When it comes to glamorous jobs, it doesn’t get much better than being a travel blogger. You get the chance to explore the world, take amazing photos and experience lots of different cultures through your work.
It’s not surprising that so many people want to break into this industry. We decided to talk to established travel blogger Dannielle Noonan about life on the road and her career to date.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
To be honest, I was never sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. Back then, nobody was making a living from blogging so I wasn’t aware of all the possibilities and paths available to me. I just knew my future career would involve writing.
Have you always been interested in travel?
I grew up on Isle of Man, which is a small island with only 84,000 inhabitants. I always wanted to see the world but didn’t really start travelling until I was 21, when I went on a three-month backpacking adventure. I got bitten by the travel bug then and haven’t looked back.
What did you study at college?
I studied English Literature at University of Edinburgh, which gave me better writing skills. Looking back, business management or marketing would have been more useful, but I loved studying English.
Talk us through your career to date.
When I graduated, I got an internship at an Edinburgh PR agency and was asked to stay on as a social media executive. Instead, I left and went to live in New York City for three months, then came back to the UK and worked as a digital marketing assistant in North East England. The company closed down nine months into my contract and just as that happened, I was offered a job in the digital team at Emirates. I spent 14 months working in Dubai, then came back to the UK and took the plunge to travel blog full time.
How did you start travel blogging?
I started my blog while I was at university because I knew that to get a job that involved writing one day, I’d need some sort of portfolio of my work. I didn’t do much with it until I returned from backpacking. That’s when I started sharing my adventures. I realised people could make a legitimate career out of blogging and made that my goal.
What would you say is the hardest part of your job?
Travel blogging looks really glamorous, but people don’t see how hard we work! On press trips, I can be out for over 12 hours doing activities, then I have to edit photos, take notes and post to social media whenever I get a second. Then when I get back from a trip, the real work starts – writing blog posts and promoting them across my social media channels. I wear many hats, and work as my own secretary, photographer, editor, accountant and more!
What makes a good travel blogger?
I think to be a good travel blogger you need to be very inquisitive. I travel because I’m curious and I ask questions so that I can share as much information as possible with my audience. You also have to be enthusiastic, energetic, and able to adapt to new situations and see the beauty in everything.
What is the biggest misconception people have about your job?
Everyone assumes that I’m on holiday all the time! It doesn’t bother me too much, but I do sometimes wish people understood how hard I’ve worked to have made this my career.
What’s a typical day like?
As a travel blogger, I have two types of work days: I’m either travelling, or working from home alone. When I’m on press trips, I usually spend all day exploring a destination with strangers, have to sit hunched over my phone posting social media updates whenever we go to a restaurant or have a moment to sit down, and get very little sleep. But when I’m at home, I tend to do social media for an hour when I wake up, eat breakfast and spend the day writing blog posts in my spare room, editing images, researching future trips and booking travel or working on my social media accounts. A travel blogger’s work is never done.
How do you get a good work-life balance?
I’m probably a bit different from most travel bloggers because I don’t travel full time and I have a home and a long-term relationship. I like to think I’ve got the best of both worlds! My rule is that when my partner is in the house, I stop working. That’s the only way I’ll close my laptop, but that doesn’t mean I’m not talking to him about a trip or asking his opinion on which Instagram picture I should post!
Who has been your biggest role model?
There are so many amazing female travellers who run fantastic blogs. I admire Monica from The Travel Hack, because she proves you can have a successful travel blog and a young family.
What is the biggest career lesson you have learned to date?
There have been so many. I’ve learned that you really have to put yourself out there and self-promote, which isn’t something that comes naturally to me. But it works!
What advice would you give to someone starting a travel blog?
Start sooner rather than later, focus on producing excellent content and find something you can offer that other blogs can’t.