VACATION CREATION MEET ANDREA FECZKOPicture by Vacation Creation                                                             Written by Sammi Turano

Tell me about yourself and how your career got started?

I'm a TV Host and YouTuber - or as you call them now, a social influencer. The short story is that I started making YouTube videos and now I'm hosting a network show! But when I say that's the short story, I mean it, as I've been working toward this goal of hosting my own travel show for 10 years. After graduating from NYU, I started working for the first MCN (multi-channel network) called Next New Networks in NYC. I was hosting shows for them as well as acting. One of my acting videos went viral: Kesha's Tik Tok Parody. It's been named the #1 Most Viewed YouTube Parody of all time. One of my mentors at Next New Networks, Ben Relles, said I should start my own YouTube channel. I started with skits, then moved to a countdown show called Hot Mess, and for the last four years I've been concentrating on travel videos. That combined with taking every hosting job I could put me in the position to get my first TV show on HLN called Vacation Chasers and now I'm hosting ABC's Vacation Creation. Apparently, I only host TV shows with the word "Vacation" in it. :)
What is Vacation Creation?
Vacation Creation is a heartwarming show on ABC where my co-host Tommy Davidson and I give deserving people the vacation of a lifetime. Some of these people have overcome incredible challenges or losses and others are celebrating new life ventures like marriage or simply finding love! 
How is it different from other travel shows?
It's a travel show with a heart. It has all the gorgeous cinematography and exotic locations you expect from a travel show, but each episode has a real story. Vacation Creation is really inspiring, because the people we feature are truly kind, authentic, and generous people. 
What do you hope fans like about it?
I hope that fans enjoy the journey we take them on as well as come away with it feeling good. When I say Vacation Creation is a heartwarming show, I really mean it! It will make even the coldest heart thaw for a half an hour and sometimes it will make you feel grateful for what you have in life. I've definitely heard of people watching the show and turning to their spouse or calling up their family to say I love you. I also hope fans will learn about the world! This year we are definitely focusing more on spotlighting the places we cruise to and about all the incredible things to learn about the world. I am a student at heart and that's why I love to travel, because you're either learning something new about a place, something new about history, or something new about yourself. It's always exciting.
What are some highlights from filming?
Orcas!!! We "ran" into a pod of killer whales in Juneau, Alaska, which is incredibly rare. If you're ever gone whale watching you know that usually you see one or two humpback whales, but this time around we came around 50 orca whales. Tommy makes fun of me because I am a tough cookie to crack, I rarely cry, but I got teary eyed watching these whales. I also had an ape in Gibraltar grab my hair. I was incredibly proud because I do my own hair on the show, and not even the ape could move my ponytail out of place. That's a total girl highlight moment that some girls may be able to relate to. In the season premiere episode, we are with the Bowlick family. The father had recently come out of a coma and we took him to an eagle rescue center in Alaska. He released an injured eagle back into the wild, which was symbolic of his recovery, and let me tell you, there was not a dry eye in the place. It's moments like that that really make you appreciate life and what you have, and I feel very spoiled and blessed because we have those moments almost every day on set. This show has made me a much more grateful person.
What are some of your favorite travel destinations?
 I have been to some places through Vacation Creation that I never thought I would go! We cruised to St. Petersburg, Russia, which was very important to me because I have a bit of Russian heritage. My mom used to make beef stroganoff for me when I was little, so to go by the Stroganoff house where it was invented was a total "geek" out moment. I'm also a HUGE foodie. I don't look like it, but I love food. We actually had to implement a "two bite" rule during filming because I would always eat all the food at dinner and there would be nothing left when we wanted to film. oops!
I absolutely loved Moorea, which is close to Bora Bora, but less touristy and less expensive. (pictures are on my Instagram).
This season we go to Norway for the first time and I was absolutely blown away by the beauty. We experienced the midnight sun where the sun barely sets during the solstice. It was really cool! But terrible for jet lag. I never really have a problem with jet lag because I’m always traveling, but when the sun doesn't go down, it really messes with your clock! I'll always appreciate night from now on.
What are some tips for traveling on a budget?
The biggest thing about traveling on a budget is to figure out what you want to spend your money on. You can spend your money on everything or nothing. Meaning, when you're traveling you may feel like you need to stay at the best hotel, go to the best restaurants, and have the best seat on the plane. But if you want to be on a budget, figure out the few things that are really important to you and scruff it for the rest. So, for example, I don't mind sitting in coach so I'll go for a cheap ticket. But, I do like to stay in a nice area so I'll spend more on a hotel. Also, I enjoy shopping so I'll use more of my budget to buy something cute, whereas I don't like to spend my money on food- partly because I eat so much! So I always go grocery shopping and bring snacks from home for my journey so that I'm not tempted to dine out. An example is that we were in Venice and I really wanted to go on a gondola- which is expensive! So, I budgeted the gondola ride and for dinner I went to the grocery store and bought a bottle of amazing wine and cheese and meats for basically nothing. That day, I ended up spending less than those who didn't do the gondola ride and ate and drank in San Marco. It's all about prioritizing!
Where else do you want to visit?
The blessing and the curse of travel is that the more you travel, the more you realize how little of the world you've seen! The next two places/to-dos on my list are Morocco and an African Safari. I recently went to Cuba in a quick break in between filming Vacation Creation and I encourage everyone to go visit while it's still open. The cars are no joke. It's truly a different world. 
What would fans be surprised to know about you?
Well, definitely how much I eat and how much I love food. I say that because we're still filming Vacation Creation and I'm teased on set all the time about it. I am also a really big nerd. I don't geek out about everything, but when I do, I'm pretty annoying about it. I love Star Wars and I love the Patriots. I fall asleep to Do Your Job and America's Game (NFL fans will know what I'm talking about). I don't know any other players in the NFL, but I can tell you pretty much everything about Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Julian Edelman, etc. I also am pretty much legally blind. I'm -7. I inherited my mother's eyes. She's legally blind at -10, so I still have a bit to go in the glasses department. It's good that I'm seeing the world now because at this rate, it's all going to be blurry soon. ;)
What are you watching on TV these days?
Game of Thrones! dun dun duh duh dun dun duh duh dun dun. That was me singing the Game of Thrones theme song. When I said I geek out to things, I also geek out to Game of Thrones. I, also, of course, watch Vacation Creation every Saturday morning. :)
Anything else you want to tell America?
Book the ticket! Just book the ticket! Take the first step and the rest will figure itself out. Don't worry too much about researching a place, learning a language, or any of that. It's all about exploring. Make the commitment to travel and you will never regret it!


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