Should You Start a Travel Blog for Your Round the World Trip?


There are lots of ways to stay connected during your travels, but travel blogs seem to be all the rage across the interwebs these days.  What used to be an exclusive club for the tech savvy has blown up, and now anyone who can turn on a computer has the means to start a travel blog.  There are literally millions of travel blogs out there now, and even the most technically illiterate person can get in on the fun.

If you love travel and have an affinity for taking pictures and writing, then you may consider joining the scores of people who have set up travel blogs.  There are many reasons why one would want to start a travel blog, and while it is becoming easier and easier to set one up and get started, you may want to ask yourself what your reasons are for getting one off the ground.

When most travelers start a blog, it’s typically for the purpose of chronicling their journeys and keeping in touch with family and friends.  It has replaced slide shows, photo albums, and mass emails when sharing your travel experiences with your friends and loved ones. Some people also use their blogs to make money or support their travels. While this is something that is possible, it takes tons of time, work, and patience.  Mom may think you’re the next Thoreau or Bryson, but  – and no offense here – chances are you aren’t.  I wouldn’t count on making any money from your site initially to assist you in your travels. Still, there are certain benefits (and challenges) to keeping a blog on your trip.

A blog can keep you connected around the world

Blogging while traveling

The main benefit of starting a travel blog is it makes it super easy to stay in touch with family and friends back home.  You can write stories, share pictures, and comment back and forth all in one central place.  It sure beats sending out mass emails, and let’s face it, not everyone cares about our travels.  If someone is interested, they can check out your new blog for themselves rather than delete an unwanted email.

While journals are great and can be used as a supplement, a blog is a way to keep a journal more organized and pretty looking.  Revisiting your blog years down the line will be a great memento and is fun to do.  You can get a glimpse into what you were thinking at the time of your trip, and you can re-create memories that you may have forgotten about.  It will be a cool thing to show the kids, and it can be accessed from anywhere.  All your experiences and memories from your trip are available at your fingertips.  I personally love going back to my blog from our RTW trip.  It’s a great reminder of what an awesome experience it was, and it helps remind me how lucky we were to have taken this amazing trip.

If you are not a tech savvy person and don’t care about having your own domain name or monetizing your site,  then there are easy ways to start a blog. BootsnAll allows you to painlessly start your own blog and get it up and running with a quickness.  WordPress.com is a popular platform for blogging if you want a little more freedom.  If you want to take it even further and self host, then WordPress.org is the way to go.

A blog can get in the way of travel

Blogging in a developing country

On the downside, it takes time to keep up a blog while you’re on the road, even if you have no interest in making it into a business.  Blogging can be hard work at times and you need to ask yourself how often you want to sit in an internet café writing blog posts, uploading pictures, and dealing with tech issues?  How much time do you want to spend finding accommodations that have Wi-Fi or don’t charge an exorbitant rate for it?

Even though the internet has spread to all parts of the world, it is still very unreliable in some places.  If you are traveling in developing countries, you will run into issues that complicate the blogging process.  Internet cafes can be very crowded and difficult to concentrate in.  Some can be painfully slow and frustration sets in quickly when it takes 20 minutes to upload 2 pictures (all the while paying for your time).  Even in some developed countries, internet access can be very expensive and unreliable (hello New Zealand!).  While free Wi-Fi can be found, do you really want to spend half your trip in a McDonald’s?

If you’re blogging for friends and family, an hour or two once a week is no big deal. But if you are committed to building your blog as a business, you’ll need to run it as such, and that means a much bigger time commitment. Are you willing to sacrifice travel time for time working on your blog?

A blog can be used to start a business

Blogging on the road

When starting a travel blog, many travelers check out other popular blogs for inspiration and ideas.  The travel blogging community is growing larger by the day, and you’ll probably run across people who make their living through their sites.  While this idea is a grand one, the success stories are few and far between.  There’s no way around it – making money solely from blogging takes a lot of time and effort.

But the point of this RTW column is to get people thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to live their lives, so I don’t want to discourage you from trying.  If you are serious about trying to make a living, or at least make a few extra bucks to boost your travel fund, then you must do your homework and do it the right way.  It’s certainly not impossible, but it will take work. And the sooner you get started on it before you even leave, the better.

The most important thing to realize is monetizing your site won’t happen overnight.  Some people work on their blogs for a year or more before they see a penny from it.  If you are taking off on an extended adventure and hope to make a little extra cash on the side, then it would be a good idea to start your blog and start building a following before you leave.  This will give you an opportunity to actually start making a few bucks while you’re on the road.

Even if you don’t make any money while you’re traveling, it could springboard you into something else after you get home.  If you’re interested in writing and/or photography, having your own site can be a great jumping off point into a new career.  If you’re on a career break, a blog can be a fantastic resume booster for when you return.  While you may not end up making a living from your site, it can potentially help you find work elsewhere (having my own blog helped me land this BootsnAll gig).

Keep in mind that while every Tom, Dick, and Harry can start their own blogs, it’s important to actually have the skills to make your blog a success. Being able to write well and take good, quality photos is a great start, but you also need to know about things like SEO and social media (for business purposes).

Blogging for money is difficult and takes time

adsense

The reality of the situation is that it’s difficult to transform this whole venture into a business.  There are some who start a site and start making money within a few months, but those people are definitely in the minority.  There are also those who actually make their living just from blogging, and those are in an even smaller minority.

If you are hoping to make a living with a travel blog, you need to explore all your options and have other business ideas in place.  Most travel bloggers who do this for a living have other sources of income, whether that is niche sites, other writing endeavors, products they sell through their sites, or consulting work.  Very few people make a living off their one travel blog.

A blog isn’t the only way to share your stories


If you aren’t setting off on a grand RTW trip for an extended period of time, or you simply don’t want to spend the time necessary that blogging takes, then you have plenty of other options for sharing your journeys and experiences.

  • Facebook Fan Pages
    Nearly everyone as a Facebook account by now.  Sure, you can update your status and upload pictures via Facebook while on the road.  But not every one of your friends wants to see those updates from the road (just like you don’t care what color baby Joey’s poop was this morning).  Facebook has made it easy to start fan pages, and then anyone who is interested can become a fan.  You can make your travel updates from there and have all your details in one, easy to find place.
  • Twitter
    Twitter has absolutely exploded, and while it has a bit of a learning curve for the newbies, there’s no better place to go for travel information, in my opinion.  While this may not be the best way to keep a journal of your trip, it is a fantastic method of keeping everyone up to date of your whereabouts and getting tips about the places you are in.
  • YouTube
    Most cameras these days come with built in video functions, which can be very fun to use while traveling.  It’s possible to get some great video that tells a better story than through pictures.  Uploading that video to your YouTube channel can also be a fun way to keep family and friends up to date with your travels, especially if you’re not fond of writing or dealing with difficult tech issues.
  • Photo sharing sites
    Setting up an account on a photo site like Flickr should be required for all travelers, no matter how long the trip.  Flickr and sites like it are places to store all your photos and keep them nice and organized.  You can send the link to anyone who is interested, and they can keep up with all your photos while you’re away.  This is also a great way to back up all your pictures.  You never know when that laptop will crash or your camera and memory cards get lost or stolen.  Having an online back up can really save you and gives you a great way to manage all your pictures.

Starting a travel blog isn’t for everyone.  If you are only doing it for the fun of it and to keep a record of your journey, then it can be as simple as you wish.  But if you hope to someday make some money from it, it’s going to take a lot more time and effort.  Though it can be a lot of work and frustrating at times, starting a travel blog is fun and opens yourself up to a whole new community of people who share your same interests.

Do you have a travel blog?  Are you thinking of starting one?  Comment below to share your blog or ask questions about getting one off the ground, or check out these other resources for bloggers:

Photos by emilio labrador, jonrawlinsonBen30engineroomblog,

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Leave a Comment

  • Paul Falconer said at 2014-07-24T03:14:24+0000: I like your sensible take on travel blogging. Do it for fun and to catalogue and record your travels and if others are interested then fine. If not, who cares.Putting a blog together extends the holiday. I spend a month away enjoying some travel, and then another month adding it to my blog....twice as much time enjoying it all.There's a heck of a lot of blogs out there that are replicas of corporate web-sites a sfar as layout is concerned. Come on people, loosen up - what's with the same old look and feel. Anyone know of any clever blogs that break out of this mould and have a really different way of making the pages look? I'd love to find some. And perhaps "borrow" some ideas. And I don't mean clever Javascript just for the sake of showing off - I mean look and feel and navigation. KISS principle applies - neat and clean.(And if I see one more travel blog filled with pictures of food and selfies I'll go nuts.)(Google BarryTurnerOnTour if you're the least bit interested.)
  • Matt Capper said at 2014-07-21T19:04:51+0000: www.worldtravelbubble.com is a website I recently set up for fellow travellers and writers to publish their work and photography with friends, family and the world without the hassle of maintaining their own blog. It's also perfect for building up a professional portfolio as every member gets their own article bibliography.It's getting a large crowd and growing quickly for the very early stages. The aim is to entertain and inspire the world to travel, not sell. It would be cool if you could check it out and maybe consider writing or publishing your inspiring shots.www.worldtravelbubble.com www.facebook.com/worldtravelbubble
  • Scott Lara said at 2014-07-21T15:25:14+0000: Great article. Mine is http://www.scottlara1961.wordpress.com
  • Frugal Travels said at 2013-10-01T01:58:46+0000: Great article on blogging. I have a blog to help travelers deal with the culture in Nepal. My mission is twofold. First I want to get more people to come enjoy this lovely little country, and second, I want them to have an amazing time here so they will encourage others to put Nepal on their bucket list.Why should Finland get 5 million visitors and Nepal only gets about 800,000 each year? I think Nepal has at least as much to offer as Finland. If you are looking for an amazing place Nepal is here for your enjoyment. But check out my blog to make the trip even more amazing: http://FrugalTravelsNepal.blogspot
  • Rajkumar Pachauri said at 2013-07-26T10:59:36+0000: wow blog of this article is very nice and wonderful. we use blog for seo activity.
  • Voyager For Life said at 2013-06-15T07:10:57+0000: helpful article! Check out my travel blog - http://renuka-mytraveldiary.blogspot.in.
  • Jo Fitzsimons said at 2013-02-28T18:18:53+0000: Nice article, Adam Seper. Even though I love writing I found it near impossible to keep my blog up to date during my first year away. In fact, I was so behind at one point that while my blog tales were still in Central America, I had physically moved on to Asia, through the Middle East, returned to the UK and got back to Central America for a second trip effectively out-lapping my blog by a whole journey around the world. I'm a bit more disciplined these days, but it definitely takes effort and time. My one tip would be to pick a good platform from the outset - I caused myself endless pain (and loss of readers) shifting between sites until finally settling on Wordpress. My adventures are at: www.indianajo.com.
  • Jessica Hill said at 2013-02-28T17:07:49+0000: I started my blog before I moved to Thailand for my own writing and photography interests, and to keep my family and friends up to speed on my adventures abroad. I wasn't expecting my return to be met with hundreds of other people who came up to me and told me how awesome my experiences are - it definitely saved a lot of repeat stories, but was a little odd too!www.jessicajhill.com
  • Kris Sonsin said at 2013-02-28T16:45:11+0000: I've lived abroad in China for the past 5 years (sort of an extended RTW trip) and a blog is the best way to everyone up to date and not forget anyone in mass emails. I've found uploading photos to a blog to be faster than email, too.I post regularly when I'm at "home" but when I'm on the road for a month+ I keep a written journal and type up the non-personal bits when I'm done. It lets me relive the trip as well as enjoy it while it's happening.http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/sunketing/
  • Jonathan Goddard said at 2013-03-18T08:24:26+0000: I have just started my own blog so this article was really interesting to me. Three years ago when I was volunteering and travelling in Africa, I kept friends and family up to date through posting a series of Facebook 'Notes'. I'm now living in India, and have transferred those old blogs from my African adventures to my new website. Gradually improving the old content and adding photos so it's all in one place - but along with updating about my current travelling, it is a lot of time and work and will be a gradual process. Will be brilliant once it's all done though! And thanks for the (realistic) tips on monetizing a blog, eventually - good to read about that.My blog on travel in Africa and India is at: www.darkhartetravel.wordpress.com
  • Dubai Hotels said at 2013-02-05T15:14:32+0000: If you are traveling around the world it means you will experience different cultures, food, weather and some odd conditions. Why not create a blog and share your experience and give it a live by adding some photos which you have taken during your trip. Readers will find it valuable just like we love this blog.
  • Lee Laurino said at 2013-03-02T14:35:00+0000: I started blogging full time after one of my trips HOmetoItaly trip in 2011 when I met a travel consultant in Puglia, yltour.com. My focus has changed and I try to interact/interview as many locals as possible and write about them... 30 days in Italy, 40 or 50 stories and I am still trying to post them all! How do you find anyone to help or train in blogging? I attended a class in florence italy in dec but they taught NOTHING about SEO, monitizing, how to go to the next level. Have you found anyone specializing in correcting any of the interanal problems a blog may have? before I leave on my next trip, it would be great to have this site more productive.
  • Colin Dunn said at 2013-02-28T16:44:48+0000: I don't have a RTW trip organised but I do plan on continuing my adventures every now and then, so I began the blog below to help me chronicle my travels. My outlook is that if people are interested enough to read or subscribe, then excellent, if not then at least I have everything in one place.http://theparttimetraveller.com/I've still got to document previous trips to the Ice Hotel in Sweden and my experience of the Inca Trail & Machu Picchu in Peru and also to write a few pieces outlining my trip coming up this summer from St Petersburg in Russia to Hong Kong, including the Trans-Mongolian train and a stop in Mongolia!Plenty to keep me busy!
  • Sarah Reijonen said at 2013-02-28T20:36:08+0000: http://spankyandsarah.com/walkabout/Sarahs_Blog/Sarahs_Blog.htmlI started my blog when my husband and I quit our jobs for our first RTW trip. I have continued to blog and even wrote a book (that is in the publishing process) based on my blogs and journaling. Without my journal and blogs, my book would have been an even lengthier task! Shameless plug for my book when it comes out: Watch for Country Girl: Letting Love and Wanderlust Take the Reins.
  • Torontonicity.com said at 2013-02-28T15:52:51+0000: You've raised all the pros and cons for starting a travel blog when travelling around the world. Although I agree with one commenter that the requirement to update your blog frequently will take a bit away from the trip, I still think it's worth it since you'll have an amazing memento when you return home. A travel blog is much more than a photo album or journal.
  • Sofina Clara said at 2012-11-26T09:45:27+0000: Great article! I have really enjoyed reading your posts, thanks for sharing.http://www.waterton.ca/
  • said at 2012-10-03T13:42:39+0000: thanks for sharing this useful information with us.is a mind blowing work on traveling and transportation.
  • Nepalexpeditions Biz said at 2012-08-14T07:37:15+0000: nice blogs...relly liked it.. http://www.nepalexpeditions.biz/
  • Dorothy Okpa said at 2012-09-30T15:14:57+0000: I Like.
  • Ariel Wright said at 2012-11-18T06:04:13+0000: Thanks for sharing, I look forward to reading more.Thanks, www.welovekohsamui.com
  • Ariel Wright said at 2012-11-10T07:35:09+0000: Thanks for sharing the informative blog.Thanks, http://www.welovekohsamui.com/things-to-do-on-kohsamui/activities/full-moon-party/
  • Anand Raj said at 2012-08-18T14:44:06+0000: good post with quality. for cheap hotel deals. http://eurobooker.eu/
  • Molly Cécile Surazhsky said at 2012-02-11T19:15:22+0000: Hi everyone! This is a great article! Definitely not discouraging, but honest. My blog is www.threedreamers.com.If anyone can look at it and offer advice, I would greatly appreciate it! I am willing to work hard at it to get a flow of income.Thanks!
  • The Virginia Monologues said at 2012-01-10T20:30:59+0000: great article, some really useful advice - http://thevirginiamonologues.wordpress.com.
  • Sarah Lavender Smith said at 2011-06-01T19:01:21+0000: Thanks for laying out the pros and cons so well. I would add a note of caution that a blog--and Twitter--can get in the way of "mindful" travel, by which I mean interacting with the people and the destination in a way that's fully mindful and respectful of the surroundings. When we did our RTW family journey, we blogged at away-together.com mainly for family/friends and for personal motivation to write and keep photographing. I didn't have any pretenses of making money off it. I did it, primarily, as a gift to my kids (we then exported it to a photo book to have a family record of the journey for years to come). I tried not to feel pressure to blog a certain number of times per week. I also made a deliberate choice not to tweet, because I didn't want to feel connected to followers as much as I wanted to focus on the immediate surroundings. That said, the blog did help us connect with far-flung traveling families, and that virtual network enhanced our travels a great deal. Bottom line, I hope no one lets blogging turn their trip into a "look at me!" fest. Don't be afraid to unplug during your travels. Don't spend the better part of a day in an Internet cafes, and don't do things while traveling just because it'd make an interesting blog post. Sometimes I think back on my college traveling days 20+ years ago, when all we had were pay phones and a worn copy of the budget travel guide Let's Go, and I think we've lost something in travel by being so connected--or should I say tethered?--through social media.