Start a Travel Blog – 14 Awesome Tips You Need to KnowSeptember 01, 2018
Traveling is all about experiences of all kinds. You are almost always sharing your travel photos with your friends, and you have always been that per
Traveling is all about experiences of all kinds. You are almost always sharing your travel photos with your friends, and you have always been that person who enjoys telling a story. Then why not start a travel blog? Even if, in the beginning, it's just for you and your friends. At some point, you could actually become a well-known travel blogger. It's just like with other great things: start with your passion, then work it around to make it a business. This way you'll be able to actually invest yourself in creating a tremendous business.
Here's what you'll find in this article:
- What is a Travel Blog?
- Types of Travel Blogs;
- Choosing Your Audience;
- Choosing a Name for Your Travel Blog;
- Domain and Hosting Service;
- Cloud-based drive/ External Drive;
- Laptop and Passport;
As you may be a beginner in travel blogging, let's start by defining the term “travel blog”. When you think of starting a blog, you have to decide on a niche. What do you enjoy doing? Traveling, trying new restaurants, creating outfits, taking photos etc. Would you like to write about it? As I said, you should start writing about things you like to do.
It's like in every other business: as long as you like it, you'll invest time and resources in developing it; you'll constantly try to improve yourself; not to mention that you'll do all of these not because you'd have to, but because you'll want to. OK, at some point you'll hit the “have to” situation, only because blogging might be your first source of income; thus it will be your job, which results in kind of having to write, improve and develop yourself and your business.
Let's go back to what is a travel blog. At first, there were travel diaries, which I still think they exist. People used to write every day in their travel journals, because they wanted to remember what they felt, seen and eaten. With the rise of the Internet and fast forwarding to blogs, travel blogger appeared. It's almost the same as keeping a journal, the difference being that you'll only write longer articles. This travel blog posts will include your destinations experience throughout the whole days. We'll learn later in this article what can you write about in a travel blog post.
_So there it is: A travel blog is a way of sharing your travel experiences: feelings, places you've been, sights you've seen. Of course, it includes a lot of photos and videos. _
Don't forget that a travel blog post should help people really immerse in your experience, therefore using details, names (of places of course), photos and video is highly recommended.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is to only write about your actual travel experience. It's like in every other review or blog post. You can't truly help people and share information unless you know about what you're writing.
Now that we've covered what a travel blog means, in general, let's dive deep into the subject. There are a lot of aspects that you should be aware of BEFORE you start a travel blog. Of course, many of these things can be transposed to other types of blog posts.
As you might have guessed, traveling has a lot of branches. Obviously, there are a lot of travel blog types. You just have to choose.
Think about what would you like to constantly do in the future (in case, hopefully, your blog will earn you money), and think of how were your past travels. It's just like combinations in math: fancy hotel in a cheap destination, or a fancy hotel in a super expensive city; a cultural experience in an exotic place, or a cultural experience in a budget-friendly, exotic place. And so on, you get the point.
Here's a travel blog types list that you can use as an inspiration:
- Budget Traveling;
- Luxury Traveling;
- Last-Minute Traveling;
- Family Travels;
- Adventure or Backpacking;
- Exotic Places;
- Young Adults Traveling;
- Seniors Traveling (although this could be later in your life);
- Hidden Gems;
- Traveling by car;
- Art Traveling;
- Animal Photography;
- and many more.
Decide on what's your purpose, where would you like to go, and what would you enjoy to write most?
Maybe choosing the right audience will help you.
It is a must to know exactly who are you writing for. Or at least have an idea. Try to describe yourself, and your travels. Then think “who would read these?”. Choosing the audience and choosing the blog type go hand-in-hand. For your own knowledge, here's an audience list:
- young adults;
- people with kids;
- rich people;
- adventurous persons;
- experience seekers;
- and many others.
So if you like to book city-breaks, that are medium-priced or even budget friendly, then try to think about what type of audience you will attract. Imagine how your advice would help you, and if they would have the same impact on your readers.
Similar to other types of blogging, it is best to try to find a name that you'll stick with. Search the internet for inspiration: words, phrases, anagrams. What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about your travels? Try to make use of that word or its synonym.
You can even combine some words that represent you. The idea is, of course, to come up with a travel blog name that will be easy to remember, but also easy to include in a logo and to write it wherever you need.
At some point you might want to buy a domain (if you're not considering buying it from the start), so think ahead: verify if your new blog name is available. Fingers crossed! The more unique the name, the better chance you have to actually find a domain that will suit you.
We wrote an entire article just on this: how to choose the best blog hosting service, including a domain and a blog platform.
The idea is that it's perfectly OK to use a free blog hosting, but only if you'll keep the blog for yourself or for close friends. If you start a travel blog out of passion, but with the seed of thought that you'll someday make a business out of it, then you should definitely consider having your own domain and hosting service.
Let me put it this way: our website is built with WordPress. But we paid, and now we have our own domain. If we weren't willing to pay, then our domain name would look like this: https://drsoft.wordpress.com. We wanted to be our own, to help ourselves look professional for our readers, thus we paid to have our own domain.
In the article we wrote, there is a list of disadvantages when using a free blog platform. This list includes the fact that basically, the blog is not actually yours (you have an account there, that can be deleted, along with all of your content), you can't monetize it easily, you have design restrictions etc.
Thus, paying for a self-hosted blog is the way to go if you think you'll want to make money out of your travel blog. The advantages are right the opposite of the free hosted blog disadvantages.
Yes, it will be an investment, but aren't you willing to pay to have a great travel blog that will actually represent you? Everything you do is an investment, more or less: investing time to know more, money to keep going, energy to do stuff.
I'm sure you've seen a lot of pictures like this:
Designed by Freepik
Just type in Google travel kit, and you'll see a lot of examples.
A travel blogging kit is quite similar. You'll need these:
- decent camera;
- pretty good smartphone;
- cloud-based drive (or an external drive);
- hat to protect your creative head;
- sunscreen to protect your looks.
You'll need a decent camera based on your needs (or at least different lens). The most awesome travel photos are taken with a wide lens. It captures more stuff in the photo, which will be great.
In case you'll use your smartphone for taking photos, be sure they are in the perfect light and that your phone really takes a great picture. It's a no-no for pixelated, blur photos, so pay extra attention.
You can even have a portrait lens, just in case you need some good close-ups; a tele lens will help you zoom in to capture some far away landscapes.
It is best to actually invest your money right from the beginning, assuring yourself that you'll not change your camera again in a couple of years. Still, if you don't have the right amount of money when you are starting your blog, then try to go for a semi-professional camera, one that will be good at taking any photo.
One that I've been using for a long time (before I started taking photos with my 8Plus) is Nikon CoolPix P80. I'm sure that they don't produce it anymore, but try to find something similar. It was (and still actually is) a pretty good camera. It has a great zoom, you can take great macros and portraits, and even panoramas.
Nowadays they've surely improved these type of cameras. Most of them have a wifi connection, which is extremely helpful – instantly share your photos in your cloud or even on social media. Also, many have pretty good filming, which is great, because you'll also need videos.
In case you'll use your smartphone – it can happen to forget your camera home, or to have drained the battery, then you can even use lens accessories.
Here's a pretty nice and detailed article about what camera you should use for travel photography.
You'll take a lot of photos and videos. I'm sure that at some point you'll need more memory (for your camera and for your smartphone). Also, where will you upload all of your photos in order to edit them?
The classic version is to have an external drive. Before the cloud-based drive, these were heaven. Nowadays we enjoy having all of our documents and media at the tip of our fingers. Therefore, a cloud is the best solution I can propose.
Yes, you'd have to pay a monthly fee to have more storage, but the convenience beats the price. And the price isn't even that high. Even if you're using an iPhone, I would suggest you install the Google Photos app, as it works wonders. Take photos with your smartphone, then enter the app – your photos will be uploaded quickly, for you to see them on your laptop. If you take photos with your camera, upload them quickly using the google.photos.com link; you'll also see the photos on your smartphone, and you can quickly edit them.
There are different pricing levels, so choose the one that will suit your needs.
I won't stay much on this subject, as pretty much everyone has a laptop. If you don't, try to find one that is lightweight, because it will be hard to carry a heavy laptop around.
Obviously, for legal traveling purposes, you need a passport, so apply one and don't forget it at home!
I said above that even if you start a travel blog only because you love traveling and sharing your experiences, but with a small thought that you can earn money from it, you have to think ahead. Take into consideration the fact that you can become a successful travel blogger. This will result in a full-time job.
You'll have to write articles, take and edit photos and videos, post on social media. Your audience will start to expect content from you, as well as your desired sponsors. You may even have to quit your current job, just to be able to travel more and really invest time into creating beautiful content.
It's not an easy task to edit your photos every time, even if you're using the same preset. Not to mention editing videos. In order to write good articles that will rank, you'll have to do some research in terms of keywords.
It will be also a must to add a title and alt attributes to your photos so that you'll be able to rank in Google Images, too.
On social media, you'll have to constantly share photos and stories, especially on Instagram (which has become the land of travel photos). Create a loyal audience there and invite them to read your blog.
All of these things and many more will make you realize that travel blogging will be a full-time job. But one that you'll love doing every day!
It will be hard at first to try to stick to a schedule. Even harder to be productive. Still, you have to realize that only by constantly writing, you'll be able to reach to success.
Try to find your own schedule: write as many times per week as you can and want. Keep in mind that writing often, but poorly written and short articles, will not help you in any way. Investing some time and energy into writing better articles will take you some time, you'll see.
So don't be mad at yourself for not being able to write every single day.
I've heard stories that some bloggers just go to a hotel and say “Hey, I'm a travel blogger. I'll write about your hotel, thus giving me a free room”. It doesn't quite work that way. Maybe that specific hotel (or restaurant, venue, museum etc.) doesn't even know you exist. Especially if you're traveling to a whole other country/continent.
Be nice and don't expect something in return. Write genuine travel articles, and you'll see that they will benefit you more. You should reach that point when hotels and other travel venues and brand will ask you to write about them.
Viceversa it's just showing that you're only there for the perks and the money; you're not sharing quality traveling content. And this can result in losing your audience.
You are free to refuse offers; if someone wants to pay you to write about them, only accept if you truly trust and like them. Otherwise, it's your right to say no. Your audience will appreciate you more.
Also, whenever you are paid to write about someone or something (that you really enjoyed), mention it. Again, your audience will thank you for letting them know that you are sincere enough.
At some point, you may feel overwhelmed because of all the meetings you'll have to attend, the flights and trips you'll have to book, topping with actual writing.
Don't try to do everything on your own, because you can actually harm your business and blog. Find a good agency or just a virtual assistant with experience in your domain. Hire and let them do their job. They will only focus on finding you the right traveling opportunities, along with bookings and all; you'll be able to focus solely on writing and delivering great content.
We've reached the final and the main idea of this article. The basic steps and thing that you should know before starting a travel blog are up above. Now I'll point out things that you should know and do while writing travel blog posts.
This is such a common thing, as it applies to everything; whenever you talk about something, talk only about things you know; if you're teaching someone, teach only if you already know.
Same goes for traveling. It is extremely important to write only about your own experiences. If you happen to point out things that you've only heard, mention that you don't know exactly, you only heard people talking.
Keep in mind that all people are different. Some may not have the same taste as you do. Even if you're reaching a certain audience, people in it can still have different opinions. Emphasize that what you're writing about is your own opinion, thus whoever reads your articles should know that they can actually think differently.
Tip: Before going to your destination, do some research. Find on Google what people are searching for that place/destination. Write the ideas, and try to experience them yourself. You'll have qualitative content – people will love you for actually experiencing and writing about things they would want to find out.
Even if someone else is writing exactly about what you're writing, don't let this scare you. Firstly, travel experiences differ from one to another; some might like a city, some might not.
Secondly, if you can add a bit of a difference, then add it. If you simply can't, then just try to be better than your competitors:
- find a better website design;
- be the one that communicates with your audience;
- maybe even create a Facebook Group.
It will be hard for you to remember all of the things you did during a trip. You can't film the entire trip, nor you can't constantly take photos.
The easiest way to keep track of your activities is to keep a traveling journal. Whether it's an app or a small notebook, you'll see that it will help you create beautiful blog articles at the end of your trip. You can even record yourself if this seems easier.
Write a word, a phrase or draw something immediately after you did it. It may seem like a lot to do, but it will help you a lot.
What can you write in a traveling journal?
- what you felt about a certain city;
- how was that restaurant and how much the meals cost;
- an estimated amount of money you spent on that trip;
- sights that you saw and prices for them;
- other things you've discovered along the way.
I pointed above that some of your readers may disagree with you. Some may totally agree. Others may have discovered in that destination something that you didn't.
Invite them all to comment on your blog post, or even send you messages with their own experiences. Not only it will be even more helpful for your readers, it will actually boost your traffic. You can even let others guest post.
Tip: Whenever someone has commented on your blog (including a decent amount of information about their travel experience), share this on your social media. If you aren't able to tag that person, don't worry. He/She will soon see your posts, making him willing to share your article again. It will work better if you've already established a small online presence.
Nonetheless, try to create a community of loyal readers. They will start to trust you, thus recommend you to their friends; which will result in your higher level of popularity. A great way to create and keep a community is by creating a Facebook Group.
To sum up, the most important things that you should keep in mind when starting a travel blog are that you have to:
- decide what type of travel blog you want to create; think of what you like when going on trips: adventure, luxury, budget-friendly etc.;
- write from your own experiences, being honest all the way;
- know that a travel blog may take up a lot of time; if you want to earn money from it, then it will definitely turn into a full-time job;
- don't just assume that you'll immediately get free stuff; you have to have a good online presence, even then – you have to be respectful and humble, not to just go to every place and ask for free perks;
- say no to promoting something you know it's no good, just for the money; have dignity and people will like you more;
- engage with your audience and community; at some point, you can even create a Facebook Group.