I think it is important to address the "Travel Bloggers" misconception that some people have about the travel blogger industry and that every individual involved in it gets everything for free. In some cases, this is very true and some travelers get hotel stays, flights, and products for free. In other situations and more often the case, it's kind of an illusion that is being portrayed. I want to share some information I've gathered over the past few months on this exact topic of "how can you travel and not work a real job?" travel bloggers myth. (Because this is not about the travel bloggers I specifically spoke with, I am just going to give you an overview of my research from speaking with various individuals who are part of the travel and blogging industry.)
First, let's start off with the individuals who travel as part of their career and therefore are able to take photos in magnificent luxurious places around the globe while conducting business. I've dubbed this group the "Career Travelers" because they travel as a need for their job and to sustain an income. They do the job they are hired to do, travel to where their career takes them, and then snap gorgeous photos in the personal downtime they have. Thus, "Career Traveler" social media influencer pages like Instagram or Pinterest and at times company sponsoring and collaborations unfold and take shape. This group isn't the most photo editor savvy, do not have the greatest websites, or even take the most professional photos. However, they manage to make it work and do a good job at learning quickly and making moves to create possible new revenue streams.
"Hobby Travelers" are the next group I identified. Hobby travelers work very hard every day with what we consider the "normal" day to day jobs to survive. Saving money earned for year-around travel and enjoyment of global exploration when they want, how long they want, and to destinations of their choosing is why some hobby travel. It is not about wanting to gain fame, money, or get free hotel stays and food along the way. They just love to travel and genuinely want to share their journeys and experiences with interested viewers. They have websites, social media sites, and even belong to blogging communities so they can share their adventures with the world. However, they aren't focused on how to make money off the photos and content they have created.
Lastly, we have the "Family Money Travelers" who are able to travel the world using the family money. They are able to have the best of the best and explore without many restrictions such as where to go because of finances. They are able to travel without having to work, can globetrot without being sponsored by a brand or company, and are able to take life by the horns and run with it for as long as they wish. Some of these social media stars have been to the most exotic faraway oasis's, create the best websites, the best SEO and marketing, and are able to pay someone else to post finished products online to gain attention. Some of these stars edit, write, and not quite as transparent as some of the other groups when it comes to exactly how they get to some of these destinations, but that really isn't important at the end of the day. Sharing the beauty found on this earth while we still have it around is the important thing to me.
Some of the most influential and watched travel bloggers today that have skyrocketed to fame originate from one of these 5 travel blogger groups. It seems like everyone wants to judge and ask the question "How is it you can travel as much as you do and actually make a living?" and the answer is not simple. The truth is that some will make it, some will not. Some will get noticed and travel the globe for money, some will not. Some photos may get published and shared with millions of viewers, and some will just not. Yes, when you have a lot of money it does make it easier, but at the end of the day, hard work and dedication also pay off!