Interview with Jen Ruiz, Author and Travel Blogger

Jen Ruiz Jen Ruiz has been a TBEX speaker, a TEDx speaker, and just scored a few awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association. She runs the blog Jen on a Jet Plane.

You are now a travel blogger, writer, speaker, and author, but what did you study in college and do before this?

I have a B.A. in political science from Florida International University and J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.

I thought I was going to run for office and change the world. Then I realized politics and law are exhausting and your ability to make a difference is limited by a lot of administrative red tape.

That said, I don’t regret my education. I may not be practicing law but I use the skills I learned every day and take pride in having an esquire title. It’s helped me navigate the world of entrepreneurship and gives me instant credibility when approaching new clients.

What’s the slant of your travel blog and who are you trying to reach?

Jen on a Jet Plane helps young professionals fly for less and experience more.

Many people think traveling is out of reach for them but once you find a cheap flight, you can vacation almost anywhere. There are affordable accommodations, dining, and activities around the world. It’s the flight that’s cost-prohibitive for most.

I help ordinary people find extraordinary deals. I myself have scored deals like a $38 flight to New Zealand and $16 flight to Ecuador. I make it as easy as possible so readers don’t get overwhelmed by point conversions or complicated math.

Jen Ruiz interview

Ideally, I’d like to reach readers who are finally becoming established in their careers and are looking to reward their efforts with a bucket list adventure.

You’ve got some books out that you published yourself (what I usually advise for authors that care about money) and they’ve done pretty well. What kind of income do you get from your books and what’s coming next?

I definitely recommend self-publishing for authors looking to generate passive income, establish authority in their niche, and bring in warm leads on auto-pilot.

I have three books currently on Amazon, all about travel. I make around $600 per month from these books. They’re priced low to be accessible because my ideal reader is on a budget, so they’re between $.99 to $12 for ebook and paperback formats.

affordable flight guide

I am working on my 4th book and my next series will cross into the business genres, expending my potential reach on Amazon.

I’ve also used my status as an author to land two TEDx talks and more than 30 podcast interviews.

Last time I saw you was around the New York Times Travel Show, where you had a book signing. Tell us how you overcame the obstacles to get that slot and how it went during the show.

I initially applied to be a speaker at the 2019 show but was unable to attend because I was in Bali. I considered cutting my trip short and returning for the show when I was offered a slot at the “Meet the Experts” portion of the event but ultimately decided against it and resolved to follow-up the following year.

You need a vacationI applied through the normal channels for the 2020 show and did not hear back. I emailed my original contact for the show who’d suggested a “Meet the Experts” session in the first place but it turns out she was no longer with the company.

Then I reached out to the event organizer, forwarding him the chain of emails between myself and the former employee and reiterating that I was already going to be in town for a conference (ending the day before the NYT Travel Show), that I’d love to add the event to my schedule, and that there was already a topic suggested.

It took some time but I got a follow-up about a month before the show confirming my time slot. I also got my books into the book signing, despite not having an answer to the “send us your publisher’s information” query.

In the end, my books sold out at the show. At the session, I had a setup allowing for about 4 people to sit at a roundtable with me — there were more than 30 people in attendance and a crowd formed.

Jen Ruiz at New York Times Travel Show

I hope to leverage the success of this opportunity into a room for next year, and encourage anyone who has a goal to not be deterred by the first (or second, or fifth!) setback along the way.

What are your other income streams?

I make money from ads on my site through Mediavine ad network, some affiliate links (mostly Amazon but this is minor), freelance writing assignments, and sponsored collaborations with brands.

Someone hands you $10,000 to travel with, no strings attached. Where would you go and what would you do?

It’s been on my list for some time now so I would definitely head to Egypt to see the pyramids and splurge on the most luxurious tour package available.

A close second would be to go on safari in Kenya and stay somewhere like Giraffe Manor.

Jen Ruiz travel author

Jen Ruiz is a lawyer turned full-time travel blogger and author. She is a #1 Amazon bestseller and Readers’ Favorite award winner. Jen is also a TEDx speaker and has been featured as a budget and solo travel expert by The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Business Insider, CBS This Morning and ABC News. You can follow her adventures on her website, Jen on a Jet Plane, where she helps young professionals fly for less and experience more.

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