Well its no secret we live in a digital world. While I still love the feeling of holding onto something tangible (like a hand-written journal or a pocket-sized photograph for safe keeping), in the digital world we live in there are some great options available to document our travels online, both for ourselves and for people back home. So before you jet off on your world adventure, here are the best ways to document your travels online…
Starting a Blog
Starting a travel blog has almost become a staple for any globetrotter about to set off on a long-term endeavour. Travel blogs are a great way to document your travels in the digital world and could be considered a mix between keeping a scrapbook and keeping a handwritten journal of your travels. Just remember to think it through before you dive in head first to the world of blogging and consider whether you want to share your every day life with strangers or whether you’d rather keep your experiences for yourself or close friends and family. Consider the following:
Who am I writing for?
If you’re writing for yourself, family and friends, a great platform for you would be blogger. This is a great free platform that will allow you to create a space of your own on the internet, but is not so technically advanced that you will need to spend hours setting it up or maintaining your blog.
If you’re writing with the intent of creating an online destination of sorts (whereby you’ll hopefully gain a global audience), a great platform for you would be wordpress.org. This is the most commonly used platform for bloggers who are serious about turning their passion into a full time career. Creating a website of your own can be both fulfilling and rewarding, but should never be entered into half heartedly. Only start a blog if you plan to write about something you’re passionate about as this is what will lead to successes later down the track.
Improving Your Blog
Starting a blog is one thing, maintaining it is another, but improving your blog and blogging skills is perhaps one of the timeliest endeavours (snaps for all the bloggers out there!!!). Over the course of the couple years I have been blogging, I have learned everything I know through a process of trial and error. Sure, it is frustrating and at times mind numbing (particularly when suffering technical issues or your website crashes), but the constant quest to improve my blog has been what has kept me going. It keeps it interesting and always presents a challenge.
Taking Better Photos
One of the most frustrating things for me when I first began travelling was that my photos would never accurately reflect what I would see with my own eyes. Year after year and trip after trip, I’ve slowly learned how to take better travel photos. There is of course still a lot to learn! One of the books I found quite handy in the beginning was the Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Photography which explains a lot of the technical stuff I knew nothing about in the beginning.
Writing Better Stories
Writing doesn’t come naturally for most of us, particularly in the style of blog-writing. There are many different styles of blog writing to consider, however most bloggers like to create a community of ‘ideal readers’ (aka people who love what they love just as much – which in my case is travel), so a conversational tone is usually employed. I have dabbled with a few different writing styles over the years to see what readers responded to and have ultimately found that the best way for me to write in an enjoyable tone for my readers is just to have a conversation with them. Sounds simple but it really is!
Once you have found your style, its important to again be on the constant quest for improvement. Writing better stories can mean a lot of different things to different people, however for me it is the task of re-telling my travel tales better each time. I’m always learning and often make mistakes, but each time I hone in on my writing skills I find them improving. I.e. I now look beyond the basics when I travel – no longer over sharing information with readers and instead focusing on inspiration.
Social Media: For friends & family
With loads of social media platforms popping up and fading out, it can be hard to keep up. That’s why I’ve picked just two favourites in each category that I swear would be the best social media platforms to document your travels.
Instagram is perhaps the best social media platform to document your travels. Why? Instagram is like a visual diary – capturing a moment or memory from each day that you would like to remember because it made you feel so good that you thought you had to capture it in square form and share it with your followers. I really love instagram.
Because of the short lifespan of uploads, this can be more of a blessing than a curse if you wish to update your friends and family as you go along but not be ashamed of the out-at-3-am uploads that ensue. Snapchat is a great way to update friends and family in a quick and easy manner, no real thought required. Hassle-free. Time friendly.
Social Media: For networking
If you’ve started a blog, waste no time in getting yourself verified on Bloglovin’. This social media platform is ideal for bloggers and blog readers, as it is a social feed of all the blogs you follow and allows you to find so many great new blogs along the way. This is by far my favourite platform for networking as it allows me to connect with other bloggers around the world both in the travel category and far beyond!!
Twitter is for me (and many other bloggers) less time-consuming way to update readers. It takes a lot less time than a blog post and has a better rate of interaction because of its’ restriction to 140 characters or less. Although I prefer the visual social media platforms when documenting my travels, twitter is still a great platform to network and connect whilst travelling.
What do you think? Do you like the way we document our travels online or think there is something missing in the realm of travel-friendly social media platforms!?