About Astrid Solo Travel Advisor
Astrid Solo Travel Advisor is for solo travelers worldwide looking for affordable luxury ideas to help them move through the world feeling confident, safe, inspired and engaged. Unlike budget travel or less accessible luxe sites, Astrid Solo Travel Advisor provides “Travel for One”, real-life advice for the solo traveler on where to go, how to get there, what to do when you arrive and much more. Astrid Solo Travel Advisor’s travel resources provide recommendations on everything from solo-friendly accommodations to best practices when exploring a new culture.
Our Solo Travel Advisor Team
Astrid R. Clements
CEO and Founding Member of Astrid Solo Travel Advisor, L.L.C.
Astrid R. Clements is a well-traveled, successful businesswoman passionate about helping people travel solo well, while never feeling like a tourist. Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Astrid started traveling at age nine and hasn’t stopped since. A transformative trip to Germany at eighteen did more than cement her love for exploring - Astrid saw first hand how a solo trip can reveal the best parts of a person and challenge you to find the magic, one of a kind moments happening all around you.
Always up for a cultural adventure, Astrid has broken bread, shopped and laughed in over 35 countries, on four continents, around the world from France to China - and she’s not done yet! She founded Astrid Solo Travel Advisor, L.L.C. to give solo travelers a way to move through the world feeling confident, safe, inspired, and engaged. Her exploits in the U.S. match the gusto from afar with visits to 37 states from Miami to Maine. Astrid’s tales and tips on affordable luxury travel have roots in her studies in political science, international relations, foreign language and music.
Astrid opened her first company, Astrid and Associates, in 1977. Never afraid to be eye-catching, the company’s motto was “We do it all for less” and was the first of many successful business ventures, solidifying her affordable luxury approach. Often the “token woman” at the conference table, Astrid is an unusual force and confident leader who's been actively involved in improving the financial structure of her local community for 30 years. Working with the Capital Area Finance Authority, previously known as East Baton Rouge Mortgage Finance Authority (EBRMFA), she was the first woman elected as Chairperson in 2006 and has held a variety of other positions with the organization including Vice Chairperson, Secretary/Treasurer and Board Member.
When she’s not globetrotting, advising or spending time with her family, Astrid can be found on the tennis court participating in any number of leagues, or at the bridge table. An accomplished card player, she was able to reach the prestigious rank of Bridge Life Master. At the core though, Astrid is a perpetual student, inspired by her continued learning through the years. Her newest venture at 65: Actively pursuing new technology to improve her life and travel - and yours! Look for more on her continued growth and evolution at www.AstridTravel.com.
Julia Ballard Marketing and Operations Consultant
Julia Ballard began her career in a business development role at a global e-commerce company and transitioned into technology reporting at Silicon Bayou News, where she’s currently the Editor in Chief. Combining her knowledge of tech and her love of travel, Julia was the first members of the Astrid Solo Travel Advisor team and has helped to shape this unique approach to travel writing. Passionate about solo travel, Julia’s writing offers a fresh perspective with eyes wide open and a flexible agenda. She works to bring affordable luxury resources to Astrid Solo Travel Advisor’s eager readers wherever they may be -- from New Orleans to Naples, on Instagram or Facebook.
Originally from Cambridge, MA, Julia received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Redlands. She moved to New Orleans in 2011 and has been active in its technology and startup scene ever since. Julia took her first solo trip six years ago on a long weekend trip to Dublin then London, where she unexpectedly found both to be solo-friendly cities. The ‘Travel for One’ trip lit the flame for solo travel and she’s been a fan ever since, most recently visiting Florence this summer. She found the city, though touristy by some standards, to be beautiful and one you could lose yourself in. Julia allowed herself to visit museums, sites and restaurants, making sure to try all off the beaten path.
As Editor in Chief of Silicon Bayou News, Julia reports on companies and trends within the New Orleans startup scene. Seeing the opportunities for the city to me more than a tourist destination, she believes it to be a true hub for innovation and growth.
Madeline Freret Content and Digital Marketing Manager
Madeline Freret is a mass communication graduate from Louisiana State University. As a lover of travel and adventure, she was eager to join the Astrid Solo Travel Advisor team as a Content and Digital Marketing Manager in 2018. Madeline is working with the team to create new content for astridtravel.com, manage social media, and coordinate a digital marketing strategy. She offers Astrid Solo Travel Advisor’s audience a unique perspective on solo travel through regular contributions to the ASTA blog.
Madeline first traveled abroad in the summer following her junior year of high school, and from that point forward, her life was changed. She had never felt more alive than she did then and knew that traveling was a necessity in life. Her insatiable desire to uncover all that this world has to offer is what led Madeline to spend a semester of college abroad in Sydney, Australia. Her time in Australia was her first experience with true solo traveling, and, through this endeavor, she learned more about herself and the world than she ever could have anticipated.
She is a believer that part of the beauty of solo travel is that it allows you to see yourself, other people, places and things in a new light. Madeline believes in trying new things, having a curious mind and seeking joy everywhere in everything. Her goal as an Astrid Solo Travel Advisor is to inspire and empower others to find the good and be the good in this world.
Catherine O’Brien Podcast Producer
Catherine O’Brien is a podcast producer and owner of Branch Out Programs, an end-to-end podcast production company. She has personally made and published over 300 podcast episodes for her clients.
An award-winning speaker, Catherine regularly speaks on the topic of podcasting, including her signature talk, Podcasting for Business.
Active in the Baton Rouge community, Catherine volunteers for a local dog rescue group where her podcast, The Pawcast was nominated for Best Podcast in 225 Magazine.
In 2017, Catherine approached Astrid with the idea of creating a podcast all about solo travel, and shortly thereafter Solo Travel Talk with Astrid was born. To date, Catherine and Astrid have aired over 100 podcast episodes together. They discuss any and all topics related to solo travel from practical tips such as how to feel comfortable while dining alone and important cultural do’s and don’ts while traveling, to entertaining stories and advice pertaining to destinations all over the world.
Whether you’re wondering how to budget for an upcoming trip or how to choose the perfect hotel, Solo Travel Talk has you covered. Click here to start listening!