active 8 hours ago

Lilly LeClair

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

Discover Colombia's Cities & Beaches - 8 Days

This fast-paced 8-day itinerary highlights three of Latin America’s most exciting cities. You'll start off in the cosmopolitan capital of Bogotá to explore the thriving food and art scenes, then fly to scenic Medellín, a hip metropolis making a comeback after a turbulent past. End the trip in Cartagena's Old Town, a romantic inner-walled city with colonial history. Too much city? You'll spend an outdoorsy day visiting Tayrona National Park for a dose of rainforest and the Caribbean Sea.

Medellín & the Andes - 4 Days

This fun 4-day jaunt spotlights one of Latin America’s most exciting cities -- perfect for travelers who love urban energy and culture. Set against the Andes mountain range, Medellín is a scenic metropolis fast on the rise with walkable neighborhoods, a free gondola, and year-round spring weather. After a few days exploring the city, you'll drive into the lush green countryside and visit an authentic coffee finca (farm), before returning to Medellín's cool bars and restaurants.

Isla Grande off the coast of Cartagena
Colombia's Caribbean Coast & Islands - 11 Days

An enticing draw of visiting Colombia's northern coast is close proximity to culture, mountains, beaches, and islands for the ultimate tropical adventure. On this 10-day itinerary, you'll start off in Santa Marta with two days of hiking around Tayrona Park. Make an overnight stop in Minca to visit a coffee finca before continuing on to Cartagena where you'll explore the city's quaint narrow streets with historic palaces, churches, and mansions painted in pastel colors. Then speedboat to the Rosario Islands for swimming and snorkeling before finishing the trip with one more night in Cartagena's romantic Old Town.

Take a day-trip to the Vøringfossen waterfall while staying in Eidfjord
Oslo, Bergen & the Hardangerfjord - 8 Days

Check out spectacular Norwegian scenery via the nation's efficient network of ferries, trains, and buses. Start off with a day in Oslo before making your way to Eidfjord, a village right on the Hardangerfjord. Ferry to Utne (another town on the fjord) and finish the week ferrying to seaside Bergen—a UNESCO-listed city known for its seven mountains.

Scenery on the banks of the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord
Multi-Fjord Adventure in Norway - 7 Days

This week-long adventure checks off several fjords and two cities using a variety of travel modes. Start with a day in Bergen on the Sognefjord before driving to the heart of the Hardangerfjord. Enjoy free time for kayaking and hiking to waterfalls, and then ferry through the Nærøyfjord to Aurlandsfjord. Finish the trip with a scenic train ride to Europe's fastest growing capital for cultural sites and sophisticated dining options.

A sunset ferry cruises the Hardangerfjord
Bergen, Fläm & the Hardangerfjord - 5 Days

This five-day jaunt highlights Bergen, where you'll explore hilly streets, UNESCO-listed architecture, and surrounding mountains on your own and with a local guide. Take a day-trip through the Hardangerfjord to a manor in Rosendal, ride the scenic Flåm Railway, and ferry through the longest fjord in Norway—all while returning to the city each night to enjoy a lively restaurant scene.