Don’t get me wrong, I love being a travel blogger.
There is nothing better than to have your work revolve around your passion. However, traveling has changed so much for me since I started my travel blog. I am not sure if others can relate but here are my two cents.
How travel blogging has impacted my travels
1. Travel becomes work – Traveling is no longer a carefree, fun, impromptu activity. Surely, travels are always fun but once it becomes your work, it is totally different. Making top 10 lists in your head, choosing places that are blog-able, staying in hotels that are pitch-able, taking pictures that are pin-able – It’s all part and parcel of your travels and its all hard work.
2. Always hunting for Wifi Spots – From your destinations to your hotels, cafes and restaurants – you always pick places which have Wifi. This also means that many adventure activities like – camping in dense jungles, rafting for several days or hiking into the mountains is off limits (Unless you have a virtual assistant checking your emails, blogging and staying on top of your social calendar on your behalf). Wifi is a must as you need to be connected all the time – What if you are at an awesome place (Opportunity to check-in on your FB page) – What if you click an amazing picture (Opportunity to geo tag it on Instagram & Pinterest) – Now you can’t miss these, can you? So, before you book your hotel, choose your destination or even enter a cafe – You always check for Wifi – and mind you, it “must” be free!
3. Constant need to hone your photography skills – Remember the good ol’ days where travel pictures used to be fun? Silly selfies, stupid pictures where you don’t really care about how you look or act? When you didn’t have to worry about colors or resolution of the images? Well then – Bid adieu to those days – they are just distant memories. As a travel blogger, you are bound to take “good” pictures and have decent photography skills, if not excellent. Also, you must click everything. As soon as you get your food, instead of diving right in (like a normal hungry traveler would do), you would take out your camera and take pictures till you have the perfect shot – and you might just end up adding filters and uploading on Instagram for real time benefits. Of course, you need shots of everything – beach, feet, mountains, clouds, sun rise, sun set, moon, flowers, birds, nature, wine, beer, locals, architecture, rural life, urban life – heck – just about everything you see! After all, you need to tell your followers how awesome your vacation is going – at least few times a day. Later you will need the best ones for your blog, tweets, pins as well – so more the merrier!
4. Always thinking about new blog post ideas – Everything you do – a tour, eating out, cooking in, making friends, meeting locals – everything is a probable blog post. In your head, you are always thinking about the best ideas and titles for your blog post during your vacation – it’s like your mind is never at rest.
5. Everything should be complimentary – You work 15 hours a day on your blog, so when you travel, everything must be free – And its not really “Free” because you are working for it. After working so hard on promoting your blog and pitching to brands, if you end up in a nice restaurant (without a prior pitch), the bill sure does pinch! As compared to when you were just a traveler and never expected anything remotely discounted unless you bag an error fare or come across a great deal by some sheer luck.
6. You cannot go anywhere hands free – Going to the beach or a club? As a traveler, you would just stuff some money in your jean pocket and head out. As a blogger, you cannot go without your camera, phone, selfie stick & notebook (at least).
7. Making notes ALL the time – As a traveler, you would happily trot around, exploring new places and just enjoying tours – without paying much attention to what your guide is saying or where you are going – The idea is to just have a great time. As a blogger, you need to note down every single place you visited, exactly how much you paid for entry/ transport/ food at every attraction, what you ate & hopefully even what it was made up of – So, you are always making notes. Notes are no fun at all – remember how you used to cringe when you had to do it in school – arrrgh! Welcome back, school days.
8. You cannot travel light – Now this one is really super annoying. You need to carry the stuff you need to review (usually travel gear, clothes etc – which you happily accepted from brands in exchange for reviews/ pictures) plus you need to dress better. As a traveler, a pair of run down denims and few casual tees would be more than sufficient for a week at the beach. As a blogger, you need to be more careful about how you dress – after all, you have thousands (or millions) of fans looking at your pictures via tweets, grams and pins. What if your post goes viral and you are dressed like a hobo? Plus, you will be meeting your sponsors (if you have a sponsored stay/ restaurant/tour review and you wouldn’t want to look shabby). So, traveling light is just not an option.
9. Working with brands comes first – Your schedule revolves around the brands you want to work with and reaching out to bigger audience. You would choose a travel meet over a fun night out. You would choose a sponsored tour instead of chilling at the beach or doing something you would’ve done – as a regular traveler. Your plans revolve around work, brands and pitches.
10. Writing – You find yourself writing every chance you get – Be it a flight or a long bus ride – You have your laptop handy and you are writing your next blog post already – I mean, why would you talk to the person sitting next to you & make a new friend, when you can “Write”? duh!?
Here’s a question for all fellow bloggers – Does it ring any bells for you? Tell me if you can relate to any of the points in my list.. I would like to know I am not the only one (Or maybe I am .. In which case I probably need a “blog detox” vacation).