For the October DC Bloggers Meetup on Saturday, October 22, we convened at Smoke & Mirrors at the
AC Hotel Washington DC to hear Marissa Strang of @marissa.daily present on Travel Blogging: Tips and
Tricks. Marissa shared insights on becoming a full-time travel blogger, navigating the business and
logistics side of blogging, debunking myths and truths about the industry, pitching brands and
monetizing, and cultivating a meaningful travel community online.
First, Marissa talked through commonly held myths about being a travel blogger, such as the need to
have over 10k followers and invest in expensive equipment (you don’t) or that you can travel for free
and live a life solely filled with glitz and glamour (nope – you are running a business with deliverable,
contracts, and expectations to produce content). She stressed never letting anyone diminish your work
She then walked us through the different types of travel influencers – there are so many different
approaches to travel content creation:
- Niche and Interest Community bloggers are focused on specific populations (destination-
specific, hiking/outdoors, foodies, LGBTQ+, remote workers, disability travel, etc.) and make life
easier for their followers with shared interests. These travel influencers are particularly effective
at targeting and connecting with specific groups of people.
- Informational (General) Influencers compile general information to share with their followers,
such as destination guides, points of interest, or tips and tricks. They focus on broad-reaching,
value-packed content, that is most effective for its shareability and saveability appealing to a
- Aspirational and Inspirational influencers are driven by aesthetics and imagery that often
evokes emotion such as nostalgia, wanderlust, and amazement. These influencers are incredibly
effective at cultivating specific feelings through their artistry and the day-dreamy aspirational
quality of their content.
There is no one “right” way to be a travel blogger – it’s a common misconception that the market is over
saturated with creators, when there’s plenty of space for everyone – so stay true to what kind of
influencing feels authentic to you and your followers.
Marissa then continued by taking the DC Bloggers on an exercise to help establish our individual
missions, using an ad-libs style template to assist everyone in discovering what their content creation
means to them and how they can focus on achieving it. She asked the audience to question what “good”
content means, stressing the importance of the ICE acronym, which stands for “Inspire, Credibility,
Entertain.” She then detailed her own process, where she often uses her iPhone and editing apps along
with the assistance of a tripod or supportive friends to get her content – you don’t need to invest in
expensive equipment to get great photos. In terms of videos, she prefers short-form video content that
captures her audience’s attention with an intriguing “hook” and provides additional information in the
caption. Trial and error is key – find what works best for you!
Marissa also discussed the importance of building community and establishing your top two platforms.
This can be your Instagram, TikTok, YouTube channel, etc., but she always recommends having your own
website as a backup, even if it’s not your primary platform. She underscored connecting with your
community by being responsive, authentic, meaningfully engaging with your followers and other’s
content, and posting with purpose.
Lastly, Marissa wrapped up her presentation by focusing on monetization, pitching, and partnering
with brands. As a full-time travel blogger, brand partnerships are her primary source of income, along
with freelance projects, affiliate links, and page traffic ads. When searching for travel brands to partner
with, she suggested keeping a “Dream List” spreadsheet of brands to work with (especially ones that
have already partnered with influencers) including hotels, tourism boards, travel apps, luggage
companies, and more. She recommended finding the best contacts for brands via LinkedIn, press pages,
or asking directly through DMs. Marissa then gave us a sample of a good media kit that includes sections
about you, your services, audience demographics, statistics (reach/impressions/engagement), and
contact information when you introduce yourself, as well as a draft pitch email to send to brands. She
warned against including rates in your media kit, but rather determine your rates for each partnership
based on the size of the company, deliverables requested, and the work you will be putting in. She
emphasized always being gracious and professional when engaging with brands, and to always shoot
What a great finale to our 2022 meetups – we look forward to seeing everyone at more events in the
A huge thank you to the AC Hotel Washington DC and their beautiful rooftop restaurant Smoke &
Mirrors for hosting us.
Written by: Parisa Bruce
Photography by Shehar from SBR photography.