Travel Enthusiast’s Dream: Nina Ruggiero, Trailblazing Founder of ‘Be a Travel Writer’ Class!

June 20, 2023

Thank you Nina Ruggiero, Travel and Leisure‘s digital editorial director and founder of the “Be A Travel Writer” course, for joining me on my podcast!

Nina told me, “Don’t be afraid to ask to do the things that you truly want to do.

Learn more about her new “Be a Travel Writer” course- where they teach everything you need to know to get started.


Lisa Niver:

Good morning. This is Lisa Niver, from We Said Go Travel and I am beyond excited and honored to be able to interview today, an editor from Travel & Leisure, who I just met in real life in Ireland. Hi, Nina.


Hi, Lisa. Thanks so much for having me on. Nice to see you again, since Ireland.

Lisa Niver:

My goodness, that trip was amazing. I love Maren and Travel Classics.

Nina at Ashford Castle for Travel Classics Ireland 2023



We met so many great people. Maren’s amazing and Ashford Castle, you really can’t beat that setting for a travel conference.

Lisa Niver:

That place was amazing. But even more amazing than Travel Classics, and Ashford Castle, is YOU! You are an incredible premiere editor at Travel & Leisure. Tell people about what you do now, and how did you become an editor at Travel & Leisure. Congratulations.


Thank you so much. I’m the Digital editorial director at Travel & Leisure, which basically, means I oversee the digital team, everything from special packages to day-to-day coverage. We do everything from travel news to features, to SEO and travel guides. It’s a great job. I love it so much. I’ve been at T&L for seven years now.

I started as a senior editor, then deputy and now this. I’ve seen them under three different companies, and it’s been a little bit different each time, but we’re growing and evolving, and the traffic to our website is much higher than it was when I started. We have a really engaged audience.

And in terms of how I got here, it was a long process. I knew I wanted to do it since I was in college. I decided I love traveling so much, it’s my greatest passion. Anytime I’m not in school, I’m traveling. I’m spending all the money I have on traveling, and studying abroad, and all of that. Then I found out, travel writing is a real job.

I wasn’t sure if that was a full-time job. So, to get there, I did so many other types of journalism, first. I did take one travel writing course in college. It was the only one that they offered at the University of Miami. We took a trip to New Orleans and I did my first ever travel reporting from there and I just loved it. But I also needed a job.

When I graduated, I did local news for a while. I was, literally, chasing fire trucks and police cars, and reporting on a town that I was assigned to, sometimes even a house fire in the middle of the night. It was crazy. Then I ended up getting a job covering fashion for a few years, which was fun. I just got a little bored of it after a while. And then, I did all sorts of other things, I covered lifestyle, wellness and politics for a little bit, which I did not enjoy. And then, the main thing that got me to T&L is, while I was doing all of that, I didn’t forget that I wanted to be in travel.

So, wherever I was, even if my job was fashion, I figured I could also contribute to the travel section. When my job was hard news, but no one was contributing to the travel section. I asked, “Can I do it?” So, everyone kept saying, YES! because if you’re getting your actual job done, no one’s ever going to say, “No, don’t do more work.” So, I worked a lot of Sundays and things, but I really built out my travel clips. And by the time the job at T&L came about, I had plenty to show for myself, in terms in the travel world, even though that hadn’t been my job.

That being said, I know we are going to talk about my “Be A Travel Writer” course that I am doing right now, to teach other people, and a part of the reason that I wanted to start that, is because I don’t think everyone’s journey needs to be quite as long as mine. I did all that for about 10 years before starting at T&L, so it’s a lot. It was really rewarding along the way.

I took a sabbatical at one point, I moved to Sicily for a few months, and just traveled around Europe, and wrote about it, and was sending stories back to the New York newspaper, I was working at the time. It was very New York centric, the place I worked. I wrote a New Yorker’s guide to Athens calling it “East Village of Athens.” Those stories did really, really well, and gave me momentum when I came back to my normal job to keep doing travel content as well.


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