Travel influencers. You see them everywhere. They’re all over your social media feeds. They’re on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, uploading enticing content regularly. Their travel blogging pages, IG feeds, and Facebook profiles are filled with beautiful photographs from their previous expeditions. Last week they’re biking in Amsterdam and today they’re in a hotel in Ostend Belgium, having waffles, fries, and chocolates.
Travel influencers look like they’re living the dream — the perfect life, the ideal job. They make it sound too easy to convince people that it’s possible to quit your day job, step out of your comfort zone, and see the world.
However, there’s more to travel blogging than meets the eye. Travel influencers experience struggles that are not captured by the lenses of their cameras, from the pressure of creating quality content to missing out on family gatherings.
What is it like to have this “dream job”? We did our research and found a couple of insights from professional travel influencers about their business and lifestyle. We round up 7 tradeoffs travel bloggers have in common.
1. Travel experiences become less genuine
Traveling with the purpose of documenting your adventures for other people (your followers, clients, sponsors, etc) is way different than traveling genuinely for personal leisure.
Being an Instagrammer, YouTuber, or travel writer means that you always have to create new, engaging content to stay relevant in your niche. Your first priority is content creation, then experience comes second or third. The more content, the better. You tend to do nothing but take photos and film everything so you can write about it at the end of the day.
Doing so takes away from the travel experience. After spending hours at a destination, your wanderlust level just fades away faster than if you had just come there to experience the place. In fact, some travel influencers share that it actually ruined their love for travel.
2. You’ll miss out on family events and personal relationships
Are family relationships, friendships, and social gatherings significant to you? Just like in any other jobs that take a huge chunk of your time and energy, travel blogging can take away precious family time, babe time, and peer meetups. Prepare to miss out on a lot of reunions, holiday celebrations, Christmas traditions, and milestones.
3. Your life is often out of your control
Many aspiring bloggers love the idea of “becoming your own boss” when you venture into travel blogging. The world is your workplace — you can be out for a whole day, having the time of your life, and then write your blog from a cafe, a luxurious hotel room, or even on a campsite.
While it seems like a fun undertaking, “being in control of your life” isn’t always true. You might know you’re traveling to a client campaign a few days in advance, making it tough to schedule the rest of your life. The things you put in your content are dictated by your clients and subscribers. Even your monthly income isn’t fixed.
4. There are various health concerns involved
While it looks like it’s all glitz and glamour, this lifestyle can take a toll on your health. Your body will get worn out from walking and even hiking long distances for hours. You won’t get enough hydration. Get ready to eat at irregular hours too
One travel blogger shared that after traveling 50 to 75% of the year, she got sick from jumping time zones, sleep deprivation from planes and hotels, lack of exercise, and eating out thrice a day, which means consuming unhealthy meals. Another blogger revealed he experienced being hospitalized. He recalls breathing through a nebulizer after getting exposed to sick people they met.
And in today’s pandemic era, it goes without saying that post-COVID-19 travel might truly put you at risk.
5. Promotional materials can mess up the heart of your content
Travel blogging is a job and/or business, not a hobby. They’re not going on a vacation — they’re being paid to travel and write about it or film it. Sounds like a dream job, right? Well, not until their craft is taken over by promotional materials.
Depending on the travel content you create, you can earn from affiliate marketing, product placement and partnerships, sponsored posts, and banner advertising. It’s nice to build partnerships with small local companies that are passionate about their mission. But working with businesses who don’t care about you and just want to capitalize on your big following? Not so much.
6. Too much screen time
Behind that Instagram-worthy shot is a photographer, spending hours perfecting the angle, framing, and editing. Even writing the best caption takes a lot of time.
An engaging travel guide isn’t complete without a stressed-out writer who spent hours or even days finishing the article.
And that 10-minute travel vlog on YouTube? A team of talented researchers, DOPs, editors, scriptwriters, and hosts, working together during the entire production process, made it possible.
Travel bloggers don’t spend a lot of time enjoying the great outdoors — there’s so much screen time and stressful situations attached to creating the perfect content.
7. You’ll need to be on social media constantly
One of the negative aspects of being a travel blogger is the need to be on social media most of the time. You need to promote your stuff, answer comments, schedule your posts, etc. And you know how social media works: you need to paint a picture of perfection.
It’s not just about taking the best photos, choosing the right filter, or writing the perfect caption for your fans, although these “tasks” ruin the charm of traveling too. It’s also about editing out the unpleasant parts and injecting the idea of a perfect trip. Your portrayal of yourself and your adventures should always be a happy one.
No one wants to see the difficulties behind the scene. They don’t want to know that Asian street food you had gave you diarrhea, or someone harassed you on the road.
Travel blogging can be fulfilling if you know how to manage these tradeoffs and make the most out of your traveling experiences.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a passionate content writer who loves traveling, discovering new food, taking photos, and of course, writing. She’s got a lot to say about travel, dining, cultural appreciation and lifestyle. To know more about hotel and tourism tips, you may visit Leopold Hotel Ostend.