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32 Professional Travel Blogger Secrets I’ll Let You in On

I’ve been a full time travel blogger for a good 9 months now – and if that amount of time can turn a teeny tiny little sperm into a baby then I think it’s perfectly adequate to put me in a position to let you in on what this job is really like.

1. Professional travel blogging is really hard work. I’m at my laptop at least 30 hours a week, on average. It’s not a stick a blog post up here and there kind of thing. I can’t imagine how many hours someone who has a more popular blog than mine spends glued to their screen.

2. Social media is not as fun as it was when it was just for stalking your friends and random people you know who you actually don’t care about until there’s a deadline looming and then it’s all you care about.

3. A lot of bloggers don’t actually look like their profile picture and are nothing like their online persona, when you meet them. You’ll probably feel a bit sad.

4. Most travel bloggers are born with FOMO. And with the more online friends you make and blogs you follow, it will only get worse.

5. There’ll be days when you wonder what the point is because no one ever reads your stuff anyway, even though it’s pure genius. Then you’ll get an email through telling you you’ve inspired some kid’s life, or sent them on their way to Vietnam, and you’ll feel all warm inside.

6. As you tell your readers more and more about your life, you’ll start to feel disturbed about who exactly is reading all this.

7. There are tools to see who unfollows you on every platform and it can be a little upsetting when someone you personally know says adios and slips off into the night. Yeah I’m watching.

8. Some bloggers will slag off places in real life you read that they loved on their blog. You feel you don’t know who to trust anymore.

9. There are so many secret blogger groups on Facebook you wonder how anyone has the time to read through all the balderdash, let alone reply.

10. Your emails become the reason to wake up in the morning. Too exciting.

11. A lot of bloggers are massive introverts who are actually scared of life but go out there and do it anyway to follow their inner compulsion. Inspiration right there.

12. Travel blogging can be lonely and it can be liberating, all in the same minute.

13. Your life revolves around Wi-Fi. You can tell the strength of character of a travel blogger based on how they cope without it.

14. It’s easy to spend a whole day without saying a word when you’re in a blogging mood, particularly when you’re in a different country.

15. You’ll want to write about everything, but you need to learn that some things didn’t happen to be shared.

16. You’ll meet some of your best friends via Twitter and the best friends you didn’t will find it disturbing.

17. You’ll have to justify yourself and your life at every family gathering for the rest of your days. Just go travelling and avoid them all.

18. Your blog will be all the better if you have some sort of sob story.

19. And if you don’t have either an ‘I’m actually an introvert’, ‘How I escaped the office’ or ‘blogger burn out’ story, you’re a no one.

20. Sometimes you’ll feel that nobody but Google cares what you write – it’s the photos they want. ‘A picture paints a thousand words’ / people are too distracted to read your carefully crafted prose and can get the jist from a few headers and carefully placed pics.

21. Love your blog. Hate your blog. Love your blog. Hate your blog. It’s a vicious and destructive cycle.

22. You’ll get trolled. You can laugh or cry. I like to write sarky replies, then screenshot it and Whatsapp it through to my bezza.

23. University and college kids will expect you to help with their dissertations. Some will even put you in a draw to win a £10 Amazon gift voucher if you answer their 50 trillion questions / write their dissertation for them.

24. SEO companies will think they can trick you with the phrasing of their emails into including their links and infographics. Even though you know words, and you love words, and you’ve probably got some sort of qualification in how words work, they still try with all the skill and grace of a drunken ninja.

25. Some companies expect you to work for free, even though you know they make millions. Make sure you know what a travel blogger gets paid, so you know how much you can expect to ask for. 

26. “Sharing your post across social media channels” seems to have become an acceptable form of payment for some businesses. You’ll have to fight the urge to point out how they’d feel with a Facebook post as payment on the last day of every month.

27. There’ll be times you need to scrape the barrel to earn a dollar / rupee / pound, but in that desperation, a gem of an idea will grow. Or you’ll just have to stick the scuba diving on the credit card and think about it later.

28. You’ll feel like all the other travel bloggers know each other and hang out without you. And they probably do.

29. No one but another blogger quite understands what it is you do. Use the opportunity to make stuff up.

30. You’ll experience more in a year than many people do in a lifetime.

31. You’ll get to be creative, do what you want, work when you want, try things out, research stuff, follow your latest passion, work from where you want and justify drinking coffee in over priced hipster bars by thinking of it as ground rent for an office.

32. Being your own boss is fucking awesome. 

33 comments

  1. Such a great read Vicky! I really can’t believe that some people you actually know would unfollow you – no wonder you made a comment about not knowing who to trust! I can definitely empathise with that demoralising fear of feeling like no one reads it, though I’ve got to say, it was surprising coming for a blogger as well-established as you so in a funny way, it did kind of make me feel better to know that people still feel that way at many different levels and stages of their blogging lives!

    1. Ha, yeah. To be honest I don’t actually look at those tools very often but when I did, it hurt a little bit inside y’know? I think blogging insecurities last forever, in fact that’s what the next blog post is about!

  2. Ha! Brilliant — esp the bit about bit about FOMO. and also the part about experiencing more in a year, than most people do in a lifetime. also, to this day, meeting real life friends through our blog has been one of my proudest moments 🙂

  3. #5… I am one of the readers who you helped plan a Vietnam trip! We go two weeks tomorrow and I can’t blumin’ wait. So thanks for all your blog posts about it 🙂

    1. Ah thanks for letting me know Rachel! I hope you have a great time – I know you will. I’m so tempted to go back. Eat the Pho!

  4. Yes #3 scares me! A lot of big time bloggers I follow admit they’re introverts. As much as I’d love to meet them in person, the fear of disappointment is there :X. Great post!

  5. Loved this post – made me laugh some of those things are so true and only travel bloggers would understand! Thank you for making my day!

  6. This is such a great list! I didn’t realize that other bloggers have so many similar thoughts and feelings. Some of them made me laugh 🙂

    1. Yep, I think no matter what ‘level’ you’re on – you have these insecurities and observations!

  7. Truer words were never spoken, finally someone who understands our struggle.. But things like #30 make it all worth it, and that’s why I’m still slaving along nearly 5 years later!

  8. Another great post Vicky. You are quickly becoming one of my favourites. It is refreshing to see a post that says things are not always black or white.
    It seems every other post aimed at bloggers says it is too hard and tries to scare you off, or says it is an easy way to become a millionaire and get free travel for life!

    1. Ah thanks Dean, I’m glad you’re finding my advice useful. I think like everyone’s story of how they got to where they are now, some worked every second of every day to create opportunities and are still working at it, while others had it handed to them on a plate. Most people will be on that spectrum somewhere. You’ve just got to work with what you have and make the most of it!

  9. Hi Vicky,

    Great work. I know this is a cheeky/boring question to ask, but how do you get your sidebar so narrow? My sidebar takes up half the pagfe and looks crap. Is it CSS or a really easy fix?

    Love your tips. Big help

    1. I hope some of it resonates. I’m going to read it again myself now – seems so long ago that I wrote it!

  10. Pingback: DN/LI/TB 23/11/16

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UK Solo Travel and Festival Blogger

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