SPONSORED POST IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE
BRITISH AIRWAYS AMERICAN EXPRESS® CREDIT CARD
I can’t be the only one who’s been tempted to book a flight and get out of these arctic conditions? OK I may be exaggerating, but the British weather has me all kinds of confused right now. One minute it’s boiling on the Tube, then there’s gale force winds outside and if that’s not enough, I seem to have a permanent cold to defeat. Note to self, definitely make sure you book a getaway for January 2019.
Until then, I’m starting to think about more immediate travel plans and I know I’ve been a little bit quiet on that front. My issue is that I’m not the best at forward planning. The freelance nature of my work means that I’m scared to put things in the diary as it’s tricky to know what my work situation will be like. I’m also pretty single and although I’ve travelled alone in the past, not having a default person to escape with has put me off. It’s a shame as I really love creating travel content and figuring out what makes each destination tick. I’m keen to find the creative areas, eat local food and really get to know the culture.
Another thing I’d like to get better at is utilising savvy rewards schemes, as I could kick myself for the amount of flights I’ve taken without collecting Avios in the past. The British Airways American Express® Credit Card is something to consider if you fancy collecting points through your everyday spending. Any ASOS purchases, emergency coffees and photogenic brunches could help you get closer to another trip, as you can get 1 Avios point for every £1 spent on the Card (there’s even a 5000 bonus in your first 3 months, when you spend £1000). To put things into perspective, a return flight London to Berlin would cost you 9000 Avios.*
To get myself motivated to travel again, I met Instagram pro Julie Falconer at a recent event held by ShortList Media in conjunction with American Express. Originally from San Francisco, Julie’s an amazing public speaker who went from banking to full-time blogging over eight years ago. I decided to pick her brains and come up with a few goals to up my passport stamps this year.
THE BUSINESS OF TRAVEL BLOGGING
If you haven’t discovered Julie’s Instagram account before, then it’s a mixture of quintessential London and beautifully composed travel shots. We chatted about being efficient when travelling, diversifying your income and setting photography challenges closer to home. Here’s a few quick tips to put into practice.
Prepare before you go – Julie often scours Google Images, Flickr and Instagram geotags to get a sense of a location and what areas may be of interest. She also recommends noting down sunrise and sunset times and using this to inform your day. I may even set myself alarms, as it can be easy to get distracted and forget how much shooting time you have left.
How she got 127k Instagram followers – I’ve heard so many stories of suggested users dropping in engagement after achieving the accolade, but Julie managed to build on the momentum by constantly being featured on a larger travel account, which gave her a genuine boost in followers.
Since then she’s focused on consistency and giving her audience what they want to see. I like how she uses Stories to share a greeting with her location every morning and relevant evergreen blog posts. We often have so much amazing content that doesn’t get shared beyond the initial publish date and it’s a great way to use the ‘Swipe Up’ feature.
Diversify your income – It helps to have a banking background when you decide to start blogging full-time. As well as sponsored collaborations, Julie’s main income streams are also public speaking, ebooks, courses and even helping her followers to plan trips. Unlike me she was very strategic and had a plan from the outset, as she’d never made an income from her blog prior to quitting her job. She went cold turkey and was determined to make it work.
Set yourself challenges in your home city – One great tip if you’re feeling a little stuck with content, is to challenge yourself to snap a picture on your street every day. It makes you seek out details you may otherwise overlook and Julie often goes back to the same areas to try and find a different perspective. Her blog also has an extensive list of London locations and I’m determined to find this pretty mews house in Earl’s Court.
MY TRAVEL GOALS
To go back to Jamaica – This is obviously a country very close to my heart and with every trip, I understand more about my family, my heritage and how I prefer to travel. My grandparents live in Spanish Town, so I love being able to see a different perspective beyond the fancy resorts (my vlog from 2015 is so emotional to watch back). Next time, I’d love to delve even more into the island’s history. Green Grotto Caves and Runaway Bay are definitely on my list, as well as visiting Port Antonio for the first time.
To upgrade my equipment – I think it’s finally time to invest in a gopro, instead of hoping for the best with an Olympus Pen around my neck. I’d love to capture the rare occasions when I dabble in adventurous activities (like abseiling in Alabama) and play around with different angles. I’m also rather tempted by a drone. I’ll probably lose it within 30 minutes but I’m willing to give it a go, as I’m always mesmerised by any aerial shots that pop up on my feed.
Until my next flight, I’ll be making the most of London and meeting Julie has definitely made me want to do more local photowalks (I shot these snaps in Soho with Joe and noticed so many interesting details). It’s so important to find creative ways to stay consistent on specific channels. I definitely have a love hate relationship with Instagram and her talk reminded me that there’s no clear or quick formula for success. Just know what makes you unique, do it and the right people will come along.
Where are you hoping to travel to this year? I’m this close to booking my Jamaica flight and preparing for a jerk chicken fest.
Representative 22.9% APR variable. Subject to availability. Applicants must be 18 years old or over. Approval subject to status and terms and conditions apply. *Terms and exclusions apply to the collection and redemption of Avios. Please note it can take up to a month for the Welcome Offer Avios to be awarded to your Account once you have met the required spend. Introductory offers are not available if you currently hold or have held any other British Airways American Express Cards in the past six months. Visit BA.com/Amex for more information.
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