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Ahead of the pack: Meet travel blogger Jessica Corson

Local travel blog The Belle Voyage helps make sure everything fits for the destination.

Blogger Jessica Corson of The Belle Voyage. (Courtesy photo)

When the internet couldn’t provide blogger Jessica Corson with helpful information for her travels, she took matters into her own hands and created the blog The Belle Voyage. Now, she’s empowering female travelers with tips on what to pack, how to arrive in style and itineraries for popular destinations around the world.

PACIFIC recently found Corson grounded long enough to share her top travel destination, budget-friendly tips and even a few favorites around San Diego County.

Name: Jessica Corson

Age: 36

Hometown: Mount Horeb, Wisconsin

Current neighborhood: Cardiff

What do you do for a living? 
I work in the biotech industry.

Website/social media handles:
Instagram: @thebellevoyage
Twitter: @TheBelleVoyage

In her own words
I’m a Midwestern girl turned San Diegan who has lived and studied on four different continents. I regularly cross the U.S. for business, use my vacation days to embrace new adventures, and I always have my travel makeup bag packed and ready to go. I created The Belle Voyage in 2014 to inspire female travelers to make travel effortless and beautiful by providing destination guides and travel tips specifically tailored to the modern woman.   

Why did you decide to start your blog, The Belle Voyage?
Since I travel regularly for work, I am always on the hunt for ways to adapt my fashion and beauty favorites to a lifestyle that includes lots of carry-on packing. I had a hard time finding other blogs with a similar focus, so I decided to just write the book I wanted to read. It’s been a fun creative outlet, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many other wonderful female travelers and bloggers along the way.

What is your favorite destination to travel to and why?
No matter how many times I travel to New York City, I still feel like the small town girl who is seeing it for the first time. To me, the energy of the city is synonymous with possibility, and if I could bottle up that feeling, I would.      

What are some must-have items you should pack in your carry-on bag for a long flight?
My iPad is my lifeline when I fly. I have an app called Texture that allows me to download unlimited magazines, so I’m never more up to speed on celebrity gossip than when I’ve just flown cross-country! For comfort, I always have a big, cozy scarf, socks and lip balm.

Any budget-friendly tips for traveling abroad?
Accommodation can often be the biggest expense for travel abroad, so consider how you plan to spend your days, and choose your accommodation accordingly. If you’ll be busy with activities and sightseeing, a simple budget hotel as a place to sleep is much more practical. Save the upscale hotels for a time when you’ll be there to enjoy the property’s amenities.  

What are your road trip essentials?
Nothing makes the miles fly by on a road trip like a great soundtrack. Lately, instead of music, I’ve been loving podcasts. I listened to the entire season of S-Town on the way home from a recent trip to northern California, and it felt like the trip took about two hours instead of eight. A few other favorite podcasts are Serial and This American Life

What is your least favorite mode of transportation and why?
As long as I’m heading somewhere exciting, I’ll put up with just about anything. But truthfully, I get terribly seasick, so I avoid boats whenever I can. For once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I really don’t want to miss, like snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, I’ll get a scopolamine prescription from my doctor ahead of time. It’s a patch that you wear behind your ear, and it’s the only thing that truly works for me.

How do you avoid overpacking?
I pick a few key pieces that are versatile enough to be the foundation for multiple outfits, and I have a rough plan for what I’m going to wear on each day. Another great way to save space in your bag is by investing in one or two multi-functional pieces, like the ones carried by Encircled. One of their flagship pieces is a cardigan that you can wear eight different ways, including as a scarf and a dress – it’s pure genius.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to find in your suitcase?
In my suitcase, you might be surprised to find that there’s usually only one pair of shoes! I love shoes as much as the next girl, but it’s rare for me to bring more than two pairs of shoes on a trip. I wear the larger pair as part of my travel outfit, and pack the second pair.  

If you were able to plan your dream vacation, where would you go, how do you get there, where would you stay, etc.?
If it’s on the map, it’s probably on my wish list, so it’s difficult for me to pick just a single trip!  One place I would really love to go is the Maldives, an exotic chain of small islands off the coast of India. The Maldives are literally halfway around the world from San Diego, so I’d make a stopover in London along the way to break up the flights a bit. Since it’s a dream trip, I’d stay in a luxury overwater bungalow, one with a glass floor so that I could gaze down at the sea creatures below. I’d enjoy plenty of beach time and spa time, and have dinner on a deserted island. It sounds incredible!

What are some of your favorite San Diego stores or boutiques?
Sea + Wander in Cardiff is a chic new addition to the boutiques in North County. It’s one of my favorite spots for unique gifts and jewelry, as well as a well-edited selection of clothing. In North Park, nothing compares to Pigment! I think I’d move in there if they’d let me.

Favorite San Diego restaurant?
I adore The Pony Room at the Rancho Valencia hotel. The setting feels so secluded, and there’s nothing quite like sipping on one of their specialty margaritas by the fire pit on a summer evening.  

Favorite San Diego happy hour?
Anywhere with champagne and a good cheese plate! For me, that usually means Cucina Enoteca, Wine Steals or the 3rd Corner

What do you think is San Diego’s coolest neighborhood and why?
I’m loyal to my neighborhood, so I have to go with Cardiff. The vibe is laid-back and eclectic, and we’ve got VG’s Donuts, Pipes Café, and the world-famous Cardiff Crack at the Seaside Market. I love walking the clifftop path above Swami’s beach with my dogs and being grateful that no matter where I travel, I always get to come home to San Diego.


  1. Jessie

    October 9, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Love learning the ins and outs of life as a travel blogger! Your dream trip sounds heavenly and that’s exactly how I feel when i go to NYC too- wish I could keep the energy forever!

  2. sucka_free_since_83

    October 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve had a few friends plan out their vacays with her blog, including one to Spain! They love it. But I really can’t believe she packs fewer shoes than I usually do…

  3. Melissa

    October 9, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Jessica, I’m a huge fan and have read almost every page on your blog; not because I’m a crazy fan (well maybe a little) but because everything is interesting, fun, and useful! As a fellow work-traveler and lover of global travel I’ve found your blog to meet a unique need. Thank you for creating The Belle Voyage and I look forward to more stories and travel tips!

  4. Kelly

    October 9, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Great travel tips and a what a fantastic blog!

  5. MelissaS

    October 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    I’m so glad you featured the belle voyage for this article! I’m a San Diegan who has been a loyal follower of for years. She has taught me so much about fitting it all in one bag! I have so much makeup and so many hair, and skin products, I could never figure out how to make it all into one carry-on. She has fabulous tips, and suggestions for products. Her sense of style is very chic. I can’t wait to see where she goes next and what she tells me my next must-have buy is.

  6. Karen

    October 9, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Great article and thanks for featuring this creative, local blogger. I am already a big fan of her travel tips and stylish suggestions.

  7. Jenna

    October 9, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Jessica is absolutely amazing! Great article showcasing this talented blogger!

  8. Liane Wilson

    October 9, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks for the tips, Jessica! Even though I live in San Diego, I’ve never been to some of the places you mentioned – can’t wait to try out The Pony Room!

  9. Asia

    October 9, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    I love that you only travel with two pairs of shoes! That’s so important when packing light. I need to try some of those versatile clothing pieces you mentioned. Thanks for the tips!

  10. Gillian

    October 10, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Love this! Always looking for tips on how to pack the perfect carry on. Let me know once you figure out how to pack champagne and a cheese plate for flight enjoyment 🙂

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