6 Common Misconceptions of a Travel Blogger

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…

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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

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20 Comments

  1. 20th September 2017 / 10:27 am

    Yes, yes, YES to this post love! I absolutely couldn’t agree with every point anymore! I am forever being told that I’m ‘always on holiday’, but it’s not a holiday! Don’t get me wrong what we get to do for a living is utterly incredible, BUT the whole time we’re switched on and posted on social media, then once home it’s time to edit the 29876251276 images and get creating content! Loved this post for sharing the ‘other’ side to our lives lovely!

    Hayley xo
    http://www.frockmeimfamous.com

    • Jessica
      21st September 2017 / 9:20 am

      Glad you can relate to this Hayley! Thought I would stick up for us bloggers and try to write a post that shared the reality rather than the illusion of the perfect insta pics! I’m having my first actual holiday of the year next week (Spanish villa holiday with family and BF) and I just cannot wait to completely switch off. No contracts and no deliverables! Bliss 🙂 x

  2. 20th September 2017 / 7:50 am

    I completely agree with this, especially numbers 3 and 4. I’m also a travel blogger (moving to Leeds in a few months so hopefully I will see you at an event) and I find getting photos so hard on my own. I also think it’s very good of you for yourself and for other bloggers like me, that you realise the necessity for a fee. Working on your own is a lonely thing but you are creating amazing content so clearly it works!

    As ever, loving the blog,

    http://www.jettravels.co.uk

    x

    • Jessica
      21st September 2017 / 3:19 pm

      Thanks Jet! Glad you can relate. That’s so exciting you’re moving to Leeds, we will definitely have to meet up! There is a nice community of bloggers here so I can introduce you. I’m not really on the event circuit but I am getting to know the local PRs. Fees are a tricky subject as I think bloggers still have to prove themselves and establish themselves before they can demand a fee (and that really does take time). Thanks so much for your kind words and support! Get in touch when you are in Leeds x

  3. 17th September 2017 / 12:07 pm

    Totes agree with number 2! A common misconception about my travels, resto reviews and purchases were that they’ve been financed by my parents – or even my partner. I take pride in the fact that I’ve worked hard and paid for my trips and my meals (and divulge when they are comped) and not cos my parents fund these activities!

    I’m gonna get a Gorilla Pod – so good to have when you’re travelling without hassling people to take your photo!

    • Jessica
      21st September 2017 / 9:22 am

      Thanks for your comment Honey! Glad that you can relate, particularly to number 2. Massive kudos to you that you are also in the same boat as me and have got where you are through hard work. Hope you go for the Gorilla Pod – it’s a lifesaver on solo trips, or when you’re in a couple but don’t want to hassle anyone 🙂 x

  4. LuxeStyle
    14th September 2017 / 7:54 am

    I can well imagine that there are many misconceptions about being a travel blogger, and I can imagine just how hard you must work. It’s a shame that often people think it’s a walk in the park x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

    • Jessica
      14th September 2017 / 10:46 am

      Thanks for your comment Jenny! So glad you can see the other side to it. That’s exactly what I wanted this post to be about 🙂 x

  5. 13th September 2017 / 11:21 pm

    I love my gorillapod! And agree with every point. It’s really hard to turn some opportunities down but I always have to think they’ll always be more!

    • Jessica
      14th September 2017 / 10:45 am

      Thanks Eppie! So glad that you agree / can relate. As you say, more opportunities will always come along so we shouldn’t worry about the ones we turn down. It’s more important to make sure they’re right! x x

  6. famousamos_l
    13th September 2017 / 8:53 pm

    This is so refreshing to hear! However, You always look amazing in your photos, even if you feel you are having an off day! Reading your blogs still makes me want to start my own blog, but just as a way of expressing myself. I’m loving your honesty though, I wish more bloggers were like that! Loving it!

    • Jessica
      14th September 2017 / 10:44 am

      Thanks for this lovely comment! I find that writing out these personal posts are actually a great way of expressing myself and working out the thoughts that are much more jumbled in my head. Creating a blog to express yourself is the perfect reason to start one! It’s quite therapeutic xx

  7. 13th September 2017 / 2:32 pm

    Agree with all of these! I hate the preconception that someone else is supporting me. Also I think I might have to get that tripod…

    • Jessica
      14th September 2017 / 10:39 am

      Thanks for commenting Danielle! Glad you can relate to the points.I definitely recommend the tripod p.s We need to meet up soon! 🙂 xx

  8. 13th September 2017 / 2:02 pm

    Girl!!! Always hitting the nail on the head! Related with every single world. You are carving out yourself a true niche as a travel blogger for bloggers with all these fab articles. Loving them x

    • Jessica
      14th September 2017 / 10:30 am

      Aww thank you for this lovely comment Sabrina! Glad you can relate to this. <3 xx

  9. 13th September 2017 / 2:01 pm

    Beautiful post Jess! Nothing is ever as perfect as it might seem and travel blogging is a tough industry to be in. Yes it’s exciting travelling to new destinations but it’s also really hard work. Btw thanks for the tip on the Gorilla Pod Tripod – Im heading to Peru in a couple of weeks minus the Instagram hubbie so your tripod recommendation sounds perfect! Xx

    • Jessica
      14th September 2017 / 10:20 am

      Thanks so much Maggie. It certainly is a tough industry and it’s becoming more and more competitive. I couldn’t travel without the Gorilla Pod now… it’s so useful to get photos on your own. But ideally you want to use it on a camera that has wifi so you can shoot remotely. Either that, or self timer! Try it out for Peru and let me know what you think. That sounds like an incredible trip! Also we still need to meet soon! xx

  10. 13th September 2017 / 1:53 pm

    Hey Jess – loved this post! I think people disconnect from the real person behind the pictures a lot of the time an they forget you’re normal. I’ve often wondered about the itineraries ; on one hand it would be cool to have trips organised for you and opportunities to do stuff you might not holidaying independently but 100% see how knackering that could be! You’re so professional Jess and YES to the bit ‘This is the result of 5 years hard work’. Own it!

    • Jessica
      14th September 2017 / 10:18 am

      Hi Tabby! Thanks for your comment. Glad you can see my perspective. On one hand having the itineraries organised for you is amazing because you end up doing so many things that you’d never normally think to do / organise your self or get access too, so the trips are incredibly unique. But they are non-negotiable and there is no time for a ‘down day’ so it’s full on! Hope it doesn’t sound like I am complaining, just wanted people to see that this job requires a lot of discipline and self-motivation like many other jobs. Thanks for the blog love xx