Okay, I will admit it – I didn’t really know what a travel blogger was. That was until I became one myself…last year! I have since learned that bloggers provide travelers with great information & valuable resources for getting the most out of their travel experiences. And better yet, it’s free!
I will also confess that most of my friends – many of them fellow Baby Boomers – don’t really understand what I do. I thought that may also be true of many others, so that’s why I’m writing this blog post about travel blogging. I am particularly gearing it to all you Baby Boomers who love to travel – as well as those who really like reading about travel.
I began my Planet Janet Travels travel blog in 2016 because I wanted to share my stories, experiences, travel tips and photos from the many international trips I had already taken (with more to come!). My hope was that readers would be entertained, inspired and informed so that they too could & would travel the world more widely, confidently and joyfully.
Here Are My Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Travel Blogging & How You Can Benefit As Someone Who Loves to Travel & Wants to Do More of It:
What Exactly is a Travel Blogger? How Are They Different From A Travel Writer?
The “brave new world” of travel blogging began only a decade ago with a few early pioneers. Now the Internet is beyond flooded with travel bloggers. Many are “plugged in” millenials for whom blogging and social media are often second nature. Not so much for us Boomers, but we’re catching up!
What you will find is that travel bloggers usually write in a more informal, casual style. They share their travel experiences from a very personal point of view. In contrast, traditional travel writers usually write in a more journalistic style, often in the third person. Their stories may appear in a traditional print magazine or newspaper travel section.
What’s also different is that travel blogging is very personality-driven! Bloggers create an on-line audience of followers who are drawn to their unique personalities, writing style, and specialty travel interests. Readers really come to feel they “know” the blogger because he/she is sharing so much of themselves, including lots of photos of their travels.
Just Who Are These Travel Bloggers?
Travel bloggers come in all shapes & sizes. The vast majority are young – in their 20s & 30s! There are also quite a few in their 40s and a small number who are 50+. So, yes, boomer bloggers like me are definitely in the minority.
Bloggers come from all around the world, thanks to the global nature of the Internet. Many blogs have a niche focus, such as budget travel, solo travel for women, luxury travel, mature travel, family travel, adventure travel, cultural, culinary, and eco-travel. Many bloggers travel solo but there are also many traveling couples as well as families with their kids in tow!
Many bloggers are full-time travelers, often called “digital nomads” or “location independent.” They are often the younger folks as well as older, retired singles or couples who finally have the time to travel the world. Many bloggers (like me) still have a permanent home and take a few (or many) trips a year. Still others have full-time jobs but travel as much as they can, like teachers who travel during the summer break.
Most travel bloggers seem to have a desire to visit – and share with readers – as much of the world as possible. A few have blogs specializing in a particular destination, often where they happen to be living. For example, one couple who lives in Costa Rica have a popular blog (called Mytanfeet) sharing everything you need to know about traveling in Costa Rica.
How Travel Bloggers Can Inspire & Help You Plan Your Travels
As you know, when researching a trip, the Internet is incredibly valuable with a plethora of travel-related websites to check out. Well-written posts by travel bloggers can be a great complement to traditional guide books (which I still love!) While guide books usually list ALL the things to do in a particular destination, bloggers often share only their personal favorites and give honest, frank opinions!
Blog posts are also filled with realistic (and often tantalizing) photos to give you a much better idea what a place is like – and what to expect. These photos are definitely “worth a thousand words!” Plus, bloggers often provide readers with nitty-gritty answers to some of the most commonly-asked traveler questions about a particular destination.
You may wish to start following some travel bloggers with whom you resonate – ones who share similar interests and travel styles. They often write blog posts about cool destinations that you are hoping to visit one day. They may even inspire you to add a place to your bucket list that you never even knew existed. And as you get to know these bloggers, you develop real trust in their recommendations.
Other Caveats & Cautions
Travel bloggers are NOT travel agents, as some might think. We don’t book travel. Instead, as you’ve heard, we give readers ideas for places and trips they might like, plus helpful tips for visiting them. So readers need to make their own travel arrangements, whether booking direct, online or with a travel agent. We bloggers may also recommend travel “brands” that we have personally experienced and really liked – such as specific hotels, cruise lines, or tour companies.
Caution: Be sure to use your discernment skills (and gut instincts) anytime you’re deciding whether to fully trust a particular blogger’s advice – or, for that matter, any travel advice you read on-line! Luckily, there are many good travel bloggers who have worked very hard to earn the trust of their readers – by consistently providing quality (and accurate) content & always being open and honest.
These reputable bloggers disclose (in their blog posts) whenever they have received “sponsored” trips or any other travel product or service (like free hotel nights), assuring readers that they always give honest and unbiased reviews of their experiences. They are “not for sale” by advertisers.
However, there are undoubtedly some bloggers who seem to serve more as a “shill” for various travel brands or products. But we boomers are pretty good at sniffing out this type of hyper-promoter who appears to be more about pushing products & making money than providing a real service to travelers.
What Exactly is a Blog Post? How is it Different from a Website?
I have found this to be an understandable area of confusion. An individual travel article or story from a blogger is called a “blog post” and a collection of all these posts is the “travel blog.” Every travel blog is housed on-line on the blogger’s website. For the purpose of illustration, I will use my Planet Janet Travels website because it is fairly typical of other blogger websites and is easy to navigate. (below in blue are clickable links to the various pages).
My website is the “home” for all my blog posts, which are found on a separate “Travel Blog” page on the site. There you will see a “thumbnail” (photo, title and first paragraph) of each blog post – with the most recent posts at the top. That way, you can quickly scroll through all the post summaries (10 per page) to see which ones might be of interest. Clicking on the summary will then take you to a separate page where you can read the full blog post.
Like most bloggers, I have an “About Me” page filled with descriptions, fun stories & photos. These pages really help readers get to know us bloggers better. There is also a “Destinations” page with a world map and list of all the countries I have visited – 80 so far!
Lastly, I have a “Travel Tips & Resources” page. You will find that many of the most popular bloggers have extensive (and very helpful!) travel resources on their websites – especially those who have been doing this for quite a while.
Travel Bloggers & Social Media
Most travel bloggers are also active on social media – particularly Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest. Of course, for Baby Boomers, Facebook is a biggie! However, Instagram and Pinterest are really gaining popularity.
These social media channels allow bloggers to share different types of travel-related content with their followers, as a complement to their formal blog posts. For example, you can view a blogger’s beautiful photos on Instagram to learn about cool travel destinations and/or learn travel tips on Facebook.
For example, I post a new travel photo on Instagram (along with a detailed caption) every other day. (photo snippet above) On my Planet Janet Travels Facebook page, I post a mix of travel items like a link to my latest blog post, cool photos, helpful travel articles (curated from other bloggers), and inspirational quotes.
How You Can Engage With Travel Bloggers & Show Your Love & Appreciation For Their Great Content
We bloggers love to share travel information & stories with our readers and followers. We work hard to write good, informative blog posts so we are thrilled when people actually read them and find them valuable. Of course, the more readers the better. Who wants to throw a “literary party” and no one shows up!
And what a deal! Travel bloggers provide this great content on their blog posts & social media for free! All bloggers want to increase their followers who like reading what they write. Also, many of us are hoping to monetize our blog in some way (see next section) so the size of our “engaged’ audience is very important.
Here are 5 simple ways you can support travel bloggers in general & me specifically:
- Like Us on Facebook: If you are a Facebook user, you can go to the Planet Janet Travels Facebook page and “like” me. Directly underneath the top photo, you’ll see a “Like” (thumbs up) button which you click. Easy peasy! Then my new posts will show up in your Facebook feed.
- Follow Us on Instagram: If you’re an Instagrammer, following me on Instagram will add my photos to your feed. You just need to click the blue “Follow” button next to the Planet Janet Travels name when you visit my Instagram page.
- Read & Comment on Our Blog Posts: Whenever a particular blog post interests you, please have a read. And when finished, leave a Comment on what you thought or your own related travel experience. I’d love to hear! Plus, other readers can see the comments (at the end of the post) so we can all learn from each other.
- Share Planet Janet Travels With Your Interested Friends: If something inspires you from a blog post, a Facebook or Instagram post, or the email Weekly Update, please share with any friends, family or colleagues you think might enjoy or benefit. Particularly, think of baby boomer-ish folks with an interest in international travel. Armchair (vicarious) travelers can also be avid readers and are most welcome!
- Sign Up for Planet Janet’s Weekly Travel Updates: I send out a free (and short!) weekly email (usually on Thursdays) with some travel inspiration, a travel tip (or resource), and a link to the featured blog post that week. You can sign up on my website home page – in the “Have Inbox, Will Travel” section – or contact me directly via email.
How Do Travel Bloggers Make Money & Monetize Their Blog
This is the most frequent question I personally get from my friends & family. They will often say: Gosh, Janet, you’re providing all this really good, free travel content. But how exactly do you make money? Yep, that is a great question that I will attempt to briefly answer here.
Making money with travel blogging definitely takes time! It is all about first developing an audience of engaged followers – people who like, read, and share your travel blog posts, as well as on social media. Once that happens, then the opportunities for monetizing your blog can follow.
Here are some of the main ways people monetize their travel blog:
- Once a travel blogger can prove they have a strong community of followers and a good number of website visitors/blog post readers (per Google Analytics), they can begin to attract advertising and paid sponsorships.
- All bloggers want to attract “sponsored travel” which is complimentary (or discounted) travel, such as tours and hotel stays. This is done in exchange for writing good (but honest!) blog posts & social media posts about the blogger’s personal experiences.
- Bloggers can also promote travel-related products or services to their readers – such as travel books on Amazon or a favorite piece of luggage – but only ones they truly believe in! They receive a small commission on any sales (called affiliate marketing).
- A few bloggers create additional products they can sell, such as an on-line course about a specific travel topic. Others have written travel books about their experiences or “how to” guides filled with travel tips & skills.
Sharing Some of My Favorite Travel Bloggers
If you’d like to check out some other travel blogger sites, many of my favorite bloggers are listed on my Planet Janet Travels Tips & Resources page. The bloggers I have selected are primarily focused on travel for Baby Boomers and/or for women, as well as adventure travel.
Let me tell you about one of these cool travel blogs: The fun & highly successful The Planet D blog is written by Canadian adventure couple Dave & Deb who are 40-somethings. Their tagline is “Adventure is for Everyone.” They began their blog eight years ago, share a lot of great content, and now have over a million followers! They have inspired countless travel bloggers like me.
In closing: I hope I have given you a much better understanding of what travel blogging is all about & what’s in it for you personally! I also hope you have been inspired to check out some new cool travel blogs. I really want you to benefit from what we bloggers have to offer when planning your next trip (or two!) and/or creating your own “travel dream list” of places you want to visit one day!
Here’s to collecting more stamps in your passport & experiencing grand adventures on your travels around the world!