A question arose recently among my travel blogging friends:
“How can we make travel blogging bigger than travel blogging“.
Many people follow sports weekly, but follow travel only when they are planning a trip.
For me this raised the question of “why do people travel?”
As a survey that came out recently told us:
- For many people a vacation is a quick drive to see relatives;
- Some people simply don’t travel and many of them don’t even like to travel (one of my two kids is studying abroad and the other prefers being home with things that are comfortable and familiar. For the stay-at-home type there is not a lot you can do as a travel writer or a travel blogger to get them interested in travel);
- A majority of Americans take their family vacations by car (59 percent) while just over a quarter say they fly;
- Less than 1 in 10 take a cruise, with the balance going by bus or train;
- A shocking one in ten respondents said they’ve never been on a family vacation. Roughly the same number of respondents said it had been more than 20 years since their last family vacation. All told, about a quarter of the respondents to the survey said they hadn’t been away with their families in more than 10 years — if ever.
Source: – You got there how? New survey shatters a few myths about family vacations by Chris Elliott
Other people enjoy traveling but only have so much time available to travel. My show, the Amateur Traveler, targets those who want to travel but don’t know where they should go next and often don’t know how they can afford it or when they will have the time.
I think it would be fair to say that more people listen to the Amateur Traveler on their commute or at the gym that in a tent biking across Turkey. For people in the dreaming of travel stage they are not sure where they are going yet so they have different questions. They are not yet asking “how do I get there?” or even “what do I do there?” but are still asking “is this a place I want to go?”
But what makes someone think about travel in the first place?
- For some people a picture on a friends wall or a movie set in a far off place will stir their wanderlust.
- For some people a travel story told by a friend will make them wonder where they put their passport.
- For some people a movie will transport them to a distant shore. This is why travel to France will increase after we see Tom Hanks standing in the Louvre trying to solve a mystery or we see Meryl Streep attending a French cooking school.
- For some people a French dinner at a friend’s house will get them to buy first a French cookbook and then a France guidebook.
- For some people a recording or a performance of an African choir will stir their soul as nothing short of Africa can do.
- For some people a travel contest (that they won’t even win) will stir their imagination about travel.
For many people travel is an issue of priorities. They intend to travel someday, but “someday” has not yet come. They won’t travel until their aging parents pass away because they want to spend all of their vacation with them, or they will travel after a friend dies early and unexpectedly as they come to grips with the realization that life is short and sometimes “someday” never comes.
Travel starts in the imagination and one of the best aspects of travel is the way it can awaken the imagination not just to new locations but to new points of view.
How can we stir more people to travel? We can keep displaying up travel pictures, telling travel stories, creating travel videos, playing travel audio and even cooking from that recipe we picked up on our last trip.
What else can travel writers & bloggers do to inspire travel? Share your opinions!
Excellent food for thought, Chris!
I think most people fall into one of three categories: 1) Those who love to travel, and do so whenever possible; 2) Those who would like to travel, but don’t (for some of the reasons you mention); and 3) Those who just don’t like to (or want to) travel.
The first group will get up and go no matter what we write, good or bad, about a place because it’s their nature to want to go see for themselves anyway. Those in the third group won’t go anywhere no matter what we write either.
It’s the second group that we could possibly influence with our words, so it’s those folks that we should be writing for/to. We need to focus on addressing the obstacles to traveling, and getting people past those obstacles. After all, if fewer people travel, then fewer people will care about travel writing and blogging.
This post really made me think, Chris, and for that I thank you. I just take it for granted that everyone wants to travel like I do, and it’s got me thinking about some future pieces I was planning on writing for my travel blog. One of the reasons I write book reviews for travel literature is because travel books have definitely inspired me to hit the road. I hope that those who run across these reviews on my blog will be inspired to do the same … and hopefully they’ll return to my site for more information.
It’s easy for me to remember not everyone wants to travel since one of my own scion doesn’t :-)
When I took my first really “out of the box travel” almost 10 years ago to Thailand, I was inspired by a friends photographs. I had planned on going to Mexico or Cuba (two popular places for Canadians) but then a friend told me that I had to go to Thailand. I had no intention of going, but she insisted and told me that she was going to bring her photos into work the next day for met to look at.
I was so blown away by the images that I decided right then and there that we were going to Thailand. If I hadn’t seen those photographs, I never would have tried something new. I might still be taking my annual 2 week vacation to the Dominican Republic if I hadn’t been inspired by incredible shots of this beautiful destination. After that trip I was always scouring the Internet for other destinations. I truly believe that people can be inspired to travel through photos and stories, it is contagious:)
.-= Dave and Deb´s last blog post: Travel Gear, Did We Need it All? =-.