The truth is that starting a travel blog is actually less about the technical setting up of the blog, and much more about the content and promotion.
We’ve written extensively before about setting up a blog, but in this article, we dive deep into all the real challenges you’ll have when it comes to starting a travel blog specifically. Read on intrepid blogger…
- 1 How to Start a Travel Blog
- 2 Writing Travel Content that Inspires
- 3 15 Travel Photography Tips for Better Content
- 4 Uncovering Hidden Gems For The Best Blogs
How to Start a Travel Blog
Creating a blog is the easy part. If you are new to WordPress and webmastering then you can check out our extensive article all about how to start a blog.
That will explain everything you need to know about getting a domain name, setting up hosting, installing WordPress, and choosing a travel blog theme. Honestly, even if you are not very technical the whole process of setting up a WordPress-powered blog these days is pretty easy.
The hardest part of the setup phase is probably choosing a really good name for your travel blog. You want something catchy, easy to remember, easy to spell, and meaningful.
Don’t rush this because if you are successful then you’ll be living with this for a while. We’ve previously written about domain name generators.
So if setting up your new travel blog is the easy part, what is the hard part of starting a travel blog?
Well, travel blogging is all about sharing inspirational stories, images, and videos from beautiful, interesting, and far-flung places around the world…the hard part is actually getting out there, capturing that content, and sharing it in a compelling and accessible way.
This is what we think is the important part of starting a travel blog…
Writing Travel Content that Inspires
Anyone can write about travel – but it’s generally only those bloggers who write in a way that engages that can cultivate a following of thousands. Here are our top tips for writing inspiring destination content to set your blog apart from the rest.
Show, Don’t Tell
One of the crucial lessons any writer can learn is that it’s more important to make your readers ‘see’ than to simply tell them.
This doesn’t mean filling your posts with photos – it means writing in a way that allows your audience to build a picture in their own minds, as though they are experiencing what you’re describing for themselves through senses, actions, and feelings.
You don’t need to go overboard with adjectives and long-winded descriptions to achieve this. You can make your readers ‘see’ by using sensory language and being specific about details.
It can take practice, but once you master the art of showing your audience the story you’ll find your readers are a lot more connected and engaged.
Consider Your Reader
You’ve been on the trip of a lifetime, and you’re excited to chronicle every delicious detail. If you want to inspire and engage your audience, it’s vital as you tell your story to think beyond simply the what/ where/ when of what you did and consider what your readers are most interested in.
Are you writing for hip young professionals who are looking for information on luxury escapes, or families looking to squeeze the most adventure out of their shoestring budget? Angle your tales of travel around what your readers are most interested in reading about and you’ll win over an engaged fan base who keep coming back for more.
Want to connect with your readers and build a relationship that has them obsessed with your stories?
Be approachable, write like you talk, and imagine you’re writing posts for your friends to cultivate your most authentic and engaging voice.
Being human is a great way to create a meaningful connection with your fans, and being yourself means you’ll engage in a style that’s all your own, and in a voice that you can sustain for many adventures to come.
Tell the Untold Story
The world is a big place, and while there are almost countless cities, towns, and remote destinations a blogger can write about, it’s often the major travel hotspots that are rehashed time and time again.
The trick to inspiring your readers is to take them on a journey they haven’t yet experienced or read about elsewhere. You can, of course, achieve this by writing about the further-most corners of the globe – but if that’s not practical, you can always take them on an entirely new journey by finding and telling the untold story.
Think about an angle that hasn’t already been explored. Bring your own unique experience and point of view into your writing. Give your readers an unexpected twist that will excite them, engage them, and inspire them to continue exploring your content.
15 Travel Photography Tips for Better Content
No inspiring travel blog is complete without engaging images, which is why every successful travel blogger always has their camera at the ready. Whether you’re shooting a photo story, adding visual context to your content or looking to increase your following on social media, check out our top 15 tips to get the best shots at your next location.
- Before you embark on your destination, get travel insurance and ensure both you and your equipment are covered. Remember to always take your camera and small equipment such as lenses as carry-on luggage. You never know when a checked bag might become lost in transit.
- Carry your memory cards in a card wallet instead of carrying them loose to avoid losing or damaging them. Backup any photos you take with your smartphone to a cloud system such as Dropbox as often as you can or email them to yourself. This will allow you to delete as you go and avoid running out of space, and ensure your pics are lost if your phone gets damaged or lost.
- Make the most of the ‘magic hours’ at sunrise and sunset. Not only do these times offer beautiful light, but there will also be fewer people about to get in the way of your shots, especially in the early morning.
- Get creative with composition to make your photos more visually interesting and appealing. Try employing the ‘rule of thirds’, where you place your subject within one-third of the frame, to shoot a striking image. If you’re shooting with a smartphone, enable the grid feature to help you compose your shots.
- Plan for the unexpected and always have some camera on you during your journey. You might need to leave your DSLR at the hotel on days that you need to travel light, but be sure to have an alternative compact camera or smart phone on you just in case. You never know when a great photo op may present itself.
- When it comes to angles, don’t be afraid to mix things up. Moving your camera higher or lower than eye-level, or even trying to find a bird’s eye view, can take your pics to the next level.
- When using your DSLR, it’s best to use Aperture Priority mode when photographing landscapes. This will help you achieve a maximum depth of field so both the foreground and the background of your scene is sharp.
- If you’re traveling to a location with opportunities for water shots, invest in a waterproof phone case or camera housing unit such as an Aquapac. This will offer good protection and even allow you to take underwater photos.
- When using your smartphone, always shoot your original photos in portrait or landscape mode – even if you plan on Instagramming your pics later. Setting your phone to shoot in the preset square means you’re stuck with that crop. Cropping after the photo has been taken allows more opportunity to play with composition.
- Don’t miss out on a great image. Capture fleeting quickly moments by knowing your phone’s camera shortcuts.
- When using your smartphone, tap the screen of your camera view to change focus and adjust the lighting.
- Invest in wide-angle and telescopic lenses to up the ante on your travel photography. You can pick up clip-on lenses for smartphones relatively cheaply. Grab an external wide-angle lens to get an amazing close-up. If you’re shooting on DSLR, use a telephoto lens to capture great portraits of locals while blurring out distracting backgrounds.
- Clean your lenses regularly. Salt-spray from coastlines and dust from urban areas can cloud your lens and lead to blurry pics.
- Shoot panoramas of scenic viewpoints, rather than in wide-angle mode, which can make everything appear small. Your smartphone likely has a preset panorama mode, so make use of it! You can create your own panoramic shots with a DSLR by shooting several images of a scene and then stitching them together in photo editing software when you get back home.
- Landscapes and monuments are fantastic subjects for travel photos – but don’t forget to include people in your shots! People respond more strongly to photos with people in them, and candid shots of locals are a great way to give context to your images and tell a better story about your destination. Including people in your pics can also help to give a sense of scale to surroundings.
Uncovering Hidden Gems For The Best Blogs
The ‘hidden gem’ is content gold for travel bloggers. Not only because offers you the chance to experience and write about something unique – but also because it can help your content stand out, and increase your blogger cred and following.
Any blogger can write about and rehash the top three activities listed on Trip Advisor… it’s those who go the extra mile to discover something extraordinary and unknown who build a truly loyal fan base.
Uncovering hidden gems isn’t always easy – which is why we’ve put together our top suggestions for getting the scoop on the road less travelled.
Keep an Eye on the Local News
Most towns and cities have some online equivalent of their community newspaper, so do a little browsing during your pre-journey research, then pick up the print paper when you hit town.
Look for stories about local business, opinion pieces, and columns from local writers, puff pieces about where the local school went on their recent field trip, and even advertisements. Anything that’s important to the community can offer a clue to gems other travelers may overlook.
Ask Your Social Networks
If you’ve already built a network on social media, put the word out to fans and followers that you’re about to visit a new location and ask them what spots they’d recommend checking out while you’re there.
If your readers enjoy your content, they’ll be more than happy to contribute ideas – and by engaging them for pointers they’ll be even more excited to read your posts when you write about your journey.
Still building your following? Reach out to locals already talking about your next destination via Twitter and ask them if they have any recommendations. Chances are, if they live in the city you’re about to visit, they’ll have the inside scoop on new and little-known hotspots not covered anywhere else.
Ask Your Accommodation Provider
Similarly, don’t be afraid to ask the staff working at the hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast you’re staying at what their favorite off-the-beaten-path sights, attractions, eateries, and markets are.
They’re well versed in giving tourists the skinny on the most popular spots to visit, but taking an interest in what they like to do as locals can uncover a gem no one else has written about.
Leave Room to Explore
Pre-planning your itinerary can help you cram as many experiences as possible into your trip, but leave a little time – be it an hour, an afternoon or an entire day – to explore part of the city on foot.
Just wandering around a new place with no predetermined destination can offer a new perspective. It can also present great opportunities for discovering gems not mentioned in your guidebook. Enjoy a leisurely pace, keep your eyes peeled, and don’t neglect the unassuming.
That little coffee shop or vintage store or community museum that every other backpack-wearing traveller is walking past could be jammed with stories waiting to be told.