Packs Light

Gabby Beckford, Founder

Working remotely across the globe
Packs Light Packs Light
From diary to dream job

As a young aspirational traveler, Gabby Beckford initially created Packs Light as a diary to record her travel adventures for herself, family, and close friends. But what started as a passion project eventually turned into a full-time gig, launching Gabby as a Gen Z travel expert and a thriving resource for young travelers.

Gabby never imagined that she would become an entrepreneur, but she never settled for the status quo. Growing up in a military family, Gabby learned early on that travel was a way to learn more about the world. She moved frequently, which helped her become used to adapting to changing environments - she knew how to make friends quickly and switched schools and friend groups with ease. These experiences and her penchant for a more independent lifestyle prepared her to navigate the complex challenges of successfully managing a business as a young woman of color.

Packs Light
Taking the trek to cultivate an audience

Gabby's first foray into travel blogging involved her writing about daily musings and topics that she was personally interested in like solo travel, and study abroad hacks. But soon, she realized throwing spaghetti at the wall wasn't working. She started applying a bit of strategy to her blogging routine and began asking around about what people wanted to read instead of what she wanted to write.

And that's when things really took off.

She started creating content around opportunities that make travel accessible, including scholarships, fellowships and other "paid travel opportunities". She developed a tagline that reflected her goals: "seek risk, seize opportunity, and see the world."

"From there I was getting ten- to twenty-thousand views per month and refining it," she says. "When I graduated in 2017, I got more intentional about how to structure the site and what categories content would fall into."

The more she catered to the needs of her audience, the more the site grew, along with her social media accounts.

“For me, information and knowledge shouldn't have a paywall. The information I offer for free builds trust, so ad monetization is a good balance of making content accessible and still paying my bills!”
Keeping content - and adventure - accessible with ad revenue

Gabby now offers comprehensive travel information through digital products like courses and ebooks and services like influencer partnerships and 1:1 consultations with followers who want to learn how to make travel happen for themselves.

She thought she was going to be an engineer, but became a full-time digital storyteller instead. Packs Light has given her the flexible lifestyle she knew she was suited to and opened up the door to other opportunities.

She's been interviewed by NPR, given a TEDx talk on why more people should practice "delusional confidence", and recently spoke at a Google event in San Francisco.

Throughout it all, she's kept audience engagement top of mind.

While half of her audience find Packs Light through actively searching for destination-specific tips geared especially towards women traveling solo, many become aware of the site through social media. Given that her readers fall into the 18 - 30 demographic, keeping content free is important to Gabby.

She uses Google Certified Publishing Partner Mediavine to maximize that accessibility and offer free, ad-supported content.

"For me, information and knowledge shouldn't have a paywall," she says. "The information I offer for free builds trust, so ad monetization is a good balance of making content accessible and still paying my bills!"

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Gabby traveling the globe and working on her site.
Partnering with Google to get things done

To keep herself organized, Gabby has an entire arsenal of Google tools she regularly uses, including Google Docs, Translator, Analytics and Meet.

"I have an entire widget on my phone full of Google products, I love that they all tie together," she says.

As for the future, Gabby continues to upgrade the resources currently available on the site and plans to create a sub site with a membership platform to offer readers even more value - that is, when she isn't adding to the growing list of countries she's visited - 47 and counting to date.

About the Publisher

Gabby Beckford is a travel entrepreneur, digital media producer, and founder of Packs Light—a platform dedicated to helping young people grow and transform their lives through travel.
Gabby Beckford