We were privileged recently to catch up with some expert travel bloggers and ask them some of the top questions we get asked. This came about as a result of speaking with those who follow our adventures, who were asking similar questions of us. We always try to answer questions openly and recently wrote ‘How to find cheap flights‘ in response to some of those questions.
Over time, we began to think, why not ask those same questions to some of the top travel bloggers around and see how they would answer them?
It was a great opportunity for us, and we hope it will be an awesome learning experience for our readers as well.
- Meg Jerrard of Mapping Megan, an award-winning travel blog featuring travel tips, photography & inspiring stories
- Debra Schroeder of Traveling Well For Less, an adventure value luxury freelance writer sharing tips and tricks on how to save money traveling
- Josh & Erin Bender of Travel With Bender, the ultimate guide for family travel
- Brian & Noelle of Wandering On, an adventurous Irish couple who love to get off the beaten track, have amazing adventures, stay active and travel independently as much as possible
- Geri Vladeva of When Woman Travels, sharing ideas, resources and inspiration for women travelers who want to stay stylish, curious and in love with the world
- Anne Slater-Brooks of Traveltheglobe4less.com showing you how to build up bags of airline and hotel reward points so you can enjoy free hotels and flight upgrades
Let’s check out how these guys answered our questions below
Meg: I think everyone secretly dreams of being a travel writer – exploring exotic new lands and being paid to head out on epic adventures in far-flung corners of the globe. Luckily for me, timing was everything, and the online world was starting to evolve in a way which meant vast opportunities were making it possible to establish a career online. I had been traveling for 7 years before I realized that professional blogging was a viable career, and during that time I had been keeping a hobby blog as a way of documenting and remembering my experiences. I studied Journalism and Law at university, and had every intention of practicing law until 2012, when I boarded a flight from the States to Australia and was seated next to Gary Arndt; one of the leading travel bloggers in the world (www.everything-everywhere.com). After hearing that he blogged for a living, and companies paid him to travel to promote their destinations and brands, my mind was blown – I already had a blog, so I figured surely I could do that too! I bought my own domain, set up social media accounts, started promoting my work and focused on turning my blog into a business. Roughly a year later I was generating enough of an income through the blog to quit my day job, and have been blogging full-time ever since.
Debra: No glamorous story here. I started the blog as a resume for my freelance writing, and a place to rework some of my published articles. But then it evolved into a travel blog. :).
Josh & Erin: I started writing the blog to share our current whereabouts with friends and family, and it grew from there. Here’s the long answer.
Brian & Noelle : We got started in travel blogging back in 2012 before heading off from teaching English in South Korea to Nepal, India and Sri Lanka on an extended twelve-month trip. When we started Wandering On, it was mainly as a way to keep our friends and family updated and share our experiences on the road. Over time, our website has developed and grown from a diary-style blog into a more useful source of information for fellow travellers.
Geri: I was an International Hospitality Management student when I had the idea that women’s travel is underrepresented in the media, and there is not enough information for the women who are just starting to travel the world and don’t have experience and confidence. I knew women have specific issues to deal with when travelling, and that no one is speaking about them except when it is about solo travel.
Anne: This is my second blog. I started my first maybe five years ago expecting a get rich quick blog which didn’t materialise. I had no idea about SEO, marketing, or photography and it just didn’t work out. Then I started doing my MBA and learning about a ton of stuff which helped me to figure out how to launch a blog more strategically. I invested a ton of time in learning new skills, fine tuning my blog and trying to find my niche. It’s still hard work, but I love the process of trying to bring my experiences to life and sharing my travel hacking tips with others who want to obtain free hotel rooms or fly business class for less than economy.
Meg: Iceland. Iceland by far is one of our favorite places in the world, and I would love to live there if I could! It is one of the last untouched destinations left on earth. It’s exotic, so naturally beautiful, and largely untouched by tourism which we absolutely love.
The scenery takes your breath away. Waterfalls, glaciers, dramatic fjords; there is inspiring scenery at every turn. Majestic glaciers grind their way through cracked lava fields, gushing geysers explode with a powerful force, glittering ice caps pierce the sky, and vibrant green fjords rise from the mist of geothermal lagoons. There’s also a LOT of opportunity for outdoor adventure here, which is what we live for!
Debra: One of my favorite places in the world is Australia. I’ve been there three times and absolutely love the people and the culture. I feel very much at home when I’m in Australia. We even considered moving there.
Josh & Erin: Greek Islands (the best sunsets and delicious food!).
Brian & Noelle: Ooooh, that’s a tough one! There are so many amazing places in the world and we’re much too indecisive to pick just one! India is incredible for the sheer amazement you experience every single day! There’s a common quote about India amongst travellers; “India is the last country you should visit. After this, no other place will be more interesting, crazy, and beautiful, all at the same time.” We definitely have to agree having spent six months travelling overland in India.
We also absolutely loved seeing Mount Everest from the top of Kala Pattar at 5,643m altitude in Nepal, witnessing sunrise and sunset on Mount Fuji in Japan and at Uluru in Australia. We love the laid-back attitude and lifestyle in Spain too, and of course there’s always a special place in our hearts for our home country, Ireland.
Geri: Wow, I have more than one! I will share two of my favourite places. The first is Vinales Valley in Cuba because it is a place that makes you believe the time has stopped, and the life is so simple that you forget all the struggles and problems waiting for you outside. The second place is a private game reserve in South Africa, Kruger National Park. I love it because it makes you remember the basics of the life – love, fight, survive. Even if the modern consumer’s world tries to make us believe that everything is about sophistication, luxury and art, we should not forget that underneath all is the simple human (or animal’s) need to survive.
Anne: This is almost impossible to answer as I love so many places. Myanmar, India, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the United States are some of my top destinations, but if I had to pick just one, it would probably be New Zealand. Stunning scenery, the Kiwi sense of humour, and all those crazy ass adventure activities! The country puts you under its magic spell in no time and has you jumping out of planes, rafting over waterfalls and tubing through underground caverns, even though you may never have planned to become an adrenaline junkie!
Meg: Understand that it’s one of those professions which first requires a large investment of time without return. You’re not going to instantly start making money from a travel blog, and nor are you going to find success overnight. It’s a slow and steady slog to grow your audience to a point where advertisers start wanting to invest, but once you do get there the benefits and rewards are well worth the hard work.
Debra: Start a travel blog because you’re passionate about travel and writing. It’s a lot of work so treat it like a job. While your readers will want to hear about your experiences, they’ll also want to know what’s in it for them. So that “10 Reasons Why I Loved Paris” post should be “10 Reasons Why You’ll Love Paris.”
Josh & Erin: Either start it as a hobby and just enjoy it. Or if you want to make it an income source, then learn from others. Travel Blog Success is a good place to start.
Brian & Noelle: We would definitely recommend knowing what kind of travel you’re about first, finding your niche and choosing a name that conveys this. Treat your website professionally from the get go, don’t treat it like a diary. Remember you should provide some value to your audience. Start social media accounts on all major platforms with this same name to create a brand. Launch your website when there are enough posts to keep a reader engaged in order to build an audience from the start.
Geri: Be serious about blogging from the beginning. If you are not ready to spend hours and hours every day in developing and popularising your blog, just don’t waste your time. Do something else instead.
Anne: Don’t expect it to be a get rich quick option. You will need to learn a multitude of skills from digital marketing to coding to photo-editing, creative writing, to SEO and it all takes time. I highly recommend joining Facebook support groups so you can learn from others and secure additional promotion for your blog, but first and foremost you need to love writing about travel because there will be times when it tests you to your limits.
Meg: Walking is our top tip for saving money while traveling and sticking to a budget, as transportation costs add up fast, and much of the time these are expenses that people overlook when planning a travel budget. But walking is free, and many city destinations will be easy enough to navigate on foot.
Have an up-to-date map on hand, get to know the language enough that you can understand street signs or possibly ask for directions if you have to. Not only is it cheaper than the constant taxi rides, you get to see a side of your destination you would miss. An extension of this tip is to make use of pedal-power to get around. Many cities offer bike rentals, with pickup and drop-off locations, quicker than walking and still much less expensive than other forms of inner city transport.
Debra: My suggestions for traveling on a budget…read my blog. LOL :). Travel during the off-peak season, know where to find deals, buy food from farmers markets and grocery stores, use miles and points where possible, and seek out smaller cities, off the beaten path places that offer tremendous value.
Brian & Noelle: Definitely! Eat local food whenever you can. It’s generally cheaper and tastier. You could cater for yourself too by staying in a place that gives you access to a kitchen. Airbnb is great for longer stays, can often be more affordable than hotels or holiday homes and you can filter your search for access to a kitchen. Try and use public transport as much as possible. Also, take some time when you arrive in a new place to suss out how much things should cost and avoid being overcharged for things – always be prepared to haggle and bargain if the local culture warrants this.
Geri: I’m not an expert on the matter but what I know for sure is that the locals always have the best tips. Just ask them and they will be happy to share their secret spots for shopping, dining or having fun for less.
Anne: Sign up to my blog naturally! There you can get tons of tips on using airline and hotel rewards to travel for less. To be honest, as a teenager I was the queen of travelling on virtually thin air, but now I’m earning pretty good money (from my job in financial services rather than the blog, sorry to disappoint!) I’m less budget conscious. I do however avoid taxis and public transport like the plague – why spend when I have feet? I also avoid organised tours for much the same reason and because I like to be selective about what I see.
Meg: Don’t be scared of traveling alone. Horrible things happen in any country including that of your home; they happen to both women and men, and the best piece of advice for those worried about solo female travel is to make sure you’re traveling with common sense, be aware of your surroundings, trust your gut instinct, and don’t take any risks you wouldn’t take at home.
Sure, solo travel through some countries can prove to be a greater challenge for women than it is for men, and certain destinations do require extra safety precautions especially when traveling alone. But that doesn’t mean that women can’t or shouldn’t get out there. The world in general is a very safe place, and in reality no one ever really travels alone. You make friends and meet people along the way!
Debra: 99% of my travel is solo travel. So I say, if you want to travel solo, just do it. But be aware of your surroundings, don’t take unnecessary changes, know the customs and cultures of the country you’re traveling to, and listen to your gut.
Josh & Erin: I haven’t got any advice for girls travelling alone (as it doesn’t describe my situation), however there are plenty of great solo female travel blogs out there. So get searching.
Brian & Noelle: As the female half of the couple, Noelle suggests dressing conservatively in certain countries. A good tip is to have a look at how the local women in a country dress and follow suit. It’s always a good idea to blend in. Travel during the daytime as much as possible and you may have to spend a little more money on accommodation and transport to ensure greater safety, so prepare for this in your budget. You will meet fellow travellers along the way so you won’t be alone for long unless you want to be. And always trust your female instincts, if something feels wrong, it probably is. With that said, remember to allow a balance, don’t have your back up all the time. Trust your gut, but do allow yourself to open up to the right people as well. Relax and enjoy, The world is an amazing place!
Geri: Do it! Don’t be afraid. Be informed and prepared, but be curious too. The only real danger is that you will like travelling solo that much that you will have a difficulty travelling with someone else in the future. The feeling of freedom is a very powerful thing.
Anne: Feel the fear and do it anyway. Seriously, I know it’s a cliche but although it may be uncomfortable at first, it is surprising how quickly you meet people. I’ve had some of the best nights of my life with new friends I’ve met travelling and been bowled over by people’s hospitality. Take, for instance one summer I spent working in Italy. After my contract finished, I was invited to stay with the sister of our course director. They gave me food and board and made a birthday cake to celebrate my 23rd birthday. Now that’s what memories are made of.
We hope you enjoyed having our Top Travel Bloggers Answer Your Questions. Please be sure to pay these guys a visit and follow their adventures as well. They have freely given their time and shared their extensive experience very graciously, and we thank them so very much.
And if you are looking for other great posts to help you with your next holiday, make sure you check out our popular post titled: ‘Check out our top LONDON travel tips.‘
Living each adventure,
Christine and Trevor Barre
Empowering people to live a healthy, authentic and fulfilling, personal and business lifestyle.
Adelaide, South Australia.
DISCLAIMER: This article is written for informational purposes only and is based on Christine and Trevor’s own life experiences. No food featured on this site should ever be consumed or handled if known or suspected allergies exist. Nothing featured here should be taken as medical, professional or legal advice. It is always recommended that you consult the appropriate professional before changing any routine or adopting any new procedure. We provide relevant links in each post to services or products of relevance to that topic. Many are unpaid links, while others may be affiliate links. They are included because of their relevance above all else.
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