Many travelers and digital nomads dream of funding their travel by setting up a popular travel blog, or becoming a top travel influencer, widely quoted in the mainstream media, with an Instagram account that receives six-figure visits monthly. The sponsorship deals flow in, making you a digital nomad with a six-figure income, so you can focus on what you love most: travel. For most of us, our blogs languish in obscurity, but for a select handful of travelers, they have been able to turn their love of travel into well-paid work. The key to their success is often that these bloggers didn’t start out to make money; they set out to travel, find a way to fund a nomadic lifestyle and along the way, share with others how they manage to do what they do. Here are some of my favorite travel and travel advice blogs:
The Blonde Abroad started as the blog of a solo traveler with a single backpack who lived on $50 a day. Since then, Kiersten has grown her blog into a multi-level business, with a staff of six, offering social media and marketing consulting, as well as content creation. She runs retreats on how to set up your own blog and photography travel tours in South Africa. Kiersten’s blog focuses on how to travel on a budget, as well as solo female and student travel.
Travel Babbo is a site that focuses on family travel. Eric Stoen started the site to inspire more people to travel with their partner and kids. (Babbo means Dad, or Daddy, in some parts of Italy.) CNN/Forbes ranked Eric as the World’s #4 travel influencer in 2017, and his blogs has won awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association, the Shorty Awards and Conde Nast Traveler. He is currently a Brand Ambassador for AFAR Magazine, Travelocity and Universal Orlando Resort. Eric has been published in AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, Outdoor Families Magazine and others.
Adventurous Kate is another travel blog set up by a solo female traveler, Kate McCully, who spent time in Southeast Asia, decided she wanted to travel more extensively and turned her blog into a full-time business. (She’s made her entire living online since 2010.) Kate now travels the world, for a living, having already visited 74 countries. Kate emphasizes, on her blog, that ‘making a full-time living as a travel blogger is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. This is in no way passive income — it requires an immense amount of time, work, and networking.’ According to her, most travel bloggers don’t ‘make it to five years.’ In addition to travel stories, Kate blogs about solo female travel and how to make it as a pro-blogger.
Nomadic Matt is the travel site of Matthew Kepnes, a native New Yorker, who started long-term travelling in 2006. Since then, he has travelled to over 80 countries. Matt set up the site to show other travelers that they don’t need a lot of money to travel, just the know-how of how to fund staying on the road. As popular as he has become (his How to Travel The World on $50 a Day is a New York Times best-seller) his main focus is still on helping people travel long-term for less, save money on flights and accommodation and work and earn money abroad so you can travel longer. Matt, unlike most travel bloggers, does not accept sponsored content or sponsorship of any kind. He says his website is ‘about showing you what its really like on the road and we refuse to promote websites, companies, restaurants or services that don’t help you do that.’ Nomadic Matt is the top travel blog in the world.
Other popular travel blogs include Dan Flying Solo, A Broken Backpack, Lili’s Travel Plans, The Blog Abroad, My Life’s a Movie, Drew Binksy, Travel Break, Backpacker Banter, Nomadic Boys, OneStep4Ward, Shut Up and Go and The Planet D: Adventure Blog.
A growing trend for travel blogs is offering a curated destination itinerary, with a strong focus on selected art, craft or design. These blogs feature stunning travel and destination photography and have huge followings on their Instagram accounts. Here are some of my favorite bespoke blogs that focus on the intersection of travel and design:
Scandinavia Standard describes itself as a ‘one-stop-shop for food, drink, hotels, design, art, culture, shopping, outdoor activities and lots more.’ The site focuses on Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. If you’re travelling to this region, and want recommendations on, say, the best bakeries in Copenhagen, the top brunch spots in Oslo or the best wine bars in Copenhagen, this website is for you. The site isn’t just for tourists: ‘locals, immigrants and visitors’ can all benefit. Scandinavia Standard just released a new app that lets you plan customized itineraries for a trip to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo or Reykjavik. The website offers monthly calendars for each city, so you can see at a glance what’s on where.
Jungles in Paris is collaboration by two brothers, Oliver and Darrell Hartman, which mixes stunning photography with travel reporting with a ‘special focus on roots and place.’ The brothers ‘spotlight craft, culture, geography and wildlife … celebrating subjects that are often at risk of extinction in a globalized, growth-driven 21st century.’ Subjects range from scrimshaw carvers in Nantucket, falconers in England, dhow ship builders in Dubai, shrimp fisherman in Taiwan, bull jumping in Ethiopia to traditional shepherds in Romania and more. Many stories feature endangered wildlife and rapidly disappearing traditional crafts or ways of life. One poignant story featured an elderly couple living alone in a remote village in Spain, the only remaining residents of a once-thriving village. The brothers are filmmakers, as well as writers, and often post short films.
Petite Passport is a site set up by journalist and photographer, Pauline Egge. Her site, she says, is for her to ‘collect all the nicest design places on earth’ in one place. Pauline’s intention is to help travelers find the ‘hidden gems’ in popular destinations, with the emphasis on their style and design. She offers city guides for sale through her website, for ‘the design-minded traveler who likes to discover the coolest spots in town.’
Melting Butter is another visually-stunning site for amazing photography featuring eateries, clubs, shops, bars, hotels and more, or as the site states, ‘cool travel hotspots.’
On the Grid is a site of ‘neighborhood guides lovingly curated by local creatives in 106 cities around the world’ made for other ‘urban creatives.’ Their guides showcase places ‘where contemporary arts and culture thrive’. Asian offerings are still limited, with most guides for Europe and North America. The site also offers a job board for design professionals in the various cities for which they make guides.
Other popular curated travel blogs with a culinary, art, photography or design focus are JO&SO, A Hotel Life, We Heart, Class Touriste, The Voyageur and Culinary Backstreets.
Whether you need travel advice, want to learn how to become a professional nomad or be inspired by gorgeous destination photos, there is a travel blog out there for you.
SOCIAL MEDIA BYTES
Email Liz at LizinBali@gmail.com
Copyright © 2018 Bali Advertiser
You can read all past articles of Social Media Bytes at