In my ‘Ask Me Anything’ blog posts, I answer questions that I am frequently asked via e-mail. You can see more by clicking here.
I’ve been seeing a trend in the e-mails that I receive. It seems like not only do many of you want to travel, but you want to find a way to sustain your travels to travel long-term like I am. I want to share that I do have a travel blogging backup plan and why it’s important for you to have one too if you choose travel blogging as a career.
Travel Blogging Backup Plan
Some of you have a career skill from University or have been working in a job for many years, while others are still in University or even High School wondering if they should go to college.
There are so many successful travel blogs and people “traveling the world for free” that I can see how it looks like the perfect viable option to start a travel blog and do the same.
But there’s something I want to talk about and that is “What if travel blogging hadn’t worked out?”. There was a real chance that it wouldn’t have for me.
- 2-3 Million blog posts are written and posted online every single day.
- There are 152 million blogs on the internet.
- A new blog is created every half second.
What would I have done if travel blogging hadn’t worked out… and what will you do?
There are a few things that I always tell people who ask how to travel long-term. Travel blogging is not the only answer (although it is a fantastic one).
There are a few things you should seriously keep in mind. That is:
- You need so save money before you go abroad. Yes, there are ways to travel for free and that could last a couple of years. But, this is a long-term goal. You have to earn money abroad and be saving for a future, too.
- You need to have a backup plan and that is often times in education.
When I moved, my nursing degree became useless to me in India but it wasn’t useless in life. I have always kept my nursing license active and do my CEU’s (continuing education) so that I don’t lose the four years of University that I worked so hard for.
Travel blogging is very competitive and there are probably hundreds of thousands of travel bloggers. When I moved to India, I was a masseuse and made candles for a year before my blog made money. I had savings to hold me over.
In my first year, I made just over $10,000 with my travel blog. It’s not a lot to live on but it was a good starting point. The following year, I did better and this third year I am finally seeing travel blogging as a viable career.
But, the internet is fickle. Things change. We watched Vine die this year. Facebook pages no longer share your posts to all your “fans”. You have to pay for that. Instagram followed suit and most people’s “likes” dropped by more than half. You can’t bank on the internet because things are always changing, like Google ranking algorithms.
Pinterest is a great tool and I’m all about using Pepo, a new app… but I’m not so into Snapchat/IG stories. Technically, though, as a blogger, you have to be “into” all of these social media channels! And they are always changing.
So, my backup plan was nursing. I have the degree, and active license, and if need be I can go back to the USA and take a job at a nursing home to work my way back up to a nicely paid hospital job.
No, it’s not my dream.
But I’m a very type-A practical person. I assume some of you are as well since you e-mail for advice on this matter.
If you are in High School: I do recommend going to University (if that’s something you can afford). I think having a part-time job in college is a great way to travel in the summers. If you haven’t been abroad you might find that your dream of traveling isn’t actually your dream once you actually DO travel.
If you are getting ready to choose a major in college: I think that it’s a good idea to go into something that you truly love. If you want to travel you can either use your degree to travel (like my friend Colleen who did fashion design and now travels all over Asia or IT workers who get to come here to India) or you can think of it as a backup – either way you need a job you will like. If you are serious about blogging, you can go into creative writing, marketing, PR, media, and for all I know there is a blogging major by now. If you are serious about travel and want a job that gets you involved, think about anthropology or oceanography… don’t only choose business or healthcare because it is a surefire job (although there’s nothing wrong with that if you don’t care about making a life of travel!).
If you are in college now: I will never recommend someone to drop out. The only reason I can travel like I do now and take the risk of moving abroad and creating a blog is because I have a backup plan.
If you have been in your career a while: Don’t just consider starting a blog as a means to an end. If you have a career then you have skills. Think outside the box. What can you do abroad with your skill set? Where can you apply for a similar job outside the country?
These are only my opinions, which is what people want when they shoot me an e-mail. I know my personal opinion may be different from yours and that’s okay. My boyfriend isn’t the type who thinks University is important. Many people think going to college is a waste of time and money. Maybe so! I have had success with the choices I made and even though I don’t use my nursing degree, just having it is a safety net that I need to feel secure.
I am not trying to scare you off from travel. In fact, I’m trying to do the opposite. I want to show you how you can travel but still be a practical person. We’ve all seen the quotes about quitting your job and never coming home.
It’s actually exactly what I did.
A friend recently visited me in India, met a guy from Scandinavia, and is considering doing the same thing moving to Sweden to be with him!
When you travel, options in life you never thought you had are opened up to you.
I 100% think that traveling helps you learn more about the world than school teaches you (not math, science, etc obviously). But, this travel blogging thing is a HUGE trend right now and so many people are trying to find success in this field. 17% of millenials consider themselves “digital nomads”, meaning they work from online anywhere in the world.
You should go for it too! But, please please have a backup plan.
So, you’ve read all this and feel sure that travel blogging is the route you want to take…
That’s fantastic and I wish you all the luck! Here are a few things that I would keep in mind before you start your blog.
Since there are millions of blogs out there try to find your voice. You should think of how your blog can stand out.
You need a unique name.
You need a beautiful looking website theme and logo. I use Avada.
You need a great host that will support your website. Get a good one from the start. For beginners, go with Bluehost for just 2.95/month (with this discount link). For those of you already blogging with decent pageviews, try Siteground for more support.
You need to watch YouTube videos and read articles about travel blogging and learn everything about it that you can. If you want to do this to prolong your travels and earn money than you must look at it as a business from day one.
If you want a short cut you can take classes. The top travel blogger is Nomadic Matt and he has a course. There are LOTS more courses out there as well.
You need to WRITE, and write, and never stop writing. If you hate writing, don’t start a blog. I have written over 800 posts in the last 3 years. That’s 1,095 days and I’ve written 800 posts… it’s a hell of a lot of writing.
You can’t write if you have nothing to say. So, you must also be traveling while you do all this writing, mastering social media, answering e-mails, pitching to brands, managing invoices, and reviewing services you use while you travel. You’ll probably work more than you do at a 9-5 job your first year to try to get on top.
Lastly, you have to persevere. When I started my blog I remember checking my Google Analytics and for two weeks I had 7 readers a day. I know I was one. Ben and my mom and dad were as well. It’s rough but you have to keep going. The numbers will increase!
Travel blogging is a great gig.
There’s a pretty good chance if you succeed at it, you will love it.
Of course, I know that the lifestyle I’m living is pretty amazing. I also know it wasn’t handed to me and maybe only I know how much work and effort I put into this website. When you start blogging you’ll see right away how much work it is!
Chances are your parents would be as keen as you are and they probably have a good reason for that. I did this for 3 years before I hit my income goal. I would be making more as a travel nurse and working a LOT less, and I know that. Our parents want us to succeed and be taken care of so don’t feel upset if they aren’t excited for you.
So, if you emailed me asking how to travel long-term and if I think travel blogging is a good way to do this, I hope that this advice can help you. I hope that you think about the practicalities of it all and make a travel blogging backup plan before you make the jump!
Here are some of my articles on blogging.
- How I Make Money From Travel Blogging
- How to Design your Blog + Tips After 3 Years of Blogging
- My Tips After My First Year of Blogging
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Hi Rachel, this post deserves plenty of thumbs up. This is precious.advice. You could be a coach to someone :)
Thanks John! I definitely shouldn’t be anyone’s coach lol – but that’s a nice thing to say!
Great advice, Rachel! Wise words and a wonderful perspective.
‘Love the advice, and the motivational posters! Funnily enough, I did exactly what the blurb said. I quit my job, moved to Germany, and never went back home! Obviously, I visit my family in the English countryside, but it’s no longer my home, and hasn’t been for years!
I always advocate that people should have some sort of educational background or skill, ‘cos the world is a competitive place. Yes, as an expat we do have advantages, but they hold up much better, and pay far more, if we know what we’re talking about lol!
My first degree was in Political Science and even though I never actually used it, the fact that I had it, opened up doors anyway lol!
Haha I did the same as the poster, too! :D Go us! haha. I was just telling Ben I sort of want to live in the English countryside one day.
Miss you, angel <3