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THIS WEEK I’VE been pondering the different ways to maintain an online travel blog (or travel journal, whatever you like to call it). You basically have two options: joining a travel community website or building it under your own dedicated domain, and there are pros and cons for each.
For starters, I’ll tackle the reasons to keep your travel blog with a community. (Disclaimer: I am one of the creators of TravelBlogger so feel free to accuse me of bias – but truthfully I don’t mind which site you may join, as long as it’s right for you). So without further ado…
1. All The Technical Setup Is Already Done
With travel community websites, generally all of the geek work is already done. Most sites will allow you to post your travel journals with a few clicks of a button, as well as upload your travel photos and optimize them for the web on the fly. You don’t have to fiddle with HTML, CSS, or even mess with the design at all. And of course, if you run into any problems, you have their technical support nerds only an email away.
2. Get Inspired For Your Next Trip
For most of us that haven’t manage to become career travelers, we have long expanses of time between each trip. This could be a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years. We could be focusing more on our “career” then our wanderlust, which is an understandable reality when the bills begin to pile up. That said, keeping your travel journal with a travel community allows you to feed off the wanderlust of others. You can read up on their adventures, devour their photos of places you never knew existed, and work up an appetite that reminds you of the joy of traveling — so you get back on the road sooner.
3. Meet Other Travelers
Arrive in Moscow with no friends and little more than your backpack? Staying in a hostel where no one speaks your language? Fear not, a quick trip online to your travel community could reveal a few potential travel mates already in the area or arriving shortly. Or perhaps you have plenty of friends on the road already and just want to exchange travel stories with like-minded wanderers or even find a potential romantic interest. A travel community provides ample opportunity to meet new faces, (and new companions) without the stigma attached to traditional dating websites.
4. Get More Exposure
So you spent hours crafting your masterpiece of a travel journal entry, throw it online, and are waiting for National Geographic to come begging to republish it in their next issue? Sadly, a familiar scenario for most isolated travel journals is that no one (beyond friends and family) can find it. Keeping your journal and profile with an online travel community means your dispatches from the road are much more likely to get read, passed around, bookmarked, and adored by others. (Though National Geographic is still a stretch…)
5. Stay Connected With Travel Friends
Relationships on the road are much different than the equivalent back home. You can wander into Rome by late afternoon, shake hands with the other hostellers in your room while you dump your pack, head out on a pub crawl with your new friends that evening, and be inseparably bonded through shared hangovers the next morning. But alas, these hyper sped up friendships come to an end ever sooner. They catch a bus on their route, while you wave goodbye from the seat of a train going the opposite direction.
Sure, you could trade emails and hope to keep in touch. Yet the reality is you’re off to meet new friends and new horizons. Instead, consider inviting them to your travel community, where they can sign up their own profiles and link them with yours. At anytime, you can keep track of their travels, comment on their journals and photos, and generally stay in touch in a less demanding way.
Well there you have it, 5 good reasons to start your travel blog with a travel community. In a future entry, I’ll provide 5 reasons to ditch the community and keep your travel journal under its own domain, with its own design and style.
Do you know any other great reasons to join a travel community? By all means, share them in the comments below.