Nobody cares what you did on Vacation.
Unless you are writing your blog for your friends and relatives no one cares what you did on vacation. Instead they care what you experienced and want to read about the interesting things you encountered. Sound confusing? It can be, it just depends on how you present the information.
Too many beginning bloggers get caught up in the trap about writing just about themselves instead of writing for their readers. Which headline grabs your attention more? “My Trip to London”, or “How I had a 10 day London Vacation for Only $700”. Both are actual titles. The difference is there are a lot of blogs with the first headline and only one with the second.
When writing your story, and it is storytelling, you need to keep your reader in mind. Most of your readers don’t care that “I went to see_____ and it was breathtaking”. Instead write something unique about the place you visited or tips such as what to avoid or something that may have happened while you were there.
Read other popular bloggers and see how they tell a story. One of the best was Wes Nations. Wes unfortunately passed away and we miss his humor, his writings and the kind of man he was. Always generous with answering questions, when I first started out he helped me a lot.
Wes had a way with words. Take his trip to a barbershop. Reading that story you have a sense you are sitting there with him, laughing at his reaction when Jose the barber was shaving him. You can almost imagine the two of you leaving the barbershop and laughing as you head for a beer.
Wes took a simple trip to the barber in another country and spun a tale worth reading. Much more interesting than a simple blurb about “while I was there I went to the barber for a haircut and a shave”.
The same holds true about visiting any famous landmark or site. Don’t tell me show up early to avoid the crowds, I can pretty well figure that out myself. Instead tell me about the hilarious thing that happened when you stood in line for an hour because you arrived late.
Read Matt Karsten’s story about getting a tattoo or Jodi Ettenberg’s tale of finding friendly people in Lisbon.
By taking what happens to you on your travels you can turn trip delays, taxi rides, eating out and other everyday occurrences into stories that resonate with your reader and puts them there with you.
Tell me about the history of the place you are visiting, or the people you meet. I want to go there with you I really don’t care to hear about “I had a great trip you should go”. Your readers want to learn something new, something new about your travels or something new about the place you visited. Something that they can’t get on the other 10,000 blogs that write about “I’m traveling to Mexico!” You get the idea.
It takes a while and I have been guilty at times as well. But if you are going to tell me about your trip then do it in a way that takes me there or entertains me.
Todd @ Visit50 says
well said! Although now I’m inspired to go back through all of my previous posts where I could have adjusted the angle.
Personally speaking I can only agree. When I started out with my blog (only 3 months ago) I was very very reluctant to include anything about me at all. In later blog posts I would start to incorporate me, as a narrator to a certain degree. I feel it’s a very very fragile balance.
Obviously there are those very outgoing persons who can tell of their stay at a barber shop and make it interesting. Then there are the new kids around the block – age 20 big boobs nice face and she can basically do anything and it will be a success (at least in terms of readers and followers).
I never was that kind of guy.
that being said I feel like any kind of advice should not be heeded. There 6 Billion people out there and chances are very high (if you do not forget common sense) that there is a big following looking for the kind of content you produce. Just stick to what and how you are and things will work out.
After all I could point out ten highly successful people who are doing nothing but telling people exactly what they r doing on their vacations.
Thanks for your view Norman.
Indeed! There is no lack of travel blogs that are basically someone’s diary. And that has its place, for when your Mom wants to check up on you and see what you did today.
If you’re trying to make a career of something or reach a wide audience, you’re just not interesting enough. (unless you’re Woody Harrelson, he’s pretty interesting on his own.
Hi Heather, I appreciate you stopping by. There is nothing wrong with running an online diary if you want to be like the other thousands of blogs but if you want to really connect you have to write for your readers and potential readers.
Stu Edwards says
Wise words! Made me laugh in the process 🙂
Hi Stu, Thanks for stopping by.
I’ve been meaning to get by here and check out your blog so I’m glad I took that time this morning.
I couldn’t agree with you more and I see so many people making this same mistake. With all the blogs there are online today we need to make ours stand out. As you know though, people enjoy stories and feeling like they’re right there with you along the way.
I’m sorry to hear about Wes and sounds like he was a great guy as well as fantastic blogger. It’s people like that who have the best time I think writing because you can sense what they went through and feel where they were.
Thanks for bringing this topic up and I hope more people will take your advice.
Enjoy your day and have a great weekend. Happy traveling.
Hi Adrienne, thanks for stopping by. I think story telling is becoming a lost art with the instant posting vehicles of today. Sites like 4 square, instagram and others want that snapshot of what you’re doing right now. So many people use Facebook as platform to inform people that it’s raining where they live or their dog is sick. Unfortunately that type of writing also spills over to many blogs and online magazines.
I read the story about the guy’s trip to a barbershop and how dead worried he was about the razor being flashed on his face, and yes, I agree, the story-telling is quite entertaining. I wish I could write something like that. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips! 🙂
Hi Sofia, Thanks for stopping by. Story telling is definitely an art.
So true, Bob. Can’t agree more with everything you said. I’m looking at the new post I’m writing and noticed it’s very diary-like. At the same time writing something like “5 reasons to visit Korea” or “weird Korean traditions and why you MUST partake in them at least ONCE” seems very commercial to me.
Trying to find a compromise between my diary-like, natural way of writing and a more alluring story-telling tactic. What are your thoughts on having *both* a travel journal *and* a regular travel section so that the travel section can focus on mini stories and interesting activities and the travel journal can expand with more detail and be more itinerary-focused?
I don’t think there is anything wrong with a travel journal but I think it it is the writing itself that will set you apart from most. Even an article about a day spent walking around a town can be written in a way to make the reader feel that they are there with you or want to go there. Especially with today’s split second scan of articles the headline and the first few sentences need to draw the reader to the article. “My trip to Cancun” probably won’t get as much attention as “Now I Understand why Cancun is so popular” or “My vacation day 2” vs “Walking through_____ a great side trip from _______” and then captivating the reader in the first few sentences. Even a trip to the local zoo can be made interesting by getting the reader to see what you had a great time experiencing. Trust me I struggle with this also and am always seeking to get the reader to see and feel like they are experiencing what I did.
I definitely see what you mean. It’s tough!! Either way I trashed my travel journal and focused on writing about a specific topic: korean breakfast. It’s more *me* since I’m a nutritionist and love traditional diets from around the world. I’ll revisit my touristic draft post when I’m a bit more inspired! thanks for your advice!
The example you’ve given (legal nomads) is of someone who dropped his sock and went fishing for it: I read it and It’s *terribly* boring. It’s not funny or insightful or anything. It makes sense telling your story if something actually worthwhile happened. otherwise you’re just wasting the readers time.
To each his own, I guess people can keep writing about my summer vacation if that is what they want.
Great post, Bob. You couldn’t have said it any better. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) the art of storytelling is a gift that not everyone possesses. Many are called but few are chosen…
That’s true and something I still try to improve upon.
Omo and Eulanda says
This post certainly resonates with us. There are many kinds of stories but only a few worth telling. Those that evoke emotion, empathy and excitement are the best kind. We didn’t know Wes but he sounds like he was a great guy. Sorry to hear he has passed away. We will look out for his body of work. Cheers Bob!
I still struggle with good story telling.
April Yap says
A very inspiring post. Yes, nobody cares in your vacation but you have to enjoy it because to make your vacation meaningful would be the most important days in your life.
Liz Gillooly says
Loved this post. It’s so true and a great reminder for all of us to focus on the aspects of storytelling that really affect the reader. I appreciate your writing!
Thanks Liz I appreciate it.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, which I can I can only agree with.
I think that it’s not easy to write good travelogues, especially since it may require a lot of research, which many underestimate