Guys, I’m reading so much nonsense right now about dishonest blogging and people being paid to say nice things that I thought I should spell it out to you. How World Travel Family works, how we go about things, why we go about things, what you, our readers and our website, means to us and how we work here at WTF HQ. So here we go.
We Are Painfully Honest
I will never say nice things about a destination, hotel or attraction where bad things are deserved. I like to be brutal.
However, we have in the past been invited to review and publicise just 2 things that truly sucked. In those cases I refused to write anything and gave the management feedback on how to improve. Brutally honest feedback. I don’t like injustice, bad service and rip offs. I don’t think I should publish nasty content after a company has invited us to review, that is unfair. They obviously believed they were doing a great job so hopefully our feedback will help them actually achieve that.
If we book and pay for something ourselves and it doesn’t come up to scratch, I’ll tell the whole world about it and spit venom like a banshee. I’m not nice if I feel I’ve been ripped off.
Sponsored Posts as in Being Paid to Promote Products
I honestly don’t think we’ve ever done this. I will not, ever, write about xyz product in a favourable light in exchange for said product nor for money. Our fee for product review is $1000, we set it so high because I just don’t want to do it. Nobody has yet agreed to $1000 although we’ve been offered $700. If I review something it will always be an honest review.
For example our Sungod sunglasses, this is a different thing entirely. We wanted those for Chef’s Ironman events and for skiing and altitude trekking. I wrote and asked if I could have a couple of pairs in exchange for sharing. We didn’t charge them at all because we were happy to do it. We already knew it was a good product and we now make commission on every pair we sell. I can’t go out in daylight without sunnies, my eyes are failing, so sponsorship from a good sunglasses company that we fully endorse kinda rocks.
Sponsored Posts as in Link Selling
We did these when we were just starting out and it was our earliest income stream but we don’t do them now. When doing these we have never said that xyz company is what you should use. Instead we always say something like , you could use a company such as xyz. All that these companies want is a link for SEO purposes, they don’t care what you say and these posts are hidden deep in the website and not intended to be read. After 12 months we can generally delete them. I can’t remember the last time we did one of these and we don’t need to make a fast buck this way.
We Pay For 99.5 % of Our Travel Ourselves
A lot of bloggers take press trips and take part in sponsored travel opportunities. We don’t. This doesn’t make us better or worse than anyone else, we just choose not to do it. We travel for our own enjoyment, as a family, because that’s just what we want to do.
Once in a blue moon we’ll get an offer that’s too good to refuse. For instance when we stayed at Telunas Private Island Resort last Christmas. This destination looked so great for the kids that we jumped at it. We were under no obligation to write only good things and you’ll see where we clearly state that all views are our own in their post.
We travel because we love to travel. We see the world our way. But if Bhutan tourism offers me a tour I might just jump at it because in all honesty we can’t afford it and it’s THE place I want to go. Now the kids are teens and tweens I think I could handle leaving them for a week. I’d find it very hard to do and so far I never have.
We Get Press Passes
We get loads of press passes, we are press, media, writers, journalists, bloggers, industry people. Everyone in tourism, from the concierge in your favourite hotel to the travel writer at the Sunday Times ( I met one last week, he was cool and agreed with me on one of my pet hates) gets press passes. It’s a perk.
Even when Chef was just Chef and I was just a mum, he got famils, fams or press passes because of his involvement in hospitality. We only use the ones we want to use, I’m not going to waste my time going to places none of us are interested in.
Some of the places that offer us free admission don’t even ask us to write about them.
I actually won’t write about them unless I want to.
Our Travels Are Often Planned Around The Website
We need to do this. If I want to keep ranking I need to keep updating and adding content on our key places. We get to Thailand almost every year to add more destinations and a return trip to Sri Lanka is long overdue.
We just started our Scotland section. We hope you find the Scotland content we’re about to create useful. We could have sat on our butts enjoying Edinburgh for 10 days, but no, we got out and experienced as many things as possible. It’s for us, sure, but it’s also for the website.
We Have Amazon Sales Pages
I think there are maybe 6 pages out of 800-900 on the site that are straight up Amazon sales pages. I’m very careful about how we word these. So if we recommend a particular type of product I’ll say that this is what we own and love, otherwise I’ll just mention the features of the product. This is how it works.
Sometimes an insurance company, for example, will ask to be included in a post. I can mention them, sure, no problem. I’ll say something along the lines of ” You could use a company such as this one for your insurance”.
World Nomads is the company we use for insurance and we’re very clear about that and happy to promote them.
It’s Our Family Business
People sometimes call us ” The World Travel Family” I hate that! It’s the name of our website and that is all.
We have a cool lifestyle and we see loads of countries but we’re not celebrities or any such thing. We just visit loads of places for fun, for knowledge and to create the website.
It is our family business and I really hope that when my arthritic fingers are too old to type the kids will keep it going. Maybe just part time, I can show them how to maintain it without having to generate heaps of new content.
I hope the kids carry it forward. It’s been a pleasure to create and a pleasure meeting all of you, online or in real life.
The Adverts You See All Over Our Site
These are placed by Mediavine. Mediavine is like a massive, managed, upgrade on Google Adsense. We don’t pick the ads you see, you do.
These ads appear based on your browsing history and interests and everyone will see something different.
I’ve invested years of my life to create this website. It’s for us right now and it’s for my kids after I’m gone. The adverts pay for my investment in time. A resource like this could never be free, yet it is, to you, you just need to eyeball a few ads.
So I think that’s it. I’m really nervous that somebody will catch us out on an old sponsorship deal that I’ve long forgotten about. If such a thing still exists on my site I apologise, it will be removed. It’s just so big I don’t know where everything is any more. So that is all, happy travels and I hope you find our site useful.
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Tuesday 5th of January 2021
I love your blog and we would like to go to many of your destinations. We started our blog to share our Global Learning Adventures with our students and friends. We also do it to keep track of our travels and cruises. It is hard to remember the places and years. This is not our business as we do it to complement our online teaching. You found a cool online business model that works for your family. Keep traveling and blogging. Your children already have the best education a college cannot give. Be outside of the classroom and learn by exploring the world.
Alyson for World Travel Family
Tuesday 5th of January 2021
Thanks Jose. My kids (15, 16 yrs) are currently sitting exams after never being inside a classroom nor being formally homeschooled. They're doing great I'm very pleased to say that we totally proved our point. Academic qualifications can be gained without school attendance and kids should be free to enjoy their families and their childhoods. Best of luck. I love my business. It's my passion and our income.
Thursday 21st of June 2018
You shouldn't need to justify yourself. Its a fantastic site and you need to make a living. It is clear that you work hard at what you do and it's great to see you enjoying it as well. After all, that's what life is about and what most people aim for, isn't it?
I've just set off on a family travel adventure for 12 months with my husband, 14, 11 and 10 year olds so your site has been invaluable and inspiring.
Congratulations and thank you. Its great!
Tuesday 12th of June 2018
I love the honestly and straight telling. The loads if if info you provide is really amazing.
Tuesday 5th of June 2018
I love your straight forward ways in all your posts. Thank you for your transparency and sharing your knowledge of blogging and traveling with us.