The Difference Between Travel Bloggers and Normal People

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I am doing a lot of sighing and feeling sorry for myself today. Why? Because I am missing this year’s Travel Bloggers’ Exchange Conference (TBEX) in Keystone, Colorado. There is not much I love more in the world than hanging out with people who share my same passions for travel, writing and social media. Pining for my bloggy friends has gotten me thinking about what separates us travel bloggers from “normal” people.

TBEX 2011 in New York with the Banff squirrel

Travel bloggers like to pose with paper squirrel cut-outs (at TBEX 2011 in New York City, from left to right: Claudia from Travelling Mom, Sharlene Earnshaw from Trekaroo, Sue Rodman from Field Trips with Sue, Amy Whitley from Pitstops with Kids, and me)

When I teach blogging classes to soon-to-be or newbie bloggers, my students laugh when I categorize all people into two distinct groups: bloggers and normal people. I tell them normal people don’t typically comment on blogs, other bloggers do. (But, please, if you’re not a blogger, feel free to prove me wrong by leaving a comment below!) Normal people don’t care about their Klout score, bloggers do. Normal people are not on Twitter. If they are, it is probably to follow Ashton Kutcher and enter contests, not to network with like-minded people and create online friendships. These differences apply to all bloggers, not just those who write specifically about travel. There are some additional points that separate travel bloggers in particular from normal humans.

Spud Hilton and Colleen Lanin

Travel bloggers wear leather vests and pose for “The Men of TBEX” calendars (I’m pictured above at TBEX 2011 with Mr. December, Spud Hilton, travel blogger and travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle)

Travel Mamas is written with the “normal” person in mind: moms, dads, grandparents and aunties who are looking for some tips and inspiration for traveling with (and without) kids. If you are thinking about becoming a travel blogger, consider these 10 odd things that will separate you from normal people:

10. You will travel often, but vacation never.

9. When you tell people you are a travel blogger, they will either a) exclaim that you have the job they want or b) ask how you make money. (One reaction is flattering; the other is annoying.)

8. You will only unpack when it’s time to pack for another trip.

7. Your favorite cocktail party topics will be travel, social media, blogging conferences and search engine optimization.

6. You will interact with many of your newfound best friends daily on Twitter and Facebook, but you will only see them “in real life” a few times a year at blog conferences and on press trips.

5. Free Wi-fi will become an essential part of any hotel stay. And if its not free, you will be tweeting all about it.

4. You will have more beach bags, mini notepads and sun visors with travel brand logos on them than you could ever need.

3. You will snap a picture of your hotel room the minute you arrive (before it gets messy) and your travel mates will learn to never take a bite of their food before you’ve had a chance to take a photo.

2. Fam trip, SEO, Google Analytics, RT, hashtag, and TSA will become part of your everyday vocabulary.

1. At least once a month you will moan about working so hard for so little pay, but the next day you will fire up your laptop eager to write about your travels and you will once again feel incredibly lucky and proud to call yourself a travel blogger!

So, are you weird enough to be a travel blogger? Let us know in the comments!


About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show,, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

  1. Tom Lanin says

    Okay, I’m not a travel blogger and I don’t aspire to be one. But, I sorta get all the best parts of being one without all the downsides because my daughter is a travel blogger and makes me one by proxy. It’s the best of all worlds! Thanks Colleen!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Tom (a.k.a. DAD!) – Thanks for always being so supportive of Travel Mamas. Happy Father’s Day! 🙂

  2. You summed it up perfectly, Colleen! I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself the last few days too – glad I’m not the only one! 🙂

  3. This is great Colleen but I don’t remember giving you permission to use an image of me. Now people are going to know who I am… 🙂

  4. La Jolla Mom says

    My 5 year old knows immediately that she isn’t to touch her food or anything in the hotel room until it’s been photographed in pristine condition. The other thing that bugs me is that every time I travel somewhere now people assume that I’m going because it’s paid for, which isn’t the case. Maybe it’s a pride thing for me sometimes too.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      La Jolla Mom (Katie) – I understand that. Something that bugs me is when people think I travel for “free.” Travel writing is a time-consuming endeavor. It is fun, but it is a lot of work too!

  5. Sally@Toddlers on Tour says

    I must admit I had a little giggle as I read this.
    So true!

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