Things you should know before starting a travel blog

I bet you have been thinking for a while that you want to turn your passion into a side hustle, and Blogging has probably been on your ...

I bet you have been thinking for a while that you want to turn your passion into a side hustle, and Blogging has probably been on your mind as a possible solution. I mean, it seems like an easy, low risk job that you can totally do while keeping your full-time job. And while that is true, there is a reason why not every traveller is a travel blogger.

On this blog post I am going to cover some advice and tips that you should know before you jump into the travel blogging business.


know before you start a travel blog

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Last updated: January 2021



1) It's not too late to start

While it is true that there is lot of information out there available, and it will be very difficult to write about something that has never been written before, there's still a place for you in the Internet. If you think about it, when you do a proper research on something, you rarely read only one website, so even though there are various websites talking about the same thing, some of these make it to the top, and they end up getting views (even if they are not the first on top of Google search!).

With time, good writing and consistency, you will start ranking higher in search and people will start to notice you. You will attract more and more viewers and actually build an audience, as long as you put in the work.

And for those who think Blogging is dead, think about the amount of pages you read online whenever you look for a certain solution - chances are, most of them are blog posts.


2) Your blogging platform can limit your success

There are plenty of platforms available to start your blog but you need to be careful with the one you choose. Some platforms will not allow you to monetise your blog with advertisement because they have their own (like medium.com and worpress.com), and other's might be missing features that will be essential to your success - and that is the reason why everybody recommends wordpress.org (well, at least almost everybody).

I believe you can use other platforms such as Blogger and if at some point you have to switch to worpress.org, you will be able to do the switch. However, that's going to be a lot of work and so, if you know that the limitations of a certain platform will be an issue for you in the future, I would totally recommend you to start with wordpress.org and do the initial investment, so you are not wasting your time.

The only reason why I still believe it's possible to have a successful blog outside of worpress.org is because I don't use it myself, and have been (somewhat) happy with the platform I currently use, even though I am fully aware that it wouldn't fit most people's needs. I share comparisons on my blog post about which platform should you use for your travel blog so you can consider every option available and make the best decision possible.

I am getting off topic here so the main lesson of this point is: make sure you do a proper research on the pros and cons of any platform you might be thinking of using, so that you don't invest your time and money on a platform that you will regret later on.


3) And so can your domain

travel blog domain

In case you don't know what a domain is, it's basically your site address (for example, www.ihaveatravelblog.com). You want this to be meaningful and represent what your blog is going to be about. 

If you're planning on starting a blog, you will have to think about what you want your domain name to be and even though it might seem hard to get it wrong, trust me, it's not that hard.

So here are some of the dos and don'ts when it comes to create your domain name:

  • Do create a domain that gives an idea of what your blog is about. You can't have a travel blog and name it "techsavvy", it just won't make any sense. When someone reads your domain, they should be able to tell what your blog is going to be about.
  • Do not create a domain that looks similar to another already well stablish travel blogger. Yes, I know it's difficult to be creative and original when there are so many travel bloggers out there but trust me, the last thing you want to do is look like a copy cat of someone else. When you have an extremely similar domain, people can forget yours because it is so similar to the popular one, they can think that they got your domain wrong and you're actually the popular blogger that they see ranking top on Google search or even worse, not give you any credit for thinking that you are basically copying someone else's idea. An example of this is creating a domain named "nomadicmatthew", when you're fully aware that there is a well stablish blog named "www.nomadicmatt.com"
  • Avoid using words that are constantly used in the travel industry as domains. Nomad, adventure, wanderlust, travel, those are all words we have seen being used over and over again on different travel blogs, and it gets difficult to stand out with them when everyone else is using it. Try using words that still represent travel, yet are quite unique
  • Do not create a long domain name. No one will remember your domain if you name it "theportuguesegirlthatlovestotravel". So instead, I should choose something like "aportugueseabroad" as that would be a lot easier to remember
  • Be careful with the extension you choose. We all agree that ".com" is a lot easier to remember than ".net", even though both are viable options. In most cases, ".com" is a better choice, except if you're producing content about a certain country and your aim is to target people from that same region, then you might want to use the extension related to that exact country.
  • Avoid using hyphens as much as possible Imagine having to explain the domain "my-travel-adventures" to someone. Not only it will be confusing and people might even get it wrong, but it will be a pain in the *** to say it. Every single time. 
  • Do not create a domain that might be embarrassing for you in the future This is one that people don't often think about, specially when they're young and starting a blog for fun. You never know if in few years time you will want to turn this into a full time job. And if you do, you will be hardly taken seriously if your domain is something like "cutieblondietrips". Imagine pitching yourself to get a brand sponsorship (serious business!) but then this is your domain name...
  • Do not create a domain that will restrict you time or location wise. When thinking about your domain name, you should think long-term. So for example, if you're going to do a trip around South America for a year and you want to blog about that, if your domain name will be "ayeararoundsouthamerica", your blogging career will be over once you finish the adventure and all your content around it. Not only that, you will be restricted to only write about South America. Likewise, "imovedtolondon" and "atravelerinhertwenties" will not be applicable anymore if I for some reason need to move away from London (not to mention that my content will be restricted to London mostly), or if I grew older than 29 years old - which lets face it: it's going to happen quite quickly!
  • Do create a time proof, long lasting domain name. When considering your domain name, think about where you want your blog to go. Do you think you will get tired of writing about a certain topic? Will you want to sell your blog one day? Will you want to change drastically what you do? Consider all of these possibilities, and avoid domains that won't allow you to do these things in the future.

If you get your domain wrong and you will be forced to change it in the future, you will be hurting your blog SEO and it will be tough to go through all of the changes. Trust me, you don't want to do that.


4) You will have to niche down

travel niche

The days when you could just be a general travel blogger are pretty much gone. With so many travel blogs out there, you have to specialize in something if you want to stand out. The travel industry has many different niches: camping, hiking, adventure, budget travel, luxury travel, specific cities and countries, tropical locations, country side, you name it.

Find something that you are truly passionate about and focus your writing around it.


5) You will have to be different

And since we're talking about specializing to stand out, you should also consider being different. It's easy to fall into the trap of doing whatever other people in the same industry are doing. If you don't know what I mean, just think about it: 

  • How many travel bloggers do you know that have visited Algeria, Cameroon, Ecuador, South Korea or North Macedonia? And what about Indonesia, Philippines, Italy and French Polynesia?
  • How many travel bloggers do you know that pay for their own trips and stay at hotels and Airbnb's from their own pocket? What about bloggers who go on press trips and stay at luxury hotels for free?
  • How many travel bloggers do you know that do Couchsurfing, housesitting, volunteering or occasional work in wildlife conservation? 

It's not just about having a different niche, it's about actually BEING different. Having a different story, a different reason for blogging, sharing different information, that your readers won't find anywhere else.


6) It's going to take years to become successful

travel blogging success

This is the sad reality and there is no other way around it. You're going to have to work very hard, spend a lot of time writing on your laptop, to only see the reward months and years later.

Blogging is not something that brings income right away. It can take months before you start to earn a penny, and years before you can completely live off of it.

While there are many bloggers out there, the majority don't take their blogs seriously (just like I did on my first year), or end up giving up after a while, when they realize how time consuming it is to run a blog, and how long it takes to actually monetise it.


7) And you will be spending more time in front of your laptop than exploring the world

While you will be writing about traveling and creating guides, you will surely spend more time building this business than actually exploring and traveling the world. And the soon you realize that, the better, because there's nothing worse than starting a dream job to then realize it wasn't what we thought it was.

Don't get me wrong, earning a living off traveling it's amazing, and if you truly love it, you will be happy to do it as your job, but its not just staying in fancy hotels and traveling for free - that will just be a small portion of the work.


8) You will not always travel for free 

People often think travel blogging means free travels, every single time, but don't be fooled: you will often be paying off your own pocket so that you can visit locations you're passionate about and would love to blog about! And to be fair, that's probably for the best.

Readers get tired of reading sponsored posts and press trips because at the end of the day, they would rather read the opinion of someone who chose a certain hotel because they liked it (and not because they got sponsored by it) and a certain trip they did spontaneously without being invited. It just feels authentic.


9) You will have to reach out to brands

travel blog sponsorship

And since we're talking about sponsorships, I think we often have this idea that brands will reach out to us when we have a big enough audience and we miss many collaboration opportunities early on our blogging journey because of this limiting belief.

While some big brands might not be looking to collaborate with smaller bloggers, there are always other hotels / travel agencies / airlines that would love to collaborate with you, but because you're still small and they don't know about you, you will miss on that opportunity. 

You will have to contact plenty of companies and pitch yourself plenty of times in order to get recognised and get collaborations and sponsorships that will not only give you free stuff (or even better, pay for your services!) but will also set you on the right path to success with future collaborations. Having experience with working with other companies is a big plus when a specific brand is going over your blog, and knowing what to expect from certain press trips will also help you saying "no" in the future if such trip doesn't fit your audience and needs.



10) People will have no idea of what you really do

This is going to be the last one on the list because it summarize your interactions with fellow strangers (and sometimes even acquaintances) for the rest of your life, as long as you work as a Travel Blogger. They will either:

  • ask the usual question "ahhhhh... but, how do you make money with it?" or 
  • think that all you do is writing guides on luxury hotel pool while you drink an expensive cocktail.

Eventually you will get used to answer the popular question and to just accept the fact that many people have no clue of the amount of hours and work that goes into Travel Blogging. At some point you will probably stop trying to explain that and will just giggle whenever someone says that you're living the life. Which, you are...


I hope this blog post was useful to you, and if you're considering starting a travel blog, just start. It's easy to procrastinate and keep delaying the day that we actually do something. I have written a complete guide to start a successful travel blogger, so make sure so check that out as well.



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