How to Get an Awesome Social Media Job in Travel

My job is awesome. I work as the Content and Social Media Manager at gapyear.com. In the past year I’ve been to Vancouver, New York, Toronto, Prague, Havana, Palma de Mallorca and Dublin for work, and this year I’m going to Australia and New Zealand.

Awesome social media job in travel

Day to day I could be doing anything from answering PR requests, writing, editing, coming up with campaign ideas and monitoring the site and the community. I work with some fun and knowledgable people (some, not all) who are pretty funny, my days are interesting and I’m getting paid to walk, talk and chat travel all day long too. Never, in my school time dreams, would I have imagined I’d get a job like this.

I’m not just trying to show off, I actually want to help you to get a cool writing and social media job in travel too.

My job history

It was a long and winding road to get to this point. In my life I’ve had more than just the following jobs:

  • Papergirl
  • Envelope addresser
  • Waitress
  • Bar staff
  • Music shop worker
  • Boots till worker
  • Boots photo counter manager
  • Temp staff at concerts and events
  • Avon lady
  • Call centre worker
  • Logistics delivery administrator
  • Camp counselor
  • Topshop floor staff
  • Pay roll data entry typist
  • Content editor
  • Sub editor

I’ve been working since I was 13 and in my life I’d bet I’ve applied for over 1000 jobs. I was obsessed with working in New York at one point, played with the idea of being a social worker and have been made redundant, twice.

Cool job in travel

Daring to change

It was making the jump from working as a Sub Editor at Good Food Magazine to Content Writer at HostelBookers that was the big jump. The life-changing one that got me into travel blogging. I mean, I worked at the BBC on a well known title and was given more free and delicious food every day than what was right. At the time the Good Food chefs tested every recipe three times in the on site kitchen – Christmas was tasty. I was bored though. I like to eat, but not edit articles about eating and how to make the perfect puff pastry. So, I took a £7k pay cut and went to work as a writer just to get out of there. It was one of the best things I ever did. I loved the work at HostelBookers.com from day one. This was it and I’d found my calling.

Developing my travels and skills

Almost a year in and I started to go to networking events – the now defunct Mearcats and the almighty Travel Massive. I set up my own blog using everything I’d learned and the next six months soon became pretty crazy.

I was desperate for more travel to fuel my blog but had no money. So, I started to enter every competition I could find – and won three. I went to Egypt, Amsterdam and Tanzania, giving me something interesting and recent to write up.

Awesome social media job in travel

By October I was hired at gapyear.com and was whisked off to Toronto and New York to meet the rest of the global team. Incredible.

In the 18 months from deciding to take a career and financial step backwards to work at HostelBookers I had my own blog, earned twice as much as my starting salary at HB, gained some awesome friends and bagged a dream job. I’d also gained a huge amount of invaluable knowledge of travel and the industry. Again, I’m not showing off, I just want to offer some reassuring and practical advice if you’re after a cool job in the travel industry and want to change what you’re doing right now.

What can you do?

Since I started at gapyear.com I’ve tried to hire content and social media specialists, and interviewed many interns. From doing this I’ve learned so much about where people out there are going wrong in their job search, and where I made blindingly obvious mistakes in my past job searches – leading to the 1000 applications. From the other side of the fence, being the employer, you can see people let themselves down in so many unnecessary ways.

There are plenty of things, completely in your control, that you can do to ensure you’re the one chosen when your dream job in travel writing and social media comes along. Here goes…

1. Don’t give up

If you really want something you need to go for it, and keep going. I’m not trying to be all dreamy and inspirational but you really do. When you’re starting out no one is going to come looking for you, you need to prove you’re good enough to be headhunted or sought out before anyone will even dream of doing it.

Everyone has a uni degree now, that’s only going to get you so far. You need to be thinking about your employability as soon as possible and think about how you can stand out above everyone else in your field at your age.

If it is a cool job in content and social media for a travel company you’re looking for, you can’t just tell the employer you’re interested in it, you need to show them. Blog, if not for yourself, for other people. Seek out writing opportunities and build up your profile. There are so many websites out there that will be only too willing to take your work on board. I didn’t have that 10 years ago when I was looking – magazines and newspapers were much harder to crack – so make the most of it. Build up your profile in your own time to prove your passion.

Apply for the job you want. Write your application straight away and try to get some different opinions on it from friends. Phone to find out if the job is open, some websites don’t take them down in order to catch your email address, and there’s no point wasting your time if it’s not still there.

If you don’t get an interview, chances are you won’t get feedback. Ain’t no employer got time for that.

You just need to try again.

If you do manage to bag an interview yet don’t get hired, follow up, try and get feedback, work on that and try again when another job comes up. You need to learn from each one you go through. Remember, it’s not them, it’s you. And if you’re not getting the job you want, you need to do something different. The quicker you find out what that is, the better.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

2. Qualifications definitely aren’t everything

Having said ‘everyone has a degree’ approximately two minutes ago, everyone actually doesn’t. And I honestly don’t believe you need it if you have a good portfolio of extra activity. I do have a degree, but I think you can get a wealth of other experience out of the classroom and out in the world. If you learn a language, go exploring, stay well-read and learn from the university of life you can easily have the qualifications of your university educated peers and have more about you to show off at the interview stage too.

3. Don’t underestimate the importance of attitude

Attitude can get you a long way in this life. I’ve conducted interviews where the interviewee has come in all downtrodden and beat, that is not the way to make the most of the getting to interview stage. I’ve also have interviewees that are obviously bitter about the hand that they have or haven’t been dealt in life and they want me to know it.

At that point, for that hour, I’m not interested in that.

I want to know how you’re going to help me and gapyear.com run better. Always, always, stay positive in interviews, about yourself, about the job and about your history. Life is hard for everyone.

You want the interviewer to feel good about interviewing you and to leave on a high.

4. Get networking

Awesome job in social media

Without a doubt this is one of the most important aspects of getting a cool travel social media job and getting known. If I hadn’t of started going to events I may never have known about this job and I wouldn’t know as much about the industry as I do. By meeting people in your field you can share ideas, get yourself known and keep your ear to the ground about any job opportunities that may come up. The first few meet ups may seem quite difficult, but once you’ve gotten to know people they may actually become quite fun. Have some business cards armed and ready to go and a spiel about yourself that just rolls off your tongue. You may not realise immediately, but the contacts you make now could be very useful later on.

5. You need to love it

When it comes to cool jobs, no matter what industry you’re in, you have to love it and show that you love it too. The people that make it to the top of an industry have passion, they live, breathe and sleep their field and that oozes out of them whether it’s when you meet them, on their blogs, or on their social media, in this case. To get the best jobs, you need to love your industry and be prepared to put the work in out of hours to be the best.


Listen to my podcast for more advice

Jayne Gorman, a travel blogger at GirlTweetsWorld.com, and an ex-social media manager, joins me on my podcast So She Travels to discuss working in travel. She was part of the first social media team at Flight Centre.

Have a listen!


6. Think about presentation at all times

The way you present yourself both online and in person is very important. In one interview I did, the lad came in in such scruffy clothes I was asked about him by the office boss afterwards and he’d been noted. Not a good look for him, and he didn’t get hired. Another girl looked fairly smart, but wore trainers. Again, no thanks. An interview is your time to shine no matter what the job. Our clothes are relaxed in the office, but that’s when you actually have the job, not when you’re trying to make a good impression. For most people it’s downhill from there so if you don’t impress then, you never will.

You also need to think about the way you present yourself in your social media feeds too. I’ve had interns give me their Twitter handles for example and then when I check them out it’s full of the most vulgar swear words that make even my eyes bleed, it’s even worse when it’s in their profile section.

If you want to get serious about impressing employers you need to sort this out, especially if you want a job in social media.

7. Seek out opportunities

You need to be on it. You need to be looking around for opportunities all the time. If you hear of someone leaving their job, find out what they’re doing about replacing them, get yourself on LinkedIn and if you can, write in your status that you’re looking for work. Found a company that you particularly want to work for? Send them a letter to enquire if they have any vacancies and authentically express interest. If you’re going down this route however, never, ever, send the email to ‘whom it may concern’. Any of those go straight in the bin for me. The fact I work at gapyear.com is on the about us page, if you can’t be bothered to find that out then I can’t be bothered to read your letter.

Basically you need to make it as easy as possible for someone to hire you. If you manage to get as far as to get your CV into the decision-maker’s hands it needs to be so good that they can’t say no.

Keep trying, follow my tips, and you’ll get there one day.


More on working in travel

How I’ve Afforded All My Travels 

How to Be a Successful Travel Blogger 

JayneyTravels on her 10-Year Career in Travel

5 Inevitable Conversations When You Reveal You're a Travel Blogger
Thinking About Starting a Travel Blog? Go For It!
tagged in work and travel

26 Comments

  1. by Kirstie on January 10, 2014  7:58 am Reply

    Thanks so much for the advice! Bookmarking immediately. After a not particularly successful talk with a careers advisor I was feeling a bit downbeat, I said I was aiming for jobs where I could write but my ultimate aim was to write about travel and the only thing she suggested was a post-grad in journalism...I might show her this instead!

    • by Vicky on January 10, 2014  9:37 am Reply

      Hello Kirstie, thanks for your comment. I'd strongly suggest work experience and as I say, just building up your portfolio. I also found the MatadorU course quite interesting, and I should probably edit the article to reflect this but I do actually have a PTC and NCTJ accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism from Harlow and loved every minute of it - so maybe she's on the right track!

      • by Kirstie on January 17, 2014  4:49 pm Reply

        Thank you for the extra tips :)

  2. by Dannielle on January 10, 2014  12:53 pm Reply

    As someone who really doesn't know what I want to do anymore (I've had a ton of meh jobs) this was a great article. I wholeheartedly agree that you need to present yourself well and really work for what you want.

  3. by Vicky on January 10, 2014  5:32 pm Reply

    Thanks for your comment Dannielle, and I'm glad you like the article. I hope you'll remember little old me when you get that dream job :)

  4. by Inma, A World to Travel on January 10, 2014  6:56 pm Reply

    Really good advice here! Thanks so much for sharing these 7 tips :)
    Let's keep trying!

  5. by Michael Huxley on January 11, 2014  9:59 am Reply

    This is a great article! You are so right about the positive attitude and passion, always great advice for any field of work!

  6. by Kate on January 11, 2014  11:14 am Reply

    This is a great article, thank you so much for sharing!
    I am about to enter self employment as a traveling expat and am always keen to read on ideas for broadening my abilities and options.
    I really like that you said we don't need degrees in order to get by as I don't have one and am a firm believe life experience can trump holding a degree with the right candidate and position!

  7. by Helen on January 12, 2014  10:48 am Reply

    Great post :) I love your writing! I need to start thinking about all this now that Uni is nearly over (after a bit of traveling of course ha ha). Gap year was definitely the best placement I had though, i learnt the most there for sure, I think travel writing and social media is my calling. Missing you guys... And Bar Malden :)

  8. by Sarah on March 12, 2014  3:57 am Reply

    Incredibly article and very inspiring. I know I can get to where I want to be in the travel industry and now after reading this article I know it even more. Honestly thank you. I will remember this article. Well done on all your achievements. Living the dream!

  9. by Emily Ray on March 25, 2014  3:19 pm Reply

    Great read, Vicky - thanks for sharing these tips! Hoping one day I'll eventually get there. x

    • by Vicky on March 25, 2014  7:05 pm Reply

      Good luck Emily! Let me know if there's anything I can do to help x

  10. by Bobbi Gould on April 8, 2014  10:09 pm Reply

    This was such an inspiring article. My life sounds quite a bit like yours! Anyhow, I was wondering if any of you know the best websites to look for travel specific social media jobs! I know about Indeed, craigslist, mediabistro, etc. for the general ones, but are there any specific travel related ones? Congrats on finding your path! I hope I find mine one day too!

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  12. by Carmen Dowling on January 15, 2015  12:33 pm Reply

    Extremely inspiring, thanks for sharing this with us! I have no degree, and looking for work has proved difficult because of this fact. I have always enjoyed work (and travel on the side) hence no uni, and always wondered where life would take me without relevant qualifications under my belt.
    With experience working for travel companies for almost 3 years, I want something more interactive and out there than being sat in an office 9-5 each week, and now's my time to try and grab it (watch this space!!!)
    :)

    • by Vicky on January 19, 2015  12:45 am Reply

      Good luck Carmen! I hope you manage to find something to suit you. I know how hard it is out there! Let me know if I can help with anything else :)

  13. by sumati sharma on February 20, 2015  2:13 pm Reply

    The article gave me goosebumps. I am highschooler in india and just getting out of school. Every body around me is preparing for some desk job which is completely a no no for me. I was completely blank about what I wanted to do but I always knew one thing I wanted to do something big. thanks a ton you gave me direction.

    • by Vicky on February 23, 2015  4:19 pm Reply

      Thank you for your message Sumati. Gives me goosebumps! I'm so happy that I've inspired you to do something different. Believe it to achieve it! Good luck and let me know how you get on with everything.

  14. by Victoria on May 16, 2016  6:11 pm Reply

    I'm returning home from working abroad this year and searching for opportunities that allow me to be just as adventurous, curious, and creative as living abroad. This is absolutely inspiring, thanks Vicky!

    • by Vicky on May 18, 2016  10:48 pm Reply

      That's great to hear Victoria – I'm glad I could've helped in some way :)

  15. by Katia Koerner on August 15, 2017  12:59 pm Reply

    Great article! I'm a recent graduate that still doesn't know exactly what she wants to be when she grows up but wants travel and our social media driven world to be a part of it. As someone who has no idea where to start to branch into this industry this was all great advice. Thank you!

  16. by Vicky on August 29, 2017  9:37 pm Reply

    Ah I'm glad it's helped, and good luck with everything!

  17. by Mike Iadevaia on October 12, 2017  11:19 pm Reply

    So happy I stumbled upon this blog! These tips are great and definitely restored confidence in me for my job search. I think it's okay to not know your dream job, especially during your 20s. I just completed an internship at a digital publication and there I realized I was really passionate about using social media for travel storytelling. Looking forward to finding my big break just like you did.

    -Mike

    • by VickyFlipFlop on November 1, 2017  9:52 am Reply

      Ah good luck Mike! Hope you make it in what you want to be doing, and hope I've given you some useful advice for the job search. Just let me know if you have any specific questions at all. Always happy to help!

  18. by Demi johnson on February 14, 2018  10:01 am Reply

    Really helpful article glad I stumbled across it :) I really want to get into content writing, and have started my own blog. I know I am an able and engaging writer, but I don't have a degree. I love to travel and so that is what I write about. I feel my next step is to try to write guest posts on websites or other blogs, for exposure, but I have no idea where to find these kind of things. Any advice much appreciated!

    • by VickyFlipFlop on February 21, 2018  10:36 am Reply

      Hi Demi, you definitely don't need to have any kind of degree nowadays to make it in writing. You just need to do it! You could look at doing a short course in travel writing though, or sign up to any of the free courses online. I learn a lot about everything on Skillshare – love it! Also, have you checked out my Travel Blogger High series on here?

      https://vickyflipfloptravels.com/travel-blogger-high/

      I wrote that to help any aspiring travel writers and bloggers.

      Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions at all.

      x

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