So by now, you might be wondering how did you do it? How did a small-town girl create one of the world’s most-read travel blogs and land herself in more than 80 countries with a career as a travel writer and photographer?
I’m glad you asked.
Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are. As well as all my friends and family (who still to this day think I’m involved in some sort of high-level crime syndicate). All the five-star hotels, postcard worthy-views and crystal blue waters just can’t amount to my life. Can they?
I’d love to share with you here how I did it. All of the resources, tips and tricks I used along the way to create a successful travel blog. How I ended up in magazines like Elle, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health Mag. How I have worked with companies like Apple, GoPro, Olympus, Samsonite, and so many more. I want to share the details with you because I believe if I can do it, anyone can.
Starting a blog
Let’s start here because this is where my journey began. I started a blog from my parent’s couch. I had no idea what I was doing. I spent weeks building a website and months perfecting it before it was ready to launch.
But you don’t need to do all the hard work. I’ve already written a blog post for you which details how to start a travel blog (step by step!) If you want me to teach you everything I know along the way, I teach students at my Travel Blogging Master Class. You’ll have direct access to me any time of day to help you create your blog and build a brand. But no hard feelings if you’re not up for it, read on for more resources!
These are the resources I used to start my blog:
BlueHost – Domain hosting (I picked it because it is cheap. 8 years later I can also say it is reliable and the support is great).
VPN – I would always recommend using a VPN online and building a website is no exception. Especially if you are building a travel website, you might find you are working from all over the world. You’ll need a VPN to change your location when you are overseas (and just a sneaky hint: I change my location to the departing country when booking flights!) It saves you money and ensures anonymity on the web.
Creative Market – This is where I go to purchase my blog theme (the design). I also purchase social media templates from here.
Etsy Marketplace – Also another great place to find themes for your website/blog. I’ve also purchased other digital assets really cheap, like lightroom presets and plugins.
Canva – This is where I design all my logos, Pinterest graphics, social media style boards and more. The premium account is totally worth it! I’d be lost without it. It is a lot cheaper than Adobe InDesign, though I do use Adobe for Lightroom/Photoshop.
When it comes to photography, everything I know I learned online. I didn’t take any classes but I did spend a lot of time scouring the internet for information. I learned about camera equipment, lighting conditions, camera settings and how to edit my photos by endless research. These are the resources I found most useful:
Lightroom – I use this to edit my photos. I make my own presets, which you can purchase through the link. I use them as one-click edits of my photos and play around with the tones for each image, depending on the lighting conditions.
Sony a7iii – I’ve tried many different cameras over the years and this is the most versatile. I would only recommend investing this much money if you want to make photography part of your career. It can pay itself off by selling just one photo! I mostly use a 24-70mm lens and sometimes a 50mm pancake lens.
FloDesk – This is hands down the best email marketing newsletter platform, period. Believe me, I’ve tried them all!
Planoly – This is the best instagram scheduling app I have found. There’s a free trial and the monthly plan is worth it if you want to take your social media to the next level. You can also use this platform to schedule for Pinterest.
Booking my travels
Over the years I’ve become quite a bargain hunter for my travels. After all, the more money I save, the more adventures I can go on! These are my favourites resources for booking trips:
Booking.com – I’ve been using this website to book my hotel stays for years. I often find they have the cheapest rates.
AirBnB – I’m a sucker for a cute AirBnB cottage or room in an apartment!
Kayak – I use this website to book my airfares