Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?

Instead of travelling several times per year, travel bloggers turn their life into a long trip. And it is definitely not a path strewn with roses.

Wanderlust Tips Magazine | Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?


Create your own path

More than a year ago, I published my first book and decided to give up my career as a journalist to become a full-time travel blogger. I am so fed up with the stability, so tired of the restrictive and constrained working environment, and so bored with a repeated working routine, so I made a decision to give up the job that could be a dream to many people to create my own path. Why did you have to live a monotonous life while you were capable of living a more diverse life?

Make money for travelling

There are many ways for me to make money the trip: Income from writing, my savings for years, extra money from part-time jobs outside my main job as a travel blogger, earnings from advertising on Facebook and Google when posting videos on YouTube, and also the contract, agreement of posting product and service reviews on my own website or social networks.

A path not strewn with roses

Wanderlust Tips Magazine | Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?

I had anticipated difficulties that I had to face. However, those difficulties were much harder than I had expected. Being a freelancer means that you will never have a stable income. It is all insecure and I have to work every day, every hour to maintain my income. In addition, being a travel blogger, you have to travel a lot to gain experience, experience to share with the readers. If you do not travel regularly, your experience is tedious, then nobody will want to follow your blog. Furthermore, your experience must be in depth and interesting, which means you are required to have an ability to observe, perceive and interact with local people in the destination.

Finally, you have to build trust with your readers because they will watch your journey and contribute to your success. Sometimes, there were readers that felt uncomfortable when I posted or advertised a product, without understanding that it was also a way I could earn money for travelling. Sometimes, I felt frustrated with my decision to become a full-time blogger when I did not see any progress, I did not know what I needed for improvement, and what I had done wrong.

Wanderlust Tips Magazine | Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?

All achievements need time

I had to face a lot of difficulties, but I always thought that as I decided to go this way, I have to go to the end. I have a strong belief that I will succeed in the path I have chosen. Later, when I get married, we will travel together to explore the world and learn from interesting things in life.

But do not rush to work as a full-time travel blogger when you have not gained the financial ability, comprehensive knowledge, communication skill and foreign languages. All achievements need time. If you want to become a travel blogger, you can start the journey now; start writing and sharing; practice taking photographs, recording and editing video; learn English, and especially read a lot.


There will be no other long journey

Regarding the long journey around the world, if I do not work as a travel blogger, I cannot afford the travel cost. I needed to send my savings to my parents because I am the oldest in my family. Being a travel blogger helps me to earn money for travelling.

Wanderlust Tips Magazine | Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?

Working while travelling

Previously when I had a full-time white-collar job, sometimes I wrote advertisements for several companies. Nowadays, I mainly write advertisements for some brands such as tires or mobile phones, work as a copywriter, take photographs for some brands to pay for travel expenses. Currently, I do not have any stable income, either. Nothing in life is free and perfect, everything needs a trade-off. “Traveling career” is sometimes very stressful with deadlines, occupational risks, and also unemployment. The working schedule is not fixed with 8-hour shifts; you will have to work at any available time.

It is hard to succeed without renewing yourself

Travelling is not a magic medicine or a beautiful Eden Garden. Just like everything else in life, it has two sides: the openness to strangers will be narrowed gradually by the vigilance and caution, while awaiting new experiences will also be exposed to hidden risks. The happiness and excitement when coming to a new land will then bring you a sense of regret and emptiness when coming back home and realizing that travelling will be traded by your time, health, and money. The first difficulty of a full-time traveller is maintaining income. Sometimes I got into serious financial difficulty due to late payment. However, I still have many other sources of income to manage and overcome difficulties.

When travelling, you should always keep the optimism and excitement in your heart because if you get bored, you can do nothing. Sometimes, the beautiful photos or bright smiles are somehow to hide the sadness inside, while some other melancholy pictures are actually just for a concept. Perhaps because no one wants others to lose inspiration or ruining a beautiful day by seeing their boring and monotonous photos.

Wanderlust Tips Magazine | Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?

Another great challenge for travel bloggers is to constantly renew themselves and share useful tips to attract readers. I always think about new unique aspects or exploit less-known viewpoints to make my page more interesting. Because it will be hard to succeed as a travel blogger if you do not travel often or have interesting and unique travel writings.

And when do you get ready?

Working as a full-time travel blogger requires preparation. First of all, you need to have the passion for travelling. Then you need to have writing skill, photography skill and others to earn money to cover your expenses. Moreover, as you may encounter a series of unexpected situations during your journey, you need to have the ability to endure hardships, the desire for life experience as well as the willingness to take on any challenges. If you are ready, just take the first step to experience a travelling life.


A job of travelling

When I still worked for companies, my travel buddies and I said to each other “Our hobby is travelling. Why don’t we turn it into a career? Then we do not need to work anymore and just spend all day going out.”I do not think having a stable 8-hour-shift and fixed monthly salary job is something unfavorable. However, I was not happy working like this, so I had to look for a new path. Fortunately, I found the happiness on travelling.

Wanderlust Tips Magazine | Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?

There is no time to be sad

In the early days, I spent my savings on travelling. But just two months later, I started making money when working as a travel blogger. I received sponsorship from some brands to bring their products during the trip. I wrote reviews of destinations for travel agencies or airlines. In addition, I also set up a team specializing in commercial photography in Saigon. I focus on taking travel photos while on the journey, and advertising photographs for brands while at home. With this huge amount of work, I even feel that I do not have time to be sad.

Do not make your journey lose its significance.

Finance is always a headache for freelancers. A common fear of so many young people is whether they can survive or not when they give up a stable job to work as a freelancer or start their own business. The lack of preparation and this invisible fear has made them intimidated. Up to now, financial issues do not bother me anymore because I know how to throw the burden away to focus on work. You make money while travelling, but if you turn your journey into a business trip, it means you have failed. The trip is no longer adventurous, full of surprises and thrilling but it is commercialized. There are too many significant stories like this on social networks that readers do not need to read anymore.

Wanderlust Tips Magazine | Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?

They need a completely personal experience which is may be impulsive or stupid, yet unique and authentic, so that readers can find themselves in those stories. Because I am a “time billionaire”, I can stay as long as I want so that my senses can work at full capacity, and then I will write and take photos later. For me, I can only have great writings and photos when spending 80-90 percent of travel time for pleasure.

Your final destination is…?

I do not intend to stop, even when I get married. I think I can build my own family and choose a soulmate to share the aspirations for travelling, so we can be accompanied all over the places. Find out what you really want in life is the key to success. But the goal of life is not succeeding, but experiencing. It is new experiences that help us find ourselves, bring memories and makes us different and unique.


Travel to find a real life

I used to be a public relations specialist for a large university in Central Vietnam with a good salary. I am the pride of the family. However, I still did not feel happy and satisfied with my life. Therefore, I decided to give up that safe and stable life to take my backpack and step forward to experience the world outside, simply because I wanted to find out who I am, what I can do and where I can go. And that is the life I want to live.

Wanderlust Tips Magazine | Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?

Working to afford my dream

My main job is writing, taking photographs and filming. I have trained myself to have enough skills to work in some fields such as photojournalism (photo-essay, photo categories), journalism (journey diary, documentary, and journal) and television (TV report). I will produce a work on the basis of 2-3 days, and the royalty is from
300.000 VND to 2.5 million VND per work. Averagely, in a month I can earn from 10 to 15 million of royalty.

Besides, I sometimes get extra income from working as a Key Opinion Leader (KOLs) for reviewing and promoting some products on my social networking sites such as Facebook, fan page, and website. I am usually paid a minimum of 500.000 VND for a product review or a promotion posted on my personal channel. Not to mention, some of my trips are 100 percent sponsored. Some people are willing to pay the travel cost for me to travel with them to the land they want to go, for example, a trip to the Apatani tribe in Ziro, India.

Did I make the wrong choice?

I used to have an illusion about writing, but when it comes to the reality, money is a matter that needs to be considered besides your dream and passion. To nurture my passion, I had to write a lot, even while travelling; sometimes I had to write in a hurry. The articles sometimes were just a simple introduction with some photos, which I did not even want to read again. I also hoped the reader would not recognize that the author was me. It was one of the broken-hearted things I had to experience.

During the last 1 year, there were at some points when I really had financial problems. The worst crisis was when I lost my camera in the sea. It was impossible for me to collaborate with media companies and agencies because I did not have professional equipment and lost all the photographs taken on the journey. My income was just enough to spend on travelling, and I could not afford to buy new equipment. There was a time when I had only 900.000 VND in my account, and I wondered myself how I could manage to live. I was really stressed and financially troubled. So many times I doubted myself about whether I made a wrong choice.

Should I give up?

Despite difficulties, I am still not ready to stop to live a stable life. Because I still miss the feeling of freely running across the prairie, crossing the desert or snow mountains. That would be the best experience in my life.

Take reality into consideration

It is great to pursue your passion, however, if you do not want to fail miserably, you must take reality into consideration. Before deciding to give up a safe and stable life, you must be able to answer the question: What skills do you have? Can your skills help you to maintain when you give up the safe path to go outside?


I don’t have to ask for any days off to travel anymore

I have spent all of my time travelling since September 2014 after quitting my job as a Technical Consultant in Online Advertisement Industry in London. I travel every month with a small break in Germany in between. Before that, I took every single day off and a couple of unpaid months off to travel, roughly about 3-4 trips. Working in London as a Consultant in Online Advertisement enabled me to save enough money for my trips until 2018 and even have some left after that.

Wanderlust Tips Magazine | Travel bloggers: How much a dream cost?

Keep expense low and energy high

Giving up the normal life means that I cannot meet my friends, play guitar or climb the mountains frequently. And for me, it is not easy to give up these hobbies.I started to use Amazon Affiliate Program and earned around 40 EUR, enough to maintain the website for at least one year. However, I mostly live off of my own savings. I am thinking
about selling my photos, which I have never done before.

It will be better for you to find some cheap places to eat rather than buy food in a supermarket, catch a bus instead of taxi as well as find a cheap airfare. I often have to spend hours researching for the most economical journey. And in two years, this has helped me save about 2,000 EUR.

Adaptation is necessary

I have to face a lot of challenges during my journey. When being given a lift, you may not know whether and when you can arrive in your destination. Sometimes I have to sleep in my tent next to the road, which seems to be too risky for some people to do. Sometimes people invite me to their house and tell me about some mysterious stories. In general, we will constantly need to change the plans and have to adapt to the situation. I used to feel so confused when my host was not showing up and I had to solve all the problems without any help and prepare a backup plan. Now I have become familiar with all these things, but for the beginners, they might be big challenges.

Clear vision for the future

Some people don’t really know what they want to do, and how they want their trips to be. But I do, I want to live on my organic and self-sustaining farm in England in the next 5-10 years, provide accomodation and food for travellers, and work as a freelancer in Online Advertisement Industry for at least 4-6 months per year. I will spend the rest of time with my family and on traveling. Preparing carefully for the trips can help you discover the world more safely.

Hong Nhung | Wanderlust Tips

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