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Navigating the Journey: The Trials and Triumphs of Being a Travel Content Creator

The featured image for a Travel Creators Club article titled “Navigating the Journey: The Trials and Triumphs of Being a Travel Content.” It displays a travel content creator working on his laptop next to a swimming pool.

Us travel content creators seem to have it all with those exotic destinations splashed across our socials, ever showing off the freedom to explore the world. But what few of us are willing to admit is that the picture of that breathtaking view from our hotel room or that 5-minute video clip of our adventures traveling through some tropical island often comes with far less of the glitz and glamour it has after post-production.

Let’s be honest, we all hope to inspire with those stunning photos, captivating videos, and awe-inspiring stories. However, behind the scenes, there is a world of challenges that travel content creators and digital nomads face each and every day. Sure, the global influencer market size is now estimated to be worth over $21 Billion In 2023, but to be able to cut out your path in this industry and become successful is a whole other kettle of fish, often just leaving you with the bills, the content backlog, and burnout.

Today we will take just a little look into the difficulties encountered by these brave adventurers, from balancing work and wanderlust to monetizing their passion so they can continue globetrotting. If you are new to travel content creation or thinking about embarking on the journey, this might give you a few things to think about.

The Myth of the Endless Vacation

This is one of the most common and misleading perceptions out there. The idea is that you can be on holiday all the time and pretend to work every now and then as someone takes a picture of you beside the pool with a laptop. Sure, the hotel you are staying at might have a pool, but travel content creators are not on ‘vacation’, and often miss out on all the fun. 

Sitting next to a pool working seems like a dream come true, till you actually try it.

Imagine this, there you are working on a script for your next YouTube video that is due for release in 48 hours (yup, we have deadlines too). So you head down to the pool to start working on it and enjoy a bit of sun. 10 minutes into your writing, a family shows up with a loud annoying child. You pop the headphones on and get back to work. Well, the sun can be a pain when trying to work next to a pool, so you turn the brightness on the laptop to full and keep going. It gets hot, so you jump in for a quick dip and then spend the next 10 minutes trying to get dry enough to be able to use the laptop again without your hair dripping on the keyboard. Finally cooled down and ready to get going again, the computer starts to warn that you need to switch to eco-mode as the bright screen is draining the battery. And so it goes till you finally give up and go sit in the room to work.

This is just a simple example of how you can lose an hour getting nothing done while trying to enjoy your travels. Luckily there are plenty of apps and sites to help you save time and energy, but there is no way to avoid those random things that happen when you are out in the big wide world.

Work-Life Balance: On the Road as a Travel Influencer

Basically, travel content creators try to be full-time travelers and work full-time all at the same time. Doing this makes maintaining a work-life balance exceptionally challenging. A global survey run by the Harvard Business Review found that 89% of respondents believe their work-life balance is getting worse. Now imagine if your life is constant travel and your work is to create content about your life, and all of it rests on your shoulders to make it work. It’s a 24/7 cycle of being a travel influencer.

Let’s say you are traveling through the northern mountains of India. You have a set of pictures that you want to take for your Instagram feed as you have a goal of uploading at least 3 pics a day, each and every day. But it’s raining. It’s raining a lot. You are booked into a small place for two nights, the reviews looked good, but because of the rain the electricity is off and no one knows when it will come on again. You mission through the rain to find something to eat and after returning to your room all cold, wet, and miserable you realize that there is no hot water. The next morning you wake up to more rain, but now, on top of the deluge outside, your insides feel like they are also getting a bit stormy. You feel sick. Might be the fact that you got wet the day before or the less-than-stellar meal you had the night before, but whatever it is, you feel awful. But wait, you still have work to do. If you don’t upload, you lose followers, and so your life and work merge in a way that only hard-earned experience could untangle.

Then there are plenty of other creators open to collaborations, which adds another level to it all because now you have to juggle that on top of everything else.

The Way Travel Content Creators Grind

Being an artist is all good and well, but if you have to produce something fresh and exciting on a near-constant basis, things can tend to get stale. Along with that, creating captivating content while on the move and stressing about a thousand other things can be a perpetual struggle.

The psychologist Mark A. Runco, PhD, director of creativity research and programming at Southern Oregon University, says “Creativity involves an honest expression”, but when you are traveling and stressed out, the only honest expression you can muster might be a string of blasphemies. 

Travel content creators must adapt to unfamiliar environments, unpredictable situations, limited resources, nonexistent b2b travel solutions, figuring out how to monetize, and, and, and. All the while, they need to constantly evolve their content to keep their audience engaged.

Not to worry, many have managed to figure out how to juggle their physical and creative journeys all at once, but it is wise to realize that churning out travel content day and night can be a tricky business.

Walking The Financial Tightrope

If you are still reading and have not run away yet, then it is finally time for us to talk about the money. Monetization is a notorious struggle in the travel content creation industry. For most creators it can take years before they earn their first buck and are mostly dependent on ads, sponsors and affiliate marketing. If you are able to make some money while traveling, well then you are off to a great start. But, for most, when you first decide to become a TikTok travel influencer, start a travel YouTube channel, finally begin penning your travel blog, or use whatever platform you fit with best, figuring out how to make money with it can be one of the hardest parts of the travel content creator’s journey.

Travel Creators Don’t Stress

This money thing should not scare you off. For those willing to think a little outside the box, and are willing to put in the time and energy, there are always opportunities around every corner. Here at Travel Creators Club, we are trying to bring travel influencers and creators of all kinds together so we can collaborate to find solutions for better monetizing and optimizing this industry.

For anyone interested in joining one of our monthly get-together events, where we share insights, set up collaborations, and share tips and tricks for improving your travel content; check out our Events page for info on when the next event is scheduled. We also provide free workshops from industry experts to help travel content creators improve their business.

Conclusion

In the above article, we simply touched on some of the many difficulties that travel content creators face. There are always things like dealing with uncertainty and loneliness that plague so many of the hearts of long-term travel influencers, but for those of us who have a deep-rooted passion for travel and creation, this way of life can be something truly special.

This piece will hopefully serve more as a pat on the back to veterans in this industry, just letting you know there are more of us out here going through the same things; and for the newcomers to the industry, welcome, be strong, and hang in there.