Travel blogging has recently become very popular. We have learned that we don’t necessarily need to be tied in to a 9 to 5 job, if we have a passion and we chase it, we can also make money out of it online.
Travel blogging has sort of also become the dream of so many millennials. It seems like it’s all pretty photos and beautiful sunsets. A lot of people may think that travel blogging is like being on a constant vacation, but here is what it really means to be a travel blogger, from my perspective.
After the excitement, reality kicks in
The first weeks, the first months of becoming a digital nomad, as it’s called nowadays, being on the road, is fabulous. Every trip I take while still spending out of my savings, is amazing. After my savings are gone, reality kicks in. I have to find a way to make money ASAP.
Then it starts, the constant search for jobs, on all possible job boards online, websites, Facebook groups, dodgy connections on Opportunity, and more. I attend conferences and events, where I network, discuss with brands, but the numbers I put forward are not enough. Some contacts come through, there is some hotel work here and there, free stays, maybe a press trip or two.
The reality however, is that even if you don’t pay monthly rent, you need accomodation, food and of course, the biggest expense sometimes, flights. Constantly needing to find work, having to work low paid gigs that take up most of your nights, and having your own content to create besides that, I realise that there isn’t enough hours in a day to do it all.
Travel Blogging, A Constant Holiday?
For those thinking “oh, travel bloggers just go on constant holidays and snap a few pictures here and there”, well, this is wrong. The work is 24/7, and no matter if you’re tired or not, you have to put in the work.
The rare holiday moments are when we are in a place and we don’t have work to do, for brands, destinations, or tours. Or just when we decide we feel burnt out and take a day or two off. And even then, we feel like we are missing out. We feel that we aren’t posting, that we might lose momentum, followers, etc. So sometimes we sneak in some work too even if it’s our day off.
But when travel blogging is your passion, indeed, then there are no complaints. We do it with dedication. We do it to inspire others. We do it because it is our dream and because we want to maybe in the future make a change in the little community we have grown.
And going for your dream is hard. Making it true and making it work is a daily struggle. But yes, it is also full of passion and adventures. And we wouldn’t give it up.
The 24 Hours in A Day Are Not Enough
For the amount of work that involves being a travel blogger the 24 hours in a day are simply not enough. Being a travel blogger means working 24/7. While others are sleeping, when you want to sleep, when you feel like you don’t like social media anymore, when you lack creativity, or when you are the happiest, the craziest, the most inspired. Even when you feel like you don’t want to post, you’re tired, or sick in bed, the work/show must go on.
Besides constantly having to learn new skills, improving, managing content creation, along with photo and video editing, writing, networking, engaging with your audience, finding new gigs is also part of the day of a travel blogger. If this sounds like a lot, well, you can add a few more extras to that.
Do We Take Time Off?
Sometimes travel bloggers have deadlines to meet, so we end up working day and night, and if we also do video content, well, some of the videos can take days to finish. Some of the projects we’re involved in can even take weeks to work on, and they should be our only focus. However, they need to be integrated into all the other daily work somehow.
There has recently been a phenomenon of “burnt out”, and I have seen that in myself but as well as other fellow bloggers/vloggers. Working constantly, no matter if it’s Saturday morning or Sunday night, without having time off to actually be with ourselves, relax and enjoy the place we’re in, can eventually take a toll on you.
It is vital that we take some time off, and realise that even if we are traveling to these beautiful places, we need days off just for ourselves. Maybe days where we don’t check our social media and just take it all in. Sometimes we get confused and mix that with chill time, but it’s most of the times not.
I remember for our trip in Tanzania, which was about three weeks, because of poor internet connection everywhere, we decided to take time off of it. It was to day one of the best trips I’ve taken in my life.
Finding And Keeping Balance
Some people end up traveling and working together while being in a relationship. Some people travel with friends or travel alone, but no matter what situation you are in, finding balance in your life or knowing when you lost it is essential. It is not always easy, figuring out that you need to gain balance or regain it. It is part of the journey and of growing up, knowing yourself and your needs. A lot of the travel blogging/vlogging side of it means that connections and friendships are not steady, and emotionally, sometimes it can be a rollercoaster.
Sometimes Relaxing Becomes Working and we Don’t Realise it
As travel bloggers, we get hotel collaborations and free stays. We either get them as free stays or as paid work, the latter happens very rarely. It is all great and amazing, but most of the times, the stays end up being days and days of staying inside, working and creating content for the hotel.
Sometimes I imagined relaxing and chilling by the pool in that beautiful hotel, but mostly I ended up chilling for 2 minutes while taking an Instagram photo by the pool. At the end of our stay, I was exhausted, and didn’t even get to properly enjoy the place, so relaxing becomes working. This gets mixed up a lot of times and even though we think we’re in this lovely place, all we’re actually doing is creating more, giving more, editing more, but not leaving ourselves a bit of downtime. So let’s give some more to ourselves as well.
Sometimes We Are Taken For Granted
A lot of the times I have been asked after our stay to provide edited photos or other types of services that were not even in the contract. Therefore, in order to be as professional as possible, and leave a good impression, I thought, ok I will do it. So I did the extra work, meaning spending 1 or 2 days more for that, all for free. Looking back, I now think that is wrong.
But here comes the dilemma, how do we deal with these situations? We don’t want to be rude to our hosts, but maybe there also isn’t a lof of understanding of how long it actually takes us to take photos/videos, edit, transfer, compress, etc. Sometimes we are taken for granted, I think.
We Are Invited On Press Trips But We Don’t Make It
There are a lof of interesting opportunities and press trips arising in the life of a travel blogger. Sometimes we get that one email we get googly eyes for, scroll through the brief, get super excited and then…
Reading through the proposal, I realise everything sounds amazing, all is covered, but the airfare is not. With some awesome destinations, the airfare can turn out to be quite expensive. When it comes to sums of about 1000 dollars for airfare, as a travel blogger (especially beginners and middle ones), we may not have money saved up at all to buy our ticket. So we will probably not make it to the dream press trip.
What is more, for a lot of trips we get invited on, we are supposed to pay in advance for flights and expenses and then wait to get reimbursed. The processes in general of getting our money back are quite slow. Sometimes we have to live off credit cards and create debts just because we didn’t get paid in time for our work.
We Constantly Need To Invest and Improve
Just like a business owner, being a travel blogger/vlogger means that you constantly have to have new gear, and new skills. Competition out there is ferocious. Almost every blogger now has a DSLR and gimbles and drones are something a vlogger must have.
We need to constantly invest money and time into gear and into ourselves. We need to edit better, take better photos, film better, have a better hosting plan. We can however do a lot of research and ask around to find out which are the best options for cameras or websites, for example, so that they are accessible and we can still do our job well.
As any other growing business, in travel blogging you also need to keep ahead of the curve and keep investing.
It’s Hard To Keep Up A Workout Schedule
As travel bloggers/vloggers, we are on the road a lot, and each day our schedule can be more hectic than the other. Creating and maintaining a workout schedule can be quite challenging.
There might be places where there are no gyms, or the streets are too busy and crammed to go jogging. When we are staying in hotels, we might not have time to checkout the gym and we might lack motivation in doing workouts at home/Airbnbs.
However, keeping a workout schedule can be possible. I have taken to apps such as Nike Run and Nike training, and that send me constant reminders and notifications. The apps also show my journey and how I am improving.
We can also try and research beforehand to see what gym/dance classes or yoga are available around in the area. Sometimes you can find affordable classes right next to where you’re staying. If you are yourself a travel blogger, how do you keep up a training schedule?
These are some of the things that I think make up a big chunk of what it really means to be a travel blogger/vlogger and what it looks like in daily life. There are more elements to it, but I think all is worth it when you are chasing your passion. However, we do need to be careful with ourselves and know when we need time for us as well and what we dedicate to ourselves.
Let me know if you ever experienced one of these moments if you are a blogger, if you’re not or if you’re planning on becoming one and check out my other travel stories here.