Travel Insights: An Interview with Chris Christensen of Amateur Travel Podcast


Wednesday, December 12, 2012 | 9:35 AM






Welcome to another new feature on Travel Insights. We'll be featuring some great interviews with travel bloggers, writers and world trekkers as they tell us about their travel experiences, their best city travel destinations and give their advice and tips for aspiring writers and travellers.

Our first interview is with Chris Christensen of Amateur Travel Podcast.........



When did you realize that the "travel bug" had hit you for life, and what inspired you to start traveling and blogging?

My love for travel was instilled in me by my parents in long road trips across the American west pulling a tiny trailer and visiting many of the National Parks of the U.S. and Canada.
My start in podcasting and blogging started with a Memorial Day picnic in 2005. I had already discovered podcasting and wanted to start my own podcast. I thought about doing one about technology or about religion but at that picnic we swapped stories and all the best stories were travel stories. launched about a month after that.


When you first started travel blogging what kind of goals did you have?

The first blog posts on Amateur Traveler were just the podcast episodes but that started to expand to photos, trip journals, reviews, probably in the first year. They is some content that is better expressed in the written word. Also the podcast takes about 8 hours an episode so additional content was not going to mean more episodes of the show.

What are a couple of effective things that you have done that brought the most readership and contributions to your blog?

My travel podcasts had 1.5 million downloads last year. The honest answer is how to build something with that kind of audience is don't quit. I have been at this for over 7 years now and put out about 48 Amateur Traveler episodes a year (I give myself 4 weeks of vacation). Consistency is huge if you want to develop a following. I also put out an additional 7-14 blog posts in a given week. Some are as simple as a photo of the day.

What city would you recommend that all travelers visit at least once in their lifetime? And which city would you say is the most underrated travel destination?

Istanbul is the first city that comes to mind. I am surprised more people don't talk about it. It is an easy city to tackle with a good tourism infrastructure, good food, great history and friendly people. Think of a city that of the feels like part of the Middle East and like part of Europe at the same time.


(image courtesy of


If you could choose one famous person to accompany you on a dream trip, who would it be and why?

Maybe Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel who has the best job in the world and seemed pretty nice when I met her and her husband.

What trends or changes in the world of travel blogging or writing do you think we will see in the future? How has the rise of social media changed the way you share your experiences?

Travel blogging is an interesting space because a lot of people come into it and leave it in a given year. So many people start blogging when they start a big trip, unlike those of us who have a day job. Just when it starts to gain traction after a year they come home. Half of the people I knew blogging or podcasting on travel 7 years ago quit years ago. I think that trend will continue. But one of the things that has changed in the last 7 years is the number of career travel writers who have started blogging. That number is growing. I think that trend and the growth in the area will create more blogs with some longevity. I think making a living doing it will remain difficult because so many people want to do it so there is not a scarcity of travel bloggers.

If you could share just one piece of advice to an aspiring new traveler, or travel blogger what would it be?

I am afraid it would probably be don't quit your day job or at least don't think that this is a path to riches. Think about location independent work perhaps, because if your picture is that you can make a living sitting on a beach in Bali and typing into your laptop once a week, good luck with that.


You can listen to Chris and the Amateur Traveler Podcasts here....

The Amateur Traveler on Facebook.

Tweet with Chris on Twitter @chris2x or The Amateur Traveler Podcast 





travel, tourism, vacations, cities, urban, Interviews, Blogger, Podcasts, Writers, Travel Insights, Chris Christensen, Amateur Travel Podcast,,, blogging, Istanbul, Samantha Brown, Travel Channel

The Conversation

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Pola (Jetting Around) wrote: 2:01am January 31, 2013

Nice read and good insights! I too have parents to thank for giving me the travel bug and taking me everywhere with them. Istanbul is very high on my list and I can't believe I never visited there when I lived in Europe...

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