As 2020 continues to challenge the world, I thought it would be important to interview those in a similar niche- Australian Top Travel Bloggers.
We all know travel and tourism has been pulled to a grinding halt, but as a travel blogger, there are still creative ways to connect to the world, even if it is only online.
In these series of posts, I ask questions of some of Australia’s most influential, top Travel Bloggers for their current challenges, advice and what inspires them to continue in the current climate with their travel writing blogs.
Katie Driscoll is a travel blogger and photographer, who has been discovering the world and writing her travel blog since 2014.
Katie has been based in Sydney, Australia since 2008, until a recent move to Sweden to join her partner.
Her travel blog website katiesaway.com is a stunning anecdote of her travels, and also provides travel tips, extensive guides and photographic prints for sale.
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As a successful, top travel writing blogger in 2020, I was keen to hear Katie’s blogging advice and of her travel experiences this far.
1) What is a favourite experience you’ve had as a traveller?
My favourite experience so far has been the road trip I took with my boyfriend last summer through Italy! We hired a car in Verona and spent three weeks driving through The Dolomites, Venice, Tuscany and ended up in The Amalfi Coast.
Every single day was just incredible and I completely fell in love with Italy!
It’s hard to pin point a specific favourite part of the trip, but I would have to say hiking hut to hut in Tre Cime Lavaredo and watching the sunset over the mountains, or staying in a beautiful agriturismo in Tuscany with a local family, are definitely two of them.
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2) Any main differences travelling and creating travel writing blogs in Australia than in other countries?
I think Australia has a very broad range of travellers who come to visit so it can be a bit easier to find a niche when it comes to travel blogging.
For example, there are a lot of backpackers who come for farm work and are looking for budget holidays, a lot of people who come for month long luxury escapes, as well as people looking to do road trips and camping holidays.
3) Your photographs are a gorgeous way to showcase your travel blog website. Which came first photography, or blogging?
Thank you so much. Photography definitely came first, I remember getting my first film camera for my 7th birthday and spending the whole summer running around taking photos of the most random things.
I started blogging as a way to show my photos online and have a platform to write about the moments I was capturing.
4) What does a typical day in your week look like?
I actually just moved to Sweden 3 weeks ago to live with my boyfriend, so a typical day in my week at the moment is actually not so typical! I am still settling in and trying to find a job and an apartment, as well as doing all the other admin things that come with moving overseas!
But I spend most of my days in the countryside, working on my blog and editing photos from our adventures at the weekend! I have just opened my own online print shop to sell my photos so I have been doing a lot of work on that lately.
5) What are 3 recommendations to those starting out as a travel blogger?
First would have to be that you have to be consistent in your writing, even when it feels like you are getting nothing in return, consistency is key to building a following!
Second I would say is to learn and use Pinterest! I get so much of my blog traffic from here, it’s an amazing way to share your content!
Third would be to network, whether its on Instagram, Pinterest or just through finding other blogs online, creating a network with other travel bloggers has really made my journey a lot easier and more fun!
6) Best advice you’ve received as a Travel Blogger?
Try to stay genuine and be yourself through your writing, a lot of people find blogs because they have information they need, but they go back to them because they are interested in the author and their travels.
7) One gadget you use as a blogger, that you couldn’t live without?
This would definitely be my camera! I take it absolutely everywhere with me.
8) Which are your 3 favourite tools for marketing a new blog post?
Like I mentioned before, Pinterest is an amazing tool for marketing! If you can learn Pinterest SEO your viewers will increase dramatically!
I also love to post them on my Instagram and personal facebook page because I know a lot of my close friends and family love to read what I write and often share it to their pages!
I am also a part of a bloggers facebook group where we all share our blog posts with each other, which is a great way to promote your blogs and network at the same time!
9) What would you do differently if you were starting in the travel industry now?
I would probably start writing as many blog posts as I could and posting them on a regular basis, I was not so committed to my blog previously and I think it really had an impact on my growth!
I would also start searching for collaborations early on – often people are looking for micro-influencers and if you can market yourself in the right way its a great start!
10) Any people or books have had the most influence on your growth and why?
I love to watch Anastasia Blogger on YouTube -I think she has so many helpful tips when it comes to blogging and Pinterest marketing! I have learnt so much from her and it has completely changed the way I run my blog.
11) What would you say is a #1 key to success in travel blogging?
Invest in your blog. I mean this in terms of both money and time. This means spending money on a custom domain, marketing tools such as tailwind scheduler, website themes etc, as well as spending your time writing, taking photos and networking.
It’s important to treat your blog like a business from the very start if you really want to get somewhere with it.
12) What is one of the biggest failures you’ve had. What did you learn from it?
For a long time I was writing blog posts and getting no views and not understanding why. I thought my photography and travel tips were so good, I couldn’t understand why no-one was seeing or reading it!
I almost gave up after a year of blogger with literally no following, but then I started to do more reading and look into the business side of blogging and realised it actually requires a lot more than just writing.
Since then I have been spending more time marketing than actually writing blogs and it has made such a big difference!
13) What are your main challenges in 2020, as a travel writing blogger?
I guess number 1 would have to be the limited options when it comes to travel at the moment, especially in places like Australia where international travel in banned and they have only just started allowing domestic travel again.
Here in Sweden it is a little easier, especially now with European
borders opening up a bit, but it is still a bit of a scary prospect to be travelling overseas for leisure.
Number 2 would be that it’s hard to get collaborations and deals at the moment within the travel industry.
I have had so many emails lately saying they have stopped doing collaborations until 2021 because they either don’t want people to travel or don’t have the budget for it at the moment.
Related Post: How to deal when your travel plans are on hold!
14) What keeps you going when things get tough in the blogging world?
I think what keeps me going is having the support of my family, my friends, and my boyfriend here in Sweden.
It can be really hard to keep trying to achieve your goals when it feels like you are constantly being pushed back, so it’s good to have people around you that are always encouraging of a positive future.
15) Main inspiration you have found during 2020?
During lockdown I spent a lot of time scrolling through Instagram and felt so inspired by everyones past travel photos!
I am not sure whether its because they were all posting from their favourite trips, or whether I was just spending more time on the platform but there were so many places I had never heard of that are now near the top of my travel list!
It’s so good to get inspiration from people I have connected with too, as they are often so great at giving tips.
Related post: Top Travel Blogger interview #2 Jo Castro
16) What do you continue to love as a travel blogger?
I love being able to work with something I am passionate about and spend my days really enjoying what I do! I think it is challenging but in the most fun way!
Stay tuned for more posts from some of Australia’s top Travel Writing blogs and travel blog websites in 2020. If you enjoyed this post or are a travel blogger, i’d love to hear your thoughts below!
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