When I started travel blogging nearly four years ago (this one for a year and a half), there were some things that I just didn’t know. I was starting from the ground up and trying out a new type of writing, but I managed to learn quickly that not all was peachy in the travel blogging world, and that some of the facts were definitely skewed a little bit in order to make a blogger look better or to attract more visitors to the site.
I’ve written about how having an authentic blog is really important to me, and here are 3 things I found bothered me about other travel sites when I started my own
1. They weren’t being honest about sponsorship
As a travel writer, I’ve been lucky to have been on several press trips and have had been sent some awesome products to review. This is one of the perks of having a successful blog and providing content for readers. However, I’ve finished travel articles where the author was very clearly compensated or provided lodging. It’s great if you enjoyed a specific hotel or attraction and wanted to share it with readers, but many times, this is not usually the case. A glowing review can be often mean that the travel blogger got something for free and didn’t mention it. Early on, this meant that I would make sure my readers knew when I was reviewing a product because I wanted to or because it was given to me.
2. They embellished stories and weren’t honest about their experiences
I’m all for a good story and for having some adventures on your travels. What would the point be if you didn’t come back with a yarn or two to share? However, I’ve heard some stories that have been elaborated by travel bloggers in order to gain readers—and some end up being downright false. If the story is only about them, then it doesn’t tend to be a big deal. However, you’re also talking about a certain people and culture when you write a travel blog, and those people or that place can be put under fire if the story tends to be a negative one. We should be honest as a travel bloggers, but we also need to realize that we are talking about people and societies that are not our own and might suffer the repercussions from our anger. Stories are an important part of travel, but they should be real.
3. They only talk about the glamorous parts of travel
Luxury travel can be great, and there’s a whole group of travel bloggers that do a great job of talking about traveling with a large (or unlimited budget). However, those people tend to be real about some of the difficulties you face while traveling abroad too. Even flying first class and going to 5-star restaurants can come with some hiccups. For many travelers (and for me), that’s all part of the fun. I’ve never understood why some bloggers fail to acknowledge their cultural faux pas or they refuse to admit that traveling can be tough. This almost seems to be the opposite of wanting a good story—it’s wanting to say your trip went absolutely perfectly!
For me, not sharing some of my biggest f*ck ups with readers doesn’t really help them. In fact, it can make them believe that my life is much more organized (it’s really, really not) than it is. Things always look better from the outside, and part of having a travel blog for me is letting people know that anyone can travel—even if it’s not glamorous.
What do you admire about certain travel bloggers? What other lies have you experienced?