69 Travel Blogging Tips From the Top Travel Bloggers

How to be a travel blogger

– Compiled by Victoria Philpott

Whether you’re a virgin travel blogger, just started out, or like to think of yourself as a pro, there’s always more to know. My tip: Wi-Fi is often free in hostels and there’s always plenty of opportunity for space and privacy with the common rooms and kitchens. 

These top travel bloggers have been generous enough to impart some of their travel blogging tips on a range of subjects… 

What to blog | Design | Technical | Personal Growth | Photography | Social Media | Video | Audio | Networking | Time management | Sponsorship | Making Money | MotivationTravel Tips

What to blog

#1 Be unique, says Gary Arndt from everything-everywhere.com

“Do interesting things. Your content is your travel. The internet doesn’t need another 20-something backpacking in South-East Asia. Go and do the interesting things that most people will never get a chance to do.” Tweet this

#2 Stay human, says Jodi Ettenberg from legalnomads.com

“So many big companies are looking to humanise their brand with a relatable voice, and we as bloggers have a distinct advantage of already being human, and having a personality-based brand. Don’t be afraid to embrace all of who ‘you’ are as a blogger. By this I mean tweeting, posting and sharing information you are passionate about and trust, be it inside the travel sphere or outside of it. This will enable you to become a resource for your followers.”

#3 Be honest, says Brendan from brendansadventures.com

“My number one piece of advice to a new blogger is to aim to dig deeper than the usual blog – go beyond the usual superficial articles about a destination. And most of all, be honest. That honesty is going to be what makes your reader trust you, and the vulnerability of that honesty is going to be what makes people connect with you on a personal level. It is that personal connection that has made blogs so popular and powerful over the past few years.”

cool travel bloggers

#4 Break rules, says Mike from mikesowden.org/feveredmutterings/

“Break rules. The biggest bloggers got big by innovating and standing out. They did something different. You can’t beat them at their own game so beat them at *yours*. When the rules feel wrong, overturn them. See what happens. You may find something uniquely you that people love. And wouldn’t *that* be cool?”

#5 Stick with one idea, says Wayne from planyourescapenow.com

“Post only when you have something valuable to share. Be yourself, honest, personal, and try not to ‘sell’. Be aware that people are busy so every post should be brief and focused to the subject, typically one main idea at a time. My best advice is to be real, offer great content that will help your readers, and have fun with it.”

#6 Keep the faith, says Megan from bohemiantrails.com

“Stick to your vision, but allow it to evolve. Just as you would plan a trip, do the same for your career as a travel blogger. Have a roadmap, but be open to changing your direction as new opportunities arise.”

Megan from Bohemian Trails

#7 Use your knowledge, says Nora from theprofessionalhobo.com

“Given the plethora of travel blogs, become an expert in a niche to differentiate yourself and get noticed. I travel full-time in a financially sustainable way, and as a former financial planner, I specialise in the finance of travel.”

#8 Write well, says suzyguese.com

“You can travel to outer space, but it is your writing that is the most powerful tool for a successful travel blog. Infuse your writing with your personality and story. Don’t just list out your travels. Create your experience for the reader and you will have their attention. Good writing travels the world even without a plane ticket.”

#9 Use your voice, says philintheblank.net

“Anyone can craft a sterile travel blog with a few tips and photos. You might be able to capture some early traffic with such a blog, but if you want an engaged audience that will stick with you, your blog needs to be driven by your personality and voice.”

#10 Be yourself, says Earl from wanderingearl.com

“Don’t write posts you think you should write, write posts that you want to write. If you try to follow someone else’s style, readers will quickly lose interest. Stay genuine, speak in your own voice and allow your unique qualities to draw people’s attention and make them want to come back for more.”

Travel blogging tips

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Design

#11 Brand yourself, says Kirsty and Poi from noplacetobe.com

“Choose a website design and theme that represents you and your brand. First impressions count, the internet is teaming with travel blogs but a well designed easy to use website will stand out from the crowd. Spend time at the beginning getting this right and you will reap the rewards in the future.” Tweet this

#12 Have a great design, says vagabondish.com

“To truly stand out from the thousands of other travel blogs, pony up for a custom site design. It’s hands-down the best investment with the highest ROI that you can make in your blog. Give advertisers a great first impression – wow them – and they’ll take you and your site seriously.”

75 tips for travel bloggers

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Technical

#13 Prepare  for the worst, says Brock from backpackwithbrock.com

“My biggest tip is to BACK UP YOUR CONTENT! Too often I have met travellers and bloggers alike who have had a technical glitch or equipment stolen, subsequently losing all their photos and videos. Carry a small external hard-drive with you and back up your content daily.” Tweet this

#14 Think about every view, says the Vogel family from familyonbikes.org

“Make sure each and every page in your blog is ready to be the landing page; you never know when one page might take off and start spreading like wildfire. Do you have all the info you want your reader to know in the header/sidebar/footer? What do you want your reader to do? Are you telling him that one every page?”

#15 Back up regularly, says Dave from whatsdavedoing.com

“So many people lose weeks, months or even years worth of work because they don’t have a backup when something goes wrong.  I use a WordPress plugin called Backup Buddy in conjunction with an Amazon S3 cloud storage account to automatically send a full backup of my blogs offsite every day. If the worst happens, I’ll be no more than a day behind.”

Tips to being a travel blogger

#16 Have a techie chum, says Marcello from wanderingtrader.com

“I’d recommend bluehost to start and Chris from theaussienomad.com for anything technical you need done.  He offers a great $50 monthly service to make sure everything is okay with your blogs and fixes anything wrong within hours.”

#17 Beware of changing the structure, says Ian from eagerexistence.com

“Anytime you change the permalink structure all incoming links (even internal to your site) will link to the old one. You need to get a redirect plugin if you’re going to do this.”

#18 Know behind the scenes, says Adam from travelsofadam.com

“Take a little bit of time to learn CSS styling and HTML. It’ll go a long way and allow you to be as flexible as you want with your site’s structure and design.”

75 tips for wannabe travel bloggers

#19 Get a Google XML Sitemap, says Barbara from holeinthedonut.com

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog. Each time you add a new post/page or modify an existing one, this plugin sends a new sitemap to the search engines. It’s extremely helpful to have Google Analytics and Google Webmaster accounts, as the combination will result in the best Google ranking.

#20 Keep it clean, says Graham and Becky from globalgrasshopper.com

“If you’re running your travel blog on WordPress, you’ll be familiar with creating, editing and deleting posts. But, did you know that every revision you make to a post is saved in your WordPress database? These can soon add up and hinder performace. Install and run ‘Better Delete Revision’ to purge any old versions of posts, and help clean up your database.”

75 Tips for Travel Bloggers

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Personal growth

#21 Read widely, says JoAnna from kaleidoscopicwandering.com

“Read as much travel writing as possible. Subscribe to travel magazines and read the articles. Study the authors who write travel books. Every year the Best American series publishes a book of high-quality travel writing. Buy it and read it over and over again.”Tweet this

#22 Focus long term, says Samuel from nomadicsamuel.com

“Don’t get caught up looking at your stats every single day. It’s simply a waste of time. Instead focus on larger goals such as growing your site over a period of weeks and months as opposed to just days.”

Travel bloggers

#23 Stay consistent, says Keith from velvetescape.com

“When you’re growing your blog, it’s important to think of your brand and keep it consistent. Your brand encompasses elements such as your ‘voice’ (blogging style and personal perspective), background story, niche, blog layout, logo and house colours. Define these elements and utilise them consistently across your blog and social media channels. A well-defined brand distinguishes your blog from the rest, facilitates an easier connection between your blog and your readers and encourages repeat visits.”

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Photography

#24 Use your equipment wisely, says Ken from blog.kenkaminesky.com

“You don’t need a super expensive camera if you’re just using photos for the web. You can take amazing photos with an iPhone 4 or 4s as long as you learn how to use a few quality apps like Camera+, Snapseed, Picture Show, qbro, and Photoforge2.

The iPhone has become a favourite camera for me lately. It’s quick, fun and easy to use. You can also do cool video on it with apps like Viddy, 8mm, and FiLMiC+. If you want to make your photos better and don’t want to spend a lot of money on Photoshop or Lightroom, try the Mac or PC version of Snapseed.” Tweet this

Travel bloggers

#25 Photograph with respect, says Daniel and Audrey from uncorneredmarket.com

“People photography shows the spirit and culture of a place. For this photography, your approach and interaction with people is more important than the type of camera you carry. If you show respect and true curiosity in the person, your shots will reflect this.”

#26 Use the right host, says James from nomadicnotes.com

“If photography is an important part of your blog then I recommend using a professional photo hosting site, such as SmugMug or Zenfolio. You’ll have more control over your photos compared to using a free site, and you’ll have the option of being able to sell photos too.”

#27 Take great pictures, says Frederico from maitravelsite.com

“Travel blogging is an investment, and as such needs a lot of time for it to be succesful. The most effective way to engage others “quickly” is to write a good story but, perhaps even more important, take great pictures! These are easy to share and attract lots of attention quickly. It’s then easy to point the reader to the story behind them, and thus engagement begins. Good pictures with an appealing post title go a very long way.”

Tips from travel bloggers

#28 Photos are a must, says Mark from migrationology.com

“Photos are extremely important for any travel blog. Without them, readers will likely avoid your text and leave your site. You don’t have to be an expert photographer to take great photos that attract and draw people in, they just need to be interesting! Videos are so great because they give the viewer a chance to see and hear and feel the destination. I use a Canon 550D camera, not only does it produce wonderful photos, but it also records high quality HD video.”

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Social Media

#29 Be consistent, says Sherry from ottsworld.com

“Think carefully about what your brand and message is going to be and then set up all of your social media and blog around it.  Be consistent with your brand and plan up front.” Tweet this

Sherry Ott from Ottsworld

#30 Use Facebook, says Janice from solotravelerblog.com

“Interaction is the key to success with Facebook. I post a question in the morning. Something like: “Hate it or Love it… airplane food?” or Backpack or suitcase – what’s your style?”

Then around 7pm I add my post of the day. On weekends when I don’t post on the blog, I add a popular post from the archives. Also, when a fan asks a question on the page, I repost the question so that it goes into everyone’s stream and there is greater participation on the group helping each other. It takes only a few minutes a day, but has a great impact on traffic from Facebook.”

#31 And of course Twitter, from dangerous-business.com

“If you’re new to Twitter, it’s important to strike a balance between sharing your own content and retweeting others. When I consider following someone, if 1 of their last 5 tweets isn’t a RT or @ reply, I won’t hit that Follow button.”

75 Tips for travel bloggers

#32 Use Twitter, says girlsgetaway.com

“Twitter is relevant, irrelevant, fun, frustrating, a time drain and totally addicting! My top advice is to follow people who interest you, be kind, retweet often and have fun with it! There’s an awesome travel community on twitter, making for wonderful networking opportunities as well as the place to find great advice and info from the crème de la crème of the travel industry.”

#33 Think widely, says diwyy.com

“Create a newsletter to help promote your website. It’s a great way to regularly interact with your readers. Use a site like AWeber, Constant Contact or Emma, for a professional looking template. Try to send out 1-2 times per month and link back to your site for more page views.”

Do it while you're young

#34 Build a community, says Christy and Scott from ordinarytraveler.com

“Find a core group of travel bloggers where you can share and comment on each others sites. This helps get your blog name out there and builds community, which will encourage others to comment and share your content.”

75 tips for travel bloggers

#35 Keep an eye on them, says Jason and Arecaly from 2backpackers.com

“Social media profiles should receive the same efforts and priority as a blog’s website. As more individuals access information through social media outlets, it has become necessary to make your content compatible everywhere. A social media presence isn’t good enough, be sure to engage followers and develop an online community.”

#36 Link them all up, says Cameron and Nicole from travelingcanucks.com

“Make sure your social media channels are linked properly. Same thing applies for twitter buttons embedded in posts and pages, make sure that the tweet includes “via @travelblogger”. This way, the person sharing knows that “Travel Blogger” will be notified that a share was made. It’s all about spreading the love!”

Travel blogger tips

#37 Don’t be too pushy, says Melvin from traveldudes.com

“The chances that you get too pushy selling a service or products are high. People don’t like that. The trick in being successful in social media is to help each other. At the moment you help others, they will appreciate it and will help you as well, without that you have to ask for it. But the best tip is: just be yourself & have fun!”

#38 Content first, then social media, says Simon and Erin from neverendingvoyage.com

“Your creative inner voice is timid and quiet. Stay off email and social media first thing in the morning and focus on creating content before you let the noise of the digital world in.”

travel bloggers

#39 Get a Gravatar, says Neil from backpacksandbunkbeds.co.uk

“When you’re blogging and commenting on other blogs make sure you set youself up on Gravatar so that your profile picture apprears next to each of your comments on other blogs. This will help people recognise you and build up your profile. Make your Gravatar pic the same as your Twitter pic for max recognisability.”

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Video

#40 Work the camera, says Cailin O’Neill from travelyourself.ca.

“Video blogging isn’t for everyone, but if you are going to do it have fun with it and get excited/over emphasise your emotions so they come across well in your videos. Oh and use a tripod or put your camera on something steady!”Tweet this

Cool travel blogger tips

#41 Monitor sound, says Lisa from llworldtour.com

“When using video,  keep your story focused. Create a video for one specific story only and tell the story through real people. Technically, always use a tripod and remember the importance of good audio – use a mic and think about sound the whole time you are shooting.”

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Audio

#42 Multimedia is key, says Craig and Linda from indietravelpodcast.com

“Podcasting is the best way to share audio or video files that you’d like people to download and consume when they’re away from the computer. As travellers, your audience will have a lot of time to fill in transit.  To start a podcast, you need to record some audio or video, host it online somewhere, then create a custom RSS feed with a few special bits of code that feedreaders (like Google Reader or iTunes) can use to extract your media content. Services like Feedburner, or the WordPress PowerPress plugin help make this without too many hassle.” Tweet this

75 Travel blogger tips

Networking

#43 Start networking online, says Becki from Borders of Adventure.

“Networking means sharing useful information on Twitter and Facebook, commenting on stories and articles, and most importantly, meeting people in person. It helps to get the ball rolling on building relationships, where you can feel comfortable making an approach or a pitch as well as being a part of an invaluable support network – a must in this rapidly changing industry. Don’t expect everything to come to you, get yourself out there – you are your blog!”

#44 Go to conferences, says Matt Long from landlopers.com

“Networking at travel conferences is vital for any travel blogger. Make sure to have plenty of business cards on hand and practice your elevator speech. Be prepared to introduce your site and mission in just a few words.”

75 tips for travel bloggers

#45 Just say yes, says the adventure travellers from ishouldlogoff.com

“Say yes to the community!  When someone asks you do be involved in an activity on their blog or with their community, say yes and do everything you can to make it successful. People remember your kindness and help in building their community, and will do the same for you!”

#46 Take it offline, says Andy from 501places.com

“Networking is very important to building initial relationships and while Twitter is a great place to make an initial introduction, nothing beats a face to face meeting over a coffee or a beer.

If you want to connect with another blogger, someone in PR or a tourist board and live near to London (or wherever they might be), ask if they’d like to meet. Most will say yes (you should buy the drinks!) and you can build a much stronger connection as a result.”

#47 Join the community, says John and Andrea from inspiringtravellers.com

“Join a community of travel bloggers online such as Travel Blog Exchange, Tripatini or the Travel Bloggers or Global Bloggers Network groups on Facebook. It’s always helpful to keep up with other bloggers and you can read and comment on each other’s posts to help you improve.”

75 tips for travel bloggers

#48 Speak at events, Benny from fluentin3months.com

“If you want to become a speaker at an event, just ask. Just email the organiser and tell him/her the incredibly unique topic that you are ready to discuss. Although keynote is a little high – start off with a smaller speaking gig, and people will take you more seriously in future applications.”

#49 Join multi-blogger events, says Michael Hodson from goseewrite.com

“One of the trends I see for the future is multi-blogger events. These are planned events where a number of bloggers participate together in order to leverage their different readerships in order to make the sum much greater than any of them acting alone. These events, like the Ultimate Train Challenge I organised, are ones where everyone blogs in real time, so that the aggregation effect of having multiple bloggers participating all hits at the same time, unlike regular blog trips where the posts can be dribbled out over months. Pulling a good multi-blogger effort off is difficult, but I believe it is going to be one of the things that PR companies and and tourist boards are going to love going forward.”

75 travel bloggers

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Time management

#50 Stick with it, says Chris from amateurtraveler.com

“Be consistent. Find a content production schedule you can sustain and keep with it. Post every day if you can, or at least once a week.” Tweet this

#51 Keep a balance, says Audrey from uncorneredmarket.com

“Balancing travel and work is one of the most difficult thing for bloggers. Divide your days between the two so that you’re not stressed by *not* doing both. Work in the mornings & explore in the afternoon. Or take a few days to work only and then a few days to travel only.”

#52 Make sacrifices, says backpackerbanter.com

“If you’re going to get into travel blogging make sure you’re prepared to sacrifice a few drunken nights out – it will consume a lot of your time if you’re serious about it! Go out and chase suppliers and contacts to work with too, what’s the worse that could happen? They say no and you’ve lost nothing.”

75 travel bloggers to follow

#53 Stay focused, says crazysexyfuntraveler.com

“The biggest time eater for most of us is Facebook. Go online, answer the messages, do the necessary stuff and go offline! Do not leave the Facebook on when writing posts. Nor go and check on it every 5 minutes. It will take you double time.”

#54 Think about the bigger picture, says Caz from ytravelblog.com

“It’s very important to have a big picture plan when starting travel blogging. Where do you see yourself in five years time? Bevery clear; knowing this will dictate the decisions that you make. You don’t want short sightedness to take you out of the game early.”

Brilliant travel bloggers

#55 Live in the moment, says Laurence from findingtheuniverse.com

“Take time to switch off from technology and experience your travels as they happen. You can write about your adventures later, with the benefit of hindsight and reflection, but you can only enjoy them in the moment.”

#56 Make the time, says Nellie from wildjunket.com

“To effectively balance travel and writing I’d recommend setting aside 2-3 hours every day to work. Blogging at least three times a week will be the best way to keep your readers glued, but if time is tight, try to update readers on social media as live coverage allows them to follow your journey.”

75 tips to being a travel blogger

#57 Work to your strengths, says Mike at thecheaproute.com

“As a long term traveller, you have the luxury of extensive freedom, you can do what you want when you want.  If you have the discipline, why not transfer this over to work?  Write when you’re in the mood, travel when you’re in the mood, that way nothing is forced and your content is more exciting. Otherwise, make a schedule.  Write an article before you go out each day, or when you return each night.”

#58 Think in hours, not days, says Kristen from hopscotchtheglobe.com

“Set aside a certain number of hours a week when you will work on blog posts and promotion. It makes it more difficult to set aside specific times of day when traveling, because you never know what opportunities will come up or when plans will change.”

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Sponsorship

#59 Pitch yourself, says Bethany from beersandbeans.com

“Don’t wait for sponsors to come to you. Instead, contact them with a pitch and sell yourself. Preferably, get the contact information from another blogger who has been sponsored by the company. This will ensure that your pitch gets in front of the right person. If you don’t have a direct contact, try to find the media contact through the company’s website.” Tweet this

Cool travel bloggers

#60 Understand the potential client, says Stephanie from thetravelchica.com

“There are two key factors when pitching an organisation. First, pitch to the right person, not a generic email account. Second, take the time to call. Third is demonstrating in your pitch that you understand their business.”

#61 Don’t sell out for free, says artofbackpacking.com

“Be careful about companies asking for something for nothing. As you start with blogging, many companies may try to take advantage of you. Don’t be afraid to ask for money.”

Cool travel bloggers

#62 Match yourself up, says Erica from travelblissful.com

“Develop a unique idea based on passion, purpose and profit (a win-win proposal) and match your idea to the right brand or tourist board. Get in touch at travel trade shows and conferences or email (second best option), view the project from their perspective, and follow up with a brilliant presentation.”

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Making money

#63 Diversify to make money, says gobackpacking.com

“To earn a living blogging, you’ll need to diversify your approach to making money. Selling ads, your own products, and affiliates’ products are 3 of the most popular approaches.” Tweet this

#64 Don’t do it for the money, says pausethemoment.com

“Don’t start a travel blog in the hopes of making an income from it. Start a travel blog because you’re passionate about sharing your adventures and experiences with the world. If the opportunity to make money comes along down the line then that’s great. If not, you still have an online archive full of memories from your travels to look back on.”

75 Travel Bloggers tip

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Motivation

#65 Save the love, says Lucy Harper from secretdiaryofacampcounselor.com

“I have a testimonials page on my blog and I try to keep it updated with all the amazing comments I get from my audience on Facebook, Twitter and on the blog. It helps during dark days to see how much my blog and me are helping potential camp counselors around the world. These comments are my motivation.” Tweet this

#66 Aim high, says Will from willpeach.com

“Write a massive big mandate telling the big bloggers you’ll kick their asses and put it live on you homepage. Talk about putting pressure on yourself to perform.”

#67 Don’t force it, says Monica from thetravelhack.com

“When you’re travelling, take photos of anything and everything and make notes as you go, but write your blog post when you’re in the right mood because it’s obvious when something is written with passion and when something is forced. I find inspiration in other travel blogs but also in travel magazines, photography books and travel writing and once you’ve found what inspires you, you’ll be more motivated to write your blog posts well.”

#68 Just write, says Vicky from vickyflipfloptravels.com

“I just write down the words as they come into my brain and don’t worry too much about style and convention. Then I’ll go back and edit the hell out of it. Sometimes it’ll take me a few weeks to get back to it, but at least I have the skeleton of what I want. This means whatever mood I’m in – designer, writer or ranter – I can act on my current motivation and still work on my blog in some way.”

Travel bloggers

Travel tips

#69 Get Wi-Fi at McDonalds, says Bobbi Lee from heelsandwheelsonline.com

“I find it really hard to find affordable internet on the road a lot of times. Internet is extremely expensive in some countries. The best places to find free access are McDonald’s and public libraries. I’ve even sat outside a few libraries late at night, taking advantage of their internet.” Tweet this

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Thanks to all the bloggers who’ve given us their tips and created cool banners. If you’ve got any more tips let us know in the comments box below!

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