Should You Write a Blog When You Go Traveling?

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Writing a travel blog of your adventures when you go traveling can be a great idea, and thanks to blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress, starting writing your very own travel blog has never been easier.

To write a blog you’ll obviously need some kind of computer. You might choose to take a laptop/notebook computer with you for this, or you might write your blog from internet cafes (note if you choose the latter option, be sure that there are internet cafes in the areas/countries/cities you’re traveling to).

There are a lot of reasons why someone might start a travel blog:

  • As a personal diary/document, so that you can remember the details of your trip in years to come.
  • To keep in touch with friends and family back home, so that they can read about what you’re getting up to.
  • To make money (and pay for your travels).

Many people now like to include photos in their blogs, as it can really bring the writing to life. If you’ve got a digital camera, this shouldn’t pose too much of a problem (providing you know how to upload pictures from your camera’s memory card).

A Blog Can Help You to Keep in Touch With Your Friends & Family

This is probably the number one reason most people write a travel blog when they go abroad. It saves you from having to send the same email out to all of your friends/family or repeat the same information over the phone 15 times.

WritingYour friends and family can log on and visit your blog online anytime they want and can read the latest chapter in your adventures around the world.

In addition to this, they’ll be able to leave comments at the bottom, enabling you to have an easy dialogue back and forth.

The fact of the matter is that not all of your friends and family will care about your traveling. Of course they’ll be happy for you and glad you’re having a good time, but they probably won’t appreciate having their inbox spammed by chapter of your travel odyssey. By simply sending them the link to your website, you’re giving them the option to look at it if they want to.

Writing a Blog as a Personal Diary

Of course, a blog can be a substitute for a diary or a journal. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you have to share it with your friends and family. It can be a more intimate expression of your thoughts, feelings and experiences, if that’s what you want.

During my travels to South-East Asia in 2007 I wrote a travel blog documenting my time there. As the years have passed, I’ve gradually forgotten more and more about my trip there, so it’s nice read back through it and relive the experiences.

A blog can be a great memento of a time in your life, and the fact that it’s online means it’s accessible from anywhere, anytime.

Blogging

Warning: Writing a Travel Blog Can Become a Burden

Although writing a travel blog can be a great idea, it does have a potential downside.

Let’s say you’ve made the commitment to write a travel blog of your adventures abroad and told your friends and family about it.

The first couple of weeks go fine. You’re having a great time and you keeping everyone updated through regular entries.

Your friends and family are excited to hear about your time abroad (at least that’s what they tell you!) and regularly check your blog for updates

A few more weeks go by and you start to grow tired of writing your blog. The novelty has worn off. Is anyone actually even reading it? None of your other friends are doing it…

You haven’t updated your blog in over a week, so you force yourself to find an internet café. After 20 minutes of wandering around, you find one.

While sitting there, waiting for your blog’s webpage to load you start thinking. Do you really want to spend your time traveling dealing with writing, uploading pictures and technical issues (such as computers crashing and unreliable internet)? Aren’t you supposed to be enjoying yourself?

In some parts of the world (where the internet is extremely slow), the simple act of uploading a few pictures can turn into an excruciating (and costly – if you’re in an internet café) experience.

Once you’ve started writing a blog, you might feel the pressure to continue (even if you don’t want to) if you know people back home are reading it (particularly if your parents are reading it and they’ve helped finance your trip).

So what can you do? While I don’t advise stopping once you’ve started (as you’ll probably regret it in years to come when you want to look back and re-live your experiences), you could cut down the amount of updates you do and the length of them.

For example, if you’re writing every day, why not cut it down to twice (or once) a week?

Alternatively, why not share your travel experiences via another medium (such as YouTube or Twitter)?

Of course, if you’re writing a blog as a means of earning money, this isn’t a good idea, so if you really aren’t enjoying it than perhaps it’s time to consider alternative ways of raising finance (more on that later).

Writing a Blog Isn’t the Only Way to Share Your Travel Experiences

If you don’t fancy starting an official travel blog (or you’ve grown sick of writing yours and you want to change the way you’re doing things), there are several other great ways of sharing your travel experiences.

Social Networking Logos

These are YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

Facebook
It’s rare that you’ll meet someone who isn’t on Facebook these days, and most people check on Facebook regularly, so seeing what you’re up to can easily be integrated into their daily activities/routine (as they’ll be on Facebook anyway).

While you can continually update your Facebook status (so that it’ll be displayed to everyone), if you want to limit these travel updates to a select group of people you can make a ‘fan page’ and invite all of the people you want to keep updated to ‘become a fan’ of that page.

Doing so means that whenever you update that fan page, all of those people (and no-one else) will receive an update.

Facebook is also a great place to upload your pictures to, and it’s easier and quicker to do than ever.

Twitter
Like Facebook, Twitter has really exploded over the last few years. Although it can seem a little complicated and it does take some getting used to (I still don’t fully understand it!), it is a great way to quickly shoot off short updates about your adventures abroad.

Again, like Facebook, Twitter is something that a lot of people use regularly, so it won’t be any extra effort for them to read your travel updates.

Flickr
Flickr is a photo sharing website that allows you to store and organize photos of your travels. Using Flickr is a great way to backup your photos.

Why not just use Facebook to upload/backup your photos? Flickr allows you to upload high-resolution photos, whereas Facebook doesn’t.

For more information on backing up your photos as your travel, check out this post.

YouTube
These days, most digital cameras come with a built-in video recording function – enabling you to take videos of your trip.

Even if your digital camera doesn’t, there’s a whole market for miniature digital cameras that are ultra-compact and perfect for making videos on the road (such as these ‘shoot and share cameras’).

Once you’ve taken a video you can upload it to your YouTube account and send the link to your family and friends so that they can watch a video of you.

For those that hate writing or don’t want to set up a blog, this is a great way of doing things and it’ll really bring your experiences to life.

Of course, if you share your experiences on YouTube, there’s a chance people might like what you’re doing and there’s a chance you could develop a bit of a following.

For example, Matt Harding from WhereTheHellIsMatt.com started making videos of himself dancing around the world in front of famous monuments. His videos have been viewed by over 30 million people, and he’s now got a cult-like following.

Here’s the video of Matt dancing all around the world:

A good friend of mine spent 3 months in South America a few years ago and recorded regular travel diary videos using his digital camera. When he got home he uploaded all of the videos onto his Apple Mac computer, edited them together, added a soundtrack to some pieces and burnt the whole thing onto a DVD.

The result was pretty amazing, and the enjoyment he’s got from watching that DVD through the years made it well worth the effort.

What’s more, his family and friends were able to get a much deeper insight into where he was and what he was experiencing than if he was just to write a blog (as video gives you so much more).

Writing a Blog to Make Money

Lots of people are drawn to the idea of starting a travel blog because they’ve heard the stories of the people who travel the world and get paid to write about it, and what could be better than getting paid to travel?

Take Nomadic Matt for example. His blog has thousands of readers, and appears to finance his non-stop travel around the world.

This is something that requires a lot of work and patience, and is something that most people won’t be successful at.

The key here is not to write a travel blog solely to make money. Write a travel blog because you enjoy it, and then find ways to monetize it.

If you take a look through some of the top travel blogs out there, the ones that stand out are the ones that are unique in some way or the ones where it’s clear that the writer (or writers) put a lot of time and effort into making it.

If you’re serious about doing this you’ll need to register a domain name (from a site such as GoDaddy.com) and set up a ‘proper’ website. I recommend installing WordPress and using that as your content management system (CMS), as this is fairly easy to do and can be done without having to learn any programming languages/web design.

In terms of monetizing your site, the easiest way to do so is with Google Adsense (or one of their competitors – such as Chitika). By installing an Adsense block on your page, you’ll earn money every time someone clicks on the advert.

To start your very own travel blog, visit WordPress.Com (or a similar blogging platform).

Do you have your own travel blog? Are you thinking about starting one? Leave a comment below to share your blog with others, or ask questions about getting started.

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