Lessons I’ve Learned from the Top Travel Vloggers

I think vlogging is one of the most important things you can do to make you stand out in travel blogging. There are a lot of people dabbling, me included, but compared to the amount of travel bloggers there aren’t many travel vlogger stars out there. And if you’re looking for British travel vloggers the pool of potential is even smaller.

Quick. Get your Ant n Dec on. There’s a definite gap in the market.

This is part 9 of 15 of the Travel Blogger High Series: The Online School for Wannabe Travel Bloggers

Me and my YouTube

I’ve made a few videos. I’ve given it a go. I’ve put the two below that I refer to in this article on Saint Lucia St James Bay Hotel review and my 9 Weirdest Things to Do in Tokyo. Have a watch, see what you think.

I’ve also made a video of the Frozen Parade at Disneyland Tokyo, the Snow Monkeys of Nagano, and Snorkelling at Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. Might be easier to just check out my YouTube channel if you want to see more.

Things I need to make a video

  • An injection of enthusiasm and inspiration.
  • Time – for both of these videos I was in the destination at least a week.
  • An idea.
  • Somewhere that really takes my interest. I was planning on doing a video a week from my Asia trip but it all fell apart when I just wasn’t that enamoured with Taiwan.
  • More practice.

As more of an enthusiast on the subject, rather than an expert, I thought we’d have a look at what the successful travel vloggers are doing around the web. If you’re thinking of making your first foray into travel vlogging, it’s worth studying a few other vloggers for inspiration (not imitation).

As you’ll see from the range of bloggers I’ve listed below, some go for a super ‘professional’ look where it’s all edited and beautifully put together while others opt for the more ‘vlogger’ look with one arm selfies and just basically filming what they’re doing with their camera on their shoulder.

I’ve divided them into ‘travel vloggers’ and ‘travel bloggers who make videos’ for ease.

Travel vloggers

Fun for Louis

I bumped into Louis in a bar in Waterloo. I’m a little ashamed to say I was totally starstruck and mumbled some words to him revealing I knew who he was and loved his work. We hung out a week later after I’d got over my sudden speech impediment and I found he was such a cool guy. He genuinely loves his 1 million+ subscribers and seemed amazed by his success. He makes a video every day, usually around 10 minutes long, or even longer. His vlogs are very ‘vlog’. There’s not as much slick editing as the others and this seems to make him more relatable to fans. He literally vlogs about anything, from worldwide adventures to hanging out at his mate’s house in Surrey.


Runaway Jane

Jane’s videos are cool because her most popular ones are all about what she knows – what it’s like to be Scottish, and what it’s like to live in Scotland. She’s amassed thousands of views on her Scottish swear words video without even leaving her room.

Travel bloggers who make videos

As We Travel

Sofia and Nathan from As We Travel are like TV presenters. Their YouTube shows are always well researched and they like to give some history on what they’re doing to educate their viewers. One of the things, I think, that makes them stand out in the vlogosphere is that they’re not over the top in the presenting style. They’re just straight to the point showing you how it is where they are. They use photos when they don’t have the footage, and although they’re professional they’re still relatable with their relaxed style.

The Blonde Abroad

I really like Kiersten’s videos at The Blonde Abroad. She mixes things up a bit with vlogs, travel guides and general travel tips and videos about her personal style too. She uses a few different techniques with some pieces to camera and others with a voiceover and music. She knows how to choose her tunes for the best impact too.

BTravelsNetwork

The thing I like best about Booker is that he tells a story. He’s been doing it for years and if you look back on his videos it’s hard to believe he started doing it so young. His voice is perfect for the chilled out vibe to his videos and he interviews and hangs out with some really interesting people. He’s the opposite of all the OTT enthusiastic YouTubers, and is genuinely interested in other people and telling their stories too. I love this one with the surf guide in Nicaragua, not just because I’m becoming obsessed with Nicaragua but because getting a guide wasn’t his usual style but he ended up learning so much and having an amazing experience he wouldn’t have otherwise. You can see him changing over the course of the film.

This is part 9 of 15 of the Travel Blogger High Series: The Online School for Wannabe Travel Bloggers

What to vlog about?

Take a look at my What to Write About and How article and just change the ‘write’ for vlog. Vlog about your trips, your preparation, your return, your thought and feelings and even that of your family, including your cat. As you start to vlog more it’s worth looking at your YouTube analytics to work out how long people are watching your stuff for and what they actually really want to know. Then you can start to vlog tactically, if it’s views your after. If you’re just doing it for fun then there’s no need to worry about that. Take a look at How to Be a Successful (V)Blogger to read more about setting your personal measures of success and ignoring other people’s.

Top vlogging tips

Top vloggers on youtube

From what I’ve seen from the successful travel vloggers around the internet, and successful vloggers in general, I’ve come up with a list of vlogging tips to follow.

  • Don’t give up when you’re not an overnight success.
  • Vlog regularly to get used to it. This way you’ll get to know your style, your opinion and the kind of messages you want to pass on.
  • Watch others and note what you like and what you don’t.
  • Make engaging videos that provoke a reaction from your audience so that they interact and come back for more.
  • Promote your video using the social media checklist I wrote up.
  • Name, tag and categorise your video properly for the best search results.
  • Be something. Funny, positive, silly, entertaining, energetic – don’t just sit there.
  • The quality doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to be decent enough to not hurt the viewers’ eyes or brain.
  • If you’re planning on ‘vlogging’ use YouTube. Vimeo is for more polished travel videos – leave it to the professionals.
  • YouTube is also the biggest search engine in the world – you need to be on it.
  • Show your personality.
  • Play with lengths of videos and see what works. Shorter may be best at first until you have the audience and reputation for people to stick around. If you can keep their attention for 10 minutes, a la Fun for Louis, you’ve made it.

More vlogging tips

top Vlogger tips

Work out how you can be different. Watch the travel vloggers I suggest and then think about what you can do to break the mould they’ve created. Do something different.

Keep it real. You need to be aspirational without being alienating. You also need to be yourself of you’ll be found out a few videos down the line. To be honest I find a lot of vloggers annoying – too OTT for me to buy into their enthusiasm, but it obviously works for them. Don’t fake it though, if it doesn’t come naturally to you.

Keep it simple. Don’t try to cover too much in a video. My first video I made where I really tried, the Saint Lucia one, was just a hotel review. I did a lot of activities in Saint Lucia but I knew if I tried to do a guide to Saint Lucia, or similar, I’d end up getting overwhelmed as a week wasn’t long enough to cover all that and make the video. But it was definitely long enough to have an opinion on the hotel and upload that to YouTube instead.

Don’t wait until you have the right equipment. Before I came away I was all like ‘ah I want a better video camera’. Then I had a reality check and decided I should learn to use the ones I have first, before I start with that. And with the grand total of three videos made so far this trip I’m glad I didn’t splurge the cash. There was no need. The two videos I’ve made that I keep referring to were done on my iPhone and a Canon point and shoot. Anybody with some sort of camera and a laptop for editing can make it in the movie business. On YouTube anyway.

Don’t be afraid to go wrong. Things happen in real life that can get in the way – a bird flying into shot, someone coming up behind you, your forgetting what you’re talking about – these all make you seem more real to your viewer. Keep it in. People love a reality show these days so give your audience what they want and be real.

Top vloggers lessons

Just do it. Don’t sit around worrying about whether it will work or not. Or whether people will like you, or whether you’ve got the skills, or anything like that, just go for it.

Be passionate. You don’t have to be super, major, mega excited about everything you have to say but you also need to sound just a little more excited that normal about it. I seem to have a problem with this one. I can’t feign enthusiasm so the only way to get around that is to genuinely be excited about what I have to say.

You will hate your first few videos. I can definitely vouch for this one. My YouTube channel kind of makes me cringe but it’s better than nothing. The more you do them, the more you learn, the better you’ll be. I’m on my way!

Be like a virtual friend. The thing about all the successful vloggers you hear about is that they are willing to share every part of their life. It goes back to being personal and letting people see the real you, not just the Instagram version of you. People will like you more once they know you warts and all.

Make a video with a theme. There are so many travel videos with an ongoing theme that make it viral. Choose something to do in each place and make sure you set up all your equipment the same so you can edit the lot together when you return. As you can see from the videos below – just walking through different places and taking a photo a day with a growing beard has amassed millions of views.

MOVE

The Longest Way

This is part 9 of 15 of the Travel Blogger High Series: The Online School for Wannabe Travel Bloggers

Go on, get started

All you need is a little introduction, some shots, a story and some royalty free music. You don’t even have to do a voiceover if you don’t want to. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can just film yourself talking to camera if you like.

Easy hey?

I hope this has all given you some starter tips, or rejuvenated your interest in travel vlogging. It’s definitely inspired me to do more. In fact, as an experiment and to have some fun with vlogging I’m filming my whole two-week trip in the Philippines day by day.

sign up to vickyflipflop

I’m still a little unsure and shy though so I’m keeping them just for my friends right now. As a loyal reader, of course you’re my friend too – sign up to one of my emails and I’ll send you the passwords to watch the vlogs on my blog.

  • Travel Blogger High: every Monday get the latest lesson on how to be a travel blogger direct to your inbox.
  • RSS feed: get the latest posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Fortnightly newsletter: a round up of the best of the last two weeks every second Tuesday.

If your name’s already on one of the lists, then you’re welcome in! Expect an email in the next few days with the links and passwords…

Do you make travel vlogs, or have a fave travel vlogger? Reveal all in the comments below!

What’s a Travel Blogger Got to Do to Get a Press Trip Around Here?
14 Tips to Improve Your Travel Blog With Photos
tagged in video

26 Comments

  1. by NaNa on March 2, 2015  2:12 am Reply

    A very well written post Vicky. I briefly considering travel vlogging but chickened out because I am a bit shy in front of the camera and English is not my native language (it's easier to edit words when you type it), but after reading this, I want to try it! Maybe I can start without putting my face out there and see how it goes gradually. I love reading your blog, btw. Looking forward to see your Philippines daily vlogs.

    • by Vicky on March 3, 2015  1:11 pm Reply

      Thanks Nana! Yeah, it's definitely pretty scary putting yourself out there. I just can't stand the sound of my own voice! And I feel pretty stupid doing it too. I'm definitely getting more confident in chatting away to the camera in public though. Just need to keep going I think.

      And great to hear you're enjoying my blog :)

  2. by Gemma @ Fleeting Planet on March 2, 2015  7:34 am Reply

    I've previously thought 'hmmm, maybe at some point...' about vlogging, but this post has made me start to seriously consider it. Like first blog posts, I'm sure everyone does cringe over their first videos. But it's all part of the fun, right? (Eek!)

    There's lots of info here Vicky, will save for when I'm gearing up to enter the world of video!

    • by Vicky on March 3, 2015  1:12 pm Reply

      Hey Gemma, I think we need to go easy on ourselves. That's what I decided today anyway. I'm no video pro and have never claimed to be so I'm not going to just be able to get up there and present and edit videos well. If I look back to some of my first posts on here they're pretty shocking! I think sometimes you just have to go for it and that's exactly what I'm going to do!

  3. by Cathy (MummyTravels) on March 2, 2015  9:02 am Reply

    It's like you're reading my mind! I've been thinking I really need to start vlogging - having faffed about sorting my YouTube channel so it's got the blog name in the link, I've been editing my first video this weekend. Still needs some work and definitely think I'll be cringing a bit but you've got to start somewhere, right? I've started smallish with a review so it'll hopefully be straightforward and useful at least.... I much prefer being behind the words though!

    • by Vicky on March 3, 2015  1:17 pm Reply

      Definitely need to start somewhere! It's good to shake things up a bit and yeah, I cringe at all my videos so far. I think I'll know I've made it as a vlogger when I don't :)

  4. by Elizabeth @ Awesome Wave on March 2, 2015  10:25 am Reply

    And me! *waves enthusiastically* :-D
    I've been vlogging the past few months on our Awesome Wave Youtube channel. And I love it! https://www.youtube.com/awesomewaveblog

    After blogging for over 6 years I feel pretty confident about that so this is a nice way to challenge myself. I feel like I'm totally starting from scratch learning a whole new skill and seeking out a new audience.

    My biggest lesson learned so far is ... editing is a LOOOOOONG process. I don't know how Louis manages it every day. I've made 55 videos in the past 4 months and it's been intense. But I do enjoy sharing on the video medium and so far the reactions have all been positive. So fingers crossed we can keep up the momentum.

    Off to subscribe to your channel now!

    • by Vicky on March 3, 2015  1:16 pm Reply

      Ooo I shall check that out when I'm back from my sailing trip (this is my last Wi-Fi for 6 days)!

      That's exactly how I feel about it – I'm ready for a new challenge and I want to play around with something new for my blog. One of the biggest problems in the Philippines has been uploading the videos. The quickest one has been around three hours!

      I'm getting more confident speaking to camera but still feel a bit weird. I'll keep practising!

  5. by Grace | The Beauty of Everywhere on March 2, 2015  12:50 pm Reply

    Definitely not brave enough to vlog yet, but it's so interesting to see how other travel bloggers are doing it! Hopefully, I'll make the leap one day :)

    • by Vicky on March 3, 2015  1:13 pm Reply

      Let me know when you do!

  6. by Hannah on March 2, 2015  9:05 pm Reply

    I'm ALWAYS looking for new travel vloggers to follow and really struggle to pin any good ones down, so this post is really useful! I love Fun for Louis. He's so calm and laid back, I feel like his chilled vibes somehow manage to reach me whilst I'm just sat watching his adventures!

    I've just started a blog in the run-up to my big trip to Asia and Australia in March, but I have thought about giving vlogging a go as well. I might just do some test vids first... but I agree, it is quite daunting!

    • by Vicky on March 3, 2015  1:09 pm Reply

      Yeah Louis is so cool. Such a chilled guy. I'm not sure about my vlogging efforts so far. It's definitely a lot harder than it looks. And I keep forgetting! Let me know if you do get round to making any – I'd love to check them out.

  7. by Roma on March 3, 2015  12:13 pm Reply

    You've made some solid points Vic. I tried a few times. Got a question for you, what software did you use to make your 9 Weirdest Things to Do in Tokyo vid?

    • by Vicky on March 3, 2015  12:36 pm Reply

      That vid was filmed on my iPhone 5 and then I just used iMovie. It's the only one I've ever tried so can't really recommend it against others, but that's what I've been using for all my vlogs.

  8. by Elle Croft on March 3, 2015  8:47 pm Reply

    Great post. I have been vlogging for a couple of months now and still am not happy with most of my videos but they are definitely getting better. I am just keeping on going and not giving up just because it's hard. Like anything, it's all about practice!

    • by Vicky on March 11, 2015  8:36 pm Reply

      I don't think vlogging is for me! I find it so hard when I'm on the road to remember to do it every day. From my experiment I've found that I'd rather be a blogger who akes a few vids rather than vlogging. Can't do everything! I'll keep practising, but I definitely can't keep it up every day. I tried!

  9. by Isai Rivera on May 12, 2015  12:42 am Reply

    Hi Vicky, I just stumbled upon your site when I searched for "Top Travel Vloggers". I am a Filipina and I was wondering how your trip was to the Philippines? Oh and I am a travel vlogger too. You're right it is harder than it looks, specially when people around you give you weird faces when they see you talking to the camera! haha. Best of luck! :) -Isai

    • by Vicky on May 18, 2015  8:14 am Reply

      Hey Isai, I absolutely LOVED the Philippines. I had such a good time there and definitely want to go back. I was only there for three weeks so of course there's so much more I need to see. I didn't get on very well with the daily vlogging – so difficult to keep up with!

  10. by Lizzy on January 17, 2016  8:14 am Reply

    Hi Vicky
    Thank you for your great tips on become a Vlogger. You are very inspirational and have inspired me. :) love your energy.
    Keep keeping it real!

    • by Vicky on January 17, 2016  4:00 pm Reply

      Aw thank you Lizzy! That's very kind of you to say. I'm glad I've inspired you. I've got another post about vlogging and videos coming out this week so keep an eye out! :)

  11. by Hannah Carter on June 18, 2016  1:20 am Reply

    Love this article! I've been travel vlogging for a while on YouTube as NomadicUnicorn https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=24ar9CTfgZ0 but still feel extremely new to it all. Just finding that I'm settling in to just being myself and no longer worrying that I am not as good as some of the amazing you have mentioned above. I've definitely seen an increase in activity on my channel since creating a regular upload schedule. I now post a new video every mon, weds and fri. I hope you make more videos in time to come, it really is great fun once you get into it! Take care and safe travels, Hannah (NomadicUnicorn) x

    • by Vicky on June 21, 2016  11:11 am Reply

      Hey Hannah, ah wow that's good you're managing to do so many. I keep promising myself I'll do more but then not finding the time to do it. Sure I'll get on it when the time is right :)

  12. by Julex on July 11, 2017  6:22 am Reply

    I like the content. They are words to ponder when starting a blog. Kudos!

  13. Pingback : Want To Go Traveling Cheap? Here Are The Tips You Need To Know

  14. by Jay Staniforth on November 19, 2017  7:34 pm Reply

    Hey. Thanks for this, i really enjoyed the read and the videos. My partner and I have started vlogging and blogging around our festival and event antics, which obviously involves some travel but our focus is on the event rather than the travel itself. This info is great, though. We have set up www.love2festival.com

    Would be great to get some feedback. Our vlogging side is really young, still, with just 5 videos so far.

    • by VickyFlipFlop on November 20, 2017  8:35 pm Reply

      Oh awesome! You guys must really love festivals – loving your work :) Good luck and I hope you have as much fun with it all as I do :)

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