The challenge of being a travel blogger when you’re not travelling

Think of a travel blogger and you think of Instagram feeds full of sandy-covered feet and posed photos in front of iconic buildings. You think of landing at one airport and then immediately jetting off to another, with barely chance to do your laundry in between. You think of press trips and free trips and being ferried around by PRs anxious to showcase the best of their destination to 15 journalists and bloggers who are all having the same experiences. You think of backpacking around south east Asia, using Internet cafes to keep the world apprised of your every move. You think of digital nomads, for whom “the world is my office”. You think of a solo female traveller, writing about how liberating it is to travel alone.

I’m a travel blogger, but I’m none of these things.

I’m a travel blogger who doesn’t always have the time or money to drop everything to travel. I’m a travel blogger who holds down a full-time job with 26 days of official annual leave, has a fun and fulfilling social life and is trying to sell a house. I’m a travel blogger who is terrible at pitching and marketing myself so doesn’t get invited on press trips or free trips. I’m a travel blogger who loves city breaks and U.K. staycations and North American road trips and European rail travel and all inclusive holidays.

So why call myself a travel blogger? Well for starters, that’s where my blogging journey started. An online diary of our 2010 US West Coast road trip. I didn’t write about anything else at that time so blog posts were few and far between. And the only people who read it was Ma and Pa Lee and Mr Fletche. It wasn’t til five years later that I decided to move my Travelpod content into a WordPress site and do something a bit more interesting with it. Which was good timing, as Travelpod soon became defunct.

So what makes me a travel blogger now? I felt under pressure for a while to try and fit in as much travel as possible, and to tick off new countries so that I could have more and more travel content. But, you know what? Real life gets in the way. So my travel blogging content reflects that. It’s not about luxury holidays, or travelling on a budget, or stretching my comfort zone. It’s about content that other “normal” non-travel-blogging peeps can relate to. Trying to fit in a weekend away by leaving an hour earlier from work on a Friday and travelling back on a Sunday evening. Easy 2 or 3 day itineraries for city breaks. Places to eat and drink that won’t break the bank. Appreciating what’s on my own doorstep rather than always hankering for new destinations.

But even when I’m not travelling, I’m always thinking about travel. I lap up travel magazines the way that fashionistas lap up Vogue. I have Pinterest boards full of places I want to go, and Instagram collections to inspire future travel. I read other travel blogs. I participate in Twitter chats (when I remember) about travel. I plan trips we’re going to take. I plan trips we’re not going to take. And that’s what makes me a travel blogger.

This post was inspired by the May #TravelLinkUp, asking bloggers about their travel challenges. You can read more from this month’s Link Up on Adventures of a London KiwiSilverSpoon LondonFollow Your Sunshine and Binny’s Food and Travel Diaries.

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54 Replies to “The challenge of being a travel blogger when you’re not travelling”

  1. I love this Em. Yep it’s not all glitzy and glammy as Insta makes it out to be. Totally understand how our everyday routines cannot cater for that travel blogger lifestyle people think we have! I think appreciating what is around us locally, is so important too. Xx

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  2. Great blog.work full time too – my travel adventures are UK based and I have a free rail pass. I don’t necessary do glamour, I just love new sights 😀

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  3. I think staycations are valid for travel bloggers. The person who is reading your blog might want to visit your area based on how you present it. Even though you might want to go somewhere else for vacation, someone else is looking to go on vacation where you live.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hear you loud and clear! My travel life consists of one major holiday a year and one or two little trips around Australia and/or a trip home to NZ to see my mum once (or twice a year if I’m lucky).. but I am also a travel blogger. I also struggle with what to write because I don’t travel so much and I feel like I am letting the team down. It has taken me a long time to realise that it doesn’t really matter how or when I travel, just that I do and I have a place to share my adventures 🙂

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  5. I love your posts Em – I work full time too and as much as I’d love to be jetting off somewhere exotic every month I can’t so posts like many of yours are more real and meaningful to me! I might get to go to some of your destinations!!

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this post. When I was first contemplating possible blog ideas, my first thought was a travel blog, but. . . I ran into the same problem of how can I keep a travel blog when I am hardly travelling. I enjoyed the spin that you put on it and look forward to reading more from you.

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  7. I so get you on this. There was a time when I considered myself an accessible travel blogger, on the lookout for accessible travel opportunities and chronicling my (mis) adventures. Now that includes family road-trips, a house that owns us, and a medium level depression and anxiety that I’m not doing all the things and showing my kid all the places, with a husband who thinks caravans count as travel. I still love him, though.

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  8. I feel much the same as you- I only have 15 days of paid leave a year, though, and flying within and outside of Canada is cripplingly expensive, so I’m a terrible travel blogger haha! I have to say, you are the type of travel blogger I love because you are based in reality. Most people CAN’T eschew all responsibility and head off as a wandering monad, and blogs like yours tackle that well!!

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  9. Absolutely relatable! There are definitely some who travel 24/7 but for us who are not at that point yet, this was a great reminder for those of us who work a 9-5 or have vacations two weeks a year, that we are not alone. Thank you for this! Love from Canada!

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  10. Love this! I’m in the same mindset. I read travel blogs and Instagram posts and dream about traveling a lot. And I also have a full time job, and family, friends, and other responsibilities that I cant just fly away to Rome on a whim. I’m starting small with weekend trips and even day trips close by that are wonderful places to write about. Eventually I’ll take those big trips, but for now my own back yard is worth telling!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love this, can totally relate having just moved from the States to New Zealand. There’s lots to explore in the country, but being this close to Antarctica can make it challenging to visit some of the more popular destinations in Europe, Central and South America, and Africa.

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  12. Loved reading this. Most of us do have full time jobs and hectic schedules which allow us little time to travel. One of my goals is to write about small local attractions and fun family activities in addition to our once or twice a year “big” (one week) trips.

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  13. This sums up exactly how I am feeling at the moment. I’ve had some great travel experiences, and have some planned for the future, but real life / work / annual leave / finances get in the way of just jumping on the next plane or train to another great destination.
    I focus my posts around the photography aspect of travel, so it’s a good challenge finding those interesting shots in the locations you can squeeze in over a weekend.
    I like the idea of the link up’s – need to do some more research into those kind of things!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wouldn’t it be amazing if were were all rushed off to new places by PR companies?! Anyone who thoroughly loves exploring some corner of the world can write about it. I love hearing about new places and also writing about them too. Thanks for sharing. Kelly

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  15. This post is realistic beyond anything! I completely understand. My time also goes in working 5 days a week with minimal leaves. I’m balancing my money to take small weekend getaways and also saving up for one International holiday! Would love to read more of your posts in the future! 🙂

    Mansi | https://stylepsychic.in/

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This post was really relateable. Although I am living abroad right now, I have never been more poor. I feel this pressure to look like I am “living the life” but really I am sleeping all day, staying up all night, in my flat in Bordeaux, trying to just feed my cat and somehow afford the presets that “I need” to make my instagram popular. Like, how?! It is so easy to get discouraged when I look at other, more popular, blogs. But then I realize that they have had more time, money, ect. So I am just trying to take inspiration from them and not envy. Thanks for the much needed post.

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