So You Want To Be A Travel Blogger? The Ugly Side Of Being A Travel Blogger

The Ugly Side Of Being A Travel Blogger - hofit kim cohen kerala

When people ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a travel blogger, the first thing I always hear is “WOW! What an amazing job you have! You are so lucky! Can I trade places with you? You seriously have the best job ever”. The truth is they have no idea what they are talking about and I don’t mean that in a rude way. Being a travel blogger is by far my favorite job I’ve ever had, but it’s one of the hardest jobs, if not THE hardest job I’ve ever had in my entire life and I’ve had many many jobs.

The Brutal Truth…

First off, I wasn’t granted a wish from a genie and became a travel blogger. It’s not a job you can apply for and just get, it’s a job you create and make up. I made up a job for myself and work my ass off every single moment I can, with many MANY sleepless nights to make my dreams come true.

It’s definitely not a job for everyone and like I said, it’s not an easy job at all. There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t work my ass off to make my dream job a reality. So many people want to be a professional travel blogger, to those people my best advice is if you’re not a hard HARD worker, don’t do it. It’s a waste of your time, unless you want to just do it as a hobby and that’s also fine, but not as a career because you really don’t stand a chance. It’s just the brutal truth. Only about 50-100 travel bloggers actually make a full time income from it.

hofit kim cohen on being a travel blogger

Hobby Vs. Career

A few months after I created Vanilla Sky Dreaming and decided to follow my passion and dreams, I attended a travel blogger event called TBEX in Cancun, to learn more about the industry and get some gigs lined up. Up until then, I seriously had no idea what it REALLY meant to be a travel blogger. All the struggles of creating and designing a website, writing blog posts, traveling and picking a blog name that fit me best, didn’t make me into a professional travel blogger.

The truth is the only way to become a professional travel blogger, is to be making money, otherwise it’s just a hobby.

On my trip to Cancun, I got to meet one of the most interesting people I have ever met in my life, his name is Lee Abbamonte. A good friend of mine now and the youngest American that’s been to every single country in the world. He is a successful business man who has been making great money from traveling the world. After about an hour of chatting, I asked him the first night I met him, how long does it take to actually start making money from being a travel blogger, he laughed and said “It will probably take you about 2 years to start making an income and still, not many make a full time career for themselves out of it”. 2 years!? I nearly had a heart attack when he said that! I didn’t want to believe him for the longest time. Now almost 2 years into my travel blogging world, I can truly say he was totally right.

Starting a blog and calling yourself a travel blogger doesn’t mean you make a full time income, it definitely doesn’t make you rich. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been more poor in my life because of my passion and drive for success, traveling and making my travel blog into a full time career.

hofit kim cohen - travel blogger kerala blog express

MONEY- Be Prepared to Work for Free

Just like any new business, it takes money to make money. If you want to be a professional travel blogger, you need to know that you will spend lots and lots of money, before you ever see any money from it. Which in many cases people never do.

I’ve always lived a very luxurious lifestyle. I enjoy the finer things in life and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. However, when you want to make a career out of being a travel blogger, you will definitely have to live on a budget to make your traveling lifestyle affordable. You also have to take into consideration that even after you spend all that money on all your travels and blog, there is no guarantee that you will actually make money off of it. Like I said above, only a very small percent of travel bloggers actually make money.

The Ugly Side Of Being A Travel Blogger - bahamas

I always make many financial sacrifices to be able to travel the world. Not every trip is sponsored, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been more “poor” in my life, than in the beginning stages of my blog. I still struggle at times to be able to make my traveling dreams come true.

I do make some money from being a travel blogger, but not enough to call it a full time job. For that reason, I still need to always have a part-time job that will bring me extra income, which is really hard to balance between my blogging job. I sometimes spend 14 hours working on my blog and can’t find the energy in me to actually go to work and do other paying gigs.

Regardless, the travel blogging industry is still up and coming and people many times expect you to do things for free, like free advertisement for their company. Sometimes it’s a trade, you stay at a resort in exchange for a review, but again, that can’t pay your bills.

So be prepared to work for free for a long time and know that you will still have to have a full or part time job in the first few years of starting your blog. You have to make a name for yourself, before you start seeing income from blogging.

sunset hofit kim cohen - travel blogger

ALL I SEE IS MY COMPUTER SCREEN

I spend more hours in front of my computer screen than I do doing anything else. Sure, I have it in front of me looking over some pretty amazing locations at time. However, there are many many days where I’m in front of my computer screen for more than 18 hours! Yes, seriously! I can’t begin to describe how many sleepless nights I’ve had since I started this blogging world. From researching new destinations to companies I want to work with, finding cool subjects to write about, reading other travel blogs, writing blog posts, editing blog posts, photos and videos. Working on SEO and marketing my social media, it takes up HOURS upon hours.

I love my computer, he’s one of my best friends and I really couldn’t live without him, but sometimes it’s just too much. In fact, earlier this year, I found out that I need glasses because of all the time I spent in front of my beloved computer screen.

The Ugly Side Of Being A Travel Blogger

INJURIES AND HEALTH

Traveling isn’t always all fun and games, changing climates can be rough on your body. Going from hot to freezing temperatures consistently can make you sick. I get sick all the time, just based on changing to different weather conditions. You are also traveling through airports and airplanes that expose you to so many different kinds of sicknesses from different people and countries.

I’ve had to deal with motion sickness, the flu, food poisoning, ridiculous amount of bug bites and more.

Regardless of your basic flu and cold you might get while traveling, you can also get hurt by doing certain activities during your travels. Sometimes you can even get hurt trying to climb up a mountain just to take the perfect photo. Of course, no one ever sees or thinks of that part of traveling because all they see is a photo of a perfect blissful moment.

the truth about being a travel blogger - vanilla sky dreaming

PEOPLE DON’T TAKE YOUR JOB SERIOUSLY

No one really thinks travel blogging is a real job, they think it’s just all fun and games. You get to travel, see the world, write about it, so easy. WRONG. Think again. What people don’t seem to understand is that when I travel, I work and when I’m home, I “vacation”. It’s the complete opposite than the average person’s life. People work when they are home and travel for a vacation. None of my travels are vacations, they are work.

What exactly does that mean? I’ve previously posted what my schedule looks like when I travel and when I’m at home, to make people better understand the reality of being a travel blogger (Read Post: A Day In The Life Of A Travel Blogger). On my last Euro trip in January, I visited 9 countries in 2 and a half weeks, within that time spam, I got sick 3 times at 3 different occasions due to a lack of sleep, poor eating habits and changing of weather.

This didn’t happen because I was partying it up all night long and forgot to eat, it happened because I was working non-stop, that I just didn’t have time to sleep or eat. Most of those days I was lucky if I got 5 hours of sleep.

My days usually start off early, around 7am-8am, to check my emails, update my social media, advertise new blog post, get dressed and ready to meet a hotel manager because I normally get invited by hotels and resorts for a review. The meetings and the tour of the hotels can take anywhere between an hour to three hours and most of the time you meet a few times, sometimes for dinner and are in constant contact with them your entire stay.

hofit kim cohen - The Ugly Side Of Being A Travel Blogger

Then it’s off to exploring a city, which again is different than your average person. I take many tours and visit many attractions for better content for my blog and I’m always taking notes throughout the day. I’m always on a mission for the perfect photos, which takes up most of my time and I’m also making video for my YouTube Channel. I document every step I take. I’m always trying to find a new angle for my next article and to be honest, I never take any breaks, I crush the city from morning until dark. At times, in unbearable weather conditions because I have a mission to complete.

Other times I’m also reviewing tours, attractions and restaurants, which again, is full of meetings. I’m exhausted by the time I get back into my hotel room, at around 8pm, I can’t feel my feet. Normally around that time, I’m having business dinner meetings, that run until later than that.

When I get back into my room it’s not, lets relax now that it’s all over. It’s where the real work begins, editing photos, editing videos and writing blog posts. Just picking the right photos and editing them from a single day, can take hours. That normally keeps me up all night until 3am, sometimes even later. It’s a job, just like any other job, only it’s more hours than your average job.

I’m so exhausted when I get back into my hotel room, I can’t even think at times because I’m so overwhelmed for better or worse, of the long day I had and all I want to do is go to sleep. But I have deadlines and reviews to write and social media marketing to get done.

hofit kim cohen - Israel

THE HATERS – Haters Gonna Hate…

You will always find haters, no matter what it is that you do, especially when you do something they can’t do.

I always get comments about my grammar and spelling. So let me clarify something, I don’t write for the New York Times or National Geographic, I write for my own personal blog. There is no right or wrong way or a structure for having a blog. I am not perfect. Yes, at times I have spelling mistakes, poor grammar, I get it. I fix as much of it as I see and find. I wasn’t born in America, English isn’t my first language and I really do the best that I can. I write blog posts to inspire people, not to win best speller awards of the year.

On a different note, I have been told by some readers that I probably have rich parents that support me and pay for everything or that I probably inherited money and that’s how I travel. I’ve also been accused of being a call girl, having rich men pay for my trips, you name it, I’ve read it. People will always have an opinion to give.

None of these things are true, clearly, but still, putting your personal life on the web for the world to see, you will get hate comments and mail. You can either take it personally or laugh about it. I choose to laugh about, others can’t take those kind of comments and stop blogging all together.

The Ugly truth Of Being A Travel Blogger

MY RELATIONSHIP STATUS

Has turned into shit lol. I’ve always had boyfriends, I’m a serious relationship kind of a girl, but traveling as much as I do, makes it nearly impossible to have a relationship. Yes, some people travel as much as me or even more and still have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife and that’s amazing for them and I give them all the credit in the world because it’s not easy at all. For some people it works out and others struggle with it, like me.

I’ve tried dating a few times in the past 2 years, since I started my travel blog, but it just doesn’t work. I never know when I’ll be back or how many times I’ll travel in a year or in just a month. A lot of trips are last minute, some last a week other 2 months. It’s nearly impossible to make anything like that work.

Plus, on a different note, I’m also so focused on my blog’s success that I don’t have any extra time to spend dating anyone. I don’t have enough hours of the day to do all the things I need to do to make my blog successful. Having a boyfriend is just another added time being taken away from my success. From personal experience it has taken too much time away from my blog and other job. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point, I can’t stop now.

I do believe in love and when the time is right, I’m sure things will work out because they are meant to work out, but right now, dating is definitely not on my priorities list. I turned 30 this year and as much as I’ve always wanted to get married young and have 4 kids, currently that dream is on hold, until I get my blog to where I need it to be. Of course, if you talk to my mother or father, they have other plans for me and they won’t stop begging me to settle down and start a family already.

peanut and hofit kim cohen

LEAVING MY PUPPY BEHIND

Nothing breaks my heart more than saying my goodbye to my amazing dog Peanut. Having a Yorkie was my dream 7 years previous to getting him, I already had his name and everything for 7 years. I just never found the right time to get him within those 7 years because I always traveled so much. I’ve never had a dog before him, I never understood people’s obsession over their dogs or cats, until I got Peanut in Miami and completely fell head over heals over him. He is the love of my life. It was love at first sight and a hard decision to make because I knew I will always keep on traveling, but I had no idea just how hard it would be to be without him on the road.

I don’t think it’s practical or professional to travel with a dog, while you are traveling for business. So I leave him behind, all the time and it breaks my heart into a million little pieces. Of course, he is always in good hands when I’m not around. He stays with one of my best friends and he takes care of him really well, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

When he sees my suitcases, he has this look on his face, such a sad and confused look, like are you ever coming back mom? Sometimes he will even crawls into my suitcase the moment I open it to pack and won’t move. Other times he falls asleep in it when it’s left opened and the night before my flight, he always sleeps next to it because he knows I’m leaving.

It’s horrible and just so sad to me, I cry every time I have to say goodbye, even if its for a week because I always get scared something God forbid will happen to him, but there is nothing I can do. I choose this life and you have to make many sacrifices if you want to be a successful travel blogger.

kerala blog express - The Ugly Side Of Being A Travel Blogger

Those are some of the ugly sides of being a travel blogger.

Still want to be a travel blogger? 

Great! Do it! If you can handle the hard work, the sacrifice, the struggle and love traveling so much, that it’s engraved on your heart, then do it!

Being a travel blogger is risky and is HARD work, it will take up so much of your time and at times you’ll want to quit. For me, personally, it’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself. It has been all worth it because I really can’t picture myself doing anything else. I love traveling. Traveling is my life and always will be no matter where I am or how old I am. I will never stop traveling. All my hard work, I do with pleasure because at the end of the day it’s what makes me happy and it’s what makes me wake up in the morning with a big smile on my face. Doing what I love to do is so important to me and inspiring people to get out of their comfort zone and see the world is what I live for. Reading comments or emails that people love my blog, makes my heart smile in ways I couldn’t describe to you.

Don’t think I’m complaining, I love every second of what I do. I just want people to get a better and a much realer point of view on the life of a travel blogger. It’s not all glamour and 5 star hotels.

I’m still learning and yearning and I love the journey of it all each and every single day. If you want to be a travel blogger, go ahead and make your dreams come true. It will really change you forever.

Comments

comments

13 Responses to So You Want To Be A Travel Blogger? The Ugly Side Of Being A Travel Blogger

    • That’s great love! I wish you all the best! Keep working hard and things will fall right in their place and YES, please let me know on your 2 year anniversary! I’m really curious! <3 Seriously

  1. Great information. I have had my blog for a few years now and don’t make any money from it but I do get to review products and sometimes get free tours or discounts on room stays for reviews. I am happy with that because if I am going to review something anyway then it is cool when I receive a discount or something for free because of it. Mainly I blog for myself and my readers. I will continue to blog as long as I still love doing it.

    • Thanks.
      See that’s great and I agree with you, but if you want to make a career out of it, it’s going to be a lot harder for most people. Everyone thinks its so easy, but its not. Otherwise everyone would be professional bloggers.

  2. Keep Travelling … Keep Writing….. & Keep Englightening (people like us)
    May God continue to bless your writings and caliber

  3. Wow thisbis so mind blown! I ain’t a hardcore a travel blogger but just as a hobby just coz I love to pen down my experience and share tips that we can’t find in travel guides. So far I only had a sponsored trip that is to Macau earlier this year and I haven’t got the time to complete my final post yet. Theres so much editing to do, so much to research to make sure what’s written are facts not crap. I feel your pain. All the best in your successful career.

    Alicia

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