Why I Ignore The Rules Of Most Travel Influencers/ Travel Accounts On Instagram…

I was inspired to write this post as I’ve been getting messages on social media with something along the lines of ‘I wish I had your lifestyle’ or ‘Travel goals’. Whilst flattering, I can’t stress enough how socials only show a fraction of what it’s like to travel blog. Even more so in my case, as I don’t post every single day. That’s when I first realised I break the typical structures many content-creators stick to. Whilst I wouldn’t be qualified to tell you how to action brand partnerships (as I tend to turn them down) or how to apply gorgeous pre-sets onto photos (I have no idea), I can help you maximise each day to the fullest. I mean, I’ve been doing it for years as I’ve always worked/studied full-time whilst delving into blogging. In fact, one of my most popular articles was on the very topic so I’ll link you to my post here: How I Travel Whilst Working Full-Time: Travel Blogger Insight. To start with though, it would be useful to give some context. I have a whole post on my travel journey here but in short, I’ve been travel-blogging for 5 years, on a part-time basis, and solo-travelling for 7.

Before we get into why I ignore the rules of most travel influencers on IG, I should give a disclaimer that the term ‘travel influencer’ is undeniably broad. The definitions vary as much as FC Barcelona’s performance without Messi haha. That’s why I’ll focus more on why I ditched common pieces of advice, rather than what other travel accounts do in their journey to pursuing social media. What works best for one person might not even be relevant for another person, after all.

I Have More Than One Niche/Theme.

Something which travel-blog/travel influencer workshops often address is the importance of knowing your niche and how it needs to be as defined as possible. Whilst I see the benefits of a clear vision, this can cause frustration for accounts who are newly starting out. Very few people master something on their first try. Without a super-concrete niche, I’m still a travel writer who documents trips on Instagram and has a separate account for travel resources, but doesn’t have long captions on photos telling you ‘5 places you need to see in X’ or ‘Why you need to visit Y’. Instead, I’ll tell the story behind the photo or give you a spontaneous caption with no real value other than a genuine giggle. This, according to many travel influencers, is a sin. I, however, disagree, as the reason connections are made is because personality shines through. Whether I post photos from solo-travelling the world all dressed up (my unofficial niche) or document all the food I’ve had, I’ve always kept it real and added my own personality. I don’t travel to locations for ‘IG-worthy photos’. Instead, I’ll take travel photos if I’m going somewhere, regardless of whether it’s picturesque or not. Way more relatable, right? My account actually started as a personal IG, which naturally transitioned into a page reflective of this blog. Since then, I’ve followed both non-travel related and travel related accounts. I have no secret formula for keeping both parties happy, but travel pics with non-travel captions work for me. So while I don’t always stick to one niche, I’m very much aware of what my audience reacts best to. Over time, readers/viewers will connect to a personality or story, which helps you or your brand if you decide to switch things up. Never underestimate the power of storytelling. No niche required.

I’ve Rejected Nomad Life.

For a significant period of time I’ve participated in nomad life, taking up freelancing roles to support myself full-time. Nomad life was attractive for creating my own schedule in new locations but I began to find it more challenging than portrayed. Calculating rates in different countries, finding accommodation every few weeks and dealing with unreliable clients was stressful, not to mention the fact I was missing physical communication. Even though I adore platforms like ‘Upwork’ and using LinkedIn with the ‘remote work’ toggle when looking for a temporary virtual role, I quickly realised working whilst travelling wasn’t what I enjoyed doing. Sure, I got to see more of the world but it meant the line between my hobby and my career were blurred.

The realisation that I didn’t like to ‘work’ whilst travelling links closely to my next point. I love working in the legal field, which is why I haven’t had the I’ve-left-my-job-to-travel-the-world story just yet. Whether I’ll forever stay in the legal field is another thing, but for now I’ve chosen to divide my hobbies from my career. I love nothing more than travel-writing and connecting with other travel bloggers, but often fear it will lead towards long-term periods of doubt if I were to go full-time with it. It’s true what content-creators say, so much work goes into a final product.

I Tend To Avoid Trends, Fashion Included lol.

I consider myself comfortable with technology, but I’m far from an expert. In fact, when I see travel influencers post incredibly creative videos with unique sounds and transitions I am left shocked at the skill. As you may expect, these videos then become popular which leads to more creators quickly pushing out similar content. Over time, it becomes exhausting to predict the next phenomenon or to upload something instantly to join the bandwagon. I actually remember listening to a podcast where an established travel influencer dedicated a whole session to the topic of current trends. Sure, your content will be exposed to new people but at what cost? For me, this part of social media wasn’t enjoyable, which is why I never focused too much on numerical growth. Yes, new trends or hashtags are incredibly useful to reach a wider audience, but supportive friends, reposts and networking are underestimated tools leading to the same destination.

Money, Money, Money?!

One misconception about travel influencing/blogging is that you always need to do partnerships to earn an income. That’s a fantastic option, but don’t feel disheartened if you’re fairly new to content-creating or simply someone who doesn’t enjoy brand collabs. Instead, you might prefer creating e-books, designing mini courses or making personalized itineraries. Need a non-digital alternative? Hosting a room on Air BnB or organizing experiences for tourists could be interesting. Hosting international students for a small fee is ranked highly on my list, actually. I was living with a host family in Spain when I was 16 and it’s still one of the most insightful experiences I’ve had to date.

Whether you find yourself agreeing with my above paragraphs or not, it’s safe to say there is no one-size-fits-all approach to content-creation. Someone starting out their journey is just as special as someone who’s been doing it for a longer period of time! If blogging is something you’ve been thinking about, let this be your sign to start.

Speaking of time, I’m aware this post is slightly longer than my usual articles. However, if you’ve made it this far please can you let me know if you’ve ever been to Toronto? Random, I know, but I’m planning to visit in the future and would love to know your thoughts!

Until then, see you in the next post!

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Only been to Montreal & that was years ago, but wife & I watch some suspense/detective shows set in Toronto & the town is apparently historical enough they can pull off pretty convincing historical settings/scenes. It looks like a neat place to visit; all the best, Yaz! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for this information! ๐Ÿ˜€Iโ€™m excited to visit! How was Montreal??

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It was really nice! For awhile, in the 80s we’d go there from Vermont each time we visited my wife’s family. Lots of a sense of the richness of European culture, old buildings, multiple languages heard in the air ๐Ÿ˜Š

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Your authenticity really comes across in your writing, its great you are being true to yourself and enjoying travelling on your own terms! I would like to make my blog more travel-focused.. I am about to go on my first ever solo trip!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is such a lovely compliment, thank you ever so much! Ohh that’s so exciting! Where are you going on your trip?? Hope you have the best time!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are most welcome! Iโ€™m going to Lisbon, have you ever been? Thank you Iโ€™m so excited!

        Like

      2. No Iโ€™ve never been but Iโ€™m excited to hear about it! Safe travels ๐Ÿ˜Š

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with all your points but especially about the stress of working and traveling at the same time. There’s so much to be said for just taking off a chunk of time to really explore and enjoy yourself without worrying!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So glad you agree! Absolutely! I feel like Iโ€™m not able to fully relax if I know I have to work that day!

      Like

  4. Rebecca says:

    100% agree with you. When I was younger and had the opportunity to work abroad and have a job that allowed ample paid vacation days, of course, I had a *sort of* tried to create an IG travel influencer lifestyle. However, as I’ve since returned home to the US, have a 9-5 job, and haven’t been traveling, I’ve since stopped doing so. I do follow a few travel influencers, but also have since unfollowed a few, just because I can’t relate to their endorsement of a nomadic lifestyle, and also I question their sagacity on traveling so freely even in the middle of a pandemic (i.e. I don’t agree with traveling so liberally, especially internationally when the risk of spreading it still is a real danger). Some of them are really pushy with the whole “working remote, digital nomad” mantra that makes impressionable people believe it really is that easy to quit their stable jobs and travel the world, because it really isn’t. Thank you for expressing your thoughts on this, as they’re something I’ve been thinking about for a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Im so glad you agree and Iโ€™m so happy my post was relatable to other bloggers! I feel like some influencers try to convince their followers that they can become digital nomads just by purchasing their e-book, which is worrying! Thanks so much for sharing your opinions ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rebecca says:

        Gosh, don’t get me started on e-books: they’re overpriced and I take them with a grain of salt, as their advice is what worked for the author themselves, but may not apply to everyone. It’s a pipeline dream.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m totally with you. I can’t be bothered to keep up with trends on social media especially – one minute it’s reels, the next it’s TikTok; I just want to post photos and tell mildly entertaining stories! It’s probably why I don’t have a big following, but I have made lots of friends through blogging and I’m glad I still get to enjoy it as a hobby! Like you said, once you blur the lines between what you enjoy and having to work on it to the point of not enjoying it any more, that’s when you need to re-assess. I wrote a pretty similar blog post about not wanting to be a digital nomad and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people. I guess it gets romanticised a lot but people don’t consider the reality of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Iโ€™m so glad we are on the same page, as I also feel the whole digital nomad life gets glamorised when really itโ€™s so much more complex than it seems, and even then itโ€™s still not the type of lifestyle everyone wants! And thatโ€™s such a great point, I also feel like when people solely focus on social trends it makes them seem less genuine to interact with, because they are less interested in building bonds with those reading/following. That may work for some but itโ€™s not my style! Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We do bump into the same dilemma when we come across tips and tricks to grow your blog. Some of the advice felt ingenuine, and so we go with content that we will has more value and is relatable.

    Since I started reading your content, I had always thought you left your job completely to travel full time. Good luck finding your sweet spot between nomad life and your legal career!

    Like

    1. Very true! When some of the advice seems ingenuine it really makes me think the creator of that content forgets about the other benefits of creating, such as meeting new people or discovering new sites.

      And thank you so much! I really enjoy working in the legal field but it wouldn’t surprise me if I decided to travel full-time in the future! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for reading

      Like

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