Jo Franco, host of “The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals” about the yachts, igloos and treehouses she has stayed in

When traveling alone, what types of stays are you looking to book?

I’ve lived in tons of Airbnbs all over the world before. I am one of those travelers who prefers to go back to the same place 100 times and really live there. I’ve done it in Rome and Athens, London and Paris, São Paulo and Rio, everywhere. When I’m looking for a stay, I’m looking for a place that I can truly call home for at least a month. And then, to take it up a notch, I really like the experiences where I can learn something, so I also stayed with host families. [Once,] I was taking Italian lessons and moved into a rental with a family and they taught me so much. This is my kind of trip. Travel doesn’t have to be what’s right for the vacation, it can be a way of life. It can be a way to learn, explore, and discover so much about yourself and the world.

Jo Franco in Bali for Netflix The most amazing vacation rentals in the world

Courtesy of Netflix

Why do you feel like the show is resonating right now, being in the top 10 shows on Netflix for over a week now?

I think the timing of the show was surprisingly good. People can’t wait to travel again. But on top of that, I think the show was done differently. We not only test the properties, but we achieve three properties per episode. You experience three journeys with us in one 30-minute episode. So by the end of the season, there are a lot of opportunities for viewers to see themselves having that experience. It’s really cool to look at my DMs now and see screenshots of booking confirmations, like the people who booked an alpaca treehouse [in Atlanta]. And we live in the age of social media, so we can lead the conversation off the show, and that’s really special to me.

You’ve mentioned a few times how the show is different from other travel or home shows, and I think one of the main differences is that two of the three hosts are female, a rarity for TV on travel. What does it mean to bring more gender diversity to the travel entertainment space?

For me it was two checkboxes because I’m a woman of color. When was the last time you saw a woman of color as a host in space travel on a Netflix show? There are women of color who run travel shows, but being on a show that’s in the top 10 of the charts? Wow. I never really saw gender or my ethnicity as limits, but I understand that when you transport yourself to the world you carry it all with you. I still see it as an opportunity to present [the people I meet] to someone who looks like me. Maybe you’ve never seen a single woman traveling alone. So it starts with, Hi, I’m Jo, nice to meet you. It’s also exciting to see people’s perspective change, or for them to be aware that we are traveling there and [have been]. But in the travel space, for some reason, it has always been biased in favor of white males. I am happy that we are opening up opportunities for more perspectives, because when we show that we travel, we inspire others like us to travel as well.

Now that Americans can travel more freely and the show is out, what are your next trips?

The pandemic is not over, but vaccinations are helping to open things up. I just want people to travel responsibly both for themselves and for the communities they enter. My next trip is to Greece. This is a place I have been to many times because I study Greek. So I’m going to take classes again, it’s all along this wavelength of the journey to learn. And then another trip I’m doing this year will be to Egypt, where I’ve also been before, because I’m learning Arabic. When filming for the show ended in January, I was disappointed because I was home with nothing planned. We couldn’t travel, and the only thing that always brought me joy was learning languages. So I started learning Arabic in March and have been taking classes ever since, so I’m excited to be going back to Egypt, with some basic phrases. When you speak a language, you unlock experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Some of Jo’s Favorite Locations on the Show

An isolated igloo in Finland

“The igloo was really spectacular: going to Finland in winter and seeing these beautiful trees. Sleeping in an igloo has always been on my to-do list. It was also a budget [Airbnb]. It was a place I might never have been to before and [I got to have] those ridiculous experiences of entering a smoke sauna and entering the cold plunge pool – called “avanto” in Finnish – where you step into a hole in the ice. It was amazing. “

The image may contain: Building, Housing, House, Cabin, Treehouse, City, Town, Urban and Metropolis

A cabin on an alpaca farm in Atlanta

Another that stands out is the treehouse at the Alpaca Farm. Especially if you’re based in the US I think it gives you that exotic flair, it connects you to animals in this beautiful way, and it roots you. They even have a yoga studio on site. Plus, it’s 10 minutes from Atlanta. So he can really check everything on your list. Go if you love nature, but you also want to be in the city. You want to go out, but you also want to go to a restaurant. You get it all there.

Image may contain: vehicle, transportation, boat, outdoor, nature, land, shore, water, ocean, sea, yacht and coast

An 85-foot yacht in the Caribbean

“I didn’t expect to say, ‘I went on a yacht’. I would have been like no, Joanna Franco grew up as an immigrant child. It was not in my future. I’m not used to luxury. But when we got on this yacht it was a much more grounded experience than I expected. And maybe that was the combo of being on the water and doing adventurous things. We went to this small isolated island, where there was no one. And just with this access, I understand. I understand luxury now, from this experience on the yacht alone.

Comments are closed.