So everyone has been asking me this recently, and I am really tired of individual responses. I have also been told ”travel blogging” is not a job, it is a hobby. But it is wrong. It can be both. Painting can be a job and a hobby. There are many bloggers out there and they all work in different ways. It is a job and it is a fun job, but it is a very hard job.
I only started blogging last year. I thought it will all be fun and games. I thought I would write some silly stuff and have fun with it. The main reason I started is because I started travelling a lot, and I wanted a diary to keep it all alive so I didn’t care about quality. I took photos with my phone. Of course my goal was to have a successful travel blog so I can cut some expenses while travelling. So I worked towards it. That means I invested a lot of money and time.
HOW DOES IT LOOK IN BEGINNING?
When you start, you look at other bloggers. You go through envy, questions and everything else that bothers you.
‘How did she get a first class in emirates?”
”Why do people read this blog?”
”How come this blog has so many visitors?”
”How can he afford to travel so much?”
”Is he or she being honest?”
You think everyone is a travel blogger because they have high earning jobs, but then reality hits you. They are getting paid for that!
At first when you reach some audience and content you look at some destinations you want to visit and then you send gazillion requests, to gazillion hotels and get rejected gazillion times. It is really hard. Don’t ever think you just start a blog and it happens.
Don’t think followers on Facebook will get you there, they won’t. Yes, It is a nice perk to have thousands of followers, but hotels and tourist boards are not looking for that. They want you to create content that people will organically find on google. That means you have to think about a lot of things. What words you use, where you put links, how you name your photos. You know your photo DSC33300 is not very searchable on google. You actually have to write ‘’ best-beach-bali-travel-vacation-seminyak-food-blog.JPG for every photo, in order for people to even find them. it Is so tiring, and it doesn’t always work! You need to make such great photos that people share them and comment on them. Who are your readers? Can they afford to travel where you are travelling?
So let’s skip these boring intros and get to business. The juicy stuff, the money stuff, that’s what you want to know, right?
HOW DOES ONE MAKE MONEY FROM TRAVELING?
First of all when you plan to travel you go to read reviews on trip advisor or booking.com, right? But a lot of people want a second opinion, so they read blogs. Bloggers provide a lot of imagery, personal experiences and depending what their theme is and how they travel, people can find valuable resource of information reading other people’s blogs. Even though a lot of my traffic comes from my followers, more so lately It is coming from google search. This is why I always add hotel names and destinations in my titles, this is how hotels find me and how new users arrive to my website. Most important thing is that the blogger is honest. What is the point of providing advice if you are going to sugar coat everything? Nobody likes a suck-up.
SO WHAT DO THEY GIVE ME?
I used to get only accommodation for free or discounted. Everything else, such as restaurants, museums, clubs, bars, flights and experiences and expenses, I paid myself. I was fine with that because I needed good content. But when 20 hotels invite you and no one pays for your flights, or anything, you have to ask yourself -”is it worth it?”- Why are they contacting you in such a large number all of a sudden?
They find you on top lists, and they want what you have. If they found you on that list, so will everyone else. It is really good for their business and it helps them rank higher on google.
I am currently on several lists.
I am listed as #5 on – Purple Travel – 25 top travel writers and influencers in the UK
I am listed as TOP 3 LIFESTYLE BLOGGER IN UK AT UK BLOG AWARDS
I have been listed today as #10 on Vuelio TOP 10 UK TRAVEL BLOGGERS
I am also listed as #23 of all London bloggers in all categories on BEST LONDON BLOGGERS
I might be on some other lists but haven’t researched enough.
So I changed my game a little bit. I started to reject offers, because if I said yes to all 20 hotels, I would go bankrupt.
I travel with Charles as he takes photos of me and places.
So that is 40 plane tickets at an average price of £100 (and that’s the lowest, they go up to £600).
That is £4000 just for flights if you are lucky.
Add food and fun in to that equation. And I reckon we reach £14,000
I am calculating everything; food and fun for two people, public transport, taxis, souvenirs — the whole lot.
So on average me and Charles spend £500 during every trip, for all experiences, and sometimes it goes even higher depending where we are. That’s the price of running a travel blog. That is the price for good content.
Of course there are bloggers with different themes, some of them are backpackers, some of them are super luxury bloggers, some are hikers, some travel solo, some travel with a whole team of photographers and camera crews. Not everyone’s expenses are the same. But I focus on affordable luxury couple travels so that is how much it costs for me. It’s nothing compared to some. My fellow travel blogger flew first clas Emirates which is worth $18,000 !!! JUST TO WRITE A POST! Crazy right?
In order to make good content for my blog I have to visit pubs, clubs, restaurants, public places, museums, interesting locations, shops, attractions…… That all costs money. And most countries are not cheap. I can’t just go to Mykonos, for example , and write only about the hotel. How boring would that be? I have to spend money in order to show you what you can do there. This is why you read my blog. It’s not just about the hotel, it is about the experience.
So I charge. It is my job, it is my time, and if you want my service, you pay for it. That’s how jobs work.
I make sure everyone who invited me, pays for my flights, my daily fee and sorts out things they want me to include in my posts. Then I make my own opinion and create content.
So yes, I make money out of travelling.
IS IT ALL FUN AND GAMES?
No. It is not fun and games. Yes, you arrive at a new place, and yes it is exciting, but the amount of work I need to do is huge.
I need to make great ideas for each post. I have three cameras. I take photos of everything, I also record everything. If I forget, I have to go back and do it again. I take tours around hotel, I ask a lot of questions. I walk miles and miles thorough the city, to try different things and record them all, and take pictures of them. I research great locations for photos, I google best places to see. I then make sure no one else wrote anything similar. Some mornings I wake up with cramps in my legs. In Amsterdam in 2 and half days we walked over 80KM. In three days of travelling, I have to have enough content for at least 7 posts. Each post is around 700 words, and contains around 30 photos.
When I come back home – I have to transfer around 2000 photos to my computer. I edit them non-stop for around two days. Then when I finish them, It takes me around two to three days to write all the articles. When I am finished writing articles, it’s time to edit the videos. Which I edit in one day or two, depending on how much material I have- and I usually have A LOT!
I then make them visually attractive and add a draft to my Blog.
BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE! I ONLY SAID DRAFT!
We need to think about SEO, keywords, affiliate links, property links. Finding out extra information, renaming the photos, resizing the photos. Bolding, spell-checking, editing thumbnails for each social network, adding category, associate correct tags, choose appropriate featured photo, make sure RSS feed is fine, you are discoverable on WordPress, bloglovin and your subscribers are getting the right newsletter.
Ahh I forgot… designing the newsletter…extra day.
Then; share to social. Go to every group on Facebook that has travel bloggers in them or travel brands. Share your post in all 63 groups, share on Instagram (add hashtags), share on Facebook (tag everything), upload to youtube (add tags, categories, customised thumbnail for youtube), share on twitter, share on linked in. Email the hotel to look at your post, as well as everyone else you included.
And then a week has passed since you came back from your ‘’vacation’’ and you are so tired of writing and editing and thinking, that you just want to go in to an induced coma to relax. Oh wait! You still didn’t unpack? Well, thats great! Because tomorrow you have another flight, so might as well just wash your clothes in the hotel.
So yes, it’s great to be a travel blogger! Yes, you can make money out of it! But it is not an easy job. The best part at the end is just being at home and doing nothing and hoping no one emails you for at least one hour.
When Charles and I really want a vacation to relax we pay for it in full, no compensating no work, no mention of any blog whatsoever. Just a regular couple having a vacation. And guess what. I end up writing about it anyway.