I am a travel blogger who doesn’t travel full time; I receive a fair amount of queries from strangers on the internet and from people I know. Some questions are genuine, others are funny, few are annoying and creepy too!
Well, I may not be a celebrity or world-renowned travel blogger (yet), but social media DMs flood express hatred and a lot of love. After publishing vacaywork on January 1st 2022, I have come a long way.
This post is for those who want to know my life as a travel blogger and what I get often asked.
1. Are you making money as a Travel Blogger?
I am not minting money as a travel blogger as of June 2023, but my blog started earning small amounts at the end of the first year. And the second year has been better. So, if you want to know the exact amount on how much I earn, it is enough to pay for my domain name and my WordPress plan. Plus, I made a little profit over this.
I can safely now say I earn enough money to maintain my blog.
The bitter truth is most things in the world boil down to money. Indeed it is important. Fortunately, my travel expenses and lifestyle don’t depend on the travel blog. Ashrith and I both have the daily job we love; the travel blog is my secondary source of income.
The income is generated through affiliate links. Plus, I got two of my activities in Japan sponsored by a Japanese booking site. So, drop by drop, the pot is filling.
2. Which Travel Blogging Course have you taken?
None! When you go through a successful travel blogger’s website, most of them conduct travel blogging classes for which you must pay. If you go by the rule book, you must take these sessions, writing samples and get them approved, and hire SEO consultants. But I haven’t done any of these – I can’t afford all that!
As much as I love writing, I prefer to spend on travelling than travel blogging lessons. I am not running in any sprints or a marathon! I am here to walk for a longer time. Indeed, the best part of travelling is wandering on the beautiful streets without any particular destination.
The truth is I am a hands-on person!
I love to read and learn. Not to boast, but I love figuring out things by myself.
This means I read a lot on technical things like SEO, Keywords, Core Web Vitals, broken links, backlinks on free resources available online and try it out by myself.
These things need your attention, effort and, most importantly, passion! – I got it all. So, I put effort and go in the direction the effort takes me. Once I gain a big chunk of profit from the travel blog, I may (or may not) hire an SEO consultant. But until then, vacaywork will be one “woman” show with the help of online experts who provide free guidance.
3. I also want to become a Travel Blogger. Can I?
Yes! Why not! But let me tell you, it isn’t as easy as it said.
First, you’ll need to discover your passion for travelling. Without travelling, you can’t start a travel blog.
Go on trips that take you out of your comfort zone. You should rethink your travel passion if you whine more than you enjoy. Check if you are on an organised tour where people hold your hand and show you around. Or you are exploring the place by yourself. It is only when you travel by yourself you learn and will have a lot of stories to tell. Sitting in an AC bus and following an itinerary crafted by an agent can’t really show you the essence of a place.
So if someone is a convenient seeker and looking for a vacation that can be put on social media, they should never think of becoming a travel blogger.
So now what?
Once you realise you enjoy travelling, think of sharing stories you collected. Embarking on the journey of a travel blog, be it for passion or profession, is a breeze nowadays. You can have it up and running in 30 minutes even if you don’t know the head and tail of blogging, like how I was blissfully unaware of the website wizardry required to make my mark in the digital realm!
But keeping it alive, relevant, witty, wacky needs a lot of work
Starting something doesn’t take time. Whether it is someone joining a gym or Yoga – it takes only few seconds to join. It is the consistency and dedication with a lot of passion is what it takes you to be a travel blogger.
Unless you have a giant trust fund in your name and wealth for the next generations, you may want to start the blog on your own without hiring web designers- they are mostly expensive. Running a travel blog is way different than posting on social media.
You may be good at writing, but maintaining the travel blog adhering to tech conditions isn’t easy. You constantly need to learn, unlearn, write, rewrite. And be consistent, stop running behind money from the day 1 you establish your travel blog.
4. Can you help me design my website?
Sure, why not. But you must know that I am not a web designer. So my knowledge on the topic is still growing. I am of greater help to you in travelling than creating your website. Let us say you are in love with the way vacaywork is written and how it looks; I am more than happy to help you to start your own. But….
You must do your homework before approaching me! or anyone else for that matter.
I was thrilled when people sought my assistance in launching their websites, but my excitement quickly waned when one person asked, “Hey, what should I name my website?”
I was prepared to answer questions on what SEO is, how to set up Google search console, how to structure your paragraphs and so on. But, asking what should they name for 20 minutes was too much!
They had absolutely no clue about their niche! If you have a clear idea about your website’s purpose, I’m here to lend a hand. If you can brainstorm three or four potential names, I’ll gladly provide some guidance. But please, don’t expect me to jump on a video call while you’re still exploring the first tab!
What are some useful resources for starting a travel blog?
- Nomadic Matt’s blog on starting the new travel blog
- Mariah Magazine – for beginners to learn on SEO
- Yoast SEO blogs – Once you fairly know what SEO is.
- Articles by WP Beginner and WordPress forum to start your website on Website
5. You now must be using Chat GPT to write your travel content.
Nope! Chat GPT can’t write how I felt in a place. For example, the agony I felt at Hiroshima or Dachau can only be explained by me. The joy of my mother sliding on the summer slide in Austria can be expressed by me, not AI. The warmth I felt with Iranian hospitality dumb things we did in Greece – AI can’t define it.
Can AI replace human job?
Have you watched the movie “Hidden Figures” where people working at NASA are threatened to lose their jobs because everything is getting computerised?
When calculators were invented, people said, “Mathematicians will lose their job.”
When AutoCAD was introduced, people thought architects would lose their jobs.
AI is a helpful companion in the grand journey of human existence, but let’s not rely on it entirely. The fount of creativity must spring from within you. Let your brain do its thing, let your heart overflow with passion, and keep that mind wide open to thrilling escapades. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, AI can lend a hand with ideas aplenty. However, bear in mind that Chat GPT won’t be the one to pen the depths of your emotions.
6. Your blogs have a personal touch
The most common review I get is this; it makes me smile every time. Though I didn’t start with the intention of it, all my articles do have this. I write what I feel. If I didn’t enjoy a place, I tell. I admit that the food was bad in the cafe where I ate. If I thought a place wasn’t worth my time – fearlessly, I announced it.
I actually read more now than before I started writing the blog. I can identify “Lazy Journalism” now, where writers describe a place only with adjectives like “beautiful-marvellous-fantastic-breathtaking” instead of how they feel.
There is no point in writing similar content that tells people the “Best Things to do” I make sure I say to my readers why those are the best things to do and why it secreted happy hormones in me.
I am not here to create content that can get me famous! As much as I want to make money out of my travel blog, I can never deviate from speaking out the truth. So I have no intention of pleasing anyone and sugarcoating things. I didn’t enjoy Krems in Wachau valley – And I say it.
7. Nobody reads blogs; become a Youtuber.
If I earned a rupee every time I got a suggestion to become a YouTuber, I could have easily booked my flight tickets to Madagascar (I dream of going there almost every day).
There is nothing wrong with becoming a travel YouTuber. But you must be passionate about it. I want to live in the moment. If I become a YouTuber, I can’t do that – I must concentrate on content creation while there
instead of enjoying the moment. My passion is writing. And writing my travel stories is like reviving those special moments.
So what should you do in travel industry?
Some travellers may say, “If everyone is writing, you make videos. If many are making documentaries, you make short videos. Do what others aren’t doing.”
I don’t agree with this – You must do what you want, give it some time to realise if you are good at it. You can’t force yourself to do something just because you must be different from others. Let the uniqueness birth organically.
If you are passionate about something and are ready to put in the effort, you can always achieve success. Don’t solely depend on content creation for money as a beginner. Have primary income and give your content time to grow.
8. Your Instagram Stories are more interesting than your blogs.
Hmmmm ok! It is hard for me to digest that people still believe Instagram /Snapchat or whatever social media short stories are blogs!
Think of a novel made into a movie. Not all of us can read the big giant complex story; sometimes, movies are simpler and easy to watch. But the beauty lies in the book. The writer explains in detail that a director may be unable to capture everything in 2hrs.
So, Instagram stories are movies. Blogs are novels. When I plan my trip, I don’t go by Instagram reels, stories or shots. But I love to watch long documentaries and read good blogs instead.
9. Your blogs are very detailed
Another compliment I often receive is this.
“God is in the details”American Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
I was introduced to his design principles when I was 19. Though I didn’t understand much back then, I knew what he meant when I graduated with my Bachelor of Architecture. Detailing is what makes something useful and brings life. It applies to all corners of one’s life. So I pay attention to detail, whether my presentation for my students in the classroom or that toilet I designed (I love designing bathrooms). And, of course, as a travel blogger.
Is giving out too much information bad?
Yes – You should never spoon-feed someone. But adding details to your stories doesn’t mean you are giving out too much information. If I give someone a point-to-point itinerary stating, “Wake up at 7, eat there at 8, spend 2 hours in here and then have lunch there at 1.30”, I would be spoon feeding – Which I don’t. So I don’t consider “detailing travel stories” as spoon-feeding.
10. Do you journal when you travel?
Someone asked me if I walk on the streets with a book and a pen in hand to note down points, especially after they read my story on “45 Facts about Austria.”
The truth is no, I don;t walk around making notes.
I am a curious creature and a keen observer.
In fact I don’t even click pictures thinking – This needs tog o on blog. If I start doing it, I will loose the joy of experiencing. I would be living in the future of writing a blog, not rejoicing the present.
After reading my travel tales and glimpsing my photos, you’ll realize I despise lugging stuff around! A tiny sling bag for my phone, AirPods, and cash is all I need. In the grand scheme, I detest overloading my trolley too. I’ve mastered the art of packing light – So carrying a book/laptop/tablet isn’t my thing.
I don’t write down or maintain a journal during my travels. But I do keep entry tickets, pretty looking bills from cafes (I use them as bookmarks). Not boasting, but I am gifted with an eidetic memory. I clearly remember on which day my boyfriend (current husband) made me wait for 30 minutes where.
So I usually remember where and what I ate. If I forget it (which is rare), I would have pictures on my iPhone that show the location of that image taken – Problem solved!
11. Quit your job and take travel full time
This may be the most common question I get asked. I receive a lot of DMs where people share videos of those couples quitting their jobs to travel forever.
Ahem! I don’t think we will ever travel full-time for several reasons. Firstly, we both love our jobs. Secondly, earning through touring and as a travel blogger is possible, but it takes time. So until then, the kind of lifestyle we both expect and want to have gets disrupted if we become digital nomads.
9-5 job is underrated by most. You really don’t have to quit your job to travel
Let us say we made a ton of money- yet no money is ever enough. Plus, we are very much connected to our roots here in India. Our hometown, parents and my dogs – I may go on a three months trip sometime in the future, but I will be back in my abode in India.
12. Get my Visa and Make my Itinerary.
I was surprised when people started asking me if I provide Visa services. Maybe they ask because I write in detail on how to get Visa from XYZ– I know the difficulty of getting travel approval to a foreign country with a weaker passport. It looks like guiding people to get Visa isn’t enough, and they want me to do it for them – This is really expecting me to spoon-feed people, which I won’t do.
The buzz of the itinerary!
When I established vacaywork, I didn’t add many clauses on my contact page.
“Any queries are welcome about the places we have been to. We will try to help you on the destinations we haven’t touched yet.” This is what the website’s contact page said, assuming folks would ask for some suggestions on the itinerary from a travel blogger like me.
But the destiny had it’s own plans!
“Can you do itinerary for my trip to Jordan” – Though I have everything explained in my blog.
“Can you book flights for me? ” – Despite giving links on my blog on where to buy tickets.
“Will you book my accommodations?”- Even after explaining about major neighbourhoods for tourists to stay along with accommodation recommendations.
“I want to write, but I don’t have time – Can you write behalf of me.” – OK bye.
So don’t ask me these!
These questions are relevant when you talk to a travel agent – I am a travel blogger who shares information and stories. Plus, itineraries and travel plans are personal;.
You must research and craft it according to your taste/capacity/willingness to spend. If you can’t do it, it is better to go to famous tour organisers who can take you on bus trips where everything is arranged. The only thing a tourist who would opt for such a trip has to do is get ready to come and sit on the bus.
It isn’t the question of whether it is right or wrong – What and how you want to experience the country is a question you need to answer.
13. You travel because you are an Architect!
As an architect and history teacher, I am exposed to some unusual/unique places that non-architects would be unaware of. But does it mean all those who travel are architects?
If we keep reasoning like this, only mountaineers should travel to Iceland or Peru. Belgium is meant for Chocolate manufacturers only. Jordan must be explored only by treasure hunters. Only Archeologists must travel to Egypt – Right?
One must stay curious and open – despite their age, profession, gender, and nationality. Otherwise, they end up without a place to go on this earth.
14. You travel through India before going to foreign.
Is there a universal rule I’m not aware of that states one must explore their own country entirely before venturing into foreign lands? If citizens from massive countries like Russia, China, USA, Canada, Algeria, Argentina, and India (in no particular order of size) decided to fully explore their nation before embarking on international trips, they would probably reach the age of 50 by the time they’re done!
And let’s face it, it’s practically impossible to see everything in any country, so it’s a never-ending quest.
It’s certainly beneficial to know your own land before delving into others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel abroad in the meantime!
By the way, just so you know, I’ve traveled to over 16 states and 2 union territories in India out of the total 28 states and 8 union territories. I’m just lacking some amazing pictures for my blog, but I’m gradually connecting with photographers who can contribute, allowing me to finally start documenting my Indian adventures since 2000.
15. The blog attracts creeps!
Something that I had never expected was to receive creep emails through the fill-in forms of my blog! So many times, people text me saying they liked reading through some posts, and now they want to chat with me on WhatsApp! All of them are men from my own country. Like my buddy Srikanth says, “In our nation, every app, including Google Pay, linked-in is used as a dating app!
The most annoying thing people ask – “Stop travelling and have kids.” You can travel only because you aren’t a mother yet.”
What do you think of a Travel Blogger? Let me know in the comment section below.