As our lives on social media become more and more curated, I thought it was about time I de-bunked some common misconceptions about travel bloggers and share what the reality is really like. I hope through this post you can get to know me a little better and remember that everything is not always as it seems. Here’s the myth versus the reality…
Shop my cosy camel jumper here
1. That I get paid to go on holiday
This is probably the biggest misconception that a travel blogger faces, so let’s get this cleared up once and for all. When I travel to a new destination, I am not being paid to sunbathe and sip Piña Coladas on the beach (although that does sound swell). I am being paid to shoot, create and share a specific set of content requirements that have been agreed under a legal contract. This might include photography, social media, video and blog posts. In order to deliver these content requirements, I usually have to follow a strict itinerary of activities, which can include super early mornings and late nights. The main premise and appeal of a holiday is being at leisure and on your own time but this definitely isn’t the case on my professional travels. I see the brands I work with as my clients and like any other professional, the pressure is on to do a good job. If I don’t, my reputation as a pro travel blogger is at stake. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is. There is no such thing as a free holiday.
2. That I must come from a ‘privileged’ background to do this for a job
The word privileged can be interpreted in many different ways, but for the sake of this post it means; financially supported by ‘The Bank of Mum and Dad’ and/or spouse. I have been 100% financially independent from the day I left University aged 21 (where my independent women at?). This means that all the money I spend I have earned myself, apart from the financial help we received to buy our house. When I lived in London, I couldn’t run the blog full time because I couldn’t take that financial risk. I needed a secure income so I worked full time, then part time, and ran the blog alongside my employment. Now I live in Leeds where the cost of living is much cheaper, so I can make a good income as a full time travel blogger, but I have done this without any financial handouts or cushions. The cost of my trips are always covered by the brand that I am collaborating with, but travel blogging as a career isn’t just for the privileged. This is the result of 5 years of hard work.
3. That I must always have someone to take my photo
This is far from the truth! I’ve embarked on 3 solo trips this year to Austria, Bilbao and Bern so getting the desired shots has been really tough. I travel with a GorillaPod tripod which can attach to things like trees, lamp posts and park benches. I flick on the wireless setting on my Lumix Panasonic and take the shots myself. Setting up the perfect photo when travelling solo can take a long time, which is a side to content creation that you don’t often see! In an ideal situation I like to travel with a +1 who can help me take photos, but this isn’t always possible.
4. That I will go anywhere that’s on offer
I travel to where the opportunities are, but I always do my research before agreeing to a trip because I need to be 100% sure that it’s right for my blog and will be of interest to my readers. There is so much that I have to turn down because I don’t feel like it’s a good fit for my blog, or if I feel I am being asked to do too much for free. This year alone I have had to turn down trips to Queensland in Australia, Costa Rica, Greece and Bali. Sometimes it kills me to say no, but I have to protect my brand and my belief that professional content often requires a fee.
5. That I have tonnes of confidence and can make friends with anyone
Generally, I would describe myself as a confident person. Any travel blogger needs to have good social skills because travelling with strangers, networking and developing relationships is part and parcel of this job. There are days where I ooze confidence and feel like a goddess in front of the camera, but there are also days that I don’t. I have fat days, I have down days and I have days where I feel like I’m not good enough. If these days come along when I am overseas or on a job, it can be tough, but I am disciplined and professional and I get through them.
6. That my life is perfect and I have the dream job
Please remember that things are never as perfect as they seem on social media and you should never compare your own reality with someone’s curated online persona. That is one of the most important things to remember in our social media-driven millennial world. I love my life and my job, but it’s far from perfect. Unless I am travelling as part of a press trip, travel blogging can be a very lonely profession. I have to be incredibly self-motivated and I have to keep up with the ever-developing blogosphere like my life depends on it (because frankly, it does). There are endless pressures, just like any other job right?
I hope that reading this post has given you an insight into the reality of being a travel blogger and has made you realise that maybe we’re not so different after all.
The photos in this post were taken at Ham & Friends in Leeds during a last weekend’s brunch with two of my favourite Yorkshire-based bloggers Beverley from Pack Your Passport and Bee from Queen Beady. I always walk away feeling positive and inspired after spending time with these two ladies.
What did you think of my 6 misconceptions of a travel blogger? Is there anything you can relate to? If you enjoyed reading this post, please tell me by leaving a comment in the box below. Jess x