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10 Travel Blogger Myths & Truths

Travel Blogger Myths & Truths

Since I got such great feedback from everyone on my 15 Questions I Get Asked Most As A Travel Blogger post, I wanted to write a post that addressed myths I've been approached with during my 2 years of Travel Blogging, along with the aligning blatant truths for each one.

These are my personal opinions in response to comments I've directly received whether it's from fellow bloggers, followers, friends or family about Travel Blogging. Some may be encouraging, others discouraging but either way, I'm being absolutely honest!

Welcome to the reality of being a Travel Blogger!

1. You Have To Quit Your Job

First of all, you better not quit your job! You may see those full time Travel Bloggers where traveling is their job but that's most likely less than 5% (or even 1%?) of all Travel Bloggers. Most of us have jobs and still manage to travel and create content. I'm one of the most Type-A people I know, but I do know people like to fully commit and I respect that! But make sure you know what you're getting into. You expend a lot of money in the beginning being a Travel Blogger and usually nothing comes in. If you do want to quit to travel, make sure you have a lot of money saved up and a backup plan for if or when it falls apart. If you're more the cautious type, start by chronicling your weekend getaways, take a vacation and photograph it, then write about it. It's absolutely possible to do this with a job!


2. You Need To Spend Thousands On A Camera

Like I said on this post, this is one of the top questions I get asked. I am now in fact a proud owner of a 'professional' camera thanks to my Dad. However, all my photos on Instagram and this blog are shot by my iPhone 6S Plus. I've said this before and I'll say it again - it's all about the editing skills! My favorite and only editing app I use is Snapseed. So no, if you want to start Travel Blogging, you don't have to go thousands into debt from the get go. Just use your smartphone!


3. You Have To Travel Far

Not at all! What you may see are Travel Bloggers traveling far to exotic locations all the time but most of us don't. A lot of us live in destination cities and can post all day of photos from our own neighborhood. If not, you're an hour drive or a quick train ride away from a staycation that you can write about and photograph. Nobody truly pays attention to where you're from and aren't going to say, "you're not a real Travel Blogger since you don't travel 5,000 miles". They all just love a good photo.


4. You Have To Have A Bikini Body

As much as I would love to have a bikini body and stand under a waterfall alone somewhere exotic for that perfect Instagram photo, I don't. Absolutely not throwing shade on those girls; they look beautiful and I'm not one of those anti-bikini people at all. I'm just trying to encourage those that don't have a bikini body to pursue Travel Blogging & Photography. I occasionally feature myself in photos but the majority are scenery and hey, that's worked out pretty well for me, if I say so myself! So there you go, I'm basically living proof that you can still 'make it' without posing in a bikini.


5. You'll Get Rich Being A Travel Blogger

Nope. Just nope.

Ok fine, I'll elaborate. You have to go into debt before you get rich when blogging. I'm assuming it's the same across all bloggers. You go into 'debt' spending money on hotels, flights, blog theme, a logo, etc - and don't forget, your time is worth money. With an over-saturation of bloggers, brands can be picky in addition to getting away with not paying as much as they used to. You may see people blogging as a full time career and leaving their 9-5 jobs. Sure, that's possible. But that doesn't mean they're rich. Blogging is extremely unstable. For example, in May 2017 I made $0 in revenue. But June came around and I made the most I've ever made in the past 2 years.

6. You Get Free Hotels And/Or Trips All The Time

I'll elaborate more about this on #8 but no, not all of my hotel stays are complimentary. Especially in the beginning of my blogging 'career', I didn't have any free stays. I think a few months into blogging, I got a $30 "media rate discount", haha. As a former Director of Sales & Marketing at a big-box hotel, I know that a $30 discount is basically a joke. But you know what? I gracefully took the discount and blew their mind with my photos and content. So much so they offered other stays at their several locations in the future. But my point is, no I don't get free hotels all the time. I would say 50/50 even though people assume it's 90/10.

If you're starting to work with hotels, here's a popular post I wrote on How To Negotiate Free Stays At Hotels that includes an e-mail template. 


7. Your Photos Are Always Perfect

I appreciate it so much when I receive compliments on my photo but it's so far from the truth. For 1 photo I've decided to upload onto Instagram, there's at least 50 variations (sometimes more!) of it. And no, the uploaded photo does not look anything like the original photo! I've edited it to look perfect in my eyes. Yes, the location and beauty of the place is real. But no, the final photos you see are not how it was taken.


8. You Have Brands Waiting In Line To Work With You

This one is laughable. Really, laughable. If I was honest and told you how many brands work with me in comparison to how many I've approached or bid on, you would feel sorry for me. Oh and let alone the amount of brands that actually respond in general! As far as brands that reach out to me, 90% of them are strange brands that want to guest blog for you and attach shady links. And, if I added the fact that I'm extremely picky with who I work with, this myth is the Queen of all myths. The reality is that brands don't come flocking to micro-influencers. I get rejected all the time, so don't take it personally.

9.  You Have The Best & Easiest "Job"

When people tell me I have the best job, I'm not as offended because I kind of do. But when people say it's the easiest job, I get pretty offended. Sure, it's not the stereotypical 9-5 office job (which I once had!) and you're technically your own boss. They say things like, "Ugh, I'd take your job any day!". But if people knew how unstable and time-consuming this was, they wouldn't be so envious. To start, you don't have a stable paycheck (see #5). You have no benefits (insurance? Psh). You have nobody matching your 401K (retirement). You may get free goodies, transportations or hotels but that doesn't pay for your bills. Most of the time, editing photos and writing up a blog takes hours. And god forbid the company you're working with sends you 50 revisions. See what I mean?

10. You Need To Have 500K Followers To Be Successful

I'm not sure how you personally define 'successful' but I'm going to say this is a myth. The first couple of brands that worked with me did so way before I hit 10k followers on Instagram and less than 2,000 unique views on this blog. At that time, no they didn't pay me. But they invested in me enough to send their products and spend shipping fees on me. Being a former small retail business owner, I can tell you sending products and shipping isn't something I would lightly do. They may not be physically handing you cash but their products are a form of cash so you need to respect that.

As for me right now, with around 70k social reach (all platforms combined), I do a decent amount of business. No, definitely can't live here in Los Angeles with just social media income but yes, I can pay some bills and I get to collaborate with some amazing brands, which is more than I ever thought I would be able to do through Life in Wanderlust.
 
♡♡♡

What do you think about these Travel Blogging Myths? Do you have any that you would add? 

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Travel Blogger Myths & Truths

36 comments

  1. Thanks for giving more insight into the blogging world Kana! There are so many myths surrounding our industry, it is ridiculous. xoxo, nano

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    1. Aww yay! I'm glad I was able to help - although I'm sure you do JUST fine Nano! xo

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  2. Love love love!! I loved the first one "You better not quit your job!" & blogging ain't easy! Kudos to you and all the bloggers that are always generating great contents! xo

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  3. Good points indeed. I just returned from 4 days in Prague, for work (a magazine and another travel website I work fot) and someone I know snorted and went 'pff, like that's work'.... yeah, 'cause when I take a holiday I spend 17 waking hours going from one place to another, meeting locals for interview, reviewing hotels, seeing 10 museums, 20 churches and keeping to a scedule to see many things and the squeeze the most out of the 4 days. Vacation? I think not!! And I agree that people shouldn't feel like quitting their jobs, I mean: what if you have a nice job with a great carreer path. Don't throw that away. For me travel blogging went hand in hand with me being a (freelance) journalist, so in time the blog expanded, but I have always had other writing and editing jobs. And I wouldn't want it any other way.
    PFF! Sorry for the looong comment, you just made some really valid points.

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    1. Esther! I LOVED reading this comment so don't apologize for the length! First of all, that's amazing you do freelance travel writing - I need to figure out how I can get into that! Second, YES I agree! Even just working for hotels or tourism boards, it's A LOT of work. I would never have the same schedule if it was my own time and A LOT less photo taking! High five, I totally agree with you! xo

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  4. Aww thanks, that's nice of you. I have a degree in jourbalism and do a lot more journalism than just travel writing. So I guess for me it's all 'part of the job', however I find that writing as a professio often raises eyebrows as people don't accept that it's an actual profession! (LOL, pass the coffee, I feel like could say so much about this!)

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    1. That's amazing! I respect Journalists a lot; their jobs are NOT like Bloggers and that sucks people question it!!!

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  5. what an awesome honest post! For me as a newbie in the travel blogging world, it was very insightful and helpful. Thank you, Kana!

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    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it! I always try to be honest :) xo

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  6. I love this! So true. Thank you for shedding light and wisdom on travel-blogging work. This is a much-needed reality check.

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :) xo

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  7. Kana, you hit the nail on the head. I think you can have an awesome blog when you are yourself. There is no reason to try to be somebody else (plus, it is super boring when other are doing the same thing). Can you elaborate on what you mean 70K social reach? Are you referring to social media channels or does that include page views? I am working hard on making more profits from my blog. The pageviews and Pinterest reach are going well but I still have long ways to go with other platforms.

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    1. Thanks Ruth, I appreciate it! When I talk about "social reach", I add up followers on each platform as well as monthly visitors to the blog! Hope that helps! xo

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  8. I laughed so hard about the bikini body myth. After having two kids, I am nowhere near having a bikini body. This post is so accurate. I'm a stay at home mom so technically I don't have an outside job but I would not be able to do what I'm doing if my husband didn't have a job. It was definitely a surprise for me how much it takes to keep the blog running. I'm definitely grateful for my husband who loves traveling as much as I do and who supports this dream of mine 100%.

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    1. Yes! It's so much harder and a time commitment than people think! That's great your husband supports you! xo

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  9. You hit the nail on the head and this has to be one of your best posts. Everyone has their own style and journey with blogging. The rules are there are no rules. #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Aww thanks Cherie! That means a lot coming from you! xo

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  10. Love this post! The honesty is great and I think all travel bloggers can relate to this. Good to know I'm not alone in dealing with these myths! :)

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    1. Thank you so much Sheree! I'm glad you find it honest and relatable! :0 xo

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  11. Great post! I laughed a little about the 50 variations of the same photo. I can attest to that - I have external hard drives full of those variations!

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    1. Haha right?! It always takes me FOREVER to pick out the final one even before editing!! xo

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  12. This is such a great and honest post. Thanks so much! xx Moira #flyawayfriday

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    1. Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed it Moira! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  13. Great photo and even better insights! It has been a learning process here, so glad to have found you and #FlyAwayFriday and the wonderful support of this blogger community.

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    1. Aww yay! I'm so glad you join us in the pod and on the link-up! xo

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  14. As a newbie whose been treated so kindly by you, I really appreciate this post! It is so encouraging and your honesty is refreshing. I love that you also don't forget us small folks and still comment and share our work. I especially thank you for the encouraging words regarding our photography!!

    Amands@veravise.com

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    1. Oh my gosh that's such a sweet comment, thank you so much Amanda! That made me so happy. I'm definitely not "big" by any means but I never forget I started off with 1 post and 5 followers that were all friends and family :D I love having this community and glad you enjoy being in it!!! xo

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  15. I'm still laughing at the "You have to have a bikini body" one. OMG, I would never even have started if that was the case! (I say as I sit here eating a bacon and egg sandwich). Great tips in here! And take most of my pics on my Google Pixel. Any ones that aren't great are due to my own ineptness as a photographer rather than the camera.

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    1. Hahaha bacon and egg sandwich YUMMM!! :D Ohhh is Google Pixel for Androids? xo

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  16. This is a great list. I'm glad more bloggers are being honest about what really goes into running a successful blog. My blog is only a year old but I read comments from bloggers saying they had a blog for 2 months and they don't have 100,000 followers yet. So many have unrealistic expectations. I didn't realize how important it is to network and self promote. The myth you just press publish and people will read it. Bisa

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    1. Yes! There's a lot of unrealistic goals as well as people wanting instant success. I'm glad you enjoyed the honesty! Thank you so much for stopping by Bisa! xo

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  17. Ahh all of these are SO true Kana. When I started my blog I wasn't working and had endless time to work on it and saw so much more growth but now I work full-time trying to juggle it all can be really difficult. People absolutely underestimate how much time you have to put into it... anyone who does it as a full-time career really is working full-time on it, I think some people just think they're constantly holidaying and posting a photo or two a day on social media! #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. I can totally relate! Even though my job is remote, it's still hard to maintain content every week or have photos or travel (whatever it is!). And yes - I always get the "I want your job!" and they have no idea what goes into blogging! Thanks for stopping by, Kate! xo

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  18. The myths drive me insane. I get those who think blogging sounds so sensational and want say I have the best job. Yes it can be, but they have no clue all the work behind the scenes. This is a good round-up!

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