The Rise of Travel Vlogging
YouTube stars armed with nothing more than a GoPro and a backpack have changed the way people, especially millennials, see the world.
By Riley Heruska, Austin College
This generation is one of communication.
Social media and constant technological advancements have led to an age in which everyday citizens can be heard loud and clear. All you have to do is pick up a phone or locate a laptop, then unleash whatever complaints, ideas or questions have been swirling around inside your brain. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and many other platforms serve as incredible tools for increased opinion sharing, as well as conversation. The platform I want to highlight today has over a billion users and is visited millions of times every day: YouTube.
The site has only been live for roughly eleven years, and yet its impact on the general population and methods of sharing information has been staggering. Statistics reveal that people between the age of 18 and 49 can be more easily reached via YouTube than by any cable network in the entire country. That’s unbelievable.
Naturally, people from all over the world seek to utilize YouTube’s extensive network. From make-up tutorials to educational lectures, there are hundreds of different categories to be explored on the site. It’s not uncommon for some of the most famous video account holders to earn up to six figures from their channel, and there are more than 500 million channels.
Let’s face it: Making and editing quality videos, as well as sharing those videos, has become easier than ever before. The device you are reading this article on is more powerful than any machine created twenty years ago, and the birth of YouTube has paralleled this rise in technology perfectly. It’s free, easy to navigate and (I’ll admit it) addicting.
Another thing that has become easier than it was in past decades is travel. Millennials in particular appear to have a hunger for exploring. Topdeck Travel surveyed 31,000 people from 134 countries and found that 88 percent of them had traveled overseas at least once in one year, and many of these travelers were between the ages of 18 and 30. Young travelers are everywhere, from the cobblestone streets of Europe to the wild outback of Australia.
Considering the influx of young travelers, alongside the improvement of technology and the rise of social media platforms like YouTube, it seems only fitting that the travel industry would adjust to fit the desires of the public. The time for dusty trip guides and The Travel Channel seem to be coming to an end, and in their place stand hundreds of YouTube channels. They are free to access and quick to watch, and yet the channels pack a powerful punch for several reasons.
First, the people creating these channels are typically young and far from wealthy. They cram their belongings into tiny carry-on bags and backpack through gorgeous areas, documenting their hilarious and stressful experiences with handheld cameras or even smartphones. They’re relatable, and, unlike paid tour guides, they’re frank with their viewers. Yes, they want to increase their channel’s subscriptions, but more often than not, the travelers’ passion for adventure shines through each upload. Nothing makes incredible traveling experiences look more obtainable than a couple of goofy twenty-something-year-olds traipsing around Thailand or somewhere equally interesting.
Not only are these travel vloggers (video bloggers) relatable, but the manners in which they address their audiences make each upload feel personal. As an avid travel vlogger watcher, I’ve been bungee jumping in exotic locations with Louis Cole and accompanied Kristen Sarah to breath-taking sights. Viewers have the opportunity to learn about the traveler they’re watching, while simultaneously dreaming of someday visiting the places they explore. Vlogging is more than just videoing an interesting location; it’s building an online personality that people want to travel with. Camera presence is essential, and before long, you’ll fall in love with these adventure-seeking vloggers, just like I did.
Some might argue that there is no way these vloggers can produce videos that match the quality of paid TV productions, but honestly, I have to disagree. The skill behind the creation of these travel channels might shock you, and when you consider the technology these videographers have at their fingertips, it makes sense. HD video cameras, underwater cameras, high-flying drones and other reasonably affordable tools make it fairly simple for even an amateur vlogger to capture impressive scenes. Having said that, these vloggers clearly spend hours editing their videos, and the beauty of their cinematography speaks to their dedication. Just spend a couple of minutes watching some of StoryTravelers’ videos and I promise you’ll be impressed.
People love the concept of traveling, whether they actually visit the places or experience them secondhand. There’s a reason the Travel Channel was as successful as it was, and humans haven’t changed. If anything, the desire to travel the world is stronger in many people than it ever has been. The difference is that how people plan their travel experiences have changed. Citizens of America, as well as many other countries, are viewing videos constantly, and it has become clear: As technology evolves, so do travel techniques. Travel vlogging is undoubtedly the future of the travel industry.
Interested in potentially joining this wave of change? It won’t be too hard to do so. If you have a passion for travel and can at least point a camera at things, there just might be a place for you in this ever-growing internet niche. Vloggers like Hey Nadine have published countless videos on how to become a more efficient traveler, as well as tips for documenting and sharing these adventures.
In a world that sometimes seems extremely disconnected, it’s heartening to see that nothing has dampened people’s desire to constantly see more. More cities, more nature, more cultures. YouTube has provided a platform for people to embrace and share travel experiences more than ever before, and I predict that the travel industry will never be the same, again.