What Does Travel Blogging Success Look Like?

Every time I attempt to share my travel blogging tips (*coughs* mistakes) I start the post or presentation with a disclaimer.

 Every blogger is different and will have his or her own interpretation of what success looks like.

Strangely (foolishly) though, I’ve never fully explored what my own definition of ‘travel blogger success’ looks like. After 5 years of blogging I finally sat down to think about it after my friend Vicky raised the question in her latest post.

Vicky has just launched a series called Travel Blogger High (see what she did there?) where she will share everything she knows about travel blogging for the next 15 Mondays in a row. She wisely started her high school this Monday with a post discussing what success may look like for a travel blogger and how to set attainable goals to get there. In her post (which is awesome – you should check it out) she lists some of the ways a travel blogger may measure their success:

  • Being offered press trips
  • A high number of subscribers
  • Big audience numbers
  • Site wide sponsorship
  • Awards
  • The most amount of social media followers ever
  • Guaranteed Likes on every post
  • Being able to write what you want
  • Getting to spend time on the videos / podcasts / articles as you like
  • Earning loads of cash through collaborations
  • Free travel wherever and whenever you want

And it dawned on me, that at this present point, I want none of these things.*

 (*Just to be clear, I have sought and been lucky enough to achieve a number of these things in the process of building my site, they were just never the end goal or what I saw as defining success overall.)

Looking back, I realised my hopes for my blog and definition of ‘success’ had changed over the years. In the first instance I had just wanted to write and was excited by the idea that other people might read my words. Success to me was a sprinkling of readers and banterous comments back and forth.

Once I had gained a small readership and people seemed to enjoy what I was writing, I began to harbour dreams of wanting to do this travel and writing thing full time. Without fully visualising that goal, fate took hold and I was offered what would eventually be the role of Content and Community Manager for Flight Centre UK because I had proved my writing and community building skills on my blog. Then two years later I had enough enquiries coming in via my blog to allow me to pursue freelance writing and social media projects, and two years down the line that is what I still do today (from my new base in sunny Sydney.)

I can work from anywhere in the world, travel is an integral part of my job, and I make my income from a mixture of writing and social media consulting for predominantly travel brands. It turns out I am living my dream and never bloody knew it.

On Realising You Are Living Your Dream

I’ve been told often enough I am living the dream and whilst acknowledging it may indeed look like that from the outside I am always quick to point out the work that goes on behind the scenes to attain it. What a strange and negative way to look at life!

My dream was to travel and write for a living and just because the reality involves a heap of admin, pitching and earning a somewhat unstable living, doesn’t mean I’m not doing it.

I realise now that success in any field is unlikely to come easily; just because I work hard for it doesn’t mean it’s not everything I ever wanted.

Reassessing Success

So today, success to me looks a little bit different than it did in the early years. I’ve been to seminars and read books on what success may look like for professional bloggers – products, sales, branding, expansion, collaborations, lots of dosh – but I’ve realised that just isn’t me, it’s not where I want my focus to be.

I see travel blogging success as building a site I can be proud of, producing content that people want to read (be that 5 or 5000 readers), making an honest (modest) income and having an awesome time doing it.

I’ve worked hard to build a lifestyle I dreamed of and now I shall have to work hard to sustain it.

Couldn’t agree more Vicky

On the days I do manage to achieve that; I shall celebrate it, revel in it and be bloody grateful for every minute of it.

So thank you to Vicky for that important lesson. Seems I needed to go to travel blogger high school after all!

Have you defined what success looks like for your travel blog/job?

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

27 thoughts on “What Does Travel Blogging Success Look Like?”

  1. Success can be measured in so many variables!! And unfortunately in this internet age, we often measure our success against another, and that means we tend to focus on numbers. And that just sucks all the fun right out of it… lol. I don’t know if I know what blogging success means to me. I just want to be proud of the content I produce, and to consistently improve. And I want to make my living writing for publications. Some months I’m closer to that goal that others. The trick is to enjoy the process and not get discouraged if it’s not happening as fast as you hope it would. 🙂

    Reply
    • So well said Amy. Comparison can really get in the way of achieving your own goals and it’s so important to measure success against your own standards rather than others. Like you, I am sometimes closer to my vision of success and sometimes further but I will endeavour to enjoy the process a lot more as it’s still a pretty good gig 🙂

      Reply
  2. Ah, can’t wait to start my freshman year at TBH! So much to learn! Agree with you and Amy that it is so important to enjoy the process, no matter where you’re headed. It’s so easy to forget this, especially for us newbie bloggers! Most of all though, your success story is so inspirational, and congratulations on living your personal dream!
    Jessica
    http://www.thebellevoyage.com

    Reply
    • Thank you so much. I think for many people our ambitions and habit of constantly looking forward means we sometimes forget to look back at where we came from and admit we’re doing already! Enjoy every minute of your travel blogger journey – I’m sure you’ll pass TBH with flying colours 😉

      Reply
  3. Hi Jayne,
    Love that you ask the question, because I was thinking about Blogging and Writing this morning on my beach walk on the shores of the Thames Estuary(in the pouring rain!) – mainly about my commitment to it all.
    I’ve tried over the last couple of years to create my own online blogging business-centered around travel and freedom. Finally running out of time and money to do so in within my time-limit and not really at the start, knowing what my revenue streams would be. Not being in my twenties but late forties offers different challenges, opportunities and learning.I’ve reached a point where I miss human connection and socialisation. I’ve been alone so long. But when I go somewhere new, meet an individual like Ny when I was on the island of Koh Tao for the third time and he shared his story about how he came to be working there as a Man from Burma, I felt all barriers melt away and the desire to tell his story on my blog, bringing not just Koh Tao to life but the people who live and work there. Then the desire to write and share is strong with me and I want to continue what I love.
    For me success is monetary- but rolled into this, is the desire of companies and businesses to use not just my writing & storytelling skills, but knowledge, lifelong wisdom in so many things. To connect with readers and individuals who want to build relationships and connections is all built into monetary success – if that makes sense. I like a Win/Win scenario when it comes to my life and work. Hopefully at some point I’ll achieve that! 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Janice,

      It sounds like you are really realistic and clear about what you want to achieve, which is a great position to be in. As much as it would be lovely not to have monetary goals around blogging, it’s impossible to sustain a blog and keep travelling without an income. We are all constantly trying to find a way for the two to go hand in hand (whilst not compromising our integrity or taking the fun out of the project.) What a juggle!

      Reply
  4. I LOVED THIS LINE THAT YOU WROTE – I see travel blogging success as building a site I can be proud of, producing content that people want to read (be that 5 or 5000 readers), making an honest (modest) income and having an awesome time doing it.

    If that’s success, I guess I am successful! 🙂 I enjoy travel blogging to the core! I can’t imagine my life without it! I love every aspect of it – writing, editing photos, formatting my posts, social media, building relationships with fellow bloggers, receiving comments and emails from readers…(I guess it’s a long list!) 🙂

    Reply
    • Exactly!!! I think so many bloggers are already hugely successful because they are doing what they love. Of course we all have ambitions and want to get better but I think its important to not let the numbers get in the way. It’s good to remember why we started in the first place and appreciate how far we have come rather than fret about how far we have to go.

      Reply
  5. I enjoyed reading this post, as it made me think. The way you wrote about starting out (enjoying the love and freedom of writing and beginning to connect with readers) rings true for me. Success to me right now is me writing what I love, and finding people who love what I write.

    Being pretty new to blogging, I find it interesting to see how different people gage ‘success’ and the sorts of goals they set for themselves to keep progressing. Like everything, I see blogging as an evolving process. It’s natural to set new goals and have new ideas each year of what ‘success’ will look like, and someone further down the road will have different ideas and other obstacles to overcome.

    Gemma

    Reply
    • This is so true. I agree that everyone’s goals will evolve over time but what I realised after 5 years is that it’s my first idea of success (funnily enough) that I would like to strive to work towards once again. I guess I lost my way a little with all the numbers and need to strip it back to why I started blogging in the first place.

      Reply
  6. To be cheeky, you still haven’t answered what travel blogging success looks like to you 😉 hehe.

    I think success changes as you grow – as you mention – but I try to still take the time to celebrate small/new successes. In December, I celebrated my first Amazon affiliate sale (all of USD$0.80c) but it was the start of something and it’s important to celebrate the small wins.

    Loving Vicky’s series. Great step on her behalf as so many people are asking for advice on how to begin a blog and she is definitely an expert on creating a solid platform for her writing.

    Reply
    • I definitely agree with celebrating the small successes as you go – they all add up to the bigger picture.

      I’m still working on my exact idea of success but I think (what I was trying to get to in the post) is that success to me is getting to do what I love everyday. That, in many ways, this life as a travel blogger is what I always dreamed of, and if I can sustain that I will look upon it as a success and celebrate it as such.

      Reply
  7. Great to read a post by someone who clearly has their priorities right! Love the quote about having fun as a blogger, I’m going to share that on Twitter!

    I really do think you can tell if a blogger enjoys what they do, it shines through in their writing!

    Rachel x

    Reply
    • This is a really good point Rachel, you can sometimes tell if people see blogging as more of a job. It started out as my favourite hobby so I’m keen to remember that and maintain the enthusiasm and joy in it. Sometimes that makes me a ‘bad blogger’ i.e I won’t post regularly if I don’t have something fun to share.

      Happy blogging xx

      Reply
  8. Fantastic post Jayne!

    I totally agree with you. I’ve been blogging for over 6 years now and my vision of success has evolved over the years. Sure, it’s easy to get carried away and be inspired by other people’s success. But ultimately, when you start chasing other people’s dreams you end up feeling unfulfilled. I have been reassessing what is important to me and how I can achieve success and live out my own dreams.
    x

    Reply
    • I completely agree with you. I’ve come to realise we may all want different things and it’s ok for me not to chase other’s dreams too.

      Reply
  9. This is SO spot on and such a timely post as I feel like I’m constantly redefining my idea of travel blog success after hitting so many of my goals early on. This journey is a steady climb, but it’s so rewarding in hindsight! Great post! Xx

    Reply
  10. Hi Jayne, just found your blog. It’s fantastic. I am always looking for other travel bloggers I can “look up to” and I think I can say that I want to grow up like you.

    Creepy? Sorry. 🙂

    But you are right, the best bloggers out there are the ones having fun. Frankly I think if you are not having fun then there is no difference between blogging and that 9-to-5 job. I find myself writing really badly when I am not having fun (but forced to write due to circumstances).

    Not to say that getting free trips and being paid to blog are not good things too! (Oh how I wish!)

    Thank you for this post, just as I am in a bit of a lull and in need of motivation and drive!

    Reply
    • Hi Amy, Thanks so much! I’m chuffed – and not creeped out at all 🙂

      Staying motivated can be tough so I’m glad you found some sense in my ramblings. Happy blogging. J x

      (Love your blog name by the way)

      Reply

Leave a Comment

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