- From a Semester Abroad to a Thriving Career
- Following My Journey
- Pivoting During the Pandemic
- Actionable Tips for Aspiring Travel Content Creators
- Anyone Can Be a Travel Content Creator
From a Semester Abroad to a Thriving Career
When I first arrived in Australia in 2016 for a semester abroad, I had no clue that my journey would lead me to become a travel content creator. It all started with a taste of adventure in Thailand, Singapore, and Bali, where the allure of foreign places, diverse languages, and new encounters captivated me. The excitement of not knowing who I would meet and the stories I would bring back to share with loved ones fueled my passion for travel.
If you share the same love for exploration and are always seeking new adventures, you might be considering a career in content creation. While I stumbled into this profession, I had always dreamed of finding a job that would allow me to travel. After some trial and error, I discovered a few paths that worked for me. And now, I’m here to provide you with the ultimate guide to becoming a travel creator, blogger, or influencer!
Following My Journey
Before we delve into the steps of becoming a creator, let’s rewind for a moment. While becoming a content creator is a viable career choice nowadays, I, like many others, stumbled upon it. Yes, I had been traveling and occasionally blogging for a few years, but I felt lost.
During my university years, I would work tirelessly during the summer to fund my travels. I’d spend mornings at the gym front desk, grab a quick nap, and then hustle at a restaurant from 4-5 pm until closing time (1-2 am). I used every penny earned to pay for my education and embark on adventures like studying abroad in Australia, exploring Iceland for a week, backpacking through Europe with friends for a month, and doing a year-long working holiday visa in Australia. After that, I embarked on a three-month journey through New Zealand, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka before returning home. In between these trips, I would return to my gym and restaurant jobs, still uncertain about how to turn travel into a career.
By 2019, I had begun taking my blog, “Dreaming of Elsewhere,” more seriously and rebranded it as “Spellbound Travels.” I had even secured a position teaching English in Vietnam. Packed with enthusiasm, I traveled through Hawaii and parts of Australia before landing in Hanoi in February 2020.
Pivoting During the Pandemic
As fate would have it, the pandemic disrupted my plans, forcing me, like countless others, to return to Canada by March 2020. With no job, no government relief money, and a desire to leave my parents’ house, I serendipitously landed a role managing social media for a reputable hotel chain. Although I was thrilled to work in the travel industry, I yearned for something more than the corporate routine. I had already dabbled in TikTok for fun, but it was after stumbling upon a video about freelance writing that I decided to pursue content creation seriously. I started writing for various clients while simultaneously creating videos for my growing TikTok audience. Within a few months, I had amassed over 50K followers, and it dawned on me that I didn’t have to remain stuck in a job I despised.
And guess what? You don’t have to either!
Actionable Tips for Aspiring Travel Content Creators
Now that you’ve grasped my journey, let’s dive into the good stuff! These tips encompass everything I wish I had known when I set out as a creator, ensuring you begin your career on the right footing. By following these steps, there’s no reason you shouldn’t achieve success.
Discover Your Passions
Travel found me at a time when I felt adrift, unsure of my aspirations. Besides writing, it became my all-consuming passion. I can’t even begin to count the hours I’ve spent researching travel information, writing blogs, posting on Instagram, and eventually venturing into TikTok. To put it simply, you must be genuinely passionate about what you do. Without passion, it’s easy to give up before you see any success.
I encourage you to make a list of all the things you’re truly passionate about and explore how you can blend them with travel. In my case, since I loved writing and already worked remotely while traveling, it made sense for me to offer tips for digital nomads.
Find Your Unique Edge
In today’s world, it seems like everyone wants to be a travel content creator or influencer on platforms like Instagram. With countless individuals chasing the same dream, you need to identify what sets you apart from the crowd. I used to struggle with discovering how I could stand out or what unique value I could bring to my audience.
Eventually, I realized that many people sought specific content from locations where I had spent a significant amount of time traveling or living. While in Toronto, for instance, I showcased lesser-known hikes and provincial parks near the city. In Cape Town, I shared the best spots to witness breathtaking sunsets and recommended cozy cafes for remote work. Gradually, I understood that “standing out” often boils down to being unapologetically yourself. Authenticity resonates with others, so don’t be afraid to share your genuine interests while considering your audience’s preferences.
Provide Value to Your Audience
One common mistake aspiring travel content creators make is posting content solely for the sake of posting. I, too, was guilty of this for a considerable time. It wasn’t until I started providing real value to my audience that I began to witness substantial growth across my social accounts. I had to shift my mindset and focus on using captions to offer exclusive information that couldn’t be found easily elsewhere. Additionally, I started creating video content with a purpose.
Interestingly, my videos that performed exceptionally well, aside from trendy ones, were those that answered questions or provided educational insights. Rather than churning out random content, strive to deliver value with each post. Take a look at my Budapest Instagram post to see how I’ve provided value by highlighting must-visit places in the city!
Consistency is Key
If you aspire to build a travel-centric career, consistency is paramount. However, consistency doesn’t necessarily mean bombarding your audience with multiple posts every day. Instead, find a posting schedule that works for you and stick to it. Experiment with different options until you discover what suits you best. Personally, I used to post on Instagram around three times a week, focusing on photos. Now, I prioritize creating Reels daily.
Remember to repurpose your content wisely. When I create daily Reels, I directly export the content from TikTok without the watermark using SnapTik. Later, I share the same video on Pinterest to drive even more traffic! After consistently posting Reels for a month or two, my follower count skyrocketed, positioning me as an authority figure when collaborating with brands and securing more lucrative brand deals.
Master Photography and Videography
Let me be clear—I’m far from considering myself a professional photographer or videographer. Nonetheless, I have learned to capture better photos and videos over time. If you lack experience in photography or videography, immerse yourself in YouTube tutorials from experts in the field. Seek inspiration and practice honing your skills. As you continue traveling, your content will naturally evolve.
You can start with a smartphone camera and eventually upgrade to a DSLR for photography. However, for video content, a phone camera suffices. Over time, you’ll discover how to pose, enlist strangers to take photos of you, or even master self-portraits with a tripod. Surprisingly, I don’t even own a tripod 😳, and most of my travel photos are taken by new friends I meet at hostels (with a brief crash course in photography).
Fearlessly Pitch to Brands
For the longest time, I believed that travel influencers received an influx of inquiries from major brands and hotel chains. While that may hold true for established players with years of experience, it’s unlikely to occur overnight. Even a food content creator with over 300K Instagram followers confessed to spending significant time pitching to brands.
Don’t let this discourage you! View pitching to brands as a numbers game. You might face numerous rejections before landing the perfect collaboration. Each “no” should be seen as a step closer to partnering with a brand you genuinely admire! Here’s a helpful approach when pitching to brands:
- Create a list: Identify your dream brands or hotels in specific areas and gather their social media handles and websites.
- Obtain a direct contact: Reach out to these brands via Instagram DMs to inquire about their preferred email for collaboration pitches. Introduce yourself briefly and highlight the services you can offer.
- Tailor your pitch: Once you have the appropriate contact email, conduct thorough research. While you can have a general pitch template, never copy and paste. Customize your pitch to suit each brand individually. Share collaboration ideas, attach previous work samples, and include a media kit as a PDF attachment.
- Create and update your media kit: Your media kit serves as a portfolio showcasing your work and relevant statistics such as engagement and views. Canva offers a free platform to create one. Remember to update it regularly to reflect changes in your audience size and engagement levels.
Keep an Eye on Your Competitors
Now, let’s clarify what I mean by “stalking” your competitors—do so discreetly and digitally. Always monitor what other content creators in your niche are doing. Take notes on their successful content, storytelling approaches, and the value they offer their audience. This practice proves invaluable when pitching to brands and seeking paid partnerships. While creating an extensive list of dream clients can be challenging, observing creators with a similar audience size (or slightly larger) ensures better chances of collaboration with brands.
Embrace TikTok as Your Ally
By now, we all understand the importance of video content. While Reels excel on Instagram, my experience tells me that TikTok offers a wider reach. However, some TikToks perform exceptionally well when repurposed as Reels on Instagram. Dedicate a few hours each week to discover trending sounds and video ideas, compiling them as notes for future reference.
TikTok has the potential to propel your travel content career if you’re willing to give it a try! Embrace authenticity, experiment with different video styles, and engage with your audience using the Q&A feature and comment replies. Check out my TikTok for inspiration!
UGC – A Gateway to Profits
User Generated Content (UGC) presents one of the most effective ways for travel content creators to generate income. UGC involves creating 15-60 second videos for brands and businesses to feature on their social media platforms. Recently, UGC has gained popularity due to the lower requirement for a massive following. However, having a substantial audience undeniably boosts your chances of receiving payment for UGC.
If you’re just embarking on your journey as a travel creator and don’t boast a large following yet, you can still pursue UGC opportunities. Initially, it may be slightly more challenging to secure collaborations with businesses, but by developing a few impressive sample videos that perform well, you can gradually build a robust portfolio.
The Power of Mindset
I firmly believe in the adage that mindset is everything. You must wholeheartedly believe in the inevitability of your success. If doubts linger, consider journaling, setting specific goals, and creating vision boards to visualize your aspirations. Personally, I’ve started crafting monthly vision boards for my laptop screensaver—a constant reminder of what I aim to achieve!
If loved ones express skepticism and emit negative energy, view it as an opportunity to prove them wrong someday. Utilize that negativity as fuel to drive you toward realizing your dreams.
Anyone Can Be a Travel Content Creator
I hope this blog post has shown you that anyone with sufficient desire can become a travel creator. Of course, it will require effort, patience, and perseverance. But if you truly want to make it happen, it’s within your reach. If you have any questions about content creation or travel, feel free to DM me on Instagram, and I’ll do my best to respond promptly.
Stay tuned for my next blog post!
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