Travel Gifts 2013 Advisors

Meet the savvy and stylish experts behind Travel’s Best Travel Gifts.
Meet the savvy and stylish panel of advisors behind Travel’s Best Travel Gifts 2013. Our experts know which gifts are worth the splurge, which ones will get packed first, and which ones will seriously upgrade your next trip.

Get to know the expert panel that came up with the globetrotter’s ultimate wish list, including adventure traveler Mathew Karsten, the Expert Vagabond, Refinery29 editor Holly E. Thomas and Travel Channel’s own gadget guru, Rob Pralgo.
1. Matthew Karsten

Photo by: Matthew Karsten

Matthew Karsten

Matthew Karsten runs the popular adventure travel blog, Expert Vagabond. He's been exploring the Earth on a budget since 2010, when he quit a photography job and packed his life into a backpack.

Since then, he's camped on erupting volcanoes, lived with indigenous tribes, hitchhiked across the United States, volunteered in remote villages, swam with sharks and trekked through jungles around the planet.

Matthew's adventures have been featured on Mashable, CNN, National Geographic and The Chicago Tribune. He shares crazy stories, amazing photography and useful advice on his travel blog, while hoping to inspire others to get out there and see the world on a budget.
2. Holly E. Thomas

Photo by: Dominique_Fierro


Holly E. Thomas is the Washington D.C. editor for Refinery29, the largest independent fashion and style website in the US. She spends her days dissecting fashion trends, uncovering the best of the best in Washington, and helping readers make life a little cooler, more stylish, and inspiring.

Prior to joining Refinery29, she was a fashion and beauty columnist at The Washington Post, where she helped lay the groundwork for the company's lifestyle coverage. A consummate multi-tasker, she also penned a consumer advice column and covered Washington's creative subcultures for the paper's WP Magazine.
On the side, she owns and operates Butler & Claypool, a vintage retail business, and programs unique creative events at Tusk Studio, a multi-purpose artistic space in Capitol Hill.
3. Alisa Ng
Alisa Ng is the founder of – a curated online marketplace for travel-fashion enthusiasts. delivers the experience of "global travel" in the form of product and content discovery.

Over years of extensive travels, Alisa enjoyed searching the globe for unique, well-made and well-priced fashion merchandise. Alisa developed ShopLatitude to provide users with immediate access to exotic and exclusive finds around the world. ShopLatitude enables users to “shop abroad” without having to step out of their homes and offices. The site has received press accolades from Vogue, Travel + Leisure, InStyle, Departures,Town & Country Magazine and countless other fashion and travel magazines.

Prior to her entrepreneurial pursuit, Alisa was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley’s Fixed Income Division in New York and Hong Kong.
4. Meg Biram
Blogging since 2007, Meg Biram has turned her blog into a multi-faceted business. After years blogging about fashion, travel, interiors, art, business, and pieces of her life, Meg started consulting with businesses and brands on social media, online marketing, branding, and blogging. In 2012, Meg co-founded the online gift guide to & from and in 2013 she co-founded The B Bar — an online shop full of e-books geared toward bloggers and businesses. Recently Meg opened an online shop with a well-curated collection of products — some of which are exclusive collaborations Meg designs with the brand.

Meg has been featured in The Washington Post, Washingtonian, Daily Candy, Rue Magazine, Matchbook Magazine, Refinery29, and Luxe Magazine. She has worked with companies such as kate spade new york, bareMinerals, Nike, Starwood's The Luxury Collection, and One Kings Lane.

When Meg isn't working, she loves to travel — anywhere and everywhere! She loves to experience new people, new places, and new things. Meg loves to be outside, practice yoga, work on her abstract painting, and get lost in a book — especially on a beach.
5. Rob Pralgo
Rob Pralgo is a familiar face on He is the gadget guru in Travel Channel's Gear Guide as well as the host of Travel 911, a web series that provides tips on how to get through travel emergencies.

In the second installment of Travel Channel's Gear Guide, Rob features 12 of the coolest new travel gadgets on the market, from bedbug-proof luggage to the latest in smartwatches, smart phone covers, camera lenses and HD snow goggles.

Rob has had an illustrious career producing and acting in movies and TV shows, including The Blind Side, Army Wives, Vampire Diaries, The Gates, Prison Break, One Tree Hill and All My Children.
6. Sara Gilliam
With over 6 years of story telling and digital strategy under her belt, Sara Gilliam has a love for identifying trends and creating unique online experiences. At Travel Channel, she is the editorial lead for branded content, including this year's Gift of Travel package and daily sweepstakes.

Sara believes the best gifts are shared experiences -- and she has learned to pack light, since some of her best purchases have been collected during her travels.

She has eaten her way through Thailand, sailed around the coast of Greece -- and thought she died and went to heaven in Paris (not literally). In addition to travel, she loves smart design, clever headlines and all things pop culture. For Sara's latest adventures and insights follow her @Sara_Gilliam.

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