Ever since the dawn of social media we’ve been inundated with images of far-flung places, beautiful landscapes and people having the adventures of a lifetime as they disappear off travelling and immersing themselves in all that the world has to offer.
Luckily for us, they share these inspiring travels through their blogs. But even more amazing is that, for some, they’ve turned travelling into their everyday life and what they refer to as their job. We’re really curious (and slightly desperate) to find out how they make this possible.
In between them jetting around the world, we’ve managed to get hold of some of our favourite travel bloggers to get the inside info on what it takes to become travel blogger. Here’s our experts…
Katie, who recently took her Jurni with her to Paris, is your one-stop hostel travelling survival guide (and much much more). Her blog, The Hostel Girl, has amazing tips on how to live the backpacker lifestyle to the maximum.
Hand Luggage Only’s Yaya and Lloyd have seamlessly blended travel stories and amazing photography, plus they always seem to have the low down on where to hook yourself up with some awesome food.
With the introductions over, here’s what they all had to say, from handy tips on how to fund a travel blogger lifestyle, to what equipment should be a priority in your suitcase.
Jurni: Hello! Thanks for taking time out from your busy schedules to answer a few questions. Most of us travel to a place, put a few images on Instagram, write a postcard and that’s about it. You guys take it to whole another level. What kicked you off wanting to start a travel blog?
Yaya and Lloyd: We started blogging in April 2014. One of the biggest reasons we started our travel blog, Hand Luggage Only was to share our travel tips and advice with fellow travellers. We’d always loved to travel and so it became a natural step for us to create our own blog where we could share our experiences and our passion with others.
Katie: I've actually been blogging for years. I don't know how many people remember LiveJournal - but I was on there and Blogger and a few other platforms before moving to Wordpress during University to write various lifestyle and psychology blogs.
When I began working in hostels it just seemed natural to write about it online, especially as I felt I had a topic at my fingertips that (at the time) was hugely under-represented in the travel blogging sphere. The final prompt to move it from a hobby to a business was attending my first TBEX, an annual travel bloggers conference.
Thank goodness you do blog, it gives us lots of inspiration on where to go next. So, with a world jam-packed with things to see, how do you decide on what destinations and sites to visit?
Yaya and Lloyd: We keep an open mind when it comes to places to visit. There really is so much to see across the world! For instance, when we’re booking a trip we will look for the places that have the best deals and dates that work – this allows us to see so many places that we’d never thought of visiting.
Additionally, we never try to judge a destination or have preconceived ideas about what it’ll be like, that way we are always curious and surprised by the destination itself – rather than trying to find a preconceived idea of what we thought the place would be!
That sounds like a great outlook to have on travel. Every time we visit your blogs you’re off exploring somewhere new, which keeps your site really fresh. But, obviously paying for this figures in there somewhere. What advice do you have on funding trips, that makes it possible to see more of the world?
Katie: I try and combine trips, as it definitely reduces the cost of flying. If I know I'm going to be in Belgium, I'll also see if I have time to visit the Netherlands or France as getting the bus or train to neighbouring countries is much cheaper than flying out again at another time.
I also work anywhere I need to. There are a lot of hospitality jobs on offer in Europe that you can use to compliment your travels, and work exchange programmes can keep accommodation costs down so you can use the money to travel later in your trip!
Travel blogging appears to be 24/7…how do you balance enjoying travelling, blogging, and life?
Katie: The best part about travelling is meeting friends from all over the world. It usually means that if I need to be in a destination to blog then I'll know people who live there and can catch up whilst working at the same time.
With the new Jurni, we’ve really thought about what people need for travelling. With travel blogging you are doing so much more than the average tourist, so other than an office on the beach, what tools of the trade are needed to be a travel blogger?
Yaya and Lloyd: An office on a beach would be fantastic! One of the essentials you’ll need is a camera, whether that’s your favourite DSLR, GoPro, or smartphone – it just needs to be something that shoots a good quality photo that really shows off a destination. Other essentials we pack are; a portable battery pack for your technology, sunglasses and a good quality suitcase that can almost squeeze your life’s possessions within!
Well, we can definitely help you with the last bit! From your blogs it looks like you are having a fantastic time seeing the world. What would you say are the best and, for the reality check, the worst parts of being a travel blogger?
Katie: I think the best part about being a travel blogger for me is the feeling that I'm inspiring people to get out and experience destinations in a way they wouldn't usually. Especially when I received messages from people who are planning to stay in a hostel for the first time!
The worst part for me is having to be in charge of everything - I'd love a PA! Constantly planning multiple trips and handling the financial side of the business can be a challenge, and whilst I don't hate it I'm definitely more comfortable as a blogger than a businesswoman.
We’re up for being your PA, where do we sign up?! Many people out there will be keen to follow in your footsteps. What three tips would you give someone wanting to create travel blog?
Katie: 1. Understand your goals. Whether it be to finance your own travelling, become an expert in a niche, to produce a top Youtube channel, or create an online writing portfolio, it's best to know what your goals are to keep you on track.
2. Make sure you enjoy the topic! I write about hostels - if I didn't love the hostel lifestyle as much as I do this would be exhausting, and I'd soon run out of content.
3. Get to know your camera. Photography and visuals play a huge part in blogging so even if you only own a smartphone camera, learn how to use it to create beautiful images or videos that will complement your articles.
A massive thank you to Katie, Yaya and Lloyd for sharing your tips on how to get into travel blogging. If you want to see more of where they are heading off to next, check out their blogs – Hand Luggage Only and The Hostel Girl.
Want to make sure you've got the right hand luggage for your travels? Check out the unique sit-on, glide-along Jurni suitcase. We're giving away a Jurni every month in our Instagram competition too. Simply tag a picture of your tragic luggage with #SuitcaseSOS to enter!