Why Travel Bloggers Fail

May 15, 2016
Why Travel Bloggers Fail

If writing about one’s travel experiences are as easy as pie, everyone would do it and globe-trot around the world with their new-found freedom. However, travel blogging is much serious and tougher than that. I read about travel inspiration, experiences and stories everyday, and not a day goes by that I don’t come across another wanderer taking off-the-beaten track to an unspecified length of time, or a couple head over heels in love go away together on a never-ending journey of love around the globe. Who wouldn’t want to “leave it all behind” and get away from the “four walls” that confined them, forget about their worries and problems, turn over a new leaf and start anew, right?

Big names in the travel blogging industry swear by this and there recipe goes by, “I quit my job, sold everything, began traveling, started a travel blog and making money from it”. They can, and if they can, so can you, right? What you don’t know is the number of rejection letters they receive, their financial difficulties, the magnitude of hard work behind each article or post, the exhausted faces behind their makeup, nor the level of insecurity around the environment they snap photos.

So, why do travel bloggers get demotivated and why do they fail? I have asked the same question from a few active travel bloggers, some of whom I admire for their success. They are where they are today because of their hard work, talent, and charisma, and probably a bit of luck too.

kDawes-thu← Katie Dawes – The Hostel Girl
I think the main reason travel bloggers get demotivated is because much of their inspiration comes from full time travel bloggers with a big audience. However they don’t realize that it takes a long time and hard work to grow this audience and eventually work with brands – sometimes years.

Derek BaronDerek Baron – The Wandering Earl →
The reason is that they start a blog thinking it will be an easy way to earn money while traveling but they quickly discover that becoming a successful travel blogger, or just earning enough money to actually fund your travels, requires a great deal more time, effort and learning than they had ever expected. And once this realization is made – that it is a full-time job and will take a good amount of time to possibly gain any momentum – they lose their motivation quickly.

Rachel Jones← Rachel Jones – Hippie In Heels
I think people decide to start a blog without fully realizing how much work goes into it before people even notice you and your writing. You could post the best photo on Instagram and for 6 months not see many likes. People don’t see immediate results and they quit. I wrote and post 6 articles a week for nearly a year when I started my blog. 3 years later and I still post 4 times a week. You have to take it kind of seriously if you want it to be a career.

Andrea ReesAndrea Rees – Wandering iPhone →
I’d say comparing yourself to others and doing it for the wrong reasons or maybe not necessarily wrong, but expectations is reality. Some expect freebies and things like that right away or it is the main reason they are doing it.

Johnny Ward← Johnny Ward – One Step Forward
New bloggers can often look at established bloggers and want what they have, 6 figure incomes, millions of hits, hundreds of thousands of social media followers, so when they don’t instantly get it, they think it’s not worth it. It’s helpful to remember, successful bloggers took years to build their audiences, so it’ll take new bloggers years too. But it’s so so worth it in the end.

Jules and ChristineJules and Christine – Don’t Forget To Move →
We think bloggers get demotivated because there is such a large number of travel bloggers out there and the number grows exponentially everyday. It’s easy to get discouraged when you have so much competition. Bloggers fail because they believe they need to be doing the same 100 things everyone else is doing to keep up. If you try to write posts daily, produce videos, do daily vlogs and are active on all social media channels, it’s really easy to burn out. The bloggers that are successful have a good understanding of what they excel at, and then focus on those few things. You also have to remember why you started blogging in the first place and go back to that motivation when you feel overwhelmed.

Gemma and Craig← Gemma and Craig – Two Scots Abroad
I’ve been blogging at
Two Scots Abroad for over one year now and I have met a great community of bloggers along the way, some of which have fallen of the face of the electronic Earth! What do I think made them fall? Travel blogging is a really tough gig. Yes via Instagram it looks like we are constantly hiking volcanoes and drinking cocktails but in reality I am a slave to the keys for approximately eight hours every day, seven days per week. On a plus note, I get to choose when I log on but the downside is that the internet is does not clock off, and it is our canvas, so the pressure to constantly Tweet, Pin, Like, etc is always looming. It takes time, effort, passion, creativity, a good support network, and the ability to step away from the Macbook to stay motivated as a travel blogger! I wouldn’t say that dropping the ball one of those aspects is going to make a blogger ‘fail’ ­ it might just set them back for a period of time but like I said, the internet is always there so it’s easy to join the wonderful world of blogging again.

Hannah and AdamHannah and Adam – Getting Stamped →
I think the reason a lot of people fail is because they don’t realize how much work is involved in blogging. It takes a ton of work to build a brand and an audience, and that’s just the start. Blogging takes knowledge of multiple aspects of the internet and marketing to be successful which most don’t realize. To compound the problem, in the early stages of blogging it’s tough to earn money from it. Ultimately the difficulty getting started, the lack of income, and the amount of work involved leads to bloggers just giving up. I think if you talk to just about all of today’s top bloggers, they had a period of time where they thought about giving up too. Blogging isn’t all pretty Instagram pictures and free handouts, your work may look like a vacation, but it’s still a lot of work.

Travel With Bender← Travel With Bender
Usually it’s because of unrealistic expectations. A travel blog doesn’t happen overnight. It usually takes many years to grow a loyal following, to understand the business and the whole time you need to keep your passion for travel and blogging. It takes a dedicated person to make a travel blog work. It also takes someone who knows how to do more than just write. You have to be able to take photos, do SEO, use multiple social media mediums, market yourself, negotiate, write contracts, read contracts, stay on top of emails and so much more. And again to keep your passion for travel and writing on top of all that.

Luxe Adventure TravelerJennifer and Tim – Luxe Adventure Traveler →
Travel blogging is a tough business. It’s absolutely one of the best jobs in the world, but the fun parts like staying on a private island in The Bahamas while you get your dive certification as we did last week are just a fraction of the job. We work longer hours now as professional travel bloggers than we ever did at traditional jobs and all the unsexy things that happen in the background are never seen. It appears we’re on a permanent vacation, when in reality we’ve got deadlines, meetings with new clients and current projects all happening simultaneously. It’s A LOT of work and a lot of balls in the air all at once. I also think new bloggers see established bloggers going on press trips and think that they can start a blog and immediately get invited on press trips too. But what new bloggers don’t realize is that established bloggers spent a lot of time and money traveling to create content and build an audience. They’re invited on press trips because they are seen as influencers. When the benefits like press trips, products for review and features in major media outlets don’t seem to materialize immediately, it can be very demotivating to new bloggers hoping to break into professional blogging.Those were some of the best answers from my favorites. Do you agree with them, if you think there are other reasons to add, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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  • Reply Martha Hubbard May 17, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    All of the above are true and / also; to be brutally honest, many of them are not very good writers. Successful bloggers are professional writers. This means more than (but also includes ) good grammar, punctuation, etc.. It also means having a style that captures and holds readers’ interest AND something to say more relevant than; We saw the Eiffel Tower. It was great and then we went and got so drunk.

    Professional fiction writers sweat blood, hours, tea, beer and whiskey to produce work that will engage first a publisher, next reviewers and then the paying reading public. Successful bloggers do no less. Travel blogging is not a free ride. It’s a real job.

  • Reply Marie-France Roy May 20, 2016 at 9:53 am

    All this can be summarized as “it’s a lot more work than bloggers expect when they first start, and it takes a long time to build an audience and make money”. I knew this when I started almost three years ago, but it’s been even harder and slower than I expected. For one thing, marketing is a much bigger component than I had anticipated, and it’s not my forte. But… I waited so long to give this a go, I am not giving up now!

  • Reply Travel Blogger News: June 2016 June 2, 2016 at 5:11 am

    […] Why travel bloggers fail – […]

  • Reply The Barefoot Backpacker August 8, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I know my limits 😀

    When I’ve asked my readers what they think of my writing style, and the concepts that I blog about, I’ve had a 100% approval rating. However, my ‘readers’ tend to be my friends and family; people I’ve known forever who are interested in what I write about and where I go (usually because they’re places that they wouldn’t dream of going to!), but who also aren’t necessarily going to make me any money!

    I know I’m a pretty good writer, and I know my style tends to be both engaging and lightly humorous (and terribly terribly British, jolly good show what!), which is quite popular in certain markets. However I know I’ll never be a full-time travel blogger making money from my writing, primarily for two related reasons:
    a) I’m too lazy (if something requires effort then I tend to put it off; I’m excellent at procrastinating, when I get round to it)
    b) I get easily distracted by the shiny (so I can sit down in front of my screen with a whole host of ideas in my head, but end up spending three hours on Wikipedia or TV Tropes because I, er “am doing some research, honest”).

    I know what I need to do to succeed; maybe I’m just unwilling to do it? But knowledge is power, and I think that’s better that I’m fully aware of my limitations, rather than getting completely overwhelmed by everything once I’ve started?

    That was all slightly downbeat, wasn’t it?!

    • Reply tapirtales August 16, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      But meet cool folks! Good to see you here. We spoke about ‘born to run’ barefoot running few weeks back on Twitter. keep rocking.

  • Reply rik aka tapirtales August 16, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Why is this whole travel blogging about money? Do you pick a sport, expecting to earn as much money as Messi or Michael Jordan? Good luck with that. Every musician expects to be the next U2 but is more likely to be the next Anvil. For every Nomadic Matt there are millions of nomadic Nobodies. So forget about it. Blogging will cost you money, not make you money.
    Blog because you like it. It might take you places or simply give you something to do. It’s a good ego trip. Think of it as a hobby. If no cash comes your way, hey, no problem. If it does, houray!
    In the process you might learn something or meet some folks. Hey, ain’t that the Barefoot Backpacker above me? We met on Twitter few weeks back. See.
    Keep rocking – rik aka tapirtales

  • Reply Barbaria August 16, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Great post, thank you for a bit of inspiration and interesting opinions. In my view, many bloggers fail because they think they can earn a solid amount of money and live a 5star luxury life while traveling -that’s what they see on social medias, right? But nowadays, when blogging is expanding rapidly and more and more people launching new projects everyday, is almost impossible to beat the competition. With so many established travel bloggers like Nomadic Matt etc. it really is hard to draw the attention. I think that for most of us, blogging can present a great opportunity to earn some side income, but definitely not full time income which will cover your travels. You gotta be smart and do lot of other hard work, save money and learn new things to cover your travels and it is and extra hard work to lead a blog along it. This is very complex thing and it requires lot of effort, hard work, learning, self-motivation. And then after many years, eventually it can turn to be your main income. But most important thing in all of this process is that you have to blog with the intention to create something positive, to create some values- not just to see only money behind it… 🙂

  • Reply Nomadic Foot August 16, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Such a lovely post and very helpful for new bloggers like me. Thank you for posting.

  • Reply Alexandra @ The Alternative Travel Guide August 18, 2016 at 3:03 am

    I see many sites of people who went on the round-the-world trip, or a gap year, or an extended honeymoon and started a travel blog. It’s interesting to follow their adventures, but one day, their trip is over and the blog becomes just a diary. There are also many bloggers who are “full-time travellers” , but they also tend to settle and then blog about their bases, like Goa, Thailand or Bali, and thus, shift their main focus and lose some part of the followers. I think, to succeed in travel blogging, it’s important to do it with a true passion, but in addition, to have a long-term plan for the blog. Now, it’s more than just documenting your trips, it’s a new media that have to inform and be useful for the readers.

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