How Blogging Has Changed the Way I Travel

When I first started drafting this post, the original title was “Has Blogging Ruined Travel For Me?”

I eventually decided against that, though, simply because it's misleading; it suggests that blogging about my travels has indeed diminished the experience for me in some way. Which isn't really true. Blogging has not “ruined” travel for me.

But being a travel blogger HAS definitely changed the way in which I travel.

On my very first “big” trip abroad (to New Zealand in 2005), I only had a vague concept of what blogging really was. (Come on, we all had a LiveJournal blog in high school, didn't we?) I had a bulky digital camera that ate through two dozen AA batteries in two weeks. And I wasn't even on Facebook yet.

It was before the proliferation of smartphones and Instagram and readily-available wifi.

Looking back, it was an entirely different world.

In the intervening ten years, a lot has changed. Technology has evolved by leaps and bounds; things are possible today that I never even imagined on that first big trip back in 2005.

And becoming a travel blogger has definitely had an impact on the way I travel.

How blogging has changed the way I travel

I'm almost always connected

This isn't really a direct result of being a blogger – rather, it's a combination of being a blogger, a Millennial, and embracing the digital age with reckless abandon. It's hard to remember back to a time when Facebook and iPhones didn't exist; when Google wasn't just a swipe away. (Do you remember going on trips and not texting anyone back home? I do – but it seems like a long, long time ago.)

And, as a blogger, I take things a step further. I don't just want to be connected because it's convenient – I actually require it to do my job. When I'm traveling, I'm also usually working. This means posting photos to Facebook and Instagram, showing people behind-the-scenes glimpses on Snapchat, answering emails, and drafting blog posts when I have time.

This all requires being connected as much as humanly possible.

GowithOh apartment in Barcelona, Spain

Always looking for a spot to work!

The downside: Well, it's that I'm always connected. I always have a smartphone, a camera, and usually a laptop with me on my travels. I rely heavily on wifi (gone are the days when I might have booked a hotel room because it was a great deal – now wifi is the number one requirement!), and am admittedly addicted to having instant access to information, entertainment, and more. I'm not saying that I never disconnect (in fact, I recently went on a digital detox trip where I ignored my blog, email, and social media for an entire week!), but it's definitely rare.

The upside: I get to have a career as a blogger! And, I gotta say, being able to explore the world and make money while doing it is definitely a dream come true for me.

I look at destinations differently

To be fair, I still travel based on my own personal bucket list and where I actually want to go – blogging hasn't really affected that at all. But there's no doubt that being a blogger causes me to consider destinations differently. Now, I go places with story ideas in mind, or with a checklist of things to do/see so I can potentially write about them later. I'm also likely to seek out interesting and colorful spots for Instagram photos or a fun Snapchat story.

I rarely look at a trip as a holiday any longer, because I know that I'll probably share at least *something* from it with my audience.

Doors in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Just a set of red doors, or potential Instagram gold?

The downside: My blog (i.e. work) is almost always on my mind. Even though I might take a break from blogging while on a big trip, things like email and social media are almost always there to keep me busy.

The upside: The fact that I may write about a destination or experience makes me pay more attention to it. I ask more questions, get more involved, and sometimes even take notes. As far as travel as education goes, I think I think I actually learn more as a blogger!

My interest in photography has evolved

In case you didn't know, this blog is a one-woman show. I don't have a partner or assistant to help with writing or photography or video editing – I do it all myself! And since the onus has been on me (and only me) to learn how to do everything from SEO to photo editing to email marketing, it means that I've picked up a lot of new skills as a blogger. And one of those has definitely been photography.

As a blogger, I don't necessarily take more photos than the average traveler. But I do take different photos – of food, of hotel rooms, of activities that I'm doing. Just in case I need those photos for a post later.

Holmen Husky Lodge

My camera is usually attached to me – even when cuddling sled dogs!

Knowing that blogs (and especially travel blogs) are very visual, improving my photography has been something I've actively worked at for years. And working at it has made me fall in love with it. I really enjoy the challenge of trying to capture scenes and moments exactly as I saw/experienced them, and photography has now become a very important part of my personal travel experience.

The downside: It's now really, really difficult for me to travel without a camera. I tried doing it on my recent digital detox trip, and realized that not being able to take my own photos actually detracted from the whole experience for me.

The upside: It's one more creative outlet that I get to explore and hone.

I am more likely to seek out new experiences

As a travel blogger, I don't necessarily have to always be traveling in order to run my blog (in fact, I travel less than half the year!). But I DO always have to come up with new post/travel ideas – I'm sometimes planning my next trip before my current one is even over. And I'm always seeking out new and unique experiences to share with my audience.

I'm a pretty adventurous person by nature, but I'm definitely more likely as a blogger to go out of my way to do something that will make a good story. Whether it's swimming with seals or doing the world's longest zip line or going to the Arctic in the dead of winter, I rarely will say no to a new adventure these days.

Snorkeling Silfra in Iceland

Snorkeling in freezing water between tectonic plates in Iceland? Sign me up!

The downside: When you have so many great adventures, it's easy to start taking it all for granted. I try my best to avoid the “been there, done that” attitude, and make an effort to acknowledge how lucky I really am to be able to have this kind of lifestyle.

The upside: Awesome adventures, of course! I've tried so many new things all for the sake of getting a good story, and know that it has definitely helped me grow – both as a blogger AND as a person.

 

When it comes down to it, I'm no longer your average traveler. I'm now a travel blogger, and that definitely DOES have an affect on how I explore and experience the world.

But, thankfully, I think the upsides outweigh the downsides. And I kind of can't imagine traveling any other way now!

Travel Blog Success Spring Sale

If you're interested in having YOUR travels changed by blogging, this week is a great time to start! Travel Blog Success is having its Spring Sale, and you can get 35% off all TBS courses through 11 p.m. on March 25.

In case you're not familiar with it, Travel Blog Success is one of the most comprehensive travel blogger training programs out there. It’s a 6-module blogging course broken up into 35+ lessons, covering everything from content creation to driving traffic to making money from your blog to how to keep things running when you’re on the road. You also get access to an amazingly useful Facebook group (seriously, this group alone is worth the cost of the course!), free webinars presented by industry pros, access to an opportunity board, and some special perks only available to TBS members.

TBS also has some more specialized courses, too, such as ones on freelance writing, videography, and how to work with travel brands/tourism boards (and the partnerships course is written by yours truly!).

If you're interested in upping your blogging game (or perhaps learning more about freelancing or brokering your own partnerships), this is the time to take the leap. Check out the sale!

So what do you think? Did you expect that blogging could change a travel style so much? Has anything (a job, an interest, etc.) influenced the way YOU travel?

 

 

Note: The TBS links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you buy through my link I’ll get a commission from your sign-up. But I legit think the TBS community is awesome – and I’ll see you around in the Facebook group!

43 Comments

  • Danny says:

    I never really thought about how blogging might impact my travels until recently when I caught myself taking more notes and photos about a place than usual. It’s funny how that works – either consciously or subconsciously!
    Danny recently posted..6 Places That Prove Mallorca Is More Than Just a Party Island

  • Katrina says:

    Great post! It’s nice to hear some insights about what you do. I’m not even a travel blogger, but I love taking photos, and I would definitely agree that traveling without taking photos is actually a detraction! Taking photos actually helps me capture the moment more, even in that moment. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      I tend to agree! There’s a certain challenge in trying to capture a moment exactly as you see it, but those photos often end up being my favorite souvenirs!

  • Ijana says:

    That’s really interesting. I’ve gotta admit, I never really thought about how it would be different traveling as a blogger. I do plan to start a travel blog at one point basically to keep my friends and fam up to date, but I don’t want to make it my job because I could never handle always having to have wifi (because I’d miss out on certain wifi-less places/experiences, and also because I hate technology lol) and taking good pictures. I’m the opposite of you, I always feel like a camera gets in the way of the actual moment. The way I see it I can find pictures of gorgeous places I visit online so if I need to I can put those on my blog!

    • Amanda says:

      Everyone travels differently, so I can definitely understand your point of view, too! My boyfriend feels the same way about cameras, so he totally doesn’t get it when I say that photography is PART of my travel experience now.

  • Liz Peterson says:

    Yep! This is all spot on. When I travel these days I’m way more connected than I ever used to be and I’m always taking notes about the places I visit and the questions I get answered. The best part is, though, that I do ask a lot more questions. I feel like now vs. then I have an enhanced learning experience for sure, which is great!

    http://www.california2catalonia.com

    • Amanda says:

      Yes! When I compare the trips I take now to the trips I took before I was a blogger, I remember SO MUCH more now! Blogging has definitely made me a more curious traveler.

  • Ella says:

    I loved this post and definitely agree with a lot of the points you bring up. I started a blog around the same time that I started travelling as an adult. It wasn’t intentional but that’s how it happened, and I’ve definitely noticed how having a travel blog affects my travels in the ways that you’ve mentioned. Because in a way you’re not just traveling for yourself, you’re also traveling for those who read about your travels. Sometimes I wonder about how my experiences of travel would be if I didn’t have a blog. But honestly, I love sharing my travel stories and I find that the knowledge that I will share them on my blog when I return home, is something that excites me while I’m travelling. I find that it actually adds to the fun for me 🙂
    Ella recently posted..Photo Essay: The Great Ocean Road

  • Well, it hasn’t changed me yet. But I do take ideas from other bloggers as to what to see/ do at a destination. Before having a travel blog I just read guidebooks and TripAdvisor:)
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted..Easter at home or away?

  • Kelly says:

    Being a blogger (and now a travel advisor at a travel agency) has definitely impacted the way I travel! One major thing I’ve noticed is that I tend to dress much more nicely these days! I used to always dress very casually and comfortably when traveling (plain t-shirts and tank tops with casual pants or shorts), but now I tend to dress more fashionably and professionally. For one thing, I’m representing both my personal brand and my agency when I travel abroad, and I’m also always thinking about that next cute Instagram picture. Sad but true!
    Kelly recently posted..“You’re SO Lucky!” – The Thing About Travel and Privilege

    • Amanda says:

      That’s one I didn’t even think about – but it’s definitely true! I’ve been making an effort to get more photos of myself when I travel (sometimes I go on whole trips and never get one picture of ME), but knowing that I’m going to be in photos definitely makes me think about what I’m going to be wearing!

  • Hi Amanda! I agree with you that blogging changes the way you travel. Most of all, it’s no longer vacations, as you say. It’s difficult to “forget the world” and be on your own as it used to be. We are always connected and places/people are always viewed through a “potential for social media sharing” perspective.

    Nevertheless, I still enjoy it. Perhaps even more than before. I love the fact that now I can reach more people with social media and share with them my experiences of places they haven’t been – and maybe never will.

    It’s less about me and more about the readers but to my surprised, I don’t mind. It’s like being on your own but at the same time have a constant background of friends who want to read your stories. So you’re on your own but not alone. Isn’t it a nice feeling? 🙂
    Eleanna @Damsel Adrift recently posted..Plaka photo diary: island heart of Athens

    • Amanda says:

      I totally understand what you mean – and agree! Some people think that being so connected is a bad thing, but I just look at it as a new/different way to travel. I, too, love sharing my adventures with people in the hopes that I can inspire others to get out there and see the world.

  • I completely understand and can sympathize with you on the majority of these points, Amanda. 🙂
    Karisa @ Flirting with the Globe recently posted..8 Reasons to Travel to Vilnius, Lithuania

  • Hung Thai says:

    Great post Amanda! Since I started blogging, I’ve noticed a few changes here an there but it hasn’t affected me too much when I’m on the road. It’s mainly because I’m not blogging as a business so I can do everything I used to do. But I do take a lot more notes from my trips than I used to, just so I have more to share with others. Definitely agree with you that blogging does make you want to try new experiences.
    Hung Thai recently posted..I tried to cry but I couldn’t do it – Join Project Alpha and write for charity

  • I really enjoyed reading this and can relate to a lot of it! I’d love to go on a trip and not be connected – just to try it out! I might go crazy though. 😉

    Happy travels!
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted..Where to Stay in Nashville: A Playlist Properties Review

  • Kelly says:

    I’m just getting started with blogging, so these are helpful watch-outs. So far it’s been fun to document my adventures. It’s also helped me turn frustrating travel experiences into funny blog posts! But hey, I’m a glass half full kinda gal 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      That’s awesome, Kelly! Traveling (and blogging) has definitely helped me learn to not sweat the small stuff as much – or, like you said, to just brush it off and turn it into a blog post later!

  • celyn says:

    What a great post! I love that you get to travel around for work! And going to the Arctic sounds amazing – definitely on my bucket list!

    styleandchocolates

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, I’m pretty lucky to get to do what I love AND have it be my career. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any sacrifices at all, but the good far outweighs the bad.

  • I’m still just “hobby blogging” but I totally get this – I’m always thinking about posts and for my upcoming 2 week trip to Asia, I have an outline of potential posts I plan to write about when I get back. Since it’s just a hobby for me, though, the laptop stays home!

    The other way that I travel a bit differently, or maybe not so much, but I work full-time and travel 4 weeks a year (plus some weekends) – I rarely will visit the same place twice because I have a lifetime of destinations I’ve yet to get to. So, when I visit a place, it’s with the full intention of never going back so I try to make sure I can see as much as possible in case I never make it back.
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..The Dining Room at Kendall College

  • Miriam says:

    I can definitely relate to this, Amanda! I’ve always traveled to exotic destinations and always with a travel buddy, but things have changed after I became a travel blogger. Now, I challenge myself more by traveling solo and to places I’d never thought I would visit, like Ukraine and Moldova. Travel blogging definitely has its downsides, but I’m happy about this one 🙂

  • Erika Zar says:

    This is great to read. I’ve also wondered if beginning to travel with blogging in mind will decrease the enjoyment factor. I’m happy to read you’re still finding mostly upsides!

  • Great article Amanda. As a new to me blogger, but not new writer, I’ve always thought about the story and it’s hard not to. However I do find I take more photos (especially of food) and spending time thinking about how I can blog or instagram something is on the mind. But I do like that I’m more engaged with the destination and that really is what it’s all about!

  • Mark says:

    It’s great to know about your story and how blogging has changed the way you travel….your story is a great inspiration for someone like me who also dreams of traveling the world…I have been doing freelance travel writing for a few years now and I myself have a travel website which is not quite a blog….as I can’t afford to travel a lot at this moment I write posts based on online research alone….I am still in the initial phase of my travel writing….I really hope to start traveling a lot soon and hope my ability to write about destinations will help the cause…right now I spend time reading about successful travel bloggers and world travelers like your…
    Mark recently posted..16 Exhilarating Things to do in Dubai

    • Amanda says:

      It sounds like you enjoy what you’re doing, Mark, and that’s really half the battle when it comes to travel writing! I wish you the best of luck. 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    While I’m actually not a travel blogger per se I DO love doing my travel posts, getting photos and writing it all up with extra info because I just find it interesting. I’m always experiencing while thinking about how to write it too, though I’ve kept a diary for over 20 years and don’t see the inability to switch off as a downside thankfully. On the contrary, if I can’t take photos and make notes I get very antsy and feel like I’m letting the experience slip away! And it’s a HUGE plus to be able to relive some of our trips, especially when our boys were little 🙂
    Though technically they still ARE little…
    As a side note I love your blog and would love to steal your job. 😉

  • Alessandra says:

    I’m loving your blog Amanda because I really like to know the stories of the journeys of people. Be blogger traveller will be amazing. Success!

  • Katrina says:

    Just stumbled across your blog and loving your travel tips and blogging insider scoop 🙂

  • Joice says:

    Hi Amanda, I wish I could travel a lot, I really enjoyed your tips

  • Soraya says:

    How much, for me it would be a dream to unite these two things that really love to do, the Blog and the Travels, thanks for sharing, I loved it

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