Ø Who are you?
My name is Lauren Aloise and I am a full time travel/food blogger and food tour operator.
Ø Where are you from/Where’s home?
I’m originally from a small town in Massachusetts (the northeastern US), but I’ve called Spain home for the past 5 years and currently live in the center of Madrid.
Ø What type of traveller are you? Backpacker, full time traveller, luxury traveller?
I’m a part time city-based traveler. I travel around twice a month, generally for 3-5 day periods. A few times a year I travel for longer periods, but generally under three weeks at a time. And by being city-based I take plenty of day-trips and overnights from Madrid.
Ø Where was the first trip you took?
The first “big trip” my family took when I was a child was to Naples, Florida. I loved every moment. Later I saved money to travel with my school on an EF Tour to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland when I was 16-years-old. The traveling hasn’t stopped since!
Ø Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
I had an unfortunate incident in Portugal when an old man exposed himself to me. It was truly disgusting. But luckily that’s been the worst of it.
Ø What is the worst place you’ve travelled to and why?
I hate to qualify places! I have honestly enjoyed some aspect of every place I’ve visited so far. I hope that remains true in the years to come!
Ø Where is your favourite place in the world?
It might sound cheesy, but where my family is. I would never want to move back to Massachusetts (I hate the brutal winters!) but visiting my family there is wonderful. But weather-wise give me a sunny 70° day, a white sand beach and clear, safe water and I’m in heaven!
Ø How do you fund your travels?
I currently have a diversified stream of income and fund my travels by way of: income earned as co-owner of Madrid Food Tour and Devour Barcelona Food Tours, advertising on my blogs Spanish Sabores and Recetas Americanas, occasional freelance writing, and occasional sales of an old e-book I published. I hope to continue to diversify income streams in the future.
Ø What is your most fond memory from your travels?
It’s always when people have been involved. In university I spent four months living with a lovely family in Buenos Aires. I have great memories of long chats at the dinner table and family barbecues. And last October I had the amazing opportunity to meet my Polish relatives in Southern Poland– people I had never even seen pictures of before welcomed me into their homes and hearts. The family meals and time spent together were simply priceless.
Ø What would you be doing if you weren’t travelling?
Tough question! I can’t imagine a life without traveling. If I weren’t blogging and running food tours I would definitely still be involved in the travel world. Then again my family always said I’d make a great lawyer!
Ø Have you ever experiences any cultural faux pas?
When I was an exchange student in Sicily as a teenager I went out to dinner at a restaurant with my host family. The menu was divided into first plates (pasta and rice dishes) and second plates (meat and fish dishes). I assumed that you’d order both courses, and since they were being polite and had me order first I ordered pasta and fish. I was mortified when no one else ordered a second plate, and when it came to the table I was too embarrassed to eat it– luckily the men in the family polished it off!
Ø What is your Favourite airline?
The cheapest one, so long as they have individual entertainment on the seat backs (for long flights).
Ø Where are you offer to next?
I’m hoping to visit part of southern Spain this month, followed by Barcelona in September, Munich in October and New Orleans in November. Between the trips I have planned I know many more will come together too!
Ø What is the name of your travel blog and why did you choose this name?
Spanish Sabores is my blog. Sabores means flavors in Spanish, and since I knew I wanted to focus on culinary travel I thought it was clever. I now realize it isn’t a word most people know, which makes it difficult to remember. If I could go back I would probably change it, but instead I’ve embraced it!
Ø When did you start blogging?
I started Spanish Sabores in 2011, although I’d experimented with blogging since 2009. But it was in 2011 that I decided to really take it seriously and learn to do it as well as possible.
Ø Where did you start blogging?
In 2009 I used Blogger, followed by WordPress.com and now I have everything on WordPress.org.
Ø Why did you start a Travel blog?
I wanted to share lesser known travel tips with readers, especially related to getting to know local gastronomy while traveling. I think food brings you so much closer to a destination.
Ø What are you tips for new Travel Bloggers?
Focus on the website’s architecture. Decide what your categories will be before you even start and draw out a map of the site.
Ø Do you wish you did differently when you started out?
I wish I’d focused more on architecture as I mentioned above! It still takes self control to not blog about an amazing trip or restaurant when it doesn’t fit my site’s niche. Before I’d just do it, inventing a new category that didn’t really fit on the site. I’m still cleaning it all up!
Ø What has been your most successful blog post and what was it about?
11 Delicious Vegetarian Options in Spain— apparently there are a lot of vegetarians worried about surviving in the land of cured ham!
Ø What do you do to help make your articles successful?
I try to write about things I’m excited about and also things that I have good pictures of. I realize that in today’s world, images are more important than ever. I don’t ignore SEO, although I definitely let the content lead the post. Later, I promote over the following days on social media, mostly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Ø What social media platform is the most helpful for you and why?
Facebook is where I spend most of my time currently, so it definitely gives me the best results. My readers are on Facebook, and that’s my motivation for sticking with it, despite all of the changes they’ve made in the past year!
Ø Have you worked with any “big name” sponsors, if not who would be your dream to work with?
I’ve worked with various hotel chains and had an opportunity to work with the Asturias Tourism Board here in Spain but couldn’t take it. I hope to pitch them something in the future as it’s a part of the country I’m dying to explore!
Ø Do you have any tips for new bloggers who want to work with sponsors?
Perfect your pitch. Learn tips for making your pitch creative yet concise and tailored to each and every company you approach. It makes a huge difference!
Ø Which travel bloggers do you admire?
I think Elizabeth Carlson has done some amazing things this past year. Her blog, Young Adventuress, has a wonderful name and concept, and she produces really high quality work that is full of her voice.
Ø Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Stop making excuses and go! Travel doesn’t have to take you overseas, start exploring your own backyard.
Ø What is your Travel Motto:
I never thought about having a motto! I’ll have to think about that!