What Travel Blogging is REALLY Like

I have been asked several times in the past few months IF I work. Now I understand it seems to the outside viewer that we are on permanent vacation and one of the first things they wonder is HOW we can afford it, but they are actually asking me this question THROUGH my website. I wonder how exactly they think it runs?

Sometimes travel blogging is this peaceful......but not usually....it IS work!
It made me realize that people love reading and following blogs but very few know exactly what it takes to make it successful. There are a lot, and I mean millions, of travel related blogs out there. Some are simply to keep their friends and family abreast of what they are doing, some are purely for profit, and most, like mine, are sort of a mix of both.

I started this blog to let people know what we are doing and to motivate people to know that this lifestyle is possible. I also wanted to share the knowledge that I have gained over the past decade to help people plan vacations. When I started it was a whirlwind of designing the blog, putting it together, adding and subtracting things we liked and didn’t like, and trying to learn the ins and outs of the travel blogging world.

After the first 6 months of researching, learning, reading, and connecting on social media sites I finally felt like I understood how it all works. At that point, as the blog gained a following, we decided to monetize it. We realized that we could still maintain a useful blog while at the same time making a little extra money.

I spend most of my time on day-to-day things like writing, social media, and emails. And, of course, the actual traveling bit so I have something to write about.

Many hours are spent on research for travel.  Where to head to next, trying to find the cheapest flights, searching for the best place to stay within our budget, things to do while we are there, etc.  This is all part of blogging, as what we do we blog about!

If I were asked what the toughest part of constant travel was or what the toughest component to blogging is, I would answer research to both questions.  I have a love hate relationship with it but at the end of the day it is a true necessity!  I don't plan a lot as I think that hinders travel in a sense, but with 3 children and a limited budget we need to have a general idea of what we are doing!

Weekly time spent: On average 5-7 hours!  (this varies depending on what we are doing)

Actual articles
Of course the main piece of work that goes into blogging is writing. If you want your blog to gain readers you will need good content that people can relate to and you should be posting several times a week. With 3 kids and constant moving I only post 1-2 times per week, but it should be slightly more in my opinion.  I'm working on it..

Taking and editing photos is another part of writing articles that takes a lot of time!
Each post also takes more than just the time to write, which varies depending on the topic, at least for me. I always include photos, so there is the choosing and editing of each photo in order to give my readers the best I can. Then there is the tagging, editing, labelling, posting, sharing, etc. It is not uncommon for one article to take several hours spread out over multiple days.

Weekly time spent: On average 12 hours a week!

The money making bit
Making money is really my tertiary concern, but once we figured it out and started to make some it was certainly a welcome benefit. To make money I spent several hours a week emailing, contacting clients, drafting up posts, placing ads, and general organizational tasks to keep it all in order.

We also realized that we are helping advertise for free when we visit someplace and then blog about it. So I now contact a venue before we go, like Universal Studios in Singapore, and request tickets in exchange for online exposure. This also takes quite a bit of time as I need to draft up formal pitches explaining how and what I will offer and how exactly our visit can benefit them. Then I have to write, edit and add images to the post after we visit. But these “freebies” have been an unexpected benefit of writing about our adventures.

Weekly time spent: On average 8 hours a week!

Getting and keeping social followers
Social media is the bane of my travel blogging existence...there I said it! A huge part of gaining and keeping readers is of course through honest content, but after that it is social media engagement. Some will argue and rail against the entire thing but in my experience it matters!

Facebook and Twitter are where I have networked with fellow bloggers and learned so much. On top of that, the constant changes to Facebook and need to update and “post” keep me busy multiple times per day. To keep followers you need to keep active to hold their attention. It is more time consuming than you may think.

Weekly time spent: On average 8-12 hours per week!

There are many more little things that go into running a travel blog. I am not complaining at all, I love writing, taking pictures, sharing our adventures, inspiring others to step outside their comfort zones, and most of all traveling, but there is a lot of work to it. I make my own schedule and even though I typically spend 25-40 hours a week on the blog it is my choice to make and my timeframe to follow. I wouldn’t have it any other way…most days!

For those of you out there thinking of becoming a travel blogger, I say go for it!  But keep in mind all the time that goes into it, you really need to love traveling and writing to make it work!

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  1. Oh Man! I'm only 3 months into this blogging thing, still learning to write, still working out all the technical stuff. So now I have to add marketing and persuading people I can advertise for them? I think I've bitten off more than I can chew! Great post Bohemians! Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much. It is a lot of work but very worthwhile once you get over that initial learning curve. If you love travel and writing it is a wonderful opportunity to be your own boss:)

      Happy to answer any questions, just contact me through the site:)

    2. We are a family of four living in Panama going on five years, so we're really able to relate to your content and viewpoints. Also currently constructing the foundations of our own travel blogging site and planning on our next "leap" forward and abraod. Pinned ya and will be following you guys. Keep up the good work! Felice Año Nuevo!

  2. Good post. Running a successful travel blog is definitely a full time job, even if your readers and followers only see the fun parts of it.

    1. Thanks, yes it is a lot of hours but it certainly isn;t hard:) I love it and didn;t want to whine here just let people know it doesn;t write itself;)

  3. I have much, much more to learn about blogging. At first I found myself writing too much content..like short stories. It's great to read other blogs, not just for the content, but for learning too.
    So far, when I am able to write something, it's meant for relatives and friends. Some day I may progress and get more proficient. As far as making money off of it, that would be real plus! Not sure how, but it's great to realize that you can do it.
    So happy for you and your family that your blogging work is done with them surrounding you. No leaving them from 9-5!
    Thanks for the great tips and info.

  4. Excellent post Bohemians!. I totally agree with that making a travel blog takes full time job. But as long as you are "heart driven" and you love what you are doing then readers are motivated with it. Thanks for the share!

  5. Thanks for sharing all of this wonderful information. Wow! It sounds like quite a job! We travel quite a bit and I have just been placing those posts on my 'regular' catch-all blog. But, now I've decided to make it a separate place. I'm hoping that by making it 'just' about travel, then those who are interested in travel will enjoy it more!

  6. Thanks for this post, I'm new to this and its nice to see how someone who actually earns money does it!

  7. you clearly need to spend tons of time online to get it done. sometimes it looks so easy, but your break down reminds us (bloggers and readers) that nothing comes for free, everything requires hours of effort. and clearly you are doing such a good job because......

    guess what mary, my little diva?

    you were voted for 2012 best travel blog, and won! . check it out:

    i'll publish another article when the final 50 are up, of course, again, highlighting your awesomeness!
    there's a badge for your sidebar and FB love.

    1. Ha, you are so funny! I would say a lot of us won then:) Thanks for the opportunity!


  8. Nhận xét của bạn sẽ hiển thị sau khi được phê duyệt does this mean my comment is waiting for approval? i love it that the internet knows i'm in vietnam....