My Life as a Travel Blogger

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This is Part 1 of a two-part series on my life as a travel blogger.

Life as a travel blogger

This lil' ol' blog of mine is more than four years old. FOUR YEARS! That's long enough to age a barrel of whiskey. To earn a college degree. To get pregnant and give birth to multiple children.

I have done none of those things in the past four years, of course. (Well, except the degree part — I did get a master's degree.)

What I've done instead is made the transition from hobby blogger to full-time freelance travel writer/professional blogger. This is what I DO now. I live and work on the Internet, where it's more or less all travel all the time.

When people learn this about me, they immediately go slack-jawed and exclaim something about how awesome it must be to travel the world for a living and tell me how jealous they are.

And yeah, it IS awesome. … Most of the time.

While they (and maybe you) are assuming that my life is all tropical beaches and five-star hotel rooms, though, I'm here to share the truth with you. And the truth is that this whole being-a-professional-travel-blogger thing is NOT always as awesome as people think.

A typical day in my life

Believe it or not, even though I'm a travel blogger, I DON'T travel all the time. In fact, I'm at home on my couch for the majority of the year.

Here's how a typical day goes:

  • 9 a.m. — Wake up, shower, and have coffee.
  • 9:30 a.m. — Get online and check: email, Facebook, Twitter, blog comments from overnight, the news, other travel sites, etc.
  • 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. — Work. And that 8 p.m. “end time” is often stretched to 9 or 10 p.m., depending on how much I have to get done.

What do I work on for that many hours a day, you ask? Well, there's the usual blog-upkeep stuff: responding to comments, posting updates on social media, making tweaks to the site, and writing new posts.

I also currently moonlight as a behind-the-scenes website manager for another big travel blog, and an apprentice to a company that creates online training resources for small businesses who want to learn more about social media.

Oh, and then there's all the freelance writing I do. On any given day, I have at least 1 or 2 posts that need worked on. Whether it's researching facts, editing/sourcing/creating photos and images, or actually putting the words together on the screen, this takes up a lot more time than you might expect.

And when I'm actually traveling? Well let's just say that I still spend a good deal of time getting work done!

The truth about travel blogging

The downsides of being a travel blogger

I'm not going to lie to you — being a full-time travel blogger is HARD. It's an incredibly challenging gig that often means working long hours for barely any money or recognition. I work my butt off to be able to share my adventures with complete strangers on the Internet.

Yes, I get free things from time to time from the partners/sponsors I work with. But I am by no means swimming in piles of money like Scrooge McDuck.

As with most freelance work, I am never guaranteed a steady paycheck. I have to be careful which advertising deals I agree to. I usually have to spend time searching for new freelance jobs. And sometimes I have to chase down money that is rightfully mine.

It's STRESSFUL some months, to say the least.

There's also the elusive work-life balance that I probably will never have — I'm too invested and have to work too much to ever take a lot of time off. I have to wear roughly a billion hats every single day. Not only am I a writer, but I'm also a photographer, video editor, social media guru, and businesswoman. Not that I mind this most of the time (I LOVE what I do and enjoy that no two days are exactly the same), but it's worth pointing out that this job requires a ridiculous time commitment.

And then there's trying to keep this all up while actually traveling. You do not know true frustration until you have a deadline to meet but can't find strong enough wifi to even log into Gmail.

The awesomeness of being a travel blogger

But I'm making travel blogging out to sound like it's an awful time-suck that keeps me from having a life. This isn't true, of course. Not in the least.

Even though I spend well over 40 hours per week pouring my blood, sweat, and tears into my blog and freelance work, it doesn't usually FEEL like work. I don't feel like my brain is leaking out my ears as I sit in a cubicle completing monotonous tasks over and over. There's no boss to answer to or workplace drama to worry about.

Sure, I often have to force myself to put on real clothing and go out into the sunlight every few days, but being self-employed feels like freedom to me. Do I miss having “work friends”? Sure. But now my “work friends” are other travel bloggers spread out all across the globe who I get to meet up with in places like London and Hong Kong and Berlin.

My office in Mykonos
I also get to call places like this my “office” sometimes.

The biggest upside to what I do, though, is that I have the freedom (and the means) to travel the world. In many instances, it IS the dream job my friends and family assume it to be.

In the past four years, I've gone swimming with sharks in Belize, hiked on a glacier in Alaska, went rafting in the Czech Republic, lived with elephants for a week in Thailand, saw the Northern Lights dance above northern Canada, cheered on Team USA at the Olympics in London, jumped off a bridge in New Zealand, floated down the Mekong River in Vietnam, and soared above Monument Valley in a hot air balloon.

It's been an incredible four years.

These adventures are the result of all the hard work I put into this site combined with the passion I have for traveling. I may not make a lot of money and may have to work harder (and longer) than a lot of people out there, but I wouldn't trade the memories I've made for anything.

So you want to be a travel blogger?

Being a professional travel blogger isn't easy. I would never suggest someone start a blog with the goal of “scoring” free travel — it doesn't fall into your lap as easily or as quickly as you may think. But, if somewhere along the line you decide to give blogging a serious go, check out these posts on starting a blog and being a blogger:

What else do you want to know about life as a travel blogger?


"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." - JRR Tolkien

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59 Comments on “My Life as a Travel Blogger

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  1. Very inspiring, Amanda! Being self-employed is definitely hard work, but the pay-offs are totally worth it! Thank you for this series!

      I agree – the pay-off and freedom are definitely worth it. I wouldn’t still be doing this otherwise!

    I love being a travel blogger and I was nodding through every sentence. Yes, people think its too glamorous but its lots of work. Chasing money and handling it all day and night is the biggest challenge. But overall the experiences are just amazing. Glad I stumbled on your blog.

      Welcome! I’m glad you stumbled upon my blog, too, and I’m glad you can relate to this post!

    Extremely interested in travel blogging/adventure jouranlism. Lots of Romanticism surrounding the subject, thanks for some much needed insight, keep the dream alive!

      It’s definitely not as easy as some people assume! But still pretty awesome. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for this post Amanda and congratulations on 4 years of blogging – very inspiring! I like the way that you are generous with sharing how and what you do, as many people see blogging as some sort of alien activity, or worse LOL!

    I’ve never heard of The Mid-Game but I’ll definitely, be keeping an ear to the grounds, and focusing on being a member of the bloggers association in the future. Thanks again. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Haha, well it’s not an alien activity, but yes people are often really curious about what it is that I do!

    To be honest, I admire that you can do it by “just” working from 10 am to 8 pm (or even 10 pm).
    Maybe my view on this is a bit twisted as I still have my regular job as well, but that combined with travel blogging and most days I’m working from 7.30 am until 11 pm.
    I’m hoping to make the switch to full time freelance soon. I’ve set a date and now I just need to not chicken out. When I get there, I hope I’ll be able to rock it like you do:)

      It’s definitely tougher when you’re trying to balance the blogging/traveling with a full-time job. I have a part-time job not really related to blogging at the moment, and that’s part of the reason I spend so much time online per day! If only I didn’t need to sleep… haha.

    Wow! That is a *lot* of work time. I’m lucky if I spend 2-3 hours a day on blog upkeep and social media.

    You’ve set the bar, haha. I’m going to try and apply that kind of dedication to my site when I’m home and no longer have a day job to juggle ๐Ÿ™‚

      Haha, well, it’s not all on MY blog! In fact, I spend way more time on the freelance stuff I do. I intern for a social media coaching company 20 hours a week, manage another travel blog, and do freelance writing. I’m lucky if I spend 2 hours a day on my own blog/social media!

    This is so great. My wife and I, after cajoling from some friends who come to us for travel advice, suggested we start a travel blog. We’re not full time in it, not even close! It’s a fun hobby at the moment and a great way to use some of our passion and interest to help other travel minded (and not so travel minded) friends and loved ones dive into the world more easily. But it’s great to read from folks who made the transition to full time, and what that looks like. At the moment, it’s just an adventure to find our authentic voice, so after clicking through your blog, I’ve got great respect and love for the way your voice comes out in all your posts!

    Keep up the great work!

      Thanks so much! That comment about hearing my voice in all my posts made my day – I strive really hard to let my personality come through my writing.

      Good luck with your blog!

    Yes, yes, yes! You put this so well and I feel exactly the same. I’m stressed about what I have to do on an almost daily basis, but would I change my life? Not a chance. While I still have the energy, I’ll make those incredible memories and work my butt off to create more. There’ll be time for proper sleep and reflection when I’m older and I won’t regret it for a second!

      Yes, you can sleep when you’re dead, right?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I find people whose blogs turned a career so interesting. I just blog as a hobby/creative outlet and it still takes a shocking amount of time. Presently blogging has led to me meeting some really cool people both in real life and online. I’m pretty grateful for that and I have no current plans for trying to make money, but I find info like this good to know in case I ever get the urge to take a go at it.

      When I started my blog 4 years ago, I would have NEVER predicted I would end up where I am now! I had never planned for it to turn into my career. But I’m certainly not complaining that it has.

    As someone who just started a travel blog in April, congrats on 4 years!

      Thanks, Rebecca! They sure have gone by fast. Good luck with your blog!

    I can relate to what you say. My blog is still more hobby/part-time job and probably always will be. But even that is a lot to manage with a full-time job and family. I love it, though. But the writing deadlines are hard; especially when I write once I’ve returned from a place and then wish I were back there to clarify something or get another picture.

    Thanks for sharing this glimpse into the life of a full-time blogger. All I can say is, your hard work has definitely paid off! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I have no idea how you have a full-time job, raise a family, AND run a travel blog! People like you are surely superwomen!

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