Ø Who are you?
Carolyn Schonafinger, the founder and editor of HolidaysToEurope.com.au.
Ø Where are you from/Where’s home?
North-east Victoria, Australia.
Ø What type of traveller are you? Backpacker, full time traveller, luxury traveller?
I’m more a 4* kind of traveller but definitely not averse to some 5* luxury here and there! I’m not a full time traveller but I normally spend two months each year in Europe.
Ø Where was the first trip you took?
My first overseas trip was to New Zealand with my parents and brother when I was 15.
Ø Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
On our trip to Europe in 2010 my husband was struck down with a kidney stone attack and spent five days in a French hospital. It certainly wasn’t the end of the world but it was very inconvenient of him!!
Ø What is the worst place you’ve travelled to and why?
I haven’t travelled anywhere that I’d regard as ‘bad’ but there are places I wouldn’t return to by choice. I’m not a huge fan of Asia, for instance – it’s too hectic for me.
Ø Where is your favourite place in the world?
This is a hard one but I’d have to say Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. I’ve been there six times and each time I visit it’s just like ‘coming home’. I love the mountains and the ‘Swiss-ness’ of the village.
Ø How do you fund your travels?
My blog earns me a small income and for any shortfall I use my savings.
Ø What is your most fond memory from your travels?
We are fortunate to have been able to take our two boys (now young men) to Europe on a number of occasions. We still reminisce about different things we did on these trips and to be able to have those shared memories is wonderful. One of our favourite activities together was riding Trotti Bikes in Switzerland.
Ø What would you be doing if you weren’t travelling?
Reading about travelling and planning my next trip!
Ø Have you ever experiences any cultural faux pas?
None that I can think of.
Ø What is your Favourite airline?
Emirates – especially their Business Class – it’s amazing.
Ø Where are you off to next?
I’m just back from two months in Europe so at this stage I won’t be heading there again until June 2015, however I will be visiting Vietnam before then as my husband has a conference to attend.
Ø What is the name of your travel blog and why did you choose this name?
Holidays to Europe – that’s what I’m passionate about, taking holidays to Europe. I also thought that it would be good for search engine purposes.
Ø When did you start blogging?
My website launched in 2007 as a European travel directory where readers can browse (mostly) Australian-owned accommodation and tours in Europe. I started adding the odd article about my European travel experiences but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I started to focus a lot more on the blogging side of things.
Ø Why did you start a Travel blog?
I’d worked in the travel industry as a travel consultant for a number of years but when I was planning our family holiday to Europe in 2007 I had trouble finding apartments and cottages in rural areas of Europe. Most travel agents (I was out of the industry at this stage) only booked hotels and there was no single place that travellers could search for Australian-owned accommodation, or tours for that matter, so I decided to create my website to bring the information to them. The blog side of things (all my ‘how to’ articles, etc) evolved from there as a way to share my experiences of European travel with my readers.
Ø What are you tips for new Travel Bloggers?
- Persistence! We all want thousands and thousands of readers but it takes a long time – years, usually – to build a good following.
- Determine what you want your blog/website to achieve – is it for monetary rewards or just because you’re passionate about your topic and want to share your experiences with others? Or perhaps it’s something different. There’s no right or wrong but if you know what you want from your blog, it’s easier to focus.
- Find a mentor or join travel blogging groups (there are lots to found on the internet) so that you can learn from others.
Ø Do you wish you did differently when you started out?
No – never look back. Think only of what the future can bring.
Ø What has been your most successful blog post and what was it about?
My most successful post was about the different regions of Italy – everyone loves Italy!
Ø What do you do to help make your articles successful?
It’s a combination of providing useful advice or answering the questions readers have about travelling to Europe, as well as using great photos to go with the article. The articles also need to be optimized for search engines, too, so that non-regular readers find them in the first place!
Ø What social media platform is the most helpful for you and why?
For me it’s Facebook as my main readership is women aged 40+ and they seem to be more active on Facebook than other platforms for now.
Ø Have you worked with any “big name” sponsors, if not who would be your dream to work with?
I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in Switzerland Tourism’s Asia Pacific Workshop in Zurich in 2012. An amazing opportunity.
Ø Do you have any tips for new bloggers who want to work with sponsors?
If you are lucky enough to secure any sponsored work, treat it like gold as opportunities are few and far between.
Ø Which travel bloggers do you admire?
There are too many to list but certainly Craig and Caz Makepeace from yTravelBlog are pioneers in the way they have been able to create a business and travel full-time and blog about it.
Ø Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
You’ll never, never know if you never, never go!
Ø What is your Travel Motto:
Dream. Plan. Travel Europe.
Website url: http://www.holidaystoeurope.com.au