In Episode 8 of 85 Percent, host Beth Santos sits down with masterful travel journalist, globetrotter, and entrepreneur, Jen Ruiz of Jen on a Jet Plane.

Episode 8  of the 85 Percent podcast is live and we can’t wait for you to meet the amazing woman highlighted!

New to 85 Percent? Here’s a quick intro

85 Percent is a new podcast hosted by Wanderful’s founder and CEO, Beth Santos. We’re talking about the fact that 85% of travel decisions are made by women, yet women are consistently left out of travel marketing and leadership.

In each episode of this podcast, Beth sits down with a trailblazing woman who is making moves to create a more equitable travel equation for all of us.

Introducing Episode 8 with Jen Ruiz

Jen Ruiz holds many titles including lawyer, a TEDx speaker, #1 Amazon Bestseller, 2018 Reader’s Favorite Award Winner and the 2023 Bessie Award winner for the category “Most Impactful Piece of Writing”. Before her 30th birthday, Jen decided to take 12 trips in 12 months. She not only surpassed her goal completing 20 trips in 12 months, but within those 12 months, her whole life changed.

00:03

Jen Ruiz: What do you know that can help other people understand that you don’t have to be the foremost expert on anything? That people actually sometimes like to meet you at the level that you’re at, so they can grow with you and see your growth as well. So you don’t have to be at the very end of like your gardening phase. And now you have a million projects that you’ve done.

You can be a gardener who’s starting and you’re like, “Come with me to learn about how to make sure that your plants don’t die from over sunning” or whatever the case may be.

Start there, pick your expertise, make sure that it’s something that you enjoy doing, and that you want to keep doing, because that’s going to be key and add sustainability, because you’re gonna have to keep doing this, even if you don’t see results right away, which means that the results can’t sway you.

Welcome to the 85 Percent Podcast

00:49

Beth Santos: Did you know that women make 85% of travel decisions, whether booking a trip for our families, or cleaning the hotel rooms, women are the backbone of the travel industry, but the people we see in travel shows marketing and leadership. They don’t look like us. Now we’re cutting through the noise to talk to the changemakers the trailblazers and the women who make travel what it is and how we can make travel better for all of us. This is 85 Percent. I’m your host, Beth Santos. 

This is Jen Ruiz. Jen is, well she’s impressive. She started out as a lawyer, then became a full-time travel blogger and author. She has been an Amazon Best Seller multiple times, has spoken on the TEDx stage three times and has won numerous awards as a travel journalist. She’s been featured by the Washington Post, Forbes and ABC News and is the solo female traveler behind Jen on a Jet Plane where she’s built an incredible following on TikTok. Jen was also a 2023 Bessie Award finalist for most impactful piece of writing. 

What are the Bessie Awards?

The Bessie Awards are named after Bessie Coleman, the first woman of African American and Native American descent to hold a pilot’s license. They honor women and gender-diverse people have impacted travel, particularly influencers, creative entrepreneurs, marketers, and other representatives who’ve contributed really unique voices and work to the travel industry. And they’re hosted every year at the WITS Travel Creators Summit in cities around North America. 

The impactful piece of writing category is really special because it celebrates a specific accomplishment, a piece of writing, usually a blog post that was published in the last year that made a real impression on people said something important and stood out. Jen’s article was called ‘Why You Shouldn’t Cancel Your Upcoming Trip to Puerto Rico’. It was about the devastation of Hurricane Fiona in 2022, and why travelers shouldn’t opt out of traveling to Puerto Rico because of it, but rather use their tourism dollars to economically support an island that needed it. 

I had a chance to catch up with Jen and hear a little bit more about her story. How did she get to where she is today? Especially after starting her career in law? At what point was she like, this is for me? And what lessons could the rest of us learn from her decisions or even her mistakes?

Bessie Awards 2023

Where did Jen’s passion for travel come from?

03:17

Jen Ruiz: I think my first really big move into travel was when I was taking a high school trip with my mom.

After graduation, we went to Europe, it was two weeks long. And my mom had never been to Europe, so the two of us together, we went on this little Trafalgar tour that was organized by AAA back in the day. It was nice.

But what I realized was that we could actually do more if I went off of just even a dummies guide to Europe. So I had a book and I was like, “Mom, I’ve read that we could just take this train and it’ll take us to Stonehenge, I think we should go like we should ditch this group that’s giving us a ham and peas and frozen foods, and we should go and like eat and experience this place and really be in it.”

And my mom was hesitant, but I was like I’m confident that with this guide, like it tells us exactly how much it costs. It tells us where we have to go like I feel we can figure this out. And that was my first time really traveling on my own accord and feeling that sense of independence and accomplishment that happens when you make travel happen for yourself. 

A few years later, when I was graduating law school or getting close to it, I realized that I had spent seven years in higher education and a lot of money. And I’ve never gotten a study abroad opportunity out of it. And so I was like I want to find a way to travel.

I ended up signing up for a class that I had to take for a semester on International Law. And I did a summer abroad in Sydney with the Australian Law Reform Commission. It was completely out of my comfort zone because that was my first time being on the opposite side of the world from everybody you know, so I was like nobody’s awake right now.

I rented an apartment in Sydney. It was really interesting because Sydney’s a very expensive city. And so for me as a law student, there it was, it was a lot. It was my first time really experiencing, complete and utter like leap of faith somewhere. After three weeks, I had that little hump of homesickness.

And then I was like, “oh, I actually really like it here”. I made friends. I went out, I met people from all over the world, I ended up in the middle of the mountains of Australia with like a group of people watching an Australian versus Yemen soccer game, like cheering on the Yemen side with 12 person, Yemenis family, and just really interesting experiences where you’re like, I feel very alive. And then I didn’t get any of that as a young attorney, because I was working so much. And then that’s when I decided to take my 12 trips in 12 months challenge, which is what led to everything that’s happening now.

The recipe for travel

05:54

Beth Santos: It’s great to get away from the everyday demands of life, and travel can be an awesome tool for that. But rest and relaxation are just one of the ways we travel. In my opinion, a true travel experience consists of three things, challenging your preconceptions, trying something new, and getting uncomfortable. Forcing ourselves into new environments where we learn and grow, learn from other people, other cultures, even ourselves. That’s when we’re getting the meatiest part of the travel experience. Where it’s affecting us the most. It’s having that constant curiosity that makes us travelers, no matter where we go.

06:35

Jen Ruiz: Having that total immersion really makes you have to make friends, have to put yourself out there, have to get to know the people and do things in a different way. I noticed immediately that the burritos were very different. But yeah, so it is really a wonderful experience.

And that’s why I think everybody who can and has the ability to almost has the responsibility to travel. I always feel very compelled to travel because I feel like I’m the first person in my family that’s had this opportunity.

There’s so many women around the world that would give anything to be able to travel without borders in any kind of sense. And to have a passport that feels very strong and to be able to go places without being questioned a million times, with all these, you know, documentations or sponsorships needed ahead of time.

And I don’t take that for granted. I feel like just by pure luck, I happen to be in this body at this time when women are free to do all these things, how wonderful that I get this opportunity. And I should, you know, take advantage of that and see as much as possible and hopefully in doing that tell the stories of all the women that I meet along the way.

Locals vs Foreigners 

07:46

Beth Santos: In episode six with Yulia Denisyuk, one of the topics we discussed was how she didn’t resonate with the word locals. She believes that it creates a divide between the people visiting the area and the people who reside there. I told Jen about that conversation and she offered this perspective in return.

08:03

Jen Ruiz: I share Yulia’s perspective, but it is a controversial one. Because there is a sense of ownership, there’s a sense of livelihood being threatened, or impeding on your culture, or somehow erasing it. And I think that for me it’s more, “where do you want to make a home?” and “how can you contribute to making that home a better place?”

We all have also a duty there in terms of community and the place that we choose to be because we want to live somewhere that is supportive somewhere that, you know, helps us thrive. That’s one of the best parts of being involved in your community. And I’ve always made an effort everywhere that I’ve lived, I’ve lived in so many different places, which I’m sure you can relate to and that’s part of what gives you that mentality. 

I feel privileged to have been able to live in so many different places to have family that tried to expose me to as many things as they possibly could, and the best that they knew how. When here in Puerto Rico, a lot of places, this island has attention of foreigners versus as Yulia would detest locals and people who have lived here and now feel like they’re being displaced and so, it is really hard to walk that line and know that I don’t look at every person that is here and not Puerto Rican with the same lens. 

I actually have a lot of friends that have come here and have contributed to the island. I have a friend who started a farmers market who has 80 vendors that are all local farmers and they come you know every two weeks and they rake in the dough because I’m paying like you know $30 a pound for these like, you know, really well tended to lamb chops, which are like the happiest most grass-fed playful lambs on earth. And so you know, like I’m paying a premium for this. I know they’re making out good dollars and so this is good business for everyone on the island.

And so with that I don’t think that anybody should be disqualified by locality, I really think it comes down to what you’re contributing to a place.

And I also don’t want to say that you need to contribute to a place just to be worthy of living there. Right? Because I have friends also that have felt like here in Puerto Rico is very difficult for them, because they were always being questioned, like, “well, what are you doing for the island”, and they’re like, “well, I’m living here, I’m following the laws, I’m paying, you know, my taxes. I’m paying like fines, and we rent from a local landlord”, again, I feel they felt very anxious, and they ultimately ended up moving back to Florida, they’re a mixed-race couple. And so they felt like they were trying to find their long-term home and wanted it to be somewhere that felt easy. 

And so I think that those tensions are felt in these spaces and it can affect the well-being of the people there it affects, you know, everything, because it’s not going to change, I don’t think that we’re going to regress to a point that all borders are locked down, everybody stay where they are, where you are, you’re now that you know you belong to that place. I think it’s only going to continue to get more expanded with people traveling in between places, with people wanting to move, with people marrying people from different places, you know, and having family in different places. 

So we travel more now, it has been a slow progression as transportation has changed over the last century, but as our generations have blended, it’s impossible to go back to the way it was. So I think it’s going to just be a slow change over time. Especially now that that’s fueled with the remote work and how that’s changing things and people having the ability to go other places.

So it is really interesting to strike that balance to see where we are today with the emboldening of identity. Now as we move forward into an age where there isn’t as much conformity into what we want you to be into this, you know, adopting the US patriotism, and you know that it is okay to recognize indigenous roots and all the other things and to lift that up and celebrate it and have it be mainstream, that’s relatively new. That’s not necessarily something that’s come around, I would say, like in the last 30 years or so, right, that it’s really been celebrated. And more so as with every passing year.

Travel is not one-sided

12:10

Beth Santos: The thing I think people often forget about travel is that it’s not one-sided. We travel to experience places, yes. But those places experience us too. It’s a constantly flowing and ever-evolving machine. Our experience in a place depends at least in part by how others treat us and interpret us. In return, we interpret a place back, we treat it a certain way, we leave a certain mark. Understanding this delicate balance is important for all of us travelers. And understanding that places are not stagnant, that they’re made up of people and cultures and biases gives us the freedom to understand the importance of intertwining factors like context, identity, even time.

12:58

Jen Ruiz: I’m normally not even taken for Puerto Rican, but this person took me to be Puerto Rican, and then immediately started speaking a little slower to me, and was like, “you speak very good English”. And I was like, “sorry, I know. I have a law degree”, and so it was very interesting that experience. So that was very interesting for me to have that perspective and to see what that felt like to come face to face with somebody who maybe I don’t know, if it’s like willfully obtuse, I think it’s really most of these people that come here are in their own bubble, and seem like they don’t really know much or care to know much about the local population, I don’t think many of them are meaning. I really do think it just because it comes from a place of not knowing any better. 

And so I think that’s where we step in as travelers because for us, there’s no problems that being out of the bubble, we don’t have any issues going and exploring the island meeting people talking to people that comes so instinctively and easy to us that it can be difficult to remember that normal people experience some kind of nerves and anxiety about that, especially if there’s a sense of hostility, it can cause people to divide and to huddle up into their own groups and to seek comfort in people who are familiar to them.

For us who are from different places, you know, you have a patient husband, I have a background and my family speaks multiple languages. I have all of these different things that allow me to feel comfortable in places that are not familiar to me. But there are some people who’ve only ever been in their own city who’ve only ever, you know, known their own people. And so I think that we want to progress that forward. 

And we as travelers can be that bridge between these groups where we can say hey, small businesses here around the island that have amazing things to share with tourists that don’t get seen enough, that really are preserving traditions and you do want to be seen and you maybe hold grudges that people aren’t giving as much light to this as you’d like, we can help you get seen and hey, tourists that are here, or hey, people that have moved here and want to experience more of the island, you like these things, it can be in a way where it’s elevated, and done so in a way that educates.

Why mindset is so important while traveling

15:28

Beth Santos: Sometimes social media makes us think that travel should always be perfect. But actually, some of the best parts of travel are the misadventures. The moments when we’re taken off guard, when we’re surprised when we’re forced to try something new. Those are when we learn the most, when we let the travel experience take over. Often, it’s more about mindset, and how you handle it than anything else.

15:55

Jen Ruiz: It is definitely a journey that I am going on and I’m taking people along with me. So it’s very interesting, because I don’t feel finalized in any way. And I feel like I’m still experiencing my growth, and I’m still learning and it’s interesting to do that, while sharing that with people and realizing that that authenticity, and that the mistakes I make along the way, and how I grow along the way is actually what interests people the most.

And it’s what makes people want to root for me. It’s always really interesting to see the people that I inspire sometimes I’ll have stories of the ‘Solo Female Travel Book’ in particular, because I think that’s a topic that appeals to women worldwide. I had women writing me like from Russia, and from Mexico being like, “I want to do this too” or “your story really spoke to me”. And I was like, wow, this is a global thing, we as women experience this everywhere. 

So I wanted to tell those stories. I think that that’s one of my biggest joys is being able to reach that audience in whatever way I can. So recently, with social media and TikTok, I’ve been able to take people along a video journey, I’ve been able to share things that maybe people don’t see, like, hey, I’m a solo female traveler, and I’m traveling alone in Egypt.

And you know, and it shows people that it is possible because I think people think, oh, first I have to go on a tour, or I have to go on an organized thing, or I have to go with a chaperone of sorts, or a man or something’s gonna immediately happen to me. So I want to show that planning your own trips is possible. Really, it’s almost basic, like you’re just booking flight, accommodations, activities everywhere you go. Like, it’s all the same formula. 

So I want to empower people to really see that and to take the fear out of what it means to travel because a lot of that comes from just fear of something different, fear of not knowing, fear of what will happen when I get there, especially in the solo travel realm. And I think it’s in that moment that you find out really wonderful things happen. The world you know, is there to help you, amazing experiences come your way.

And so that’s why I think solo travel is addictive, in those moments where you never know what’s going to happen, and how it’s going to turn around and how that’s going to end up being a blessing in disguise. And I think that comes down to a lot of mindset work that you have to do and thinking you know, like everything’s working according to plan, the universe has everything in my favor kind of thing. 

I think solo travel is addictive, in those moments where you never know what’s going to happen, and how it’s going to turn around and how that’s going to end up being a blessing in disguise.

Jen Ruiz

When I was in Mexico, I lost the rental car keys on the first day. I had to pay $200 to get those replaced. I had an issue with my driver’s license because I took the wrong golf cart and how was I supposed to know my key worked in the golf cart. Like I took a cart, I brought a car back and I got into a fight with the people who refused to give me my license back until I returned the proper car. And so there’s just like so many things that went wrong.

Ultimately, those all ended up being a blessing. My whale shark tour was canceled because of weather. And I ended up going on my first diving experience where I dove at the underwater museum because I was determined I was like okay, things have gotten off to a rough start time to recoup this. I did not come on wait in Mexico to like just be here in the middle of like a storm losing everything paying extra to like sit at the Airbnb.

And I made my list of like, here are all the shops that we’re gonna call on we’re gonna figure out somebody who’s doing something today and we’re gonna go somewhere, I don’t know what it is, but whoever it is and answers and then finally someone answered it was like, you know, it’s not gonna really rain that hard til like 2 so if you can get here by like 11 we can take you on a short diving trip and I was like sold and it was great!

Building a successful career 

19:30

Beth Santos: In addition to her winning the Most Impactful Piece of Writing Award, Jen has also written three books, the ‘Solo Female Travel Book’ – tips and inspiration for women who want to see the world on their own terms. ‘The Affordable Flight Guide’ – how to find cheap airline tickets and see the world on a budget. ‘25 Ways to Work From Home’ – smart business models to make money online. She also has a new book coming out in 2024. Jen has built a career on helping people in that starting phase of time travel and exploration, because she conveys the possibilities of travel in such a charismatic and easy to understand way. Her following on TikTok has reached a quarter of a million followers.

20:12

Jen Ruiz: From a type A background and a Hispanic family and like all these expectations of what a woman should be by 30, right, you should be married, you should be with children, you should have the perfect life with the perfect career, and you should have the perfect body, you should be perfect. And so, and I didn’t feel like I had checked off any of the perfect boxes. I felt like time was running out to get them checked out by 30. And so I didn’t want to spend that year worrying about that. Instead, I was like, okay, how can I direct this nervous energy that I have so much abundance of into something that actually is productive for me, and I was like, I can put it into planning travel, planning travel, it’s like a lot of details. Great. 

That year, I took ended up taking 20 trips, 41 cities 11 countries, while working full time, it got a little messy, it was definitely intense. I had certain things I knew for sure I wanted to do, like I knew that July, I wanted to go to the lavender fields of France, because I love Beauty and the Beast. And I love lavender. And so I just wanted to go around and like saying we’re gonna be songs about fabric, that was my joy.

I started teaching English online in the morning. So like from Saturday’s from like midnight to 6am I’d be up teaching Chinese kids how to speak English, and doing that to supplement my attorney income so that I could afford these trips. So I was working really a lot and I was traveling a lot, there was so much of that nervous energy that I just redirected into like adrenaline to keep me going. 

I didn’t realize at the end of it that people have been watching the journey and wanting to know how I was traveling so much. And I have been inadvertently sharing flight deals, you know, San Francisco round trip for $22, and a room for like, you know, 70 bucks. And I ended up writing my first book about that.

Learning about book marketing and realizing that you want to write the book that people want to buy, not necessarily the book that you want to write right away. Because you already have people asking you for this. It’s similar to blog posts who like put out the content that people want to read. And once you’re established, put out whatever you want to write as much as I’d want to write about this year, which is what I’m doing now. And the memoir, five years later, people are asking me about these flight deals. So let me put together a book on how I got all these flight deals, you know what I mean, as well. 

And I did everything I could to learn about self-publishing, to learn about what goes into putting a book together, marketing it. And it was a success. It did, it became a bestseller in eight categories on Amazon. And I was like this is all the proof I need I quit!

And I did everything I could to learn about self-publishing, to learn about what goes into putting a book together, marketing it. And it was a success. It did, it became a bestseller in eight categories on Amazon. And I was like this is all the proof I need I quit!

Jen ruiz

22:42

Beth Santos: For over 10 years, Jen has been building an informational empire dedicated to the solo female traveler. And it all started as a blog. So how did she do it?

22:52

2014 was when I first started a blog, and I was learning about the businesses I went I had the teaching online as something that I was making enough income and could do more of when I transitioned. So that was a crutch to help me as I really invested into my blog as a business, and my books and everything else that came after that. And so it definitely wasn’t an overnight thing. 

It is a difference in mentality that I had to adopt when I made the switch that I think also similar to what we were talking about with people having a different mentality went travel a lot when you’re from different borders when you’re from you know, mixed families and backgrounds.

And so that was definitely a different mentality for me that I had to embrace when I went into freelance because stability comes from having a good job, you don’t have enough money, then you need to get a raise and make more money at that job or at that career.

The idea that real stability comes from having multiple income streams is pretty radical, and actually makes most people feel like you are unstable. You don’t have that salary, you don’t have a pension, you don’t have that reliable check. And it wasn’t until I realized and got that supplementary job where I was like, huh, even doing this on the side, making an extra $2,000 a month because I worked so hard to ask for a raise in my legal job before $5,000, it came out to like $100, $50 more paycheck like very minimal, and that extra $2,000 a month now that was more cash for me to play with that significantly gave me more rain to work with.

It changed my life and how I was able to go about things. Going from paycheck to paycheck from, you know what I’m given and what I now have to budget and allocate to, how can I make more to support what it is that I want to pay for. 

The idea that real stability comes from having multiple income streams is pretty radical.

Jen Ruiz

I used to be so limited by money and I still it’s an ongoing process, but it’s crazy to see how far I’ve come in that I used to have a very strict budget for what I would get every pay period. Then that would go to all the expenses, and there’d be very little leftover. And now, I feel so abundant in knowing that there are so many other ways to make income. So if there are these, you know, constant passive income streams, things that I know are coming in every month. That’s not it for me, at any point in time, I can choose to make more money. At any point in time, I can launch something new.

How to start your own business

25:21

Beth Santos: And what would you tell someone else who’s looking to build a business for the first time?

25:25

Jen Ruiz: What do you really enjoy? What would you do? If you had free time to do it, whether or not you’re getting paid to do it. I would definitely travel, whether or not people were paying me to travel, maybe for you, it’s cooking, you really love food, you love making delicious things. Maybe it’s gardening and I also really love all of these things. By the way, I’ve considered blogs on all these things. So I would start there with what’s your core interest? And from there, how can you share that in a way that is valuable to other people?

What do you know, that can help other people understanding that you don’t have to be the foremost expert on anything that people actually sometimes like to meet you at the level that you’re at, so they can grow with you and see your growth as well. So start there, pick your expertise, make sure that it’s something that you enjoy doing, and that you want to keep doing, because that’s going to be key in sustainability, because you’re gonna have to keep doing this, even if you don’t see results right away, which means that the results can’t sway you. 

And even when you do see results, sometimes you’ll go back to like dole period, so you have to be okay with doing it, because of the love of it not because you think every single thing you create is going to take off. Because sometimes you’ll have courses that don’t take off, sometimes you’ll have posts that don’t take off, sometimes you’ll have things that don’t take off. And that’s okay, that’s part of being an entrepreneur. 

And so from there, figure out how you can provide value to your audience, and then figure out the many different ways that you can package that value. Because again, you have so many options, from group coaching, to events, to books, to courses, or media, or digital products and downloads, really anything that you can think of. I love blogging, because I think that as we continue to become an online society, if you haven’t staked out your place online, it’s going to be very difficult to stand out.

You need to be out there, you need to be visible. And that means that you want to make sure that you’re being present on all of these different media outlets, more important than TikTok more important than Instagram. It’s your blog. It’s your website. That’s your address online. And so I think that that’s really where everybody should start and then figure out what marketing strategy you enjoy.

What Jen Wishes for Women in Travel

27:39

Beth Santos: Hey, you just got a free masterclass on how to be a successful entrepreneur. You’re welcome. But Jen isn’t finished yet sharing her wisdom, I had to know through her entire entrepreneurial journey, what she wished the travel industry did for women. 

27:55

Jen Ruiz: I want to have an umbrella of all women, because even then we have subsections of women, right? So like ageing women, minority women, solo traveling women, like there’s so many ways in which all of us could be better represented and seen. But I think in general, it’s important to make women feel like it is more of a right than a privilege or a responsibility. And I think that for so many women we feel shameful about sometimes about taking time to ourselves, about going somewhere when we should be, you know, working, we shouldn’t be taking that vacation or going somewhere fabulous. And so I think that we should help women feel like it is your right to travel, it is right to be seen, it is your right to be able to cross borders freely, it is your right to be able to leave your home country and come back.

And so I think that we should help women feel like it is your right to travel, it is right to be seen, it is your right to be able to cross borders freely, it is your right to be able to leave your home country and come back.

Jen Ruiz

I know that that’s very difficult, especially in countries where women are seen as having the duties to stay home. That if they go somewhere that it’s going to ruin who they are, they are entitled to as humans, the ability to see the world to broaden their minds to learn to have that education. And despite it being something that I think that we publicly say is the truth. I mean, do we really think that women around the world are free to go wherever they want, whenever they want, at any point in time, to do what they want, to learn what they want, to see these things, to educate themselves to learn, and to empower themselves? 

No, I think that sometimes we really miss that part of the equation and so many micro ways and so many microaggressions even from assuming when you’re checking in that it’s the man that’s going to be paying, and the room reservation is going to be under them. To the way that you are marketing things and the people that are in the different advertisements and how women are represented. So it’s a whole world and we are slowly changing and we’re doing that by letting women know that travel is for them too.

29:49

Beth Santos: As someone who has shown us time and again how to achieve whatever we set our minds to. I know Jen will only have more exciting adventures to come to find out more about Jen, check out our show notes and follow her on Instagram at @jenonajetplane. I’m Beth Santos. And this is 85 Percent. 

About the 85 Percent Podcast

Women make 85 percent of travel decisions. So why are we not 85% of travel marketing?

85 Percent explores what it means to be a woman in travel through interviews with leading women in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

From CEOs, to travel influencers and writers, to women who work in cleaning and maintenance, we’re cutting into the underbelly of an industry that is predominantly made of women, but still fails to include them, and is hosted by Beth Santos, founder of leading women’s travel network, Wanderful.

About the Host, Beth Santos

Beth Santos of Wanderful
Beth Santos of Wanderful

Beth Santos is a passionate entrepreneur and community builder out to disrupt travel for women worldwide. She is founder and CEO of Wanderful, an international collective of travelers and travel content creators on a mission to make travel better for all women. She is the creator of the WITS Travel Creator Summit, a leading event for women and gender diverse travel creators, the annual Bessie Awards to honor women of impact in travel, and the first major outdoor travel festival by and for women, Wanderfest. 

Beth has been named one of 17 changemakers shaping the future of the travel industry by Business Insider, one of 12 women to follow by Conde Nast Traveller, and one of 20 influential women in the travel industry by Travel Pulse. In 2022, she was named Godmother of the Azamara Onward cruise ship. 

She is the author of WANDER WOMAN: How to Reclaim Your Space, Find Your Voice, and Travel the World, Solo and works to amplify underrepresented voices in travel while challenging each of us to do better in her work as a keynote speaker, an industry consultant, and a startup and small business coach. At home she is a co-owner of Ula Cafe, an inspired cafe and community hub in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, where she lives with her husband and children.

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Ready for Season 3?

Season 3 of the 85 Percent Podcast will highlight the winners of the 2024 Bessie Awards and the work they’re doing to make travel better for women worldwide. Stay tuned for 9 new episodes to drop in fall 2024!