When I moved to Australia in 2016 to spend a semester studying abroad, I had no idea that in just over 5 years, I would be a travel content creator. Before I got to Australia I travelled a bit through Thailand, Singapore and Bali with a friend and was immediately hooked. There was something about being in a foreign place, and hearing different languages and accents that excited me. I also loved the thrill of not knowing who I’d encounter and the stories I’d have to share with friends and family.
If you feel the same way about travel and are always after a new adventure, you might be looking for ways to get into content creation. So even though I somewhat accidentally became a travel influencer, I always intended on finding a job that would allow me to travel. After some trial and error, I found a few avenues that worked and today I’m here to provide you with the ultimate guide to becoming a creator/blogger/influencer as well!
How I Became a Travel Content Creator
Before I jump into the steps you need to take to become a creator, let’s back it up for a second. While you can certainly choose to be a content creator as a career path these days, I – like many other creators, kind of fell into it. Yes, I had already been travelling for a few years and was blogging here and there but I was also lost.
I’d travel as often as I could and would fund my travels by working alllllll summer long while I was in university. When I say I worked all the time, I’m not kidding. I worked the front desk of a gym in the mornings, would come home for a quick nap and then work 4/5 pm – close (1/2 am) at a restaurant. Then I used all of that money to pay for university but also to study abroad in Australia, go to Iceland for a week, travel around Europe with friends for a month, do a working holiday visa in Australia for a year and then travel for 3 months straight around New Zealand, the Philippines and Sri Lanka on my way home.
I kept coming back to my gym and restaurant job in between and after I graduated because I still wasn’t quite sure how to make travel a career. When 2019 rolled around, I had started taking my blog more seriously and had rebranded from ‘Dreaming of Elsewhere’ to ‘Spellbound Travels’. By the end of the year, I had planned to teach English in Vietnam and had even secured a job there. So I packed up and travelled through Hawaii and a bit more of Australia before landing in Hanoi, Vietnam at the start of February 2020.
Becoming a Creator During the Pandemic
By now, you can probably guess where the story takes a turn. The pandemic got in the way of my plans – as it did for everyone else in the world – and I reluctantly came back to Canada by the end of March 2020. At that point, I had no job, wasn’t eligible for government relief money and needed to get out of my parent’s house.
I somehow landed a job at a well-established hotel chain, doing their social media management. While I was thrilled to have a job in the travel sector, I wasn’t loving the day-to-day corporate life and wanted more. I had already started making some TikToks for fun and started to take things more seriously once I saw a video about freelance writing. I began writing for different clients and simultaneously making videos for a growing audience on TikTok. A few months later, I already hit 50K followers and realized I didn’t have to stay at a job I hated.
And guess what – you don’t have to either!
Actionable Tips for Becoming a Travel Content Creator
Now that you know a little more about your journey, let’s get into the good stuff! These tips contain everything I wish I knew when I got started as a creator so you can get started on the best possible foot. Follow these steps and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t find success.
Following Your Passions
Travel came to me at a time when I had no idea what I wanted out of life. Other than writing, it became the one thing that consumed me entirely. I don’t even want to know how many hours I’ve spent researching travel information, writing blogs, posting on Instagram and eventually TikTok before I started to see any success. Long story short – you need to be passionate about what you’re doing because if you’re not, you’ll likely give up before you find any success.
I’d recommend writing out a list of all the things you’re passionate about and seeing how you can pair that with travel. Since I’ve always loved writing and was working remotely while travelling, it made sense to start giving tips for digital nomads.
Find What Makes You Stand Out
It seems like everyone wants to be a travel content creator or travel influencer on Instagram these days. With so many people chasing the same dream, you need to think about what’s going to make you stand out in a crowd. I used to struggle with knowing how to stand out or what I could provide my audience that was different from what everyone else was doing.
Eventually, I discovered that a lot of people were coming to me for content that was specific to certain locations I’ve spent a good amount of time travelling through or living in. While living in Toronto, I showcased cool hikes and provincial parks close to the city. In Cape Town, I showed the best spots to watch the sunset, great cafes to work from etc. I’ve slowly realized that ‘standing out’ often boils down to not being afraid to be yourself. Authenticity resonates and if you share things you’re genuinely interested in while thinking about what your audience wants to see, you’ll be on the right track!
One thing I see a lot of people doing wrong when they want to be a travel content creator is just posting what they feel like posting. I was guilty of this for a longgggg time and it wasn’t until I started providing value to my audience that I started to see my accounts grow. I had to start thinking about using the caption to provide information people won’t get just anywhere, as well as creating video content that served a purpose.
My videos that perform best (other than the occasional trendy one) are ones that answer questions or are educational in some respect. Provide value with each post instead of pushing out a bunch of content that won’t really stick.
Look at my Instagram post above to see how I’ve provided value by sharing places you can’t miss in Budapest!
Consistency is Everything
If you want a career with travel, you have to recognize that it’s truly a numbers game. Now that doesn’t mean you should necessarily be posting multiple times a day. Instead, work out a schedule that you know you’ll be able to keep up with. You might need to play around with different options until you find what works best for you. For the longest time, I was posting on Instagram maybe 3 times a week (photos only) and now I try to post Reels every day.
Make sure whatever you’re doing, you repurpose content. When I’m posting Reels every day, I’m actually taking the content directly through TikTok and using SnapTik to save the video without the watermark. Later, I share the exact same video on Pinterest to get even more traffic! After posting Reels every day for a month or two, I saw a HUGE jump in followers which positioned me as an authority figure when pitching my services to brands and locking in more lucrative brand deals.
Photography & Videography
Now I don’t consider myself a photographer or videographer by any means BUT I’ve definitely learned how to take better photos and videos over time. If you don’t have experience with photography or videography, hop on Youtube and take notes from those who are doing it well. Once you have some inspiration, you’ll need to practice and as you continue to travel your content will progress!
You can always start out with an iPhone and eventually upgrade to a DSLR for photos but video content on a phone is fine. Eventually, you’ll learn how to pose, how to get other people to take photos for you or do self-portraits with a tripod. Believe it or not, I don’t even own a tripod 😳 and most of my travel photos are taken by new friends I meet at hostels (with a little training).
Don’t be Afraid to Pitch to Brands
For the longest time, I was under the impression that travel influencers had big brands, hotel chains and more flooding their inbox. While this is true for the big players and for those with years of experience, that probably won’t happen for a while. I spoke to a food content creator with over 300K on Instagram and even she told me that she spends a lot of time pitching to brands.
Before you get discouraged, you should also view pitching to brands as a numbers game. It’s likely that you’ll get 50 ‘nos’ before you get 1 yes. While that can seem a little daunting, you can take each rejection as a step closer to working with a brand you love!
Here’s what you should do when pitching to brands:
- Make a list – Who do you actually want to work with? If it’s a hotel in a specific area, search for all of the hotels and attach their social channels and website.
- Get a direct contact – I usually use Instagram to DM those brands to ask for their email. I send a small paragraph explaining who I am and the type of services I can provide them with.
- Tailor the pitch – Once you’ve locked down an email, it’s time to do some more in-depth research. While I have a general pitch saved, I never copy and paste. I take the bare bones of my general pitch and change it to suit the brand I’m hoping to work with. Tell the brand what ideas you have in mind for a collaboration, link previous samples of work and attach a media kit as a PDF.
- Create & update your media kit – Your media kit is essentially a portfolio of work, containing specific stats such as engagement, views, etc. You can create one for free on Canva. Remember to update it regularly before sending it out to new brands as your audience size and engagement change!
Stalk Your Competitors
Okay, don’t take this one literally. When I say stalk, I mean gently stalk them online. You should always keep an eye on what other people in your field are doing. I often take notes on other travel creators, looking at what type of content is performing well for them, how they approach storytelling and the value they provide their community.
This is incredibly useful when you’re looking to pitch to brands to start getting paid partnerships. I don’t always know who I want to work with and it can be tough to create a long list of dream clients but that’s where the stalking comes into play. By looking at creators who have a similar size audience to yourself (or slightly larger), you know that if you pitch to that brand, there’s a good chance they’ll want to work with you too!
Make TikTok Your Best Friend
@spellboundtravels Wait until you see the most underrated 😍 #travelawards #travelgirlsgo #girlslovetravel ♬ Run Boy Run – Woodkid
By now we all know that video content is a MUST. Sure, Reels are great but in my experience, TikTok has a better reach. With that being said, some TikToks will perform better on Instagram as a Reel so you should always repurpose your content. You’ll want to dedicate a few hours (at least) each week to finding trending sounds and video ideas and keep them as a note you can reference later.
TikTok has the ability to skyrocket your travel content career if you’re willing to give it a try! Work on being as authentic as possible and finding a few different video styles you enjoy making. It’s great if you’re able to show your face and speak directly to your audience. Use the Q&A and reply to comment feature to engage and build up your community.
Check out my TikTok here for some inspo!
One of the best ways to make money as a travel content creator is through UGC (User Generated Content). This is when you create 15-60 second videos for brands and businesses to use on their social channels. UGC has been all the rage lately because you ‘technically’ don’t need a large following to start. I put quotes around technically because it definitely helps to have a large following when trying to get brands to pay you for UGC.
If you’re just starting out as a travel creator and don’t have a large following, you can still do UGC. It might be a little more challenging to get businesses on board but if you can put together a few sample videos that perform well, you can slowly build up a portfolio.
I truly believe that mindset is everything. You have to believe that your success is inevitable. If you’re struggling to maintain a good mindset, it might help to journal, and create specific goals and vision boards so you can picture what you want. I’ve recently been creating monthly vision boards for my screensaver on my laptop and it reminds me of what I’m trying to achieve!
If people that you’re close to don’t think it’s possible and are feeding you negative energy, look at it as a chance to prove them wrong someday. Use that negativity as a driving force and motivation to make your dreams come true.
Anyone Can Be a Travel Content Creator
I hope this blog showed you that just about anyone can be a travel creator if they want it bad enough! Sure, it’s going to take some work and yes, you’ll probably have to be patient but if you want to make it happen, it’s possible. If you have any questions about content creation or just travel in general, feel free to DM me on Instagram and I’ll do my best to get back to you quickly!
I’ll be back with another blog shortly.
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