take a cruise. There is not a more relaxing way to see several iconic destinations in a single trip. – Jason Leppert

Be yourself everywhere you go and with everyone you meet. Be open-minded, approachable and outgoing and honestly treat others as you yourself would wish to be treated and go out into the world considering that this is your one and only life so live it well and see as much as you can. I try, every now and again to step back from the bubble of work and look at the bigger picture and I’m reminded of the good fortune I have to be doing this. This approach enables me to get the most out of each new place I visit. And finally, make sure that a trip to Costa Rica is right up there on your bucket list! – Adam Baker

Go with the flow. – Because We Camp

Drink plenty of water, be open to the unexpected and flexible to change. Go outside your comfort zone in all areas! – Eszter Vajda

Don’t stick to an agenda too much. I always like to go in with somewhat of a plan but I always love taking suggestions from locals or following my instinct to see what I may stumble upon. When I travel, I also find I sometimes try to fit too much in. My mom always tells me to save some things for when I come back and that they will always be there. I am thankful for this advice because it allows me to take in the moment tenfold. – Carri Wilbanks

Smile, laugh and don’t sweat the small stuff. A smile is internationally appreciated and goes a long way when there is a communication barrier. – Travelista Teri

If you have a goal to travel somewhere, make it your priority, no matter what situation you’re in. – Mark Wiens

When it comes to travelling, do it as much as you can. – Mick Hobday

I remember the first time I went to NYC I didn’t even go to Statue of Liberty, Times Square, or the Empire State Building, etc. I was just skating all over the city for 30 days. I guess just pick a place that you can do whatever you dreamed about and be happy doing what you love. – Gustavo Matias

Pack light! Use packing cubes and compression sacks to stay organized. It’s so freeing to be mobile and not weighed down by a bunch of stuff. Bring only what you absolutely need—you can always buy something along the way if you need to. – Wander The Map

NEVER eat at an empty restaurant. It’s empty for a reason. – Lost & Found Travel

Be patient and adaptable. You might have detailed, specific plans, but dealing with curveballs are part of the travel package. Enjoy the quirks when they come. – Armando Costantino

Know what you want to do and see, but don’t stick to any one itinerary. Be fluid and really open to however your trip unfolds. Sometimes, overplanning can kill the whimsical and adventurous nature of travel. I always make a list of things I want to see or do, but I don’t stress about hitting every mark. There have been many times where I change my mind once I’m there, or I find something even MORE amazing than I ever anticipated, and the trip itself changes. It’s actually fun when that happens, you just have to be open to it! – Nathalie Basha

Leave room in your schedule to wander, indulge in local culture and you’re never fully dressed without a smile ☺ – Global Lipstick

Happy Thanksgiving from Tripfilms

Happy Thanksgiving from Tripfilms

Here at Tripfilms, we are grateful every day for the incredible Tripfilms community of travelers and filmmakers. We are grateful to you for sharing your views of the world with us through your videos, and the amazing people, places, and adventures you experience along the way. Here in New York City we’re celebrating Thanksgiving this week, but wherever you are in the world, we want you to know that we are thankful for you and your inspiring creativity. Happy Thanksgiving!

Why Upload Videos to Tripfilms?

why upload

At Tripfilms, we feature amazing travel videos uploaded by filmmakers around the world. Sharing your videos on Tripfilms is a way to connect and share your videos with a star-studded and marvelous community of travel filmmakers and travel video fans on, as well as to get the chance to have your videos more widely distributed on our media partner channels.

Thinking about uploading your own travel videos and joining the Tripfilms filmmaker community? Here are four reasons why you should upload your travel videos to

1. Travel videos inspire.

Your videos can inspire travelers and bring travel inspiration to people all over the world. Travel videos can “motivate, inspire and help organize. Travel videos are also just fun to watch especially on a destination you have recently visited, or are feeling nostalgic about,” says SPESUS. Filmmaker Justin Weiler says, “Videos have the magic ability to emotionally engage with an audience and it’s what we all seek when traveling, and to be able to share that with others is a real privilege.” Filmmaker Joshua Johnson says that travel videos are “inspiration—straight up. Travel videos can get you stoked and can be a catalyst for the journey.”

“Travel videos can give you insight to places you’ve never been but may have wanted to go to. They can even attract you to places you never thought you would ever venture. That’s what is great about being able to get different perspectives through travel videos. And some filmmakers have such unique experiences that they inspire us to revisit places we’ve seen already. That’s the dopest thing about travel film—motivating someone to explore.”  – Global Lipstick

You can find 50 more ways that travel videos help travelers here: Best of Tripfilms Twelve Travel Questions: What Travel Videos Can Do For You.

2. Reach a wide audience on and beyond.

When you upload your travel videos to, your video could be featured on our homepage. We constantly promote top videos and filmmakers on and on the Tripfilms blog, Facebook, Twitter, and in the weekly Tripfilms email newsletter. We have distribution agreements with MSN, Yahoo!, USA Today, Frequency, and Amazon that help Tripfilms videos be seen by an international general audience. And of course, uploading is 100% free, so it’s an easy way for you to get free promotion and distribution for your videos. You still own and retain all rights to your videos when you upload to and you can continue to upload your videos anywhere else you choose. You can find our full terms of service here:

One tip: your videos are more likely to be chosen as editor’s picks and shared with our media partners if they are HD and use only non-copyrighted, royalty-free music. Your videos will also have a better chance at being distributed if you remove any “click to subscribe” tags or similar scenes that don’t apply to or partner sites.

3. Earn rewards like Amazon gift cards and paid filmmaking assignments. 

Tripfilms has an awesome rewards program where you earn one point each time someone watches your video. Once you hit 1,000 views (1,000 points) you can redeem your points for a $25 Amazon gift card.

If you are interested in paid travel assignments, consider applying for a TripVlogger assignment. The TripVlogger program is a way for us to reward top Tripfilms contributors with paid assignments all over the world. All you have to do is continue uploading your amazing travel videos and then apply for a TripVlogger assignment here. We also occasionally reach out to filmmakers in the Tripfilms community to connect them with other paid commercial assignments.

Another great opportunity for travel filmmakers is sharing hotel video reviews on Hotel Confidential, our site for hotel video reviews. Next time you stay in a hotel when you travel, you can earn money for your short smartphone video reviews. Click here to learn more and sign up.

4. Become part of a vibrant community of travel filmmakers.  

By sharing your videos on Tripfilms, you are joining an active community of passionate travel filmmakers who are bringing the world’s most unique places and experiences to life. Our Twelve Travel Questions interview series profiles some of our top filmmakers so you can learn expert travel and filmmaking tips from people who know. When you like our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@tripfilms) you’ll get regular doses of travel inspiration right in your newsfeed.

If you have any questions about Tripfilms or if you have any comments, suggestions, or other feedback, we’d love to hear from you! Email Tripfilms Community Manager Jamie at 

Hope to see your travel videos on Tripfilms soon! Click here to upload your travel videos.

filmmaker on ice

Best of Tripfilms Twelve Travel Questions: Advice for Travel Filmmakers

Over the last two years, we’ve interviewed 50 of our talented filmmakers and filmmaker teams. Here is a collection of some of the best travel tips, crazy travel stories, and filmmaking philosophies from these expert travelers.

We asked 50 filmmakers: What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?

Just. Do. It. Most importantly though: don’t be intimidated by anyone, or by all the fancy-shmancy technical talk about cameras and accessories and frame rates and compression rates and such. Start small. Start with what you’re comfortable using. It really is as easy as pressing the record button on your phone or your camera, and using it to tell a story. Then do your research and learn as you go. Cruise Tripfilms and watch lots and lots of other travel videos. Pay attention to what you think works and what you think doesn’t work. Ask for help when you need it! And use all that to help you develop your own style. As you hone your skills you will find your groove, grasshopper. But you’ve gotta just do it! – Two for the Road

Making a travel video is fun. There are a lot of things to learn, but the number one thing is to always have your camera handy, shoot everything no matter how mundane, and always be trying to make your next video better than the last. – James Alexander Adams

To quote a shoe: “Just do it.” #1. Watch travel video. #2. Don’t hesitate, go out and shot and edit and learn from your mistakes. #3. A camera is just a tool. There is no ‘best camera.’ Get what you can afford and learn to use it. The story is more important than the tools. – Nomadic Frames

I would suggest, like anything else, watching other people’s videos and stealing (and learning) from them what you like about their videos, whether it be the way they tell their story, the shots they use, the music they incorporate or the editing techniques they use. – The Expeditioner

Buy a tripod :-) Then watch other filmmakers to see what inspires you the most. After that it is up to you to put your own stamp of creativity onto your work and create something unique and special. Most importantly, if you are passionate about what you do, it will show in your work and eventually you will get noticed. – Eight Miles from Home

Do what you enjoy. Don’t try and copy other people’s styles and approaches. Do what feels right for you—you will find your audience. The only other tip I have is don’t keep moving around all over the place. Take separate shots instead. – Gary Bembridge

Think fresh, avoid crappy presets in cheap editing software, and have fun with it! And perhaps most importantly, don’t be full of yourself, especially when starting off. Even after 10 years of professional work experience in the field, I’m still learning new things on every project I take on. – Etherium Sky Films

Shoot, shoot, shoot! The more you film the better you get—and always make sure to have fun while you’re doing it. If you make it stressful it begins to feel like a job or homework (which 99% of the time, isn’t fun). Be creative, be yourself and stay true to your own unique style. – Rural Movement

DO IT!! Practice makes perfect, and don’t be too hard on yourself. But make sure that you enjoy your trip and don’t end up spending all of your time behind a lens. – Mindful Wanderlust

I often use this answer when asked this question: “It’s not hard to dance to your favorite song.” Create content you’re inspired by. If you’re making a video about drinking wine, when you’d rather be drinking rum strait from the bottle at 4 a.m. at a Thai beach party, your heart is not into the topic. Pursuing this lifestyle is too tough not to do exactly what you want to do. I really don’t like to repeat answers, but that’s important. Here’s something that’s on my mind now: Am I a filmmaker at heart, or a creative at heart, who found his path through video? – Mike Corey

Shoot plenty of what we call B-Roll—it may not be your primary focus, but these shots give a more rounded-out sense of the story. You can never have too much footage. – Alex in Wanderland

To really respect the places they go and the people who live there, and to go to new places wanting to learn and appreciate the culture, especially when you go to places that have a very different culture from yours. – Rubén Alonso

Buy a camera, get out there and do it! That is the only way you will learn and develop your own style and persona. – Kristen Sarah

Practice, practice, practice… and try to get someone to travel. If you can’t manage to produce travel videos on your own, ask someone to accompany you and help you out. You don’t need fancy equipment, just an iPhone and a passion for what you’re trying to show/teach others. – David Hoffmann

Start now. – Joshua Johnson

Make them in your own voice! This always leads to the most natural and genuine storytelling. – Ryan Van Duzer

Just start! It doesn’t matter what you use or how little you know. You are likely to learn more from your mistakes, than from most anything else. – Travizeo

Research and plan ahead. You have a limited amount of time (unfortunately), and you should want to capture as much as possible. Shoot to edit. Don’t be that jerk that sticks a camera in strangers’ faces. – John Piazza IV

Buy a cheap camera, (Go Pro is the best option: cheap, full terrain, waterproof, easy to use…) and learn how to use a simple film editing software like iMovie (Go to and for $35 you can learn how to shoot and edit). If you enjoy the experience, then think about upgrading your equipment. Most important, don’t make your trip about the movie, make the movie about your trip :) – Eduardo Gato

My advice would be to get started and use whatever you have. Whether it’s a camcorder or an iPhone, just start shooting! You can always invest in better equipment later, but when you’re starting out, focus on the heart of your videos and the story you want to tell. – Gloria Powell

Go out and put all your effort into it, there’s never been a better time than now to get into film. You don’t need a big budget production to create captivating videos anymore, you just need a passionate filmmaker. – Patrick J. McDaniel

Firstly making travel videos isn’t for everyone. Secondly audio is just as important as the visual aspect if not more, avoid wind, and make sure you choose good and legal music. – Cailin O’Neil

The main advice I can give is to enjoy as much as you can the experience of the trip and then it’s easier to show those feelings. I like to mix in a video information with the feelings of the trip. – Josep Gutierrez

Stop thinking about it and grab a camera and go do it. The only difference between them and the people who are making videos is that they’re doing it. – Justin Weiler

Just grab your camera and shoot. Don’t overthink it. – Sarah Zareen

Don’t underestimate the power of today’s cell phone cameras. In full daylight a Samsung or iPhone camera can take video comparable to a $3000+ camera. For “documentary style” videos we make on Tripfilms this is perfect! You’ve already got a fantastic camera in your hand! You’d be surprised how often I mix and match my footage from a Canon, Sony, GoPro, and cell phone footage. Spend $90 on a cheap editing software and start using it. – Wesley Adventures

Find your voice, one way or another. Find the thing that nobody else can do, that nobody else would attempt to do, especially if it’s hard. And do it. – Andrew Kamphey

Do it! If you love to have new experiences and document your adventures, grab your camera and let the magic happen! While making travel videos can be tons of fun, just remember, there’s no need to capture EVERYTHING. Think carefully about how you want to tell your story before you hit the red “record” button. Avoid having too much footage at the end of the day and only roll camera when everything is perfect! – Juliana Broste

Think about what you want to know about the location/destination before you decide to go there. Then give that information in your video. It will make your video more genuine. – Jesse and Kimberly Moore

I’m being 100% serious when I say this: Only want to make the most amazing, life-changing videos/films ever. Seek out how to make your work the best is can possibly be. Try hard, try new things, never accept enough. Want to tell stories and study how to tell stories. Know yourself. Love and hate yourself and let that be seen in your work. Be honest. Get good glass. Shoot more than you need and in the end make it work. Above all, don’t let your failures overcome you and always be there for yourself when you have to lick your wounds. So, all that, and most awards you’ll get will mean just about nothing in comparison to the amount to work and love you put into your best work. – Bobby Christian

I remember a scene from the movie “American Beauty” where Kevin Spacey’s character Lester is arguing with his wife about her over-attachment to material possessions. He picks up a sofa cushion and begins to swing it around whilst lamenting: “… It’s just a couch! This isn’t life, it’s just stuff. And it’s become more important to you than living. Well, honey, that’s just nuts.” After the exchange, he then goes on  to live the life he wants to live (rather than the one that is expected of him). Live like Lester everyday and whatever you do will nicely fall into place. Travel videos and all. – SPESUS

Spend some time learning some basic filmmaking skills which can easily be done by watching how-to videos. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a lot of gear. You can easily use your smartphone as your full production studio to create some amazing videos. Practice shooting and editing and watch other people’s videos and see what it is you like about them. The video really comes together in the editing process so shoot lots of footage of different places, people you encountered and things that captured your attention. If you love photography and filmmaking like I do, the act of shooting becomes part of your travel experience and allows you to see things in new ways. It allows you to focus in on the things that capture your attention. These shots are the ones that will put your fingerprint on your videos. If you are traveling to a place that is very popular, like Paris for example, when you shoot the Eiffel Tower don’t just shoot a wide shot and be done with it. Show some details of what caught your eye. Look for unique angles that the rest of us have not seen before an express your feeling and emotion of your experience. – Gina DeGirolamo

Go further, do more, be creative. Be original. Too many people follow the same patterns and make the same content. Be yourself and push the envelope. – Gareth Leonard

Baby Steps… Step One: Shoot everything. My motto is if I didn’t shoot it it didn’t happen. Meaning video is a visual medium (stating the obvious I know) so therefore if you don’t capture it on camera you can’t show it to your viewers. So shoot, shoot, shoot away and figure out what to do with all the footage once you get home. Step Two: Get a mic. There is nothing worse than bad audio. Step Three: Find your voice and have fun! – Monique Soltani

I would tell them to not worry so much about equipment. It’s easy to get bogged down with technical specs, making sure you have every lens for every occasion that arises, etc. While that’s nice, it could also end up restricting you as far as mobility or ease of use when something happens that’s waiting to be filmed. By the time you get set up, you will have missed the shot. I think there’s a distinction between making travel videos as a job and making travel videos as a visual diary. If you are just looking to capture your trip and retell it in an interesting way, you just have to be ready to shoot at all times. Nowadays, you can get pretty nice high quality video in even a point and shoot, so there’s no excuse there. – Kien Lam

Think about what story you want to tell beforehand. It helps with the editing process and it keeps you from shooting footage aimlessly. I’ll have a shot list in mind where I’ll be thinking about movement and cuts. I am always looking for something to cut to and for a way to move the story along. And make sure to have good sound. Invest in a microphone and pay attention to levels and sound when editing. People will forgive a little bit of shaky camera work, but they won’t forgive terrible sound. – The Planet D

Technology has made it so simple to put filmmaking in the hands of everyone, so just get out there and do it, even if it’s just using the camera on your phone. – Jason Leppert

To simply start! With the access we now have to platforms such as YouTube and Tripfilms your videos can be seen by millions. All you need is a personality, a camera, a good mic and some basic storytelling and editing skills and a bit of creativity! With these ingredients anything really is possible. A great attitude will go a long way in the travel business as you get to meet so many new people all the time and you never know where the next video or trip will come from. – Adam Baker

Work with the gear you have now, and just start doing it! Be brave and try your best to capture what’s in front of you. Our travel videos have changed so much over the past year. We found our own voice and style but draw lots of inspiration and techniques from others who inspired us! Find a mentor(s), and make it your own. You got this. Oh, and another little trick we abide by: Have things gone completely sideways for you? Are you mad, emotional, or overwhelmed? Turn on the camera and speak your mind. That’s going to make a great video later. – Because We Camp

Study the history of the place and put your personality in it! – Eszter Vajda

To just go for it! Oddly, I was intimidated to make travel videos on my phone. I came from a video production background where we shot on high-end gear and videos needed to be near perfect. I rarely pulled out my phone for videos or interviews because it wasn’t the quality I was used to. I have been shooting on my phone much more and have had some really fun segments turn out.  Sure, there may be no striking time-lapses or jib shots but the point isn’t always in the production value. It’s showcasing the unexpected in a destination. – Carri Wilbanks

Capture a lot of b-roll so you can have enough transitions when editing. My favorite b-roll captures are: country or state flags, street signs, vast landscapes, people walking and enjoying life and cute animals. – Travelista Teri

Go for it, and don’t make excuses as to why you can’t do it. Even with just a small point and shoot camera, you can start making travel videos. Also, no matter where you are, even if you’re in your own home city, you can make travel videos. – Mark Wiens

Be patient and don’t be too shy to get your camera out. – Mick Hobday

Go into filming with a plan on what you hope to accomplish with your finished product—it makes it so much easier in the back end with post-production. Also, try to pick music that goes well with the footage you have captured—it really can make all the difference! – Wander The Map

Good sound makes all the difference. Put your lens cap on and record 2 minutes of “location audio” wherever you shoot. It helps bridge the gap between shots. Also—pay a street performer a hefty tip if you record their music for use in your videos. – Lost & Found Travel

Don’t just shoot everything randomly; find a passion or your vision/personal experience and have a general idea on how you want to cover it. Be willing to make mistakes and constantly learn new skills. – Armando Costantino

Be honest! Both in your take, and in your personality. A lot of people either clam up or act differently in front of a camera, and if you look stiff or false, it will overpower whatever message or point you have in your video. You could be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, but if you look uncomfortable, that’s the only thing people will see. – Nathalie Basha

Just do it! Everything doesn’t have to be perfect before you start. Do a few testers on your phone or any inexpensive equipment to see what you like/dislike. When you decide to proceed, make an educated purchase when camera shopping. – Global Lipstick

New TripVlogger Series: Lisbon with Westfalia Digital Nomads

Westfalia Digital Nomads travels to Lisbon in this new TripVlogger series. One of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon is a city of many nicknames, from “The City of Seven Hills” and “The City of Tolerance” to “The City of Light” and “Queen of the Sea.” These excellent video guides give us an overview of Portugal’s capital city. Get to the know the city and find out the best places to eat, how to get around, and what sights you won’t want to miss.

A Glimpse of Lisbon

An overview of the city of Lisbon.

A Taste of Lisbon

The famous Pasteis de Belém and the Ginjinha.

Getting Around Lisbon

A few tips to get around in Lisbon.

5 Must-See Lisbon Places

Five must-see Lisbon places. A unique experience in this lovely town.

[All video descriptions by the filmmaker.]


Best of Tripfilms Twelve Travel Questions: The Philosophy of a Travel Video

Over the last two years, we’ve interviewed 50 of our talented filmmakers and filmmaker teams. Here is a collection of some of the best travel tips, crazy travel stories, and filmmaking philosophies from these expert travelers.

We asked 50 filmmakers: What is the goal/philosophy of your work? 

To inform, educate, entertain and inspire. And along the way to try and capture the essence of our personal experiences in each place. – Two for the Road

The goals and philosophy of my videos are always changing and evolving. My goal for a long while was to only bridge the gap between my photos and videos. I was only trying to make videos look as pretty as my pictures. In the past little while my goal has been to focus more on telling a story and sharing an experience. Pretty videos and photos alone don’t really share what traveling somewhere really is about. I really want to start sharing the experiences that I have, the people, the highs and the lows, etc. – James Alexander Adams

The Nomadic Frames motto is: “The world is our passion. We travel. We record. We create stories.” Our goal is to inspire others to travel. We also want to show that people and places around the world are wonderful in their own way yet also similar to our experiences. We also want to show that travel is not only beautiful but also rewarding. In other words, travel is important and worth the costs. – Nomadic Frames

World peace, empathy and universal compassion. Oh yeah, also landing my own globally syndicated travel series starring myself as the host.  – The Expeditioner

To show that absolutely anything can be beautiful if you know what to look for. We like to promote lesser-known areas and invite new visitors to follow in our footsteps. There are so many great things to see in the world within a few miles of you wherever you are. You just need to believe that, and then you can see it. Our goal is to show others exactly that. – Eight Miles from Home

To show places, attractions, and things that go beyond the brochure. Show things as they really are. – Gary Bembridge

There is no grand overall goal. I approach each project individually and just try to do a nice job with it! – Etherium Sky Films

Get out there, explore, and document things as they happen naturally. – Rural Movement

To educate others, and have a lot of fun doing it. We want to show people through our videos that the world is a beautiful, incredible place. Yes, it can be scary at times but we wouldn’t change what we do for anything in the world. We have learned so much about the people of the world and so much about ourselves as well. – Mindful Wanderlust

I think for most of us there trying to “make it” in travel video… We have videos we make, and the videos we’d like to make. I can maybe only speak for myself, but I feel we all start making videos from the heart, we want to turn a passion into a career, and we start to think about money. It’s not always easy to make work from the heart when you have a client. After a while of producing content that hovers somewhere in between both of your wants, you start to be given opportunities where you can flex those creative muscles and make videos that are truly yours. Your creativity, your message, your voice. I only talk about this because I feel that I’m finally coming out the other side. I put blood, sweat, and years into what I do, and am excited on creating content that continues to challenge people, to inspire people, and to make them ask: “Wow, you can actually DO that?” – Mike Corey

When I think back on a trip a highlight reel often plays in my mind, accompanied by a song that I strongly associate with the destination. I try to move that highlight reel from my mind to my screen. – Alex in Wanderland

My videos are a tribute to the Lonely Planet series. I’m a big fan of theirs and it’s my humble homage to their great series and great idea that’s inspired so many people to travel. – Rubén Alonso

I want others to feel like they are going on the adventures with me, even if it is in the comfort of their own home. At the same time, my videos aim to inspire and encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and go on their own adventures. I also teach people everything they need to know to take that first step and how to prepare themselves for a life of travel. – Kristen Sarah

Informational, short and to the point! – David Hoffmann

The goal of my videos is to create an experience that is akin to magic. I want to show people a version of the world that is new and unexpected. I want my videos to present images and a version of reality that the viewer has never seen before. – Joshua Johnson

My goal is and has always been to inspire people to get ‘Out There’ and explore this beautiful world. That’s been my slogan ever since my cable access TV days in 2006. It doesn’t matter if you’re climbing a tree or climbing Mount Everest. My goal is to show people how accessible travel can be, and that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. – Ryan Van Duzer

To educate and inspire and ultimately… to sell more holidays. – Travizeo

To convey the same energy and excitement to my audience that I experienced when I was filming them. – John Piazza IV

Give people that have never been to the location a heads up of what to do, where to eat, and how to experience the best out of it. For people that have been there, show them things they maybe missed and give them an excuse to go back again. – Eduardo Gato

I hope people who watch my videos will be inspired to travel wherever they can. I’m really passionate about discovering the heart of one’s local environment. So even if you don’t have the means to travel abroad, I want my videos to show that you can always find something new to explore in your backyard. – Gloria Powell

To create an engaging and accurate representation of the places that I visit, and the things I do there. (Inspiring others to travel is an added bonus.) – Patrick J. McDaniel

The goal of my videos is to show the world to the world. I want to encourage people to travel, help them plan their trips and show them the world isn’t a big scary place and it is full of amazing things. – Cailin O’Neil

I enjoy showing colorful places. I like to show as much details of the place I can. I think is important to make the viewer feel that he is in that place. On the other hand, I like to tell personal stories of local people and use local music. – Josep Gutierrez

Shoot it like a magazine spread, focus on the details and let the viewer connect the dots. Simple. – Justin Weiler

To explore and shoot a place not as a tourist but as a local. I like to keep my videos simple and honest. – Sarah Zareen

Honestly, we make the videos for ourselves. Sharing them with others is just icing on the cake. We’ve made over 500 family adventure videos over the past decade. We want our family to remember the good times we’ve had. Tammy and I love to hear the kids laughing at an old family video we’ve made. Yes, we watch them often. It’s also more fun to show a friend well-edited video than sitting down for hours looking at a vacation slideshow. – Wesley Adventures

Make your mouth water and open your eyes. – Andrew Kamphey

I aim to produce informative and entertaining travel content that inspires viewers to jump out of their seat and explore this amazing planet, too. Let’s go! – Juliana Broste

Our goal is to always be authentic in our summaries. We also try to provide an extra tip or trick that we have picked up along the way. – Jesse and Kimberly Moore

Real quick, I don’t like the term video. I mean I use it and it’s not a pretentious thing (at least I don’t think) and I don’t like the term film a lot better, but saying film I think makes travel videos seem less of a new thing that’s hanging out on the fringes of society. I think travel videos are a part of the storytelling that the movies have been doing for over a hundred years. But like I said, I don’t really like film either (it sounds pretentious). I guess I haven’t been satisfied with a term yet. Anyway, the goal/philosophy of my projects is to find some deep more profound connection to the places I go. I aim to share the experiences I have with others, but not in a raw way—in an edited way that, while it can make us of raw moments, gives the audience a through line. I haven’t made videos of walking and talking in a while because I think that begs too much of the audience (if I had an audience that loved everything about me I would act differently). Wow, this is a lot of words. Let’s get real and simple. I only want to make things that really impress and inspire me, and while I don’t make these videos often, I want to move my work to more storytelling as a way of illuminating a place. Oh, and I never want to make the same thing twice. I heard this interview with the sound FX guy from Raging Bull once. After every project he destroys his tapes so he won’t repeat the sounds. I don’t want to forget what I learned and what I failed to succeed at. I want to take that and move forward. – Bobby Christian

To make our videos aesthetically pleasing, in addition to being as red-pilled as possible. – SPESUS

My goal is to share my passion of the place I am visiting and to teach people how to make better videos. Travel and filmmaking are two of my passions so I just want to do them both and have others be inspired to follow their passions as well. – Gina DeGirolamo

I want to entertain viewers and motivate people who wish for a life of travel. That’s the correct answer, right? The real reason is to make all my exes jealous… Hey Lisa who dumped me in 8th grade, how do you like me now!? – Gareth Leonard

Every person, place, and thing has a unique story to tell. Whether I’m interviewing a person, highlighting a region or uncorking a beautiful bottle of wine there is an extraordinary story in there somewhere and it’s my job to discover it. – Monique Soltani

When I make my videos, I want people to get lost for a few minutes and share the world as I was able to see it. It could just be visual eye candy, or it could be a story that elevates what otherwise might be an everyday or seemingly ordinary experience into something that is memorable. If I’ve captured your attention until you get to the end, I’ve done my job. – Kien Lam

We try to capture the spirit of the destination in our videos. We want people to see the video and say “I want to go there.” Our aim is to keep them upbeat and fun and reflecting our personalities. It’s less about the hard facts and more about the inspiration. I find that I want to watch a video to be inspired and then I will go and do the nitty gritty research of what to do in that destination. What we really want is a story told. It can be a very shallow story arc, but we want a purpose to our videos. It’s not our nature to just walk down the street with a GoPro and selfie cam. We want to shoot it and show us doing adventures or activities while portraying how we’re feeling in the moment. – The Planet D

I hope to inform people about cruises to inspire them to take one and continue to come back onboard. – Jason Leppert

Firstly to bring Costa Rica and Central America to life, not just for those that are looking to travel here but for those who want to be entertained and informed. To highlight not only the best aspects of a country but to highlight the aspects that matter. In due course I hope our Costa Rica Travel Channel will be the leading source of travel info, news and entertainment for Costa Rica. – Adam Baker

We strive for 100% honesty. We want to show you the good, bad, and everything in between. This includes the bus rides, our embarrassing miscommunication and we don’t shy away from “tourist traps” because a lot of travelers know that there is always someone hawking stuff and to not show it as it really is is a shame for that future traveler that isn’t getting the full picture. More importantly though, our goal is to interact with the place and people. Starting out, we were too shy to film people without their permission (due to language barriers) but realized early on that being on an island of Lynn & Noah is not interesting—it’s ALWAYS about the people. – Because We Camp

To educate, inform and inspire. – Eszter Vajda

My videos are meant to inspire people to engage with the world around them. I also want people to know that breaking out of your comfort zone, though terrifying at the time, leaves you with a rush that propels you in so many other aspects of your life. Within the last year I have told my mind to shush by learning to flyboard, longboard, mountain bike, ski and rock climb. Granted, this is no bungee jumping or skydiving but it is a way to break bounds and learn new ways to travel actively. – Carri Wilbanks

To inspire people to Live Better and Travel More by sharing my experiences and what I’ve learned from other cultures, lifestyles and customs. – Travelista Teri

One of the things I love about travel videos is that I’m learning about something at the same time as I’m sharing. So my goal is to inspire, but to also try to offer something valuable, like tips or advice at the same time. Also my goal is to try to be a positive influence by connecting with other cultures. – Mark Wiens

To show people that you actually get a more genuine travel experience when you travel on a budget. It’s more like travelling than going on holiday. – Mick Hobday

I’m a programmer at Tripfilms, so I basically spend some time maintaining the website and backend softwares we have, and I also work on some B2B projects. – Gustavo Matias

Our goal is mainly to share the beauty of the world and inspire others to pack their bags and travel! – Wander The Map

We’re not here to be the stars of the video. We let the location do the talking whenever possible. We want our videos to feel like you are walking around the destination yourself. – Lost & Found Travel

I like sharing my own experience, especially finding unique places—the less touristy parts of our journeys—to encourage anyone who wants to travel to go ahead. Take the chance. – Armando Costantino

I always have the goal to tell a story with my travel videos. I try not to make it simply about the facts. That’s why I hyper-focus on specific aspects of travel for each video—be it the views, a rainy day, the laid-back vibe of a place, etc.  I want people to walk away from my videos feeling like they were there with me, and I want them to always have a smile on their face. And in the process, if I inspire someone to go beyond their comfort zones and travel more, awesome. – Nathalie Basha

We like to be informative and entertaining.  We also want to show that Black people travel—to places beyond the islands—and have a good time doing it. – Global Lipstick

Registration Open for Women’s Travel Fest 2016

women's travel fest 2016

Registration is now open for next year’s Women’s Travel Fest. This three-day event will take place Friday March 4th through Sunday March 6th, 2016 at Angel Orensanz Foundation in New York City. The goal of Women’s Travel Fest is to inspire and encourage women to travel the world and help them connect with like-minded women travelers. Miki Agrawal, Annie Griffiths, and Megan McDonough are all scheduled to speak at the event.

Women’s Travel Fest was founded by Kelly Lewis of Go! Girl Guides and directed by Bare Feet host and filmmaker Mickela Mallozzi. To learn more about Women’s Travel Fest and to register, go to There’s good reason to move fast—early-bird pricing is available if you register before December 1st.

Check out the schedule here:

Twelve Travel Questions with Kelley Ferro


Name: Kelley Ferro
Home Base: Santa Monica, CA
Last Trip: China
Next Trip: Napa
Twitter: @kelleyferro

1. What are three things you take on every trip?

I always take a GoPro or two. They are so small, have long battery life—especially the new Go Pro Hero 4 Session. They come in handy on all trips.

I also always fold an extra bag into my laptop bag so when I’m through security, I pull it out and can adjust my bag according to what I need on the flight and what I am going to stow overhead. I make sure to put in healthy granola bars (specifically Simply Protein bars), notepad & pen, iPad, scarf, hand sanitizer and allover essentials for the flight. I hate having to get up and get things out of the overhead—especially on crowded flights.

I also always take 2-3 portable iPhone battery chargers. I see this as a safety precaution. There’s nothing worse than being in a jam and having no way to access internet, call or use Google Maps. Also, frequently I’m in destinations outside of the U.S. so my iPhone charger doesn’t work.

2. What is your best remedy for jet lag?

I try to assimilate to the new time zone as soon as I can, even before the trip. Once I get to the airport, I change my watch and mindset to the new timezone. It may be noon in the airport but if it’s 10 p.m. in my destination, I get a meal, maybe a glass of wine and try to gear up for sleeping on the plane. A neck pillow and an Advil PM usually allows me to get at least a few hours of sleep. 

3. What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place?

If I am traveling for work, which it usually is, the first thing I do is dependent on the itinerary and length of travel. Generally, I have flown overnight so I often try to get to the hotel, charge all my gear and get as much sleep as possible.

If it’s a personal trip, I really like to put on my sneakers and go for a run in the neighborhood. It helps me get my bearings of the new place and the activity puts me in a great mood and feels good.

kelley in brazil

4. What place has the best food? The worst food?

It’s all a matter of taste. I think almost every place has great food if you look for it. For me personally, I really enjoyed the food of Croatia. I love the natural products there—truffles, olive oil, cheeses and simply prepared, fresh foods. I also really liked the food in Egypt. Falafel, bean & vegetable salads and some really delicious freshly baked bread.

I didn’t happen to have many food options in Churchill, Manitoba, understandably since it’s about a 26-hour train ride from the next city and the freezing temperatures make growing their own food difficult. I also find Chinese food an interesting challenge. It usually tastes good but since I’m kind of a health nut, I often wonder if what I am eating is particularly unhealthy or not.

5. What is one place that changed your outlook on life?

Every single place I travel to changes my outlook on life. I think that’s the crux of why I have a job in travel. Immersing yourself in a new place, meeting people with a different perspective and culture—that always changes you and I think for the best.

6. What is your favorite travel quote?

Enjoy the journey.

So much of my trips involve lengthy travel times—long flights, waiting in airports, long drives—and instead of getting bored, I actually use that time to be productive or on the opposite end, to let myself relax. When you are in the air, you can’t answer emails and it’s tough to edit videos. I use that time to let myself stop and assess where I am, my goals, my next steps. I also use it to catch up on backlog work—like this interview for instance. I’m currently in the air flying from China. :)

kelley in shanghai

7. Is there any music that inspires you to travel?

I think I run to the beat of my own internal soundtrack —I don’t really need music to make me want to go somewhere. 

8. What is your craziest true travel story?

My threshold for what is crazy has truly risen so what used to be crazy is quite commonplace now. I still think some of my first trips, when I was just backpacking around Europe, sleeping in airports, choosing destinations on a whim—that was pretty crazy. Smartphones didn’t exist and internet was only found in wifi cafes so it was a much more spontaneous world. I once did a road trip of Spain and Portugal, hitting 6 destinations in 7 days—all with maps, bad Spanish and on a budget.

9. How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers? 

I think the travel consumer has finally realized the value of video as more and more travel sites adopt it. It showcases a destination that photos and text can’t. And when you find a video that focuses on what you are interested in, it can be so useful in planning your trip—whether to do that experience or to avoid it.

kelley in taiwan

10. What is the goal/philosophy of your videos?

I try to be authentic and to show a destination honestly. I always try to find locals and seek out the local things to do, see and eat. I try to get off the guidebook and go on recommendations from friends and from people that I meet when I am there. I definitely try to meet as many locals as I can.

My goal is to educate and share pieces of the world with others, especially those that may never go. If I can teach someone about another part of the world and have them understand a little more about us as a collective race of humans, I think that’s a job well done. I also really like helping people plan their trips better so when people tell me that they went to a hotel or restaurant because I recommended it in my video, I am extremely pleased. 

11. What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?

Just do it. Don’t be intimidated and don’t try to do what someone else does. Be yourself. Use the tools you have and remember that even your hometown is a destination to others, so go outside and hit record. 

12. What is your best travel tip?

Bring Emergen-C and hand sanitizer! Just kidding! Well those are great—but the most important thing to bring is an open mind and willingness to let go of fears and preconceived ideas. Finding a book on the location that you are traveling to—even a fictional book set there—can really help give you a sense of place and prepare you before you go.

Watch travel videos by Kelley Ferro here.

kelley with colorful house

Travel Together in Brazil with Kelley Ferro

Kelley Ferro travels to Brazil in the latest Travel Together video series. On her trip with and USTOA, Kelley has the chance to live like a local as she explores Rio de Janeiro and Salvador with local Brazilian guides. Follow along as she tries classic Brazilian dishes like feijoada, acaraje, and açai and experiences exciting adventures in Chapada Diamantina National Park from hiking to spelunking. Watch the videos below for a taste of the passion and culture of Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is as beautiful as it is cultural, and on our USTOA tour, we explored its peaks, beaches, historic neighborhoods, favelas and everything in between.

Bahia Culture

Bahia is a Brazilian state with an identity all it’s own. Salvador, it’s capital, has been the central port and thus a melting pot of this fusion culture. We explore the dance, the food, the art, the culture, and the charming towns through the people on this USTOA and experience.

Adventure in Brazil

Find adventure in Brazil.

Brazil: A Country Profile

Brazil is one of my favorite destinations—besides an incredible landscape, delicious food, unique traditions and vibrant cities, the PEOPLE of Brazil are just so alive. The energy is contagious—here’s a taste of it in our video.

Brazil’s Food

The culture of Brazil translates directly its food—each dish has a history, story and purpose. I loved the rich feijoada, the crispy acaraje, decadent churrascurias and of course, refreshing açai. Don’t miss the caipirinhas either!

[All video descriptions by filmmaker.]

Read more about the #TravelTogether adventure in Brazil here.