Carmen Edelson is a full time luxury travel influencer and writer specializing in luxury and family travel. She started traveling about a decade ago through Europe and the Caribbean. Since she started in my 40s, she wanted to inspire others to learn more about the world. Her interest in traveling grew greater because she wanted her children to learn firsthand about other countries and cultures.
She launched her luxury website, Carmen's Luxury Travel in 2013 which specializes in luxury and family travel after receiving encouragement from a close friend to document and share her amazing experiences, love of travel, and photography. She is based out of Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Carmen has been kind enough to answer some of our travel questions below. Let's dive in!
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Carmen: When I was a child we didn't have the means to travel. I'm a Cuban-American whose parents immigrated from Cuba in the late sixties where I then grew up in New Jersey. I got bit by the travel bug in my early thirties when I found out that my grandmother was going on a trip to Spain to see our family which I had never met. I decided to tag along at last minute, and it was the best decision I ever made. That's when my love for travel began.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Carmen: I sailed from Mauritius to South Africa with my family over the holidays last year. I got to spend my birthday and New Year in a luxury safari lodge, surrounded by incredible wildlife, and it was an amazing experience!
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Carmen: Plan ahead but also leave room for spontaneity during your trip.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Carmen: I love following Marie from Luxury Travel Diva, Ana from Mrs. O Around the World, and so many other fabulous luxury travel blogs!
TA: What are the top 3 websites you use for research/inspiration when planning a trip?
Carmen: I honestly get so many ideas from Instagram! I love bookmarking beautiful places I see or amazing restaurants. It's fun and easy to scroll.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you've ever been given?
Carmen: The best piece of travel advice I've ever been given relates to packing! My friend once told me to pack everything I absolutely want to bring on a trip... and then take half out! Also keep in mind that if you're packing something you never wear at home, chances are you won't wear it on your trip.
TA: Which country has surprisingly good food?
Carmen: Scotland! When people think of Scotland, I'm sure their food isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But I enjoyed amazing farm-to-table cuisine throughout the country. People really care about where their food comes from here. I'm also a fan of seafood so I loved all of the fresh salmon. You haven't lived until you've had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast in Scotland!
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you've ever visited?
Carmen: In Europe, I think one of the most affordable and beautifully underrated cities is Madrid. For a capital city, the prices are fabulous. The streets are colorful, charming, and everything you'd expect from a European destination. The people are very friendly, and while there's not as much to see from a tourist standpoint compared to other Spanish cities like Barcelona, there is this special energy in Madrid. The restaurants are also incredible and I could spend all day walking around Retiro Park or visiting their famous museums like the Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia!
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?
Carmen: I think Portugal is very underrated, especially in the north! I love the city of Porto and the Douro Valley which has incredible wine for such an affordable price. There's so much more to this country than Lisbon or the Algarve!