The Pros and Cons of Owning a Travel Blog

by Michelle on April 11, 2012 · 15 comments

Any Internet search of “travel blog” is sure to bring up millions of results. Travel blogs are definitley gaining in popularity, and in our increasingly digital era, most people begin their preliminary travel research on google, rather than consulting traditional guidebooks. Even these guidebooks are turning digital with their embrace of e-books. It really is an evolve or die world.

Being a travel blogger is great. Everyday is filled with adventure, and discovering new places. It makes you feel like one of those early explorers like Christopher Columbus or Marco Polo, but minus all the disadvantages such as scurvy, and sea sickness.

However, as with everything in life, travel blogging has its pros and cons. Obviously the pros outweigh the cons, or else this site may not exist, but here’s a few things to consider about owning a travel blog.

THE PROS

It allows you to keep in touch with friends and family 
One of the main reasons I began a travel blog was because I wanted a way for my friends and family to keep in touch while I’m abroad. I love that with a travel blog, my friends can read about what I’m doing, as I’m doing it (or more realistically when I write about it a week later). Even some of the most popular travel bloggers out there began their blog as a way of communicating with their friends and family.

It gives you a sense of responsibility
While there are many reasons people travel, having a travel blog gives you a sense of greater responsibility. No matter how much of a free spirit you may be, anyone who has grown up in North America is probably aware of the heavily encouraged “work ethic” instilled in us by society and culture. This “work ethic” guilt-trips and asks us when we’ve spent too many days lounging around in the beach, “don’t you have some work to do?” Being a travel blogger allows you to translate your fun adventures into useful resources for other travellers, and perhaps even blossom into a viable career!

You get fan mail
I remember one of the first “fan” e-mails I ever received was from this guy who told me that my blog is “mad chill and youthful.” While that sort of compliment may be hard to beat, it always makes me so happy when I get e-mails from people telling me how I’ve inspired them. It really makes my day!

It allows you to look at travelling from a unique perspective
An ordinary traveller may take a dozen photos of the Eiffel Tower, but a travel blogger may search Montmartre high and low for that unique photo to surprise their readers with. Having a travel blog also allows you to keep a critical and observant eye by asking questions such as, “would I recommend this hostel to a friend?,” and “what’s the best method of transportation around this city?” You may even be forced to try every type of draft beer at a bar, just to bring your readers a honest and accurate beer guide. Now that’s dedication.

Amazing opportunities can arise from a popular travel blog
I remember reading a book called “Words in a French Life,” and shortly discovered that the author, Kristin Espinasse, was offered a book deal after she was discovered from her blog. More recently, Nomadic Matt, and Torre DeRoche of The Fearful Adventurer both blogged about their book deals, and Torre Deroche even has a movie contract!

Getting laid
Admittedly, I have no intention of using my blog to pick up guys. Being a female traveller, my problem is never “how can I get laid?”, but rather, “how can I ward off the sexual advances of an excessive number of male travellers at any given time?!”(haha).  So I guess this is mainly directed toward male travel bloggers, who surely must use their title as a way of impressing the ladies – afterall, they are kind of like the Mick Jagger of the travel world.

THE CONS

It might offend friends
With the internet accessible to almost everyone in the world, any one of your friends can easily find your travel blog. Sometimes you may not realize it, but a post written involving a friend may be seen in a negative way, especially if they are a newly accquired friend who are not familiar with your writing style. Stereotyping as well, may offend people indirectly. I have never written anything negative about any of my friends, but I have come across some not-so-nice descriptions on some of the blogs I’ve read.

It can be very time consuming
Writing a good quality post usually take a couple hours, and sometimes doing research can take days. There’s also the time spent updating, redesigning, and promoting your blog, as well as maintaining a good page rank, and finding sponsors, for those who monetize their blogs. Sometimes instead of being able to enjoy a new city, you’re forced to spend days in front of a computer. Thomas Kohnstamm wrote in “Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?” that when he worked for Lonely Planet, if you divide your total working hours as a travel writer by your salary, you end up making less an a Starbucks employee per hour. With that said, travel writing isn’t for the faint of heart.

You get writers block
It’s easy to get writer’s block, even when you’re constantly travelling. Not updating enough can have severe consequences on the poularity of your travel blog, but update too often with rambling posts, and your credibility and number of subscribers will drop.

Nobody takes you seriously unless you’ve proven yourself
This is by far my biggest pet peeve, and I’m sure anyone in the arts profession has experienced this in one form or another. I’ve had people who have asked me things such as:
– “Did you actually draw this?”
– “How did you get 40 comments on that post? Are they from your friends?”
– “I knew someone who went to art school and now they sell spandex bodysuits at American Apparel.”
etc, etc, etc.
It isn’t until you show them your  portfolio or website, when they realize they should have never doubted you in the first place. The most important thing to remember is that you always have the support of your family and friends!

In all, the pros of travel blogging far outweigh the cons. If you’re thinking about starting one, go for it! The possibilities are endless, and who knows where it’ll take you down the road.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Graefyl April 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Interesting about the unique perspective. So many places have something that is there and nowhere else. On occasion you get surprised by an unique item, especially when you’re looking for one and find it in place that you wouldn’t have thought it would be.

Reply

Michelle Michelle April 12, 2012 at 2:55 am

Yes, I love surprises! Keeps life interesting! 🙂

Reply

crazy sexy fun traveler April 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Yeah, having a travel blog makes me more responsible, but it takes so much time! But at least never heard anyone complaining that I offended them or something with the blog 🙂

Reply

Michelle Michelle April 15, 2012 at 2:05 am

it’s true! it’s a lot more time-consuming than some might believe! but as long as it’s all worth it in the end… 🙂

Reply

Christopher April 15, 2012 at 4:55 am

If I knew it was that easy to get laid I would have started a backpacking blog way earlier! Fun post 🙂

Reply

Michelle Michelle April 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm

There’s no better time then the present!

Reply

Claire April 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm

That’s all very true. It is very time consuming, but at least it’s doing something that we love!

Reply

Michelle Michelle April 17, 2012 at 4:54 am

I agree!

Reply

Roy Marvelous April 16, 2012 at 12:36 am

Good points Michelle. It does take a LOT of time but the intrinsic benefits are priceless, for the points you mentioned. Also, it’s like have a scrapbook of your travels. The other thing is, I feel like I *need* to do something interesting in order to have something to write about, so it keeps me on track.

p.s. I googled “69 Fun” and it worked!!

Reply

Michelle Michelle April 17, 2012 at 4:57 am

Haha funny that you googled it…I must take that number 1 spot!! 😛

Reply

John April 17, 2012 at 2:26 am

To me I think one of the biggest benefits is helping me better remember where I’ve been and what I’ve done. Before starting my site, I had one too many ‘where am I now?’ moments. That rarely happens anymore.

Reply

Michelle Michelle April 17, 2012 at 5:00 am

Yea, it’s great to have a record of everything you’ve done. I often re-read my travel journals… I always have some story that I’ve forgotten about that makes me laugh 😛

Reply

aradanielle April 22, 2012 at 10:56 am

I just recently started my travel blog and this is definitely my biggest fear: “With the internet accessible to almost everyone in the world, any one of your friends can easily find your travel blog.” I hate it when I write about experiences/people and the people involved read it. It makes me so uncomfortable! On that same note, I’m actually beginning to realize how much I don’t want my friends & family (okay, mostly family) to read my blog either because I can’t talk about everything as openly as I’d like to… Did you run across any of this when you first started?

Reply

Michelle Michelle April 24, 2012 at 2:26 am

Haha yea I definitley do have that problem – even today! I always feel a bit weird when I’m writing a post about a friend, and those posts always end up taking twice as long, since I write knowing that my friends will read it. I think the trick is knowing how much to post – I don’t post anything too personal since that’s reserved for Skype calls and emails, and not for everyone on the Internet to know 🙂

Reply

The Adventures of Twins May 7, 2012 at 1:20 am

Thank you so much for posting this, and it’s true – there are heaps of ups and downs of writing a travel blog. It’s hard to stay motivated when writing, especially when you’re new to the blogging world. I think it’s great that you bring something new and interesting to the blogging world! We always tell ourselves – even if no one is reading our blogs, just keep writing! So…thank you for the motivation to keep on writing 🙂

– Jo and Anika

Reply

Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: