Why You DON’T need to start a blog to travel!

It seems blogging has become quite the trend these days. Everyone and their mom is writing a blog about one thing or the other, but today I’m here to tell you that:

You DON’T need to start a travel blog just because you’re going on a trip!

I know it sounds a bit hypocritical coming from me – I travel and blog for a living so I’m certainly not one to follow my own advice – but hear me out.

A while ago I was chatting with a friend who had started a blog in the months leading up to her big trip and she had gained a bit of a readership. If you’re a blogger you know the thrill that comes with watching your audience grow and your pageviews climb higher, but this can also create a bit of a beast to feed.

Why You DON'T need to start a blog to travel! Pink nails on computer

For my friend, posting had been easy while she was at home, and it was a great way to build up her excitement about what was to come, but chatting with her all these months later she was hating it. “I’m in paradise but the other day I locked myself in the room and didn’t go out so that I could bang out a few posts.”

WHAAAAT?! You travelled all this way to have this amazing adventure and you’re locking yourself in some crusty hostel with a squeaky fan for who exactly? This is YOUR trip! Do I need to state that a bit louder?

THIS IS YOUR TRIP!!!

I read and hear about this far too often. Travellers turned bloggers (and bloggers turned travellers) who forgo exploring a place so they can sit in a cafe pounding at their keyboard or editing photos they snapped a few hours prior. Snap out of it!

Do that stuff when you’re home!

Travels are precious and they are often limited. The average person doesn’t go on a 2-year round the world excursion. Most people I know do a 1 week getaway to a Caribbean island, a 4 week whirlwind tour of Europe, or perhaps a 2 month jaunt around Southeast Asia if they’re feeling really adventurous – and that’s if they even travel at all!

If you’ve worked long and hard to save up for this once in a life-time trip, tell me, why exactly would you want to spend those precious days sitting in front of your computer?

Save that for when you get home. You should be out there enjoying your trip!

I have another friend who did the smart thing, in my opinion. She also started a blog when she first set out to Southeast Asia, and she was really excited about documenting her adventures, but the fact of the matter was that she only had 6 weeks there. Her first couple of days were fairly active as she posted about the flight over to Asia, arriving in the chaos that is Bangkok and riding a taxi into the city, but by the fifth day her posts had started dwindling and soon stopped altogether. You know what? I was happy for her! Not because she’d stopped blogging, but because she had realized that it was more important to be out there enjoying her adventure with friends than for her to be staring at her laptop. And that’s the point that I’m trying to make.

Who are you actually writing for? Strangers who may scroll through looking at photos and be done in 30 seconds? Acquaintances who you don’t particularly keep in touch with anymore? Friends who are busy with their own lives?

If you want to keep your family updated, shoot them an email at the end of the day summing up the day’s outing. And if you really must stay connected, why don’t you tackle an easier form of social media. You can use Instagram to share your photos of temples, beaches, and spicy food. You can use Facebook to create photo albums of your trip. Or you can even use Twitter to share little updates and insights throughout the day. None of these will require hours of writing, photo editing, formatting, and then sharing the way blogging would. (Trust me, I know how demanding it is to write a blog post.)

Now, before you come at me with a pitchfork in one hand and a torchlight in the other, let me clarify:

I’m not saying you shouldn’t start a blog at all.

I’ve been blogging for around 5 years now (if you count the good ol’ Blogspot days) and for me it started out as a hobby. I loved coming back from a trip and having a space where I could write about all the weird encounters and lost in translation moments, but I never blogged while I was on a trip. There’s no time for that when you only have 2 weeks in, say, Argentina, and you want to drink wine, go dancing, eat churrasco and learn to dance tango. By the time you get back to your hostel at the end of the day you’re wiped, and let me assure you, no one back home is waiting with bated breath for you to press publish. 

And now I’m moving on to you all you professional social media mavens out there. I know I’m starting to rant, but I’ve already opened this can of worms so I may as well keep going. Another thing that bothers me is when “professional bloggers” or “professional YouTubers” become so fixated with staying connected to the online world that they forget why they’ve even travelled so far – to experience a destination!!!

I was watching a YouTube video the other day and this person had travelled all the way to one of the most majestic mountain ranges in the world (on a press trip, mind you), and when presented with the opportunity to go on a 3-day hiking adventure, they turned it down because they “couldn’t go offline that long”. WHAAAAT?!?! Then why are you even here at all?!

Even if blogging / photographing / filming is our job, we can’t become obsessed with being online. So many of us have taken the joy out of travel because the whole experience revolves around The Internet. We get frustrated when there’s only a 2 bar signal in our hotel room, so then we ask the manager to move us to a room that’s closer to the modem, and then when that’s not possible we storm out in search of a cafe that has good Wi-fi… Now doesn’t that sound familiar? It ain’t pretty, but I’m certain quite a few of us have found ourselves in that very predicament. I understand that there may be deadlines to contend with and emails to answer, but let’s not forget to disconnect every once in a while and actually enjoy the world around us.

Now the floor is yours.

Join the Conversation

50 Comments

  1. says: Sarah

    At first I was thinking “WHAT?!” And a little bit of me thought maybe this was an attempt to knock off some bloggers out there XD

    But I understand completely. I’ve recently started an expat blog about life living and working abroad- I’m always taking weekend trips to new places and would NEVER blog while I’m away! I’ll edit the photos perhaps beginning of the following week, and get around to typing something at some point. I don’t have a following and I’m doing it really for myself: now it’s not the best blog but after I’ve lived and worked in several different countries I think it’ll be rather good!!

    I’m lucky as I don’t mind not having signal while on a trip. It gets me out exploring and talking with locals!

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s one of the nice things about being an expat, you have more time to explore and there’s no guilt about having those lazy weekends were you just stay home. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, I just checked out your blog and I’m loving your posts from the Maldives! You chose a pretty nice spot to call home.

  2. says: Jim

    Great read and oh so true. I have noticed quite a few “professional bloggers” as of late spending so much time online and churning out posts that I really question if they are still getting the benefits of travel or are merely going place to place and as you say, locking themselves away and not experiencing the destination for what it is. I see too many travel bloggers trying so hard to get content out there, that they are forgetting why they do this in the place and as a result, posting content that really isn’t all that authentic.

    I know we are all desperate to keep up to date with what is going on online, and bloggers are trying to fulfill that demand, but at what cost is it at? I think taking a step back, enjoying yourself and writing during serious down time, not shunning 3 day hikes because you can’t be offline for that long, would go along why to better content that is more authentic to be honest.

    Great article, something everyone can find useful

    Jim

    http://www.busy-living.com

    1. says: Audrey

      It’s a difficult balance to strike – experiencing a destination + generating content. I can’t say I have an answer to this happy medium, but I definitely don’t think time should be wasted in front of a computer when you’re on a trip that’s all too brief.

  3. Great advice. It’s impossible to blog well while on the road. On my upcoming travels I plan to alternate traveling with staying in one place to work. Queuing up some scheduled posts should give the appearance that I’m always online, even when I’m deep in the jungle.

  4. A very thought-provoking post and I agree with many of the points you raise here! Though admittedly, I am currently on a backpacking trip for 1 year (or longer, who knows!) and am blogging while I am travelling. However, the primary reason I am blogging is for myself, one day I hope to look back on all of my adventures and thoughts I have written and be able to reminisce and be proud of what I did/saw/achieved. If I don’t capture some of these experiences and moments now, I’ll have forgotten many of them in a few months or a few years time! At the same time I am updating my friends and family back home with what I’m up to (though its on a rather irregular basis!).

    For me, blogging is fun. I don’t care that my posts are very sporadic (and at least a good few weeks behind where I actually am) because I am getting out and about and exploring. I enjoy the process of writing for my blog and editing posts, I definitely don’t write every day and usually its during downtime, when I just feel like chilling out for a couple hours. I certainly don’t avoid experiences for the mere reason of needing to stay in and update my blog, or that I can’t disconnect – I agree that surely that completely defeats the purpose of travelling! Though, I wonder if I would have a different attitude if I were earning money from my blog? I don’t know.

    I once read someone’s opinion on a blog post that you’re a bad travel blogger if you aren’t posting within a day or two of being somewhere, and I think thats total rubbish – surely no matter when you are writing about an experience, whether it be hours, days, weeks, months or years, does’t change the validity of that experience?!? I thought that was a nonsensical thing to say.

    Sorry for such a long-winded comment! I guess this post was a worthwhile reminder for me to keep in mind why I blog, so thanks for that ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. says: Audrey

      Haha, who has time to post within a day or two?! I’m not much of a chronological blogger. When it comes to posting, I tend to jump continents and mix things up a lot; sometimes you’ll hear about my recent travels, other times I’ll be reminiscing about a trip I took a year ago. I think there really are no rules when it comes to travel blogging, you just have to do what feels right for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wishing you all the best on your year long round-the-world adventure!

  5. Very true. Travel will always come first, well and truly before my blog although I do really enjoy writing and photography too. My blog is important to me as it is my creative outlet and I love the blogging community (most of the time) but I will go offline for days and not worry because I am not making my living off it. I also don’t get why bloggers would spend thousands of dollars on their blogs – I would rather spend that money on travel! Blogging should be fun and if it ends up holding you back from real life, then you should stop doing it

  6. says: ChinaMatt

    I started blogging as a writing outlet. That’s all. I just happen to enjoy writing about travel. But when I’m on actual vacations, I don’t post–I set up posts beforehand so I don’t have to make time for it while I’m having fun.

  7. says: Rachel of Hippie in Heels

    I feel ya! I considered the conference in Sri Lanka, but I”m not sure it’s my style. I take photos with my phone, I write a few posts once a week and schedule them out… I think because I don’t take blogging so seriously, it comes across in my writing and that’s why readers looking for India info come back to read more. My trips are about the experience, not blogging. It’s a second thought.

    1. says: Audrey

      I hear ya. I think something definitely changes when you go from doing something as a hobby to a job. I find that the creative process isn’t something that can be forced or rushed, but when it’s your job, well, you kind of need to push yourself the way you would a regular 9-5.

  8. says: Amy

    As well as potentially spoiling peoples’ travels, I think this is why you see so many of what I consider filler posts. Packing lists, “Why X rocks/sucks”, “Tips for solo travellers”, “My top 10 Xs”, “Here’s 15 photos of place X without any commentary”. They’re INCREDIBLY repetitive, but also take about 10 minutes to churn out. Unless you’re packing something new and exciting, or have come up with a truly revolutionary way to fund your travels, no one benefits from these posts because so many identical ones already exist.

    People feel the pressure to post something all the time, rather than focusing on something good. And if they’re limiting what they get up to on their travels as well, then that’s so sad for them.

  9. says: Katie On On

    True that. Very well said.

    This is something I’ve been thinking A TON about lately so it’s refreshing to read your post! I saved for the last 5 years to start my RTW in a month. I created a blog and am ‘getting into the life of a blogger,’ perhaps as an outlet to keep my busy as I’ve never NOT had a full-time job. The more I think about it though, the more I realize you need to be a special type of person to be a successful blogger… virally social, a passionate writer and insanely focused.

    There are so many ways to make money abroad (just did a post on that too :)) and blogging is only ONE of those ways. Thinking hard about your skills and what you actually want to get out of your trip is essential before slaving away on posts, social media and more while the world literally passes you by.

    1. says: Audrey

      That’s so exciting that you’re about to set out on your big trip, Katie! Wishing you the best on your adventure, and I hope you find a happy balance of travel and also documenting your adventure. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. says: Sam

    There are definitely days when I wish I wasn’t blogging about my travels. Sometimes, I find myself in a kind of meta-space while experiencing something for the first time on my travels, thinking “how am I going to blog about this?” rather than just enjoying the experience for what it is.

  11. says: Franca

    I couldn’t agree more Audrey, if you want to start a blog and travel at the same time is perfectly fine but it’s not mandatory, not at all. Sometimes I feel like my obligations of writing new content and doing other things to do in order to maintain our blog kind of takes some time away from being out there exploring, but it’s fine because I chose to do so. The online obsession you were talking about is familiar indeed!

  12. says: Rebekah

    I love the honesty- some professional travel bloggers are wicked annoying when they talk about their life of travel and their constant need to be on their computer…. how do those mix? I still mostly blog so my mom knows I’m not dead ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. says: Rachel

    I like this ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m a casual blogger at the best of times and apart from Facebook don’t do social media, but when I go away somewhere, I go away completely. And if there is no phone or internet signal? Even better! So many better things to do with your time. People are forgetting the very reasons they started out adventuring in the first place. That is really sad.

  14. says: Lily

    Hey Audrey, I’m going to disagree with you on this, at least in some cases. Traveling can be exhausting, especially when you’re solo and way out of your comfort zone. Sometimes a day in the hostel can be a really good way to recharge. I find that if I blog during my “recharging” days, I’m able to process things a bit better and organize my thoughts.. It’s more of an exercise for my sanity than anything else. Of course, turning down an opportunity because of no wifi isn’t smart. But I think the downtime to write can be a good thing (but that’s just me).

    1. says: Audrey

      Totally fine to disagree. ๐Ÿ™‚ Although I think those lazy days in the hostel tend to happen more frequently when people are on longer trips and they have a bit more time to spare. If you only have a 1 week vacation, it’s less likely you’ll want to be indoors blogging because the countdown is on.

  15. Awesome post Audrey! I’ve travelled as a non-blogger and as a blogger and before I went on my last trip around Asia, my first time as a blogger, I thought I’d be able to blog as I went, but thankfully, being in such amazing places and often without wifi I soon found that this wasn’t to be! I now have so many experiences that I can enjoy writing about now that I’m not on the road. I’m happy that I didnt pressure myself to waste valuable travel days holed up in my room rushing posts.
    I’m also glad that you’ve written about this because it has worried me that I’m not posting ‘live’ from the locations I’m writing about! But a lot of my favourite bloggers do the same so i shouldn’t worry. ๐Ÿ™‚
    What’s it like for you guys when you’re on press trips or getting sponsored, do you feel that you have to post immediately and miss out on experiences because you’re working? Or do you ever feel pressure to post quickly because others on the same trip might post really fast and then cover the same stuff as you?

    1. says: Audrey

      I’m definitely not one to post ‘live’ on the blog. It happens sometimes, but most of the time things aren’t in chronological order and I’m just writing about whatever destination / memory / experience popped into mind that day. I personally find that I need time to process my thoughts on a place.

      To answer your question about media trips, I do provide live social media coverage when I’m on one, but there usually isn’t very much time at the end of the day to write a post. Press trips often have jammed packed schedules that have you up at sunrise and back in bed close to midnight, so there isn’t much time to get on the laptop. I’ll usually start writing about the destination within a week of the trip. Tourism boards will generally give you a timeframe for when they want to see content go live – this could be within a month of the trip, or sometimes within six months. It really varies.

  16. says: Renuka

    Your point is right, but I think every traveler should be a blogger as well. I know I am contradicting your thought! My point is that blogging makes you a better traveler and also a better photographer. I don’t think it’s stressful to blog while you are traveling. I did it quite successfully on my one month trip through Sikkim and Darjeeling (Northeast India).

  17. I had a recent conversation with an acquaintance and was also going to write about it…why in the world would you work and save up for a trip, quit your job, leave to travel….and then spending all your time working on the computer?? It’s so not worth it!

  18. says: Justine

    I completely agree with you. The only reason I started a travel blog was because I love to travel and I love to write. It’s something that I enjoy doing with my time, therefore it made sense to me. When I started my blog I was traveling long term and traveling slowly. So I never felt that my writing was taking away from my travel experiences. I’m also under no illusions that I’m a professional travel blogger, which I think is important. But, if I would have only had a few weeks or months to travel, I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t have spent my time stressing about publishing regular posts. It’s true that most people don’t get the opportunity to travel very often. And it is a shame to feel obligated to blog while on the road when you can always just write about your travels when you get home! But everyone’s different so you’ve just gotta do what’s right for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Agreed! I’ve always felt this way! Sometimes I also get so wrapped up in living “in the moment” that I forget to take any pictures at all and get home from a trip thinking, “darn it!” But I’m a firm believer that we forge much stronger memories of an experience if we don’t have a camera and feel the need to look at everything from behind a lens, and the same goes for traveling and disconnecting from computers in general, too. So glad you brought this up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. says: Taylor

    I guess I agree and disagree. Don’t tell someone not to start a blog at all! That’s totally up to them. But finding balance is really crucial and if you’re taking a short trip, then make notes in your journal and deal with the burden of writing and editing and formatting when you get home. As an expat it’s really easy to go explore for a weekend and then have a great post to write about during the week. But you better believe when I went to Italy for 8 days I didn’t spend a single day on my laptop in the hotel room. On an extended sojourn there is definitely more reasons to have downtime or days inside but I agree it should NEVER get in the way of actually experiencing the place you’re traveling to.

  21. I totally agree Audrey! I’ve only been blogging for a year. Yay!
    Anyway, I went on my family holiday to Asia for 4 weeks this summer and I didn’t blog about it whilst I was there. I wrote a few posts BEFORE I left and released them periodically. I sent out exactly 1 Tweet per day and 1 FB “message” and that was that. It must have been effective though as I was invited to be an expert “speaker” at a Twitter conference which I turned down. I mean, I was on holiday with my husband and child. I wanted to enjoy it. They seemed surprised that I had rejected the offer!
    Thanks for the post. ‘Love it!

  22. says: Emily from Let's Roam Wild

    You know, I really appreciate this post. I did just this – started a blog for my upcoming trip and have really enjoyed it, so started doing it more seriously. I do NOT want to be the one missing out on stuff because I have blogging to do. You’ve really made me think about how I want to approach blogging while I’m on the road. I didn’t blog when I lived in Argentina for a year and one thing I do regret is not having very many good pictures from the trip (and photography is something I love). So while I don’t want to put pressure on myself to pump out posts, I do want to make sure I’m capturing the experience. Thanks, Audrey. An important post and pretty timely for me as well.

  23. says: Stephanie

    Ha! So true. I get lots of emails from people asking for tips on how to manage a blog while travelling and half the time I want to say exactly this: you don’t have to! If you’re not comfortable with blogging already (and in some cases, even if you are!) I absolutely agree with you, save it for when you’re home. It’s exactly why I think latergramming is a wonderful thing – I hate the idea of people needing to post when they should be enjoying and appreciating the place they’re in. Thanks for the post Audrey! Good thoughts as always.

  24. says: Betsy

    I totally get what you are saying. I am an artist and my background is in Photography. When I was in undergrad I read a book called On Photography (1977) by Susan Sontag. She talks about how people visit a place and photograph it to prove that they were there and then leave. Everyone is so busy taking photographs that they do not experience where they are. When I travel I remind myself of this and put the camera up. I might miss a few exciting shots, but I know I have experienced a place and have really seen it, you know. The same can be said for blogging or focusing to much on any social media feed.

  25. I totally agree. I’m definitely more of an expat blogger. Since I live abroad, it’s easy to find time to write posts about my life and travels. But when I’m traveling I definitely don’t want to miss out on my trip by spending my time locked in my hostel room. I do feel guilty being offline for more than a week, so this year I’m going to try writing a bunch of posts and scheduling them before I head out. We’ll see if it actually works…

  26. says: Carina

    This is such a good reminder.
    We have to be able to fully enjoy our experience before we can write enthusiastically about it. I just started a blog (for 6 months now) and i’m about to go on a long holiday in december, this serves as a reminder that i should not let myself obsess about getting a post out whilst on tour.
    I should enjoy every single moment of it!
    Thank you for sharing and for being so candid about it. Loved this post.

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses

  27. says: De'Jav

    Good read with lots of truth to it. People start blogging usually for fun then it takes over where they feel obligated to do so rather than doing it for the passion of why they started. It probably happens in lots of professions outside of blogging we’ve become to addicted to always being connected online.

  28. Audrey, you are highlighting an important point. All too often, I am guilty of living through my lense (or my Mac) instead of being present on my travels. Thanks for the necessary reminder that we need to enjoy the moment – after all, that’s why we travel, isn’t it.

  29. Great read Audrey. I have not done a big “once in a lifetime” trip since starting my blog, but have been on a few two week trips overseas. Yes, my numbers dropped considerably whilst I was not posting regularly, but I enjoyed my trip and spent time when I returned to write about my experiences. I don’t travel just to blog, I travel to see what I can of this big world of ours. If I can share some of it with people who come to my page that is great, but I am not going to stop enjoying my experiences to make my blog a priority.

  30. says: Heather

    I completely agree! My blog is a hobby that I love, but I never work on it when I’m traveling. The most I’ll do is snap photos to share on Instagram when I’m able to connect to wifi, usually at the hotel in the morning and at night. We’re expats and my husband has a full-time job, so travel is a vacation and a luxury. It would be a disservice to both of us if I spent any of that precious time on the computer!

  31. says: Antoinette

    I’ve had my blog for many years and I even took most of 2013 off to travel the world… I must have blogged like less than 10 times throughout the entire year. I felt bad, but what the heck, I couldn’t subject myself to sitting in front of my laptop when I could be sharing laughter and stories with other people I met. I beat myself up for many times for not blogging as much as I wanted to but I wouldn’t change my experience for anything. I haven’t blogged since March, and I have traveled to quite a few countries. I’ve become quite addicted to Instagram, but that’s because it’s simple – a photo here and there, and the rest of my thoughts and writing in my personal journal, and I am fully satisfied. Nice read!

  32. says: Cyra | Gastronomic Nomad

    Audrey, amazing post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    You made me feel so much better about myself. I am pretty sure I am the worst blogger in history – I donโ€™t stress to meet my self imposed post schedules if I can’t, I donโ€™t take too many notes in the moment when I am travelling (unless I am on a sponsored thing that I will be writing a post about) and I donโ€™t stress about keeping up with social media if I really canโ€™t in that moment.

    Iโ€™ll be going on a road trip to Fraser Island for 2 weeks in January, and I wonโ€™t even be taking my laptop – I am meant to be going to enjoy the company of my friends, and besides, wifi is crap in Australia and my laptop will cook while I am camping for 2 weeks during the hottest period of the summer.

    This is relevant to an upcoming post I am writing, I will be linking to it for sure.

  33. says: Raj

    I agree it’s a difficult balance in trying to enjoy the trip and also working on the content for your next post. At times i do feel that often we miss the moment of joy through the eyes of camera rather than the naked eye. But if you know how to balance your blog and travel together, you are the enlightened one! I personally avoid posting much while on the move as sitting with a laptop working on the top of the hill is not my cup of tea. I feel a blogger should not forget that he is a traveller first and everything else comes later.

  34. says: Mary @ Green Global Travel

    You make some great points. The experience itself wherever you are is definitely more important, especially if it’s a limited period of time!

  35. says: Gabinet Kosmetyczny Kielce

    Great advice. Itโ€™s impossible to blog well while on the road. There are definitely days when I wish I wasnโ€™t blogging about my travels.

  36. says: Victoria

    Great article. I think it’s all a case of how serious someone is about their goal of being a travel writer, even a part time travel writer. Don’t sacrifice the experience for anything, but man do I ever wish I’d started my blog earlier and captured my round the world adventures. Ah well, guess they’ll just have to be “from the vault” stories. If a blog isn’t for everyone, perhaps a journal, sketchbook or a simple notepad is. I once took a Canadian flag on a trip with me and had all the interesting people I met sign it with their name and country. It was full by the end of it!

  37. says: Tikva

    You are so right, I was blogging during our 3 week asia holiday. When our daughter was asleep I didn’t enjoy the quality time with my husband but tried tot blog and post pictures (with crappy internet). I don’t even like the post I wrote because often you need some reflection time to write something good.. Now on our next 3 week panama holiday I just pre-wrote a bunch of posts and now I don’t have to blog at all. If i want I could still do a weekly picture post or not, at least I will have the freedom.

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