For a long time now, the idea of becoming a travel blogger or a travel Instagrammer has been highly romanticized. Tons of pictures splash across your screens; people enjoying in exotic locations, holidaying every other week, and getting free goodies that are the envy of others. And now everyone wants to become a travel blogger. Or so they think.
The last decade has seen the rise of the Influencer industry in India, and millions have joined the bandwagon without really knowing what it is all about. These days anyone can become a travel blogger or an Instagram ‘influencer’ so why shouldn’t you? So, go ahead and join the blogging movement but not before you read this.
Things to know before you become a travel blogger
Blogging means writing for a blog
There seems to be a general confusion about the word ‘Blogger’. A blogger is someone who contributes to a blog or an online journal. You could write for your own blog or someone else’s. And only that qualifies you to be called a blogger. People who are creating content only on Instagram are called Instagrammers. The ones on YouTube as called YouTubers. The ones creating videos are called Vloggers.
Blogging is hard work
Another misconception is that blogging is easy. Well, I don’t want to be the party pooper but blogging is like any other job! You have to constantly write posts; some write as frequently as 2-3 posts every single day! If you want to be a successful blogger, then you need to constantly create content that people want to read. It’s not easy. Imagine researching for hours about the keywords you need to write about, then writing about the topic, beautifying the content, then publish it and finally posting it on social media platforms. And this is a cycle that never ends!
Whenever we travel, our first focus usually goes in capturing pictures that people would like to see. So, we might be standing in front of an awe-inspiring landscape but instead of enjoying it, our focus is to take the perfect photograph. And this happens for every trip we make. Apart from that, throughout the trip, we collect stories, facts, write down our experiences which later goes into our blog. So, while Vidur is driving, I am on my phone taking notes!
Oh, and did I tell you that you don’t get weekly offs, paid leave, sick leave, etc. when you become a travel blogger. You work 24/7, 365 days a year! So, if you dream of having a chilled-out job with great perks, it doesn’t make sense for you to become a travel blogger.
95% of travel blogs fail in the first year
If you want to become a travel blogger, you will need to beat this trend! If travel blogging were easy, everyone would do it! It might be an alluring dream and the temptation to try this out is why many people want to become a travel blogger. Think of it as a sugar rush. The idea of starting a travel blog is exciting, something new, adventurous! But once you settle into writing the blogs, it becomes a routine. And routine is something you wanted to get away from in the first place while aspiring to become a travel blogger!
Another reason why travel blogs fail is due to the inability to provide fresh content or the obsessive focus on generating revenue from the blogs. Unless you come up with something revolutionary that goes instantly viral, it will take years to make money from your blog. Even with the most optimized SEO friendly content and paid promotions, your blog will take a few years to see a small amount of traffic. And most people get disheartened soon and blogs shut down. All you need to keep going is to stay positive and create great content.
To earn money, you will need to spend money
Isn’t that like an oxymoron? Over the past five years, what we have realized is that growing a blog takes a lot of moolah! Let me put it very simple so that you can understand it. When we wanted to become a travel blogger, we didn’t really think of how much money we would put into it. So here is a list of some expenses you will need to incur
· Buying a domain
· Fee for a blogging platform like WordPress
· Fee for a theme (if you are not happy with the free ones)
· Fee for plugins, like Yoast SEO
· Fee for editing tools like Photoshop or video editing software
· Travel cost since you need to travel constantly to write blogs
· Cost of buying apparel that makes you look good
You need a steady source of income
Travel blogging WILL NOT pay your bills. At least for the first couple of years. Before you decide to become a travel blogger, you need to have a steady source of income coming in. Most travel bloggers adopt this approach. Even when we started, we had full-time jobs and were traveling during weekends. This is what fueled our blog. Revenue from blogging is not steady, you might not get any for months altogether.
However, if you have decided to become a travel blogger we would suggest you either do it along with a job or with freelance work that keeps the moolah coming in. We have been blogging full time for almost 6 years now and have finally decided to start our own travel company, Moto Overlanders, to create a new revenue stream for us.
There is nothing called Free Travel
You definitely would have come across blogs or Instagram posts which bloggers having enviable holidays in exotic destinations, gorging on delicious food, and talking about what a blast they are having. Welcome to the world of sponsored trips. In such trips, a brand takes care of everything – right from the stay, food, transport, and other expenses incurred during the trip. Sounds like a dream come true, right?
Now let’s face the realities. Sponsored trips are not all fun. You have been sponsored not to enjoy but to create content. You will have to work really hard for every sponsored trip you get. Whenever we get such projects, most of our time is spent on creating content for Instagram stories, posts, live videos, blog posts, Facebook posts, etc. Instead of chilling in the rooms or lazing around in the pool, we spend time talking to the chefs about the food, collecting information about the place, and changing clothes numerous times for the photoshoot.
We spend hours scouting the best places to click pictures in, eat cold food as plating takes time, and watch others enjoy as we fight over what would the best angle to take the pictures in. Phew doesn’t that sound like a lot? Well, we do have our share of fun too!
Your brand will consume your life
What does this mean? Usually, all of us are able to keep our work lives and personal lives separate. But when we follow our passion, especially full-time travel blogging, it translates into a kind of workaholism. You might not even release it initially but blogging creates your own personal brand. And you will never stop building that brand. Each time someone pings you, calls you, likes your pictures, or posts a comment, you will be obligated to respond. It doesn’t feel like work because you love doing it, but then you will end up working all the time.
With us, Travelmynation is our brand as well as a depiction of our lives. We work constantly to build that brand; stopping only when we physically can’t do it anymore.
Your travels will never be the same
When you become a travel blogger, you don’t actually go on a vacation where you go off the grid. Even if you decide to go on a holiday where you don’t want to create content, you will eventually get into it. Whenever we travel, whether it’s a collaboration or a personal trip, our focus is primarily on photography.
We are not complaining as this is a tradeoff to following our passion. Your personal vacation, family trips, office outings will all look like opportunities to create good content and you will become so consumed in it that you actually forget to enjoy the moment!
Barter deals actually screw things up
Jealous of your blogger friend who just got a top of the line smartphone free of cost? Well, sounds really tempting; almost a good enough reason to become a travel blogger, right? Yeah, we get tons of free stuff – from the latest gadgets to biking gear to expensive cosmetics. After all, who doesn’t want freebies?
However, once you get into the cesspool of doing barter deals it will be very difficult to get money out of your clients. PR’s will push you to do these attractive barter deals and you will be lured into working hard, creating content for something you actually might not need! The influx of pseudo bloggers by the millions has created a demand for barter deals and this has adversely impacted earnings for genuine bloggers. Barter deals ONLY benefit the PR and the brand and create no value for a blogger.
Serious blogging is a full-time activity
A lot of people tend to think that blogging is a cute hobby but those looking to get into it as a profession understand how serious it is. On a daily basis, you need a couple of hours to research and write about a topic. Then you need to invest time in editing pictures, videos, and your written content. Once you complete this activity, you will then need to promote your content through social media channels. And this needs to be done every single day.
To grow traffic in your blog, you will constantly need to engage in platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Google and work on tools like Google Analytics, AdWords, AdSense, SEO tools, Keyword tools, etc. All this can easily take a whole day and has to be repeated the next day again!
No matter how alluring or attractive the proposition looks, becoming a travel blogger has its set of challenges. No doubt it is a rewarding profession that if planned well can support you financially and be really rewarding. However, before you take this step you need to be aware of the realities and decide if you are cut out of it.
My article might sound a little cynical but with every problem above, I have tried to give you a solution. Blogging is an amazing line of work and we haven’t regretted our decision even for a day. But we’ve learnt all the above over the last 5 years on our own dime and time. For you it’s going to be easier with moe articles like this coming in.
If you have any questions, you can always reach out to us on Instagram.