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6 In travel

10 things I’ve learnt in my first year of travel blogging

Last year’s May bank holiday was considerably more hectic than this one will be.  I was in Mallorca on my first press trip, rather giddy, having lots of fun and taking as many cliché blogger photos as humanly possible.  My 2016 blogging goal had been to make it out of the country on the back of my blog, and I remember quite literally jumping around the room when the invitation email landed in my inbox.  Probably looked like I was on something, seriously.  I’d written quite a few UK travel posts before then, but I’d consider the Majorca trip my first proper leap into travel blogging.

In the year since then I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few other press trips and collaborate with other travel brands, and oh boy has it  been a learning curve since then.  I still excitedly Pin 354 photos and walk around the area on Google Maps street view whenever I’ve found out I’m going somewhere (don’t tell me you don’t either) but I’ve certainly become accustomed to the hard work that’s involved too.  Spoiler alert: there’s a lot of it!

A year on seemed like an appropriate time to share what I’ve learnt about travel blogging so far, so here goes.

— Not all press trips are created equal.  Some are swanky holidays that feel like exactly that – a holiday.  (I’m assuming you’re the kind of person who takes 5438 photos on holiday anyway here, btw).  Others have a pretty intense itinerary and involve trying to take in more information in 3 hours than you thought your brain was capable of.  Obviously it’s amazing just to have the opportunity to learn so much about the history/culture/*** of a place – but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming!  I hope that doesn’t sound ungrateful at all – as long as you don’t expect them to be relaxing holidays you’re fine.  You’re there to learn about a place in order to share it, after all.  That’s the task you’re required to fulfil.  I found that noting down the points I want to write about at the end of each day to help lots when it comes to typing up the blog post later on; I like to keep even my travel posts quite personal so don’t want to forget the little snippet that made me laugh or the fact I found particularly impressive.  The information in the media pack might not be the information I want to share.

— It’s difficult to predict which companies will and won’t work with you.  It certainly isn’t always the ones you’d expect.  Let’s say you’re researching Company A for example – they’ve worked with bloggers in the past, would fit your content and niche perfectly and you could really offer something of benefit.  Company A doesn’t reply to the carefully tailored email you sent to their marketing team, even to say thanks but no thanks.  Company B are relatively small, have zero evidence of bloggers on their website, and aren’t necessarily in line with your usual travel content.  Company B are super keen.  No predicting it.

— You don’t ask, you don’t get.  Most of the time even if you do ask, you don’t get, but it’s usually worth a shot.  I’ve had companies contact me about placing content and I’ve explained that I only do press trips or sponsored posts (not guest articles), which has led to discussions about press trips, which has led to me getting on a plane to experience it for myself to share.  What is there to lose by asking?

— Be prepared to be told no, sometimes politely, sometimes not so much.  A simple ‘thanks but no thanks’ usually does the trick, but some do like to slip a snide remark in there.  Professional, right?  A good number of the emails you send won’t ever see a reply, but occasionally you might hit the jackpot and an amazing opportunity stem from introducing yourself.  Just requires a hell of a lot of hard work and the will to not become disheartened.

— Overdelivering is worth it.  Brands want to work with you again if you go that little bit above and beyond.  You might have said you’ll do 1 blog post and then decide you’d actually like to write two, and include their fact box in both.  No harm in that.

— Trips often operate on a last minute basis.  Organising Friday morning for a Friday & Saturday night stay is my quickest turnaround to date!  Be as flexible as possible, just roll with it, and don’t expect to have anything planned too far in advance.

— Business cards are SO helpful.  They’re worthwhile for blogging in general, but travel blogging especially.  On any trip – solo or otherwise – you’re likely to find yourself explaining that you’re a blogger and everything it entails many times over, and it’s far easier to just hand over a card than type your URL into someone’s phone when they ask what your blog’s called.

— It’s worth taking hotel photos as soon as you get there.  Leaving it until the last morning when you’re trying to frantically pack before check out time is not the one.  I only did so once because the light hadn’t been in my favour, but it’s a mistake I’ve learned to avoid anyway.  Take the shots before you inevitably make a mess!

— Keep an eye on press releases and respond quickly.  Slide into that inbox straight away!  This links to my point about last minute trips – press trips are sometimes only publicised pretty late in the day so the sooner you can put your name forward, the better.

— Don’t get your hopes up until it’s 100% confirmed.  This one applies to all blogging collabs, travel or otherwise.  Brands might imply they want you and then change their mind (*cough* when someone with more followers applies *cough*).  Until those flights or accommodation are booked with your name on, don’t count your chickens.

Travel blogger at Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest.

Hopefully these provide a little insight into the world of travel blogging.  Still SO much learning to do so I’d love to hear tips.  Next stop, Austria!

Lily Kate x

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  • Reply
    21st May 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I found this post so insightful! I’ve never reached out to a brand before because I always fear that rejection. It must be hard, especially when a brand ends up choosing someone with more followers than you. Sigh, when will brands learn that quality of engagement is so more important than numbers.

    After a four day manic trip to New York a couple of years ago I gained a real appreciation for travel bloggers. I was absolutely exhausted, and needed about a month to recover!

    • Reply
      lily kate
      28th May 2017 at 9:24 pm

      I’m glad you liked it! I always just tell myself what is there to lose – yes they might reject you but there’s always a chance they’ll say yes too so why not.
      I can only imagine how tiring being a full time travel blogger is! I haven’t been to New York but imagine it’s quite intense haha. 🙂

  • Reply
    20th June 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Loved reading this! I’ve made a change to focus on travel blogging much more over the past year too, though still holding out for that first press trip! Any tips on getting under someones radar? x

    • Reply
      Lily Kate France
      25th June 2017 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks Louise! I’ve found that it’s best to just put yourself out there as much as you possibly can by emailing the PR directly (much better than an info email if you can find the right person) as waiting to get noticed doesn’t seem to work (or at least it hasn’t for me haha). I got lucky with my first press trip to Mallorca as I’d been at an event ran by the company the month before, and when a last minute space came up 2 days before they emailed me. Every other trip has happened as a result of me emailing or filling out an application though. Keep an eye on sites like TravMedia and Matador to see which companies are looking for press too 🙂

  • Reply
    20th June 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I live by the last rule! I don’t believe it until I have that flight confirmation in my inbox 🙂

    • Reply
      Lily Kate France
      25th June 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Haha it’s sooo true! Don’t jinx it by getting too excited until it’s all confirmed 😀

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