Dreaming of and planning travel in the 21st century continues to evolve but there has been no greater change, perhaps, than the growth of traveler-curated content. From blogs and user reviews on popular travel websites and forums to Instagram and Youtube, travelers no longer rely entirely on travel publications or word of mouth to discover or design their next holiday. Perhaps the pinnacle of this evolution is the traveler literally making their way around the world by creating inspiring travel content to share with others and earning money in the process. Today we’ll chat with one such traveler to learn what life as a travel content creator / “travel influencer” on YouTube and Instagram is all about.

Courtesy of Joel Friend


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Courtesy of Joel Friend

Scott & Trevor Banter about what they know about being a ‘travel influencer’. What’s their attitude about it? Are these people really experts? Or are such travel content creators getting a bad rap?

Trevor: Influencers have gotten a bad rap in the travel industry (hotels hate getting solicited by them). At the same time, there are some great travel IG accounts and a few great YouTube travel channels. I’ve used some to prep for podcasts on destinations I know little about, like Turkmenistan. 

Scott: I’m sort of on the fence about it. In theory, they tend to show you the ‘hits’, but then there are only so many of those and they start to repeat themselves. There’s just not time to go a ton of spots and feature the winners. Also, they can’t really be experts where they are. But I suppose what they serve up is enough. And truth be told, there’s a wee bit of jealousy there that people have figured out how to travel and get paid for it – good on them I guess!

Courtesy of Joel Friend

About Joel Friend: Filmmaker // Adventurer // Photographer, Joel is a 23-year-old British man who lives for adventure, travel, and most importantly a good time in whatever he does! Joel is capturing it all on camera and making up for lost time now that international borders have opened. He joins us today from Milton Keynes, UK.

Courtesy of Joel Friend

Listen to Episode 160 to hear Joel’s answers to the following questions: 

  • Your IG page says you’re a content creator and social media influencer: how do you define your career/job exactly?
  • How long have you been building this career and how did you transition from a traveler who took photos and videos as a hobby to a career?
  • What’s your goal with this profession?
  • How do you collect followers on various platforms?
  • How difficult is it to earn money from this profession and where does the income come from?
  • Where was your first trip to Asia, was it as a content creator/influencer, and what was that experience like?
  • YouTube movie and music reaction channels seem to always do the same content because that’s what people want to watch. Are there go-to destinations in your industry or is the goal to try to do different things and/or do things differently?
  • How do you plan trips? Still use traditional travel information resources such as guidebooks and websites or do you use other IG and YouTube followers?
  • So let’s use an Example: We saw you went to Balabac in the Philippines – Why did you pick that destination? And how was your trip there different from the average visitor’s? What is “the day in the life of an influencer”? But for a destination: planning, visiting, posting, etc. 
  • Posting on the road vs once back home (what’s the editing and curation process)
  • Advice for those looking to travel to Asia and/or trying to develop a following in order to become a travel YouTuber or influencer?
  • Influencers have gotten a bad rap in the travel industry (hotels hate getting solicited by them): have you gotten any pushback and how do you handle the stigma? 
  • What Asian destination has surprised you and your followers the most?
  • What are some of your other favorite Asian destinations?


Learn more about Scott and Trevor:

Theme Music by Jamie Ruben

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