In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts, we speak with luxury travel blogger and photographer Cameron Lee, the marketing expert and PR consultant behind the travel blog Out with Cameron. We chat with Cameron about why travel is so important to him, being named one of the top travel influencers in the world by Uproxxx and the Washington Post, why he says everyone should travel on their own and stop waiting for a companion, and much more. Check out his favorite destinations around the globe and his best travel advice in our interview below!
How did your passion for travel get started?
My passion for travel started when I was a kid. Both of my parents are from the airline industry so I grew up traveling a lot internationally and spending a lot of time on the plane as a kid. I think I really got into traveling about 7 years ago when I started going to London every year and realized how cheap and easy it was to travel to so many places when you’re already in Europe. I’ve taken flights to Ibiza, Mykonos, and Barcelona for under $100 and it really makes you wonder why it is so expensive to travel within the US. Every year, I make it a point to travel to somewhere I’ve never been, and that made me fall in love with traveling even more. Being exposed to different cultures really excites me.
Cameron Lee of Out with Cameron on a boat in the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand
What does travel mean to you? Why do you feel it’s important?
Travel recharges my creativity, my mind, and my soul. Sounds cheesy, but it really fills the void and the yearning I have for new experiences. It re-energizes me being in a different place and meeting new people. I think it’s so important because being exposed to a different culture can really open one’s mind. When I was kid, I traveled all over South East Asia with my family and during my 20’s I traveled a lot in Europe, all these experiences really opened my eyes and my mind to be totally open to a different way of living. It humbles a person and it encourages a global mindset to be more accepting of all cultures.
You run a website and blog called Out with Cameron. Can you please tell us a bit about it? What makes it special or unique?
Out With Cameron is the companion piece to my Instagram where I am able to dive more into details about my travel experiences, lifestyle topics, and hotel reviews. My Instagram is aesthetically driven whereas Out With Cameron is information-driven. If you like something you see on my Instagram, most likely you’ll find a blog on my site about it. It also gives my audience more info about me.
What makes me unique is that I am a PR/Marketing professional first before my Instagram. I’ve worked in PR/marketing for over 10 years and my Instagram was created as a tool initially to have a better insight of influencer marketing because I was spearheading a lot of the influencer initiatives at my job. I got so fed up working with influencers that didn’t know how to work with brands that I wanted to see how far one could go if it was done the right way. Needless to say, it took off for me and created a new career path for me. Since then, I’ve launched my own creative PR and Marketing Agency called OWC Media, which is short for Out With Cameron.
Cameron Lee of Out with Cameron exploring the concrete jungles of New York City
Both Uproxx and the Washington Post have named you one of the top travel and Instagram influencers around. What, in your opinion, makes your work stand out among the crowd?
I’ve been very fortunate to have been featured and interviewed by some major publications. I think what makes me unique is that I am a fusion of a travel photographer and a travel influencer. I have a specific aesthetic where I try to have a dreamlike quality to all my photos. They all have a cinematic feel and emotion to them and I think that resonates with people. I want my photos to invoke some type of feeling from people and that makes it different from what most travel bloggers or influencers are doing. I make it about the feeling, the surrounding, and the destination, I am merely a component of the overall picture. Most travel influencers are about capturing photos of them being at various destinations where I’m more about capturing destinations having me in them, so it’s not about me, it’s about the destination.
I was also interviewed by Business Insider last year because of my experience in PR/Marketing. I am considered a unicorn in the space because I have experience from the brand side, agency side, to behind the camera, and in front of the camera.
One of your top travel tips is to plan a foreign trip by yourself and to stop waiting for someone to go with you. What was the first international trip you took by yourself? What was the experience like and what did it teach you?
My first international trip by myself was when I was 18. I traveled alone to Paris for fun after high school. It was thrilling to travel to an international place by myself. I visited a friend there and he was able to show me around so it made the trip go by a lot easier. It taught me to be more open and how to make friends in a foreign country when you don’t know anyone. The best thing about traveling alone is that nothing and no one is holding you back. You are free to be you with no preconceptions about who you are and who you should be. it’s total freedom to make meaningful connections with people. One thing I’ve noticed from all my solo travel experiences is that the connections you make with people while traveling are often lifelong connections because they are the purest form of connection.
Cameron Lee of Out with Cameron browsing the selections at a market in Marrakech, Morocco
Your photography has been featured by various tourism boards and travel guides, as well as luxury designer brands like Monique Lhuillier, Zac Posen, and Zuhair Murad. What, for you, is the key to telling a compelling story in a still photograph?
It’s about capturing feelings and emotions, and that’s what drives a photo. It needs to invoke an emotional reaction for a photo to be more than just a regular photo. For designer brands, it’s all about having a narrative, without a narrative, the photos are just catalog stills. I always tell people I try to capture dreams and the photo needs to tell a story, that’s the key for me.
How many days/weeks do you travel in any given year? What types of places do you like to visit?
It varies, but I would say I travel maybe half of the year if you count all the travel days. Two years ago, I was gone almost the entire year and I wasn’t home for more than three weeks at a time. I try to manage my trips better now and only go on trips I truly want to go. London is a stable for me every year, and I try to go to different places from there whenever I’m out there. I am drawn to places with history and great architecture, but a beach destination is always welcome.
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
I hope to inspire people to open up their horizons. I am fortunate that I’ve built a career and a platform where I’m able to travel, and I’ve fully aware that not everyone is able to travel as much as I can. I hope that through my work and photos, they are able to come on a visual journey with me. I’ve worked in corporate for years before I started this career. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted and what I needed to do to get there, and I worked very hard to make this happen. I hope it also inspires people to go after their dreams and have the courage to step outside the box to pursue something that might be out of the norm of what people expect from you.
Cameron Lee of Out with Cameron diving into a pool in Barbados
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
London, the Algarve in Portugal, and Marrakech.
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of your top 3 destinations. Like a mini-guide or a to-do list of sorts. It can be anything from your favorite hotel, the best place to have lunch, the best sightseeing, etc.
London for sure! Top 5 for London would be-
- Stay at The Edition London, it’s one of my favorite hotels there. Beautifully designed and the lobby is stunning!
- Experience a meal at Sketch, take a trip to the restroom while you’re there. This is the place with the famous egg pod stalls. Words cannot describe it, it is the most Instagrammable restroom in London.
- Go up to the Sky Garden during sunset. You get a panoramic view of London at London’s highest public garden. Just make sure to make the weather before you make your visit.
- Visit during the holiday/Christmas season. If you don’t mind the cold, it is truly a magical time to be in London. There are tons of special events and decorations around the city during this time. If I had my choice, I would be in London every December.
- Go out for a night out in Soho. Vibrant nightlife you won’t regret!
How many countries have you visited so far?
22 or 23 at this point. Every year I try to add one to the list.
Cameron Lee of Out with Cameron in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
Chinese, Japanese, and Italian.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
This is a tough one! I would say probably Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London. The menu changes here, but a must-try is the Meat Fruit. It’s chicken liver and foie gras parfait mixed with mandarin orange jelly to create what looks like a small mandarin orange. You just have to order it!
What is your favorite travel movie?
Amélie. How can you not want to travel to Paris after watching this movie?
What is your favorite international airport?
Singapore Changi Airport
Cameron Lee of Out with Cameron surveying a gorgeous beach in the Algarve region in Portugal
Which city had the friendliest people?
Bangkok. This is also one international destination that I always tell people it’s fine to go solo because they are so tourist-friendly.
Who is your favorite travel companion?
A good friend. You will build a very special bond with anyone you travel with. I’ve become very close to some of my best friends from traveling together, but you have to be mindful of other people’s travel style. I am a planner, not everyone is. Now that traveling is my job, my friends understand why I need to plan out locations to get content whenever I travel so I tend to only travel with good friends who are OK with that.
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
I honestly never had a trip where I had free time to kill. If I do, I would find a beach and lay out all day or if you’re in a city, I highly suggest to explore the city by foot, it’s the best way to immerse yourself in a new environment.
Cameron Lee of Out with Cameron taking a stroll in London
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
I would say Barbados or Marrakech, especially Barbados. It wasn’t really on my list of places I really wanted to visit, but I absolutely loved it.
What is your best bit of travel advice for someone who wants to, or is about to, embark on a life of travel?
Get global entry and make sure you have a way of making an income while traveling.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
My camera, phone, laptop, and a nice hotel.
Cameron Lee of Out with Cameron enjoying the waters of Isla Holbox off Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula
What is your ultimate dream destination?
What is your favorite travel quote?
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”
Where are you headed next?
I had many trips canceled due to COVID-19, the next trip I have on the calendar is London. Hopefully, that’ll happen.
Cameron Lee of Out with Cameron
Considered a unicorn in the influencer space, Cameron started on the brand side with over 10 years of corporate and agency marketing/PR experience before transitioning to both in front and behind the camera. Combining his passion for travel and photography with his professional background, Cameron started building his Instagram in 2016.
Focused on luxury lifestyle and travel, Cameron creates visual stories on his Instagram, taking its audience on a visual journey of the best in life, style, and travel. Cameron approaches each project from a marketing/PR perspective and executes through an artistic lens.
Cameron was named one of the best travel influencers by Uproxx Travel and was profiled by The Washington Post as one of the Instagram influencers changing the way we think about the world.
His photos have been featured by CNN Travel, Forbes Travel Guide, London Tourism Board, Paris Tourism Board, Mykonos Travel Guide, Luxury Ibiza travel Guide, Los Angeles Tourism Board, and many other travel Instagram accounts. He has also shot for designers such as Zac Posen, Monique Lhuillier, Zuhair Murad, and more.