inauthentic, cookie-cutter, commission-focused trips?

No, thank you!

I never used a travel agent before starting a travel business of my own

here's the deal


Because I wanted something unique. Something exciting. 

Something that would let me truly feel the vibe of my destination.

And definitely not something that could be picked out of some glossy travel brochure. 

And it turns out, I wasn't alone.

Plenty of people over the years expressed to me that 

they wanted to travel, but didn't know where to start.

Just beginning the planning process was wildly overwhelming:

"How do I know if I'm picking a good flight?"

"How do I decide what to see in a limited timeframe?"

"How do I find the destinations, accommodations, and things to do that align with my interests?"

"How do I know if I'm getting the best bang for my buck?"

But they still liked the idea of 

independent exploration away from a pre-packaged itinerary.

So in that regard, a traditional travel agency was out.

and thus, jlj travel was born

Our approach to travel planning is a little different than the average travel agency model:


All of our trips are built from scratch - 100% custom to each client.
No run-of-the-mill packages here!


We do not make recommendations based on commission. Our upfront planning fee ensures you aren't getting pushed something mediocre just because there's $$ incentive.


We plan our trips based on real, on-the-ground experience and advice from locals. This ensures our clients aren't just hopping from tourist trap to tourist trap. 

Meet the Team

Jillian Gibas

Founder & Lead travel designer

Born-and-raised Wisconsin girl with a love of exploration, Jillian started JLJ Travel after noticing an enormous hole in the world of travel planning. 

Fun fact: the JLJ stands for "Jet Lagged Jill", the name of her former travel story blog.

Over the last 10+ years, she has perfected the art of creating well-balanced, independent travel itineraries that allow visitors to experience their destination away from the packaged tour groups and cruise ship hordes.

And while she certainly adores luxury travel, Jillian also has an undeniable thirst for adventure - perhaps, a most notable example being when she spent 2.5 years living and traveling the U.S. full-time in an RV and converted van with her husband and two cats. 

Her favorite part of visiting a new place is trying the local food and drink, and if the destination is known for its wine, she's especially happy.

Tal Zucker

associate travel designer

Our resident expert in uncovering the hidden gems, Tal plays a vital role in crafting extraordinary travel experiences for clients.

With extensive history in hospitality and customer service, she knows a thing or two about what makes a trip truly unique.

Tal also served multiple years in the Israeli Military (IDF) in a combat position and has worked  as a freelance Hebrew translator.

Her favorite travel memory was when she and her sister embarked on a cross-country USA journey from Maine to Montana, stopping at all sorts of random and offbeat sights along the way.

"Exploring new places, whether near or far, is what I love to do best".

Ashley Brown

Destination specialist

As JLJ's Destination Specialist, Ashley is our go-to girl for on-the-ground travel tips and insider knowledge. 

A full-time traveler for many years, she has visited over 70 countries, and her passion for diving into a destination's culture, history, food, and language means she gathers alllll the goods for us as she traverses the planet.  

This curiosity has also led to a very successful travel business of her own, where she showcases the local life, destination highlights, and realities of travel on YouTube and other social media. 

Ashley currently calls Barcelona, Spain her homebase and don't be surprise if you see her smiling face rather frequently on our Instagram!

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