Authored by duo Yaya and Lloyd, Hand Luggage Only is a travel and lifestyle blog. Founded in 2014 while they were both studying at the University of Cambridge, blogging started off as a hobby but has since grown into a full-time occupation. With over half a million followers on social media Hand Luggage Only has become one of the leading blogs within its genre, chronicling Yaya and Lloyd travels to places like Portugal, USA, Petersburg, Croatia, and Australia. In this spotlight Yaya and Lloyd chat to us about the success of their blog, how they like to work with PRs, and what will be big in their blogosphere in the coming months.
Can you tell us a bit about Hand Luggage Only, and what made you start your blog? Hand Luggage Only is our travel and lifestyle blog, that we created back in 2014 to share our love of travel, adventure and fun new experiences.
While at Cambridge University, we used to head away most weekends (with hand luggage only), to anywhere in the world – we’d literally find the best deal and just book two days away. Nowadays, we tend to take a little more luggage (we’re blaming the camera equipment for that) but our travel and experiences are very much the same!
How do you measure the success of your website?
Success is such a relative word when thinking of blogging; we’re always changing the parameters and goal posts of what our ‘success’ is.
We tend to set ourselves goals to work towards, to visit certain places that we’re eager to share, build upon our relationships with fellow travellers and also being able to commit our time to our blog fully (which is exciting and scary in equal measure).
What’s your favourite blog and why? Now this is very hard, there are so many blogs that we genuinely love, it’s hard to name just one. As you’re making us choose, we’d probably have to say Park & Cube created by Shini Park. Her style and creative flair is incredible.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? Firstly, to just do it! The best thing is to jump right into it and learn along the way. Also, make sure your blogging on your own terms, you’ll need that passion and drive when you’re writing at 4am in the morning before going to your full-time job for 8am!
How do you work with marketers and PRs? We work in a number of ways with marketers and PRs and it really does depend on the client or brand, though, we always have a rule we follow. Every partnership must:
- Benefit our readers and fellow travellers
- Benefit the brand (with they get the deliverables they’re looking for)
- Work well for us, Yaya and Lloyd
If all three of these rules are answered positively, we will always endeavour to work together.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges?
We tend to spend quite a lot of time on social media, we’re not fans of automated updates or services where we can’t be personal so we tend to update each different social media platform manually.
This can be time-consuming but it’s well worth it – after all, that’s what social media is for!
One of the biggest challenges for us is that each of our social media platforms is slightly different. For example, one platform may be skewed by gender, location or age and that one type of photo or experience may well do better on one than the other. Knowing this constantly changing landscape can be the biggest challenge.
What can PRs do in working better with you? Generally, it would be for PRs to trust that we know our audience best and to allow creative control on campaigns that work well with the deliverables they’re looking for.
What has been your blogging highlight? There’s been so many! Wow, okay, we loved our challenge where we rode a rickshaw all the way down Italy in 5 days, spending a week discovering Norway for our Visit Norway Instagram takeover, and having a secret trip to discover the Angry Birds Studio in Finland – we even got to try out some of their new top-secret games in development (understandably, we weren’t allowed to take photos)!
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? We’ve got a few confirmed trips that we’re really looking forward to sharing. Our first ever trip to Peru and discovering the atolls of the Maldives are just two of these, we can’t wait!
We’re always trying to find the next quirky and fun thing to see, do or experience! Our home is London and we’re also really excited to showcase so much of our incredible city, after all, travel doesn’t need to be hopping on a plane for ten hours (though that’s an added bonus).