Do you want to start a travel blog?
Have you already, and you’re striving to become one of those successful travel bloggers?
Our travel blog is called ‘y’ travel blog because we believe in the power of your WHY – the greater purpose for doing things. After spending years stuck in a job I hated, I can’t stomach living any kind of life now that is not driven by a powerful WHY.
The clearer you are on the whys, and the more passionate you are about them, the greater your chance for travel blog success, or success in an endeavor you’re working for.
I want to share with you three powerful reasons to start a travel blog, or to continue to grow the blog you have already. I think the first two are possibly well-known and spoken about, but I don’t hear the third one talked about as much as being an important reason for travel blogging.
I think it’s a vital role travel bloggers can play in uplifting the industry and our wider communities. A travel blogger’s impact can be huge if implemented correctly with pure intentions.
(P.S. This post is written more in mind for those who want something more than a travel journal or travel blogging hobby, but one that wants to make money travel blogging and create a lifestyle around it in some way.)
1. For yourself
Let’s be real here. You want to start a travel blog and become a successful travel blogger for yourself. You’d be crazy not to. Any life we set out to create has to be born from passion and a desire to live a certain lifestyle.
There’s nothing wrong with self-service, it’s how we keep our cup full to spill over to others. More about the spilling over in reason two below.
First and foremost start a travel blog for you.
What do you want it to give you? What do you want to experience, write about and share? What lifestyle are you searching to create?
The reason I want a successful travel blog is to:
- document and share my adventures and memories
- get the stories and lessons within me out and allow them to have a deeper and wider purpose
- help sustain and create a lifestyle I love
- continue living and breathing travel with my kids!
Share the reasons you travel blog for yourself in the comments below!
2. For your community
I’ve said this so many times in previous blog posts, in talks I give at conferences, and in my own premium webinar training.
If you are only into travel blogging for yourself – that is just to get free trips, or to make money – you’ll end up quitting.
Travel blogging is much harder than you realize. It involves an intense amount of energy and time, both with the travels and what you give out via thoughts and words.
The majority of our posts on this site are over 1200 words long, some as big as 6,000. We want to provide epic content, but it comes at a huge expense – energy drain. Expressing a part of your soul with vulnerability can wipe you out.
You’ll be learning to overcome many hurdles, mostly your own vulnerability, insecurities, and doubts, which only intensify when you sometimes come across a few random trolls and mean-spirited people who love to tell you what a horrible human you are. #thanksforsharing
We’ve been travel blogging for six years and there is probably not a month goes by where I don’t feel like quitting. I don’t for two reasons:
- Travel blogging is way better than teaching. I love the freedom and opportunity it gives me to live life on terms and experience travel with my kids.
- We have such an amazing community who feel like friends. I receive hundreds of emails from readers each month telling us how our posts have inspired them to transform their lives and travel more. It’s hugely rewarding to know you’re helping people achieve their dreams.
I always intended from our first post to create a site like Lonely Planet – super useful, but with a dash of inspiration and a real story. I wanted to help people travel as I know how much travel gifts you in all aspects of your life.
But, I never realised until those emails started coming in what a huge motivating influence that is for what we do and it’s why I don’t quit.
When you start a travel blog, consider how you can help others through your content.
What’s in it for them?
Make the journey one where you continually evaluate this purpose outside of yourself and evolve to serve your reader’s needs as well as your own.
Don’t confuse your why with someone else’s. We each walk a different path and comparing what you do will only lead to either insecurity and self-criticism, or arrogance.
It’s why you find so many list and tip posts on this site – and why they do hugely well. Since we’ve started this journey, so many people have torn down this approach to travel blogging and said how it’s destroying a story.
But from what perspective are they looking at that? From their joy of narrating their story, or from what they know their readers like?
Each community is different. Our readers love us to empower them with our tips and strategies. They plan their trips around them and then contact us to let them know how our tips helped them have the best travel experience they’d had.
A reader just wrote to tell me how our 2-week itinerary of Outback Queensland helped her effortlessly plan a memorable holiday. I LOVE hearing that. What a disservice I’d be doing to listen to what other people want and ignore what our community tell us they like.
Taking on other people’s opinion is hugely valuable – you can learn a lot from others. But don’t disregard your inner voice and what your community tells you they want.
How do you know this?
Talk to them, ask the right questions, listen very carefully, and pay attention to your data. When a post gets over 200,000 shares then you know list posts work!
3. For the tourism industry
I can sometimes get a little irritated when I hear conversations from travel bloggers or travel influencers asking “‘What can I get for free?” before even contemplating, “What value can I offer?”
Understand your value and stand by this, but don’t ask for, or demand value in return that doesn’t match with what you can offer. It will hurt you more in the long run, as well as the industry.
Travel blogging is valuable for the tourism industry and can offer so much, but there’s a lot of disgruntlement because people are asking for too much, too early, for little value in return.
I love travel.
I love being part of the travel industry and helping it evolve and bring travel to more people with solid, relevant partners. You can do creative things that work and help everyone, but build your value first with the intention to raise the tourism industry.
What about the small tourism operators?
One part I love about what we do is having the opportunity to help small tourism operators in the industry. Owning a business, particularly in travel, is very challenging.
Travel bloggers get annoyed when brands want them to promote their stuff for free, but travel operators also get annoyed when travel bloggers always approach them to experience their product for free. It’s a cost for their business, and one they can’t always carry.
When you contact someone, stop to think about how many other people may have contacted them asking the same, and how that could impact their bottom line.
There is a value exchange here.
Obviously, if a travel blogger promotes a company, they are giving out free exposure (and time to experience and write), so a value exchange is necessary. But, go into that exchange offering something valuable in return – not hyped up stats, or over inflated egos, but truth and service.
But, go into that exchange offering something valuable in return – not hyped up stats, or over inflated egos, but truth and service.
I think travel bloggers hold a unique perspective to share a real travel story and highlight tours etc., but it does come with responsibility.
We can’t get it right all the time – we’ve made mistakes. But, when you come from the perspective of wanting to help, and not just be about you, it becomes quite a gratifying experience.
I felt the most amount of joy from this when we first traveled through Outback Queensland, and I saw the struggles the community was having with the drought. What a privilege and
What a privilege and honor it was for me to come to this region and help them by promoting the valuable tourism experiences they offer. It’s something that can help them overcome the hardships of a land they have no control over.
I loved that I was in a position to help in that way, and I realized this was a vital part of what we do – to give a voice to the local communities working to share what is great about their region and helping them to be successful as well.
So when you reach that privilege with your travel blog to receive free trips (and I hate using that word free because it’s not, you give a lot of work and exposure in exchange) or get paid to travel blog, then look at that greater picture and ask,
“How can I best serve the people in the communities I am visiting? How can I help grow their business?”
On our recent trip to Snowmass for the Travel Influencers’ Summit, Courtney, the representative from Colorado Tourism spoke to us about the huge impact we can have on local communities. We can showcase their region and bring new travelers to the area, which doesn’t only affect the owners of the travel related business, but all businesses within the community. This, in turn, impacts their families and every person’s individual dreams.
Her talk lit a fire under me to keep growing and getting better because I want to have that kind of impact. I want to use my love of travel to, not only help others to travel but to help every person that feels the ripple in the communities we visit.
It’s pretty awesome to think of the positive influence you can have on the world simply by doing something you love and having very clear and strong reasons for doing it.
When you come from the place of service and elevation, you will be supported in many ways.
How to get your place in the travel blogging industry right
It’s your responsibility to share only the things you find valuable and believe is a worthwhile experience.
Even though we get paid to travel or go on “free” trips, we only share what we love with honesty. Some people don’t believe that is possible based on their life experiences, so our word is not enough for them – that’s their journey, not mine. We turn away a ridiculous amount of travel experiences and money every year because we don’t feel we’ll enjoy it, or it’s a good fit for our readers.
We turn away a ridiculous amount of travel experiences and money every year because we don’t feel we’ll enjoy it, or it’s a good fit for our readers.
We don’t know for sure that we’ll love it, but we listen to our heart and gut, and we do a lot of research beforehand; we’ve rarely gotten it wrong. Anything we experience that we don’t like, we either won’t write about it or think of it from the perspective of, “is this just our personal preference and may someone else like it?”
If we feel it may be a good experience, but just not suited to us, then we’ll still share it, but explain why it didn’t suit us and why someone else might like it.
Incorporate mission and journey into your travel blogging
There are many bloggers who do a fantastic job of creating their travel blog around an intense passion and purpose like Green Global Travel for environment, Uncornered Market for culture, and Time Travel Turtle for World Heritage Sites, and for us, it’s about unplugging from life’s chaos to reconnect to what’s important – especially for families.
Don’t weigh yourself down by thinking it has to be such a profound and meaningful mission; it can be writing stories that entertain – we all need more of that! Whatever it is, make what you do serve, give back, and raise up, rather than it being a means to take as much as you can.
Whatever it is, make what you do serve, give back, and raise up, rather than it being a means to take as much as you can.
It’s okay to take when it’s balanced by giving first.
When you create a personal journey on your travel blog, you’re not just flipping from one free trip to the next; you’re on a mission to serve, and the “free” travel or partnerships work to serve the journey and mission.
It’s one reason we’re going on our America Unplugged trip, and will be working with tourism boards and brands along the way. We want to showcase the depth to a country we love so much.
Many people ask us for advice about travel to the US, and they’re thinking of NYC, Grand Canyon, LA and Las Vegas. And we always say, what about Utah or Charleston and Savannah? These are some of our favourite destination is the US that aren’t promoted as much and we want to share.
It gives me so much joy to know we can help our US readers express what they love about their country, help the small tourism operators and communities share what they have to offer, and to future travelers to the US from other countries some new and exciting places you can discover and have an incredible journey.
The journey, and the travel blogging, then becomes bigger than just wanting to create a travel lifestyle for ourselves.
When you create a journey and experiences that merges these three powerful purposes together, you have something that can make a powerful impact upon other travellers, yourself and the industry while helping you create a full-time income from your travel blog and a travel lifestyle.
You can also read more about the power of storytelling travel bloggers hold to share the stories fo the world and bring together its people in this post: Why we need more travel bloggers (but not the annoying kind)
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
How do you incorporate mission and journey into your travel blogging?
Why do you travel blog?