Should You Start a Travel Blog?

travel website, travel site, travel sites, blogging

If you’ve read your umpteenth post on how to start your own travel blog, you might be thinking that having a blog is the latest must-have travel accessory.  If you’re not uploading your photos and latest adventure from a Thai internet cafe, you’re missing out.  Right? Or could most things accomplished with a blog be done faster and easier elsewhere?  Have bloggers, in their zeal for the medium, over-hyped the usefulness of the tool?

To me, deciding to blog (or not) comes down to one thing: what you expect to gain.  I definitely wouldn’t suggest every traveler start one.  After all, most blogs are under-read, poorly maintained and eventually abandoned.  Did I say most?  Yes.  I read hundreds of blogs, and every month another one bites the dust (even mid-trip).  Why is that?  It’s a lot of work.  Would you start a magazine or newspaper to document your travels?  It’s not exactly the same, but hopefully the analogy helps to show blogging for what it is: a medium, not a destination.

So while I’m not anti-blog (hello, I’m a blogger), here are some things to consider from a veteran travel blogger, before you register your domain.

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If you want to keep family and friends updated.

You’re planning a trip for 6 months, a year or more, but you know at the end of it you’ll be returning home.  You’d like to share photos and stories with friends and family and if your blog made you famous or got you a book deal, well then bonus.

Should you blog? Probably not. The process of setting up a blog, learning how to format posts, uploading photos one-by-one, formatting photos to fit inside your post and dealing with spam comments can take a lot of time, for not much added value.  If your audience is limited, then this ramp up time and maintenance hassles may be more bother than they are worth.

What to do instead: Set up an account with a photo site like Flickr or Photobucket.  Sites like these make uploading photos much easier.  With mass uploading,  tagging features, auto resize and tons of built in tools, it makes managing hundreds of photos streamlined.  For keeping friends and family in the loop, social media sites like Facebook, Friendfeed or Myspace let you share your travel stories, easily link to your online photo albums and offers controls over who sees your content.  And the part about getting famous?  More urban legand than fact.  Most “discovered” over-night sensations have been toiling for years before their big break.

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If you want a memento of your trip.

This is your big trip, and you know it’ll be an amazing adventure, especially if this is your first time traveling around the world.  You want something that you can read in 30 years from now and remember exactly how it felt to see Machu Picchu for the first time.

Should you blog? Probably not. Again, the process of blogging is a lot of added work, but more importantly, a blog isn’t a great memento.  If you’ve been online for a while, you’ll know how quickly blog platforms change.   If you’re hosting it yourself, that’s a commitment to pay hosting fees until the end of time.  Will your 2009 site even work in a 2039 browser?  Or what happens if the travel blog site you use goes under in the next 10 years?  At the end of the day, you’re better off having something in your hot little hands, that is not dependent on the whims of emerging technology.

What to do instead: Keep a hand written journal during your trip.  Bring an acid free glue stick with you (about $2 bucks and doesn‘t turn yellow with age) and you can glue in ticket stubs, labels, crushed flowers, or whatever else you find on your way.  Use an archival pen for your notes (doesn‘t fade), but don’t be afraid to try sketching your favorite paintings in a museum or an amazing vista too.  The bonus is that you’ll be free of internet restrictions to record your thoughts, and because it’s your personal journal, you’ll be more candid– an invaluable trait in a travel journal.  After the trip is over, you can select your favorite photos from your trip, have them printed and create an accompanying photo album.

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If you want to write your first novel about this trip

Yes, you’re excited about traveling abroad, especially since you love reading travelogues like Rita Goldman’s The Female Nomad or Bill Bryson’s many books or anything about restoring Italian villas, living in Spain or getting drunk in the South Pacific.  And now is your chance to write the next big thing.

Should you blog? Maybe. Think carefully about this.  If your goal is be a novelist, then the number one most important thing to work on is the writing.  Writing a blog is a great way of forcing yourself to have a daily writing habit, but it’s not the only way.  It’s also a great way to get feedback as you develop your voice that can be invaluable to your development as a writer.  But it’s not the only way to get feedback.  It’s also an excellent platform for promoting yourself, once your book comes out.  But don’t forget, you’re adding a job on top of writing a novel, and since you will be represented by the quality of the writing on your blog, you’ll have to maintain the same level of quality as your book.  Also any promotional benefit for future books could be years away–after the trip is over, book written, agent landed, publishing deal signed, editing completed, book scheduled for release– there should be plenty of time to start a blog after you cash that big fat book advance.  The biggest thing to consider for a writer is this:  do you have the creative stamina to think of smart, funny, engaging posts and write your book at the same time?  Will you be stealing ideas from your novel for blog posts?  Will you feel like you have to hoard your best content for the novel and throw up less than stellar work online?

What to do instead: I’m not saying would-be-authors should avoid blogging, just think carefully about whether you really want to commit to it.  Most of the travel novelists that you love didn’t establish an online presence (if they have one at all) until after they became published authors.  As a writer, I can offer this advice: keep a detailed personal journal.  The names of places, food you ate, the details that will hold your writing together will fade so quickly.  These details will likely not make it into blog posts, but as time passes and you find yourself writing about the quirky waiter in Lisbon, you’ll thank yourself a million times over if you know the name of the restaurant, what you ate, or any details about the décor.  If you’re going the offline route, be sure to find an online writing group or someone you trust to give you feedback on your writing.

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If you want to fund your travel with a blog

You’ve saved up some cash for extended travel, but what you’d really like to do is fund your travel with your blog.  You’re attracted to blogging because it’s online, doesn’t cost anything to start up (or very little) and you like the idea of writing about your travels sans editor as you jet set around the world.

Should you blog? Yes, but not exclusively. While it’s absolutely possible to make a living online, via a blog (or a few), it does take some ramp up time to get there.  Some of this has nothing to do with how good you are at your job, but more about the time it takes to be listed in google (and build up page rank), the time it takes to build up enough back content to earn significant revenue and your standing in the community (relationships take time).

What to do instead: If you want to blog go for it, but be informed.  Nomadic Matt, who makes anywhere from $3000-5000/mo on his blogs (yes he has many) has written an ebook that basically gives away everything Matt has done to make his blogs profitable.  I’ve read the ebook and in my opinion it will likely cut your ramp up time in half, saving you a good six months– a great deal for $27 he is charging.  I would suggest reading the ebook before you even start, because it covers such basics as picking a domain name, a decision that can haunt or help you as your blog grows.  If you need cash now, try blogging for a big network or corporation, wherein you can learn more about what works on their dime.  Also, don’t forget, blogging isn’t the only way to work online.  There are lots of remote jobs (from IT analyst to customer service rep), often making much more per hour then you ever would in your first six months of blogging.  For more resources check out the job board at Almost Fearless: Work Wirelessly or this post on Making Money While Traveling: the Quick Guide.

travel website, travel site, travel sites, blogging

If you already have a blog, or you just really like the idea of having one

You’re traveling around the world and nothing sounds like more fun that writing posts, uploading pictures and sharing your travel with the world.  You already have a blog, or you’re tech savvy enough that you’re not going to be mired in WordPress hell for the next month, and everything you just read didn’t make you want to blog less, but rather more.

Should you blog? Yes! If you want to do it, do it!  What I’ve tried to express in the above points, is not that people shouldn’t blog, but that some of these false expectations can set you up to be disappointed.  If you’re blogging for the right reasons: you love it or you just want to (regardless of outcome), then how could you go wrong?  Welcome to blogging!  Send me your link.

Other great reasons to blog:

  • Creating an online presence to establish yourself as an expert, to break into travel writing, establish your business or brand or otherwise showcase your work.
  • Folks who love having an online network and being part of a community.
  • Would-be writers, wanting to give writing a try.
  • Anyone with realistic expectations, and wants to see what it’s about.

Should you blog? Whatever you decide, don’t forget that blogging is just another tool, no different than Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop.  It should always be about what the tool can do for you, not a destination in itself.

Good luck!

Pics: williamhartz, hexodus,

timothy.merrill, ed yourdon,

voxeros, stevegarfield

60 Comments

  1. Greg Murdoch

    Well done on this article! I especially enjoyed the perspectives on being a pro vs. just wanting to promote your trip to your friends and family!

  2. Sandra Kennedy

    Excellent and realistic information. I follow you on Twitter and find your tweets relevant and direct. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for breaking this down Christine!

    There are many, many reasons to blog. Mine mostly works as an online resume to showcase work so I can readily send prospective editors to specific galleries, pages, or articles.

    Excellent stuff.
    .-= Lola´s last blog ..Fodors.com: Taking Landscape Photographs =-.

  4. I might pick nits at some of your reasoning, but instead would focus on one other reason a person might consider a blog: If you approach it seriously, it can focus your trip and help you be “present” where you are.

    Keeping a blog focused me on looking for stories, researching the sites I saw and the places I visited. The process can make you more observational, tuning you in to telling the story of your adventure in words and picture.

    But really, you left out the number one reason to keep a blog of your trip – it can be a lot of fun if you approach it with the right attitude and expectations.

    The real trick is knowing when to stop. Stories, like trips, must come to an end sometime.
    .-= craig ´s last blog ..Full Circle =-.

  5. Your post made for great reading.

    Much of what you said is how it is much of the time. I would still encourage folks to take up travel blogging, for in addition to serving as an outlet for memories and likewise it is satisfying to build a community around your interest.

    An active travel blog results from hard work, hard, hard work. It needs discipline of habit. And it requires discipline. Do you love travel enough to want to share it with others around the world. If yes, then go for it.

    And travel blogging is not just about destinations, it is about people, society as well. Structuring it for an audience means it will have you focus on things you might not have otherwise if you were not writing a blog.

    Then there’re comments to answer, among the best things about a travel blog.

    Go for it, there’s nothing to lose, everything to gain, even if you were to give it up mid way.
    .-= Anil´s last blog ..Premier Padmini, The Workhorse =-.

    • Anil, I agree with everything you said here. I think that travel blogs are a great motivator for people trying to save up for a trip, keeping you excited and interested while you’re giving up some of the fun things you used to spend money on to save up for the trip. It’s helped us a lot.

  6. great reasons to blog or not to blog (that is the question!) I still think even a short trip is worth blogging but as someone who blogged to keep people updated, it can be a lot of work and hard to keep up with.
    .-= Nomadic Matt´s last blog ..The Weekly Photo: Sydney Opera House =-.

  7. I’ve talked to a lot of people who think they will just make a blog and it will fund their trip.

    Aint….gonna….happen.

    People also need to realize that just because you travel, it doesn’t mean you have to blog about traveling. You can blog about anything and still work from the road. There are a lot of niches which are much more profitable than travel which would make for better travel revenue options.
    .-= Gary Arndt´s last blog ..What I’ve been up to in Wisconsin =-.

  8. Even when I do blog about my travels I still keep a personal hand written journal. Sometimes there are things that you don’t need to share with the world and you want to keep for yourself. Long before blogging I had been journaling and love looking through my stack of journals. Not only do I write in them, but I also stick in postcards, tickets, and other fun mementos from the journey. I’ve even kept track of scrabble matches and card games. Those little things really help to transport me back in a way a blog never could.
    .-= Michaela Potter´s last blog ..Favorite Books: Inspired by Asia =-.

  9. We’ve blogged about everything from sex to money to cameras (not all in the same post) and it has all somehow related to travel. It has been almost a year of planning for our RTW adventure, and we still haven’t even left for our trip. There is so much ground to cover, and we get excited about the trip all over again when we write. I think this will hold true when we hit the road next year.

    One thing I will point out is that I was blogging for my business for a few years prior to our decision to travel, so it was already a habit for me. For someone who hasn’t been blogging, it will be much harder to learn the ropes and create the discipline, especially when there are so many other fun things you could be doing…
    .-= Betsy Talbot´s last blog ..Superior Scribbler Award =-.

  10. I was a newbie when I started up a year ago yesterday. You had been blogging for a little while, Christine, and I loved reading about all the stories you had. Since then I have loved writing my blog, about both the preparations and lately, the travel. It does take some work but I like the reflection it gives me and the focus on the elements. I write to keep in touch with friends and family and to have a momento for the the future. What I really like are when other travelers read it and comment or contact me. Most blogs I’ve read have kept it up through the travel…although a few have disappeared.
    .-= Gillian´s last blog ..Like A Rhinestone Cowboy =-.

  11. Fantastic post, with a great breakdown of when to and when not to blog. On my two month trip back in 2000, blogs were not really happening, so I had an e-mail list that received my updates. This worked perfectly, and if I did the trip today, I probably would do a blog, just so people didn’t get additional e-mail, but it would be because it’s how I like to update people, and any additional traffic would be icing.

    I do have a blog now, that is still getting tweaked (it actually died back in December, and I’m just bringing it back to life). It’s a lot of work, but I love the work. I have multiple blogs, and this is one that I keep coming back to and want to really focus on. So, it’s back, along with a couple others, and will get the love and care it deserves.

    I’m so glad that you, and others have really stuck with the blog thing… I really enjoy reading them, and DO appreciate all of the work that I know goes into keeping them up!

  12. Gillian,

    You were one of my first regular commenters! You’re part of the reason I kept with it, so thank you. Back in those days, I’d say to my husband, “Yay, Gillian liked my post”. We’ve both come so far since then, huh!

  13. zoe zolbrod

    What a wonderful topic and treatment! I did my long-term traveling in the early 90s before even email was common. To correspond with anyone, you’d have to anticipate where you’d be in a month and let people know to sent to post restante. (I have fond memories of getting to Katmandu and pawing through the pile of mail in the Z box to miraculously find the mix tape my boyfriend sent weeks before.) If you wanted to reconnect with people you met on the trail, you’d have to arrange to leave notes at guest houses or hostels–a scavenger hunt to hook up on the next island. The chance of success was pretty slim, but when it worked, it was magic.

    I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how different it is now, when friends and family are so often a click away, and sharing images and musings can happen instantaneously. It seems so great–and I love living vicariously through the blogs. But it seems like blogging could take a traveler out of the immersive moment, or out of that terrifying, exhilarating feeling of being really alone. Is the world really smaller now? I don’t know.

    But back to this web site. It’s amazing!

  14. I have found the most rewarding part of launching a new blog has been learning so many great new skills. I was stuck in hours of WordPress hell in the beginning but figuring out the solutions resulted in a real sense of accomplishment. I look forward to getting on the road finally as my wife and I have been planning our trip for over 8 months now and I am committed to creating a resource that balances travel updates along with our mission to document sustainability efforts around the globe. Hope to see your comments on our site!
    .-= Keith ´s last blog ..Lists to keep along the way =-.

  15. I do believe that if I was still traveling I would not be blogging about it, just writing notes in a notebook and taking lots of photos – you’re certainly right that Flickr is very easy to use if you want to share photos with people “back home” – and isn’t a picture worth a thousand words? Not sure I’d want to spend that much time at a keyboard when the idea of travel is to explore…

    I do blog now about Phuket, where I have been living for 10 years. Main reason for that was to show some of the real life in Phuket and hopefully direct some independent travelers away from the obvious tourist attractions.

    Cheers
    Jamie, Phuket, Thailand
    .-= Jamie Monk´s last blog ..Kayaks in the Mangroves =-.

  16. Good points you’ve made here – especially on those that quit. Most do not realize it takes a lot of work to keep a blog going.

    Starting a blog to generate income is probably a waste of time for 99% people out there. Unless you are an exceptional good writer, are traveling in the most interesting/remote areas or really have a story to tell (i.e tour around Iraq right now and write about dodging the bullets) your travel blog won’t make any money (ok… maybe a few dollars).

    For those that are starting a new travel blog should do it for the passion of sharing.

  17. In my experience, my written journal is a million miles from my blog.

    In reference to

    “…you might be thinking that having a blog is the latest must-have travel accessory”

    , in my opinion most travellers I meet don’t even know about the existence of travel blogs. Unless you count Facebook.

    As you’ll see from the linkbacks in this comment thread — and every other travel blog’s — 95% of people that read travel blogs, are travel bloggers.

    It was only after I started mine in Feb 2007 that I became aware that there even was a community. I think for wouldbe bloggers, WordPress.com is a great starting point as it’s free. If the author feels he’s consistent and passionate about what he or she is creating, then it’s a relatively easy migration to the self-hosting versions. Great post, an old topic from a new angle.
    .-= Ant´s last blog ..All Rights Reserved. As of now. =-.

  18. Great post! I love the tip about writing little details down in a journal. I kept a journal for my RTW trip, but always thought the info was so mundane, I’d never read it, compared to the broader stories I posted to my blog, but you make a good point about those little details getting lost so quickly. It is true. I just wish I’d written them down with more purpose….too late now!
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Quiet Contemplation And Drew Barrymore In Central Park =-.

  19. I think the whole idea of blogs is reaching a saturation point where if you’re looking to make even a few bucks it’s going to take a whole lot of creativity. How many blogs can a person read about cafe’s in Paris? As you have pointed out, most people aren’t blogging for my benefit or for cash – it’s probably more for friends and family to follow their adventures. There are a few that I will follow … yours included :) … but I really don’t have the time to subscribe to and read hundreds of blogs.

    I really think the way to make half-decent coin in this online world is to go bleeding edge. Blogging is yesterday’s news. For those people who can’t write as well as others, video’s are a great way to capture the moment in a certain place. HD-quality video is the best. And rather than just talk about restaurants, hotels and touristy things, perhaps you want to delve a little deeper into other areas and focus on stuff like – university life in different countries, ‘a day in the life’ of a kid or a worker or a housewife, economies, politics, corruption is a good one, crime, etc. You also should be constantly monitoring the ‘Web 2.0’ start-up’s that provide a new twist on blogging. Having your blog translated – not with a an online translation tool, ask a fellow traveler that speaks the language – into multiple languages can also be a way to reach more and more people.

    The idea should be to reach people who want to vicariously live through you, not so much people who want to follow in your footsteps.

    Just a few ideas to think about …

    Chris.

  20. Christine, I just wrote a post this week about how it feels to be a new travel blogger — the annoyances, the fun, and the confusion. Several other newbies chimed in and, while all of us felt pretty overwhelmed, we all have been loving it.

    Now, I have only been doing this for two months so things could change — but, for me, the number one reason to keep blogging is because it is my creative outlet. As you mention in your last point, I blog because I love to write and photograph. In a way, I didn’t even realize how much I loved doing those things — how much I crave writing — until I started blogging two months ago.

    At first, we started the blog because we wanted to keep in touch with family and friends but the truth of the matter is that I don’t know how frequently our family and friends will really read our site because very few of them are avid website readers like I am. In fact, I doubt that many of them know what an RSS feed is.

    ProBlogger just featured a guest post from Josh Hanagane of the World’s Strongest Librarian on Is Blogging Dead? I love this line in his post, “I write stuff I love and if other people like it, that’s a wonderful bonus.” That’s how I feel, too. If I was just doing this for money or for the publicity, I think it would get awfully boring and irritating quickly. But, perhaps that’s just me.
    .-= Akila´s last blog ..vieques: feeling good =-.

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  22. This is a great breakdown for travelers thinking about starting travel blogs. It’s a lot more work than people think!

    We started our website as a way to test our creativity and develop professional skills different from what we were doing before this journey (project management, tax, legal, financial transparency). The last couple of years have been a learning experience, from teaching ourselves WordPress and web design to learning how the online world works. And, it’s not all pleasant. We’ve developed a good online community, but there’s also quite a bit of insincerity along the way (as in any business).

    Many people think that as soon as you put something up on the internet you’re raking in lots of dough from google and other online ads. Some people, like Nomadic Matt, have been able to make a living from this – it’s a LOT of work. For us, our website is an online CV and portfolio of our photography – this helps in securing offline projects and income.
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..8 Days in the Galapagos Islands: A Photo Tour =-.

  23. Ran into this post today, from the Tumblr blog around the time they launched in 2007. I think it sums up some of the reasons you might choose a platform other than blogging:

    “More than 100 million blogs will be online in 2007. The count continues to double every 5.5 months. About half of the blogs created are ever maintained after being created. And fewer than 15% of blogs are updated at least once a week. (Technorati)

    That’s still gobs of great blogs out there. Blogging is great. Our company has started blogging to communicate with our customers. Tools like Movable Type and WordPress offer a shit-ton of features that we can barely figure out what to do with.

    But for so many of us, it’s work. It’s a commitment, and it doesn’t really get good until you have readers. And your friends don’t really care until it starts getting good. And the form isn’t always so friendly either. The good bloggers are meticulous in their linking, images, credits, and formatting. Comments need to be moderated. Et cetera.

    It’s quite like editing your school newspaper. And that’s just what the form is so brilliant for! Publishing has moved online. Just look at the terrifically addictive things coming out of WebLogs Inc. and the Gawker Network. But it’s just that — Publishing.

    Last year, a site called project.ioni.st showed us a completely different form. A form with a different focus:

    Sharing.

    The long editorials with meticulously formatted links and images we were used to seeing on blogs seemed absent. All of the editors’ thoughts, creations, experiences, and discoveries poured down the screen. It was like flipping through the scrapbook of a like-minded person we had never met.

    The editors seemed to post with zero obligations. Anything neat they came across went up. Little or no commentary was needed. The only context was the author. How absolutely beautiful.

    Tumblr

    A tumblelog isn’t better than a blog. It’s not a replacement. But we’re certain it will be a fabulous alternative to the 90% of web users who don’t care to maintain a blog.

    It’s something we knew we wanted the moment we laid eyes on it. Something we were even inspired to build.

    Yeah, it’s still a blog. But it’s a new philosophy. It’s free of noise, requirements, and commitments. And it’s finally here.”

    http://blog.davidville.com/2007/02/19/tumblr/

  24. Christine,
    What a great, thought-provoking post! As a former journalist that’s still relatively new to travel blogging, it’s been a challenge to take off the “objectivity” I’ve worn for the past 20 years, get my personal thoughts out there, and hope folks care enough to read and respond. At various points, I’ve fallen into all the categories you mentioned in this post, but know that starting a blog focused on African-American women interested in global travel makes great sense for me because 1) it keeps my writing skills fresh since I’m no longer on staff at a newspaper, 2) it gives me a great way to share my intense passion for overseas travel and hopefully inspire more black women to do it and 3) it really does help you build an online presence and your own personal brand. So thanks for breaking it all down for us and giving us food for thought. (BTW… thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I’m honored!)

    Maureen
    http://www.UrbanTravelGirl.com
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..Some sisters never more at home than when traveling abroad =-.

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  26. Nice post. Travelling is fun and to make it more glamorous, you need to write your whole experience. To master the art of writing, you need to read lots of novels and biographies.You need to write all the details of your experience. Start with an interesting sentence which will create further interest amongst your readers. Think of some creative words and never make grammer mistakes. You can mention a couple of jokes to entertain the readers. For more details refer http://www.journeyidea.com/travel-experience-on-to-paper/

  27. Fantastic post! We (the Lost Girls) had a slightly different reason for blogging on the road–since two of us had worked in magazines, we wanted to apply the same service-oriented concept to a female-focused blog. The idea being, if someone wanted to do a similar RTW trip, they’d have a lot of their questions answered just by following us throughout the year and after we came home.

    That said, that puts us in the extreme minority of travel bloggers!

    A good friend of mine Melissa started a dating blog and committed to posting on it daily (http://melissa-singlegalinthecity.blogspot.com/)—as in 365 days per year, no matter what, even the week she had surgery (thank goodness you can post in draft). Within that year, she was offered her own blog on Examiner.com and was contacted by a book agent. So, if you’ve got a good idea, great voice and are dedicated to posting, you can turn a travel blog into something more (if that’s what you want).

    Good luck travel bloggers!
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..No-Fuss Hair On The Road =-.

  28. Hi Christine,

    I think for me it’s a mixture of documentting my travels and wanting to do a blog.

    I like the idea of a blog as a means of keeping family & friends informed of what I’m up to. I honestly can’t see a problem with technology in 30 years, so long as you don’t neglect what you’re doing there’s bound to be a transition between current media and future media, especially if you use a mainstream service such as WordPress, Blogger or Typepad.

    It does seem that some peope do this but try to factor in some sort of short-term commerical gain, which as Gary points out.. Aint… gonna… happen. You see so many blogs with stinkingly obvious paid-for posts which is ok if you’re a Matt Kepnes type blogger or yourself who have trustworthy & informative sites but for blogs such as mine, a weblog of my travels then it’s inappropriate (let’s not forget where the word ‘blog’ came from!).

    Most of all though I set it up because I love to write. I may not have a career in it but I love it as a ceative outlet. I really do think that if somebody wants to blog they should, it’s not for everyone – indeed some of my own good friends think I’m a bit of a twat for blogging!

    Andy
    .-= Andy´s last blog ..Singapore =-.

  29. This is a great and thoughtful post. First I want to thank you for writing it – it feels a bit like a gift because I know it probably took you a long time to formulate and write.

    Why do I know this? Because as a blogger I am in complete agreement that it is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of time and dedication to do seriously and well. And I still don’t feel like I do everything exactly as it should be done (for one thing, I’m no photographer or videographer and am frankly not all that interested in becoming either one).

    I think I have a slightly unique position among bloggers in that I had already written a book and couldn’t get it published (despite having an agent). When I started the blog, I thought that I would use it to publish excerpts from the book. But the way my life worked out, I did so much travel and had so many ideas to write about that I didn’t need to use the content from the book.

    I still haven’t exactly figured out how to make any money from blogging or what I will do with my book, but blogging has done the following for me:

    -disciplined me to write regularly (despite having a job and two little kids)
    -introduced me to a huge online community I didn’t know before (And as an added bonus, events like TBEX and BlogHer have allowed me to meet some of these people in person)
    -helped me to take myself more seriously as a writer

    My plan now is to try and start selling pieces and possibly a different book while continuing to grow my blog audience. And although I know that it’s still likely to be a while before I see more than a penny a post, I also know that no one will ever be able to tell me again that I don’t have a “platform” for publishing. And that feels darn good!
    .-= Mara´s last blog ..Summer treasures: 111 and counting =-.

  30. I started blogging because I wanted to break into regional travel writing, and my print clients all pretty much dried up on me (I primarily wrote about local businesses for local newspapers–with a regional travel article here and there–for about 15 years before starting my blog).
    The blog helped me become more disciplined about writing regularly when diminishing print opportunities caused me to stall a bit. It takes some time to build an audience, but I’ve found having a presence online has helped level the field a bit for me when it comes to travel writing. I’ve had a couple of nice opportunities come my way that I doubt would have ever come my way without an online presence.
    I’m actually as busy, if not busier, now with freelance projects than I ever was writing for the local print markets.
    .-= Dominique´s last blog ..Meal with a view at Riva restaurant on Chicago’s Navy Pier =-.

  31. I set my blog up in May and I don’t plan on going away until next March. I gave myself enough time to learn about WordPress and all the techie stuff since I’m self-hosted.

    I started my blog for family and friends to watch me as I planned my trip and then went away but in the process my blog went from purely travel-related to simply a personal one. That way, although it will inevitably end up being a travel blog whilst I am away, when I come back it will simply be a blog for me again and so won’t have outlives it’s usefullness.

    Good points but well, I like to talk, so I’m bound to love blogging!
    .-= Toni´s last blog ..Naming the new addition… =-.

  32. Another good reason to keep a journal in addition to (or instead of) a travel blog: personal stories. I didn’t use my blog to talk about my personal life in Paris, and even though I loved working on Parisian Spring, I regret that it’s the only overseas trip for which I don’t have a journal of my personal thoughts. Got smart and brought one to Belgium.
    .-= Tanya´s last blog ..Getting Over Jet Lag =-.

  33. I started a blog for myself, family and friends. I’ve been on the road now for close to six months and have managed to maintain a posting cycle of every Monday-Friday since I started my trip.

    I don’t have grandiose thoughts about it, but know that it is something I want to be reading 10, 20 or however many years down the road. It’s very easy to do, when I finish this trip (if I ever do), I’ll print to pdf from my blog software Windows Live Writer and print the pdf, get it bound and have a nice cover put on it.

    The trick I’ve found is to have a laptop with you, I jot notes every day or few and when there’s a spare moment (boring city, long trip with no one interesting to talk to), I write up a lot of entries. When I get a chance to connect to the internet, I post 5-20 posts (all scheduled in advance), giving the appearance that I’m writing daily and keeping my readers engaged and not flooded with occasional large posts at random intervals.

    Cheers,
    Ivan
    .-= Ivan´s last blog ..Song Kol =-.

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  35. Hello, Great topic. My blog is now 7 months old and it just sort of evolved into a travel blog. I enjoy the writing and creative part of the blog and have found the technical challenges stimulating. I am starting to “grow” my community and have managed to catch up in person with 1 or 2. I don’t regret starting the blog, but it is like a child that needs to be constantly watched over and tendered.
    Cheers
    Kim
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..North Korea, Vietnam and China – The Communist Tour =-.

  36. Guillermo Guerini

    It’s interesting to read this post because it’s clear that to be a travel writer is the new (old yet?) trend. I’ve been reading Almost Fearless, Nomad Matt and many others for months now and because of them I finally started my own blog. Not to make money. Not to be famous. I just want to write.. and discuss my ideas and experiences with other travelers, friends, family. I’d like to stop to only be a consumer (of content) and become a producer as well. In my opinion this is the beauty of having a blog.

    This is why I think I encourage people to start a blog. Even if it’s a 6 months trip or to keep in touch with family. It’s nice to see someone else’s point of view. It’s nice to know more about people and what they do while travel. It’s nice to recognize places you’ve been once with a different perspective.

    I’m just in the beginning of my blog but I have many ideas and goals.
    You are all welcome to try.

    By the way, really good and rich article. As usual.

    Guillermo
    .-= Guillermo Guerini´s last blog ..Picture of the Day: Aleppo, Syria =-.

  37. Pingback: Wisdom of the Travel Blogs « Dispatches from Arpanistan

  38. hi all,
    It is very good to see u.Excellent and realistic information. I follow you on Twitter and find your tweets relevant and direct. Thanks!Hope people will enjoyed.
    *************
    jessicap,
    Cheap Travel News

  39. Wow thanks so much for the great article about starting a travel blog. Keep up the great good work! It may take awhile to really find you niche but well worth the experience when you get it working nice!

  40. I have a day job that is full of stress but which I love (I am a physician). It’s great to come home and blog about travel, wine and having a plain ‘ole good time – things I am also passionate about. I am loving it all. Thanks for the advice.

  41. Hi there,

    I am leaving in April for a 4 month trip to South America and have been wondering whether to start a blog or not. While I do like the idea of writing as well as just sharing pictures with friends and family (although the blog would probably end up being mostly pictures anyway), I think starting a blog from scratch may be a bit of a hassle. I do, however, enjoy writing about my experiences and think my family would enjoy reading more than picture captions too.
    What do you think of sites like travelpod, travellerspoint blogs or travelblog? Might they make my life a bit easier?
    Would appreciate any helpful tips you may have :-)

    Best, Srishti

  42. Should you blog while travelling? If you will spend significant portion of your time in an internet cafe to update your blog instead of exploring the new city and meeting with new people, definitely no!

  43. I have a blog already, so I’m glad you made your last point. However, I am considering an au pair opportunity and I wonder if I should start a separate blog for that experience. Decisions, decisions…

  44. Pingback: Should You Start Your Own Travel Blog Before Your RTW Trip?

  45. Blogging provides a great way to share information about places, food, stay and a lot more about a location..Good job

  46. Pingback: Nobody ever told me that writing a novel would be this hard… |

  47. I though this would be really hard while traveling, but after reading the whole article i understood that is really easy. Thanks for the brilliant ideas!!

  48. Very useful advice! If people read this before starting there would be less blogs being started and left inactive shortly after. Definitely worth knowing what you want to do and why before taking the step.

  49. Pingback: Almost Fearless Life | Should You Start a Travel Blog? | What is Blogging

  50. Hi Christine!

    Thank you for this article! Very helpful and informative. Have thought about creating my own blog, but having read your article has brought lots of perspective into this. I think many people start their blogs without first thinking who their audience will be and whether what they showcase is appealing to other people. Love your idea about having an hand-written journal! Will definitely do this on my next big trip!

  51. Excellent and realistic information. There are many, many reasons to blog. It helps for those who love to travel different places and also motivates and attract others to travel and explore different places.check out the different iteriniers and plan your next dream destination http://www.travelopod.com/vacations/ .

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