Take Your Travel Blogging to The Next Level Through These Upskilling Techniques

If you have been in the travel blogging business for a few years, you will agree that old school writing no longer makes the cut in the present times. While good content is still valued, it is very rarely read. Most Millennials are impatient even with the blogs they read and the content they consume. Also, thanks to the boom in online content, it is hard to grab anybody’s attention, to begin with. There is no reason to lose heart, though. There are many ways to revamp your travel blog, and very specifically, your articles. Take some cues from the tips outlined hereunder.

Draw Inspiration From High-Quality Content

Most of my travel writer friends are voracious readers.
(Caught my pal from Nat Geo Traveller busy with her favourite pastime.)

Let’s get one thing straight at the outset: you cannot be a great writer unless you are an eager reader first. Get into a habit of reading well-researched, high-quality and engaging pieces. Understand what draws you to those types of articles. Is it the writing style? The in-depth coverage? Or a concept so novel that you cannot seem to ignore it? Gently try to incorporate the techniques that work best for the most widely read posts. A word of caution here: do not imitate! Try to be original in your writing style while putting all the inspiration to good use.

Make Friends With Grammar Nazis

Take time to reflect on the constructive criticism you receive.
(Deep thinking with my buddies in the hills of Prabalgad, Maharashtra)

If you are a true writer of yore, you’ll most likely be a grammar Nazi yourself. However, if you are a new-generation blogger without much of a flair for writing, you can still cultivate this art. Pay attention to some basics such as spellings and grammar. The only thing that can ruin a really good travel story with stunning photos is a poorly worded article. Not everybody is a gifted writer, but that does not mean one cannot master this skill. Do not be upset when you encounter grammar Nazis who constantly point out spelling mistakes or grammatical corrections that are wanting in your blog posts. Embrace learning even when it comes in the form of criticism.

Improve The Images That Go With The Words

It has taken me years to better my photography & editing skills, and I’m still learning.
(My click from Thimphu, Bhutan)

About a decade ago, an excellently written piece was enough to make a blog post a big hit with the readers. Unfortunately, a lot more is required today. When your post is competing with several other articles waiting to be read, (apart from other tasks lingering on the long laundry-list of the average reader’s schedule), you’ve got to up your game. High-resolution, well-framed and neatly edited photos are almost mandatory if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger, more so if you do travel blogging. Pepper your long posts with beautiful pictures that are relevant to the content. If you struggle with photography, you can always procure images from copywright-free sources.

Consider Taking An English Test Prep Course

Exams have a way of setting you on fire. You learn more when you know you’ll be tested.

Don’t feel shy about taking up courses in the English language (if you blog in English or wish to start eventually). If your trips to English-speaking countries have stoked your wanderlust enough to move or work from there, you will have to take the IELTS. I suggest signing up for the IELTS reading practice test and the  IELTS Writing Practice Test at BestMyTest. With features such as realistic simulations of IELTS tests, personalized study plans, diagnostic reports, instructor assistance and in-depth reviews of all testing sections, especially the subjective ones (Speaking and Writing), BestMyTest sets itself apart from the competition. They will even offer you 10% off all online IELTS preparation plans when you use my referral link with the code 2DEALSPOTIELTS! Your fluency in English is certain to improve when you get serious about it.

Experiment With Different Tones & Writing Formats Until You Find Your Best Fit

I’m busy blogging even as I await my flight out of Russia.

There is no golden formula for a well-written travelogue. While some talented writers focus on the destination and the locals, some others like to assume an introspective tone, sharing mostly about their personal experiences on a trip. Elaborately worded adjective-heavy sentences are a staple of certain bloggers. On the other hand, some prefer to keep their travel accounts simple and crisp. I know of blogs that provide detailed information on a place, while certain others exist only to generate curiosity, barely giving anything away. You can play around with different styles and see what works with your audience and also what you personally like. In the end, your writing should reflect a bit of you, regardless of what you write about.

Are you a travel blogging veteran with more tips to share?

Or are you new to travel writing who needs more guidance?

Let me know through your comments below.

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Sustaining a Career in Travel Writing When COVID-19 Has Disrupted Tourism: Tips on Balancing Work & Mental Health

So much has changed in the world since we took our last trips. Even though some countries and territories are gradually opening up again, COVID-19 has effected some changes that are most likely here to stay. The pandemic that brought tourism worldwide to a grinding halt (even though solo hikes and certain activities were still allowed in a few nations), has had a ripple effect on many allied careers, including travel writing. The disruption seems to have taken a toll on the mental health of many professionals. I write today’s piece not just to reflect on the current situation but to provide some hope and help to my friends and associates who are eagerly waiting for the world to get back to its pre-coronavirus times. While my advice is mainly for travel writers, some tips apply across industries.

Build Trust With Existing Clients

I remind myself how the fishermen in Kerala work together in trust.

If you are fortunate enough to still have some of your travel clients in business, go the extra mile for them. Now is not the time for hard negotiations and highhandedness. Be empathetic towards your business associates who might also have been affected by the change in various laws following the coronavirus spread. If you have fallen on hard times, reconnect with your past clients to check if they would like to work again with you. We often assume that a shut door will never reopen. But experience tells me that most businesses are happy to reconsider working with a valuable freelancer. When a couple of big names (that I used to get regular work from) were badly impacted by the global lockdowns, it was a long-standing old client that sustained me. I count myself lucky to have the rare opportunity to actually grow my savings when I thought I would run short on earnings.

Master Time Management To Balance Writing & Other Chores When You Lose Helping Hands

I sneak in some blogging notes while relaxing with my husband in a forest hideaway in Maharashtra.

One of the unique challenges most of us face in India is a result of our undeserved privilege and skewed social demographics. Before the COVID-led lockdown, many of us (including me) were used to house help who would do our sweeping, mopping and even cooking in certain cases. Now that all our maids are under stay-at-home orders, our days have gotten longer with the extra chores and backbreaking routines. It is how we deal with this added responsibility that will determine our mental peace. We had always been balancing our writing work with constant travel (when you think of the good old times). It’s time to repeat that with blogging deadlines and household chores. Time management is the key to winning this game. Divide your days into writing slots, chore slots and relaxation-with-family slots. Also, take a moment to reflect on how valuable your domestic help are. Try to be more compassionate and generous with their wages and leaves once they’re back.

Bank On Your Remote Working Skill To Scout For Work From Other Geographies

I pose at an almond grove in Chowchilla, California. I’m thankful for all the blogging assignments I get from the USA, among other countries.

As freelance travel writers, we are quite fortunate to have the liberty to work for anyone in any part of the world while residing in any geography. Make use of this advantage by pitching to clients in countries that are offering travel writing work. While the coronavirus numbers tell us one story, reality speaks another. When the UK was peeking its hospital capacity and the outlook seemed grim, I surprisingly got a chance to write for a London-based AirBnB management services company. Do not let all the morose news bring your spirits low. Many countries are opening tourism again. A bunch of European nations, some South-East Asian islands and parts of Africa will soon be launching their travel campaigns. (Now you know where to start pitching. 😉 )

Invest In Products That Relieve Stress

Courtesy: Eden’s Herbals

While a slight shift in perspective and some encouraging words are enough for most of you to get back on track, I understand that the depressive feelings might be too much for some of you to handle. With the lack of doctors and psychological help that you can access in these precarious times, you can fall back on over-the-counter stress-relieving options which are safe. THC-free CBD gummies, oil tinctures and other products by Eden’s Herbals aim to provide significant relief over aches and anxieties. Made in USA and lab-tested, these do not cause a high while helping you get over your worries. They offer free shipping in the USA. Plus, you get 10% off when you checkout using my code OINDRILADE.

Follow A Routine That Puts Your Mental Health Before Your Career

Take time off to relish the little pleasures of life such as afternoon tea and cookies.

Finally, remember that your career is not everything. It does not fully define you, regardless of how much of your identity depends on your work. When your writing career is going through a lean patch, take some time to enjoy the activities you love but are always too busy to do. Cook your favourite dishes, read the books you’ve been neglecting, watch some feel-good movies, or go for a walk if that’s allowed in your city. Also, set aside some time for exercise. A healthy mind dwells in a healthy body. While you’re busy doing this all, the world will soon start to look rosier!

Are you struggling with your career because of the economic slowdown & travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic?

Are you constantly demoralized or have depressive thoughts?

Let me know through your comments below. I will be happy to offer you a listening ear and some help or connect you to somebody who can assist materially.

Follow me on InstagramFacebook, Youtube and Twitter for travel stories, inspiration and some guidance to get through the difficult times.