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Blogging your travels

I’m considering blogging my next trip, just for a means of sharing and preserving the experience. I’m curious about others who have blogged about their travels. Why did you decide to do it? What platform did you use? Pros/cons?

Posted by
1534 posts

I am considering this too. One thing to do is to put up videos in Youtube. However, I think I need to invest in some awesome cameras with long lenses. I also need to learn photography.

I feel that I want to share my knowledge with fellow travelers. I also want to motivate myself to preserve my memories better. Right now, I am using cell phones to take photos and videos. They are of acceptable quality, but I want them to be better.

Posted by
11439 posts

Beth, I started a blog when we actually moved to Rome in 2012 as a way to stay in touch with a big list of family and friends. Though we now live back in the US, I still blog whenever we travel.

Pros:

  • No postcards to send 😁
  • Serves as a journal for you to reflect on
  • Great place to use some of those bazillion photos you’ll take
  • You will “meet” some great people who find your blog. We’ve made a lot of new friends, near and far, as a result.

Cons:

  • Takes time (but better than writing a dozen postcards!)

I use Wordpress and while I pay for a domaine and some upgrades, there is a free option and the low end domaine option is only $18 a year, I think.

You can find my blog name in my bio by clicking on my name.

Posted by
6819 posts

Beth, I started writing about my travels almost 30 years ago; long before the age of blogs. I enjoyed it so much that I began writing journals online back in 2007 when I went to Turkey and continued it to this day. I do it partly for family and friends and also because it brings back so many memories when I read it years down the road.

Like Laurel, I use WordPress (the free version) - it's not my favorite venue but it works and I don't feel like searching for another one. :)

Posted by
1158 posts

maybe it's just me, but I worry about advertising to everyone who can see my social media posts (and anyone they might mention it to) that I'm not just out of town but thousands of miles away.

Posted by
4231 posts

And frankly - nobody cares. It's highly unlikely any of us have
anything new, original or exciting to say.

Holy glass half empty Batman!

Posted by
2461 posts

I also use the free Wordpress, have done so for almost 10 years. I only post there and not on other social media while I'm away, which means only people I tell (family/friends) know I'm on the road. I changed the settings so that search engines are somewhat thwarted, and so I don't have many trolls following along (knock wood). The main pro is that I can send the same update to everyone so I don't have to repeat stories and my mom doesn't worry so much if I post regularly. I also find it a nice way to wrap up a busy day, reflecting on sights, sounds, people, feelings, and selecting pictures that are a good encapsulation of the day (I only use my phone for photos). And it's nice to go back and read things about my travels that I have already forgotten - which it turns out is a lot. On my last trip with my nephew, he wrote something for the blog each day, so I am extra thankful I captured his youthful observations on his first overseas trip.

The biggest con for me is that people expect you to keep up on it...which is occasionally a bit of pressure if I'm tired or the wifi connection is terrible and I can't post the photos I want to. And Wordpress just changed the interface/app for my phone, so I'm expecting there to be a bit of a learning curve on my upcoming trip.

Overall I find the pros outweigh the cons - but you never know until you try. Give it a go - you don't have to do it again if it doesn't work for you :)

Posted by
2644 posts

I blog my trips. I've been doing it since 2016. It's fun and a lot of people and friends are able to see what we're up to.

Link in my bio.

I love having the memories, the pictures, the stories out there to look back on.

I use WordPress.

Posted by
15539 posts

If you want to do it, do it for yourself. Don't expect others to get excited. It's like the old days of showing your vacation photos to others or sending out that Christmas letter letting everyone how wonderful your family is doing.

They really don't care. They may act interested but they really don't care.

However, it's a great way to preserve the memories for yourself. Sort of like writing a journal but electronic.

Depending on which platform our use--Apple or Android--there are numerous free apps dedicated to just what you are trying to do. Do a search.

Posted by
7391 posts

My husband has a friend who he mentored who has all of the techie bells & whistles in a wonderful studio. His friend really wanted to help me get started with a blog and YouTube after reading some of my FB entries & photos. If you’re considering it, you should try it, Beth, on your next trip and see how you like it!

A reason why I decided to pass it up was that my friends have already requested when I travel to share a daily short commentary on Facebook. I post about five photos of my day and give a very short reason - history, music, architecture, culture or humor of why I chose those photos. I can be myself - not trying to impress anyone who doesn’t know me.

But the main reason why I passed up the opportunity is that my trips are for my pleasure, to stretch my learning, to experience new challenges, to take classes like cooking to enjoy back at home, and to deepen my faith. If I had a trip where I intended to blog the experience, it would change how I approached the trip, the decisions I made during the trip, and it suddenly wouldn’t feel like it was my personal trip. For instance, instead of picking up food in a grocery store or eating at the same place twice for dinner, I’d feel like I needed to blog a new restaurant experience. “What do people want to hear?” would begin to ring in my head instead of my own inner wishes.

I do think it’s great to write about your trip in some format to keep as something you can enjoy reading later. I end up taking the short commentaries that I post daily in FB and just copy/pasting those into a Word document. I fill in a few more details that our forum likes to know, such as hotel names, overall trip price, etc. and that becomes my trip report that I post in our forum. I always print out a copy of it and add it to my plastic folder of paper souvenirs for that trip. During 2020, all of them were read multiple times! : )

Posted by
4231 posts

That's well written Jean, I do the same on Facebook and Trip Reports for similar reasons.

Posted by
9767 posts

What a wonderfully reflective response, Jean, and i also love how you make these trip reflections starting with your FB posts and then adding a bit more for yourself. Very cool.

Posted by
2732 posts

I do something similar to Jean, although instead of posting on FB, I send an email to family and friends who request it. I find this mostly enjoyable. I sometimes get too wordy and then get hung up on editing.

As much as I love to write, I think blogging would be way too time consuming. Maybe other people can write good first drafts, but mine need lots of editing, especially since I would be doing it on my phone. (I refuse to take another device.)

As for the comments along the lines of nobody cares, I disagree. SOME people love reading about other’s travels. For example, I just love Valerie’s blog. Even though my travel interests are different than hers — I love history for instance — she is so funny and engaging that I really look forward to reading about her trips. I’m going to try Laurel’s too.

Posted by
6819 posts

For instance, instead of picking up food in a grocery store or eating at the same place twice for dinner, I’d feel like I needed to blog a new restaurant experience. “What do people want to hear?” would begin to ring in my head instead of my own inner wishes.

Jean, I get what you are saying, but honestly I have never ever found myself doing that. I have never gone anywhere or eaten anything on my trip for anyone else. Maybe it's because my blog (I actually prefer the term "online journal" as I think "blog" suggests something more commercial) is really not for publication, although people do find it. It's for me. I still have my notebooks from when I first started traveling to Europe and go through them periodically, reliving the trips. I look at the person I was back then and remember that starry-eyed travel visionary and it brings back so many memories.

And I don't care if people want to read it, although many of my family and friends do. I know one of my sisters loves it and I post the link on my Facebook page so some of my friends can read it (especially those who have never traveled outside the country). And my daughter reads it and shows it to my grandkids, who love looking at it. I love to write, and I think that's a factor as well.

As for the comments along the lines of nobody cares, I disagree. SOME people love reading about other’s travels.

Carroll, I agree. One year I announced that it was too much work (CL is right - it can be a PITA sometimes) and I was going to stop, and got such loud protests from my siblings and some friends that I changed my mind. And like you, I love reading other people's travel writings online. Sometimes I have gotten inspiration for future trips.

Posted by
2644 posts

@Carroll - Thank you!!!!!!

As to time it takes to blog:

I blog almost every day. Some times it’s a day or two between posts. On the trip I just finished - a 31 day trip - I put up 25 blog posts.

I like the live-blogging plan - my thoughts are fresh and I can share the best of our stories.

How long does it take me to live blog a trip?

Well, the days that go poorly - we’re lost, we miss a train etc. - well those are easy blog days and I can get a post up in less than an hour.

My habit is to upload my photos at the end of a day and perhaps put a couple of jog-my-memory notes in. Then I wake up the next morning and add the full text.

I love looking back at my blog and having a fun summary of my travel highlights (and, inevitably, my travel low points:)

Does anyone read my blog? Yes, definitely. Friends and family - some who I’ve met through my blog like Laurel said - reach out to me with Comments and notes as we travel and I love that.

Sometimes, when we’re on a tour for part of our travels, the tour company will post my blog on their Facebook account and then I can see over 1000 views some days. That’s kind of fun - and a little intimidating - because I do certainly pour my heart out in my blog. It’s definitely not a blog of staged food photos and cliche travel stops:)

Posted by
1788 posts

I find it is best to keep notes of the day on my iPad. I do this when I return for the day, showered and vegging out before dinner. I routinely download my pictures from my camera to my iPad and then just take basic notes of where I was, what I saw, people I may have met, etc.

I then expound upon those notes in an email to myself when I have down time, on a train, rainy period, etc. I copy some people on the email and include 3 or 4 pictures and send.

The real writing occurs when I get home. I elaborate more and I just use Microsoft Word. It can handle pictures, stories, etc. I don't blog because as was mentioned, and I am sure most people agree, no one or very few are really interested in your trip details. It is extremely hard to convey the excitement of travel to those that really don't.

However, I find it very enjoyable to read those travel logs occasionally.

Posted by
362 posts

I blog about our travels - not all of them though, and I blog about other stuff too. I use SquareSpace, which is a Google product. I think I pay $100/year, that includes my domain name. I do not blog while traveling though - it does take too much time, and I find the SquareSpace mobile app to be very awkward and limiting (I just travel with my iPad Mini), although maybe it's improved.

I take very very basic notes about what we did each day, usually in Apple's Note app. Then I spend time when we return writing up a narrative and uploading the photos, etc. Unlike a few people responding here (on a travel forum, full of other people's experiences lol!), I do have friends and relatives who enjoy the blog posts. I also make some Facebook and Insta posts while traveling, and sometimes that even helps me when doing the blog as far as what we did, when. My profiles are not public, and my friends are not criminals (as far as I know!), so I am not worried that my house will be ransacked because someone noticed I was in Europe via Facebook posts.

I like to write, and thought travel blogging would be a good way to catalog the experience. I am not a scrapbooker, or a photo album person. My children have already warned us that if it's not in the cloud, they don't want it lol. I've also found that having the blogs is useful for planning, i.e. going to X again, what did we do last time? And I actually just sent a link about our 2017 trip to Japan to a few people who are planning trips there.

Posted by
3196 posts

I started a sort of travelogue on Facebook on a trip in 2016, and my friends loved it.
So now I do it for every trip.
Just a paragraph every few days, with photos.
Not about what sites I saw, or minute boring descriptions of what I ate; but more about observations of quirky people and things I come across as I go.
Not stuff you can read in any guide book, but details of everyday life wherever I am.
I won a prize on another site for my first “blog”!

Posted by
472 posts

I do pretty much what Jean does except I start on Instagram. It only allows 10 pictures a post and I only post once a day, if that, with a short explanation of the day. I can then share the post on FB for friends that don't have Insta. I don't have a huge amount of followers and they are mostly family and good friends. I figure if people don't want to look at them, they can just skip by, It's mostly so my kids can keep track of me.

Posted by
10333 posts

I started a blog in 2011 when I was going to Europe for 3 weeks with a friend. My husband was able to follow along with what I was doing. I’ve blogged every international trip since then, mostly as a journal so I can revisit my trip. I’m not trying to entertain anyone else and I rarely, if ever, mention a restaurant, food or things like that. I usually blog in the evening while winding down for the night, or in the morning because I’m always awake before my husband is. I know some people read it, but that’s not my purpose for doing it.

I use Wordpress.

Posted by
77 posts

I am interested in doing an oral journal this year, i.e., talking into my phone to record the highlights of the day to match whatever photos were taken. I have always done handwritten journals and I always seem to have a 5-7 day period where I fall behind and just have quick notes. Never seem to get back to the notes and thus, have no details of that period.

In preparing for an upcoming trip to Italy, France and the UK, I reread my old journals from those countries (three separate ones) and was completely amazed by how much I forgot of my trip! Has anyone tried this or used an app that they found especially helpful for oral journaling? I was thinking of just using my Voice Memos on my phone to record impressions for the day. Then, when I get home, drop all that into a Word document and make it readable. My thinking was that this would be a way to capture the memories quickly so I don't lose them.

Curious if anyone has "blogged" or "journaled" in this way and what their thoughts were?

Posted by
6819 posts

Laura, I've done that - sent myself long oral memos or whatever. I usually just open up a blank email, then start dictating in the message box. In Gmail it will stay open (and be automatically saved) so you don't' need to worry about losing it, and you can just come back whenever you have something new to say. Then at the end of the day, just pull it up and use it. :)

Posted by
102 posts

@Beth:

I'm presently in the midst of "My Vienna", an ongoing series of posts whose number approaches 30. I've summarized the series in a public Dropbox and downloadable PDF whose link is on my user profile.

I created a "blogsite" to collect and record various memories. I should've started long ago when I moved to the southern hemisphere, but only began when that experience came to an end.

I don't blog or update much while on travel, because I prefer to focus energy into what I do, experience, and see. (I'm usually exhausted by day's end, anyway.) Typically, I travel with some initial questions in mind; I might not get full (or any) answers, but I'm all about the pursuit. For example: in Vienna, (1) Where did the young Hedwig Kiesler live with her family and spend her time? (2) Where has architect Otto Wagner left traces? (There are many throughout the city.)

I began with WordPress, and I've remained blogging with the platform. One can start with a free account, and proceed to varying paid options. WordPress is becoming more about "WebPress", as its focus becomes more about creating websites, rather than its initial focus about blogging. I am more about (a) the words and fitting images to "serve" the words, and (b) laying out a straight-forward arrangement of images to provide a central impression. I've considered more video and audio, but I continue to be a fan of and to learn the craft of "drawing attention with the stationary image."

@Valerie:

thanks for putting your WP link in your profile: I'm following!

Posted by
95 posts

Thanks, everyone, for all the (mostly) great responses! I have signed up for a free Wordpress account and spent some time familiarizing myself with it yesterday.

I probably should have explained in my original post that I wouldn’t be blogging for commercial reasons, just for my own enjoyment and future reflection…and to share my experiences with any interested family and friends. I’m not planning to write my own guidebook.

I’ve always journaled when I travel, and I have shared brief notes on Facebook. But, I want a more permanent way to record my thoughts located in one unified space, and in a space that might be more accessible to some who don’t participate in the usual social media platforms.

I write a blog currently about my life with cancer for much the same reason, to update family and friends and share my own thoughts and feelings, so I’m familiar with the time commitment, etc. For my travel blog, I don’t intend to write lengthy entries, just some captioned photos, really.

Again, thank you to all who shared your thoughts and experiences. Can’t wait for my trip to begin next month!