Like many other travel bloggers, I’ve been keeping a pretty low profile as of late. If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that at the end of February I wrapped up an eight-month, around-the-world trip. Serendipitously, when I booked the time off work way back in 2015, I managed to schedule my return flight to Canada just in time to beat the canceled flights, closed borders and, yes, contagious illnesses.
I’ve now been home for almost three months. I definitely need to blog about the last part of my trip (I believe I was able to publish my January update, but never got around to telling you about February) and about the lessons I learned from being on the road for eight months, but I’ve had something else on my mind for the past week or two: what COVID-19 has taught us about travel and travel blogging. Some of my opinions might be a bit unpopular, but I do stand by what I’m about to say.
In particular, I want to draw my “regular readers”‘ (or, people who don’t have their own travel blogs’) attention to a few things about the travel and travel blogging industries, so you can make smarter choices with your time, money and mental energy.
Lesson #1 – The line between travel bloggers and travel sellers is increasingly blurry.
I have a disclosure statement in my sidebar, but I know it doesn’t always show on mobile. To make it clear, I have no ads on this site and no sponsored content. Some outbound links to Booking.com, Amazon and World Nomads are affiliate links. I used all three of those companies as a consumer and traveler before I became an affiliate.
What you don’t see on that disclosure statement is that I make less than 1% of my annual income from this blog. I am a professional with a six-figure day job, and blogging is a hobby. Often, affiliate links just help me better identify what my readers are interested in, rather than being a significant income stream. Although I can track outgoing links without being an affiliate, I can’t see where you book, or what you buy, without the affiliate account. Having that information helps me recommend more things that you’re likely to enjoy. There’s very little incentive for me to recommend a hotel, product or insurance policy that I don’t actually use, as I get more enjoyment from writing and engaging with my readers than I do from making sales.