Now, I am relatively new to the world of travel blogging, however I have worked in the travel industry for many years, so can confidently say I know how it works.
A lot of companies are finally seeing the benefit of working with travel bloggers. After all, a well-travelled person with an ounce of nouse and a good tone can command a considerable following.
What I really take offence to are the people who think they can start a blog and then get a free round the world trip out of it.
Today, an email landed in my inbox at work. The email asked for ‘sponsorship’ and then went on to give a web address. I will spare their embarrassment by blanking names and not adding in the URL to this blog, but I will copy some of the text from the site…
The web page started with a really amateur video asking me to ‘Become a Hero’ and sponsor their ‘project’. The video promised great ‘rewards’
Well, who doesn’t like a reward, eh?
So, reading on, this is what I found…
“We are a team of 4, 2 recent graduates and 2 students. We all have different skill sets and share an amazing passion for travel, particularly backpacking.”
Lovely, I thought. A quad of fellow travellers. I wonder what it is they might need sponsorship with. I would sure like to help them out with their plight.
“(WEBSITE NAME) is there to provide inspiration and excitement about the joys of traveling from coast to coast, eliminating any worries and concerns with support and advice to help you concentrate on the amazing, life inspiring journey in front of you!”
Yep, you aim to inspire. So how are you going to do this? Travel to off-the-beaten-track destinations that no one has ever been before? Put yourself in incredibly dangerous situations for the benefit of travelkind?
“We want to create 4 stages for our journey, traveling to 4 of the most “backpacked” places in the world.”
Oh dear. Surely that just sounds like a jolly? Now, Hayley don’t be too quick to judge. I’m sure they have some kind of angle. Give the poor loves a chance. Let’s see where they’re planning to go.
– Australia/New Zealand
– The USA”
OK this is definitely just a standard gap year which 4 mates are taking. Looks like it’s a 4 month trip around the world to me. OK let’s see how much they’re asking for ‘sponsorship’ of this groundbreaking adventure…
“To achieve this awesome task we need you, our heroes. We are going to need £100,000 to make this work and you can help us, and receive some beautiful memories in the process!”
A HUNDRED GRAND? For four people to spend 4 months going around the world?? Where are you staying, the fricking RITZ? I read on to discover that they are using this hundred grand for flights, accommodation, food, other forms of transport, and presumably the deposit for a very large flat on their return back to Blighty. OK I made that last one up but they might as well have said that. I mean, you can’t even afford to FEED yourself on your way round? How do you manage at home???
And what do the so-called ‘sponsors’ get for their investment? Well, there are various packages available from a £6 ‘Hero Mini International’ package, in which they send you a postcard from one of the lovely destinations they visit (perhaps with a picture of them laughing at you on the front) to the most expensive ‘Sponsor: Whole Journey’ option. If you choose this you’ll get all of the following for the paltry sum of JUST £5,000.
I don’t know about you, but I’d want a lot more than just a bit of rooftop shouting for 5 grand.
I have no idea where this all went wrong. When did going travelling become some kind of means to live for free off of someone else’s money, just for a few facebook posts and badly edited YouTube videos? What happened to working hard, saving what you can and then by any means possible, striking out to explore the world? Millions of people work their way around the world every year, why should these jumped up little freeloaders get something for nothing?
It’s a sad state of affairs. Travel blogging shouldn’t be about how much money you can get or how many free hotel nights you can blag. It’s about connecting with other people around the world with a similar interest in exploring, learning and experiencing other cultures.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel… Maybe their level of investment in their ‘project’ thus far will make them reconsider this badly planned and utterly selfish expedition. Or maybe not.