How to be the World’s Worst Travel Blogger

Travel Blog Diagram

As I consider article ideas to write about on my travel blog I keep identifying lost opportunities.

Travel Blog Diagram

Yes, we stayed in that hotel and it was great.  I think ‘I could write a review’ and then I realise that we didn’t take any or enough photos to create a properly crafted blog article.  We had a fabulous meal at a Sydney restaurant and again I initially thought that I could write a review article about that restaurant, but then I realise that I should have taken a lot more photos of each dish and some more general photos of the restaurant.

And then there was out fantastic family day out in the Southern Highlands last year – but I never wrote about it (even though we have the right photos!) because my husband managed to severely injure himself and for some reason the emotions of having to manage everything in our household for several months while he healed meant that I never ended up writing about that day out.

Sigh…  Maybe I am the world’s worst travel blogger…

As I have written about in The Travel Bloggers Dilemma: On Holiday or In Business? there is a real difference between travelling and travel blogging.

As a traveller I want to just kick back and relax and enjoy the experiences.  If I happen to take a couple of photos then they are great mementos of that activity.

As a travel blogger I look at each travel experience differently.  As well as having fun I also need to be in ‘work’ mode and make sure that I capture all of the elements to create a great article later (which includes the photos required to support that article).

As an experienced travel blogger you can combine the two things, but I wonder whether you can ever truly relax and just enjoy the moment if you are always having to think about taking that next great photo, sharing it on social media and planning the next articles.

If you are participating in a sponsored activity where you have pre-committed to produce articles and social media traffic then you clearly need to be in ‘work mode’.  But if you are paying for an activity yourself then you have a choice of whether to work or just play.  And then feel guilty if you choose the ‘just playing’ option.  It is a bit like when you are doing an educational course that you always feel a bit guilty if you slack off and do something other than studying…

Many people would probably argue that a bad day working as a travel blogger is much better than a good day at the office…  but even travel bloggers need to have time out sometimes.

For me, I just need to be more mindful when I am travelling to make sure that I take those extra photos – it doesn’t really take much extra effort, I can still enjoy the outing AND be able to write articles about it afterwards.  Win Win Win.

 

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If you are a travel blogger do you also find yourself in this dilemma? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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26 Comments

  • This really resonates with me! After reading travel blogs for years, I finally started one a few months ago and now understand how much work goes into writing a post and getting the right pictures! Even the best bloggers must be thinking that each post could have been 20% better if they had just gotten that one missed photo opportunity. Although quality is key, I think we have to remember the importance of just getting content out there, as imperfect as it may be, because it could still help people!

    • Lauren, thank you for your comment. I think travel blogging becomes a routine – although when you start there is so much to learn and much trial and error to work our what works for you. My content is far from perfect, but I do the best I can – and I certainly write a lot better now (and faster) than I did when I first started about 4 years ago, and that is purely a result of trying lots of different things in my articles, and just keeping on writing and publishing every week.

      I will also invite you to join a couple of the Facebook groups i am a member of as they are a great way to get help to get started. All the best with your travel blogging journey!

  • True, sometimes we need to relax and just enjoy the moment as travelers. I always enjoy taking tons of photos, but at many restaurants I do get weird looks when capturing every plate. And if I take a photo of the menu, so I don’t need to remember every little thing, I believe the owners think that I work for financial police (judged by the look on their face!). I should definitely stop doing this at least.

    • Frank, thanks for your comment. I am happy to hear that it is not just me! I guess it is all about finding a good balance between relaxing and working. And the taking photos of everything can be a bit insidious…

    • Hello Frank!
      You could ask them if it’s OK to take a photo of the menu and some scenes of the restaurant because you’ll be writing an article about it later. That way the owners won’t be suspicious of you, and you just might get extra good service or even a freebie 😉

  • Your post totally resonated with me. My husband and I have wonderful dining experiences, enjoy delectable dishes, and then realize we’ve destroyed any chance of sharing the beautiful presentation only after we have devoured half of our meals. We will promise ourselves that THIS TIME we are going somewhere just to relax … then we will end up somewhere new and just HAVE to share it with our readers. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a job-specific disorder for people like us. Lol … could we get disability compensation for that?

    • Linda, thanks for your comment. We are usually having a really nice time and as you have said, only when the meal is half over do i remember that we shoudl have taken some photos BEFORE we started eating…

  • great article! i’m about to go walking in spain and my dilemma (?) is exactly as you describe it – i’ll be backpacking and hiking 20 ks every day and also being mindful of blogging opportunities which sort of takes the glow off the walking experience, being in work-mode as well as walk-mode. so well spotted and thanks for sharing!

    • Nancy, thanks for your comment. Have a great time walking the Camino! That is definitely a walk I would love to do one day. I think if you are just mindful of what articles you might like to write and you plan to take photos anyway it is just a matter of seeing – and taking – those great photos. All the best!

  • One thing I find is I end up with loads of photos taken of my son experiencing something from the back ( I’m a bit paranoid about the Internet and try to keep his face off the website), therefore I come home to discover I have no shots to add to the photo album of our family time out.

    Then of course there are the moments where you need to sit down for a moment and take a few notes and your husband and child are yelling at you to get moving.

    It’s a tough life being a travel blogger.

    • Sally, thanks for your comment. I agree about putting kids photos online – my husband prefers me not to – so when I looked at the photos we took at the restaurant I mentioned in the article they were good happy snaps but with the kids in them… All the best! It does get better as they get older – my three are now 9, 8 and 5 years old…

  • Not taking enough photos is a common problem for me also. I can think of a few factors –
    1. Years of using expensive slide film trained me to be “economical” with the number of photos taken, a habit hard to shake off in the digital age.
    2. I enjoy being immersed in something without the distraction of looking for photo opportunities, and forget to use the camera.
    3. My travel site is purely a hobby with no writing targets or pressures to write, and so the thought of writing about a place often never enters my head. Until later.

    I’m slowly getting better at thinking ahead and taking excess photos just in case, but sometimes it does make me feel like I’m “on duty”. Not such a problem for a blog which is purely for pleasure, but I can see how obligations and pressures to publish could easily detract if you just want to play.

    • Graham, thanks for your comment. I am happy to hear that I am not alone! Afterwards I think – ‘I had a great time but if only I had just stopped for a few more minutes and taken some more photos…’

  • Hello Anne,

    I actually find the travel blogger mode of travelling suits me really well!

    I’ve always taken a huge amount of photos when I travel but before starting my blog those hundreds and thousands of travel photos would just sit forgotten in computer files,never to be looked at again. And sadly all the photos I took in my pre-blogging days that weren’t uploaded to facebook were lost when my old laptop crashed.

    Now that I’ve got my blog I feel like there’s a real purpose to taking travel photos beyond the enjoyment I get from simply catching the moment or framing a scene in an eye-catching way. And then when I get home I enjoy the process of choosing and optimising photos for blog articles because it makes me relive my travels.

    The one down side that I try to avoid is when I have an idea in my mind of what photos I need and then try to base the day’s activities around that. It ends up making me feel rushed and unable to feel like I’m on holidays, and my travel companions find it really annoying!

    I agree with you about how going on a tour when you’re getting paid to write about it can be quite stressful, and you have to be in a work mindset rather than a carefree holidays one. But I also agree that it sure beats even a good day at a real job!

    • Bonny, thanks for your comment. It is great that travel blogging has provided you with a way to focus your photography. I have always taken quite a few photos but in more recent years with having to look after 3 children I have been less inclined, whilst my husband has developed as a keen amateur photographer. He actually takes most of the photos for this blog, but I am always having to suggest to him the photos I would like him to take. So if I forget to request him to take particular photos because I am just relaxing then it is pretty likely that he won’t take the specific photos I need for my articles…

  • I completely understand where you’re coming from with this – and I think a lot of other travel bloggers, who blog mostly for themselves (ie. not paid by big brands etc) are probably in the same position.
    In the end, I think you should really enjoy your holiday and only blog about those places or experiences that really amaze/shock/digust (etc) you. No point writing about any old thing, if its not of a particular interest to you.
    Great read though, enjoy your future travels!

    • Liz, thanks for your comment. I think it is all about balance – but I would prefer to be more mindful while I am travelling and take those couple of extra photos so I CAN share it with my readers.

  • Great post Anne. I think it’s particularly pertinent when you are travelling with family. I don’t blog about the trips I take with my family, because I regard it as “holiday” rather “blog”. I do get ideas for posts and I do take photos that I use in posts and on social media, but I don’t write about “the holiday” as such. Even bloggers need a holiday!

  • This definitely strikes a chord. I tend to take a lot of photos, so that isn’t the problem, so much as I have a tendency to constantly be in the mindset of, “Ooh, I wonder if I could make a post about this!” Sometimes I wonder if that takes away from my ability to actually be in the moment.

    One thing I tried on my last trip, which went a long way towards helping, was carry a notebook with me. I would let myself enjoy the fun/vacation time, but when I had down time (especially while on a bus/train/plane), or every night before bed, I would write down a few quick things I had seen/experienced that I thought might make a good post later, or I might need to remember. Names of people and places, anecdotes, quotes, interesting scenery/sights, etc. After my trip I went back and compiled them into a master “post ideas” list that I can now slowly go through, looking back at my notes for more details.

    So far it’s helped me tremendously! Just a thought. 🙂

    • Jessica, thanks for your comment. I like your idea of a notebook, it sounds like a great way to be consciously more mindful of observing things of interest so you remember them for later.

  • Hi Anne,

    Oh I can so relate to this! Sometimes I don’t write about a place because I have too many photos and can’t face all the photo editing and wrangling!

    I’m trying to loosen up and write shorter posts with the aim of just letting people know a place is worth visiting without giving them every detail. That’s probably what our job should be anyway! And it makes the blog posts easier too 🙂

  • I love this post because it resonates so much with what I have been contending with. I love photography and always have but with a blog attached I am having to think of the photos and what post I could create with them but as I now travel a lot with my boyfriend I am having to be a little more selective in my photo opportunity so as to enjoy the experience more with my eyes than through the lens. Also enjoying the experience with the company that is with you too. Its a fine and hard balance sometimes.

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