Travel blogging might seem like a dream come true, but it’s not all sunshine, rainbows and collecting passport stamps. As a blogger, it’s your job to inform, entertain and help other travels either live vicariously through you or plan well for their own trip. This might mean pretending you don’t speak/understand Spanish when traveling around Costa Rica or checking out every tourist trap in a New York to Washington tour bus extravaganza. You’re not getting paid to have a blast; you’re getting paid to go over the bumpy roads and smooth it out for others.
Think you have what it takes to be a travel blogger (and get paid for it)? It’s much more glamorous than it sounds, but it can also be the adventure of a lifetime. Here are the biggest tips to get started and carve out your special niche. Warning: A thick skin is highly recommended.
1. Invest in a quality camera and photography lessons
You can have an entire video or picture blog, or simply pepper in your written blog with complementary photos. No matter what, a travel blog is going to require videos and/or photos and they need to be top notch. You can check out CNET’s tips for photography, but remember that nothing compares to a real class.
2. Know your SEO
It’s not the job of your publisher: A good travel blogger knows the basics of SEO, LSEO and keeps up with Panda’s updates. If this is all Greek to you (and not in the olives and feta way), there are many online options for SEO basics such as the tips from Search Engine Watch or other reputable sites. This isn’t a nice to have skill, it’s a must.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for freebies
Free rooms, free dinners, free tourist adventures from ziplining to tours, it’s all fair and the worse they can say is no. However, keep in mind that if this is for your work, you should get reimbursed from your publisher or at the very least write it off with taxes.
4. Let your personality shine through
If readers wanted a dry, drab report on what Puerto Rico is like, they would go to Fodor’s or another mainstream source. You’ll gain in popularity because of your unique perspective, so dish it up. You’ll know you’ve “made it” when you get a few negative comments but even more positive feedback from your followers.