«

»

Print this Post

A Week In the Life of a Travel Blogger

Tim and I were just at dinner the other night with a group of his friends from work. I’d never met any of them before because my life as a full-time travel blogger keeps me on the go. A lot. After a few jokes that I actually do exist, the group was enthralled with what I do an how I get to do the seemingly endless list of cool things I’m always off doing.

This isn’t uncommon. The questions are ones a lot of people are interested in and I really don’t mind answering them. The truth is that travel blogging is still such a new profession that there is no clear cut answer on how to become a professional travel blogger. And there definitely is not a clear cut answer on what I actually do day to day, because it can be vastly different from week to week.

There are professional travel bloggers of all kinds. Some are digital nomads and travel from place to place always working on the road. Others, like us, have a home base and come home from trips to unpack, catch up on work, and do perfectly normal things like grocery shop, clean house, and go out with friends. So what do I actually do? Since I’m sure my mom, dad, and inquiring minds would love to know, I decided to share what a week as a full-time travel blogger is like for me.

The Empire Hotel

Photo courtesy of The Empire Hotel

Monday

It’s time to hit to the road for a busy multi-city trip through the US. After a delayed flight, I only got home last night at 9pm from a full week traveling around Gothenburg and West Sweden for the #inaVolvo campaign that Tim and I were hired to promote. I spent the night doing laundry, re-packing and I caught a two hour nap before I had to wake up and be on the train at 7am.

I’m flying out of Milan on one of Emirates new non-stop flights to JFK in New York City, so I’ve got to hop on the train to Milan. I use my three hour train journey to get work done for the university I also work for. I can get online anywhere there is 3G with my personal Huawei E5331 21Mbps Mobile WiFi Hotspot and I use the time to finish up my monthly social media sentiment summary and catch up on email from the last week.

By the time I board my Emirates flight, I collapse into my seat. Eight hours later I arrive at JFK, make my way through customs (but not without being pulled for questioning about my big fat passport that has had three extra sets of pages added to it and my travel history for the last few months), and finally fall in to a taxi.

I’m exhausted from being awake for nearly 24 hours now but before I can crawl in to bed at my hotel, I need to snap some photos because I’m reviewing my stay at The Empire Hotel (you can read my review here).

Flying trapeze school

Legs up at the Trapeze School of New York

Tuesday

It’s a good thing I’m super jet lagged and awake by 3am. I make a few updates to my presentation for UBTech and practice my presentation in front of the mirror. I’m speaking at the top technology in higher education conference on social media strategy later in the week.

I take a break and head downtown to Pier 40. I’m taking an early morning flying trapeze class with the Trapeze School of New York. I’m the only new flyer and I intimidate myself by watching the other flyers and convincing myself I’ll look like an idiot to the rest of the class. With some excellent and personalized instruction, the coaches have me swinging and hanging by my knees in no time.

With scraped up knees and elbows, I head back to The Empire Hotel. I grab a sandwich and latte from Starbucks and settle in to work the rest of the day. I write a couple blog posts, have some meetings, and wade through an endless flow of incoming emails.

I was invited to see Disney’s new Broadway show, Aladdin, so in the evening I head to the New Amsterdam Theater. There are VIP tickets, an autographed photo, an Aladdin pin and drink vouchers waiting for me at will call. My mom was supposed to meet me in New York for my quick trip, but she broke her wrist and couldn’t make the trip. I give the two little girls to my right my autographed photos and Aladdin pins. They are thrilled and the show is excellent.

Back at my hotel, I fall in to bed exhausted.

Mandarin Oriental New York Lobby Lounge

There’s not a bad table in the Mandarin Oriental New York Lobby Lounge

Wednesday

Not exhausted enough apparently, because once again I’m awake by 3am. After an hour of staring at the ceiling, I get up to work. I go over my presentation again a few more times.

I work for six hours before I get dressed for the day and meet with The Empire Hotel’s public relations representative and marketing manager. We tour the hotel and then I pop out to Starbucks for a latte. The maid has come to clean my room in the hour I’ve been gone, so I can settle back in to get more work done.

And I keep on working for another three hours. I get a much needed break away from the computer and stroll down a few blocks to the Mandarin Oriental New York. I’ve been invited to have afternoon tea in their Lobby Lounge on the 35th floor.

I’ve got to head straight back to my hotel after tea because I need a quiet space to Skype. I’m also a travel correspondent on the satellite radio show On Travel, which is broadcast on the American Forces Radio Network. It’s a 25 minute show and though not scripted, I always make some notes so I don’t miss mentioning anything important. Even though I’ve been doing the show for two years now, I still get nervous! (Check out a podcast of the show here.)

I’m invited to dinner at Ed’s Chowder House right at The Empire Hotel. I’m glad dinner is at the hotel, because I’ve got to be up at 2:30am for a very early flight.

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas pool

I’d rather be lounging poolside, but I’m working (Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental)

Thursday

I’ve flown across the country and checked in to the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas before most people in the US are even awake. I also wrote and scheduled a blog post on the flight using GoGo Inflight Internet from 35,000 feet. As much as I’d like to do nothing more than lounge around the MO Las Vegas’ fabulous pool getting a tan, but I’m primarily in Las Vegas to speak at the UBTech conference.

I get registered and pick up my speaker’s badge for the conference. I check out the room that I’m speaking in and then head to the speaker’s lounge to test out my presentation on the projector. I spend the afternoon and evening at the conference networking events. Only one glass of wine for me and I’m in bed by 10pm.

Friday

Though I plan to have some fun while I’m in Las Vegas, the primary reason I’m here is to speak about social media strategy. My talk follows the keynote and I sit fidgeting through it because I am nervous.

I arrive to my room and get set up to speak. Just two others sat in the room looking back at me for what felt like forever. And then the room started to fill up. Slowly at first, and then it was standing room only. The next 40 minutes flew by and even though my talk ended at the lunch break, I had a line of colleagues waiting to get my business card and chat for a few minutes. When I finally head to lunch myself, I let out a huge sigh of relief.

Friday night in Las Vegas I can finally relax and just enjoy the weekend. I have just one blog post to write over the weekend, I am off for the weekend from the university, and a couple of my friends have flown in from Phoenix to hang out with me.

We’ve all been invited to Sugar Factory for the famous liquid nitrogen drinks. As smoke from the bowls and goblets of liquid nitrogen poured over our table, we felt like rock stars. It may have had something to do with everyone staring at us… And I’m fairly certain we sampled the entire specialty drink menu. Even though I was still technically working, it was an awesome way to end an insanely busy week.

Sky Combat Ace

Ready to go!

Saturday and Sunday

I’ll tell you all about Las Vegas soon. I packed a lot in to a short trip there, including my flight in an open cockpit bi-plane. I did barrel rolls and loops in it over Hoover Dam!

So You Want to Be a Travel Blogger?

This is what a typical week traveling as a full-time travel blogger is like for me. I post pictures of all the awesome things we’re doing, but there is a lot of work that has to happen on the trip too. We’re not just on an endless holiday as our Facebook and Instagram might lead you to believe.

You might be wondering exactly how I end up doing all these fabulous things like getting invited to Aladdin on Broadway or flying in a bi-pane and doing stunts. Well, we worked really hard for a long time for free and traveled on our own dime to more than 20 countries in order to build a website with content. That content started a small community of readers that kept coming back and subscribing to follow along.

Now we belong to several professional writer’s associations that help connect travel writers like ourselves with brands. I also make it easy for brands to get a full profile of our site statistics and demographics with various tools. If you’ve got a travel blog and are thinking of making it a profession, here are some resources I recommend to help you take things to the next level:

TBEXTBEX

TBEX, or The Travel Blog Exchange, is geared specifically for new media (blogs, video blogs, and online content creators). TBEX hosts two conferences annually, one each in North America and Europe, and is the place to learn, network, and connect with industry professionals. I’ve personally made excellent connections, met sponsors, and learned how to take our blog to the next level from a number of successful bloggers and marketers.

I’m also honored to have been asked to speak about social media strategy at TBEX Athens this October.

themidgamethemidgame

Brands naturally like to see a blogger’s site analytics and social influence when deciding to work with them on a campaign. They need feel confident that they are going to get a return on investment when taking a chance on working with a blogger for content creation. themidgame makes it easy for brands to see a full picture of both a blogger’s website traffic and social influencer profile.

It’s completely free for bloggers to sign up for a profile and you can even apply for sponsorships through themidgame’s network. We’ve already received several sponsorships through themidgame and the portal makes it really easy to negotiate the terms with in-dashboard messaging.

ifwtwa logoInternational Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)

IFWTWA is a writer’s association that helps connect journalists with brands. Not only that, there are several recognitions for excellence in the industry, media trips, a number of member only discounts, and an annual conference. I particularly like the members-only newsletter because it packed with leads on brands looking for writers, upcoming press trips, and freelance opportunities both in print and online.

There is an annual membership fee and an application and verification process to go through to become a member. This is to ensure only professionals paid to write or produce content are accepted as members. If you review and meet the qualifications and decide to apply, feel free to list my name on your application. I get a one time $20 referral credit on my next annual dues.

Disclosure: We were compensated to write a review of themidgame; however, we were not required to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are entirely our own and we only recommend destinations, products, and services we ourselves use.

Jennifer Dombrowski

Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter who is based in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and communications strategist and is an award-winning travel writer. She is also a travel correspondent on Traveling on the American Forces Radio Network. Jdomb's Travels was named one of the top travel blogs to watch by the Huffington Post and has been featured by top publications such as CNN, Buzzfeed , and The Telegraph. Her iPhoneograpy has also been featured on publications such as USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Google+

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusStumbleUponYouTube

Did you enjoy this article?
Share
the
Love
Get Free Updates

Permanent link to this article: http://jdombstravels.com/life-of-a-travel-blogger/

30 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. Arianwen

    Saw the word ‘exhausted’ a few times there. I can definitely sympathise with that! It’s a great overview of how awesome your work is but also how much you have to do behind the scenes that people don’t realise! Nice job on the trapeze by the way!! ;)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks Ari! I get really tired of hearing “you’re so lucky!” It has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with a lot of hard work.

    [Reply]

  2. Sam @ Travelling King

    Fantastic Jennifer!
    While i dont travel full time, i do work full time and blog full time.
    When i talk to people about blogging, they mostly laugh (which leads me to be nervous talking bout it).. its such a new concept people dont understand..

    at work people complain that i travel so much (just think they are jealous!) or joke about starting up their own blog so they can travel like me, thinking that i get everything or free.

    Its hard to explain how much work goes into blogging! The endless nights of writing, editing and going through photos as well as planning your next trip and half the time you are working on your trips…

    sometimes i feel like there isnt enough time in the day to do the things i enjoy (mainly blogging!)…

    dont get me wrong – I LOVE IT!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    We completely get it Sam! We don’t travel full time either. Tim is in the US Air Force and I also work full time as a communications manager for a university, though I do work location independent on account of Tim’s job.

    We hear so often from people, especially from his work, that think they can just start a blog and get things for free. That isn’t at all how it works. A lot of time and effort go in to not only writing and promoting yourself to become recognized as a social influencer, but also just maintaining your website and tending to the day to day business side.

    I didn’t even touch on the time I have to spend sending reminders for clients to pay. Or the meetings that often turn into nothing at all. Running your own website is a business and so many people just don’t get that.

    [Reply]

  3. Wesley

    Amazing… really enjoy reading your blogs guys. Keep up the great work.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks Wesley!

    [Reply]

  4. Monica

    Wow, sounds like you’ve had such an amazing and action packed week! I wrote a similar post a few months ago for the exact same reason, I’m constantly asked what I actually do on a day to day basis. It’s great to see how the week of travel bloggers differ so much but they’re also similar, amazingly cool and amazingly busy!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Your week sounds so fun Monica! You have an action figure of yourself traveling around. That sounds way more fun than my week.

    [Reply]

  5. Shikha

    I think this is a great post for all those people who think it’s all perks and no hard work – it’s clear how much effort and time you put into it and how busy it is! But it does sound fabulous!! I write mine in my free time and travel in my free time so sadly my week’s are not as exciting as this but I love reading your blog and find it a real inspiration how you’ve built it up to be such a success!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks Shikha! It’s always wonderful to hear that we’re inspiring people. That’s ultimately the goal here. And yes, running a blog as a business is an incredible amount of work. Like any business you start, you should love doing the work because your own business takes up way more time than you’d ever spend at your 9-5 desk job.

    [Reply]

  6. Sharon

    Great post. Wow, what a whirlwind! Loved reading about your adventures. Happy travels!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks Sharon! Yes, it is often a very busy trip but we love it.

    [Reply]

  7. Vanessa

    Yup, it always sounds like a dream job, but the reality is very tiring. I used to work for TV news – this meant constant travelling, meeting famous people and amazing experiences, but after three years my hair was turning grey, I couldn’t sleep properly and I was always exhausted and terrified my telephone would go off at any minute so I had to pack it all in. Now I’m blogging for fun and really enjoying it! Keep up the good work, it’s wonderful to read such an honest article :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    I think like any business you might want to venture in to, you should really love what you do. Bloggers that just start up a blog in hopes of just getting “free travel” might get by with a few comps from companies that aren’t so savvy in dealing with professional bloggers, but they are mostly in for a rude awakening of the amount of time and effort it takes to run a blog as a successful business that generates income.

    [Reply]

  8. Bianca

    Wow, I am feeling tired just reading the post. Not because of the length but because of your itinerary! Sounds like fun but tiring too. Thanks for the links at the bottom too. Will check them out. I guest this is a great post for those that think travel bloggers just lounge and take the perks without working hard.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks Bianca! Professional travel blogging definitely has its glamorous moments, but those that just exclaim “You’re so lucky!” don’t get how much time and effort goes into running a blog as a business. It has very little to do with luck and everything to do with hard work.

    [Reply]

  9. Heather

    I’m exhausted just reading this! Thanks for sharing, it really puts things in perspective. I found it very stressful to keep up my personal blog while I was going to school full time, and can only imagine what you must go though. But you handle it with grace and seem to be enjoying it, so well done!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Why thank you, Heather! We’re not the quit our jobs, sell it all types. We’ve got a plan to build up the income we make from our blog into a more steady one before either of us is really ready to entirely give up our jobs. I’m definitely getting closer though to making that jump. We’ll never be full on nomads though.

    [Reply]

  10. Frank

    Nice post Jen and I appreciate the openness, its good to see how other bloggers run their blogs behind the scenes. One of the hardest things for a new blogger is the marketing aspect – I love the writing and photography part but I’ve procrastinated on the business aspect of it. I’ll have to take a look into some of those links.
    Good read!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    We definitely learned a lot about the business of blogging by attending conferences when we were starting out. The marketing came easy for me since that’s what I do every day at my university job. But the back end of actually running a website certainly has been a learning process. We can’t wait to launch our new website.

    [Reply]

  11. Cathy Sweeney

    Fun to get a glimpse into a week in your life. As a professional travel blogger myself, I hear you on many points. Never a dull moment, many challenges and many rewards for those of us with a passion for travel in this profession. By the way, you look like a natural up there on the trapeze, in case you ever think about a career change. :)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    I think it’s safe to say that I will never have a career in the flying trapeze, but wow do I ever have a new found respect for those that do! My body hurt in places I didn’t know it could hurt after that.

    [Reply]

  12. Charles McCool

    LOVE it! Sounds like my trips, well the posting pictures and always on the go part. Still working on the getting inside scoop and being compensated part. Best to you!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    TBEX, themidgame, and joining some writers associations will be a great start on the road to being compensated then Charles! It took years of writing completely for free and marketing ourselves to even get a foot in to the world of actually being paid to do this. You’ll get there.

    [Reply]

  13. Jayne

    Love these types of insights into what goes on behind the scenes of a blog. What an amazing job you are doing. Go girl!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks Jayne!

    [Reply]

  14. Petra

    Wow, that sounds exhausting! But rewarding too, getting to do all those fun things in the name of work!

    [Reply]

  15. Freya

    It sure sounds like a dream job but it is for sure exhausting. People usually only see the fun part, not all the long hours of work.

    [Reply]

  16. Olielo

    Have you tried the tea time at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas next to the lobby desk? It is really nice, both the view and the food delivered are awesome there.

    [Reply]

  17. Carol

    I’m living your life. Travel writing is an insanely fun hectic lifestyle that no one gets. Good job at explaining. I wish I’d been to Athens to hear your social media talk.

    [Reply]

  1. Friday Links | LEATHER & ABEL

    […] it sounds like a dream job, travel blogging is […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>