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blogging-questions

Whenever I speak to people who are wanting to go into travel blogging, or simply jump on a plane and explore the world, there are a common set of questions that always seem to come up, therefore I wanting to dive into each one and offer an answer for anyone out there seeking some guidance.

Do Bloggers Make Money?

Yes they do, however it might not be as glamourous as you hoped for. Bloggers are split between full time and the ones that do it after work and on weekends. The bloggers that work full time have more time on their hands to reach out to brands and to build our their profile. On the other hand, the full timers have a greater requirement for advertising as it is what is paying the bills. Bloggers can be paid in a number of ways, whether its through a press campaign, affiliate marketing, ads and adsense, digital products such as e-books, training for companies, conference talks and sponsored posts (however these are decreasing).

Many bloggers supplement their payment with freelance work, which can pay very well. For example, I work as a marketing consultant, as well as earning money via the blog.

How Do You Start A Blog?

Most people do it the wrong way around, but your first point after deciding what niche you are going to focus on, is to write an incredibly large amount of content. For example, I often recommend (if posting once per week) people build up a 3 month backlog of articles, so they can focus on the other tasks.

After this, you should make sure to buy your own domain and hosting. You should also look to quickly secure the social names for your brand. I chose the word ‘brand’ carefully, as this is the way you will have to see yourself from this point onwards. Understand that you want to get your social channels secured, but you won’t have a huge amount of time and you should pick your battles and where to focus your efforts on.

If choosing WordPress, then pick a great theme that will cost around £50. Don’t bother with the free ones, unless you happen to be a developer. If you pick a decent one, you won’t need any (or almost any) prior coding knowledge, however if opting for a free one then you will have a fair amount of work on your hands. Search around for a while until you find a theme you love.

How Do Travel Bloggers Get To Travel So Often?

The honest truth is that there is a lot of sacrifice that isn’t shown in the blog posts. When at home, it can involve scrimping by, not buying anything luxurious and focusing on saving a set amount each month, so you can get back on a plane. Also, if you work out deals with hotels, activities and tourist boards, you can get most of it for free, meaning your costs are much lower than you imagine. The flights tend to be the biggest stumbling block.

To offer an example, if through my blog I manage to cut my weekly costs while travelling down to £250, then I earn £400 per day from freelance work, this means I’m still making a profit while travelling.

How Do You Pick A Name For A Blog?

I recommend taking your time and thinking carefully about potential options. It can be easy to jump straight in, but if the domain name has gone, it has been trademarked or the social channels are taken then it might be worth re-considering. To offer an idea, with each domain name I have bought, it has taken two weeks of consideration before deciding. You might have an instant brainwave, but for most it is worth being patient.

You want it to be around your niche, so if in travel you could have a pertinent word included, however the need for keywords in the domain for SEO purposes is no longer relevant. You also want something catchy, that people will remember. Try not to go over 3 words, as this can be hard to read.

Once you have decided on a few potential names, ping them around as a survey to a few people for them to vote, you may be surprised by the answers, or even the feedback and ideas.

Do Travel Bloggers Work On A Beach?

This is a fun idea, however it is actually quite impractical. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried taking a laptop to a beach, but you very quickly learn it won’t work at all. The glare from the sun means you can’t see anything on the screen. You will eventually run out of battery, while if you get sand in the laptop then it can break, or at least jam some of the keys. There is no Wi-Fi and a lot of distractions, while it isn’t a comfortable way to sit if you plan on typing.

I think each of us has had that idea at some point and then quickly learnt from it. The reality is I like to get the work done in the hotel and then go out and earn my time to relax afterwards. I’ll often wake up early so I can get a lot of work done first thing in the morning so the day is mine.

Do Travel Bloggers Get To Travel For Free?

Yes and no. Travel bloggers don’t have to cover most of their costs and they can get a lot of it for free, however technically they are doing it in exchange for something. This could be a blog post on the site, a video on their YouTube channel, social posts or to talk at a conference. The price is free, but there is a service offered in return, therefore it is a form of payment in a sense.

This is however why I have to be picky sometimes. If I’m offered a luxurious villa in Thailand with meals included then I’ll happily stay in exchange for an article, however if it’s a cheap hostel then it simply isn’t worth my time, as I’d be better off spending that time doing freelance work and then paying for my stay in the hostel.

How Should A Travel Blogger Approach A Hotel For A Free Stay?

Go onto the website and you should find either a press section with an email address, or go to the contact page and look for the PR/Marketing opps email. From here, you want to send an email, including your media kit, explaining when you would like to stay, who you are and what you are offering in return for the free stay.

You need to be very clear with exactly what you are offering, so there is no confusion over expectations. If you plan on posting on Instagram on the feed or as a story, set this out from the start.

You also need to understand that when asking a hotel, they are normally more than happy to say yes, but there are a number of considerations they must take. For example, how long are you asking for? 1-3 days and you should be ok, but if asking for a week then you might not get a positive response, so set the dates clearly, you can always go down the road and review another local hotel for the rest of the week. Also, if you’re trying to get the hotel for the weekdays then you are more likely to get a yes over the weekend.

You should also look to do this way in advance, so there are plenty of rooms available for them to offer.

They’ve almost always said yes, however a few times they have said they can’t, however they can either offer media rates or offer an upgrade. I’ve been stubborn and said no, but if this hotel is amazing or you’re really keen to stay there, then it can be worth it. I agreed to the upgrade on one hotel in Thailand and they gave me the presidential suite for the same price as the cheapest room, it was hard to complain!

Can I Get A Job While Travelling?

Yes you can, depending on what visa you have applied for. A number of people get a working visa so they can get a job in a bar or working on an animal welfare centre. On the other side, some people find bar jobs which pay cash in hand, which can be a little shady but it allows you that sense of freedom (cough, I didn’t recommend that).

Beyond official paid work, you could consider either a voluntary position or you could find a place that offers unpaid work in exchange for your accommodation, food & drink to be covered.

A popular option nowadays is pet sitting. I mean, looking after a couple of dogs on a farm for 2 weeks and having your accommodation and food covered seems pretty decent! But maybe that’s because I’m obsessed with dogs.

Where Do Most Travel Bloggers Like To Travel To?

I actually surveyed about 300 travel bloggers, asking them where there favourite destination in the world was that they’ve travelled to. This was a couple of years ago, however it shaped my travel plans. First choice was Sri Lanka, followed by Iceland. At the time, I hadn’t been Sri Lanka, however it became my new obsession and last year I finally went. Now I’m starting to look into Iceland, which certainly looks incredible!

For me personally, Peru was by far my favourite destination in the world. It had something for everyone and every town varied so much. From trekking to Machu Picchu, to sandboarding in Huacachina, to biking down a volcano in Arequipa, hiking the Colca Canyons, going through the rainforest or even surfing up north, you will be spoilt for choice.

Can I Ask You Questions?

Yes, you’re more than welcome to get in contact with me at any point, at tomb@spaghettitraveller.com and I’ll make sure to get back to you as soon as possible. I’m more than happy to help in anyway I can.

Written by | tombourlet

Tom Bourlet is the creator of Spaghetti Traveller and has been addicted to travelling ever since taking a roadtrip across the USA.

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