Blogging Tips #2: 10 tips for newbie travel bloggers

Last week I told you about why everyone should write a travel blog. I wasn’t talking about travel blogging to make money or to ‘travel the world for free’. I was talking about travel blogging for the love of travelling and sharing your stories with the world.

If I managed to convince you to start a blog or you’re new to blogging and you’re looking for advice on how to improve you blog, read on for 10 tips for new travel bloggers:

1. Be inspired but don’t copy

I’m always shocked by the amount of travel bloggers out there who tell me they don’t read other blogs. WTF?

Could you imagine a fashion designer that never looks at clothes designed by others? Or a writer who never read a book written by someone else. Or a chef who only ate in their own restaurant?

If you don’t enjoy reading other people’s blogs then people probably won’t enjoy reading yours.

Blogs inspire me and help me create new ideas for blog content. They also encourage me to travel, bake, shop, create, design and photograph. I read blogs from all difference niches and try to bring all that inspiration back to The Travel Hack.

Use blogs to inspire you in your own writing but be careful not to copy or compare. Comparison is the thief of joy and all that…

Check out: Travel bloggers to look out for in 2014 if you’re looking for some cool blogs to follow.

be inspired quote

2. Write about what you love and be informative

When I think about my favourite bloggers they have two things: passion and knowledge.

You need passion to keep your blog interesting, inspiring and entertaining but you need knowledge to keep your readers coming back.

Provide your readers with information they can’t find elsewhere and become an expert in your chosen subject.

Kash from Budget Traveller is a great example of someone who is passionate AND informative. Kash is the king of the Luxury Hostel and he even inspired me to start staying in stylish hostels such as KEX in Iceland. His passion for the luxury hostel is infectious and his knowledge about European hostels is incredible.

Find something that you’re passionate about and share your love with the world!

3. Be unique

This is easier said than done but in order to stand out from the crowd you need to step away from the crowd and be different. A simple way to find a unique voice for your blog is to combine two or three niches. Your first niche will probably be travel so be creative with your second and third niche. Maybe it’s travel and fashion, travel and camping, travel and city life, travel and pets, travel and books. The list could go on but I’m sure you get my point. Your second interest can help to define your blog and make it different.

4. What is success?

You can’t achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are.

In order to have a successful travel blog, you need to decide what success is to you. Do you want to have 100,000 readers a month, publish a book, improve your writing and photography, use your blog as a platform to get work or to have an online diary you can be proud of?

Whatever your reason for blogging, make sure you write it down somewhere so you can put together a plan to achieve your goals and know when you’re getting there.

Great blogging advice?
Great blogging advice?

5. Collaborate

Blogging can take up a lot of time and energy so why not work with friends, family or fellow bloggers to create either a collaborative blog or collaborative posts? A great example of a collaborative blog is Travelettes.

Some of my most popular posts, such as ‘The Best Places for a Weekend Escape’, were written with my favourite bloggers and my favourite blogs often have multiple writers.

A collaborative blog can still be very personal but you have the advantage of multiple voices and more time, more resources and more ideas to create something bigger and better.

6. Brush up on your photography skills

They say a picture speaks a thousand words so let your photos do the talking for a change. The internet is a fast-paced environment where people have a ridiculously short attention span and photographs are a great way to capture people’s attention.

You don’t need to have a fancy DSLR camera to take great pictures, you just need to have an eye detail. Some of my favourite photos that I’ve taken recently where taken on a Nokia 1020 such as this Instagram essay from Copenhagen.

If you are in the market for a fancy camera, take a look at ‘What cameras do travel bloggers use?

7. Spelling and grammar ARE important


Spellcheck was invented for a reason. Use it. That is all.

8. Embrace social media

Social media is the best way to promote your blog, find new blogs and keep up with your favourite blogs. Personally, Twitter is my favourite because it’s a great way to have quick and informal chats. There are loads of social networks out there and I wouldn’t recommend trying to use them all. Stick to 2-3 that you enjoy using and use them well. I tend to use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis and occasionally dip into Pinterest and G+.

Remember: The more you put into social media the more you’ll get out of it but don’t spend more than half an hour a day on it.

9. Learn about the techy stuff

By ‘techy stuff’ I basically mean everything that isn’t writing and social media because there is much more techy stuff to blogging then most people imagine. You need to know about hosting, WordPress, SEO, plugins, backups, scheduling, Photoshop and more. Next week I’ll be talking about how to set up a blog and I’ll be keeping it super simple for any technophobes out there.

10. Don’t do it for the money…

…because there isn’t any. (Or not a lot anyway!)

There are so many guides about ‘how to make money from your blog’ when really they should be entitled, ‘How to use your blog as a portfolio to showcase your talents to find work to make money.’ OK, it isn’t as catchy but there are lots of bloggers out there who are selling a dream that is unattainable for most people.

If you want to make money from your blog, think of it as a very time-consuming portfolio rather than a single source of income.

11. Just start blogging!

the secret

And finally, my bonus tip is to just start blogging. Stop worrying about design and what other people think and what other people are doing, just get started. It doesn’t matter if your blog isn’t perfect because the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll begin learning how to make it perfect.


Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel. Monica has recently had her second baby and is determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

SHOWHIDE Comments (73)
  1. Such great reminders for me and I got a huge laugh out of the quote “write drunk; edit sober”. I, like so many others freeze up when I sit down to write, and my 22 yr old son keeps telling me “Mom, get a glass of wine, it’s best to write drunk and edit sober.” I think I’ll post this to my keyboard to remind me…. just write! When he visits next he’ll think I’m actually listenting to him. 🙂
    (I do listen to him)

  2. Thanks for posting. Very helpful tips for me as I’ve just started blogging (yet in two languages) and it’s sometimes overwhelming how much work it involves! Writing, setting up a site, being active in social media.. It takes my whole day 😀 I hope I’ll soon be more efficient!

    1. Wow, in two languages, that must be hard work! I think you do become more efficient the more you do it (like with anything) but I’d just focus on one thing at a time until you’ve nailed it, then move onto the next!

  3. I don’t travel often enough to base my entire blog around it, but I do enjoy publishing travel posts when I get the opportunity. I don’t think I’m very good at those posts though, so this was a great read! Gave me lots of ideas to improve on! I think it’s weird in general when I come across any kind of blogger who doesn’t read other blogs! Reading others blogs is how I figure out what type of posts people are interested in reading, and what posts people find boring!

  4. I’ve just started blogging (after hearing about blog4trek and stalking your blog for a while, haha), so this is great advice! It’s going to be hard to limit myself to half an hour on twitter but I’ll give it a go! Thanks and I can’t wait for next week’s post. (:

  5. This is really helpful! I should listen to the “just start blogging” section as we are pretty new and have been freaking out over little things like page speed and design!
    I cannot write whilst drunk though, I can’t even stand up when I’m drunk!.

    1. Ha, I’m pretty much the same! And yes, I think ‘just start’ is the most valuable advice. you can spend months getting the blog looking how you want but if it doesn’t have any content, no one is going to read it!

  6. Thanks for the advice . I think I have got my niche sorted – travelling with babies and toddlers – but need to brush up on my photography skills as that is an area I would love to develop.

  7. I think this is brilliant advice for any travel blogger… not just a beginner! Also agree with what you said about cameras. I’ve been using the Lumia 1020 recently and I think it’s taken mobile photography to the next level. They say the best camera is the one you have with you, so if you’re going to invest, buy one that you’ll always take with you!

  8. That’s a great post Monica. Thanks for sharing your advice. The idea of collaborative posts is totally new to me but definitely worth trying. Apart from the content I really enjoyed visual aspect. Well done to you.

  9. Great advice and loved some of the quotes as well.

    I’m definitely a newbie and I am struggling to build an audience and find me feet.
    It’s hard to know if anyone reads or likes what you post.

    So if anyone has a spare moment please sneak and peak and comment your opinions. Any advice is amazing.
    Be nice.

  10. Great tips my love, I totally agree with you on the first one – I think reading makes you a better writer and to compketely disregard othrt people’s work is just to leave yourself ignorant! Xx

  11. Thanks for the great tips! I agree that reading other travel blogs is key – one of my favorite things about blogging has been being introduced to such a supportive and fascinating travel blog community!

  12. That is so true that you should just blog because you want to share your stories. Making money from a blog can be really hard so you need to think clearly about your reasons for starting one. Joining forces with other bloggers is a great idea and I can’t believe that I hadn’t thought of it before – thanks for the great tip!

  13. Great advice, as always! I absolutely love reading other blogs and do it daily. I learn an incredible amount from them whether it’s web design, writing, photography and even things I don’t like. It’s imperative to be successful and you meet incredible people along the way!
    I also appreciate your comment about spending only 1/2 hour on SM. I do not have this down at all and need to not allow it to consume my time.

    1. I’m terrible for spending too much time on social media. I try and whizz through my tasks and then reward myself with a 10 minute social media break!

      And I definitely think it’s great to read blogs from loads of different niches. I think I learn the most from crafty blogs or blogs by graphic designers. They’re always so creative and cool.

  14. I’ve just started my own travel blog – I’d been meaning to do it for a long time but just hadn’t got round to it. Having forced myself to do it, I’ve been working my way through travel plans and old photographs and I am loving it – and realising more and more what I want to do with future trips. This is such a useful guide, and motivation to keep going!

  15. Great tips Monica and I couldn’t agree with you more about good photography because more often than not that is what will catch someone’s attention before they even start reading your blog. I’d also add learning some basic photo editing skills. I get very frustrated when I see people with nice photographs on their posts that with just a few tweaks in something like Photoshop Elements, for example, would become really great photographs! It’s amazing the difference it can make.

  16. This was such a great read! I’m trying to better my travel blog and yours is a HUGE inspiration. The style, gorgeous photos and of course wonderful posts are something to aspire to definitely!
    Thank you for the super helpful article.

    (This was such an enthusiastic post, when I read it back it sounded sarcastic! It wasn’t I promise! I just really like your blog.)

  17. Hi,

    I would like to say one thing which I mostly focus on is providing great quality content because the first step to get your blog post viral starts from your content quality, If it’s good then you can extract more from your promotional strategies

    so one must focus on writing quality content for getting maximum traffic and learn some basic seo skill to get higher rankings in search engines also try to provide value to your readers and don’t just write for search engines if you content is great and appealing then can see some great success

    Cheers and keep posting such great content

  18. Thanks for the advice! This is the first time I’ve came across your blog and I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to reading more. I just published my first blog post yesterday and it is such a rush knowing that people are out there reading it. Haha I probably should have researched more before publishing it but I was too excited to share it. Thanks again for the tips!

  19. Great advice for anyone thinking about travel blogging – I started mine last month as a way to share my travel experiences. I am going away long term in October so friends and family will be able to keep up with my adventures. Reading other travel blogs religiously has inspired me to add other posts about things I have done previously and ‘how to’ lists to advise others. I agree you cannot possibly run a travel blog without reading and following others. My entire India trip has been pre planned using other blogs for inspiration.
    I am currently exploring guest blogging as a way to get my name out there but I have a few months before I leave so not too much of a rush!
    Thanks for the advice!

  20. I am really new to travel blogging and have only written a couple of blogs so far ( but found your article really interesting and inspiring and has given me great ideas for how to go about blogging from now on!

  21. Hii great peice of advice, i wanna ask regarding the niches, should we base our blog entirely on 2-3 niches like travel and food or it would be fine to just experiment around with new fields in every article.
    Thanks in advance

    1. I think it’s best to stick to 2-3 niches.
      If you really don’t know what you want to focus on then it’s fine to blog about anything and everything (it’s you blog so you can really do what you’d like) but you’ll probably find that certain topics will do well and you may find you enjoy blogging about certain things the most. Finding a niche sometimes takes time so blog about everything until you find it.

  22. Hi Monica!
    I’ve heard a lot of times that finding a niche is what a successful travel blogger should consider doing but somehow I was always aiming at finding a niche in visual content that textual one. I’m experimenting with design and illustrations to make people find my content easier by standing out in the crowd. I hope that’s unique enough.
    Also, I hope people would become more unique in general, not just with travel blogs, cause it’s really important to make something which is not just pure copycat as you said.
    Thanks a lot for making such an informative post and keep up a good work!

    Greetings from Croatia!


  23. Fabulous tips! That quote by Ernest Hemingway is hilarious, and definitely truthful. I’ve found myself making little notes in my phone during weird hours [and weird mindsets] and they are actually super helpful later on. I just started a blog myself and need to find my niche. It may take some time but I’ll get there soon enough.


  24. Thanks for the tips Monica! I think I’ve found a pretty good niche in football travel blogging (at least from what I’ve found – or not found out there so far). As it’s something I’ve enjoyed for years anyway it’s been relatively easy to write about so far, early days still, which is why the tips are useful!

    1. I definitely think you’ve found the right niche if you find it relatively easy! It’s when people struggle to write anything about their chosen niche that you know they’ve chosen the wrong one!

  25. Great photos and very edifying reading. I realized that I’ve been doing many of the things that you suggest. It’s subject matter that is often glazed over in my opinion. I’ve found that if i just be polite, respectful, sociable and genuine as much as possible it will create opportunities. I’m hungry to learn as much as I can about photography so I’d like to read more of your articles and see more of your work.

  26. Thanks for this inspiring post – I really like your writing style and the layout of your page. It merges very nicely with the photography. You really reminded me that, as a total newbie to blogging, there is a lot of stuff to be aware of and work on over time – but as you said, over time. Don’t sacrifice the writing over the urge for perfectionism.

  27. Hi great tips.I have just started a blog I was looking for ways to improve it..I loved your tip..techie part is the one that’s bothersome for me right now

  28. “It doesn’t matter if your blog isn’t perfect because the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll begin learning how to make it perfect.” —- This statement is inspiring! I find myself doubting and second guessing myself too much everytime I start to write a new post… I feel pressured into thinking that everything has to be perfect that in the end I find it hard to start writing. Thank you for this post! This has been very helpful to a starting blogger like me! 🙂

  29. Very well written article. I’m just about to start my travel blog. I’m a tech guy and passionate to be a full time traveller, so I can take care of all technical stuff like SEO, hosting, programming etc. I’m not native english speaker, I make lots of grammatical and spelling errors while writing something and my vocabulary is also nor so rich. Can you tell me how can i improve my writing skill? Thanks

    1. If I were you, I’d employ someone to check all your posts before you put them live. Editors like this generally charge about $15-20 per post and they can check all your spelling and grammar and make alterations and suggestions before you put the post live.
      Your English seems perfect but it takes a very very long time to write like a native speaker and the only thing that can help you improve is lots of practice.

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

We believe luxurious travel can be affordable and isn't just for the rich. Follow along with our worldwide adventures as we share our trips and tips for incredible travel experiences on a modest budget.