Round The World Travel: Don’t Forget to Pack Your Blog

You’ve finally made it to the other end of the world. You’ve laid your towel on one of Sydney’s golden beaches. You feel the warm sand between your toes and the heat of the summer sun dissipating through your being. Under a perfect blue sky, you snap a few mementos with your camera, turn around to the other RTW travellers beside you and say, “Wait till I blog about this!”

Having a blog has become as ubiquitous as a backpack in the round-the-world travel scene.

I turn towards the group of twenty-something backpackers beside me, and there are various accents along my local beach, and ponder at how much time and energy a blog is draining from their travel experience.

RTW Travel

Blogs are high maintenance beasts. Maintaining quality travel blogs with good writing and photography takes significant time and effort. Even when the tasks turn into routine, the travel blog ‘originally designed to keep in touch with family and friend’ has morphed into that same thing with deadlines you wanted to leave behind: work.

As anyone with a travel blog knows, it doesn’t stop at writing engaging posts and reciprocal commenting. Promoting a blog through social media is as important as telling the world about the ‘must-see places before you die’ or ‘off the beaten path’ discoveries. Tweeting your trip isn’t confined to 140 character updates of your first impressions of Uluru or promoting your latest post. There are RTs (retweets), #tt (travel Tuesdays), #ff (follow Fridays) and thank you tweets. There are interactions on your blog’s Facebook page, ‘Likes’ and comments and more reciprocity. There are stumbles, YouTube channels and other networks eating into time. Into your travel time.

And for some, there is the lure of monetisation. Making money out of your blog while you travel is the other holy grail of RTW travel. Put that in your backpack, and you’re now carrying a routine, a job and the pressures that come with meeting self-imposed deadlines.

As I lie on the beach listening to the conversation beside me, I am reminded of blog posts and comments from various bloggers concerned with maintaining their blogs while they travel. An established writer and educator once told me ‘live now, write later’. It is the recurring advice he imparts on his students, a motto that I rarely encounter in the travel blogging scene.

My travel style is not RTW nor has it ever been. My latest holiday was a 5 week jaunt to London, Paris and Italy via Dubai which had me on occasion tweeting updates of my trip and scheduling a skeleton of posts ahead of time. I barely had time to download my 500+ daily photos let alone find time to comment, stumble, Like or RT. I lived the experience and collected plenty of writing material for later. If I were to  travel around the world, you would not find a blog and its associated social media in my baggage.

The group of backpackers on the beach pull out their cameras and begin to pose for a group photo in front the aquamarine waters. Naturally, I offer to take their photograph and one by one, they hand me their cameras. I am met with broad smiles and gratitude in charming American accents.

As I pack my beach towel and head home, I ponder if later that day, they’ll be sitting across from their laptops at the backpacker hostels or in the local internet cafés blogging about the ‘friendly local at a Sydney beach’, tweeting, Facebook’ing and stumbling while missing out on a travel experience.

RTW Travel

Is maintaining a blog and all its the aspects of social media during your travels a pleasure or a chore? Have you found a balance between living the experience and blogging about it on the go? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This article is posted on Gourmantic.com - All rights reserved - Copyright © 2016.

Round The World Travel: Don’t Forget to Pack Your Blog was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

Did you enjoy this article? Share it with your friends using the icons below.

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the founder and editor of Gourmantic. An avid scribe, she has taken pen to paper since the age of five. Her repertoire includes long works of fiction, short stories and travelogues. She is a winner of the GT travel writing competition, has judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and several cocktail competitions. She is also named in the Australian Bartender Most Influential List.

33 Comments:

  1. Nice post! I couldn’t be bothered blogging while on holiday, plus I didn’t take computer with me… nah, just wanted to rest!

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    • A holiday from the blog would be nice! For me, I need to take a laptop for the sheer volume of photos I take.

  2. Sounds like too much work. I don’t have time to check my email let alone do all the things you mention. Your writer friend sounds like a wise man.

    • That’s my point. If it was just blogging, one may find some time. But all the social media aspects and reciprocity eating into travel time? No thanks!
      He really is very wise in his advice.

  3. Interesting post. When I first started blogging, I went to Laos for 2 weeks and had blog friends write posts for me so that my blog would not be empty for that long when I had just started to have others comment…

    A few months later, I was in France for two weeks and I did blog about the trip from there and it was a PITA because I had not made sure the places we were staying (houses, apparts) had internet. I remember running around Dinan looking for a bloody wifi signal.

    A few months after that I was in California for two weeks and scheduled posts and towards the end of the trip, I also started to blog the trip (long car rides meant I had tome to edit pictures etc.. on the road).

    Most recently, in Mexico, I had posts scheduled for the whole two weeks we were away (about 9 in total). I had my laptop and moderated comments and did the usual blog maintenance (submitting to Foodbuzz, Tastespotting, Foodgawker etc…) when a new post published and I also tweeted pics along the way and maintained my Flickr Project365. Was it a lot of work? A little – though I am getting much better at figuring out my workflow on the road so it takes less and less time and it meant I didn’t come back from my trip with thousands of emails and comments to deal with. So in that sense, it’s not a chore.

    • Wow… that sounds like a lot of effort particularly the blog maintenance, Flickr Project365 and so on. Is it the concern that stats will drop during a brief period? Even if that’s the case, it’s only temporary and I can live with it in exchange for enjoying the travel experience with with Mr G.

      I get obsessive about checking the odd email, tweet and so on but not enough to spend a lot of time on my laptop. I didn’t even edit my photos until I came home!

      • Not really a lot of work. I have a lot of it down to a very fine art and a short amount of time put in pays back by not dropping my stats. Having my laptop in Mexico was great because instead of taking 10 books to read, I read my RSS reader. I didn’t comment much but I kept up…

        • Hmm… that’s where we differ. The last thing I feel like is checking my RSS reader. Last trip, I don’t think I even replied to the comments I received until later in the trip. I’m not one to take a book to read on holidays. I’m more likely to have a writer’s mind that’s open and ripe for inspiration. My travel muse always visits at the strangest of times :)

  4. Great post Corinne. We are usually behind in our blogging . . . that is, I am still blogging about Africa though we are back in the States because I can’t keep up with the pace otherwise. I like blogging while traveling because it keeps my mind active but I don’t want to be a problogger, trying to make all my mine through my blog.

    • That’s the impression I get from most RTW bloggers, that is they feel obligated to blog in real time. For me as a reader, it makes no difference. And if I have forged a relationship with the blogger, I would much rather know they’re having a great time than wasting it on their blogs.

      I think problogging takes it to a different level in that it has become… WORK.

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention Round The World Travel: Don’t Forget to Pack Your Blog | Gourmantic -- Topsy.com

  6. Great post! I traveled to the Middle East over the summer–before I started my blog/site–and I blogged on Facebook by using the “Notes” section. Even though I did not include photos, it was still A LOT of work. I remember thinking, “I’ve got to get that next story posted…soon.” And I wasn’t even on Twitter back then.

    Now that I have a website and use social media all the time, I wonder how that will affect my next trip. I do think that I will feel some pressure to ‘blog live’ AND to post photos while I am wherever it is that I’ll be and to use Twitter, etc.

    Perhaps I’ll try to do both: blog ‘after the fact’ and ‘live.’ I would hope that readers would want me to enjoy myself and the moment vs feeling the pressure to blog on location. Too much blogging, photo posting and interacting would definitely interfere with the trip itself, I think….

    • Hi Lisa and welcome :) I can relate to the temptation of Twitter, since it’s instant and gets the message across. I had my family and friends who aren’t on it check my updates to keep up. But it didn’t become an obsession, and they weren’t that frequent.

      I would much prefer that I read about something after the fact and know that the blogger is enjoying themselves. If I like them and have developed a relationship with them, it doesn’t bother if they don’t update for a while. I would still return and comment. And I hope people would do the same in my case :)

  7. It’s a chore for sure. Though we set out with a fair amount of scheduled posts three months of poor internet connections have left us with a lot of catching up to do. Having spent the last two weeks in Dahab trying to do this and not having as much fun as I could be having I can safely say if we didn’t make a (small) living out of it the laptop would stay at home.

    • Hi Shane and welcome :) That is my point, I guess. Once it becomes a money making venture, it falls into the ‘work’ category with similar pressures. I had frustrations with lack of internet for a few days but I had posts scheduled so it didn’t matter much. Money wasn’t an issue. My site was relatively new and had just started getting comments and traffic, so I had not forged many relationships through it yet to know that they would still be loyal upon my return. Lucky for me, they were!

  8. Nice piece & appreciate hearing the comments from the other bloggers… For myself, I’ve tried to blog during my last 2 trips & found it very difficult.
    It’s not about about lacking motivation…it’s more about the time factor & not having it feel like “work” during your vacation (as many have said!).
    The only thing that seems to work for me is having a few posts ready-to-go of past trips or general travel pieces..or even photos..& have those set to post while you’re on the road.

    I agree 100% with Corinne, would rather know the blogger is having a fabulous time then stressing out about getting a post up!

    • Thanks Tuula. Lack of blogging for a few weeks is no big deal and scheduled posts are a good idea. I thought about posting photos but it didn’t work out and there was still text to be written. So I abandoned that idea. Maybe I’ll have more time for photo updates next trip or just resort to Twitter.

  9. Great post!
    I am full of admiration for people who manage to maintain their blog and all that goes with it while travelling the world. We take a laptop with us wherever we go because, like you, I just take so many photos. So the social media stuff, we can keep up with. However, we’re never away for too long so I prefer to do blog posts when we get back. If we’ve made the effort to go somewhere, I want to make the most of it and enjoy it – not sit at the laptop.
    I’m really not sure what we’d do if we went away long term. It would take a lot of thinking about.
    Julia

    • Thanks Julia. As I mentioned in the post, I don’t travel long-term so if I ever did it, I would want it to be as stress free as possible and not worry about posting and especially promoting. Nothing wrong with just relying on google hits for a while.

  10. My blog is like a companion on my journey and I can honestly say I love doing it. In fact, I think if I didn’t, it would be impossible to maintain. They require a huge time investment, not only writing as you mention, but planning travels around wi-fi (which I have to do).

    • Wifi has become a priority. I look for it in accommodation straight after location and price. It’s not just for the website, but for email and other things that need attention.

      To me, a perpetual traveller such as yourself is more into the problogging arena where a blog is an income source and therefore you can’t be without it. But if you’re travelling the world for 12 months or 12 weeks, for me, it can wait. The world can’t…

  11. When we started our travels and blog, social media was still at its infancy – we used Twitter to let our family know we were alive when traveling through countries with internet censorship and Facebook hadn’t even emerged yet. And I didn’t even know of other travel blogs. But, given the technology, tools and wide availability of wifi (in many, not all, places), it feels like blogging and social media has become much more immediate. People want to know what’s happening “now.” While that can be fun at times (it’s great to be able to share raw excitement), it can also be rather tiring if you look at it as a job.

    These days, we try to find balance by traveling steadily for a period of time with some occasional updates and then taking time in one place to catch up on photos, articles and other projects. That extra time also provides some room for perspective and reflection.

    • Hi Audrey and welcome :) It sounds like you’ve found a perfect balance that works well in your situation. The immediacy of Twitter certainly makes it rewarding whereas I find if it were to be combined with Facebook and Stumble Upon and other social media, it would be a long chore.

      I like what you said about perspective and reflection. I found the same when I started writing articles post trip. And it gave them much more depth than when I was busy and caught up with the excitement.

  12. I’ve always kept a journal so blogging come naturally for me. My posts are usually 2-3 weeks behind.
    If I were on short vacations I wouldn’t blog but long-term it’s nice to have something to focus on and be responsible for.

    • I can’t say I relate to the need for something else to focus on and be responsible for when my mind is buzzing with so much information and detail during a trip. I usually take notes and may write the odd piece out of inspiration (but not for immediate publication). Even that’s enough ‘work’ for me. Add all the social media, and I may as well be chained to my laptop. I’m attached to it, but not that much! :)

  13. I agree with the above – great post!

    Personally, I like blogging because it’s a good format for keeping thoughts, pictures and information organized. It’s a handy online reference system of notes for things I will probably want to look back at often.

    In times P.B. (pre-blogamania), many travellers were still taking the time to record their experiences in handwritten journals. So, for me, I don’t think it’s so much a time issue as it is the feeling of the need to perform for others, entertain, inspire, educate. We’re no longer just recording personal perspectives, but we’re packaging a creation for a public. This is both time-consuming and takes away from the experience of travel. I think this mentality makes it more difficult to really experience something if one is always wondering “what will my readers think of me doing this? or this? how does this look? etc., etc.”

    Sometimes I social network while travelling and sometimes not depending on my mood and time. I don’t blog on travel, so it’s never a post. The most I’ll do is upload some photos to facebook. But, I never feel a sense of obligation to get on any of those platforms when I’m away. Sometimes I will write and schedule ahead things for my usual blog so I don’t have to do it while I’m gone.

    But, I’m lucky because I generally travel with a couple of good friends who *do* blog on our travels. So, without taking the time or making the effort to keep all my thoughts pulled together in an comprehensible format with pictures, I still get the benefit of them writing about it if I need reminders in the future for fun or for specifics when people ask for travel suggestions.

    I’m also lucky to have nice contacts and friends with sites like Degustinations where I can throw up a bit of travel advice here and there as the mood strikes! ;)

    • You raise a good point about thinking of our audience and structuring our posts to be inspiring and informational. Lucky, I don;t do it often while I’m travelling but I jot down notes and ideas for later.

      Tweeting the odd update can be a fun way of keeping in touch but for me, the obligations that come with promoting and reciprocating on Twitter, FB and stumble are not worth it. Too much living to be had!

      And it’s our pleasure to have you guest writing for us whenever the mood strikes :)

  14. Hello Corinne

    Really interesting post, and interesting comments too. I find blogging to be seriously hard work at times, and I agree all the social media around it make things more time consuming. My blog is about Middle Eastern food. I went to Lebanon in 2009 and hardly produced a couple of posts in 4 weeks. I just enjoyed my time with my family and visiting the sites. I guess holidaying and writing obsessivley on a blog is the 21st century equivalent of people who used to be criticised about viewing their holiday through a viewfinder :)

    I guess though it all comes down to personal preference, since as you know, there’s no right or wrong. My preference is to enjoy the surroundings keyboard free.

    • ‘Keyboard free’ sounds like an idyllic paradise! Now that technology is with us everywhere, it’s hard to escape it and while some of us are addicted to it, I see no way out :)

      Viewing a holiday through a viewfinder is also part of the blogging scene. I used to be one of those, then I gave up on taking video and stayed with photography – it made me see the world with an unrestricted view.

  15. This is such a timely topic for me as I am making plans to blog quite frequently during my upcoming trip to Italy, but also want to keep my blogging time at a minimum so I focus on the experience. I haven’t been as good about this in the past because I’ll always opt for the experience over time with my laptop. I’m taking notes on some of the great comments from others here.

    If you’re serious about being a good travel writer, then how you travel necessarily changes also. Things like planning, research, interviewing, organization, engaging with locals, the need to interact on social networks while traveling and more all change. These changes also change your travel experience in ways that both enhance and minimize the experience.

    As my food and travel blog pertains only to Italy and France, I leave my blog at home for those other travel locations. When I’m in Italy or France though, I do feel an obligation to write & post while traveling. It’s been a struggle. Last year in Dordogne, I had very limited access to the internet for 3 weeks. Then, I had no posts prescheduled. I’ve learned my lesson and will have posts ready and scheduled this time. I didn’t necessarily plan my trip around WiFi or internet access, but after I booked the locations, I looked into where the nearest WiFi/Internet access is.

    • The line between travel writer and travel blogger is getting more blurred. If you view the blog as a business, then it IS your work. We all have different styles of travel. While I continue to do this for leisure, I will always put the experience first. If that were to change in the future, then my approach will change accordingly.

      Wifi is mandatory to me, even without regularly updating a blog. It’s about time it came free as part of the accommodation costs!

  16. I usually do my blogging when I get home, so I can take all the sights in, and just make a few notes before bed in the evenings. Consequently I’m always trying to catch up. This time I’m taking a Tablet with me, and plan to connect to wireless at hotels (I hope) and tap into my blog and just write up the days events which will give me a head start when I get back. I’m off to Cambodia in a few weeks so it will be interesting to see how this works out.

  17. Pingback: Gourmantic Turns Six | Gourmantic

Comments are closed