With the rise of travel blogging, we have heard of the fabulous lives of these travel influencers and bloggers. And along with their awesome shots in exotic places, the inspirational captions of why travel blogging is the life to be, is waving at us in every status they post in their social media. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that it becomes unauthentic when travel bloggers start painting the lifestyle with their unicorn dust, rainbows and butterflies. And here are the common travel bloggers lies that they tell you.

1. I quit working to just travel the world
A lot of travel bloggers proudly claimed that they quit their job to just travel the world. But then they would eventually add that in exchange for free accommodation and food, they are offering their services. And these services include cleaning, marketing, web designing or probably teaching English.

First off, they didn’t really quit working. They just changed their job description. Secondly, unless you’re an heir from Warren Buffet’s kingdom, or you’re a trust fund baby with Upper East Side residence, I don’t think someone can really afford travelling for long period of time without working. So let’s stop romanticizing quitting our previous jobs and just call it is what it is: “I hate my previous job and I didn’t have enough time for travelling so I resigned and looked for a career that suits my needs.” There I said it.

2. Travel blogging is 4-hour/ week job
These past few years, travel bloggers sprout like mushrooms in the wild after a storm or bloom like flowers after the rain. Or whatever. I’m not good at poetic lines but you guys get the gist. You know why?

I must admit, I was also enticed by the promise of blogging gods and goddesses that if you blog, you make enough money to travel the world, brands will beg you on their knees and on top of that you will only have to work 4 hours a week. Isn’t that neat?!

Not until I started blogging and have to study SEO, plugins, keywords, themes and WordPress. On top of writing contents, editing images, compiling them in a neat article like this. Do you know how much time a blogger spends in promoting their contents, getting followers and building their social media presence? It’s excruciating and frustrating process. Especially that lately social media platforms are being anal (for the lack of better word). And I’m going to stop right here before I bore you with details.

It might be true that other bloggers, work for few hours a week (I only know one personally), but it is only because they have already built a massive following. They have established a brand that enough for them to hire people to work for them (note: there are other people who do the work for them). But this requires yeeears of experience, tons of hard work, credibility and over flowing patience and creativity.

3. You can travel for free
There’s no such thing as free as we know it. Even hugs these days are being offered for a fee. So you think you can really travel for free? Think again.

So when travel bloggers tell their readers that they travel for free because of their sponsors, I can’t help but roll my eyes. These travel bloggers “work” for press trips and free accommodations. It’s not really free. Sometimes, they spend their whole time on these “free” hotels working. You think snapping 2 to 3 Instagram pictures are enough to pay for a couple of nights stay and then hang out in the pool all day with free flowing margaritas? They have to promote the hotels on their social media which takes time, creativity and skills. Write about it on their blogs and produce good images. This includes press trips where they have to move from one destination to another, take pictures, review places and produce promotional contents that leaves nothing for them to actually enjoy the place. It might be free technically but travel bloggers have to work for it. Much as I want brands to pay travel writers like me to just breathe and exist, unfortunately we have to work hard for it like everyone else is doing to pay their bills.

And of course, let’s not forget Couchsurfing, hitch hiking, dumpster diving and other classic ways of travelling for “free”. You don’t really expect your couchsurfing host to pay for everything including your meals right? Or at least offer to give something in return. Which also applies to hitch hiking and which is not always legal.

4. If I can do it, all of you can quit your job to travel too

Ah the classic. If I can do it, all of you can do it too. How many times have we read/ heard of this? Although I like the positivity of the message, we all know that what applies to some travel bloggers don’t apply to everyone. What applies to me as a single woman; with no kids, no debt, with stable and decent paying job and whose problems only consist (at least mostly) what cuisine I should eat next or if I can find L’occitaine in the next country I’m going to, does not apply to someone who is struggling student with student loans taller than her. Or a single mom of 2 kids who can barely afford a take out from her favorite Chinese restaurant, or a single guy with decent job but with ill parents to take care of, or a person of color that’s embassies always reject because they think he will blow up their countries. You see what’s the problem there?

Travel bloggers might not have the best lives either, but our situations are entirely different from others. It’s okay to inspire people, it’s something that I would also like to do, but inspiring people does not include rainbows and unicorns and living inside our bubbles. We have to acknowledge that we are what we are and we’re here because we’re blessed and privileged enough to travel.

5. Their travel blog income
Okay let’s talk about the money. We have heard of these all the time how much money these travel bloggers make that you want to fire your boss and start your own blog. But do they really make that amount of money as they claimed from blogging?

I’m not saying everyone is lying about their real income report as I know a couple who do really make a good amount of money out of it with proof to back them up. But I do personally know travel bloggers who blatantly lie about it. I’m not going to name names obviously (because I still want to live heh) but I’m going to cite examples how they lie about it.

Have you seen those blog income reports bloggers make every month? I was surprised at first to see bloggers make over $3000 a month on their first 3 months. I’m not saying it’s not doable but highly unlikely. Then I reviewed their “blog” income reports and I noticed that they are including their side jobs income. Which is almost the total of their monthly income and almost nothing for direct earnings from their blog. Which I find quite misleading.
To further explain this, this blogger (just one of them) included $100 from her travel blog combined affiliate links and ads earnings to her over $3000 earnings from her social media management jobs on her first month. If her blog is all about social media management tips and guides and the side gigs were a result of the promotion coming from her blog, I guess it is safe to say that she can claim her earnings are all coming from her blog? But it wasn’t. It’s like me – claiming I’m earning $12,000/ month from my blog and including my salary as operations executive – managing call centers. Which is not in any way related to my travel writing.

Another example, I also know this guy who always talks about his blogging success but in reality, he has to beg hostels to let him stay for free in exchange of his services because he doesn’t have money to pay for his stay and even his meals… But he says things differently when he is posting on his social media. How do I know? That’s a secret I’ll never tell. 😉

And it’s quite sad really.

To be honest, I really don’t care if people lie about their income reports. Or whatever travel bloggers lies they feed their followers. Whatever floats their boat. What I just don’t understand is the need to misrepresent travel blogging as a lifestyle. Why don’t we just call spade a spade and let people see what this lifestyle is all about?

In my line of work, I’m highly involved with hiring our sales representatives. During interviews, I always end it with selling skills test and ask them to convince me to buy a second hand toothbrush from them. And the common reactions I get are either they laugh at first or tell me “who on earth will buy a second hand toothbrush?” Exactly. But one thing I do is I don’t sugar coat the jobs we offer to be something easy when it is not. So to our future travel bloggers, you’ve been warned.

You’re welcome!


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46 COMMENTS

  1. Great post! As I now have more free time to dedicate to my blog, I’m doing more and more research and starting to see through the lies. I hope this article goes viral!

    • Haha thanks! Whenever I see posts in our FB group regarding “how do you guys afford to travel?” Or “what work should I get if I want to travel?” and expect travel bloggers to swarm up the post with “I travel for free because of my blog”.

  2. Awesome post explaining what a person needs to keep in mind before heading towards a new job or any goals someone has in mind. Only advice for anyone planning to just lift there backpack and head out leaving everything behind. Take a 10-20-30 days leave from whatever you do presently and try your next adventure in life and see if you really want to carry on with this. Write 3-4 articles/week atleast 10 if you take a 1 month leave and see if you love it or get a glance of the in and out of blogging and how tough is to get you 100th follower of 1000th view to your blog :). I am working and travelling whenever I feel to explore some new place and don’t have any plans to leave my present style in the coming months.

  3. It is refreshing to read a post like this. Quite honestly, I am tired of reading cliché travel quotes and the like that are aimed to inspire people to travel full-time and pursue a career in blogging. Not that either is impossible, of course. It just isn’t a universal option for everyone. There is a call for better transparency in travel blogging, so thank you for writing this post – I hope it will open some people’s eyes.

    • Thanks for your kind words Anna! And yeeees! I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but some travellers think it’s simple as black and white.

  4. This is greatttt. You laid it all out on the table and were super honest about our lives! I also can’t stand those that hide behind their income reports, as it makes the other bloggers like us look bad. The GIFs are my favorite btw 🙂

  5. Awesome read, yup nothing is for free. We’ve been blogging for a while and also reading others travel blogs. Our way of breaking free and travelling full time involves downsizing our house, selling off what we don’t need and saving. For the last 5 years we’ve been working on our goal to travel forever (no one said free) and we are still not at our financial goal yet. it will take us another 3 years of living on one wage while we save. Then we’ll have enough savings to leave work and travel for 6 years before our superannuation funds kick in. I can here the naysayers now saying it’s impossible, but during this time we’ve managed to pay off 2.5 acres of beach front property in the tropical Islands of Vanuatu. You see there are two types of people, those who will and those who just want to say it can’t be done. We’re looking forward to traveling…. sure it will be on a budget and we may have to work a little here and there, but its better than the 9-5 slog that most of us do…. Oh that’s right some call it a career, poor misguided fools (jokes :))

  6. I agree 100% with this and it is really with any blogger that feels they can quit a job and solely focus on blogging. There is no FREE travel. You have to do something to get something. Travel jobs do not give you free travel you must work before you can enjoy. I traveled and seen more than 31 countries free. Not I world my butt off for the US Navy that’s is how I got to see the world. Hard work.

    • Haha thanks Gabriela and true! As we delve deeper to this blogging world, we’ll definitely discover more 😉

  7. The truth is that I am not much of a traveler… I was deprived of that privilege when I was little. So now I am old enough to make my own decisions and go where ever I wish to, but I just don’t have the willingness anymore..

    Instead, I’d sit on my couch and look on my computer screen.. writing articles or searching for articles to read.. which BTW Christine nailed!!

  8. This is hillarious! I enjoyed reading it so much, probably due to the same poetic lines and sarcastic tone I usually use when I write 😂 Perfect timing, too, as I woke up totally depressed today and tired of the constant fight with social media algorithms and all that jazz. Thank you for making me smile! ❤

    • Haha glad to be of help! 😉 I find it hard to write in a formal way. Even at work, I create business emails the same way. And hang tight there fellow blogger! I just keep posting and enjoy the ride rather than stress myself with the lack of engagement 😉

  9. Oh and don’t get me started with “I have soooo many followers”. Some of those followers on Instagram are bought or… bots. Some comments and following are even made through blogger support groups so the only people reading them are themselves. There is a question on the ethicality of it, but it’s common practice in the industry. It would be great if all travel bloggers own up to at least “faking it”.

  10. Yes! I wish there were more posts out there like this! I recently wrote one myself because I couldn’t deal with all the “start a travel blog and travel for free” talk. Creating content is hard work and having 2-3 jobs like I do to keep afloat is beyond a full time job. I appreciate the experience of being able to see the world from an objective set of eyes, but I have to admit being a full time blogger has been one of the most challenging… and humbling jobs.

  11. wow!! what an eye opener! i honestly sometimes doubt too about the income they post and engagement of their sites…. hehehehe.. sometimes i feel they are on a race to prove something and forgot to enjoy traveling. As a Filipina who loves travelling, i just can’t afford to quit my current job because I got a lot of mouth to feed, not my own family, but the those of the employees of the company. i know i am privileged to have this in my life. i like my work-travel balance… More power!

  12. Being a travel blogger who left his job years back, I can totally relate and really hate it when others say all these lies. But then again, what’s new? Btw, I’m still LOL-ing at “social media platforms are being anal”. That certainly couldn’t be truer! LOL!

  13. A job is a job and anyone who pretend that making a living from travel blogging isn’t actually a ton of work (like a “real” job) then they are just trying to be coy in my eyes!

  14. Very enlightening post for many I hope. Once in a while a friend will say something to me like, “I want to do what you do.” Or, “How can I do what you do?” To which I just smile and say, trust me, if you knew you’d probably not want to. And I don’t make enough money on my blog to bother mentioning it anyway.

  15. Interesting post. As a fellow travel blogger I know it is possible to make a full-time income from blogging but like you’ve said, it takes a huge amount of work to be able to do that. Definitely agree, nothing is for free. Polly

  16. I appreciate your honesty and forthrightness. I’ve been blogging for eight years, when the field wasn’t as crowded as it is today. It was hard work then, and it continues to be hard work now. Anyone saying otherwise and selling a pretend lifestyle isn’t going to last.

  17. You mean you’re not getting paid big bucks to travel the world and never have to work?! haha. I love this post. What I hate most is when bloggers try to portray that image and then get mad when people don’t appreciate how hard they work. You can’t have it both ways.

  18. I like how honest this post is. It’s always good to show the other side of the story and be completely honest with the readers. I believe that what will inspire people more is showing your struggles while living an awesome life because hiding the real thing might mislead other people. And I think that’s dangerous!

  19. Love this! I love how honest it is, and the general outing (I understand not naming names!) of those in the travel blogging world who are so deceptive about where they are in their blogging. Why can’t we just be honest and say it takes a lot of work to do this, and I have to have another source of income for groceries? Is that so terrible to admit??? Thank you!

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