Life As A Travel Blogger In 2017

Something strange is afoot. I opened my diary this morning and discovered we are half way through January 2017. What the flip? I feel like I just sat down to write my resolutions (promptly forgotten, as always) and then, bam, a fortnight of the new year has whizzed by already. So before any more time passes without me noticing I wanted to sit down and think about the year ahead and what life might look like for a travel blogger in 2017. (That travel blogger being, rather selfishly, me.)

Since I last wrote about making a living as a blogger a few things have changed around here. Previously I supplemented my blog and writing income with freelance consulting. I worked with both bloggers and brands who wanted to improve their social media strategy and sometimes this meant managing their content and community for them. My heart has always been more invested in travel and writing, however, so one of my goals for 2016 was to make the transition away from consulting to make a living purely from travel blogging and freelance writing. I’m stoked to say that I did it.

What Does Being A Full Time Travel Blogger Mean

I’ve been busting a gut over this blog for 7 years now and have (wondrously) got to a stage where brands often pay me to join them on a trip. A chunk of my income comes from taking part in these travel projects whereby I’m paid to produce a certain amount of blog and social media coverage at the end of it.

(I’ve written a little more about the ins and outs of what I am and aren’t paid for here and the ethics of doing so here.)

I also have (at present) 3 freelance writing gigs where I write up to 4 articles per month for each client. I’ve worked on many short and long term writing gigs over the years and at the moment have secured 3 great working relationships with a travel booking website, a hotel company and a retail company. This mix works well as I can write a variety of different articles from different angles and pitch stories in advance to help cover the costs of my self-funded trips.

In addition to that I may run the odd advertorial or sponsored contest on the blog if I’m approached by a company who seem to have actually read what I write and is a good fit. (Excuse the passive aggression – I get a lot of unsolicited/irrelevant emails!) I don’t run banner ads as I like to keep the copy clean so my advertising revenue is nil. I make a tiny amount of income from affiliate sales through booking.com who I book all my hotels through and make a tiny percentage if readers click the link in a post and decide to do the same.

Coming Up In 2017

Travel wise: I’ll continue to take a mixture of hosted and self-funded trips. In December last year I finally made it to Japan (a most worthy country number 60 for me) and loved it so much I’m going back this month. Twice!

I’ve got a couple of trips planned with my family as solo travel is great but I do miss the banter. So I’m planning a girlie getaway to Fiji with my sister and a food and shopping filled trip to Seoul with my hubby. I’m also teaming up with one of my favourite travel bloggers in May for 2 wellness themed projects, which is just what this overly-caked body needs!

 

Blog wise: I feel I need to get better about writing about Melbourne and Sydney. We just hosted my sister for 2 weeks and I put together an anal Google Doc to plan everything we wanted her to experience. Considering I often get emails asking about holiday itineraries for Melbourne and Sydney I figure I really should write some of this up in a useful manner.

Then business wise I need to bite the bullet and raise my rates. (*Hears clients shiver*) I haven’t upped my rates for years (in fact, market rates for bloggers in Australia are up to 50% less than what I made in the UK!) and my business minded hubby tells me this is crazy. As someone who loves what she does it is often hard to ask for any money at all but that’s no way to make a living!

I wore myself out a little last year travelling more than usual in order to pay the bills but it is deceiving how much work goes into travel blogging. On the trip you’re tasked with experiencing all the things (hard life!) whilst photographing, taking notes and sharing snippets on social media, then the blog posts take up several days back home, plus you still have to keep the rest of the blog running and service all your other client work at the same time. I absolutely love this job but if I’m run ragged with little to show cash wise at the end of every month, it’s not a sustainable business. So let’s see how I go about making a little more dollar in 2017.

What Can I help You With?

I’m getting a lot of reader emails at the moment, which is great, but often I struggle to get back to everyone individually. My plan is to make a note of the questions I get asked most often and turn them into a series of blog posts. I’m getting a lot of queries regarding flight routes between Oz and Europe and tips for transiting so I’ll definitely cover more of this in 2017. If there’s anything else you’d like to know or see more of though, please do let me know in the comments.

Where Will 2017 Take You?

I’d love to know what you’ve got planned for 2017 – travel, work or otherwise. Maybe our paths will cross somewhere in the sky!

12 Comments

  1. Reply

    Hayley Simpson

    January 17, 2017

    I am so excited for Hawaii next month! Plus I am working on a epic solo trip through Europe at the end of the year. It’s going to be a good travelling year 🙂 I haven’t been to Seoul or Fiji so I can’t wait to read those posts.

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      January 17, 2017

      Oh how exciting. I’ve got a thing for Hawaii at the moment too so can’t wait to see what you get up to!

  2. Reply

    Kate

    January 17, 2017

    Congratulations on turning your blog into a business — it’s so inspiring! Wishing you all the best this year!

    Kate | http://www.petiteadventures.org/

  3. Reply

    Katie MacLeod

    January 17, 2017

    Sounds like an exciting year ahead – and congrats on going full-time with the writing! The ‘work’ side of things for me definitely comes more from outside writing rather than blogging (I hear you on the irrelevant emails, and constant requests to work for free, *sigh*), but I’d love to get more serious partnerships through the blog this year, too. Looking forward to seeing more of your stories from Japan 🙂 The next trip for me is back home to Scotland next month. Bring on all the British food!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      January 22, 2017

      Oh how lovely. Enjoy tucking into all the home comforts! I’m waiting until May for my next trip home when it’s hopefully a bit warmer!! (Such a wimp!)

  4. Reply

    Jo

    January 18, 2017

    Excited to read your posts this year too! I am really getting into this travel blogging thing! You’re an inspiration 🙂

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      January 22, 2017

      Oh thanks Jo. I look forward to tucking into your posts too 🙂

  5. Reply

    Rhiannon

    January 18, 2017

    Sounds like a wonderful 2017! I’m going to Japan next month, and after reading that you loved it so much that you’re going back, it’s making me even more excited than I already am! haha 😀

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      January 22, 2017

      It’s incredible! Chaotic, efficient, traditional and modern all at once. I’m gearing up for my 3rd trip and excited to see what else I’ll discover. Hope you have a wonderful trip. Where are you planning on going?

  6. Reply

    Elizabeth

    January 18, 2017

    Oh, Japan! I hope you have a ton of fun! Though it is difficult to increase your rates, I think it is absolutely worth it for the amount of work you put in. Good luck!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      January 22, 2017

      Thanks! I find money such an awkward topic but I figure nobody is gonna pay you unless you ask!

  7. Reply

    Angie Silver

    January 20, 2017

    I love the idea of turning reader questions into a series.

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