Forbes Business Council, Newsweek Expert Forum and Rolling Stone Culture Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is the Executive Editor and Producer of The Luxe List International News Syndicate. She is an internationally-regarded travel and tourism, consumer trends, leisure and lifestyle expert–a good life connoisseur and tastemaker who keeps her finger on the pulse of the B2C and B2B marketplaces in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the luxury extreme. The best of the best across all travel, service and product categories–as well as noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers–are spotlighted in her exclusive column, “The Luxe List,” which reaches an audience in the millions each month through multiple syndication channels: print and online editorial as well as broadcast TV.
As a prolific travel trends pundit, Merilee not only reports on newsworthy destinations but also titans of industry in relation: industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories. Merilee is a contributor to dozens of print and online media outlets, including Forbes.com, FastCompany.com, RollingStone.com, Newsweek.com, Impact Wealth, High Rise Life, Private Air Luxury Homes, JustLuxe.com, LuxeBeat.com, LuxuryLifestyle.com, Mann About Town, Resident.com, Coastal Home Life and Food & Beverage Magazine, among scores of others: https://muckrack.com/theluxelist/articles
In addition to appearing on copious national and major market/network TV programs throughout the U.S. each month featuring travel and lifestyle solutions, Merilee is also the creator, executive producer and host of the Savvy Living lifestyle TV show (www.savvyliving.tv) that airs weekend daytime on major TV networks in top U.S. markets: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa and San Diego. She also created, produces and hosts Savvy Ventures (www.savvyventures.tv)—a business-oriented TV show that also features travel trends, which airs weekend daytime on Bloomberg TV and FOX Business TV (combined reach of 152 million TV households/cable subscribers).
Merilee holds a MBA degree from Nova Southeastern University, and memberships with the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, the North American Travel Journalists Association and the International Travel Writers Alliance.
1. What got you into travel writing?
My professional life has always been in the communications realm with writing a paramount skillset—and one that I wholeheartedly enjoy. It’s a an art form and significant creative outlet for me. So it was only natural for me to apply that energy to write about experiences and destinations encountered for both my business and leisure travels. My travel writing is intended to ease and enrich the lives of others, and no other professional endeavor has been as satisfying. Early on I was also lucky enough to be engaged with various noteworthy luxury, lifestyle and leisure publishers willing and wanting to run my work, which served as an added dose of motivation.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
Summarizing and encapsulating amazing destinations and activities in written form in a way that’s not too verbose, but that duly conveys the scope, breadth and distinctiveness of the experience.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
For better or worse, my laptop…
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
A simple question with a huge answer—so many of my experiences are lucky enough to qualify here. I do have to say that one of my favorite places, which is most certainly unusual and unique, is the Las Caletas beach hideaway near Puerto Vallarta. In addition to daytime dining and an array of activities like watersports, pottery and much more to be found on this mystically-outfitted island, they offer an incomparable dinner show experience called Rhythms of the Night. You can find a narrative I wrote about it on Food & Beverage magazine here: https://www.fb101.com/enchantment-abounds-puerto-vallartas-rhythms-night-dinner-show/
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
I was keen to participate in highly reputed travel organizations that could connect me with fellow travel journalists as well as travel and tourism purveyors worldwide, and NATJA was the clear-cut choice. I have been a member for many years with no regrets.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Endeavor to cut through the marketplace “noise” with fresh travel topics and angles that are not only of interest, but that have not already been covered at length (or, optimally, at all). Having timely, relevant, compelling and well-articulated concepts are pillars of travel writing.