So You Want to Be a Travel Blogger? Think Again…

Updated April 25, 2016

Travel Blogging

Travel blogging is the coolest new thing on the block. It’s the new black. A quick look at Instagram or Twitter will uncover countless travel blogs, with more and more coming each day. Going on a long trip? Better start a blog. Moving overseas? Better start a blog. It’s the new norm, it’s the expected.

And I get it, I really do. It’s the age of sharing (some would say oversharing…) and it’s never been easier.

You’re about to embark on a new adventure, or maybe you’ve just got home from one and you need something to occupy your time. You’re thinking about starting a travel blog. Well. Here’s why you might want to think again.

Travel blogging isn’t instant freebies

Not everyone starts a blog for the sheer love of writing about and discussing travel. Some people start a blog with the intention to make money from it. All those posts out there about quitting your job and travelling the world, making a living from your laptop, there must be some truth to them right?

Starting a travel blog to make money is a great goal, but the problem is it’s not going to happen overnight (unless you’re some magical writing genius who is discovered instantly, if so, I want your secrets). Having a blog is a huge amount of work, and making money from a blog is even more work. There’s a reason most of the big name bloggers I follow are slowing down their travel lifestyle. Working on the road is still working after all.

Eventually you might start to see some results, but it could take awhile, especially if you intend to live completely off blog income.

Travel blogging changes the way you travel

So if you’re busy working away at your blog, trying to create a successful business (because that’s what it has to be, a business) then what about the travelling, the reason you wanted this in the first place?

Starting a travel blog will change the way you travel. Having a travel blog that you want to be more successful than just your Mum and your best friends reading it doesn’t mean writing a nice little post about your thoughts on where you’ve been and where you’re going, with a few tips thrown in. It means writing a carefully crafted post that’s going to get noticed. It means promoting the crap out of it for longer than it took you to write it. it means learning how to use all sorts of online tools, plus being active across a million forms of old and new social media.

Travel blogging is constant updates on Facebook and Instagram. It’s taking pictures in horizontal and portrait so you can use one for the blog and one for Pinterest. There’s Snapchat stories of your entire adventure so that people can follow along, but they disappear so you should probably take real video too.

Blogging isn’t just writing, it’s about being everything all at once. A writer, a photographer, a social media and marketing expert.

When you’re a travel blogger there’s no relaxing in a hammock doing absolutely nothing, because you need to tell the world on at least one form of social media that you’re doing it. You need to think of your next post, while promoting your last one.

So don’t get too drunk with those new friends of yours tonight. That absolute feeling of freedom that can be reached through travelling, isn’t for you anymore. You have work to do. This is the reality of a travel blogger.

There are so many travel blogs now that you’ll be fighting against the established and the new all of the time. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it, as one of my favourite bloggers Adventurous Kate recently confirmed, but you need to be smart about it.

Still thinking about it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love travel blogging, and I wouldn’t stop now. They say when the time is right things happen, and this travel blog came when I needed it after I’d already travelled to 35 countries and lived abroad 4 times. I get to look back on all that travel fondly, when it was all just for me, and now I get to write what I like about it and share that experience.

But think carefully before you start a travel blog. Why do you want to have one? Is it really necessary? What are you trying to achieve and is this the way to do it? And if it is, then how are you going to make it work so you don’t burn out.

You don’t have to have a travel blog, and sometimes I’ll envy you if you don’t. Enjoy the fact you can travel without the feeling you have to be doing something. Reach the travellers high. Nothing before or after the present moment matters, you’re REALLY living. Its part of the reason that travel is so addictive. So think hard before you make a decision that might compromise it.

Are you a travel blogger who’s wondered if you made the right decision to start a travel blog, or are you thinking of starting one?

Sonja x

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Travel Blogger

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22 Comments

  • Reply Henar April 25, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Completely agree with you on the timing. I started mine after 10 years on the road and glad I started it then, and not before. Now I still love every single trip but at every step I have to consider if that’s an instagram or snapchat worthy moment…definitely a game changer in so many ways. Still love every second of it.

    • Reply Migrating Miss April 25, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      I’m the same! At first I was a bit annoyed I’ve travelled so much and have terrible photos of those places and I can’t write informatively because things change, plus I’m not as inspired to write about them since it was so long ago. Then I realised how awesome that actually is! I really do love blogging though don’t get me wrong. It’s just something I think a lot of people are keen on getting into now, without realising what they’re really getting into!

  • Reply Mihaela April 25, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    I can so relate to this. My blog is sill fairly new (8 months old) and I started it after my 4 month travel throughout SE Asia.
    I postponed starting it just so I can actually enjoy my trip. And I am glad I did that, when I see the time it takes me now. I find the SM very overwhelming at times I must say. So well put Sonja! Excellent article

    • Reply Migrating Miss April 26, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Thanks Miheala! I started my blog when I had a lot of down time, and it’s definitely more difficult now that I’m travelling and living abroad again! I love it so I’m not complaining, but it’s something I didn’t think about too much before I started. It’s great that you did! Best of luck with your blog 🙂

  • Reply The Guy Who Flies April 25, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    I’m into my fourth year of travel blogging so have a reasonable level of experience from it. I also find it fascinating to read other bloggers perspectives on this, just like yours.

    I think blogs are great if you have a preset audience, such as friends and family. However if you are trying to find a new audience then you are right, it is tough, a lot of hard work and time spent wondering how things are going to take off. Many months with little success.

    Thankfully I am a hobby blogger rather than a full time travel blogger. If I was a full time travel blogger I would be making my money through other forms of work, not just solely from the blog. The space is just far too crowded now. The same goes for finding loyal readers too.

    Wishing you every success with your blog and your travels.

    • Reply Migrating Miss April 26, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      I agree! If you have a preset audience like friends and family who just want to know about your travels, and are going to read whenever you publish, even if it’s months later, then it’s much easier. But if you’re intention to to gain an audience and try to make something of your blog professionally then it’s a lot of work! I’m still a hobby blogger, but hoping to use the knowledge I’m gaining for other projects so I still feel a little pressure, mostly put on by myself!

      Thanks for your comments and best of luck to you too.

  • Reply yemisi femi-pius April 26, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks Sonja for sharing , Generally blogging takes time and consistent efforts to begin to see results

    • Reply Migrating Miss April 26, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      It sure does! Before I started blogging I thought I’d spend a lot more time just writing, but there so much else involved. It suits my personality to be constantly learning and have lots of different tasks to do, but it was unexpected!

  • Reply ItineraMagica April 26, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    So true! Insightful post, says a fellow travel blogger 😉

    • Reply Migrating Miss April 27, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it :). I hope you’re finding a good balance for yourself too!

  • Reply Matt Stabile April 26, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Interesting take. I do like me a good hammock though.

  • Reply Sharon April 27, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Welp, I’m brand new to the blogging, but have been a long, long time traveller. Perfect time for me to stumble upon your blog and this post!

  • Reply Rosemary April 30, 2016 at 10:53 am

    “Having a blog is a huge amount of work, and making money from a blog is even more work. ” Absolutely! Also agree that the timing has to be right for you to start. Our blogging roots go way back to the pre-digital age, but we’ve always been story-tellers – and that’s what it’s all about for us.

    • Reply Migrating Miss April 30, 2016 at 11:06 am

      Thanks Rosemary! I think a lot of people start a blog without realising about the timing and the work and then it becomes a chore which isn’t fun!

  • Reply dan May 5, 2016 at 4:55 am

    Spot on! My biggest dilemma when working on the road and spending time with friends who are using it as a vacation while I’m trying to have a workcation.

    side note – “I’m interested in everything. Every.Thing. It means I start a lot of things I don’t finish because I get distracted by the next shiny idea that crosses my path.” -> are we the same person?

    • Reply Migrating Miss May 5, 2016 at 11:03 am

      I haven’t taken any long trips with friends who aren’t working yet, so I’ve managed to only have to keep up with social media or do a little writing if we are having downtime and they are reading a book or something. But I can imagine it’s really difficult when you’re on the road for longer and they just get to relax the entire time!

      Haha we could be! I seriously have a problem with how much I get distracted by new ideas! But that’s why I love blogging I guess, it’s constantly changing!

  • Reply Manjulika May 10, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I was nodding my head all the way through the post. Blogging is lots of work and you just can’t be a travel blogger for the freebies. Passion for traveling and writing can work wonders but yet I know through my personal experience that once I became a travel blogger, I was a changed traveler. There is so much I can’t enjoy because I have follow an itinerary, take pictures or take a back to back trip.

    • Reply Migrating Miss May 10, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Thanks so much I’m glad that I’m not alone haha. I’ve just been speaking about this with someone today and you really need to have an equal love for blogging and travelling (or maybe even more for blogging!) to stick with it in the long run. We all love to travel, but it does change that travel and impact it a bit.

  • Reply Michelle May 28, 2016 at 5:22 am

    So much truth! It’s so easy to see all the successful travel bloggers out there, doing their thing, and thinking it’s easy. But it definitely isn’t (especially with a full time job). I originally started a blog for fun and to keep my friends and family informed of what I’ve been up to, but it started morphing into a travel blog. So, I launched a dedicated travel blog nearly a year ago now, and while it has been so much fun to write about my passion for travel, it is such hard work. And promoting myself does not come naturally at all. Some days I wonder if it’s worth it! But, as you said – it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve with it, and for now at least, it’s a great way for me to keep a record of our amazing adventures.

    • Reply Migrating Miss May 28, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks Michelle! I originally started my blog when I needed something to occupy my time outside of my job, to keep busy! Then I switched to part time work but I still feel like I work full-time because I put so much into my blog. It’s fun but so much work and I just don’t think people realise that! I’ve already seen a lot of bloggers burn out, and I don’t want that to happen to me because I do enjoy it! Hopefully it stays that way for you too 🙂

  • Reply Amy November 7, 2017 at 2:39 am

    Thanks for this! We have a travel blog as a hobby. We make ZERO money (instead, we funnel cash into it) and we travel so differently than those first few romantic getaways, where we dreamed up making a website. It’s all about trying to remember small details to write about and getting photos that we can post. We’ve been at it for something like 3 years, posting sporadically, and there aren’t any freebies or magic secrets that made us famous. If you want to be successful, plan on working your tail off, daily, until rewards start trickling in… for much longer than you thought. But it sure is fun to look back where you started and see how many adventures you’ve been on. Back in the day, we did photo albums. Now we make blogs!

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 10, 2017 at 11:31 am

      You’re welcome! I know what you mean. There are so many different ways to blog! Some people try and make it a business from day one, others are content to have it as a hobby to showcase what they love, others use it as a springboard to another job. There’s no right way! It sounds like you enjoy what you do and if that’s the case and you want to continue then why not?! It doesn’t have to become anything more. On the other hand, if you did want to make it into more of a business then like you say, it’s a ton of work!!!!

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