We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Clarkson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Erin, what do you attribute your success to?
Building a sense of community has been one of the most important factors behind my brand’s success. Have you ever planned a trip to a destination and found yourself wishing you knew someone local who could help you out with the details — someone who would give you honest answers and tell you the truth if you were (for example) planning to stay in an unsafe area or were making reservations to dine at an overpriced tourist trap? My site and its accompanying FB group fill that void for travelers who are planning their first trip to Savannah! I’m honest about what to expect when visiting the city, and I don’t sugarcoat things for the sake of promoting tourism. I ask readers for feedback about the city after their visit, and — with their permission — I’ll add their quotes to my site so future visitors know what to expect from travelers who have “been there, done that”. My website is a place where first-time visitors can go to find the answers to frequently asked questions about Savannah, and my FB group is where the sense of community comes in; members of the group are genuinely happy to help one another plan their trips!!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Even with so many helpful people surrounding me, I wouldn’t say starting a business is easy. I struggle regularly! I’m glad there’s such a strong sense of community behind my brand, because that means readers are understanding whenever I can’t update a post or answer a question as in-depth as they’re accustomed to. They realize this is a one-woman show for the most part, and that day-to-day life that sometimes gets in the way of work.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would suggest starting with River Street and then heading south from there. Plan to spend two days exploring the Historic District since there’s so much to see in that area, and then spend one or two days hanging out in the Victorian and Starland Districts. From there, plan a full day to explore the attractions on the outskirts of the city, including Bonaventure Cemetery, Fort Pulaski, Wormsloe, and Pin Point Heritage Site. I suggest supporting small local businesses as much as possible along the way by going on tours with people like Sistah Patt’s Underground Tours of Savannah, Bonaventure Don and his in-depth tour of Bonaventure Cemetery, and Jonathan Stalcup’s informative Architectural Tours of Savannah. If there is any leftover time at the end of the trip, I highly suggest taking a drive along the backroads of the S.C. Lowcountry to see the incredible old Southern live oaks that blanket the area and to learn about the Gullah Geechee community.

If a visitor only has a short amount of time to spend in the area, I created this helpful one-day Savannah itinerary that’s based around one of the Hop-On/Hop-Off trolley tours, and this is a list of the must-see spots in Savannah that I recommend most.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a huge shoutout to the members of my Savannah travel community, since they’re the ones who motivate me to do what I do. I love helping them make the most of their vacations! I truly appreciate how supportive they are towards one another, and it’s easy to see that they genuinely care enough to ensure other visitors have a blast during their visits to Savannah. In a world where there’s so much negativity to be found online, it’s nice to be surrounded by positivity on a daily basis. I’m also grateful for my family and friends, since they’re consistently my biggest cheerleaders. Gosh, there are so many people who deserve a shoutout! I also appreciate my fellow bloggers who help me whenever I’m trying to troubleshoot tech problems or figure out website-related issues.

Website: https://savannahfirsttimer.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/savftg & https://www.facebook.com/savannahfirsttimer

Other: My ebook: https://savannahfirsttimer.com/ebook/

Image Credits
Savannah First-Timer’s Guide

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