There’s something I’ve noticed on travel blogs lately and while, this is not the kind of post I would usually write, it’s been at the back of my mind for long enough that I just feel like I need to call it out. That thing is a programme/scheme called Travel Blog Success (I refuse to link to it)  and I’m not going to beat around the bush here – I really don’t like it!

I didn’t start blogging to have a go at anyone or have general rants, I started to share places, things and experiences I like however, seeing something like this which I feel takes advantage of people, makes me really want to speak up! Before I carry on, I would like add a few caveats:

1.) I have never used Travel Blog Success so I’m not the best qualified to speak about it. I have however had conversations with other people who have used it and read reviews from non-affiliates who have bought the course.

2.) While I dislike Travel Blog Success, I have no problem whatsoever with the bloggers who are trying to sell it. Indeed I read quite a few of their blogs and even though I cringe whenever I see the Travel Blog Success posts, some of these bloggers are still some of my favourite Travel Blogs to read.

What is the problem I have with Travel Blog Success?

I think it takes advantage of new bloggers. Blogging, whether it is intended to or not, helps foster a community of like-minded individuals and seeing as only last year, I was just starting out as a new travel bloggers, seeing schemes like this which charge around $1,000 for tips and tricks to start your blog is ludicrous. They are capitalising on the hunger and appetite to grow your blog by offering unrealistic shortcuts to success.

I think the biggest drawback I have seen on the internet is that the only people who have anything good to say about this are people who make money off the programme. They are also early-adopters of travel blogging and so have had years of getting their blogs to become as successful as it is (mind you, without using Travel Blog Success). The very fact that this programme/scheme is touted as some kind of blogging equivalent of a ‘get rich scheme’ (except you pay $1,000  for the privilege) is deeply frustrating.

I know blogging is sometimes a popularity contests. I honestly never started blogging to get popular or get paid by it yet I was pretty much bouncing off the walls the first time our blog hit 6 figure traffic numbers each month. I understand the drive to want to build something popular. I also understand what it’s like to start a new blog and I dislike the thought that someone would want to take advantage of other people’s enthusiasm.

What I love about blogging is that it is a FREE way to express yourself and while you can choose to pay for extras, it’s infuriating to see the Travel Blog Success people actively putting barrier to entry for new bloggers by promoting their course in a way that makes it seem like if you don’t have it, then your chances of success are very limited. It’s not true and there are too many fantastic and established bloggers out there who are testament to the fact that your path to owning and running a successful blog is unique to you and not prescribed by someone trying to see you a course!

How do I think Travel Blog Success could work properly in the future?

1.) For one, they need to stop making promises they can’t keep. Blogging in general takes time and effort and sometimes for very little payback. Even the most seasoned bloggers will tell you that they still get surprised by what posts end up becoming popular and those which don’t. The point is, there is no magic cure or tool to help you automatically grow your blog overnight. There’s hard graft, some skills, a bit of patience and a whole lotta dumb luck which can to where you would like to see your blog in the future and for these guys to market it as anything other than that is just wrong.

2.) I’m all up for people trading their expertise and knowledge to make money. I get it! Money makes the world go round and even travel bloggers have to eat (and buy expensive equipment 😉 ) The problem I have is that the false advertising means that they can charge exorbitantly high prices for very little payback. They should still feel free to charge (they have put in the work after all in building something that people will find useful), they should however make those prices more in line with the real value they’re delivering which means it should be A LOT lower than what it currently is. Most of the stuff they’re charging close to $1,000 for in total is already free on the internet (including these secret Facebook groups).

Long story short, I think Travel Blog Success is a something of a scam in how it’s promoted as something akin to a magic love potion and I really hope new bloggers (and even more established bloggers) don’t end  up falling for their scheme.

And to put my money where my mouth is, I promise to constantly look for ways to help fellow travel bloggers (especially new bloggers) by collating free and hopefully useful information to help your blog look and feel like it’s a true reflection of you. That in itself, is really one of the most under-rated measure of blogging success available!


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  • Haven’t done the Travel Blog Success program and no plans on doing so but from a discussion in a Facebook group, a few people were saying that the real value in the program lies in being a member of the private Facebook group and the discussions had within the group. Of course many of these travel bloggers are also in other free Facebook groups for travel bloggers, so not sure I’m buying that argument. Either way, thanks for your honest assessment. Most people seem to think that there are shortcuts to blogging success and really, its all about being consistent over a period of time (most likely years) before it all begins to pay off.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re totally right – thanks for the insight too. I don’t think we’re buying the argument for it either! 🙂

      Thank you for your honestly Ursula. 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Thanks for this post, I was considering the TBS course but I keep running across the same information for free all over the web!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Exactly! Honestly, the blogging world is filled with people that’ll share as much info as they can… for FREE. We’d never want someone to feel that this is the only way to ‘succeed’ as a blogger.

      If you do need any tips Jen, just pop us an email – we’ll happily help if we can. For free! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • I’ve been blogging for about 3 years and it never crossed my mind to make money from it. However we decided to quit our jobs and travel full-time, so I may make a go of it. Fortunately, I am already retired from the military and self-sustaining so the pressure is off! I would love to hear any advice you may feel like freely giving if you feel like looking at my blog.

        • HandLuggageOnly

          Wow, you’ve been to some epic places!!! Travelling full time is uh-mazing! So glad you’re enjoying your travels. 🙂

          Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Ana P. Wildgust

    It’s funny because I’ve always read about TBS on other blogs as if it was the “Bible” for blogging success; your take on TBS is pretty interesting, and it only confirms my feelings towards it. I know it takes money to make money BUT $1000 is a bit cray cray! For someone such as myself, with less than a year of blogging, I would rather spend a few extra hours searching the web for free info. Thanks for the straight forward, non-sugar coated assessment 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      No problem at all Ana! So glad you found it useful and you’re so right, the info is available for FREE online.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Lauren G

    Thanks for sharing your candid thoughts on this. As a newbie blogger who works in content marketing (who ironically struggles right now finding the right voice for my blog, go figure), stuff like this rustles my jimmies big time. There’s a lot of this in the fiction writing world too, and it does feel a bit snake oil-like. It seems like it’s the sort of thing that preys on the impatient who want quick results, really.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Exactly our thoughts too… there’s so much of it happening right now and we hate the idea of people spending so much money for information that is not worth the amount they charge.

      You’re totally right Lauren, it really does prey on the impatient, with no guarantee!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Joella

    Thank you so much for this. As a new blogger I am very glad I came across this. While I did not start my blog with the intention of making a paycheck from it it is still nice to know what scams are out there.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Really glad you found it useful Joella. Hope you’re enjoying blogging too! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • I know this is an old post, but I was reading your newer ones and one thing led to another and I got here. All I can say is: YESSSSSSS! I’m so glad someone had said it! The only good things I’ve heard about TBS were from the bloggers benefiting from it or that the Facebook group was the best part about it. Seems like a hell of an expensive club, if you ask me 😉 I don’t write about blogging but I’m sure all the necessary information can be found for free on the internet. New bloggers should know that you gain followers with a lot of patience and hard work 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Vlad! You’re totally right – it’s a rather expensive club and we hate to use the word exploit but the whole system does come across to exploit new bloggers – this type of information can be found for free online.

      So glad you felt the same way Vlad! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya

  • Although I frequent the blog, I’ve never commented before…but all of this is gold!
    Love it when you describe things in such a simple way!

    Many know when they get on the path of blogging that it isn’t easy, it takes time and it’s novices that fall prey!
    Cheers Lloyd & Yaya for pointing it out!


    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Lavina! So glad you agree too…

      … and you’re so right, it’s so easy to fall prey when you’re just starting out.

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • AnonymousVeracity

    I have had five (5) separate clients request that I review the content in the TBS course for them after they had purchased the course…5 exceptionally painful experiences.

    About 1.5 years ago, the SEO module linked to a ridiculously 4+-year dated Forbes article and instructed members to download and employ Yoast. That was the thrust of the 2 or so paragraphs on SEO.

    One module argues: be creative to stand out! as a strategy for building great content. WTF?! Be creative? 1) What the hell does that mean? and 2) for a $400 instructional product, it must be articulate and employ a sound pedagogy for instructing its students on how to be and/or achieve X, Y, and Z. Be creative … Take a shit and ponder Confucius then write about it and enjoy enviable ROI.

    One clarification for your readers is that the main course is $400 and the supplementary courses range from $200 to $300…oh, wait: minus 3 US bucks per each.

    TBS pays a 30% commission on affiliate sales, and at those prices any blog with traffic pandering the course’s alleged bravado is positioned to make some cash. Ahh, but of course, lest we forget: those opinions are their own and the prospect of badass returns in no way influences those opinions.

    Doesn’t anyone else here find it interesting that no one from TBS, whether management or membership, offered a response?

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much for your comment! So so interesting to hear and we can’t agree more with you! You’re so right! We’d be really keen to hear from TBS too.

      Thanks so much for detailing your experience too and taking the time to offer your input into this discussion, we just hope it dissuades fellow new bloggers that may fall for this trap.

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • Molly Wooders

    I love this post! I have seen so many posts about Travel Blog Success, and its true, they made me think that without this, you would not be able to succeed with blogging. When I saw the price I was really shocked, yes I will be a small amount for social media courses but not that sort of figure. I have worked more on my social media to engage with more bloggers and network and my followers have grown. Even though im not doing blogging to become popular, i love the engagement I have got from it and meeting new people. It is also true that the people who do Travel Blog Success are those who are already experienced. It is very sneaky. Love your posts guys!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much, Molly – we’re so glad you thought the same too (and that it wasn’t just us). We really don’t like the whole process – you’re right, it’s very sneaky! Lots of the bloggers that do it get a hefty commission for selling the course (hence their recommendation).

      Thanks again, Molly. 😘

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • I couldn’t have said it better. For people like us who are just starting blogging about our travels and looking for new ways to monetize our blog/travels, we can definitely say: “there is no get rich scheme about true blogging”
    Thanks for your tips and good stuff on the travel vlogs – very well done! 🙂 cheers!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much. So glad you agree too. Anything that promises success for huge fees should always ring alarm bells.

      Big hugs,
      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • Shreta

    Amazing!! I am so glad to have read this. Yaya and lyod I love your blog and take so much inspiration from you both. You are what I see my travel blog as in the future. And this post shows me I am not the only one!! (So much pressure 😁)
    Please see this (so really looking right now) my upcoming site

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah, thanks so much for your really kind comment! You made our day. Thank you! 🤗

      Ps. LOVE your post on Goa’s quieter side… we’d love to visit! ❤️

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • I wish you every success and hope you continue in progress.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much! 🤗

      Lloyd & Yaya 😊

  • Julie

    You reminded me on my early stage of travel blogging, another travel blogger I met on twitter encouraged me to sign up for the TBS course because he is affiliating with the program. I told him I was taking another travel writing program and I am still working my way up through finishing the program. He only finished 10% of the course and aftter my refusal, he still recommend it and told me that he could share the commission with me so I dont lose money, but it is not where the problem is. I also seen many bloggers recommend TBS online saying we need taking the course to succeed. I dont know what in the course that makes lots of blogger recommend it, but after I read your post and other comments, I think I made the right choice of not taking the TBS.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      We think you made the right choice too, Julie. It really is problematic when someone if offering you financial incentive to join a program… it’s obvious the other blogger just wanted to make money from you. That’s so sad, I mean, blogging is a supportive community and should always be like that.

      You definitely made the right choice.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx