02.19.2016Personal Tech

Digital nomad relies on his smartphone

By: Karen Smith

Having visited 49 states and more than 85 countries, Clint Johnston knows how and where to travel. He began sharing his advice on triphackr.com  along with epic adventure photos on his social media accounts four years ago. Today, traveling and keeping his digital sites updated is his full-time job.

“My entire job relies on being digital – having a data connection and network coverage to keep my sites updated,” he says. “My top travel essential is my smartphone. It’s my camera, my bank, my itinerary –  and it even got me out of a jam once because my passport image was stored on my device.”

Triphackr began as a “travel hacking” site with Johnston’s advice on how to use frequent flier miles and reward points, but he says it has evolved into an adventure travel blog. “I want to help people get the most out of their travel experiences by maximizing every day and every dollar. Travel is a gateway to other cultures and the perfect way to meet people from all walks of life.” 

Johnston’s blog was listed as a Favorite in 2015 by Travel Channel, and his Instagram account was rated in the Top 25 by Frommer’s. He shares beautiful images during his trips and seeks to reply to every comment on Instagram and Twitter to stay engaged with his audience and answer their questions. 

He has branched out to sending short videos via Snapchat, relying on his smartphone to shoot and edit. “Instagram is all the trip highlights, but Snapchat shows travel in the moment and a little more insight into my travel style and everyday experiences on the road,” says Johnston. “You really need a good data connection for Snapchat because if you don’t have strong network coverage you can’t send a Snap.”

On Johnston’s recent California “surf and ski” same day adventure, Verizon’s network came through while his friend’s networks did not.  “I had never surfed and hadn’t downhill skied in 15 years,” says Johnston. “It was great to be able to share a photo with my friends skiing in the mountains.”

As a kid in Kansas, Johnston caught the travel bug from car trips with his family across the U.S., and he got his first Verizon smartphone in middle school to get rides home from sports practice. Along with his dad, he has visited most of the major league baseball stadiums across the U.S. He says he still has four baseball parks to go, and one state – Alaska.

“Everyone should travel if they have the opportunity, and exploring in your own backyard is a great place to start. We are lucky to live in one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world,” says Johnston. While he currently resides in Brooklyn with his wife and two cats, he has family in Minneapolis, and lists New England, national parks, the Southwest and the West Coast as favorite travel spots. 

Johnston’s favorite adventure?  “My next one.”