When I started this travel blog more than two years ago, I thought it would be great for two things: 1) Keeping my family updated on what I was doing and 2) Maintaining an online diary for when dementia set in. But, I didn’t realize how big a job this would be or how hard it is to keep going.
For anyone embarking on an extended holiday, gap year, career break or backpacking trip and contemplating whether travel blogging is for you, here are some pros and cons to help you make your decision.
Travel Blogging Pros
Online Diary: Blogging about your experiences preserves your memories and feelings so you can enjoy them all at a later date. Depending on the situation, this can either be good or bad. Technology has made it easier to relive the adrenaline rush of your first skydive as well as the mind-blowing hangover you felt after a night spent with good friends and bad goon. Your online diary does not play favorites.
Conversation Starter: Not that the standard questions (“Where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going?”) don’t work, but having a blog gives you a different angle to strike up conversations with strangers (and maybe even a legit reason to snap photos of that hot guy/girl you meet).
Blogging Community: If you wish, you can become an active member in the blogging community by reading, commenting and linking to other travel blogs. I haven’t really done much of this, mostly due to lack of time (see Cons for details), but it seems there’s a large community out there to help with travel advice, show you around a city, suggest places to see and things to do and possibly even offer you a couch upon which to crash. You might even be able to score some sponsors and advertisers to help with the money situation and prolong your adventure.
Fame: Some people get into this whole blogging thing to become famous. Some people actually do become famous. Most of us don’t, but I suppose you can become famous within your own circle of influence (ie. your friends, family and colleagues). And who doesn’t want to brag about the awesome things you’ve seen and done to that jealous co-worker who sat down the hall from you?
Travel Blogging Cons
Time Management: Creating content takes up a lot of your free time and may start feeling like a full-time job. When you’re constantly on the move, doing new activities and meeting people from around the world, it is difficult to stop the fun to sit down and write. If you’re doing a photo/video blog or are just a stickler for good images, editing can eat up a heap of time if you want to perfectly capture that amazing sunset, unique wildlife or hostel party.
Expensive/Slow/No Internet Connections: Depending on where in the world you decide to travel, internet connections are extremely expensive, slow or unavailable at all. Despite living during a time of extensive technological achievements, there is a large part of the world that live a simpler, and some may argue happier, lifestyle. If you’re visiting less developed countries, the internet may not be widely available forcing you to work out of internet cafés, which affects both your time and money. Even in developed countries, such as Australia, some places are crazy expensive because the population is small or you’re just out in the middle of nowhere. The most expensive place I’ve come across so far is Coober Pedy, where an internet café was offering 15 minutes for AU$8!
Blogging Hermit: For the most part, writing is a solitary pursuit and this can make you a bit anti-social, which is the opposite of the Conversation Starter. When you’re focused on writing and photo/video editing, you can often miss out on group outings or pub crawls because of your strict adherence to your blogging schedule. You may be too focused on writing to enjoy the life you’re living.
Real Time vs Blog Time: Despite your best efforts to stay up to date with a steady stream of posts, you’ll never really be writing in real time. You posts will always be a few steps behind real life. How else are you supposed to experience anything if you’re tied down to blogging about it as it happens? So technically, your family and friends will never really know where you are in the world or what you’re currently doing there when they read your blog. If they want minute-by-minute details of your escapades, they’ll have to stay tuned to other social media applications, like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, which is just another thing for you to update.
In the end, the decision to keep a travel blog is in your hands. Deciding what type of blog you want – personal or professional – can help you figure out the frequency, tone and content of your posts. It’s always great to document your holiday, but I would shy away from a blog if you think it’ll have a negative effect on your travel experience.