My life as a travel blogger really isn’t as glamorous or exciting as everyone thinks it is. Here’s the reality and what goes behind the scenes.
I get it. You see updates from me in Ethiopia one day and Antarctica the next; my social media channels are constantly filled with photos of beaches, mountains or icebergs. I know it seems like the dream life.
After all, I get paid to travel the world – and for years, that was all I could dream about. Travel blogging has brought me to over 140 countries and seven continents, and led to some epic adventures and lifetime experiences.
I’ve been invited to Antarctica, New Zealand, Mongolia, and many places that I’d never even dared to dream of going. Undoubtedly, becoming a travel blogger changed my life and I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.
BUT the truth is: my life as a travel blogger isn’t all sunny beaches, gorgeous hotels, and epic adventures. What most of you see are only the pretty photos and exciting Facebook updates — what you don’t see are the work that go behind every story, photo and blog post. Here’s a look at my day-to-day life as a travel blogger.
Table of Contents
A Day in the Life of a Travel Blogger: When I’m Home
If you follow me on social media, you would have seen photos of me working on my laptop by the beach, next to a swimming pool, or in a jungle lodge somewhere in the Africa. But in reality, you would find me working in my home office or a cafe nearby more often than in some exotic location.
Unlike other nomadic bloggers, I chose to have a home because I like having a base from which to rest, work on exciting projects, maintain friendships and enjoy other aspects of life.
I travel a lot — usually once a month, on 10-15 trips a year. That means I spend around 30% of the year traveling, which is a lot when compared to most people; but for the other 70% of the year, I’m at home and I have a routine just like everyone else.
Here’s a look at my typical schedule.
A Typical Day at Home:
6.30am: Wake up, have breakfast and drop Kaleya off at school.
7.30am: Check emails and all my social media channels quickly.
9.00am: Start writing and getting work done.
12.00pm: Have lunch.
2.00pm: Switch off my laptop and go for a swim or hang out.
6.00pm: Dinner time.
7.00pm: Watch TV and relax.
A Day in the Life of a Travel Blogger: When I’m Traveling
When I’m on the road, life gets much more hectic as I usually spend the day exploring and the evenings fitting in as much work as possible. Sometimes when I’m traveling with friends, it’s even harder to find time for work as I don’t want to a spoilsport. On press trips, days can be long and packed with back-to-back activities. Sometimes dinners don’t even end until 12 or 2am!
Usually, the period right before I travel is the most hectic as I try to finish as much work as I can before I leave. That means making a huge effort to clear my emails, meet all my deadlines, schedule my blog posts and social posts in advance and making sure my Virtual Assistant is covering some work for me.
Here’s my schedule while I’m traveling.
A Typical Day on the Road:
8.00am: Have breakfast while checking emails and social media on my phone.
9:00am: Head out to explore.
5.00pm: Get some work done if I’m traveling alone. If I’m on a press trip, the day might only end at 10pm and I’ll only manage to squeeze in a bit of work after that.
7.00pm: Head out for dinner. If I’m traveling alone, I’ll usually do a quick one and go back to work.
9.00pm: Try to write, answer emails and get on social media.
What Work Do I Do?
Most people think all I do is write a blog post or two each week. Running a travel blog is so much more than just writing blog posts — the majority of my time is spent responding to hundreds of emails a day, negotiating with potential advertisers and clients, and pitching magazines and websites and writing for them. And then there’s also engaging with followers on social media channels, photo editing, researching for leads and networking with others in the travel industry.
The thing with working as a travel blogger is that the work is never done — there’s always something that I want to get done to bring my business to a higher level. I’ve progressed from doing freelance writing to writing courses to now running small group adventure tours. A successful blogger is one who’s constantly seeking out new projects and opportunities and coming up with new ideas.
When I first started blogging full-time, I would spent 12 to 14 hours a day working on my laptop. Thankfully, I’ve learned to take things slow, to work smarter and prioritise family life before everything. Since having Kaleya, I’ve cut down my working hours but increased my productivity so I actually get more work done in less time now.
In essence, travel blogging is an all consuming love affair which requires a lot of hard work, versatility, creativity and dedication.
But Is Travel Blogging Worth It?
Hell yeah. I wouldn’t trade this job for anything in the world. It may not be perfect, but I still love almost every aspect of it. Being able to travel the world for a living has been a dream come true, and while it comes with its flaws, it’s still pretty damn fantastic.
The freedom that comes with being a travel blogger is something I value deeply. I can work from anywhere I want and the best things is being able to combine my love for travel and words. Not everyone has the chance to work in something they’re absolutely passionate about, and I’m thankful for being one of the lucky few. Like they say, when you love your work, it doesn’t feel like work.
I’ve also forged a lot of friendships through this travel blog and I’ve lost count of the number of amazing people I’ve met in the travel blogging industry. It’s been almost nine years since I became a professional travel blogger, and I’m sure there’ll be many more years to come.
So you want to be a travel blogger too?
By now, you probably get that being a travel blogger isn’t easy. But if you still think it’s what you want in life, then I would suggest taking it serious and doing it right from the start.
For beginners, I suggest reading my complete guide on how to start a travel blog.
For those who want to pursue a career in travel blogging, I recommend becoming a member of Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Academy. This online academy is the best in the industry and it has a number of courses available, ranging from travel writing to affiliate marketing.