How to Be a Successful Travel Blogger

How do you define a successful travel blogger?

1. Huge number of visitors and endless propositions from companies?

2. A few readers and you get enough work to finance your travels?

3. Mum and dad love your blog, you have a full time job, nice holidays, and your blog is your main hobby?

4. Something else?

Personally, I think all of the above and everything in between. Being a successful travel blogger is completely subjective and I don’t think any one blogger can tell others how to be successful, or announce that they know what ‘success’ is. The aim of Travel Blogger High is to show you what I’ve learned over the years of travel blogging, not to tell you how you should be doing it.

I’ve been to a lot of travel blogging conferences where the most well-known of all the travel bloggers in all the land, usually the ones with the historical highest view counts, will pass on their knowledge on what it takes to be a successful travel blogger. All good knowledge, I suck it up like a sponge, but their success isn’t the kind of success I want to emulate.

Why I don’t want to be a ‘big blogger’

When you’re a ‘successful travel blogger’ in terms of reader numbers and social media followers you have to spend a lot of time answering emails (I get around 200 emails a week asking about press trips, destination advice, advertising, etc. That’s enough for me!), posting on Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Facebook, or any of the other social media sites around. You have to source content to share, comment on blogs, keep up with answering your lovely readers on every medium and generally be available and ready for anything. This, as well as keeping up your travel blog writing, responding to interview requests, staying on top of the latest trends and maintaining the myriad of skills you need to be a travel blogger. You usually have to hire someone else to help (see below) and when your blog is called something like ‘’ there’s not really the scope for anyone else to come on board.

I can’t imagine how long anyone who has a bigger blog than mine in terms of audience figures spends on doing admin and things that they didn’t start up a travel blog to do. All this takes away from the ‘travel’ part of being a travel blogger.

But I still want to be a ‘successful’ one

How to be a successful travel blogger

Personally, and it’s taken me a while to realise, but for me being a successful travel blogger is…

  • Being a part of a movement that inspires people to get out there and see the world.
  • Helping people to travel better and deeper who wouldn’t have done before.
  • Making enough money from blog related activity to live at least hand to mouth on the road.
  • Being free to work when, how, where and as much little as I want.

When I was in Belize I had a whole week off when I was checking out all the things to do in Caye Caulker, and I barely touched my blog. I didn’t even get my laptop out for five days. Obviously I had my phone but the freedom to work as and when I want to, is a really important part of what success is to me. If I stop for a few days I normally get a few emails from my most avid of readers wondering where I’ve gone, but I won’t get in trouble with anyone.

I choose my hours, I choose if I even work, I can write what I want, work with the sponsors I like, I’ve got enough money in the bank for my next adventure and I’m not drowning in social media correspondence. I’m just having fun with it all and I genuinely love doing it. To me, for now, that’s a successful travel blogger.

What does ‘success’ mean to you?

So what makes a successful travel blogger in your eyes?

  • Being offered press trips?
  • A high number of subscribers?
  • Big audience numbers?
  • Site wide sponsorship?
  • Awards?
  • The most amount of social media followers ever?
  • Guaranteed Likes on every post?
  • Being able to write what you want?
  • Getting to spend time on the videos / podcasts / articles as you like?
  • Earning loads of cash through collaborations?
  • Free travel wherever and whenever you want?

You can’t have everything – I’ll tell you that much now. Decide what’s important to you in your travel blogging career and focus on that goal (s).

Create actionable goals

How to be a successful travel blogger

Now that you’ve decided on your goals as a travel blogger it’s time to work out how you’re going to get there. For example, if you want awards you need to have a blog worthy of them, first off. Then you need to be looking around to find the awards to apply for – a quick Google search will source that for you – and you need to make a note of the deadlines, what they want from you and if they have a hashtag do a bit of snooping to see who else is entering. You could also have a look at your fellow contender’s homepage sidebar to see if there’s a mention of awards they’ve won, and their about page, to see if there’s any you could enter for.

Whatever your goal break it down, and if you’re that way inclined, set yourself dates to complete them by. You need to set SMART goals to really get yourself to where you want to be in your travel blogging career.

Research the competition

The best way to learn is to learn from what’s been done before. If there’s a blogger you admire who’s achieving the goals at the top of your list, stalk them. Not in a weird find-out-where-they-live way, but in an online ‘research’ kind of way.

For example, if your goal is to use your blog to make money and go freelance do some research into how other travel bloggers are financing themselves. Do they have any tips posts? Is there a ‘portfolio’ tab, or a ‘hire me’ area? Make notes about companies they’ve worked with and if they give any advice on how to score paid writing gigs, advertising opportunities or any other ways to make money.

Be patient and keep working at it

how to be a successful travel blogger

Unfortunately there’s no quick way to be a successful travel blogger. One of the quickest rises to success I can think of is Brooke from World of Wanderlust – within a year she’s got millions of readers. I don’t know how she’s done it – I even bought her book to find out but sadly she doesn’t reveal much.

Whether you have a team behind you, some money to invest or just some mad writing skills, play to your strengths and keep going. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a successful blog. Keep your goals in mind and strive to working towards them. Thousands of blogs are started up every month but it’s only the people who are really dedicated that will reap any benefit from them.

Reward yourself at milestones

Beavering away on a travel blog can be a lonely business at times. I’ve definitely gone a whole day without even thinking to speak to anyone at times and it’s only when my tummy rumbles I realise I could probably do with some company, and some food. It’s important to be nice to yourself when you’re working hard to achieve your goals – you need it to stay motivated.

For example, back to the money goal, you could tell yourself…

“Once I make my first £100 I’ll treat myself to a selfie stick, at £1000 I’ll buy a new top, and at £10,000 I’ll book that flight”.

Or replace the money with whatever it is that floats your boat.

Keep learning and refining

It could take a long time to reach your goal so you need to keep learning as you go. The travel blogger world, the internet and social media changes all the time, and as a travel blogger you’re now entrenched in all three. Keep up with the latest trends and stay inspired from tech sites (like and, from your favourite bloggers and from whatever hits your senses out there in the big wide world.

Manage your expectations

If you’re starting a travel blog while working a 40-hour week, keeping up a social life, nurturing a relationship, attempting some sort of fitness and trying to see your family, you’re not going to become the world’s biggest travel blogger in three months. For the first 2ish years of my blog these are the plates I was trying to spin, but I wasn’t really interested in quantitive success, I just wanted a blog to play with.

How to be a successful travel blogger

Don’t put a ridiculous amount of pressure on yourself for any of the goals you identified above – travel blogging is meant to be fun. There’s a famous quote in surfing – ‘the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun’. If you substitute ‘surfer’ for ‘blogger’, I think it works well for travel bloggers too.

A word on delegation

A lot of the ‘big travel bloggers’ have to hire people to work for them. Check out this example from about how many staff they have and you can see from the comments how surprised everyone is about the size of the team. Readers just can’t see all the hard graft that goes on behind a blog – Caz and Craig would never be able to keep the success of ytravelblog up alone, as well as travel and care for two children. A lot of work goes into being a travel blogger, and a lot more to being a popular one. I know of one travel blogging couple who’ve hired someone specifically to manage their StumbleUpon accounts, nothing else, that’s how much time you could spend on all these social media platforms.

I’ve dabbled in hiring people from and the like, but with all the back and forth emails I could’ve done the job myself quicker. See that logo up there? That took me three months and three freelancers to get, even though I knew exactly what I wanted. I decided at that point I wanted my blog to be all me and so ended up doing the site redesign myself, in two weeks, at a cost of just £50 for the basic theme.

As a travel blogger your blog-related to do list will be endless. It’s important to enjoy the travel blogging journey as well as your end destination, when you get there.

I hope this article has helped you to think about your goals with travel blogging and also reassure you that it’s not just the numbers that matter. There’s a lot more to being a successful travel blogger than your Facebook Likes!


  1. Love this Vicky, great post as always!

    “you’re starting a travel blog while working a 40-hour week, keeping up a social life, nurturing a relationship, attempting some sort of fitness and trying to see your family”

    That is me! It is really difficult and sometimes I think about giving up. But then I read something like this and I’m reminded to keep going. Plus, I don’t have to spend any time in internet cafes or looking for wifi while I travel which is a nice bonus to not blogging full time! 🙂

    Thanks babe. x

  2. Excellent post, Vicky! I’ve been having this same conversation with myself and I feel the goals will probably change annually. For this year, I’m just excited to embark on an adventure in exploring my blog and am pumped for my first paid gig and free tour. It’s small potatoes in the big scheme of things, but it has put the biggest smile on my face and a fire under my butt to keep on writing. Thanks for sharing such great info. Also, great tip on the WOW book. I was tempted to buy it but the price tag massively deterred me. Sorry to hear it wasn’t all that informative.

    1. Yeah, my goals change all the time! Small potatoes – I like it. Sounds like you’ve got the right attitude to enjoy yourself with it all. Have fun!

  3. Nicely put Vicky, You should put together your own focus on what you want to get out of travel blogging rather than trying to replicate others success. Of course its ok to look behind how they have done it and maybe pick up some pointers, but it all come down to what you want and what you’re prepared to put in to it.

  4. Hello Vicky,

    You are very right to say that what makes a successful travel blogger — or someone in any field, for that matter — is very subjective and personal. Or so it should be.

    I have always followed the beat of my own drum as a travel blogger, and though I have experimented with many different marketing, content and monetization strategies, in the end, what matters to me has nothing to do with numbers, rankings, invitations, emails, speaking engagements or awards.

    For me, the three most important things are sometimes not even touched on in discussions about travel blogging.

    1. Craft. I began as a print travel writer, writing magazine feature articles. It was the decreasing ability to make a living as a magazine writer that propelled me into blogging. Mastering the craft of travel writing is my number 1 motivation, and will be my number 1 criteria for feeling success.

    2. Values. My blog, Breathedreamgo, stands for some very strong values around responsible travel and cultural respect. I specialize in India, and I have spent nine years living on-and-off in India, travelling there and immersing myself in the culture. I am a SLOW traveller in the extreme! When I get emails from my readers in India telling me that I write about their culture with sensitivity and understanding, and in fact have opened THEIR eyes to their own culture, I am over the moon. This to me is my emotional paycheque.

    3. Inspiration. I have taken a stance to be an outspoken advocate for female solo travel, and I am happy to say that I have encouraged some women to take the chance to get out there, to travel, to finally visit India, to follow their dreams … to breathe, dream and go, ha. When someone writes me and tells me they were inspired by my life or my writing … well, there is no better feeling. I have made a difference. No amount of traffic or share or RTs or, well, anything, equals this to me.

    I know there are many travel bloggers who are also driven by a higher purpose, by strong values and a mission — Green Global Travel, Uncornered Market, D Travels Around, just to name a few. I am sure they would also add some thoughtful and meaningful criteria to the list of what makes a successful travel blogger.



    1. Hi Mariellen,

      I think sometimes you have to just try all these things people tell you to. Give them a shot and see how it makes you feel and what you get from it. As a newbie travel blogger you don’t really know what you’re doing so it’s good to have that guidance from looking around for advice and sometimes even imitating other bloggers. Then once you know what you’re comfortable with you can start making your own waves and riding them where you please. It’s a cycle people go through with most skills.

      I’d definitely like to put more emphasis on my writing skill. I want my blog to be accessible and encouraging and relate my travels in an amusing way. In all the design, admin and social media it can be easy to lose sight of this. It’s good to keep the writing focus at number one.

      Wow, that’s great that you get that from your readers. I wrote an article on here once about what I thought of Cuba and some Cubans have written to me and told me they were amazed at the understanding I gained from just three weeks – they’re some of my favourite emails. (

      I’m definitely going to study your blog more over the next few weeks as I’m going to India in April and to be honest, am a bit nervous about going by myself.

      The most interesting blogs are definitely those with a passion – whether that’s for a destination, a type of travel or an ongoing theme. Thanks for your comment Mariellen. I actually booked an airbnb apartment in Mumbai last week because I saw your gravatar and recommendation at the end, hope it’s good!

  5. Since starting our travel blog, I have come to realize that travelling, writing and exploring makes the business side of making money fade away. The people that are chasing money and readers are constricting themselves in their expression. It is a lifestyle and writing should be from the soul rather than to make money.

  6. Vic, I love your Travel Blogger High concept but am particularly pleased you started with the topic of defining success. I completely agree with you that success as a travel blogger is a subjective concept, and that concept might change the longer you blog. When I look back over my blogging goals I think initially I just wanted to write and liked the idea of people reading it. Once I got traction I began to have hope that it could lead me to a new career and once it did that I looked into ways of travel and blogging full time. Two years into freelancing my main goal for my blog is for it to continue to support the lifestyle I’ve come to love, whilst being a useful resource to readers. I guess success for me is building a site I can be proud of, producing content that people want to read (be that 5 or 5000 readers) and having an awesome time doing it. Thank you for reminding me!

    1. Thanks Jayne – high praise from you :). It’s always bothered me that the talks and conferences I’ve been to are all about ‘how much’ and ‘how many’ of a certain thing you can get. That’s not what it’s all about, for me anyway. Sounds like we have the same kind of goals right now – not the ones that revolve around money and a million readers but about a lifestyle choice. ‘A site I can be proud of’ – I never said that one, but absolutely agree. Love your blog 🙂

  7. Thoughtful information, and thank you for sharing! I agree, that having fun in an vendor is what makes one truly successful! Thanks again for sharing TBH, I’m lovin’ it.

    1. Ah thanks Emily. I keep thinking of new aspects I want to write about so I might have to add a few parts on the end! Let me know if there are any topics you’d like covered 🙂

  8. Brilliant post. Ive followed your blog for a while now and you always have spot on advice. When i first started mine less than a year ago i remember following yours and watching it grow at a steady pace, but then seeing how much fun you were having along the way. It seems like you travel and THEN write a blog. For me thats the way everyone should do it rather than write a blog TO travel. Awesome work. Fully behind you and support you. And i was so jealous when you won that Gopro for the PNG blog ambassador. Good luck with the overall prize.

    1. Thank you Sarah! And thanks for following along. I feel like the look of my blog has changed a lot over the last year but I want to keep the focus on fun and accessible writing the same so I’m glad you’ve noticed 🙂 I’m taking the GoPro out today. Hopefully I’ll get some good footage!

  9. That’s a really good point to think about what you want to get – my blog is just one of the plates I currently spin, and the freedom to write about what I want is definitely a big thing for me. Looking forward to the rest of the tips.

    1. Hi Cathy, I really think it’s too difficult to keep your eye on everything as a one (wo)man band. Having a focus and concentrating on the things you can do right with all the demands on your time and skills will keep you inspired and enjoying travel blogging. Thanks for following 🙂

  10. Thankyou for the awesome tips!! :-F
    I’ve just started getting my blog together finally, I’m sure it’ll be just something my family read and nothing on a big scale but I’m enjoying it so much!!

  11. Very interesting post Vicky.

    It;s very refreshing to see a great travel blogger give advice on what worked and what didn’t even though every travel blogger is different.

    I was rather intrigued to hear you get 200 emails a week about partnerships, reader questions etc. Wow! I don;t seem to get that many and most of them are unnecessary press releases that I would have no interest in.

    Also, I keep lamenting that I don’t seem to get much engagement despite doing all the right things. I hardly get more than 2 comments a post if I’m that lucky. Interestingly enough, I was talking about this to a fellow blogger and she reckons that female travel bloggers comment more on each other’s blog posts rather than male ones. Also, male bloggers don’t seem to comment on other male bloggers’ blogs. What do you think to that?

    Anyway, rather than banging on about it, I do feel that it’s the one thing that’s stopping my ambition to be a ‘great’ successful travel blogger. Would be interesting to see if there would be a lesson on engagement.

    Meanwhile, copyblogger. Do they host?

    1. Hi Ed, you could be right there with the female / male divide. I don’t really get many from guys either, come to mention it. One of the things you can do is to comment on other blogs, if you have time? Get your blog noticed more? Unfortunately I don’t have time to do this much anymore. I guess the other is to write posts with the soul aim of garnering some comments. Maybe something controversial, or current, or advisory? Engagement is definitely an important factor for a successful blog, I’ll make sure to cover it more along the way. Copyblogger is just a site with all the latest movements and information on how to blog – it’s a really good resource!

  12. It’s so true that there are so many plates to spin and different definitions of success. Personally, I agree that dedication will pay off. Anything is possible if you give it your all. Looking forward to reading more of this series.

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