From Tea Girl to Luxury Travel Blogger: How I Got Into Travel Blogging

As founder and editor of The Travelista Blog, I’d be the first to admit that Travel Writing has to be one of the best jobs (and hobbies) on earth.  Visiting new places, experiencing new cultures and reviewing luxury hotels for a living. It’s one of those things most people can’t even dream up. And I certainly didn’t when I was the 21 year old graduate tea girl.  This is my story of how I went from tea girl to International luxury travel blogger…

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Two summers ago I graduated from Newcastle University with a 2.1 in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies. My love of writing and travel was stronger than ever and I had big dreams of making into the editorial team of a glossy mag. Writing has always been my passion and solace, but I was desperate to move down to London to be with my then boyfriend. So I took the first job I was offered. It turned out to be a deathly dull job as a PA (otherwise known as office biatch) that quickly quashed my graduate glow.

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Newcastle University Graduation day!

The offices were based on Dover Street in Mayfair. Home to The Arts Club, Rous Iland Boutique and a designer bag on every arm, it’s one of the most exclusive streets in London. Ironically, with terrible pay and a crippling rent , I was too skint to even afford my tube into work let alone an after work drink in a fancy bar.  A month or so into the job I knew that it wasn’t for me. But it was also at this time that I met Andie, the chap that helped me to change my career forever.

The office space was small and we shared our open plan office with an ultra high end Men’s luxury lifestyle publication (well we were in Mayfair after all). Andie was the Editor in Chief of the publication a down to earth, decent fella. After a bit of office banter I made a beeline and began to offer editorial contributions to the mag– free of charge of course.

Me at the Sofitel Imperial Palace on my first ever Press Trip !

Me at the Sofitel Imperial Palace on my first ever Press Trip !

After a while he had me writing about yachts, watches and other ‘boys and their toys’ wares until one day he said ‘you’re alright at this writing stuff, Jess do you fancy doing a review for me?’. Ever the opportunist, I jumped at the chance, thinking he meant a theatre or restaurant review in London. Little did I know, the ‘review’ was actually a Press Trip assignment to Marrakech to review two of the most luxurious hotels in the Moroccan capital (Check out my Es Saadi Palace review and my Sofitel Imperial Palace Review).

An all expenses paid trip in – quite literally – the lap of luxury. As you can imagine, I died and went to Moroccan heaven. It was in Marrakech I had a taste of my dream job.The trip to Marrakech was a huge opportunity for me and after impressing Andie with my review write ups, he then asked me to complete more press trips and officially become one of his freelance writers. By this time I had endured 9 months in the job I desperately hated, so triumphantly handed in my notice and jumped on a plane to Mauritius! I went on to complete press trips to Mauritius, La Reunion, Munich , Sardinia and more.

Slightly worse for wear! Me and the lovely journo gang post-trek!

Slightly worse for wear! Me and the lovely journo gang post-trek!

This was when I decided to set up The Travelista Blog. I wanted to tell the whole world about the amazing whirlwind travel experiences I was having, not just the niche readership of The Player Bookazine. Since showcasing my travel writing on The Travelista, I have been approached to complete other hotels to feature reviews on the blog. I am now expanding the blog and searching for guest bloggers and like minded travel bloggers to grow my network of Travelistas. (If you’re one of them, please get in touch!)

I suppose you could say that meeting Andie was my lucky break.  But that break sure as hell didn’t fall into my lap. I saw what I wanted to achieve and I showed initiative, persistence and passion until it eventually paid off. I’ve still got a long way to go in my career, and I feel The Travelista could really help me get there. I love visiting the fancy hotels, but my job and hobby boils down to two passions: Writing and travel. And there is no better feeling than finding what you love, and going for it 100%.

Jumping for joy! On my most recent trip, a sailing trip around the Greek Islands.

Jumping for joy! On a recent trip, a sailing trip around the Greek Islands.

Whenever I visit a new place, stay at a new hotel or complete a press trip, I blog about it. The Travelista is now a huge part of my life and has become somewhat of an addiction! I am so proud of it as I feel it defines my personality and my passion. It is now an extension of me and is a constant reminder that – boy – was I glad I stuck out that lousy job!

Thinking of starting your own blog? Check out my latest post How To Start A Blog: The Travelista’s Top 10 Tips

If you are inspired by my story or have any more questions about how to get in to Travel Blogging, I’d love to hear from you 

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57 Comments

  1. Chirali
    4th August 2015 / 11:56 am

    Congratulations Jessica for achieving your dream. Believe me I know how difficult it is to be stuck in a rut and the longing to travel but not being able to. After reading this blog entry I am in awe of you and also a little jealous. I too want to be a travel writer. That line you said, that travel and writing are your two passions, well same with me. I love travelling and writing but unfortunately, I will need funds to be able to travel and for that I need a job. But its good to see other fellow travelers getting to achieve that dream. Jessica, if you have any tips for me, as in how do I start to become a travel writer then I would welcome it wholeheartedly.
    Thanks and God Bless you.

  2. Pat Burnham
    12th July 2015 / 8:18 pm

    Hello,
    I am sitting in Chicago’s OHare airport reading your blog. Well done! I am a journalist by education and have completed thirty years in the workforce mostly on the ad agency side. I’ve raised three great kids and put them through college on my own. 😉

    Time to get back to my loves – writing and travel- if you have any leads for me just let me know. My next trip is in September to London and Paris. It’s a belated honeymoon for my husband and I.

    Great to see what you have done and if you have any contacts for me please let me know.

    Pat Burnham

  3. 27th April 2015 / 11:58 am

    I love reading these kinds of stories because it inspires me to keep going when I start to doubt myself as a new blogger. Thank you for sharing 🙂 x

  4. 10th March 2015 / 1:20 pm

    Its an inspiring post and somewhere I can relate to it also. Five years back when I was not enjoying my job, I started a blog and todays its an extension of me. I love the press invites and free travels too and definitely come back and blog about them.

    Lots of success to you. Great to connect here..

  5. 9th March 2015 / 4:57 pm

    Wow, this got me so excited! I also work full time in Digital Content marketing for an international health insurance brand, weird! i guess it makes sense for bloggers to work in this area because we already have the skills. Just need to find my break! Well done for finding yours. I want to write for my own blog but maybe I should consider applying to other publications xx

  6. Angie Cosey
    9th January 2015 / 1:45 pm

    Hi Jess, I recently found your facebook page for your Travelista blog and I love it! Your posts are inspiring and your photos lovely! I’m a traveler too and I try to take one big trip every year. Most recently it was Chile in April 2014 — I was on Easter Island on Easter Day! I have been writing trip reports of my adventures for the past five years or so — safari in Africa, paragliding in the Alps, sea kayaking in Croatia, visiting monasteries in Prague. I don’t know if you are still looking for guest bloggers but I’d love to send you a sample of my writing and photos if interested!

  7. 23rd November 2014 / 7:21 pm

    Fabtastic blog and very inspiring – It’s always great when bloggers share their tales of how they succeeded in following their dreams. Sounds like you worked hard to get to this place and now it’s become second nature…I’ll be following your adventures from now on. All the best!

    • 24th November 2014 / 7:15 am

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, I am so glad you will be following! I can’t imagine life without my blog now 🙂 x

  8. Shelyn
    29th October 2014 / 9:27 pm

    Hello Jess. I stumbled upon your blog through WTM London site, congratulations for winning the Cosmo Blog awards! I work in luxury travel for nearly a year now but haven’t any chance of a press trip. Reading your entry here really persuades me to get back into travel blogging, which I have done for a few years (now temporarily neglected) and aspire what you’ve achieved.

    What would you advise to those with full-time 9-5 jobs to manage their time in order to potentially move into travel blogging as a career?

    Shelyn

  9. 19th October 2014 / 4:04 pm

    This is my dream job so it’s amazing to hear your story. I’ve been writing my lifestyle blog for a few years now but definitely want to take it in the travel direction and your blog is an inspiration! X

    • 20th October 2014 / 7:43 pm

      Hi Mia, thanks so much for your comment. Glad you like my story and hope you can draw positivity from it that you can do it too! Travel is such a fun thing to blog about and brings some amazing opportunities 🙂 Keep up the awesome blog x

  10. 26th September 2014 / 2:43 pm

    Hi Anna,

    I’m reading this post from my 8:30-6pm recruitment job and I must say it is truly inspiring. I’ve just started my own travel blog and after a summer of exploring Rio De Janeiro doing volunteering work, there is nothing I want less than to be stuck in a gloomy office 9 hours a day.

    Travel, photography and writing are great passions of mine and I would love to kickstart a career in something I love, if you can offer any advice on how to get into successful travel blogging I would greatly appreciate it!

    Maria Angelica x

    http://www.theressomethingaboutmaria.com

  11. Yazmin
    31st August 2014 / 7:31 pm

    Hiya 🙂 Just stalking your blog here! It’s great to read about how you fell into travel blogging – what a great story to share. Deffo going to check out your top tips in a bit! I’ve recently become obsessed with living life to the fullest and not waste it doing the same thing day in and day out. My story is that I’m doing a job I find physically draining and I’m forever off sick. I want to use my blog to spend the rest of my time doing things I love and try to find another job too. I’ve decided I want to travel to different places in the UK and share my experiences. I hope my blog will help me to get into a job that I will truly love or even better to work for myself!

    Yazmin xx
    http://www.yazzyscorner.co.uk

  12. 14th May 2014 / 4:28 pm

    Hi Jess, I’ve just stumbled across your blog and am enjoying reading about all your trips, travels and experiences. What a great story you have to tell and I’m so pleased that I’ve discovered your blog – you have yourself a new follower 🙂 I also travel a lot and this year, during my year abroad in Europe set up my own travel blog. I have another year left at Uni but hope to continue pursuing my love of travel and writing once I have finished my degree, just like you have. Thanks for sharing your adventures 🙂

  13. 4th April 2014 / 3:23 am

    This is so inspiring! I can’t wait until I get to travel internationally and blog about it!!!!!

    • 20th October 2014 / 7:42 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment Amby, I am so glad you found this inspiring 🙂 x

  14. 27th February 2014 / 8:58 pm

    What an inspiring story, glad it’s worked out so well for you! I’m at the beginning of my travel blogging journey (lol pun), it’s hard to keep up the motivation sometimes but reading things like this helps

  15. zebonline
    21st February 2014 / 3:13 pm

    I really liked your story, so inspiring and out of all the travel blogs I have visited so far this was the best of all. I wish you all the very best and hope you achieve all your dreams with your hard-work.

    Regards,
    Zeb

  16. 30th January 2014 / 12:49 am

    Hi Jess, Just started following your blog and I already LOVE IT! Up until recently I had no idea these kind of jobs even existed. I recently graduated from university and the past six months have been a drag until I started doing what I’ve always loved, writing. I recently relaunched my blog which mainly features my adventures in photography and travel. I only wish I could land one of these coveted jobs but they seem scarce and require a lot of experience which I seem to lack. If you have any advice to give me I’d really appreciate it!

    Cheers!

  17. 18th January 2014 / 11:22 pm

    Well done. Your photos are amazing. I’m a new blogger writing about Berlin and Britain so I’m always pleased to read about bloggers who aspire others. Nice one!

  18. aimeeloufashion
    6th January 2014 / 10:31 am

    Amazing, and so inspiring. I have a background within the fashion industry, in particular styling and I mainly post pictures of myself and write about my outfits, but when I go away I also post pictures on how I like to dress and fit my outfits with the country that I am visiting and learn about their fashion culture. I would love to go to the next step on my blog and focus more on traveling and visiting countries around the world and comparing their fashion history. I would love it if you could take a quick look at my blog and maybe any tips you have for breaking into this would be fab.

    http://www.aimeeloufashion.wordpress.com

    Thank you so much, and I look forward to your reply.

    Aimee x

  19. Bon
    11th December 2013 / 6:06 am

    I’m interested in starting my own travel blog. 🙂

    • 22nd December 2013 / 6:45 pm

      Wow this has really opened my eyes. I live and breathe travel and study it at university. Travel writing is always something i have wanted to do but i have never had the slightest clue how to get into it. I came across your Travelista blog by chance after researching package holidays for an assignment. It has really flipped a switch and its something i want to do after university finishes. I will be religiously looking at your blogs now for any help and advice i may need to begin traveling and writing. What your doing is amazing and you must of worked so hard. Thanks for blogging and keep it up.

      • 23rd December 2013 / 1:27 pm

        Hi Kayleigh! Thanks so much for your lovely comment. It’s so nice to read things like this. I was exactly like you at uni with a hunger to get into travel writing but no idea how to get into it. The best thing about blogging is that you don’t have to wait for an opportunity to do it, you can get started straight away! A blog is a fantastic thing to set up during university as it’s a great extra curricular thing to put on your CV and (if done well) it could give you the edge for that graduate job!

        I’d recommend getting one going now. Remember, you don’t always have to write about trips you’ve been on. Travel writing can be about where you’d like to go in the future too!

        Check out this page for all my blogging advice posts

        http://thetravelistablog.wordpress.com/category/blogging-tips-2/

        Hope you enjoy my blog and come back to it for inspiration 🙂

        Any questions you have, just ask!

        Jess x

  20. 5th October 2013 / 10:34 pm

    What a dream come true 🙂 I started a travel blog recently as well, and I’m hoping that it’ll pick up soon. I’m at 100ish visitors a day. Your post is inspiring! I’m going to keep coming back to it everytime I feel frustrated with my own.

    • 6th October 2013 / 5:13 pm

      Hi Surya, so glad your inspired by my post, thanks for your comment 🙂 please do come back to it when you need a little push! 100 visitors a day is a great start. Keep working at it, the results WILL come

      Jess x

  21. 4th October 2013 / 4:29 am

    Great story. Lucky me I found your web site accidentally, and I’m surprised why this twist of fate didn’t came about in advance! I bookmarked it. Take tours in vietnam this autumn.
    http://www.graylinehalong.com

  22. makeupbymimiz
    20th September 2013 / 5:55 am

    Oh I am really happy for you! Nothing is more refreshing than hearing about a person that is really happy with their job!!

    I am just starting out in the blogging world.. I mainly blog about makeup and sometimes travel experinces, what are your recommendations for a girl that doesn’t have Andie in her life :p lol

  23. 6th September 2013 / 10:23 pm

    Wow that was an amazing story. I am also really passionate about travel and I have an ambition to travel the entire Globe. Like when you travel and then write about it, I normally have a lot of videos of my travel 🙂 and love to convert them into some good stuff and share on the youtube and sites alike. You can check out my video channel Travelouge Asia on youtube. You story is really inspiring and I really feel I should also focus on something I really love to do. I will definately check out Travelista

    • 6th August 2013 / 7:54 am

      Hey Mollie – how are you 🙂 Indeed I went sailing in Greece this June but I actually went with Neilson! They’re an absolutely amazing company who offer hotel beach clubs with tonnes of water sports as well as flotilla holidays. I did a week of each!

      Who did you go with on your trip? And how stunning are the Greek Islands! I can’t wait to go back. Drop me an email re guest post 🙂

      Jess, The Travelista x

  24. 5th August 2013 / 8:02 pm

    This helped a lot! I’m still a high school student, but as this is my second summer keeping a travel blog, and it’s getting thousands of views without advertising at all, and honestly I love writing about places, I’ve been looking for proof that it could turn into a job or more serious hobby someday. So this piece was really inspiring, and I’m so glad to have found it.

    • 6th August 2013 / 7:49 am

      Hi Sarah, thanks for your comment. I’m really glad you enjoyed my post. Sounds like your blog is going really well and you should definitely keep it up. Whilst the jobs can be few and far between, it is possible to make a career out of travel writing, you just need hard work, perseverance and a bit of luck along the way! If that’s your dream, go for it. You’re doing all the right things to get there! Take care, Jess x

  25. 23rd July 2013 / 9:05 pm

    Just found your blog through the cosmo blog awards- and love it! Your job sounds like my dream job 🙂 I can really relate as I’m currently in a boring office job and would love to get into this industry. This post shows me there is light at the end of the tunnel; I just need t keep trying I guess.
    Daniela x

    Also love you pics!

    • 23rd July 2013 / 9:13 pm

      Hey Daniella! Thank you for leaving your comment! So glad you like my blog and that you can relate to this post. I wrote this exactly for people like you! When I was really down in my job with big dreams you sometimes need a push to realise that you can still make them a reality. You really don’t know what is around the corner, so make the most of every opportunity that comes up – you never know where they may lead! And of course, just get blogging ! No time like the present… also check out my Top 10 Tips on how to start a blog – this may help you 🙂

      http://thetravelistablog.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/how-to-start-a-blog-the-travelistas-top-10-tips/

      Keep chasing that dream job! 🙂

      Jess, The Travelista x

  26. 17th July 2013 / 6:53 am

    Hello; fellow writer here!
    I started my blog a year or so ago but have just recently started blogging regularly about travelling. I feel as though I’m in your old shoes (a bit) because I’ve just been hired to write articles for a magazine in which they’ve given me my own column! Unfortunately, I just turned 18 so I haven’t got many places under my belt yet that I can write about. I’ve been incredibly fortunate enough to go to India, Thailand, Kenya, America (my homeland), and Hong Kong (where I currently live) but cannot wait for university where I know many more travel opportunities will come along!
    I too found you on the Cosmo awards page and have fallen in love with your blog.
    Top 5 Favorite travel destinations? 🙂
    Love from HK!
    Samantha

  27. 12th July 2013 / 6:45 pm

    VERY VERY VERY inspiring!

    • 12th July 2013 / 10:39 pm

      Thank you Jasmine, I’m so glad you’ve found this post inspiring. I’ve been checking out Chic Wanderlust and I think it’s fantastic! I love your views on travel in your dream section. Would be great to trade guest posts some time , stay in touch 🙂 x

  28. 11th July 2013 / 7:26 pm

    Congrats on being nominated for a Cosmo Award – have just found your blog through the shortlist and voted for you! I have spent the past hour or so reading through your posts, and have thoroughly enjoyed reading all about your amazing travels! I think being a travel writer/blogger would definitely be my dream job too (although at the moment I’m working towards a career in celebrity/showbiz journalism) but am having a bit of trouble honing in my travel writing skills specifically. I have recently just started up a travel section on my blog and wondered if you have any tips for writing a great feature about a trip that does it justice and sounds personal, but that still sounds professional and shows off it’s best bits? Scarlett x
    Scarlettlondon.com

    • 12th July 2013 / 10:46 pm

      Wow Scarlett thank you for such a lovely comment! I am touched that you’ve spent so long reading my posts. I’m so glad you have enjoyed my blog! Being a Travel Writer / Blogger certainly is a dream job but it takes lots of hard work and determination! I am constantly tweaking, editing and writing new posts for my blog. I also work full time as a Digital Content Exec for a travel company, so blogging and social media pretty much takes over my entire life! (need to switch off now and again!). Celeb journalism sounds like a fantastic career path, and if I wasn’t writing travel I may have ended up doing something similar! (total Daily Mail addict). I’d say chase it with both hands.

      I think the most important things to include in a travel posts are special details that made your trip unique. What makes your post different to someone who just ‘googles’ a destination and writes about it? People love to read about people, so sights, smells, feels and tastes are a great place to start. and take LOTS of pictures. They tell 1000 words! Try not to worry about sounding too professional. People want to be entertained. Write like you’re talking to your friends, not to your boss. I’m publishing a post next week about my top tips to get in to travel blogging, so keep an eye out for it.

      Hope this has helped Scarlett. Keep doing what you’re doing and never give up 🙂

      Jess, The Travelista x

  29. 10th July 2013 / 8:52 pm

    Thank you for so many warm comments about this post. Never thought to share my story until now and very glad I have inspired you all. x

  30. 10th July 2013 / 6:46 pm

    Awesome to hear about the journey, what you’re doing, and where writing/blogging has taken you!

  31. 10th July 2013 / 3:26 pm

    That is such an amazing story. I believe that things happen for a reason and the reason you had to take that crappy job in the beginning was to eventually get the opportunities you have now! So inspiring 🙂

    • 10th July 2013 / 8:51 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Christine. The experience has certainly taught me that everything happens for a reason and you never know what is around the corner! A bit of a determination can go a long way. Keep chasing your dreams 🙂 x

  32. 10th July 2013 / 1:06 pm

    I’m so jealous i have heartache! What a brilliant job you have. Well done.

    • 10th July 2013 / 1:13 pm

      Thanks Ella! Hopefully this post will inspire others to believe they can do the same, even if they’re stuck in a job they hate! Never give up your dream! Are you looking to get in to travel writing? X

      • 10th July 2013 / 1:27 pm

        I would love to! It’s the modern day version of a ‘Wish You Were Here’ Presenter. Which is just the ultimate job, no?
        I’m working as a Receptionist at the moment, so I can really connect with this article x

        • 10th July 2013 / 4:57 pm

          Yes I suppose it is! I’ve still got a long way to go in my career but starting The Travelista really helped me to network and get my name out there. I definitely recommend starting one, or you could even write a guest post for The Travelista? So glad you can relate to my story and hope shows you never know what is round the corner even when your ambitions seem so far away! Keep working at it 🙂 x

  33. 10th July 2013 / 1:01 pm

    Inspiring … All the Best !

    • 10th July 2013 / 1:22 pm

      Thank you Jayanta, that’s exactly what I hope this post is! x

  34. Anna Roberts
    10th July 2013 / 1:02 pm

    This is an exciting story – travel writing is so hard to get into, so it’s great that you had that opportunity. I’ve just followed – look forward to reading more about your travels!

    • 10th July 2013 / 1:11 pm

      Hi Anna! Thanks for your comment! You’re right Travel writing is extremely hard to get in to but it’s a combination of hard work, determination and a bit of luck along the way. Thanks for following, wish you all the best 🙂 x