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The Truths of Being a Travel Blogger

  • May 31, 2018
  • By 50 Shades
The Truths of Being a Travel Blogger

The truths of being a Travel Blogger (not all what it’s cracked up to be!)

It’s interesting that when I meet people for the first time and they ask me what I do for a living, their reaction when I tell them I’m a Travel Blogger and Freelance Writer. For some reason they automatically think I live a charmed life of flitting around the globe, flying business-class, drinking French champagne, staying in 5-star hotels and eating out at the finest dining establishments. Immediately I set them straight and tell them that none of this is true!

Lake Mulwala

What I enjoy the most about Travel Blogging is the photography and beautiful locations like this one

The life of a Travel Blogger in this very competitive field is a lot of hard work, means putting yourself right out there on the Worldwide Web and takes a lot of dedication. Not to mention the amount of knockbacks that you tend to get after you’ve spent a lot of time pitching to organisations for work. It can be downright demoralising!

There are several myths about the life of a Travel Blogger that I would like to clarify

Myth #1. You get free travel all the time

Tokyo Airport

A Media Trip to Japan in 2016 was a whirlwind 6 days exploring Northern Japan

This is definitely not the case. On the few media trips or “famils” that I’ve been invited to attend, I’ve had to pay for my own transport, meals and worked lengthy hours for little or no monetary reward. During a media trip to Japan in 2016, I had to pay my own airfare to Sydney to catch a flight to Japan and then I had to pay for a lot of my meals and internal transport when travelling around Japan. By the end of the six day trip I was physically exhausted because the itinerary was so full on that I barely got any rest (or sleep). However, did I enjoy it? Yes I most certainly did and I would do it all over again in the blink of an eye!

Myth #2. You’re always travelling

Tohoku, Japan

My fellow Travel Bloggers and Travel Journalists on a media trip to Japan

People that follow me on Social Media tend to comment that “I’m always travelling”, mainly because I post a couple of travel photos every single day on Facebook and Instagram. However this does not mean that I’m actually always travelling. I have an extensive photo library from all of my trips and source these daily to come up with a new travel destination or local point of interest. A lot of my travel is self-funded that I then use as material for my travel blog. Fortunately I’m able to use my own travel photos and stories to incorporate a couple affiliate marketing companies that I work with. This is how a lot of us earn money these days, rather than getting paid for travel articles or advertisements.

Myth #3. You must be wealthy to travel so often

Tweeters Farm Stay, Crows Nest

A media trip to the wonderful Tweeters Farm Stay in Crows Nest, Queensland was a treat

I can assure you that this is not the case! My husband and I do love to travel as much as we can, but we always look for travel specials and deals that make travel much more affordable. So instead of taking one big expensive trip each year we try to plan several cheaper, smaller trips throughout the year. We also own a caravan that we enjoy travelling in to see some of our own country or just for a weekend escape to somewhere close to home. Caravanning can be extremely budget-friendly and is a great way to travel.

Myth #4. Media Trips are a junket!

Hoi An Beach Resort, Vietnam

What people think I do on a media trip!

Yes I will admit it, they can be! I have been involved in a couple of famils where I’ve been pampered and treated like royalty. However on most of these trips the idea is that we see the destination, hotel or restaurant in the best light possible so that our experience is enjoyable, and hence we will write favourably about it. That is the whole idea of media trips in a nutshell!

Myth #5. You’re a bit of a celebrity

Floating Images Hot Air Balloons, Ipswich

Celebrity for a day with the Channel 7 Film Crew on a media trip to Ipswich and Hot Air Balloon Flight

This is total rubbish!! Travel writing is a job like any other. It takes a lot of time and effort to create a good travel article or travel review. There are hours of research that need to be undertaken, sometimes interviews, location photography, editing and resizing photos and a notebook full of hastily taken down notes (so that we don’t forget the names, places and facts). I have been interviewed about my travel blog on a couple of occasions and appeared in our local newspaper, a couple of magazines and even had a radio interview. But I can tell you that my world is hardly glamorous and I have a long way to go to reach celebrity status!

Travel Blogging

Where I spend a large amount of my time – at my desk!

I’m certainly not trying to discourage any new up and coming Travel Blogger or writer from pursuing their dream. But when I notice that there are now literally thousands of Travel Bloggers jumping aboard I can’t help but think that they may be setting themselves up for disappointment. There’s no such thing as a “free ride” in the world of Travel Blogging. You have to constantly put yourself out there on the web and social media to try to create a good following, negotiate a maze of technical information and then find time to be creative with it. It’s not easy! But do I like what I do? You can bet your bottom dollar I do!!!

Do you have a job that people think is a dream job? I would be interested to hear.

This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset.

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:

and of course me, Kathy from 50 SHADES OF AGE


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By 50 Shades, May 31, 2018 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

  • Jan Wild
    May 31, 2018

    I totally get what you are saying Kathy.I used to travel a lit doing IT sales and others seemed to think it was all top notch accommodation and long lunches. In reality it was early morning flights, long days often grabbing a sandwich on the run, then back to the hotel to deal with emails and prep for the next day whilst eating a room service meal.
    As for travel blogging, it must be the most competitive niche of all.

    • Kathy
      May 31, 2018

      It is a competitive niche for sure. There are so many new young travel bloggers flooding the web that are a whole lot more techno-savvy than me. I feel that I work very hard for little reward, but at the end of the day I do love what I do. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo Tracey
    May 31, 2018

    I don’t think I’ve ever had what anyone could call a dream job – far from it. I have, however, travelled a lot over the years for work & it’s far from glamorous & flipping exhausting. Plus my company only ever flew us economy & those overnighters from Hong Kong to go straight to the office got tiring very quickly. These days I blog my travels, but I haven’t attempted to make money from it – it’s all research & inspiration for my fiction.

    • Kathy
      May 31, 2018

      Yes long haul travel can be exhausting. I love what I do, but at times I feel that it’s over-glamourised. I must admit that my personal travels, photography and writing about it are my passion. #TeamlovinLife

  • Jo
    May 31, 2018

    Loved this post Kathy and you tell it like it is. Most of the time it’s exhaustibg and overwhelming and disappointing. But then you get invited to do something amazing and memorable and meet wonderful people, get exposed to new ideas and it all seems worthwhile. However, it’s a considered lifestyle and not a get rich quick scheme!

    • Kathy
      May 31, 2018

      You would know exactly what I’m talking about Jo. It’s such a competitive field and I find that I’m only getting crumbs these days. I have had some great media trips that I have enjoyed immensely that otherwise I probably would never have done. #TeamLovinLife

  • Lydia C. Lee
    May 31, 2018

    I think it’s great you get the free travel – the problem would be that you wouldn’t get time to see what you want to see, only what they want you to see, that might be stupid. I go to so many places and when I tell hotel staff what I’m doing, they say ‘no don’t go there, it’s very old and tatty’ and it’s the best thing I did in the country. I think sometimes they forget what’s of interest to outsiders!

    • Kathy
      May 31, 2018

      Yes exactly Lydia. Sometimes media trips are very rushed and exhausting. I agree about exploring a place for yourself. You never know what you might find. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    May 31, 2018

    Good to hear an honest appraisal about blogging Kathy. I can understand people thinking it is a glamorous lifestyle but when I watch Getaway I remember reading an interview with Catriona Rowntree who said they were only a places sometimes overnight, did the shoot and then back home. There is a lot of hard work that goes into writing a travel piece but I do enjoy reading yours. Have a great day!

    • Kathy
      May 31, 2018

      Thanks Sue. Most of my travel blogs are my own personal travel that I have photographed and written about. This means I can really immerse myself into the destination and get a great feel for the place. I do love what I do, but feel that it’s very competitive and over-glamourised. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jodie
    May 31, 2018

    Well, you are a little of a celebrity to me, Kathy!! I seriously tell my husband about many of these trips and show him your gorgeous photos!!
    And it’s funny how the perceptions are. Even for a fashion blogger…I don’t always look dressed up and nice!! There are many days I’m still in my pjs at noon (but shhh…don’t tell)

    • Kathy
      May 31, 2018

      Aww thanks Jodie. I’m also guilty of being in my PJs or active wear all day. Glamorous I’m not! I love what I do but sometimes feel that I’m in over my head. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    May 31, 2018

    Travel blogging doesn’t grab me at all Kathy – I don’t think I could keep up the pace and do it all justice! I’ll wait until I have some spare time and some spare money and do it slowly and serenely! Mind you, without travel bloggers we wouldn’t know what was worth visiting and what to leave off the itinerary – so thanks for nobly going before us to pave the way :)

    • Kathy
      May 31, 2018

      You’re welcome Leanne. I think photographing and writing about our travels is not only very therapeutic but hopefully of value to other travellers. I love what I do, but I do feel that it’s a very competitive field. #TeamLovinLife

  • Denyse Whelan
    May 31, 2018

    My comment was not kept because I did not tick the privacy box. Sorry, I am too tired to think of it again.

    I want you to know your words and pics are great and I hope you continue to share but I get how the travel blogging thing could be very tiring too.

    Best wishes,

    • Kathy
      May 31, 2018

      That’s the new GDPR regulations. What a pain that is!Thanks for your lovely comments Denyse. I do enjoy the world of travel blogging, but sometimes I do ask myself why I do it. #TeamLovinLife

  • Deborah
    June 1, 2018

    This is great Kathy and I’ve done something similar re book blogging as people love the idea of free books, but though I love reading it sometimes becomes a chore when I have to take notes and then laboriously ponder over the book in a way I didn’t have to as a reader. And then of course the actual writing of the post and setting it up with info takes far too much time.

    • Kathy
      June 2, 2018

      Yes I can imagine book reviewing would be very difficult since I don’t always take in everything that I read. When it comes to learning I’m more of a visual person and like to see a video or demonstration. The world of blogging is certainly not getting any easier, but at the end of the day I still find it interesting.

  • Natalie @ Be Kind 2 You
    June 1, 2018

    It actually sounds like one of the most exhausting jobs. People often have misconceptions about what other people do but it is not until you live the dream as they say, do you truly understand all the work involved.

    • Kathy
      June 2, 2018

      I always thought people that travel for their job must have a wonderful life, but have since found out how exhausting it can be. The saying “the grass is greener on the other side”, certainly applies in this instance. #TeamLovinLife

  • Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    June 1, 2018

    I was never under any illusions that travel blogging was glamorous and making you rich though it’s good to hear you’ve had some ‘media’ trips and wonderful opportunities. I know that most is travel using your own finances and giving of your time and talents because of the love of it. I’m not a travel blogger but I’m a blogger and I know that my blog actually costs me money rather than makes me money, and it takes up a LOT of my time, but I do it because I enjoy it. #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      June 2, 2018

      Yes we’re suckers for donating our free time to the world of blogging Min. I guess in my case it is more of a hobby rather than a way to earn money. It’s probably just as well too!

  • Janet
    June 8, 2018

    I remember being so jealous of your Japan trip!!! I didn’t realise you had to pay for the flights yourself though.

    • Kathy
      June 9, 2018

      I didn’t pay for the flight to Japan, just the one to Sydney. I really enjoyed the famil trip as it was a wonderful opportunity. I hope I didn’t sound ungrateful, because I was extremely honoured to be chosen to go on this trip. :)

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