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Summer Travel Series: Emily Luxton
- 28th August 2019
We talk to our favourite travel bloggers about what they’ve learnt from around the globe, their top travel tips, and what they planned this Summer. Read on to get to know travel blogging aficionado Emily Luxton, expert in solo female travel.
Most likely to travel with: Solo
Most likely to travel to: Latin America
Hi Emily! When did you start traveling? What was the initial appeal of escaping the UK?
I’ve always had a fascination with travel! I think it stems from being a massive fan of adventure novels when I was younger – travel seemed like the “real life” version of an adventure for me. I didn’t start travelling on big, long-term trips until my mid-twenties though. I spent a few years saving up (and paying off my uni debts), then booked a five-month long trip around South America with my then-boyfriend.
I was in a job I hated, living in London which I found way too stressful, and all I could think about was escaping! Once we left, I never looked back.
How has your blog evolved? And at what point did you realise you could turn your blog into a business?
It all happened organically, and kind of accidentally. I started my blog before I moved to London, and I used to just write about my holidays or about past trips. I used to sit at work writing blog posts in secret!
It was on the first long backpacking trip that I realised I could make it “full time” if I pushed hard – I was making a little bit of money at the time, and I realised I was almost earning enough to cancel out what we were spending. When we got back, my ex and I did housesitting for a few months so we didn’t have to pay rent, and I worked flat-out on the blog trying to build it up into a sustainable income. It didn’t happen overnight, though; it took a year of housesitting and living with my ex’s parents for free before I was earning the same as my old (very average) monthly salary.
What area of the world excites you the most? And what have you taken from different cultures/countries?
Latin America is still my favourite part of the world. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it was my first “proper” travelling experience, but it’s also the continent itself. It has everything; mountains, jungles, canyons, beaches, hiking, adventure, culture, food... there’s so much variety.
My biggest takeaway from almost every culture I’ve visited is that, generally, most people are kind and loving. People are always surprising me with offers for help and sincere generosity – and it blows me away time and again. Whether it’s some complete strangers asking me to sit with them in a restaurant so I don’t have to eat alone, or someone walking me to the bus station when I’m completely lost, time and again people prove to me that the world is a wonderful, kind, place. And despite all our differences, we humans are all, essentially, the same.
What are your main tips for solo travel? Is it more of a practical shift or a question of mindset?
I think it’s a little of both. You definitely have to shift your mindset and be willing to complete rely on yourself. It’s hard when you’re the one making all the decisions - and all the mistakes! You also have to be open to new experiences and new people, and to saying yes when you might normally say no.
But there is also a practical side to solo travel, because again you’re relying on yourself. My top tip is to get a local sim card in each destination, so you always have access to the internet, as well as the ability to call the local emergency services if you need them! It also means you can use Google maps, and Uber/Grab to order secure taxis, and you can generally be a bit more independent. But don’t spend too much time online or chatting to people at home – immerse yourself in the trip! Another tip is to always tell someone back home where you are and where you’re going next. If nothing else, it helps stop your family and friends worrying about you!
Finally, my biggest tip would be to go for it! When people are giving lots of practical advice, and you’re reading all the things you need to watch out for, it’s easy to start thinking that the world is this big scary place where solo travel is nearly impossible. It’s not! I’ve had so many wonderful, amazing experiences that completely outweigh the tiny handful of negative ones.
Where would you recommend someone go if they were on a budget?
A lot of Asian countries are great for budget travellers. Especially South East Asia, like Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Some travellers will tell you those destinations aren’t as “cheap” as they used to be, but compared with European prices they are definitely very affordable – the dollar or the pound will go a long way there.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to become a travel writer? Any useful techy tools?
This might sound obvious, but WRITE! Write something every day, even if you don’t share it anywhere. You need to practice, and find your “voice”. You also need to find out if the actual act of writing every day is for you – this can be a pretty intense job sometimes, so if you don’t actually like writing it’s best to realise that early on! You should also read a lot – read everything, especially travel articles and books, but also fiction, history books, everything. It’s good to expand your vocabulary and start seeing new styles of writing.
For techy tools I love Grammarly – it picks up a lot more typos then my standard spellchecker and helps keep me coherent! If you want to be a travel blogger, the Yoast SEO tool is super helpful for copyrighting decent, search engine optimised articles. Writing for the web is very different to writing for print, so be sure to read up on SEO and things like that.
Lastly, what were your summer plans?
I actually had quite a chilled-out summer! I wanted to stay at home and make the most of the UK for a few weeks before my next trip. I rarely spend more than a couple of weeks at home so it was nice to have some time to enjoy the great British summer!
Thanks Emily! You can follow Emily's adventures over on her blog www.emilyluxton.co.uk