September 21, 2016 Wander-lust

How I Became a Full Time Travel Blogger

If traveling is your passion, the job description of a travel blogger has to be something you would totally go for, right? It’s been about 2 years since Sarah and I started with our Instagram account @wanderlust.nl and 6 months later our baby Wander-Lust was born. Now I travel to a new destination about once a month, making a living out of the one thing I love the most.

So how did I go from dreaming to reality?
I never had the ambition to become a travel blogger. It just happened and I think that’s my secret. I’m the kind of girl who follows her heart and that’s always taken me to the right places, at the right time. I just did what I wanted or loved to do. I wanted to move to London when I was 17 years old, so I did. No big deal. (now I think it was quite a big deal but at the time it felt so normal) So in that aspect, I have always been trustworthy of my intuition, my heart and the goals that came along with it. I always liked writing but I never followed a study in journalism (you may have noticed!). I just did it. I started writing for myself, then a blog and other online platforms and somehow I rolled into to it. The traveling part has always been a part of my life so it wasn’t long before it only made sense to put these two passions together. I never thought; I can’t do this. I always think you should try, or try harder.

backs
Always a dreamer..

Time is key
So how do you start a professional travel blog? Well, apart from buying a WordPress theme, website name and a slick business card, you need to put a lot of time and effort into your blog. I worked a full time job so all my evening hours were spend with Wander-Lust. No exceptions during the weekend. I had less time for my friends, date night with boyfriend or dinners. But eventually it started to pay off. Our website was finished, our newsletter was written and we went LIVE. A scary moment but wow, so many people visited our website that day! We must have done something right because the same day we received an email from a Dutch magazine who wanted to interview us about our favorite spots in Amsterdam. We couldn’t believe it. People liked it!

Travel Blogger
I’m still pinching myself at every destination I go to

The real deal started after this day. We needed to produce content and get to know our followers. What do they like? How are we going to get Google to like us and add us on the first page? How are we going to reach our first 10.000 unique visitors, or even 2000?! All questions we didn’t know the answer to. But after a few months and lot’s of trials, we started to notice an increase of traffic. Our social media was growing (Instagram and Facebook) and we heard people talking about our blog.

Be professional
There are a few things you need to do to get it right and fit in with the big boys so to speak.

  • Have yourself a professional photoshoot. You must know a friend or workmate that knows how to shoot pictures. Buy him/her a killer lunch and you have yourself a nice set of photo’s which you can use for your website, social media and press (if they ever need a picture). Even if your blog isn’t about yourself, it’s good to have a few photo’s because people always want to know who their dealing with.
  • Get yourself a Logo and some Business cards. Stand out but keep it classy. Your logo will reflect your blog. My best friend who is a graphic designer, created ours.
  • Create a media kit. This has all your information tucked into one. Your reach might not be so high at this point but showing pr agencies that you have put the effort into a media kit, shows your professionalism.
  • Call/Email PR Agencies and introduce yourself. The best thing is to invite yourself for a coffee so they can meet you face to face. Have your elevator pitch ready and have an answer to the question; Why is your travel blog different from all the others?
  • Visit Events. As soon as PR Agencies start to notice you, you will receive some invitations. Go. Especially in the beginning. Network your ass off but stay real. Meet fellow travel bloggers and learn from them, be inspired. Write about the brand or the event afterwards (if you liked it) so they will add you on the list next time. 

wander-lust.
Our first professional photoshoot by @DavidStegenga

“I didn’t become a travel blogger because I wanted to earn shit loads of money”

Start Making Money
It might sound cliché but I didn’t become a travel blogger because I wanted to earn shit loads of money. If that was my goal, I would have become a dentist. No, I started Wander-Lust because I freaking love anything to do with travel. This passion makes me want to work long hours without taking a break. I was lucky to have saved some money before I decided to leave my job and focus on my travel blog. This allowed me to spend all my hours on my blog and not having to worry about paying my rent. After a few months we started to get a few paid assignments through our social media and soon after we got our first press trip. That was the moment when we realized; wow, we are actually traveling for work. 

Schermopname (17)
We started writing for ELLE which helped us to gain a greater audience

Treat Your Blog as a Serious Job
Create enough content for people to read. We started with 3 articles per week but now we do 5. Some bloggers even post 3 articles a day! More content means more traffic. We got featured by a few websites who mentioned us as one of the nicest travel blogs or Instagram accounts. Besides this we also got the opportunity to start writing for ELLE.NL and other platforms. That meant a lot to us and it certainly got noticed. More press trips followed and now we even get paid to travel. You have to see it as a serious job because if I go on a press trip, I don’t have the time to work on other content and I won’t be able to take on other assignments. Organisations pay me because I actually do a lot of work. I write an article (sometimes 2), use my social media channels, edit video’s and always put in my best efforts. If you are asked to go on a press trip, it’s because you’re doing something right. Don’t feel bad to ask for a fee. Treat your blog as such and it will turn into a serious job.

Wander-Lust still has a long way to go, but I am proud of where we stand today. From nothing, we created a place where we can hopefully inspire people to travel, explore destinations and places they haven’t been before and live life to the max. I firmly believe that you should use your experience to help others to reach their goals so please drop me a line in the comments if you have any questions about becoming a travel blogger!

Love,

Elke

More travel tips?

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Comments (53)

      • Wander-lust

        Nee zeker niet! Probeer wel altijd inhoudelijk te blijven. Ons blog draait ook om het geven van tips dus ik denk altijd eerst: “Wat zou IK willen lezen?”

  1. Mooi verhaal <3 Ik ben niet perse een travel blogger, maar zou graag van mijn blog mijn baan maken, ook met freelance opdrachten ernaast!

  2. Hoi! Wat inspirerend om te lezen! Zelf heb ik een Instagram-account (Veel_woongeluk) waar ik foto’s post van mijn interieur. Binnen een half jaar is dit ook enorm gegroeid (12K) en ik ben nu ook bij het punt dat ik een website/blog ben gestart. Maar ik heb het gevoel dat er iets nog niet klopt tussen die twee (instagram en blog)er is niet die flow die er op Insta wel is, maar ik kan de vinger niet op de zere plek leggen. Hoe ging bij jullie die overgang en heb je nog aanvullende tips? liefs, Marina

    • Wander-lust

      Wij wilde vooral veel informatie geven. Dus altijd denken; Wat hebben mensen hieraan? Wat zou ik zelf als buitenstaander willen lezen? Instagram is erg visueel en dit hebben wij ook doorvertaald naar ons blog. Veel foto’s (van goede kwaliteit) en probeer het boeiend te houden. Succes met het blog, Insta ziet er top uit!

  3. Mooi verhaal! Herkenbaar de vraag hierboven het omzetten van Insta naar blog.
    Ik probeer ook continu vernieuwend te zijn, maar ook dat kost tijd energie.
    Ga zo door!!

    • Wander-lust

      I think our blog focuses a lot on non-touristic places rather than the places everyone goes to. At least we try to! Besides that, I think it really helps that we always try to think together with a brand or organisation when they work with us. It’s not just about us but about the campaign or product you make together. A lot of bloggers just think; me, me me.

  4. Wow! Great job! I feel inspired by your story. Also quit my job and started blogging about travel and technology, but less than you do. I guess to increase my web traffic, a lot more work is needed than one article a week :) now I know!

    Success with your following endeavors!

    • Wander-lust

      Hi Radek, Yes at least 3 articles per week are needed to increase your traffic. Not all articles have to be long though. Make it snappy, interesting and post amazing visuals.

  5. Georges Francis

    Hi . Thank you very much for this artical, which will inspire a lot of people who has travel as their passion. Can you please give me more details about the way for getting paid for you work.

    Thank you very much.

    • Wander-lust

      Thank you Georges! My advice would be to contact PR Agencies and link your blog to products and brands. If you love a brand like Eastpak for example. Email them for a coffee and be ready! They might want to work with you. Make sure your blog looks the bomb, and you have gained some followers on Social Media.

  6. Mooi inspirerend verhaal! Er is niks mooiers om van je hobby je werk te maken! Toch vind ik de stap lastig, ik twijfel erover. Ik ben namelijk bang dat er dan te veel verplichting aan vast komt te zitten, wat ik met mijn hersenletsel niet altijd aan kan. Maar wel heel mooi om te zien dat het jullie wel lukt!!

    • Wander-lust

      Just email them :-) You can find pr agencies online within your city. Most PR Agencies are located in big cities though.

  7. Great post!

    Would you mind sharing a few companies that have brought you along for a press trip?

    I would love to grow my travel section on my blog and I know it takes a lot of work but it also takes getting in with the right companies :)

    • Wander-lust

      Hi Shareen, that’s difficult to say as it really depends on what suits your blog and what you like yourself. When I go hiking, I contact Hi-Tec for shoes, for surfing we’ve collaborated with O’Neill and our favorite beauty travel essentials consist of Dermalogica, Moroccan Oil and we love Wanderlust Watches from Australia.

  8. Hi girls,

    I loved reading this! As I just recently began a travel picture project. For now it is a fb page, but I am working on a WordPress website at the moment and though about starting an Instagram account too.
    What social media channels worked well for you?

    Took your advice to heard and my logo is being designed at the moment.
    What exactly do you mean by Create a Media Kit?

    Thank you for sharing your insights, this was very helpful and inspiring to read!

    All the best, Cornelia

  9. Prisca

    Leuk!
    Die eerste foto, Duli?
    Tof dat jullie daar zijn geweest. Je hebt een pareltje gevonden!

  10. Roxanne

    Hebben jullie ook tips voor studenten die een blog willen beginnen en dus niet zo gigantisch eel tijd hebben door schoolwerk? Geweldig artikel trouwens! (Ik heb jullie trouwens ook een paar manden geleden zien lopen in Maastricht!)

  11. Great story well done. It takes time and real effort to create something successful and you seem very focused. A real inspiration.

    Thanks
    Alan & Ros

  12. Thank you so much for such an amazing story! It is so inspiring to know that if you work hard and believe you can do it, you can succeed. I’m just getting started but really hoping to make a go of this. Wish me luck!

  13. Thank YOU for sharing your success. Being a travel blogger myself – I always – aaaalways find a way to be a fulltime travel blogger instead of just doing it on the side :) Very inspiring

  14. Thank you for sharing your story and all of these great tips! It’s so easy to get intimidated by trying to start a travel blog, but I’m glad to see if you keep working at it things can turn around. What an inspiration!

  15. This is a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing your honesty and story. I wish I could become a full-time travel blogger, but that is not in the cards for me at this time. I’ll live vicariously through your blog, though! :)

  16. This is one of the few “how to” posts that I actually found helpful! It’s impressive that your traffic started rolling in from day one! I’m pretty sure my mom is the only one who read my first post, hah! I still don’t have a logo, and I only recently became serious enough about blogging to research press kits. Now I have a few more things to add to my to do list! Congrats on the success of your blog.

  17. Thank you for sharing your story, it really gave me motivation to work even harder on my own blog! I hope to also be a full time traveller one day ;)

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