January’s Blogger of the Month is Claire Sturzaker. Claire is an expert in solo female travel and runs one of the top female backpacking blogs in the UK, Tales of a Backpacker. Aiming to seek out the best food, drink and experiences in a destination without breaking the bank, she loves to share her travel stories and inspire others to travel on a budget, while still splurging on once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Follow Claire on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
What inspired you to start blogging?
I first started blogging about Barcelona, where I was living at the time. I wanted to share some of the cool places I’d found to eat and drink, but when I quit my job to go travelling, changing the direction of the blog to backpacking made perfect sense. At first, I just wanted to let my family and friends know what I was up to, then it gradually become more of a passion project and I realised that I could turn it into a career.
What are your blogging and travel plans for the next 12 months?
This year I plan to build on the success of the last couple of years and continue to grow Tales of a Backpacker, as well as work on a new site This Travel Lover which focuses more on food, drink and sustainable travel instead of backpacking. I also want to do some more freelance writing and make a start with video, as video content is growing in popularity.
As for travel plans, I’m having a couple of months off travel at the moment as I’m cat-sitting for friends of mine until the end of February – it’s quite nice to feel settled in one place for a change! However, I’ve just booked a trip to Morocco in March which I’m very excited about! After that, I don’t have any other plans yet, but I would love to go to Asia for the winter, and probably will stay around Europe over the summer.
Where is your happy place? Your favourite destination in the world?
Hmm that is a tough one!! I would say Colombia is my favourite country, I absolutely adored it there and would go back in an instant. It is such an underrated destination; the people are so friendly and the country has every kind of landscape you can imagine – rainforest, glorious beaches, deserts and mountains.
For a specific city I’d have to say Barcelona. I lived there for about 4 years and still miss it dearly; I love going back to visit and am always tempted to move back – but not until I’ve finished travelling!
Which blogs do you love to read for inspiration?
I’ve met some really cool travel bloggers who I always seek out when I’m going to a new destination for tips and recommendations. My favourites are Greta’s Travels, The German Backpacker and Budget Traveller.
Can you share the three most popular posts on your blog?
Awesome Free Things to do in Barcelona to Rock Your Stay about my beloved Barcelona
What to Eat in Vienna because everyone wants to eat well in Vienna
Why You Should Visit Prague in Winter (although that will drop off when the weather starts to get warmer!)
Can you share any tips for newer bloggers who would love to set up a travel blog?
Make sure you are not in it to make easy money! Blogging is a lot of hard work, and although I wouldn’t change it for the world, you really have to put the effort in to make it pay off. Learn about SEO, join travel blogger groups on Facebook, go to networking events and become part of the travel blogger community. The help I’ve got from fellow bloggers is absolutely incredible and I wouldn’t have grown like this without the support of our fabulous community.
If you could go back in time to when you first set up your blog would you do anything differently?
There are lots of things I would do differently, which I’m trying to implement on my new blog! The main one though is to learn about SEO right from the start. I had no clue what that meant when I started out but ranking on Google and other search engines will really help you get more people reading your articles.