By Tali Hunt, The Miami Student
Miami alumna ('08) Rachel Rudwall and New York University alumna Andrea Feczko are co-hosting "Vacation Chasers," a new travel show on Time Warner's HLN, premiering at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, June 5.
"Vacation Chasers" will pit Rudwall and Feczko against each other in a competition to plan the ultimate vacation for their clients. These travel experts, who have traveled to nearly half of the world's countries combined, will work to plan an itinerary within their client's budget. At the end of every episode, Rudwall and Feczko will each present their vacation itineraries to the client. Their client must choose between the vacations, and the expert who planned that vacation wins.
"We're naturally competitive, it's not for the cameras," said Rudwall. "We are so comfortable with each other and we are so different and that translates into how we are on-camera."
Rudwall said their travels and careers in TV led her and Feczko to the realization that there are "no female travel hosts."
"We figured if no one is going to trust us to be travel experts, we would create the brand ourselves," Rudwall said.
She and Feczko worked to generate a fan base on social media by producing, hosting, shooting and editing weekly YouTube episodes of their show, "How 2 Travelers." Episodes feature travel tips, destinations from around the world and "Go or No" travel guides. They have released 85 episodes since fall 2013.
"We built it ourselves, hoping that we could be a voice and be a guide for young travelers," said Rudwall.
Social media plays a significant role in the show - more than just publicity. The show's clients are chosen from a pool of social media posts on Twitter and Instagram containing the hashtag #VacationChasers.
HLN will be releasing an app called "Vacation Chasers" to complement the show. The app will use a design similar to Instagram's platform. By displaying pictures with curated information, users can get recommendations from local experts for places to visit and activities to do while they are in the area. Users can also browse the app to gather information and plan a trip of their own.
According to an article by Brian Steinberg on Variety.com, "'Vacation Chasers' will be the third series HLN expects to launch in tandem with an already existing mobile app."
Four episodes of "Vacation Chasers" have been shot, and four clients have taken their dream vacations. After seeing photos from the trips, Rudwall and Feczko were thrilled to have played a part in someone else's adventures.
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"It's humbling to see all of the things they have experienced and how this show has changed their perception of the world," Rudwall said.