how to write a travel blog

How to write a travel blog: the ultimate guide


If you love traveling then it makes sense that you might want to start a travel blog. While there are definitely other niches that are more lucrative (and that you can write about without having to go anywhere) it’s always a good idea to write about something you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate about your niche, it’s easy to lose motivation and abandon your blog quite quickly.  So if you’re the kind of person that likes jetting off to far flung places and wants to make a career out of it, then it’s definitely worth giving it a try.

But how do you go about writing a travel blog and what do you write about? If you haven’t undergone any formal journalism training and you’re not too familiar with WordPress or SEO then I can imagine it would be pretty overwhelming. That’s why I’ve put together this handy guide to walk you through all the basics of writing a travel blog. In this guide you’ll find plenty of topic ideas as well as technical tips to optimize your content for search engines.

Read on for my top tips on how to write a travel blog:

How to write a travel blog post: the basics

Write posts in Google Docs – Firstly I’d suggest you always write your posts in Google Docs first. This way you always have a backup copy, it’s saved regularly and you can easily spell check everything before posting on WordPress. Wordpress just isn’t as good at picking up grammar mistakes and if you accidentally close your browser window you can easily lose your work.

Come up with a list of ideas – Next, you’ll want to come up with the idea for your blog post. I’d suggest generating a list of 100 blog post topics that you’ll write over the course of a year and put them in a spreadsheet. These topics will likely be focused on destinations you’ve visited while traveling. Once you have the list of ideas, aim to write 3 posts per week to get your blog going. Once you’ve written 100 posts, you can revisit your old posts and improve them. 

Do keyword research –  Make sure you sign up for Keysearch. I can’t recommend this tool enough. Keysearch allows you to research keywords and topics for your upcoming blog posts. I use this tool every time I want to generate an idea for a blog post title. Enter a keyword into this keyword research tool and it will generate a list of related keywords as well as search engine keyword suggestions. You can see the volume of people searching these keywords as well as how competitive they are to rank for.

Structure your blog post – Every blog post should have an introduction and some sort of conclusion. In between you’ll want to separate your content with subheadings to make it easier for the reader to read. If your blog post is very long you can also insert a table of contents at the beginning so that readers can easily jump to specific sections. This is a feature in WordPress so you don’t need to do anything except insert it as a block before publishing.

Write your article section by section – I usually write all my subheadings first and then go back and write each section one by one. Sometimes writing an entire article from start to finish can be overwhelming, so I find it easier to focus on individual sections until the whole piece comes together. 

Write for the reader – A travel blog is not a diary of your adventures. It’s not a journal for your parents to read back home. People don’t want to read a rambling account of everything you got up to today. Remember you’re writing for the reader.  Internet users find your blog because they’re searching for something in Google. Perhaps they type in “Madagascar travel guide” or “things to do in Williamsburg Brooklyn”. They come to your website looking for information. Sometimes they stay because you’re really funny. They don’t come to read an hour by hour account of what you got up to.  Bottom line, provide information. Be entertaining. 

Proof-read your post – Make sure you re-read your post. Sometimes it’s good to sleep on it and then wake up the next day with a fresh pair of eyes. Make the final edits in the morning and then hit publish. Remember to spell/grammar check everything. Readers are put off if your posts are riddled with mistakes. 

Insert your images – Once you’ve copied and pasted your article into WordPress you’ll want to insert your images. Give them descriptive alt tags so that you can tell Google and readers what your image is about. 

Optimize your post for SEO and hit publish – Once you’ve finished writing and inserting the images it’s time to optimize everything for SEO. Using the Yoast plugin you can add an SEO title and a meta description which will appear as a snippet in Google search results. Remember to include your keywords. Now you’re all done, hit publish! 

How long should a travel blog post be? 

These days it seems content is getting longer and longer. The top bloggers who are crushing it at SEO are writing posts that are 2,000+ words. Some even as long as 4,000 words. I definitely wouldn’t write anything less than 1,000 words in today’s blogging climate.  

13 Ideas for what to write on your travel blog

Write about your own city

If you don’t have any travel plans coming up and you haven’t been anywhere lately, then you can write about your own city. You could write a list of the top places to visit, best coffee shops, best rooftop bars or perhaps a weekend itinerary. Writing about your home city or a nearby city is easy to do and you’ll likely have a lot more knowledge than someone who doesn’t live there. Writing from a local’s perspective definitely gives you an advantage.

“Things to do in” lists 

Most people search “things to do in…” when they’re planning a trip. It’s often hard to rank for “things to do” lists because so many people write them and you’re competing with big travel websites like TripAdvisor. However, if you make a really long and detailed list of things to do, then you may get on the first page of Google. 

Ultimate travel guides

Travel guides take the most amount of time to write and research. You’ll want to include lots of practical information, such as the best time to go, where to stay, how to get there and how to get around. You also might want to include a fact box with essential information such as what plug to take and what the local currency is. 

Most travel guides contain information on the best things to do, the best restaurants to eat at and where to find the best nightlife. The longer and more detailed the post, the more likely it is to get on the 1st page of Google. 

Suggested itineraries

While it’s difficult to rank for “things to do”, it’s a little easier to rank for itineraries. For example, I’ve recently written about how to spend 10 days in Vietnam and 2 days in Nashville

If you visit a destination for say 7 days, then break down your blog post by day. Give the reader ideas for things to do and places to eat each day of their trip. When writing these posts I’d also recommend adding other helpful information, such as how to get around and where to stay.

Interviews

An easy way to get traffic is by interviewing other travel bloggers or travel entrepreneurs on your blog. The person who’s interviewed will probably share it on their social media and also link back to it, allowing you to get important backlinks which are good for SEO. You can interview them about how they got started travel blogging or how they built their company.

Travel blogging tips

The article you’re reading right now comes under my blogging tips section. I like writing these types of blog posts because they’re helpful and you can also include affiliate links to things like web hosting and other products.

As you grow your blog you can write articles on topics such as how to start a travel blog or the best equipment for travel vlogging. You could write about how to increase your website traffic or how to use Pinterest to build traffic to your blog. 

Income reports

Lots of bloggers these days are sharing income reports to document how much money they’re making with their blogs. While I haven’t written any income reports myself (yet) I do find them quite fascinating. Not a lot of people like to talk about how much money they make so it’s quite refreshing to actually see a detailed breakdown of how these bloggers are making their income. Income reports show it’s possible to make money from blogging and they also provide plenty of motivation to work harder! For instance, Two Wandering Soles wrote about how they made $63,750 in just three months of blogging! 

Travel tips

Aside from destination advice you can also write travel tips. These could be tips on how to save money for travel, how to get cheap flights or how to choose travel insurance. With these types of articles you’ll want to focus on practical tips that help people save money or have a better experience on the road. 

Packing lists

Packing lists are great if you also want to dabble in affiliate marketing. You can write packing lists for specific destinations or lists for specific types of trip, for example a safari. Sign up for Amazon Associates and other fashion affiliate platforms to link to products and make commission from any sales. 

Personal stories of life on the road

While it can sometimes be quite daunting to write about personal things and share them with strangers on the Internet, these types of blog posts can be incredibly popular. For example you could write about your experiences of love on the road or what it’s like to be a digital nomad. 

People enjoy reading these posts because they’re relatable. So think about why you decided to travel, what bothers you about traveling or write about your journey to overcome a particular life challenge. 

Upcoming events

Open your calendar and jot down any major holidays and festivals so you can create content surrounding these events. 

You’ll want to make sure you publish your content a couple of months in advance so it’s ready for when people are planning their trips. It’s no use publishing an article just a couple of days before the event when people have already planned their vacation. 

Say Christmas is coming up. You could write a list of the best Christmas bars in New York or a guide to Christmas gifts for travelers. 

Or perhaps Coachella is approaching. If you’ve been to this festival you could write a list of tips for visiting, such as where to stay, what to wear and how to prepare. 

Your thoughts on a destination

Sometimes when you visit a new place you love it. Sometimes you notice cultural differences or quirky things about a destination. Write down all your observations and write a blog post about it! 

Reviews

Reviews tend to bring in a decent amount of web traffic and they’re also a great way to earn income from affiliate marketing. Examples include hotel reviews, luggage reviews, credit card reviews and travel insurance reviews. One of my most popular reviews is a review of the flight deal membership club, Jack’s Flight Club. When you write reviews you can easily insert affiliate links so when the reader clicks and buys something, you get a commission on the sale.

How to write a travel blog without traveling

Believe it or not it’s possible to write a travel blog without traveling. If you can’t afford to get away or you just don’t have time to travel then you can:

Write about your local area – Explore your city and write local guides. Readers love getting information from locals! Spend time on the weekends exploring your own back yard and coming up with unique topics for things to do in your area. Explore neighboring towns and cities that are easily accessible by car.

Write listicles – Listicles are popular, especially on Pinterest. Examples of listicles include “Best Places to Travel Alone in the USA” or “Top Budget-Friendly Honeymoon Destinations”. You can write listicles very easily without having to travel anywhere, since you just have to write a roundup of destinations.

Write about past trips – If you don’t have any travel plans then you could go back through your past archives and write about trips you’ve taken in the past. As long as you have photos from those trips then you can create content about them! I’ve written about destinations years after I’ve visited them. It takes longer because the information isn’t fresh in my brain and I often have to do some extra research, but it’s still possible. Make sure to check whether prices have remained the same and whether restaurants are still open. Sometimes places close down and the information isn’t relevant anymore. 

Technical tips for writing a travel blog

Use headers

Always make sure you include HTML header tags in your posts, for example <h2></h2> or <h3></h3>. This is not only important for Google but it also ensures that your paragraphs are broken up with subheadings and your posts are easier to read. 

Insert original images

For some niches like finance and dating it’s fine to use stock images and images from sites like Pexels or Unsplash. But with a travel blog it’s important to have your own original images because that’s what sets you apart from the rest; your originality. 

Having your own images shows that you’ve actually visited the place and captured scenes or moments that other people may not have captured. 

Travel photos are some of the most beautiful photos. People love looking at pictures of epic landscapes, cascading waterfalls, colorful buildings and beautiful sunsets. The quality of your photography is what will set you apart from the rest, so make sure to brush up on your photography skills. 

Invest in a quality mirrorless DSLR camera and the latest iPhone. Learn about basic techniques such as the rule of thirds. And make sure you educate yourself on how to use Lightroom and Lightroom Presets. There are plenty of tutorials online, including tutorials directly from Adobe.

Original photos are great for SEO and they’re also more likely to keep your readers interested. People are more likely to share them on sites like Pinterest too! 

Write short paragraphs

Blogging is different from writing a dissertation or writing for a magazine. Readers have short attention spans when they’re surfing the web, so you need to make sure you hold your attention and they don’t feel overwhelmed with big chunks of text. 

You also have to keep advertisers in mind. If you get approved for a display ad network like Mediavine they recommend that you increase your font size and write short paragraphs so they can insert more display ads and users will spend more time scrolling through your posts.

So keep your paragraphs short and write shorter sentences to keep your readers engaged. 

Insert Pinterest pins

how to write a travel blog post

Pinterest is a really popular tool that bloggers are using to drive traffic to their blog posts. This is why you should create a vertical image with text overlay that readers can pin to their Pinterest boards. You can purchase Pinterest templates and create your own in Canva. Insert this image somewhere into your post so that visitors can easily pin your article.

Insert a table of contents

When your posts are really long it helps to insert a table of contents at the beginning. You can do this in the WordPress Gutenberg editor by inserting a new block and then clicking “table of contents”. This allows your readers to see an overview of what’s in the article and jump to specific sections if necessary.

How long does it take to write a blog post?

Today, since my articles average around 3,000 words long, it takes me a lot of time to write a blog post. Sometimes I stress myself out that I’m just not fast enough, that I’m ADD and I procrastinate too much. But the truth is it does take a lot of time if you want to write quality content. 

The length of time it takes me to write a blog post depends on the topic. This post took me half a day because I find it easy to write about blogging. I can remember most things off the top of my head so it’s just a case of me putting it into words. 

If I’m writing about travel tips I’d also say it takes me around half a day. However, if the blog post is about a destination it takes me a lot longer. Not only do I have to spend time researching all the facts and information about various landmarks, I also have to spend time editing all the photos from my trip. Not to mention creating Pinterest pins using Canva. 

Travel guides, itineraries and “things to do in” articles take me a full day or even a day and a half. If I made more notes when I was traveling then it might take me less time to write the article but let’s face it most trips I was having too much fun to do that. 

I also realized that it’s much quicker and exciting for me to write a blog post straight after a trip, so I’m striving to write about destinations I visit immediately once I get home. If I don’t write about the trip within a couple of days then I start to forget things and lose motivation. Then when it’s time to write about it the trip just feels soooo long ago and I’ve lost the excitement. 

How often should you publish blog posts?

I’d say when you’re starting out you should be aiming to write 3 blog posts per week.

I’d love to be able to churn out one per day but when they’re 3,000 words each I realized it’s just not feasible. If you set your targets too high then it can be really frustrating when you don’t manage to reach them. So in the beginning aim for three really good blog posts per week. If you beat that then that’s great!

Once you’ve written about 100 really good blog posts on your blog then you can start going back through and editing them. Improve the language, add more detail and update information if it’s out of date. Travel blog posts can become outdated really fast because restaurants and attractions often close. Google doesn’t like outdated content, it wants to deliver fresh content in the search results.

At this point if you’re getting good traffic then you can cut back to one or two posts per week.

Travel writing tips

Be honestIf something wasn’t that great it’s OK to say it and people will appreciate your honesty. People love travel blogs because they’re written by ordinary people and not big companies with hidden agendas. So try to talk about the bad as well as the good. If your trip was sponsored then it’s also important to disclose that somewhere in your article.

Try to avoid travel writing cliches – Writing good content is hard, particularly if you have writer’s block. Sometimes it’s tempting to fall back on travel writing cliches and typical phrases like “stunning sunsets” and “bustling streets”. Where possible, try to think about what else you could say to describe the destination that you were in.

Don’t go overboard with flowery language – Sometimes when people are getting into travel writing they think that if they just pepper their sentences with tons of adjectives and descriptive words that they’ll sound like a pro. Somehow it just ends up seeming like overkill. and making them sound pretentious. There’s no need to overdo it with flowery language as if you’re writing a novel.

Talk to the reader – If you’re giving advice, for example a suggested itinerary, then talk to the reader directly as if you’re talking to a friend. If you speak to the reader in a way they understand, they’ll keep coming back for more. Avoid sounding formal and using words that you wouldn’t use in everyday language. As an example, “that is” would probably be abbreviated to “that’s” in normal speech.

Write in the first person – Usually with blog posts you’ll be telling stories in the past tense and you’ll be talking in the first person.

Be informative – Give the reader value by being informative throughout your post. Think about what information they’re looking to find and provide it to them.

Start with a killer intro – The body of your text will mainly be full of practical travel tips covering things to do in a place. The intro, however, is where you can be more descriptive and entice the reader to keep reading. Give them a sense of what it feels like to be in the destination and perhaps even tell an interesting personal anecdote. The intro is where you can be a little more elaborate.

A final word…

Writing any type of blog post is time consuming so it’s important that you’re passionate about your niche. This will come through in your writing and you’ll feel motivated to write the best possible content out there. When it comes to writing travel blog posts the most important thing is to be authentic and to write from your own perspective – that’s what makes your travel blog unique!

With the Internet being so saturated with blog content these days you’re going to have to stand out from the crowd. This means either writing better and more detailed content than other bloggers out there, or writing about topics that haven’t been covered as much. Try to think outside the box and come up with interesting angles and niche topics. If you write consistently about a niche topic then Google will eventually figure out that you’re an authority on that particular subject matter.

They key is to write consistent, original content that will leave readers coming back for more.

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