About Trusted Travel Girl
Founder of Trusted Travel Girl, Valerie Joy Wilson, believes that the best adventures lie just off the beaten path and that the only way to make the most of your travel is to experience each city like a local, not a tourist. Her philosophy is that it is not enough to just see the sites, but that you must fully immerse yourself in another culture.
Trusted Travel Girl's top priority is to share the travel tips to allow you to travel like an expert. Whether you are traveling on a backpacker’s budget or have money to spend, Trusted Travel Girl will provide you with the insight on where and how to travel like a local instead of a tourist.
Valerie Joy Wilson is a solo-female traveler, travel journalist, host, photographer, explorer and entrepreneur who has been a travel enthusiast and experience junkie from a young age.
Born and raised at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains in Saratoga Springs, New York, Valerie spent her summers at Camp Chingachgook where she found her sense of adventure and discovered her love for the outdoors by participating in canoeing, snorkeling, sailing, hiking and waterskiing.
Growing up, Valerie excelled in a number of extreme sports and activities, including martial arts, for which she earned black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and skiing, where she competed for Saratoga Springs High School in the Slalom and Giant Slalom races. She attributes her audacity and eagerness to explore the world on her own to the discipline and sense of confidence that these activities introduced to her at such a young age. Today, Valerie continues to prove her fearlessness by tackling expert ski terrain and participating in treacherous SCUBA diving expeditions.
In 2004, Valerie began her collegiate studies at Clemson University in South Carolina, where she was active on campus both socially and academically. She not only maintained her status on the Dean’s List, but also took advantage of Clemson’s study abroad opportunities in Italy, Spain, France, and China. Also while attending Clemson, Valerie was an active member of the sorority Alpha Chi Omega, which encouraged acts of charity and compassion. She has continued to uphold the philanthropic spirit instilled by Alpha Chi Omega by traveling to orphanages in Mexico to aid in charitable outreach.
Upon returning to Clemson in January 2008 after a brief sabbatical, Valerie was struck with a debilitating illness that left her incapacitated and unable to continue her studies. Despite reaching out to several doctors, she received no diagnosis for her condition until nearly two years later in late 2009 when she was finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Though usually treated with a healthy dose of antibiotics, Valerie’s case had progressed to a point that was unresponsive to treatment. Facing a distressing list of medical ailments, Valerie had to come to terms that this would be a condition that would affect her for the rest of her life.
But not to be discouraged, Valerie once again demonstrated her determination by returning to Clemson to complete her education. In 2013 she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Human Resources and set her sights on moving to Los Angeles. After moving to LA with aspirations to make her name for herself, Valerie found herself working long hours at a thankless staffing job. Realizing that this was not her true calling, she left this job to pursue a career in what she knew and loved best—travel.
For most, traveling is a passion, but for Valerie it is a lifestyle. Her approach to traveling has always been to travel like a local, not like a tourist. Thus, her journeys have led her to explore the hidden and unique places that each location has to offer and meet with countless individuals from all across the globe.
In her twenties, Valerie has visited more foreign cities and towns than most people do in a lifetime. Her adventures have taken her all over the world, through 6 continents. Though she is always thrilled at the opportunity to return to her favorite countries, she is eager to discover what new cities and towns have in store for her, across the map.
Valerie has completed a remarkable number of solo expeditions, beginning with a trip to London and Paris. Despite the numerous challenges and sometimes significant danger that comes from traveling alone, she has recognized how truly inspiring, exciting, and rewarding a solo journey can be. From being among the first American women to legally visit Cuba before U.S. relations were even re-established, to navigating Egypt amidst the riots of the Arab Spring, some of these trips have turned out to be her most memorable yet.
Valerie is not only obsessed with traveling, but is dedicated to helping others make the most of their travel experiences. In 2014, she decided to take the next step in this dedication by founding her own travel company and website, Trusted Travel Girl, LLC. In addition to writing about her experiences and providing valuable travel deals and advice on her website, Valerie also hosts her own video segments in which she reveals an intimate look at some of her favorite destinations.
Her tips and insight have garnered the interest of some of the most notable names in travel. Throughout the last several years, Valerie has worked with countless tourism boards, hotel brands, and travel goods brands to promote quality travel. She has even interviewed the industry's heavy-hitters such as Travel Channel's Samantha Brown, Rick Steves, Pauline Frommer, and Emmy Award winning travel producer Peter Greenberg.
Valerie's ultimate goal is to host her own travel series, where she can share her travel and cultural experiences with a wider audience.