Something strange is afoot. I opened my diary this morning and discovered we are half way through January 2017. What the flip? I feel like I just sat down to write my resolutions (promptly forgotten, as always) and then, bam, a fortnight of the new year has whizzed by already. So before any more time passes without me noticing I wanted to sit down and think about the year ahead and what life might look like for a travel blogger in 2017. (That travel blogger being, rather selfishly, me.)
Since I last wrote about making a living as a blogger a few things have changed around here. Previously I supplemented my blog and writing income with freelance consulting. I worked with both bloggers and brands who wanted to improve their social media strategy and sometimes this meant managing their content and community for them. My heart has always been more invested in travel and writing, however, so one of my goals for 2016 was to make the transition away from consulting to make a living purely from travel blogging and freelance writing. I’m stoked to say that I did it.
What Does Being A Full Time Travel Blogger Mean
I’ve been busting a gut over this blog for 7 years now and have (wondrously) got to a stage where brands often pay me to join them on a trip. A chunk of my income comes from taking part in these travel projects whereby I’m paid to produce a certain amount of blog and social media coverage at the end of it.
I also have (at present) 3 freelance writing gigs where I write up to 4 articles per month for each client. I’ve worked on many short and long term writing gigs over the years and at the moment have secured 3 great working relationships with a travel booking website, a hotel company and a retail company. This mix works well as I can write a variety of different articles from different angles and pitch stories in advance to help cover the costs of my self-funded trips.
In addition to that I may run the odd advertorial or sponsored contest on the blog if I’m approached by a company who seem to have actually read what I write and is a good fit. (Excuse the passive aggression – I get a lot of unsolicited/irrelevant emails!) I don’t run banner ads as I like to keep the copy clean so my advertising revenue is nil. I make a tiny amount of income from affiliate sales through booking.com who I book all my hotels through and make a tiny percentage if readers click the link in a post and decide to do the same.
Coming Up In 2017
Travel wise: I’ll continue to take a mixture of hosted and self-funded trips. In December last year I finally made it to Japan (a most worthy country number 60 for me) and loved it so much I’m going back this month. Twice!
I’ve got a couple of trips planned with my family as solo travel is great but I do miss the banter. So I’m planning a girlie getaway to Fiji with my sister and a food and shopping filled trip to Seoul with my hubby. I’m also teaming up with one of my favourite travel bloggers in May for 2 wellness themed projects, which is just what this overly-caked body needs!
Blog wise: I feel I need to get better about writing about Melbourne and Sydney. We just hosted my sister for 2 weeks and I put together an anal Google Doc to plan everything we wanted her to experience. Considering I often get emails asking about holiday itineraries for Melbourne and Sydney I figure I really should write some of this up in a useful manner.
Then business wise I need to bite the bullet and raise my rates. (*Hears clients shiver*) I haven’t upped my rates for years (in fact, market rates for bloggers in Australia are up to 50% less than what I made in the UK!) and my business minded hubby tells me this is crazy. As someone who loves what she does it is often hard to ask for any money at all but that’s no way to make a living!
I wore myself out a little last year travelling more than usual in order to pay the bills but it is deceiving how much work goes into travel blogging. On the trip you’re tasked with experiencing all the things (hard life!) whilst photographing, taking notes and sharing snippets on social media, then the blog posts take up several days back home, plus you still have to keep the rest of the blog running and service all your other client work at the same time. I absolutely love this job but if I’m run ragged with little to show cash wise at the end of every month, it’s not a sustainable business. So let’s see how I go about making a little more dollar in 2017.
What Can I help You With?
I’m getting a lot of reader emails at the moment, which is great, but often I struggle to get back to everyone individually. My plan is to make a note of the questions I get asked most often and turn them into a series of blog posts. I’m getting a lot of queries regarding flight routes between Oz and Europe and tips for transiting so I’ll definitely cover more of this in 2017. If there’s anything else you’d like to know or see more of though, please do let me know in the comments.
Where Will 2017 Take You?
I’d love to know what you’ve got planned for 2017 – travel, work or otherwise. Maybe our paths will cross somewhere in the sky!