After more than half a decade of blogging, I've begun to get certain questions about my site and lifestyle over and over again from readers, friends, and complete strangers alike. So here are the answers to (hopefully) all your burning questions!

How did you start blogging?

I launched this blog back in 2010 while I was working full-time as a copy/design editor at a small newspaper in northwest Ohio. To be honest, I started the blog partly because I would get bored at work while waiting for stories to come in and needed something to do to pass the time. And the other part of my motivation came from the fact that, while I've always loved to write, my editor job didn't offer much opportunity for me to do that.

So A Dangerous Business started as a creative outlet. I barely wrote anything for the first six months, though, and had roughly zero knowledge of how to actually run a travel blog. It took nearly a year for me to get into the groove of things and get serious about it. But, once I did, the rest is history.

What's with the name?

The name of my blog – A Dangerous Business – comes from one of my favorite Tolkien quotes:

It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to.

When I was toying around with names for my blog, all of the standard (read: boring) ones were already taken. So I started thinking of some of my favorite quotes and eventually landed on this. It doesn't really scream “travel blog,” but it says something about me personally, and I also think it makes a good story. And everyone loves a good story, right?

What did you study in school?

I've known since I was maybe 8 or 9 that I really liked writing – and I've also known since about that age that I was pretty good at it. When considering my college major, though, I wanted to be realistic – I didn't want to get the standard creative writing or literature degree because I was under no delusions that I was about to write the next great American novel. So I got a degree in journalism instead from a small, private school in Ohio (Ohio Northern University).

After working at a newspaper for nearly two years and discovering my love for traveling and blogging, I then decided to go back to school and got a master's degree from Kent State University in hospitality and tourism management. So, you know, if this whole blogging thing doesn't work out, I guess I can run a hotel or get a job in tourism development…

(But no, you definitely don't need writing/travel degrees in order to run a travel blog. It just so happens that those are two of my passions, and work well with me being a travel blogger!)

Where did you learn to take photos?

I do not have a background in photography, and with the exception of one basic digital photography class in college, I don't have any professional training. A lot of what I've learned about travel photography I've just learned from trial and error – and from taking lots of photos!

If you're looking for a good overview course about photography basics, my friend Laurence has a great travel photography course that you should check out.

What kind of camera do you use?

I get this question much more frequently than I ever expected I would. The answer is that I currently shoot with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with a 12-40mm Pro lens.

I've been shooting with an Olympus mirrorless camera of some sort since early 2012. I started out with their smaller PEN series cameras, but upgraded to the OM-D line in mid-2015. I like these cameras because they take great photos, yet are still small enough to fit into a roomy purse.

As for post-processing (i.e. photo editing), I don't do a lot. I used to just use iPhoto on my Mac for color correction and cropping, but switched to Adobe Lightroom for editing a couple years ago.

Read more about my gear here: A Peek Inside My Camera Bag: My Favorite Travel Photography Gear

How do you make money to travel?

It's a question I am asked all. the. time. And it's fair – I would be curious, too, if I was on the outside looking in.

I actually wrote a whole post about how I make money, which you can read here: How I Make Money as a Blogger

In short, though, I do a lot of different things. I make money from my blog through selling ads/the occasional branded posts, and through affiliate links. I also do things like freelance writing and other contract work on the side, and recently launched a travel blogging course with Travel Blog Success.

Where have you traveled?

As of early 2017, I've traveled to more than 45 countries. If you want to see where all I've been (or, at least all the places I've blogged about), check out my Destinations page.

Where's your favorite place you've been?

It's SO difficult to choose my favorite place. I like different places for different reasons.

Some of my favorite countries include New Zealand, Scotland, Iceland, Norway, Vietnam, and Romania. Some of my favorite cities include places like London, Budapest, Barcelona, Savannah, Chicago, and Wellington.

If I HAD to choose one overall favorite destination, though, I would have to be New Zealand. I studied abroad in Wellington for a semester during college, and have made four separate trips to the Land of the Long White Cloud. New Zealand has held a very special place in my heart for more than a decade, and it's the country I've spent the most time in other than the US.

Here are some of my favorite NZ posts:

Don't you get scared traveling solo?

I'll admit that I sometimes get anxious when I travel. I worry about delayed flights and lost luggage and language barriers and figuring out public transport. Eating alone isn't my favorite pasttime, either. But I don't really get scared about traveling solo.

You can read more about why I don't find solo travel scary here: Why I'm Not Afraid to Travel Alone

And you can read more about solo travel in general here: Top 9 Questions About Solo Travel Answered

What kind of luggage should I take to X?

Packing can be one of the more stressful parts of planning a trip for many people. And I totally get it – you never truly know what the weather will be like, how many pairs of shoes to take, or whether you really truly need all those new accessories and gizmos you bought for the trip. Deciding on which type of bag to pack your stuff in can also be confusing. Here are my suggestions:

Rolling luggage If you're traveling in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia, or New Zealand, then rolling luggage is fine. It's extra-fine if you're traveling on an organized tour with transport already arranged for you. But you don't want a ginormous suitcase in any situation. My choice of rolling bag is the Osprey Sojourn (I have the 25-inch/60 liter version, but there's also a larger 28-inch/80 liter version). It's extremely sturdy and well-made, and is big enough to fit all my things, whether I'm traveling for 10 days or 5 weeks. (Remember, when you travel for a long time you can always do laundry along the way!) The Sojourn also has removable backpack straps in a separate compartment at the back.

A backpack – For other part of the world like Southeast Asia and Central America, a backpack is slightly more suitable to travel with. This is because you'll likely have to be taking your bag on/off buses and boats and tuk-tuks more often, and a backpack is much easier to do this with than rolling luggage. For my own trip to Southeast Asia, I traveled with a Kelty Redwing 44-liter backpack. It's on the small side, yet has lots of pockets for organization and was perfect for all the modes of public transport in places like Thailand and Cambodia.

Carry-on-only – For shorter trips (and/or for people who are happy to travel light), going carry-on-only is often the way to go. It means you don't have to wait around at a luggage carousel or ever worry about your stuff being lost. There are SO many different carry-on bags out there to choose from, from small spinner luggage to backpacks. Some of my favorite bags include the Pacsafe Venturesafe 45L GII and the Osprey Farpoint 40.

For more packing tips, check out my Packing Lists page.

How do you decide where to travel to next?

The answer is pretty simple: it's based on where I want to go! I usually have a running “bucket list” of destinations, and usually go by what's at the top. Other things like cool events, the weather/seasons, and where someone else I know is traveling can also sometimes influence my decisions. I also occasionally get invited to visit places by PR companies and tourism boards, and usually schedule those around other already-planned trips.

How do you manage to juggle travel and working?

I'm still trying to figure out the perfect balance. I don't travel full-time, but I still travel roughly 25-35% of the year. And, when you're trying to make a living AND travel, you definitely have to try to find a work-travel balance.

These days, I work 100% online. This is great, because it means I can work from anywhere with an Internet connection. But it can also be challenging, because it also means that I'm always working *while* I'm traveling, too. I have to balance exploring new destinations with finding time to write new blog posts, edit photos/video, post to social media, etc.

I manage this in a couple of ways. First of all, I always look for accommodation with good wifi so that I can work in the mornings/evenings from my room. I upload/edit photos just about every evening so I don't fall too far behind. I also usually add an extra “work day” or two into my itinerary. Setting aside time for work is essential – I would never get anything done otherwise!

What do you do about your phone when you're traveling abroad?

Many bloggers will tell you to buy local SIM cards for your phone when you travel, so you can easily use data and apps no matter where you are. But if you're based in the U.S. (and spend any amount of time in-country each year), there's an even easier way. I have my phone plan through T-Mobile and use their Simple Choice Plan. It only costs about $50 per month, and includes unlimited data and texting when you travel in more than 140 countries around the world.

When I go to a new country, my phone simply connects to a local mobile network and I can use it like normal. The data speeds aren't the fastest, but I'm always able to check my email, get directions, and send texts. (And calls only cost 20 cents a minute.) I've successfully used this plan in countries like New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Canada, Ecuador, and more!

This saves you having to buy new SIM cards (and getting a new phone number) in every country you visit, AND is pretty easy on the wallet.

(And no, I'm not getting paid to mention this – I honestly think this plan is great for travelers!)

What are your thoughts on travel insurance?

When it comes to travel insurance (i.e. insurance to cover everything from lost luggage to catastrophic accidents on the road), I'm definitely an advocate. I don't buy travel insurance for *every* trip, but I do get it for most of them because you just never know. I know travelers who have had some seriously awful experiences abroad (including a broken back in the middle of the Amazon jungle), and I would never want to be in a similar situation without at least basic coverage.

My pick for basic travel insurance is World Nomads. I've never actually had to file a claim with them (thankfully), but their coverage is some of the most affordable out there.


Have a question that isn't answered here? Feel free to leave it in the comments below, or to email me at adangerousbusiness [at] gmail [dot] com!



*Note: There are a few affiliate links in this post, meaning that if you buy/book something through one of my links, I may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you, of course!).

33 Comments on “FAQ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. How do you deal with language differences

      Good question! The answer is… you just do! I try to learn a few basic words in each new language I encounter, but other than that sometimes you just have to resort to pantomime, or try to find someone who speaks a little English. I’m afraid I don’t have any secret tips!

    Am I genuinely the only person who was fascinated by the fact your grew up on a Christmas tree farm?

      Hahaha. Not at all – many people are pretty fascinated by that! To me, it’s just normal. 😉

    Just came across your blog and I’m obsessed! I love all of the great tips and found your blog researching for my own first time abroad trip with my boyfriend! I know you mention you haven’t found the perfect travel buddy yet and you usually travel solo but who takes all of the amazing pics with you in them? Do you have your camera on any type of tripod or timer? Thx

      My big secret for getting photos isn’t really much of a secret at all – I just ask other people to take my photo! Especially when traveling in a group, or when visiting popular attractions, there are always people around and most are happy to take some snaps if you ask!

    I don’t have a question, but I just wanted to say that I just stumbled upon your travel blog and feel like we are kindred spirits! Love that your blog name is inspired by LOR…I am such a big fan. I’ve pinned so much to my travel boards from your travel blog already and just wanted to say keep up the amazing blog & thanks for the wanderlust inspiration! Happy travels from a fellow globe trotter! 🙂

      Thanks so much, Rebecca! Happy continued pinning! 🙂

    Hi, Amanda
    I just want to get your email address to send you an email in terms of mutual work!
    Thank you

      You can find it on my “Work With Me” page! It’s adangerousbusiness [at] gmail [dot] com

    I love your blog name and the quote! I named my garden two roads from my favorite quote, which is a travel quote, too! “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both and be on traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to wear it bent in the undergrowth; Then the other just as fair…..”

    hey Amanda…..love your blog…so many beautiful places. Question…how long did you have to travel at your own expense before you were comped stay and travel expenses? Was it years into this blog? What is the best way to ask or solicit this kind of perk? Thanks!

      Hey Lila! I still pay for a lot of my own travel – at least half of it every year, I would say. And yes, it took years to get to the point where a destination/brand would comp an entire trip for me. I started out small, pitching free day trips or maybe one-night hotel stays. But even now I sometimes don’t get everything comped on a trip.

    I am brand new to blogging and am building a WordPress website. I really like the layout of your site. Can you tell me what theme you use? Thank you!

      Hi Judy! I use a theme called Simple Mag for my site.

    I love your blog! We are verryyyyy similar. Im also from a small town in Ohio (north east)!

    Hi Amanda, I love your blog and Instagram. I recently found you on, Women in Travel Summit’s facebook. I will definitely continue to follow. By the way, are you attending the 2017 Summit this year? If so, I would love to chat. Nonetheless, you’ve found a new fellow adventure seeker in me… #yourgirlfriendnextdoor

      Yes, I’ll be at WITS in 2017!! Would love to chat. 🙂

    Hey Amanda!

    I see you are in Oregon…hope you are having a wonderful time! I live up in Sandy, Oregon….would love to show you around if you have time. I have finally launched my travel blog…took 6 months….would love your opinion of it if you have time and desire to check it out. Its http://www.magicmomenttravel.com. Be well-travel safe!

    Lila K Reed

      I’m actually not in Oregon at the moment! Elliot and I were there earlier this month – loved it!

    Hi Amanda! I love following your adventures! How was Norway? Looks beautiful! I really admire your work. We set up a site during an around the word trip to help others stay healthy and keep in shape while travelling. Do you think your followers would be interested in my post? I would love to chat with you and hear your ideas. I appreciate you are busy but when you could spare some time I’s be so grateful! Thank you! Here’s my latest post hope you enjoy it as much as I love reading yours 🙂


    Hi Amanda,

    Did you start your blog having already had a good amount of travel experience under your belt? I am curious how people start their blogs. Do they start having lots of background and potential post ideas ready to go? Or are there a lot of people who start with little to nothing in their tool belt? Any insight is helpful.

    Thanks for your time.
    I’m loving your blog vibe.
    Great work!

      Hey Sarah! I hadn’t done a TON of traveling before I started my blog – mostly family trips growing up – but I had spent a semester abroad in New Zealand during university, and knew I could use a lot of my experience there to write about when I was first starting out.

    Hi. Love love your two week itinerary. But I am struggling (clearly being stupid) in finding a way to print it off. Is there an email copy/pdf I could possibly have access to please? This is PERFECT for what I have been looking to do. Thanks again SO SO MUCH

      Hi Kim! Sorry, but I haven’t created printables of any of my itineraries I’m afraid. It’s something I may consider doing in the future, but I don’t have any right now!


    Just read your post about Egypt !! I’m looking into going Nov 2019. I’m super excited honestly, I don’t travel so this would be a big trip for me.

    I am going with a tour group even if it’s more expensive. I did have some concerns …I read that there is a lot of annoying and aggressive vendors at the Great Pyramids 🙁 I will be with my tour group but is it horrible ?? Also the state of the animals is very sad.

    Do you have any more advice ? Or things you would do differently?

      Hi Katherine! I’ve written a few posts about my experiences in Egypt, so make sure you check those out! I did not find the vendors to be too aggressive, and traveling with a group and guide definitely does help. If you don’t want to buy anything, don’t stop to look, and definitely don’t try to take photos of things. Just keep walking!

      As for the animals, yes, some are not very well-cared for. I did not ride any camels, and avoided all the horse carriages. When traveling with Intrepid Travel, we visited an animal hospital in Luxor that’s trying to educate locals on proper animal care, so there’s some hope that maybe things will change!

    Hi Amanda,

    I love your travel blog and will definitely be taking some recommendations from your Ireland itinerary!

    I just have a few questions about car rental in Ireland: Which car rental company did you go with and what was your experience with them? I’ve read horror stories about the car rental companies there, but my boyfriend and I really would like to drive across Ireland for the trip. Do the collision damage waiver, excess protection, theft, and third party liability from the rental company cover you as a driver as well? Or should we have our own driver’s insurance because the car rental insurance only covers the car? If we do need our own driver insurance, would you recommend buying a separate one for our trip in Ireland or using our driver insurance company from home?

    Any other tips about driving in Ireland is much appreciated!

      Hey Jules! I rented from Hertz through AutoEurope. Usually I just use the coverage attached to my credit card, but in Ireland it’s a good idea to get all the coverage because they don’t often honor credit card insurance coverage. As for driver’s coverage, I would contact your auto insurance company from home to see if you’re covered abroad; I can’t really advise you on that since every policy is different! (I always travel with travel medical insurance.)

    The photo great but how much are we looking at price wise for this 12 days in South Africa . What does it cost for a day to go out and play with the sharks . What is the rate on tipping? Just what do thing cost like a diner or a night out on the town?I have look at a lot of these trips but NO ONE can put a price on the thing most people would like to do . If you are going to talk about what you can do an where to go I would think you would at least put a ballpark price on something we mite want to do.Photos are great but they don,t pay for food, a bed for the night dinner ect……..

      Hey Dave! I understand that detailed pricing details would be helpful, but it’s very tricky to publish pricing on everything, since prices change all the time (as do exchange rates). You could spend $2500 on a trip to South Africa, or you could spend $10,000. It all depends on the things you want to do. My blog posts are meant to help give people ideas and inspire their trips, but I’m not a travel agent, and I’m not able to offer updated pricing on hundreds of blog posts. I try to share certain costs when I can, but it’s not always possible! If shark cage diving is something you’re interested in, you can always hop over to a tour operator’s website to check their current pricing.