It’s sooooo not surprising that one of the most popular travel phrases searched for on Google is the phrase “how to become a travel blogger.” The interest in dropping out of the rat race and opting to gallivant around the world instead is booming, and it totally makes sense. Who wouldn’t want to declare that they’re a professional jet-setter/explorer/adventurer?
Travel writers have been around since the days of Pausanias (a Greek geographer who wrote back in the 2nd century AD) and James Boswell (who wrote Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides in 1786). But over the last decade, the ranks of travel writers have become bigger (and stronger) thanks to the popularity of global travel, the ease of starting a blog, the advent of social media and the support of the travel industry (free trips!!!). If you dream of being a travel blogger (and really, who doesn’t), we’ve got some handy tips to get you started.
1. Find your name and niche. Like naming a child or a new kitten, naming your blog is a big deal. It’s a name that should represent you and your travel mission. Before you get any kind of blogging ball rolling, find a domain name that hasn’t been taken and snap it up. While you’re at it, also think about your niche. Will you have a foodie travel blog, a family travel blog or a taking-your-labradoodle-around-the-world blog? Find your theme and stick with it.
“Not everyone who likes travel blogs is an adventurous female who travels solo, but those who really connect with my work — and it’s a big enough pool of readers for me to do well,” Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse tells BuzzFeed. “By going deep into a niche and sticking with it, you’ll find your tribe.”
2. Create an awesome website and get your social feeds up and running. If you don’t already know how to create a blog, you can take our HTML + CSS Coding Online Class to learn the basics, or you can enlist the help of a friend, use a site like Squarespace or just wing it on WordPress. There’s nothing like a little trial and error. You should also get all your social media accounts (Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat) up and running (or at least snag your username on all of them). Our Build Your Brand on Social Media Online Class is a fab way to learn how to promote your brand and message.
3. Work on your camera skills, for reals. With a travel blog, the images are crucial. One of the biggies about travel are all the amazing sights to see, so your photo skills need to be ah-mazing in order to communicate that. If you need to build your confidence behind the lens, we can help you with our Intro to Travel Photography Online Class with Marianne Jamadi of Nomadic Habit. It only takes 30 minutes. Thirty minutes!
4. Network like a social butterfly. Flutter around the internet making new virtual travel friends, learn from them, share with them and support them. In turn, they’ll do the same for you. Join Facebook travel groups with other bloggers, and make sure to attend travel conferences too where you can network in person and wow people with your awesomeness. A biggie is the well-attended TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange), which has conferences all over the globe (making for a good excuse to travel there).
5. Have other revenue streams. Maybe Great Aunt Ethel died and left you a pile of money. But, even so, that money won’t last forever. If you don’t have some kind of significant savings or miraculous financial windfall, you’ll need to seriously consider how you’ll make money on the road, and it wouldn’t be prudent to put all your eggs in the travel blogging ad revenue basket. There are a ton of options, like freelance writing (like a true digital nomad) or offering classes (from language to photography) while you travel. For example, Jodi from Legal Nomads sells totes and t-shirts with a foodie travel theme and wrote a book entitled The Food Traveler’s Handbook, available for purchase on her site.
6. Yes, someday you’ll get to travel for free, but be patient. “Don’t assume you will get free travel right away. In fact, when you’re a travel blogger, nothing is free; it’s comped, but you’ll always owe something in exchange, which can be more exhausting than just paying for the trip yourself,” Keryn Means of Trekaroo tells us. “Travel on your own dime every now and then so you remember what it is like for all of your readers.” It’s a good reality check. Remember, you have to build up your audience and your clout before the perks start to roll in.
7. Most importantly, be real. “Make sure you stay authentic once you do get those press trips. Stay true to yourself, your ideals and your audience,” Keryn Means says. “They are why the brands come knocking. If you ignore your readers, no one will want to work with you, because your readers won’t be there anymore.”
What would be the first place you’d cover if you were a travel blogger? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)