I asked 21 professional travel influencers to share some insight about the pros and cons of their business and lifestyle, so that you can have a true idea of what it's like to have the “dream job”. Read my introduction below or skip ahead to the 21 Pros & Cons.
When people discover what I do for a living, their faces light up at the thought of traveling the world. “Wow, that's the dream job!” <-- I've been told that more times than I can remember. And they're partly right. I am blessed to have a business that allows me to see more of the world in a year than many people do in a lifetime. However, like everything you do in life, there's a tradeoff. You literally can't have it all, and working as a travel blogger, vlogger, or influencer comes with its own set of sacrifices, because like any job - it's work. And work isn't always exciting all the time.
Whether intentionally or inadvertently, I feel that many travel influencers paint the picture of a perfect lifestyle. And I don't mean to criticize them – it's their job. The Daily Show's host Trevor Noah once said, “That's just storytelling. You tell a story from a point that people will most connect with the story. To make them say… that could have been me!”
The positive impact of being a travel influencer is that we encourage people to get out of their comfort zones and see the world. Our viewership and platforms allow us to educate our audiences about what exists outside of their own homes. I genuinely believe that travel is good for the world and good for our souls, and if my work encourages others to travel, teaches them about a way of life that's different than their own, or shapes someone's mind with ideas they hadn't been exposed to before – then it's a job well done in my opinion.
However the inconsequential side effect of being a travel influencer is that we sometimes make it look too good. And it can make other people want to quit everything they've got going on in life to try and have the dream job. It's something I've witnessed first hand with the influx of newly aspiring travel influencers who enter the industry every day. The once uncommon story of “I quit my job to travel the world” has become a template bio. The barrier of entry to enter this business is low but the probability of success has become statistically less than getting drafted into the NBA because the job itself is often misunderstood. And that's partly because it's more fun to envision the Nike shoe endorsement than it is to imagine the long grueling hours of basketball practice.
Perhaps I'm too involved in the industry, and I'm exposed to this stuff more often than your average person, so it seems like a bigger issue than it really is. However every day I read about travelers who've started new travel blogs, YouTube channels, or Instagram profiles with a vision of making it big as an influencer. Many of them have a solid vision of the consumer facing side of the business (ie: the produced content they see on blogs and social media), but only a few have a true idea of what goes on behind the scenes and the workload that comes with the lifestyle.
For that reason, I asked 21 professional travel influencers to share some insight about the pros and cons of their business and lifestyle. My hope is that this article doesn't discourage anyone from trying, but rather allows them to enter the business with a level head and realistic expectations of the work, sacrifices, and tradeoffs that come with “living the dream life”.
21 Pros & Cons To Working As A Professional Travel Influencer
Getting invited to fun travel experiences
Because of my blog, I have been invited to participate in a number of activities that I would not have experienced otherwise. These could be in the form of multi-day press trips to places that I would not have planned to visit on my own, or experiences such as concerts, cooking classes or food tours.
For example, Foodie Bookings, a Lisbon-based company that specializes in foodie experiences, contacted me because they came across my article on the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Lisbon. They offered to send me on several of their vegan-friendly foodie experiences if I would publish an article on my blog about them.
Through this collaboration, I participated in two different cooking classes on an organic farm in the mountains outside Lisbon. And I also attended a Nepalese lunch on the same farm and learned how to make vegan pastéis de nata (Portuguese egg custard tarts) as part of a cooking class at another location in the city center.
I then wrote an article about vegan-friendly Lisbon experiences to showcase these foodie experiences. When researching the article, I decided to pitch collaborations to a couple of other potential partners who I thought would be a good fit. In this way, I also got the chance to go on a vegan food tour of Lisbon and attend a fado concert inside an old cistern.
All of these were things that I probably would not have sought out on my own but turned out to be really fun and enriching experiences.
Wendy Werneth | TheNomadicVegan.com
Having to worry about creating content takes away from the travel experience
For the past 4 years, I've combined the life of an Instagrammer with the life of a travel blogger. It has been a quite unique approach since I have always had 50/50 focus until last year. And while it has given me advantages, one of the biggest cons I had to experience the hard way, is the fact that traveling as an Instagrammer takes away from the travel experience.
Being an Instagrammer means that you always have to create new content, the more the better, but it also needs to be top quality. Otherwise you can't compete with other full-time influencers. This mean that whenever you travel to a place, the first priority will be to create good content, and the experience comes second.
But after you have spent 30 minutes, 1 hour or even longer at a destination taking photos, your wanderlust level will definitely be lower than if you had just come there to experience the place. And since you need to create a variety of content, it often means that you need to visit several places in the same day.
I know that I'm not alone of this feeling, and many influencers I've met on my travels have expressed the same concerns. Some even just go there to take a photo and then they leave within 5 minutes after.
There are many pros of being a travel blogger or travel influencer/Instagrammer, but this is one of the cons that few people speak about. In social media, there is no room for negativity because the followers just want to hear about positive things.
Traveling should ideally (in my opinion) be about experiences, meeting people and learning about other cultures. Prioritizing photos will mean that all of those things come second. The fact that you always carry a camera and scout for good photo spot takes away from being in the moment as well.
It's not all bad though, and the pros definitely outweighs the cons, but I think if you're aware of it, you will be able to get better travel experiences.
Alex Waltner | SwedishNomad.com
Passive income and work enjoyment
In a way, starting with passive income is putting the cart before the horse for me, because the #1 thing I get out of my job as a travel influencer is enjoyment, but I'll get back to that later…
From a financial perspective, my goal has always been to build passive income, because I value location and time freedom, and being my own boss.
It has been hard work, but not that long ago I finally achieved that, through hotel reviews on Journey Compass.
The passive income is mostly generated via Agoda affiliate links, which works best for me. I also use Booking.com, which performs pretty well too, as well as Klook & GetMyGuide for things to do articles. Activity bookings bring in a lot less for me though, but it's still a nice monthly bonus.
My previous business was passive income based too (leadgen). I originally started it because I was sick of being tied up to one location all the time, not having enough money and time to really travel and get out there.
The difference between that passive income business and my travel affiliate business is that I enjoy the latter one a lot, whereas the leadgen job was just about making money. I didn't feel I was contributing much value to the world, and I regularly lost motivation because of my lack of passion for the job.
Getting back to work enjoyment, my journey as a travel writer started in Boracay Island in the Philippines, the place where I've lived for many years, and my second home.
I started my first website there, solely focused on Boracay, helping people make the most of their stay on the island. And that's where most of my enjoyment comes from. From the knowledge that what I'm doing is really helping people. The positive feedback.
Apart from the passive income, that work enjoyment is worth a lot to me too. Because I've been on the other side, just making money. During that time my motivation used to crash frequently. But now that I'm actually doing something I love, that doesn't happen anymore at all. I still run out of energy from working too much sometimes, but the motivation stays, always.
Paul Fournier | JourneyCompass.com
The schedule is completely random and often out of your control
If you’re someone who likes pre-planning and having all your trip details ironed out months in advance, this lifestyle is definitely not for you. I'll find out I'm traveling to client campaigns anywhere from a few weeks to a few days in advance which makes it really tough to schedule the rest of my life. I've had to miss familial / friend obligations or bail last minute on major milestones like bachelorette parties and baby showers which people don't really appreciate. But more often than not, I'm gone so much people forget to invite me to social events at all which is pretty sad if you think about it.
Sometimes, I've hopped on the plane before even getting an itinerary so it's up to you to try to anticipate what you might be doing and pack accordingly. That didn't really work in Taiwan when I found out I was doing a multi-day hike after I'd left the country. I didn't have any of the gear I needed and ended up buying whatever I could to get by, which ended up being a Hello Kitty backpack from the night market.
If clients make the itinerary, it's generally so jam-packed you don't have a minute to breathe because they want to show you as much as possible in the limited time you have together. Sometimes, that means activities that are completely wrong for the season, things that are way off-base for your audience, or places that are so far off-the-beaten-path they're almost laughable. Things are popular for a reason, but they need to promote their lesser-known attractions too. If you do get an itinerary ahead of time, don’t get your hopes up for anything as I’ve often had activities I was excited about canceled due to weather or other issues.
The lack of routine also takes a major toll on your body. After traveling 50-75% of the year, I got super sick from jumping time zones, not sleeping well in hotels, and eating out three meals a day. Eating well and working out is nearly impossible when you’re on the road constantly and as much as the unpredictableness is a draw of the job, it’s not a lifestyle for everyone.
Lauren Monitz | TheDownLo.com
You have to be painfully honest with yourself
I’ve been blogging full time for a year and a half and I’ve found that one of the biggest challenges is that I have to be completely realistic about myself to successfully grow my business.
Nobody is perfect. It's normal to have things that you’re not good at or that you hate doing so much that you constantly shove them to the bottom of your to-do list – but it's only by identifying those weaknesses and learning how to tackle them that you can make progress and develop.
I love to write – but post-promotion… not so much. In my early days of blogging, I’d research and write loads of pieces that I’d post on the blog one after another, not spending any time on post-promotion. Unsurprisingly, a large number of those posts sat there, with barely any readers and gaining no traction.
I realized that by avoiding the part of the process that I wasn’t so keen on, I was hampering all the hard work that I’d put into researching and writing the pieces. I had to sit down and create a schedule for each post – a checklist of actions that I need to complete within a certain period after the post has been published. For example, I make several pins for each article, publishing them to relevant boards over a staggered time.
It lead to me publishing less often for a while, but my traffic grew significantly.
If I’m honest, I still kind of hate doing post-promotion, but blogging is a job, not a hobby, and there are always going to be things that aren’t as interesting.
Julianna Barnaby | TheDiscoveriesOf.com
Building partnerships with local companies
When I first started my travel blog, I was really just looking to share my stories and tips. I hadn’t even considered that it could become an actual business. But, here I am, nearly three years since launching This Big Wild World and it’s become just that. Who knew that people wanted to read what I have to say?
One of the most unexpected and rewarding benefits of being a travel influencer has been building genuine and mutually beneficial partnerships with amazing local small businesses. The small business owners are passionate about their mission and a true inspiration to be around. In fact, I think these partnerships are what shifted my mindset from writing for fun to writing strategically.
I’m not a digital nomad. Personally, the lifestyle doesn’t appeal to me but I really respect those who do it. What that means is that I’ve got a homebase, a place to call home between adventures. This offers me the opportunity to really foster relationships and show off how amazing Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota can be!
Here in Minneapolis, I’ve had the good fortune of sitting down one-on-one with fitness instructors, motivational speakers, fashion designers and more. Each has their own story about their brand and a deep love for all things Minnesota. They entrust me to tell their story in my words and on my website – and I take that duty very seriously.
But, partnerships with small businesses don’t just happen in my homebase of Minneapolis. When I am planning a trip, such as my recent Arizona Road Trip, I intentionally seek out opportunities to partner with local organizations and business owners. For me, the benefit is not only capturing great content that my readers will love, it’s the genuine relationship that’s forged through my opportunity to tell just a small part of their story.
Don’t get me wrong, a business need to make money. But, getting to make these connections and build relationships with small businesses is an unexpected benefit to doing work that I love as a travel influencer.
Susan Gleissner | ThisBigWildWorld.com
Being a professional travel blogger ruined my love of travel
They tell you do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life. I say make your passion your work and then it's your job – with all the good and bad feelings that come with any job. I think having to do anything, even when it’s something you previously loved means there will be days when you really don’t enjoy it.
Travel become really hard work, especially after we had our third baby, and I had this big pressure to make it all work somehow and be fun so I was still motivating and inspirational to my readers. Trying to travel with the kids, moving around frequently, visiting as many attractions as we could in the day then needing to write and be online every evening was like working three full-time jobs at once when we were on the road.
I also hated that the thing I loved most about travel – living in the moment – was gone as I analysed every experience.
For me, the days that I didn’t enjoy it stretched into months where I hated it. I ended up coming to the conclusion that travel blogging wasn’t for me anymore and I sold my blog. Now travel is fun again and just work when I want it to be. And I stick to blogging about topics which I have passion for like blogging for income but don't need to take over my travel time.
Sharon Gourlay | DigitalNomadWannaBe.com
You learn to understand geography better
Since I started travelling, my understanding of geography is so much better. My knowledge is now far from just the 7 continents. I can now think on top of my head which countries belong to which continent and which country belongs to which sub-continent. I've come to memorise all the Southeast Asian countries and some European ones, where they are located, which countries are bordered to which and their capital cities.
I also have more knowledge in languages like learning which countries speak the same, detecting accents, and recognizing currencies and their value from one to another.
What I love most is that I know so many flags (not all of them yet), like which countries share the same flag. Or just by looking at the flag, I know what country it is.
I somehow managed to learn the map of a country I've never been to simply because I met so many locals from the country, like France and the UK.
I must admit that having a better grasp of this topic is a great ice breaker when you meet another traveler. It also gives me confidence in having an intellectual conversation with other people. If I met the same amount of people from everywhere in the world six years ago, I would have just embarrassed myself for not knowing anything about geography. This is definitely a great pro and probably my favorite thing that I picked up while traveling full time.
Mary Charie | AMaryRoad.com
Always learning new skills
SEO, CTR, SERPS, CRO, EPC, DA, DR, and then there’s internal linking, anchor text, ALT attributes, and whole world of other terminology and concepts related to blogging and ranking a website.
What? You thought that a travel blogger/influencer just had fun running around the world with a selfie stick and magically made money?
Ohh no, no, no…maybe there was a day when all you needed was a smart phone and some social media apps to share your story and get popular. But, these days, it takes a lot of skill to become a successful content creator in order to really capture an audience and keep them coming back (so that, hopefully, you can convince them to make some kind of travel related purchase).
Not only do you have to know how to optimize your blog for the search engines while being a good story-teller, you also need to be a savvy marketer as well as deal with the ups and downs of running your own business (not always having a steady paycheck, time management and staying focused, etc.), but you should also have a decent level of photography and even videography ability so that you can reach different audiences based on which medium they tend to be attracted to.
Additionally, you pick up negotiation skills when it comes working on contracts with brands and companies who sponsor you to promote their products and services.
As a travel bloggers and influencers, We’re not stressed out at all with the demands of this type of work. We’ve learned to hone in on our strengths and work on improving our weaknesses in each of these departments. It’s not so much about being an expert in everything, but always leveling up and taking your work seriously enough to be considered a professional.
Taiss Nowrouzi | TogetherToWherever.com
When social media friends become real life friends
I never imagined just how many incredible and supportive people I would meet as a travel influencer. Over the past few years I have made so many online friends, some of whom I have been lucky enough to meet in real life, and others I hope to meet in real life one day. What I've come to realize is that the travel community is pretty small and if you are open and supportive to others you get it back two-fold. I'm lucky to have several pretty well-known travel influencers in my corner cheering me on and supporting me to do better, so I always try to do the same for new bloggers just starting out.
For me, the turning point when my blog really started to take off is when I connected with two New York City-based Instagram influencers – Taima @poorinaprivateplane and Lindsey @sevendayweekender.
Before this point I had rarely been in front of the camera, my Facebook and Instagram feed was full of pictures of landscapes and other people. I knew if I wanted to be a successful blogger I was going to need to actually put myself into the blog, and that met showing my face. After virtually meeting in a Facebook group we arranged to meet up in Brooklyn to do some content creation. Just hanging out with them grew my confidence and gave me the boost I needed to stop shying away from showing my face. We met up many times while I was in New York and they taught me to stop being so self-conscious, to pose, and most importantly that through supporting each other we can all grow. Fast forward a year and we are still good friends and we still message almost daily asking advice, cheering each other on and just being supportive.
Claire Summers | ClairesItchyFeet.com
The world thinks that this is a hobby
“Oh wow, isn't that like the best job in the world.” “How do you even make money doing that? Surely it's all just fun” Ah, some of the common phrases that people throw at you when they discover that you have taken a very different career path and are a travel content creator. Seemingly the world is not yet ready to accept that being a travel content creator is an actual job. Words can't quite express how frustrating the lack of respect that people show those of us who travel content create for a living.
There's the hours of demanding chats and supposed friends wanting free travel advice, from a hotel recommendation to a fully planned itinerary for their vacay. Whilst most of us don't mind helping out, time literally is money for us, and when you soak up all our emotional bandwidth and then go book with a travel agent it's an internet slap in the face. You're actually telling us that we aren't good enough to be paid for the work we do.
Travel bloggers have multiple income streams and it helps us, especially when we help you with advice and guidance, to purchase via our affiliate links.
Jeanette Cheney | TravelingHoneyBird.com
The people you meet: from rock stars to chefs to poignant survivors
Oh, writer, the places you’ll go. And the people you’ll meet when you get there.
One of the absolute best parts of travelling and writing for a living has to involve the people you meet.
The headline grabbing part involves behind the scenes access.
Talking to number one chef in the world, Ferran Adria, about how he invented molecular gastronomy. Or to Billy Bragg on his music at a festival in Nuremberg, and how he sees it as his contribution to world peace.
Then there’s sporting legends like Sir Viv Richards, a larger than life, warm and hilarious man with excruciating tales of racial abuse.
Travel lets you speak to artists, architects, builders, yachtsmen, and curators of the Palace of Versailles and Book of Kells at Trinity College, Dublin.
But perhaps most poignant of all are the stories you hear and the people you meet who don’t always get their voice heard.
Of these, I have a few, but Shimohira Sakue stands out.
She was a child at the time of the second atom bomb drop, the one that fell on Nagasaki.
“You want to hear about the bomb. But I want to talk to you about the war.”
Quiet, dignified and immensely forgiving, she gave one of the most moving interviews of my entire life.
Abigail King | InsideTheTravelLab.com
The physical toll on your body
As a full-time professional travel blogger (sorry, but I loathe the term “influencer” with the heat of thousand blazing suns), it's difficult to complain about any aspect of your life. Do so and you risk sounding like a whiny, entitled prima donna who doesn't like the brown M&Ms, especially to those for whom travel is a rarely-afforded privelege. But if I *HAD* to list a con of our lifestyle it would be the physical toll travel takes on your body.
When our site first took off back in 2012 I was relatively fit and adventurous. But even then the incredibly long travel time it took to get to places such as Patagonia, Antarctica, and Tahiti often wore me down. I don't sleep well (read: AT ALL) on planes, and then of course there's the jet lag recovery upon arrival and once you get home.
Once you're in the destination, bloggers typically have 12+ hours of activity each day when we're on an organized press trip. You usually have to eat at irregular hours, often hike 5 or more miles each day, get more sun exposure than you should, and don't have enough time to hydrate properly. Once you get home, you're often working your butt off 12 to 14 hours a day so that you can make as much money as possible before you head off on your next trip.
But perhaps the worst part of being a professional traveler is the sheer number of germs you're exposed to along the way. We're at a level now where we speak and teach at conferences and trade shows such as the NY Times Travel Show, TBEX, and the Society of American Travel Writers convention regularly. We meet tons of people and shake tons of hands, and you'd be amazed how many of those hands have wiped runny noses or covered hacking coughs. No matter how much Airborne we take or hand sanitizer we use, there's generally at least a 50/50 chance we will come home from a trip with a bug of some sort.
On our latest flight home from researching nature activities in Kauai, Hawaii, we sat in a section of the plane with two people who were clearly fighting illness, and were gracious enough to share those germs with us. Mary got the flu, and my cold turned into bronchitis for the third time in less than two years…
But hey, I'm not complaining! Kauai was amazing, I feel better now, and life goes on. But people who think travel blogging is all glitz and glamour should've seen me in the Urgent Care, breathing through a nebulizer and so sick I felt like I was having a drug-induced fever dream. Sometimes blogging ain't all it's cracked up to be, but I still wouldn't trade this life for anything!
Bret Love & Mary Gabbett | GreenGlobalTravel.com
Ability to hype the places you love
Whatever your audience size may be, being a travel influencer means you have people ready to listen to what you have to say. In some cases, your story may be pretty standard — I went here, I enjoyed this, here's a tip for you — but in other cases, you can add a number of other details to your post.
As one example, we went to a place called the Museum of Spanking Machines and Initiation Devices in Illinois. This is one of those places that proves you haven't seen it all, even when you think you have. This was easily one of my favorite places we visited in the USA, thanks to the unique story it told of 20th century America. (The very short version: ‘initiation machines' were used as physical or psychological gags to welcome a new member by humiliating them while giving members a laugh because they're in on what's to come.)
As an influencer, you get to set the ‘volume' of your blog posts and social media — in other words, how often and how loud you tell the stories online, or which stories you tell IRL. If you ever meet me in person and ask about the weirdest places I’ve seen, there’s a great chance this place will come up because it’s one of those stories that’s unknown to most.
Chris Backe | WorthyGo.com
It's the true definition of “sharing is caring”
They say that ‘shared joy is double joy’, and it couldn’t be any truer when it comes to sharing travel experiences. We’re already lucky enough to share our journey with each other, but nothing gives us more joy than to share our experiences with others.
When we first started our journey on our blog and Instagram, we were only looking for a way to keep our friends and family posted on what we were up to during our ‘adult gap year’. Slowly but surely, we started growing a community and noticed that so many people were curious about the places we were going to, the activities we were doing and how it all came to be.
Then, the questions started coming in. How can we afford to travel for so long? Are the places we visit dangerous? How are the people there? And the food? And the beaches? Don’t forget the hikes! Basically, everything started to spark questions. And often, with these questions, came the intention to get out of a comfort zone and finally go explore. We get so happy every time we get messages about how our trip to a certain place opened someone’s eyes, and how it is now their next destination.
To be able to help others discover places they have never heard of or seen is truly an honour. To know that we have inspired them to chase their dreams, whether it’s traveling full-time, or just going to a place they would not have visited before, is beyond incredible!
But the one thing that brings us the most joy is opening people’s eyes to go out and make their dream life possible. It doesn’t have to be about travel, it just has to be about making a choice to put their happiness first. Whether it’s leaving a job they hate, starting the business they’ve always dreamed of, or finally setting out to do what scares them the most. To show our community that they can do what they want with hard work and dedication is the rewarding part of this job.
Carine & Derek | WeDidItOurWay.com
Racking up the airline points
There are many pros and cons about being a full time travel photographer/blogger/influencer. One of them is being able to rack up all those airline points from all the crazy places that I keep flying to! They say there are two types of people in the world – those that are crazy about collecting airline points and those who aren't. 🙂
I’m not exactly the type who's obsessed with collecting points – but they sure are handy when you are looking to splurge on business class international tickets or a couple nights at that fancy hotel you’ve been looking at!
For starters, there are big three airline alliances – OneWorld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam. If you can, you should try to sign up for the airline mileage program that flies mainly from your home airport. For me, since I live in San Francisco, that would be the United Mileageplus program. It’s much better to accrue miles on one program, rather than have it split up amongst multiple airlines. Once you get enough miles on one program, you start to get automatically upgraded, which is pretty nice.
The other thing you can do is get a Chase Sapphire card since Chase points can be converted into almost any airline program.
An example of a great deal for Business Class tickets to Japan is with ANA, one of the best airlines in the world, where you can get RT Business Class tickets for only 75,000 miles!
Henry Wu | ThisLifeOfTravel.com
Social media and me – the love-hate relationship
Being a travel blogger is something that I enjoy a lot. Traveling and doing things that I love and even making a living of it are all great. But like every job on the earth, travel blogging too has stress and other negative factors. The main thing that really bugs me down sometimes is having to be constantly on social media. Travel blogging and travel influencing is such a thing that one has to be always in front of others. The portrayal in social media, however, has to be a happy one. Not many want to listen or see the difficulties faced by a travel blogger.
Whenever I travel to a place, I always have at the back of my mind that I have to take a perfect picture with the perfect frame for my Instagram fans. I have to write a perfect story for my Facebook followers. My live video should look great. Sometimes, all these preoccupation with the social media takes out the charm of traveling.
When I went to Bagan in Myanmar, I was constantly thinking of taking perfect pictures of the pagodas and sunrises. When it rained the first 2 days of my stay, I was so dejected that I could not capture the sunrise and sunset. I only complained about that and almost forgot to experience the rain and the beauty of Bagan. The fact that others have that “sunrise” picture and I don’t had really irritated me that time. Even on the rest of the trip, I was constantly on my social media posting pictures and stories and keeping a count of the likes and comments. Sometimes, I completely forgot to enjoy the surroundings and the beautiful place. I completely forgot why I am a traveler first.
So this constant pressure of being on the social media does takes a toll on the person I am. At times I have to show myself just as my viewers would like to see me. And I often get tired of this. Sometimes being a travel influencer takes the joy out of travelling.
Having said these, I cannot possibly stop using the social media. They are the means of connecting to my readers and fans. But I would definitely try to manage time for it and enjoy travel a little more, just as I used to do 10 years back!
Amrita Sen | Taleof2Backpackers.com
People in my life not understanding how I work, or that I actually do work!
I have been a travel blogger for almost two years, and have established a great blog within my niche. A few close friends and family have a good idea of how much work it takes and what I do, but most people are very surprised to discover that I make money from it!
The most common question I receive (as well as most bloggers I think) is, “How do you earn money from a blog?”, and I get that it is unusual and not a well-understood income stream. I am happy to answer it and explain that there’s many ways to earn money, but I get a bit tired of the disbelief that I could actually earn an income from my own online business.
Many comments imply (some not very subtly) that my job is looking after our kids and my partner Anthony must be working as we travel too. Or some outright ask us, “When is Ant going back to work?” – like this could only ever be a temporary situation. And my dear old Nanna keeps suggesting work for Anthony to take up when we’re at home, as she’s supremely uncomfortable about him not having a ‘proper’ job! I’ve tried to explain and show her what I do multiple times but it’s just beyond her at 94.
I like it when I get to chat about the blog to other blogging friends, as it can be a lonely job. Having people who understand the multitude of tasks, and who I can share the excitement of great feedback or an increased DA is really helpful. I do enjoying writing and maintaining a blog – it would be too difficult a job if I didn’t like it! And I have few complaints about it on the whole. It would be really nice for people to be more open-minded and accepting of our different lifestyle, but you can’t have everything I guess.
Emma Walmsley | SmallFootprintsBigAdventures.com
Way too much screen time
When you say you are a travel blogger, everyone thinks all you do is travel post nice pictures – which have some truth to it – but in reality, what happens behind the scene as a full-time travel blogger is that you spend most of your time in front of a laptop or mobile phone.
From researching where to travel next to actually planning your travels, taking photos, editing images, writing good quality blog posts, doing Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and everything else… it takes a lot out of you and after some time the novelty wears off. Every spare moment, you find yourself in front of a phone or computer because there are just so many things to do. Especially with writing quality content, it takes more time than you actually planned for and it seems you have to be present in social media 24/7. All leading to spending way more time in front of the screen, which could take a toll on your health and personal relationships.
Blogging full time or being a travel influencer is like running your own business. You are the middleman between the brands/business and your audience. And like any other business running a one man show is a tough gig. Having said that, the key is to balance your time in front of screen and offline. If budget allows hiring someone to help you with the workload and making sure you take regular breaks (perhaps somewhere in the nature?), making your health a priority should do the trick.
Anna Sherchcand | AnnaSherchand.com
Total flexibility in what you do each and every day
My partner and I now make a full time living from being travel bloggers, and by far the thing I love most about our lifestyle is the complete flexibility we have. Rather than someone telling us when to work, where to work and what to do, it is completely up to us to make these decisions. I get very easily bored when working in a typical office environment, so I try to flip this on it’s head as much as possible, working in some cool and inspiring places.
Such as just last year when I found myself on a beach in Sri Lanka, working in between surfing sessions! It’s wonderful as well to be in full control of which projects we choose to tackle and which strategy we deploy with our blog.
Of course, there is always the chance that things don’t work out quite as planned, but that is a small compromise for being in total control of our daily schedule and the direction we wish to take. Similarly, this flexibility extends to our social lives. We can fit our work around any upcoming trips, holidays, time off, family events and anything else we wish to do.
Bradley Williams | DreamBigTravelFarBlog.com
The job challenges and increases your creativity
In many ways, the thing I love most about being as a travel blogger is also one of the worst aspects of the job: you constantly have to change and adapt your strategy. Nothing is ever exactly like it was last week, last month or last year. It can be tiring and challenging to stay at the top of your game all the time. But whenever I feel overwhelmed, I think about the monotonous jobs and internships I have done in the past and remember how quickly I got bored. I decided to treat the fast pace of the industry as a positive thing!
As a travel blogger I have to learn new skills and improve all the time in order to keep my readers and clients happy. I started my own blog three years ago and since then have had to dip my toes into everything from video editing to SEO marketing, PR relations and community management. There are always new obstacles in my way and I have to find creative solutions to work around them. I frequently have ideas for new projects or different ways to diversify my income – and since I am my own boss and only employee, I get to make every decision about this along the way and develop every aspect of the idea. I also appreciate how much I have learnt about entrepreneurship, business and financial management – no entry-level job in my field would have ever taught be the same!
This job really pushes my comfort levels and even though I sometimes wish there was more consistency, I love that almost no day is like the other!
Kathi Kamleitner | WatchMeSee.com
As a professional travel writer/blogger who's constantly traveling for press trips and adventures around the world, oftentimes I get the unique chance (once in a lifetime opportunities) to explore new places, do new activities, challenge/expand my palette by trying new cuisines and, what's even more special, I often get to overcome fears.
While there are many benefits and perks for travel writers, there are also cons. For me, doing what I love (traveling full time as a job), the pros are far greater. For example, this profession has helped me tremendously with overcoming my worst fears, including stepping into deep waters, where my feet can’t reach the bottom. Many people wouldn’t imagine that, even though I travel around the world, and I was raised on an island, I don’t know how to swim (this is because I almost drowned when I was 4 years of age). But recently, while on a work trip to cover the opening of a new resort, I dared to go inside a cenote in Mexico (of course, while wearing a vest). It was really heartwarming having a group of my fellow writers cheer me on and congratulate me afterwards. It was such a nerve wrecking experience but also amazing!
On another occasion, for a different press trip, I had a publicist who helped me get out of the boat and into the water of the blue lagoon in Jamaica, so that I could take a picture “swimming” inside the luminescent water. I was proudly wearing my life vest while smiling through my nerves. This was a big accomplishment for me, and a sign of progress.
I honestly feel that travel writing has provided these opportunities to help me to conquer my fears every day more and more. Without these moments, I probably would still be hiding behind my comfort zone. Nowadays, I'm learning how to float and have started to feel more comfortable inside the water. Soon enough I know that I will swim on one of my future trips. It's just a matter of time.
Olga Maria | DreamsInHeels.com
Still want to be a travel influencer?
If after reading all that your answer is YES – well, frankly, I don't blame you. I love my job! It's not all fun and games, but it sure beats a lot of alternatives. Whenever I'm stressed out about work, I remind myself of how lucky I am to even have these problems in the first place.
If you'd like to learn more about becoming a travel blogger, check out my Travel Blogger Success Kit which will provide you with the tools and resources you need to build a successful online presence in the travel industry.
Are you working as a travel influencer right now?
Join the Travel is Life Tribe – a community of like minded travel travel bloggers, vloggers, and travel influencers around the world. If you've got desire to grow your online presence while simultaneously helping your fellow tribe members grow theirs – we'd love for you to join! Several members have said it's the best travel community they're a part of.
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