Kamelia Britton is a San Diego-based blogger that focuses on travel, lifestyle and inspiration. Originally from Texas, Kamelia decided to take her first big trip overseas to Europe in 2006. Shortly after, Kamelia learned about “travel hacking” and discovered ways to travel to a new country each month for pennies on the dollar. In 2016, Kamelia created her blog called Hackerette, where she shares tips that she discovers through her travels and life experiences, always presented with a healthy dose of gratitude and inspiration. As an influencer, Kamelia currently enjoys an audience reach of over 274,000. You can learn more about Kamelia at Hackerette.com.
Give us a brief introduction including how you learned about error fares, which was essentially your first breakthrough when it came to hacking your travel, if I’m not mistaken?
It wasn’t my first, but it was definitely a key, pivotal point in what I’m doing now, actually. So the backstory on that is I didn’t travel as a kid. I didn’t get on my first flight until I was eighteen years old. I was a little bit of a late bloomer. I didn’t really leave the country until 2006. I went on my first big Eurotrip for two or three weeks and then realized I liked traveling – I didn’t really know because I hadn’t done it before. I realized I wanted to do more of it then I went down the rabbit hole of Google – I probably Googled something like “how do I travel for free” or something silly like that.
Of course, Google pops up with all of these answers and that’s when I learned about travel hacking. I kind of went down that rabbit hole and started learning about travel hacking and got really good at that – playing the game on credit cards and the systems like that. During that time, I discovered what is called an “error fare.” A mistake fare – a glitch in the system. Where you can travel the world through a mistake and you can be getting flights for pennies on the dollar so I figured out how to do those really well.
That was like a whole different level of the travel hacking game – that was before I started my blog, actually. The reason I started my blog is because everyone was asking me, “you’re a nurse, how are you in a new country once a month?” I was like, “well…” I got tired of explaining the process so I started my blog and I built a course and that was back in 2016 – a lot has evolved since then.
Are you still in nursing or do you do this full-time now?
I am definitely full-time. I was very cautious about leaving my nursing job, of course, for Instagram and blogging – which is really illogical in my nursing left-brain. After some time I was really able to do it comfortably. I kind of weaned a bit on my nursing – I did less hours, less hours, less hours until I finally just jumped. Now I’m able to [travel and blog] full-time.
I went full-time officially, maybe August of last year? It’s been almost a year, even though I’ve been doing this for three years. I was able to jump with confidence knowing that I was OK.
Your blog and Instagram in particular are amazing. Traveling is just one component of your life, as there are all the responsibilities of summarizing your trips, providing useful advice and compelling content. Do you do everything yourself or do you have a team that helps?
I do a lot of things myself… I’m slowly going [in the direction of using] a per-project team, I guess? I’m in the process right now of redoing my website, which I am super excited about. So that’s going to be coming as quickly as I can get it done, but probably not before a month or so. A lot of my blogging stuff is from so long ago, back in 2016 when I started so I’m excited to update it with a fresh new look of what I’ve been working on more recently.
I have a team as in a per-project team but I mostly do everything myself. I take all my own photos, I edit my own photos, I have an aesthetic that I’m drawn to and that’s not something I want to send out for someone else to do as it’s the part I enjoy. I do have a team, but not a full-time team. [They are more like] contractors that help me with different things. A lot of it is me.
What have been some of your favorite brand partnerships to-date?
I’ve done so many over the years and they’ve all been amazing – all of my partners. One that stood out to me was such an interesting and cool collaboration – it was something really unique that I had never done before… GoDaddy, the tech company, reached out to me and hired me to be the host of their Icons of Our Tribe project – it was a photojournalist project where I partnered with their staff photographer who has been traveling around the world, going around and interviewing entrepreneurs doing really cool things, you know, cool people doing cool things.
We were capturing it through a photojournalism project and I was the interviewer/host telling the stories of these entrepreneurs through my stories, through my Instagram posts – I actually wrote five blog posts for the GoDaddy blog which we published later on. Most of all, it was a great collaboration. They loved what I did and I was the project manager on that as well so a little bit outside of the Instagram platform but also tied into it because I was creating content for Instagram.
They ended up loving what I did and actually asked me to come to New York and help host the Create & Cultivate conference, so that was a really cool opportunity. I love doing that kind of thing, connecting with people and hosting things and getting more contact outside of the platform. I love Instagram, it’s definitely amazing but I also love doing things outside of the platform that’s more of a human connection-level.
When do you feel that you became an influencer, in other words the “ah-ha” moment where you decided that you could monetize this?
It’s such a progression. I started in 2016 and [been an] influencer wasn’t a thing – I mean it was, but [limited to people like] Kim Kardashian, not everyday people. So in 2016, I started out as a blog and I was going to sell my course and I did, on my error fares and things like that. That was really how I set out. I never set out to be an influencer. I was doing my blog and taking photos, working as a nurse and sharing tips and stuff like that.
I grew really quickly, for whatever reason, I think back then it was a lot easier to grow as well – I grew really quickly and had my first brand reach out to me, which was one of those food companies (Purple Carrot, I think) and they were like “hey, we’ll give you fifty bucks and a free week of food if you post this on your feed.” I was like “Ok, a girl’s gotta eat, why not?” So I was like, “Ok, I’ll try it.” But I wasn’t seeking it out, they came to me. I did it, staged it and I had just gotten back from Spain and I was like “I did this after Spain!” I worked it into my feed, with travel. I realized that content creation is an art and it was actually harder than it looks.
At that point, I was intrigued because I always loved photography and that was my very first one. I think I only had twenty thousand followers or something like that. Over time, I started to get more and more of them. They were kind of coming to me – I never really set out and sought out brands, in the beginning. That’s when I realized, “oh, people are making money doing this.” It wasn’t my goal in the beginning, it kind of just came and then I started getting invited on press trips and things like that… I think my “ah-ha moment” would be when I got invited on my first ever press trip to the Maldives. I was blown away, super excited. It was such a bucket list thing to be invited to and so I thought, “wow, I’m getting invited to go on a press trip so I feel like, at that point I was like, “I’m in this.”
What do you look to for inspiration? Are there other influencers, travel blogs, books, etc that stand out?
I obviously look around but I really just go and see what I see, first – to be honest. I mean, everyone goes to the tourist-y places but I think that is something you have or you don’t. You have the eye or you don’t. And maybe you don’t – and a lot of people copy and there’s always a shot to be copied because [for example] the Taj Mahal is the Taj Mahal and you can only do so many angles of that. When you go to a place and you see that beauty through your own eyes, that’s either a talent you have or you don’t.
Way before there was Instagram, I was the girl traveling the world and posting a hundred and fifty photos on Facebook albums for free, before it was my job. I loved editing [those photos] and telling my story and people were always like “I felt like I went to Paris because I saw your photos.”
This was something I was doing way back in the Myspace days, before there was Instagram so I think that was part of a natural thing that I’m like, “oh, I see it…” Like I have a frame in my mind’s eye and that’s also a mental muscle that works as you grow it. As you work on it you are always continuing to produce content and perfect your craft. So my inspiration is usually me going there and seeing what I see, for me. But everyone has a different process.
What are a few of your goals moving forward in the near future?
Yes, I’m launching my presets really soon. A lot of people have asked for that. It’s taken a while because I want to do it right. So I’m launching those soon, I’m redoing my website and I’m doing more speaking and things like that. I’m potentially going to be doing a group coaching kind of thing on my website once it gets redone so that’s kind of farther down the line but I have been loving getting more into hosting and speaking and doing things more connecting really outside of the platform and having that human element so I’m excited to see where that goes.
Note: Influencer Spotlights are edited for time and clarity.