There’s a big difference between travelling as a blogger and travelling as a tourist. Although it may look like many bloggers are enjoying endless holidays, our trips require hard work, effort and self-taught skills. In order to create a blog about your travels, you need to document them. This means capturing content, taking photos, writing notes and dreaming up titles before you even begin to type up your post. If you’re wondering how to get into travel blogging, read on to see my 10 commandments of travel blogging;
1. Thou Shalt do Research
There’s nothing worse (or more ignorant) than arriving in a new place and being completely clueless about where you are or what is around you. Especially if you intend on writing about the place at some point. As a tourist you are automatically more vulnerable, so be savvy and do your research. Learn the basics about your destination before the trip, and avoid having to ask any stupid questions on arrival. Even if I know I’m going to be guided around within an organised press trip, I always do my research about the destination I am visiting. I also love to devour the entire hotel website before I go to work out what will be interesting for me to experience and write about.
2. Thou Shalt Take Pictures
A pretty obvious one, but I can’t stress this enough. And no, you don’t need a fancy pants camera to do the job. I take lots of photos on my iPhone during my travels and they turn out just swell. Take photos of everything, even if you feel silly at first. A month after your trip, you’re going to regret NOT taking the photo of that dancing lama rather than regret looking a bit silly when you took it. With the launch of videos on Instagram and Vine app, it’s never been easier to capture stunning short videos of your travels too. These vids can be embedded into a blog post and really help to help tell your story and make it come alive. A picture speaks a thousand words!
3. Thou Shalt Speak to Locals
It’s very easy to be intimidated by locals in a ‘them and us’ type of way. But 9 times out of 10 if you get chatting to a local, they are more than happy to advise on their favourite parts, things and activities within the area. You can often get some amazing tips by chatting to locals (write them down!). Just remember to take it all with a pinch of salt, as some of them are out to make a fast buck and will gladly tell you their cousin’s suit shop can do you a great deal.
4. Thou Shalt Scribble Notes
I am a pretty hardcore note taker (a bit of a geek) so I always travel with a note pad and pen. This is so I remember any good information or facts during my trip. I also have the memory of a fish, so this does come in handy. If you feel silly with a note pad, use the notes app on your phone or even just take a mental note. It’s the minor facts you need to write down. Jot down the name of the restaurant where you had that delicious meal, the name of your tour guide, the going rate for the local delicacy. It’s this kinda stuff that really makes your article come alive and prove you really experienced that destination. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t.
5. Thou Shalt Slum It (sometimes)
Whilst the 5* and luxurious resorts are totally lovely, I believe that to see the real <insert relevant country>, you need to rough it a bit. As charming and stress free as large resorts are, they somewhat shelter you from the real nit and grit of the country you are in. And if you insist in going all out luxury, then just make sure you venture out of the resort and find a local low key eatery or cafe. It will give you a taste of authenticity and you can still retire in Egyptian cotton sheets (and save you a few bob too).
6. Thou Shalt Be Social
This is one of the things I love about travelling. The people you meet and the stories you hear. The more people I meet when I am travelling the more inspired I am. I love to hear about what other people have done and seen in the area. It often helps me decide what to do next. Talk to other tourists, locals and hotel staff. If you’re travelling alone or in a pair, it’s even easier to get chatting as you are less intimidating than larger groups. And likewise, if you see someone travelling alone, just approach them! They’re probably dying to chat to someone. You never know what you could learn from them.
7. Thou Shalt Track down Wi-Fi
Usually if you’re a blogger, you’re pretty hooked on your social media. Which means Wi-Fi is like gold dust, especially for those travelling long term. I always use Wi-Fi when I travel to keep on top of what is going on the blogosphere , twitosphere and a few other slightly more shameful spheres too. Wi-Fi also allows me to monitor my blog comments and to upload my instagram travel snaps and videos in (near enough) real time. Having Wi-Fi also means you have access to all your phone apps, and there are endless apps on the market to make your travels easier . Find out my Top 8 Travel Apps here.
8. Thou Shalt Remember to Switch off
Of course, staying on top of your blog and channels is very important, but it’s even more important to take some time to switch off. People say, once a blogger, always a blogger, which is totally true. But it can be a bit of a curse. When I travel I try to record, document and capture every moment in case it comes in handy for my blog and article. So much so that I sometimes forget to live in the moment and actually absorb the amazing things around me. Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, just remember to put the technology aside and digest your new surroundings.
9. Thou Shalt Carry a Map
Sounds pretty old school I know, but when technology fails and Wi-Fi is nowhere to be found, a good old map can get you out of many a sitcky spot. And it doesn’t have to be a big cumbersome look-at-me-I’m-a-clueless-tourist-map either. I am obsessed with Lonely Planet guides and they always handy and discreet fold out maps within their guides. 2 birds – 1 stone!
10. Thou Shalt be Respectful
This one relates back to the first commandment. Every place you go will have different traditions, customs and cultures and if you do your research, you’ll know them before you go. Always dress appropriately according to where you are and be sure not to do anything that offends the locals. You do NOT want to piss them off. When in doubt, I always consult my trusty Lonely Planet guide, they always have a great section on local customs. You’ll get a lot further and be a hell of a lot safer by showing respect and manners. They cost nothing after all.
Did you find this post helpful, entertaining, inspiring? Are you wondering how to get into travel blogging? What commandments do you travel by? I’d love you to leave me a comment in the box below, I reply to every single one. x
Hi! I’m keen to start up a family travel blog as live for my holidays with my lovely family and am lucky to go on some amazing adventures as we are both teachers so get a good amount of holidays! Do you have any tips on where to start? Did you just start with this web page or did you start with instagram? Any advice would be greatly received! Thanks Karen x
Brilliant post!! Yep I can totally relate to all these commandments – taking photos of EVERYTHING is a goddamn life saver for blog posts! Great post ☺️
That picture in Greece is just breath taking! Love your work x
Hannah Silverman says
Great post, very inspiring and what a gorgeous pic under commandment number 8! I would add Thou Shalt Be Adventurous – don’t be afraid to taste a spider in Siem Reap or zip line across Thai jungles, these experiences can become some of your most interesting stories.
Hannah Silverman says
I’ve got some fun travel stories too over on Not in Kansas Anymore. Would love you to check them out if you don’t mind the shameless plug! http://notinkansastravel.wordpress.com/
Luxury Villa for Rent says
Hi Jess. Some absolutely fantastic tips here. Bloggers – take note!
Best wishes, Alex
Thanks for your kind comment Alex! Glad you enjoyed the post and hope other bloggers can take advice from it ! 🙂 Jess x
Elle Croft says
Fantastic piece. I agree with them all, and especially like number one (it’s surprising how few people actually do this) and, of course, number eight.
Have a great time in Sardinia. I hear nothing but praise for it.
Thanks lovely, of course research is key! I always think you need to be a bit of a geek at heart to be a blogger 😉 fortunately for me I am! Am very excited for my trip, you’ll be able to read all about it soon. Stay in touch lovely 🙂 Jess x