active 1 min ago

Lilly Graves

I'm a freelance writer, photographer, and travel planner originally from Northern Michigan, affectionately known as 'Up North'. My first paid gig was through — a start-up travel site, now owned by TripAdvisor, who sent me to photograph and review hotels in the U.S., Caribbean, Central America, South Pacific, and South Asia. Since 2011, I've covered 500+ properties around the world.

During this time, I worked for's Personal Travel Planning team customizing honeymoons and family vacations for members of the site. Among other projects related to travel, I've helped open a restaurant in Chicago and a hotel in Brooklyn so food, wine, and hospitality are high on the list of things that make me smile.

How did you get involved in travel?

"I saved up funds and took my first round-the-world trip in 2006 — a three-month budget adventure through Australia, Asia, and Europe. To stay in touch with friends and family, I started a blog and became hooked on travel writing and photography. A few years later, I moved to London to attend journalism school and (no surprise) stuck to the travel industry. During the course, I completed internships with the London Times Travel Desk and the New York Times Frugal Traveler, which led to my first job out of college. From then on it's been all about travel and hospitality. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"After a long journey of two trains, three planes, and a boat to get to the Maldives to review hotels for six weeks, I should have gone straight for the shower. Instead, I pulled out my camera to take the first photos of the trip when a double rainbow appeared in the Indian Ocean. "

Featured trips & expertise

Very few crowds on the Lofoten islands this time of year
Northern Norway in Autumn

Travelers heading to Norway's northernmost region between September and November will be rewarded with brilliant fall colors, empty roads, migrating wildlife, and glass-topped igloos. Weather can be unpredictable, but the chance to explore Tromsø, Alta, and the Lofoten Islands in near solitude is worth the risk of early snow. Read on for more info on visiting the tippy-top of mainland Europe in the fall.

Bogotá & the Colombian Highlands - 8 Days

With this outdoorsy, yet culturally rich 8-day tour, you'll explore the historic and cosmopolitan side of Bogotá before heading north through the scenic Colombian highlands towards two of the country's most photogenic cobblestoned towns. Here, you’ll visit the underground salt mines, hike the Iguaque Lagoon, bike the Suarez Canyon, and finally explore the Spanish Colonial wonder that is Barichara — oozing with charm — before flying back to the capital's buzzing restaurants and nightlife.

Cartagena Clock Tower
Colombia's Quintessential Highlights - 14 Days

Perfect for first-timers, this classic Colombian itinerary starts in the cosmopolitan capital of Bogotá and then travels north to the Caribbean Sea. Along the route, you'll visit the famous salt mines and charming colonial towns like Barichara and Villa de Leyva, with hiking in the Iguaque Sanctuary and biking in the Suarez Canal. Once you reach the coast, you'll spend a few days exploring the stunning Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona where you'll encounter white sand beaches, rainforests, and one of the few coral reefs in Colombia. You'll end with two nights in the romantic inner-walled city of Cartagena.

A pretty snowfall in the historic waterfront city of Bergen
Norway in December: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

December attracts Christmas and New Year travelers looking to spend the holidays in Norway's festive villages and cities—or perhaps the snowy north, where you can search for the Northern Lights, hit the slopes, or take a reindeer safari. Let this monthly guide help you find the best places to visit and things to do.

Fall colors and crisp air in Norway's capital
Norway in November: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

Take advantage of the last autumn colors in November, a month offering fewer crowds, Northern Lights, great whale watching, and the cozy feeling of 'kos'—the Norwegian version of the Danish 'hygge'. There's even a culinary festival featuring a favorite local delicacy. Read on to learn more about visiting November in Norway.

Norway in October: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

October is an ideal time of year to enjoy Norway's colorful fall scenery in peace and quiet, as travelers are few and far between. This is also when days get shorter, temperatures drop, and the Northern Lights begin to reappear above the Arctic Circle. Find out what to do and where to go with this monthly guide.