Taneva has already been to over 40 countries on five continents, where she blogs about the world’s most luxurious destinations and exclusive spots. She makes her permanent home in Chicago with her husband and son (and their beagle pup), but when she's not on the clock as an orthodontist, it's a safe bet she's planning her next vacation.
Ahead of spring breaks and summer getaways, the Instagram influencer and Bubbly Moments writer spoke with Fox News about saving money on vacation, taking pitch-perfect photos, and the things you should never forget to pack for a big trip.
FOX NEWS: Do you have any tips for saving money when booking spring break trips or early summer getaways?
EMILIA TANEVA: Book your trips in advance, or book them at the last minute. The first option tends to work out a lot better for most people, especially if you have children in school and a job with limited vacation time. Booking at the last minute, however, can actually yield some surprisingly great deals, but it only works if you are an adventurous spirit with lots of flexibility… but of course, that can be all the fun in traveling.
Some travelers also save money by booking vacation packages, but others feel they can save more by putting together their own itinerary of less expensive vacation rental accommodations or flights. You can subscribe to get email alerts about price drops of flights to popular international destinations. You can also see if you have any credit card reward points to use.
FOX: Over 630,000 users follow your Instagram account. What are your tips for capturing great pictures while traveling?
Taneva: I like to do plenty of research before a trip, but I'm always open to new shooting locations. I look at Instagram geotags and hashtags, local guidebooks, hotel magazines, and postcards for inspiration. I always prepare a few weeks in advance before each trip.
First, I plan the itinerary, choose the locations, hotels, book flights, and then start picking my outfits and accessories. I try to make a schedule for the day and leave enough time to visit several shooting locations. As far as food goes, I usually hope to stumble upon hidden restaurant gems serving delicious food in a unique environment. My Instagram posts are typically planned a few weeks in advance and I try to follow a mood board with consistent aesthetics, composition and style.
FOX: As the mom of a young baby, do you have any advice for traveling with little ones?
Taneva: I would recommend starting the entire preparation phase before traveling as early as eight weeks ahead of a trip. I definitely pay attention to a thorough itinerary; a packing list according to the weather and the destination; bringing as little baby gear as possible; not having a lifetime supply of diapers in my suitcase; utilizing the stroller storage bin for majority of the baby essentials; bringing plenty of snacks for older children; putting in requests for a bassinet on long-haul flights; adding an infant/child seat to car rentals; asking for a Pack N' Play at hotels or Airbnbs, and bringing first aid kit.
Getting travel insurance might be a good idea since you never know when something big or small could happen with children before or during the trip that could require trip interruption or cancellation.
FOX: How did you become a travel blogger and digital influencer?
Taneva: I'm originally from Bulgaria and spent a big part of my early 20s traveling in Europe, attending a variety of dental educational conferences. I enjoyed the different cultures and cuisines. I found traveling to be an adventure! During my residency in orthodontics, I traveled mainly in the U.S. There are so many wonderful places to see in the U.S. alone!
After graduation in 2014, I started traveling internationally and more frequently, and I was eager to share my adventures. The more I traveled, the more inspired I was to start a blog, Bubbly Moments.
During my days off of private practice, I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to travel around the globe and pursue my passion for discovering beautiful destinations and other cultures.
FOX: Where are three of your favorite places in the world to visit, and why?
Hawaii has that natural awesome scenery: the ocean surf, the sandy beaches, and the volcanic mountains covered in jungle foliage. The native culture of Hawaii is also very interesting — the luau, the hula dance, the music.
The Seychelles are a group of incredibly beautiful tropical islands off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean. The Seychelles have an interesting history of pirates and plantations; they’ve got natural beauty, surrounded by coral barrier reefs and offering a diversity of flora and fauna. There is also a unique Creole character intertwined with influences from the British colonists, Arab sailors, French settlers, African slaves and Chinese traders.
Dubai is an incredible city in the most unlikely of places. It reminds me of a futuristic Las Vegas in the Middle East, without the gambling. Dubai is a city of contrasts, from shiny shopping malls, theme parks, ultramodern buildings and five-star hotels, to exotic beaches and vast desert landscapes. There are tons of fun things to do in Dubai, like flying on the world's longest zipline or skiing and snowboarding indoors.
FOX: What should people never forget to pack for a big trip?
Taneva: Your passport and a backup credit card (or two). If you are traveling domestically, a driver’s license should be OK instead of your passport. But if you are traveling abroad, you can’t forget to pack the one document you really need to go anywhere. Buying a special passport holder is one way you can remember to bring it with you, and it can also be a place to keep those backup credit cards.
I also recommend storing a picture of your passport, ID, driving license and cards (front and back) somewhere secure, like in Dropbox or Google Drive. That way, if you lose them for whatever reason, you won’t be totally stranded with no way of getting around. Apple Pay is also widely accepted in stores and restaurants.
FOX: Do you have any exciting travel plans this spring?
Taneva: March will be a very exciting month for me. I will be joining Revolve and Virgin Voyages for a first-ever exclusive cruise to the Bahamas. Immediately after that, I will be flying to Hawaii with my entire family.
My sister and brother-in-law are coming all the way from Bulgaria on a 26-hour flight. I'm purchasing a condo and I'm looking forward to two fun weeks furnishing and decorating it while exploring Kauai once again. Kauai is one of the least-trafficked islands in Hawaii, and there is definitely a reason they call it “The Garden Island.” It has amazing jungles and dramatic cliffs rising out of the surf … it’s definitely one of the most photogenic places in the world!
FOX: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Taneva: I really like something that Gary Vaynerchuk once said: “Life shrinks and expands on the proportion of your willingness to take risks and try new things.”
As far as travel goes, try to discover new destinations, and let yourself experience the thrill and excitement of something you have never seen or done before. Planning a trip is equally exciting and fun as actually going on one.