How to continue travel blogging after having kids
I’ve finally written this post after lots of requests by my fellow travel bloggers who are having babies or thinking about having children in the future. There are lots of bloggers who love their career, but can’t see how they could maintain their business and travel lifestyle if they had a baby.
Everyone likes to tell us we can’t have it all, right? You can’t have a dreamy career and have children. You can’t earn a decent income and also be a ‘stay at home mum’. You can’t travel with kids and, for women, you certainly can’t travel without your kids and leave them at home!! What woman in their right mind would leave their child with the child’s father!?
Is it possible to continue travel blogging if you have children?
Do you have to be a mummy blogger?
Would any brands want to work with you?
Would you alienate half your audience who aren’t interested in kids?
I’ve been travel blogging for over 10 years now and for 5 of those I’ve had kids, so these are some of the questions I’m hoping to answer for you today. I’m hoping to show that you can continue being a travel blogger if you have a baby. In fact, you might find that you’ll get more work and have more readers!
Just for reference, I have three kids. George (5), Joseph (3) and Alba (7 months). Before Coronavirus hit I was planning on Alba starting nursery at 9 months so I could start travelling more. Now Coronavirus is here it seems unlikely I’ll have much work that involves travelling abroad so I won’t be sending Alba to nursery until the travel industry is more stable and I can guarantee I’ll be working consistently.
Your options as a travel blogger once you have kids
When you have a baby, you have a couple of options:
- Carry on as you are and put your baby in daycare when you’re away
- Move into the family travel niche
- Do a little of both
- Move into the family lifestyle niche
Carry on as you are and use daycare when you’re away
You don’t need to become a family travel blogger the second you have a baby.
If you’ve been travel blogging for a while then you’ve probably set yourself up with a niche that isn’t child or family related and it’s still 100% possible to just carry on as you are. Many people travel for work and this is no different.
This is what I did when George was born and I just carried on as normal. I didn’t accept quite so many press trips and didn’t take any trips longer than 5 days, but I still had plenty of work. I didn’t really talk about George or being a mother on my blog. It came up occasionally but a lot of people could have carried on reading my blog without realising I had a baby. At the time I really enjoyed this. I liked having an outlet that wasn’t baby related and working on my blog gave me something else to focus on.
I was away for around 6-8 days each month and home for about 22-25 days and this worked really nicely for me. I missed George while I was away but overall I spent a lot more time with him then most working parents so I felt really grateful to do that. I was doing what I loved, earning a decent income and was with my boy for most of the time.
For this to work then you really need your partner to have a fairly flexible job so they’re available for the nursery/school pickup and drop off. Our nursery is open 7.30am-6pm so this isn’t a problem for Sam. But they also need to be able to take time off work if your little one is sick.
It also meant that I had to work REALLY hard while I was away on press trips. While most bloggers will go away for 3-4 days and then go home for a week to rest and work on their blogs and videos, I didn’t have that luxury so I wrote up the majority of my blogs while I was away. It meant a lot of late nights while I was away but I was OK with that. My kids do go to school/nursery when I’m at home too – but their hours are minimal.
Another downside is that I wasn’t able to accept any last minute press trips – and this was really the major downside. One way I initially managed to grow my blog was through being available and flexible when it came to press trips. If you make it known that you’re always available for press trips then you’re definitely invited on more. Once you start saying no then you do get fewer invites.
Another thing to consider here is that you’ll want to be earning a fairly decent income to justify putting your child into daycare. If you have family or friends available to take care of your child then that’s awesome but, if you don’t, a full day in nursery costs around £45-£70 a day. This isn’t too bad when you’ve only got one child but if you have two or more children then it quickly adds up – particularly if you have to pay a monthly fee regardless of whether or not you need the childcare that month.
So this is what I did for a couple of years and it worked nicely for me. I’d say the only downside was that after 2-3 years I wanted to blog about my kids and I had some readers who didn’t like it. And that’s fair enough, they signed up to a blog that was mostly about adventurous, solo travel and they weren’t interested in children. So I plodded along, almost pretending I didn’t have children, feeling nervous about mentioning them and fearing comments like, ‘Why would I care about your kids?’ I felt like I was lying to my readers by acting like this free, adventurous, solo traveller. And yes, I was that person for 8 days out of every month but the rest of the month I was a regular mum and it felt weird to not mention that!
^Taken during a blogger’s trip to Cologne I organised for The Blogger Course, a blogging e-course I run
You could move into the family travel niche
Another option would be to fully move into the family travel niche. And this would be a brilliant option because it isn’t a niche for everyone and, personally, I think it’s a niche that isn’t well represented. It’s also a niche with a lot of potential because most people have children and a lot of those people will take an annual family holiday.
Being a family travel blogger gives you so many incredible opportunities to travel with your children and give your kids amazing experiences! But there are a few downsides…
To really nail the family travel niche you need to travel a lot. Personally, I think it’s tough to establish yourself as an expert family travel blogger if you’re only taking 6-7 holidays a year, which means that as your children get older you may need to consider homeschooling them as most schools won’t allow you to consistently take them out of school during term time. Of course, you’ll still have the school holidays (13 weeks a year in UK public schools) but you might find that some brands prefer you to travel during the off-peak season when they’re quieter. You could also travel places without your kids and write about it from a family perspective but it isn’t quite as authentic.
Another thing to consider is whether or not your partner will travel with you too. If your partner does accompany you on every trip then they either need a very flexible career or they need to work on the blog with you/your blog provides enough of an income to provide for the whole family.
If your partner doesn’t work on the blog with you then think about how much they’re going to enjoy each press trip you take. It sounds like the dream because they get unlimited free holidays but Sam doesn’t always enjoy it. I’d be in ‘work mode’ for most of the time so I’d be a bit stressed and snappy and Sam would essentially be responsible for keeping the kids entertained while I worked and that’s not always easy when your kids are little. Unless your partner is the perfect Instagram husband with no commitments at home then they might get bored of following you from press trip to press trip.
Something else to think about is how difficult it is to create content with children around. Anyone who has tried to do a full day of work with a child around will know how this feels. It’s tough!
If you decide to go down the family travel blogging route, it’s worth noting that you will lose some readers. This can be scary at first when you see your stats dropping, but they will pick up again as you gain new readers interested in family holidays.
And something else to consider is whether or not you want to share your kids all over the internet? Some people prefer to not share photos of their children on the internet and, while it is possible to have a family travel blog without showing your kid’s faces, I do think it can be a bit more difficult.
A family trip to Turkey – Sam had to wear a rashie so no one saw is tattoos in photos!
Do a little bit of both
The obvious option would be to do a little bit of family travel blogging and continue with your original travel blogging niche too.
This feels like a win win and is probably the best option for most people.
The only thing to consider is that you’ll be spreading yourself thin, particularly when you’ll also be caring for a young child too. It’s hard to really be an expert at something and become well known within a niche if you’re not doing a lot of it. If you’re not taking a lot of family holidays then you won’t become known as a family travel blogger and therefore no brands will want to work with you on family travel campaigns, making it even harder to establish yourself as a family travel blogger. I take 6-7 holidays a year with my kids and even then I don’t consider myself to be a family travel blogger and I’m not asked to work on many family campaigns in comparison to non-family campaigns.
I’ve been taking this approach of doing ‘a little bit of both’ for the past few years and it’s been going really well but I have decided to put more of a focus on family travel and family lifestyle.
Which leads me to my next point…
Our family holiday to Dubai was a definite highlight of my career!
Move into the family lifestyle niche
And the final option is to blog about more than just travel and move into the family lifestyle niche.
Travel can still be a huge part of family lifestyle, so you’re still going to get your travel fix, but you’re giving yourself a lot more freedom to blog about other aspects of your life. It means that (if you had the time!) you could potentially be creating new content every day and working with brands from all sectors. You’re not restricted by school holidays and family schedules and there’s potential to gain a much bigger audience.
You probably will lose a big chunk of your followers and that will be tough, but you will eventually gain more followers who are more interested in where you are in life right now. It also means letting your readers into your life a bit more, which is something lots of bloggers find difficult or it’s something they just don’t want to do. If you’re not comfortable sharing some personal details from your family life then this might not be a good option for you.
Those are four pretty solid options when it comes to travel blogging when you have kids. Of course, I’m sure there are more options and lots of travel bloggers who have done something completely different. If you’re one of those people then I’d love to hear more!
I put a shoutout on Instagram stories to see if anyone had any questions about travel blogging after having kids and these are some of the questions that came through..
Do brands still want to work with travel bloggers once you have kids?
This is a question I’m asked a lot and the answer is yes, of course!
But, if you choose to show that side of your life online, the brands wanting to work with you might change, and that is absolutely OK. If you’re on Instagram stories chatting about your baby and your life as a new parent, then it’s unlikely a youth brand for single 21 year olds is going to want to work with you.
When George was a baby I was asked to work on a campaign for a youth and adventure brand. Their target audience were 18-35 year olds looking for an adventurous, solo trip. The brand wanted me to go to Costa Rica for 10 days of filming and, in the end, we both agreed it wasn’t right for me to be promoting that brand. I just felt so strange working on this campaign aimed at people at a completely different stage in their life as me! Yes, I slotted into that demographic but I also had a child and a mortgage and a dog. It wasn’t the right fit at all.
So if you want to continue promoting these adventurous, youthful styles of travel (that usually don’t involve taking a baby along with you) then you’ll need to think about what version of yourself you want to portray online. I’m not saying you should lie about anything, but it’s your choice about what you want to share.
Do you find yourself now pigeon holed into family travel and how do you feel about it?
Not as much as I thought I would be! When I had George I honestly thought that would be it. I didn’t think I’d be invited on another press trip that didn’t have a family angle. But no, I think you can choose whether or not to be a family blogger. People don’t expect you to start writing about kids just because you have one! And because I initially didn’t share much online about being a mum, I don’t think I got pigeonholed at all.
The more I started to share about my family, the more I was invited on family trips.
I share a lot about my family now and I definitely get invited on fewer trips. But I’ve also spent the last 5 years turning down the majority of the trips I’ve been invited on so it’s not surprising!
How do you find the time?
Travel blogging is my hobby and my passion but it’s also my job and I do treat it like that. Just like anyone who works from home, I have to be pretty strict about my work hours.
I have an office at home and it’s separate to the house so this helps. I go in there and lock the door and I’ll stay in there until I’ve finished my work.
My kids have all gone to nursery too, even if it is only for 2-3 mornings a week, to give me time to get my work done.
I love having the freedom and flexibility to work whenever I like and fit my work around my kids, but I also want to be a professional and this means having a set amount of time to work in an office environment every week. I want to be able to take important calls (without having a toddler shouting in the background!), go to meetings and events and reply to emails quickly.
So I pay for daycare even when I’m not travelling and I also do bits of work in the evening too. Sometimes I work when the kids are relaxing (Alba is napping and the boys are watching TV as I write this) but that’s rare. Doing 20 minutes of work here and there is usually counterproductive and usually leaves me feeling like I’m doing a crap job at both things.
Were there any amazing press trips you had to turn down?
Yes, loads. Loads and loads. I don’t want to talk about it or I might cry!
But if I’m honest I don’t mind turning them down. I’ve taken two press trips I really shouldn’t have taken and I really regretted it. One was a 10 day trip to the US and it was just way too long to be away. And another one was to Paris for two days when George was three or four months old. I left George at home with my mum and he was totally fine but I was breastfeeding and I spent the majority of the trip running off to try and express milk.
How do you find the headspace?
This is something I want to talk about more actually and I’m going to write an entire post about it. Headspace is such a biggy and it’s not something people talk about much.
It was such a game-changer when I finally acknowledged that being a mum takes up SO MUCH headspace. I didn’t want to admit it for a while and it wasn’t really something I fully understood so I didn’t know how to articulate it.
Basically, all the stuff you need to think about as a mum can take up so much headspace that you don’t have room for everything else.
It’s all simple stuff, but it’s lots of simple stuff.
What will we have for dinner? What do I need to buy for dinner? Have I washed their school uniforms? I need to get some new socks for George. Don’t forget it’s Uncle Bob’s birthday on Wednesday. Don’t forget to pick up that prescription from the chemist. Has the dog had his worming tablets? Do we even have any worming tablets!? Joseph needs some cakes for the school fayre. George needs to do his homework. We’re running low on baby shampoo. You need to call the health visitor back. Don’t forget to return those books to the library.
Of course, it takes time to do all of these things but it’s not about the time, it’s about the headspace. It’s hard to do creative work when your head is filled with all this crap.
I think the headspace thing does get easier the longer you’ve been doing something. I’ve been travel blogging for 10 years so I wouldn’t say travel blogging takes up much headspace anymore. And I’ve been a mum for 5 years and each day gets a little bit easier and I find a new way to cope with something.
I also write lists. Lots of lists. It doesn’t encourage me to do things any faster but makes me feel better to get everything out of my head and down onto paper.
I use Amazon Prime a lot. I use Iceland for food deliveries because I can pretty much always get next day delivery for 7am.
Do you have to pack a lot!?
We actually don’t pack a lot for family press trips. Packing loads really stresses me out! Getting through the airport with three kids is hard enough without having loads of luggage! And then when you arrive at your hotel or villa, I find it easier to not have loads of stuff or it’s just a permanent mess.
We usually stay in places with washing machines or laundry facilities so I keep clothes to a minimum. We take one big suitcase for the whole family for clothes.
I try to streamline my tech and devices and keep things simple when we’re on family trips. I’ll take my laptop and hard drives – not to do any work but so I can backup my photos – my camera, my phone and a GoPro.
We do take our own car seats which is a pain but that’s probably the only annoying thing we pack.
Did you find your audience demographic shifted when you had kids?
My website traffic did change a little and I got more female readers, but on the whole I’d say my website traffic didn’t change dramatically. My social media demographic massively changed though and I’ve seen the biggest shift in people who engage with me on social media.
Nearly all of my comments, DMs and online chats are from mums. Not necessarily talking about kids or even mum-stuff, but my biggest and most engaged audience demographic is definitely mums.
But for this to happen it was also a conscious decision from me. I started sharing much more family content about 1-2 years ago and this is when it really started to change. Prior to this I wasn’t actually sharing a lot of family-related content so it didn’t change a lot.
Is it harder the more kids you had?
For me, this wasn’t a reason not to have more children but travel blogging definitely became harder. It’s harder for a few reasons.
- If I go away without them then I’ll need to factor in extra childcare for all three of them and that’s going to be very expensive – sometimes making some trips not worth it financially
- I need to think about leaving all three with Sam. He is really, really supportive and always insists I go away but I know it’s hard work for him alongside working full time
- There’s the mum-guilt x3
- There’s more to consider logistically. With three kids you’ve got more medical appointments, sports days, school concerts, parent’s evenings, parties etc. They’re all things where it isn’t the end of the world if you miss them, but you don’t want to miss them all.
- When we take family press trips it’s a bigger expense for the brand
- Sam and I can’t really take couple’s press trips and leave the kids at home with grandparents. If we only had one child then my parents would be more than happy to have one all the time! But it’s a big ask to give them three children to look after.
One thing I will add is that it’s getting easier as they get older. Once they’re in school full time then your childcare costs come down dramatically (breakfast club and after-school clubs are much more affordable in comparison to private nurseries!) Kids are also easier to care for when they get older so I won’t feel as guilty palming them off on my parents for a weekend!
^Travel blogging with one child was definitely easier!
I think I’ve answered all of your questions but if you have any more then please do let me know! As always, this post is based on my personal experiences and opinions. There will be lots of bloggers doing things differently and just because I think something, it doesn’t make it fact.
I’d love to hear your experiences of travel blogging after having kids!