When I first started The Pin the Map Project, I had created a series called The Traveler Series where I’d ask established travel bloggers, journalists, editors and photographers about their work within the travel space. What had started as an endeavor to both build my network and cross promote my blog through interviews, ended up offering my readers and I with a slew of valuable advice from writers who had paved the way for blogging. From practical travel tips to pointers on blogging, below is a collection of some of the best takeaways from these successful travel bloggers & writers.
On the Best Travel Advice They Picked Up…
Brooke Saward of World of Wanderlust
“You’ll never see them again. I have no shame when it comes to taking my own photos with a tripod or vlogging in the middle of the street – chances are the people who screw up their nose at me will not remember I exist in 2 hours time!”
Yaya and Lloyd of Hand Luggage Only
“Sometimes the only thing stopping you from traveling or visiting places is yourself… By removing this ‘barrier’ we have found so many amazing places that we would have never thought about going to previously.”
Mike Richardson of Vagabondish
“Be patient. It’s your best asset when traveling because few things ever go exactly as planned.”
Drew of The Hungry Partier
“Pack light!! Seriously, I used to pack so much and I never wore half the things that I packed. If you absolutely need something, then just buy it on the road. Also, you can always find a washing machine or do your laundry in the sink. Trust me, less is more.”
Robert Schrader of Leave Your Daily Hell
“Not so much travel advice as life advice, but “Jump, a net will appear,” scrawled on a wall in a café in Mui Ne, Vietnam.”
Casey of Land of Marvels
“To keep an open mind. There really is no point in traveling around the world if you want it to be just like your home or aren’t willing to broaden your horizons and open your mind to new and different things. Traveling should awaken things in you, it should make you think and it should challenge you. If you aren’t willing to let it do it that to you, then don’t bother traveling.”
Max Hartshorne of GoNOMAD
“Whatever happens is usually for the best. When my train was overbooked last month en route to Portugal from France, I enjoyed a fantastic night of Pinxhos and dancing in San Sebastian, Spain. Totally unplanned, and almost the most fun I had on the whole trip. Spontaneity is your friend!”
On the Best Blogging & Travel Writing Advice for those Starting Out…
Yaya & Lloyd of Hand Luggage Only
“Be yourself, enjoy the experience and write what you like. If your thing is food… write about that… if it is history, own this area… write about your passion!”
Taylor Fields of Callaway Rose
“Two things. First, don’t write in fear of what other people will think of you. Everyone will inevitably have his or her opinion (most will be positive, I promise) but you’re bound to come across those who think the entire concept of a blog is narcissistic, or who don’t enjoy your style of writing, or who just want to profess some kind of judgment. Don’t let these people dissuade you. At the end of the day, you’re doing something unique and have an amazing story to tell, and you should be writing not with the aim to appease others, but to encourage and inspire.
Second: Stay true to yourself, stay true to your voice, and stay true to the truth. Don’t be afraid to talk about both the good and bad things that happen to you. Nobody’s perfect and no one expects you to be. Often, the best stories and lessons come from our mishaps and mistakes, so don’t be afraid to ruminate and share these tales.”
Robert Schrader of Leave Your Daily Hell
“Don’t rest on your creative laurels. We already have a ton of bloggers who can’t write, take only smartphone photos and have Web design out of the 90s. You don’t need to be perfect – God knows I’m not – but constantly learning and putting what you learn into practice is the foundation of productive creativity.”
Katie Cook of Hope Engaged
“Focus on quality over quantity. Learn to take beautiful pictures to compliment the write-up of your trip. Sharing about an experience doesn’t have to be lengthy, so stick to the core content and then let the images tell more of the story!”
Monica Stott of The Travel Hack
“My advice is to just do it. Too many people get obsessed over the little things like naming their blog, picking a design, creating a logo, networking with bloggers, building a social media following and learning about SEO. This is all great but if your website isn’t chock full of interesting content then it doesn’t matter. Just start blogging! Whether you write or take photos or make videos, blog every single day for six months and then worry about all the other stuff.”
Ashley and Carolyn of The Lazy Travelers
C: “Do it! One of the perks we definitely didn’t foresee was meeting an entire community of travel bloggers, some of whom have become really great friends of ours.”
A: “Do it, but do it for yourself and not for the attention or the free stuff. There are definite perks but we only accept the ones that match our personalities and travel style.”
Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker
“Experiment. It takes a while to find your groove when you’re first starting out and it’s easy to feel like you have to copy what the more “experienced bloggers” are doing, however, you need to find a style that works for you.”
Rachel Sales of Pink Pangea
“Be consistent, but constantly evaluate your work.”
Max Hartshorne of GoNOMAD
“Buy a site that’s already got traffic, and don’t try to make any real money until you have real traffic. It’s really really hard to get visitors to a site, we are lucky to have had such a huge head start. But intensive social media, reaching out and sharing links and creating great content is the path, it just takes a long time. Sorry our site isn’t for sale! I love it too much and what else would I do, I love publishing stories and traveling.”
What I’ve Learned…
It’s been a whirlwind journey building The Pin the Map Project; I have come a long way from pressing publish on my first blog post to now having a team of talented writers and assignments around the world. Let this website be a testament to the fact that anyone can become a travel blogger if they simply put forth enough time, effort and passion for the work that they do and content they produce. Regardless if you have a journalism degree or not, no matter if you have never written outside your personal journal or not, you can begin freelance writing and blogging today (tip: check out my post: 5 STEPS TO LAUNCHING YOUR OWN TRAVEL BLOG).
To share what I have learned, when it comes to blogging I cannot recommend Bloglovin‘ enough for beginning bloggers. Using Bloglovin’ allowed me to easily discover travel blogs, find those that I admired and take note of content and tips that I could later adapt for The Pin the Map Project. Many successful bloggers, such as those above, share posts on how to increase engagement or grow following and it is through Bloglovin’ that I came across their blogs and in turn learned ways to grow and evolve my own site.
As for my best travel advice? Walk that fine line between being open to serendipitous encounters and experiences but remember to be safe! I love the spontaneity of travel and when I venture abroad I rarely plan my trip beyond reserving accommodations, flights and other practical logistics. I like to leave my trip up to fate, I love to wake up abroad and decide that morning what I will do rather than adhere to a strict itinerary, I adore the thrill of not knowing what the day will hold; at the same time though street smarts and being in-tune with your internal intuition (which will always have an uncanny way of steering you away from threats) is key.
It’s your turn! Share your best piece of travel or blogging advice in the comments section below and make sure to check out more of my BLOG TIPS for advice on building your own site.