How To Start A Travel Blog: An Easy Step By Step Guide

Hello and welcome to my step-by-step guide how to create your own blog. If you don’t know how to blog, you came to the right place. I’ll guide you through the first steps and show you how to make money with a blog for beginners.

This guide helps thousands, how to be a blogger and get started each year (since 2013). In this guide, I’ll show you how to build a blog with screenshots, videos, and you can even message me if you need anything. If you are ready to get started now, I recommend a simple one-click installation through Bluehost. 

Click here to start your blog.

My name is Matthew Kaboomis Loomis, and I think starting a blog should be easy to do. I’ve been helping people start WordPress blogs since 2013. I have also launched several other blogs in the past. When I was ready to start my own blog, I couldn’t find anyone that I trusted out there sharing tips for starting a blog. Without someone teaching me how to start my own blog, the process was more difficult than it should have been. Thousands of readers have been following me for years because they have 

found me to be a trusted source of information on the topic of blogging.

If you feel overwhelmed right now, take a deep breathThis guide helps to build your own blog without any prior technical experience. 

You can save yourself a lot of time and headaches by following this guide. I’ve already made the early mistakes that you can avoid with my help. This free blog puts all the information you need in one trusted location. You can start your own blog today and then I’ll show you how to turn your blog into a profitable website. I have helped teenagers and people in their 90s with setting up a blog in 20 minutes (or less.)  And I can help you make your own blog, too. Remember, if you get stuck at any point, please message me and I’ll help you get unstuck. 

Skip the rest of the introduction and start building your blog!

Do you have something to share with the world? The fact you are here now indicates you do indeed have something to share. If you are wanting to reach people outside of your family, coworkers, 

White table with work staff with black writing how to start your own blog

neighborhood, or other places in your life, then the internet is the place to be. You just need a place where people can find you online.

What is a blog? 

Still today I get asked, “what is a blog”? Well, a blog is simply a regularly updated website or web page, typically run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. Most bloggers write like they talk. They did not start out as talented writers. They wrote like they talked, and picked up a few page formatting skills along the way. 

This website has lots of free tips about page formatting and writing that work with any type of blog. You can start a successful blog in practically any blog niches imaginable. 

Blogging is a great business tool that provides the freedom to be your own boss, call your own shots, make more money than you ever dreamed of, and spend more time with those you love. A blog can not only improve your business but also change your life.

Why Blogging Works

Bloggers develop awesome relationships with their readers by sharing their personal stories in their posts. Personal stories make connections with people, and personal opinions spark conversations, which build relationships. See how to blog works? Your blog can have a comments section where readers provide feedback to your posts. Blog comments often add additional material to a post that is interesting and fun to read. This direct connection between blogger and reader happens faster and easier than a newspaper or magazine. You will connect with like-minded people and share ideas, stories, and even make new friends. 

The best way to start a blog is through relationship building. Process that naturally comes with blogging can open a door for you to make money with your website, which we will talk about in this guide later on. Another reason why blogging works is that no matter the topic, your readers don’t expect you to know everything about a topic. So relax. You don’t have to be an “expert” to enjoy or succeed in blogging. For example, you don’t have to be a former NFL head coach to start a blog about pro football. You don’t have to be a licensed chef to start a food blog. If you love food, that passion will show through your blog and attract like-minded people! 

Passion is a good start – but you need something else to succeed: A GUIDE.

I love helping bloggers who are passionate about their topic. Passion is important for long-term success. However, if you don’t have a guide to help you get there, passion gets wasted. I’m here to help you channel your passion into a productive direction. Let me walk you through this process and help you get the end result you want.

See if any of these reasons to start a blog describing why you are doing this:

Share your story. I get emails all the time from people who want to share their story because they want to help other people going through the same thing. Things like living with a disability, dealing with mental illness, finding a job, finding true love – you can share your entire life story with the world, or you can make your blog private and only let certain people see it. I’ve seen some people start a blog and use it as a diary…they simply share what they did that day so friends and family can keep up-to-date.

Find customers for their business. These days we know that Google helps people find practically anything they’re looking for. This includes information about all types of business…Need new tires? Google “new tires near me.” Want to sell your home? You pull out Google to find the right real estate agent to work with. Businesses of all types are using their blog to bring in new customers. 

Build a Community. Blogging is interactive. You write a post and readers give feedback in the comments. This is how like-minded people form a community. A blog can be a magnet that attracts similar people, giving them a chance to connect, build a relationship, and form a community. 

Make money from home. There are some bloggers who earn well over six figures per month. Others make a thousand per month. Many don’t make anything. Why? They don’t have a guide. Or they read too many different guides and get confused. This guide goes into more detail on how to make money with a blog later on. If you’re looking for a way to generate income, you can get off to a good start by using this blog setup guide, which sets you up with the type of blog you need to make money. Not all blogs are compatible with making money – particularly free blogs.  

A Self Hosted WordPress Blog is the right choice for making money online. Get started setting up your Self Hosted WordPress Blog with Bluehost

Alright, now let me show you how to start a blog, okay?

How to Start a Blog in 4 Steps

Right now, I can show you how to start your own blog in four simple steps!

You can get Steps 1 thru 3 done in the next 20 to 30 minutes. 

  • Pick a “domain name” for your blog. (If you already know this, skip to Step 2)
  • Register your blog with hosting.
  • Design your blog by choosing a WordPress theme.
  • Write and publish your first post. 

Boom! You’ll know how to blog in less than an hour! 

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Pick a Blog Name

Once you know the blog topic you are passionate about and want to spend time on, then you need to choose a good blog name.  If you can’t decide on what to blog about, these three things might help you find a great topic just right for you:


Hobbies & Interests – What do you like to do in your spare time? Collecting things, following a sports team, cooking, traveling, these are some classic examples. However, if you have a weird hobby, that could be a perfect blog. Don’t rule it out! Bigfoot has made many bloggers good money.  Star Wars has turned a lot of fans into bloggers. Remember, you can connect with a GLOBAL audience on the internet, so if you want to find people that share your hobbies, think globally. 

Life Challenges – Good or bad, life experiences teach us lessons and provide knowledge for others willing to listen. Sharing your challenges, the highs and lows, can inspire and educate other people…maybe even save their life! It depends on the topic, right? I have helped people with fibromyalgia use a blog to help others with the same condition. I have helped someone with Aspergers start a blog to encourage and inspire other people with Asperger Syndrome. I have helped mothers start “mommy blogs”. I’ve helped dads start dad blogs…whatever your challenge, that story could really help someone if you shared it on a blog. 

Your Personal Story – This is a blog that tells your story over the course of time. If you are 40 years old, you probably could tell enough stories to last for 100 blog posts. You could even be only 18 years old, yet have a powerful personal story with lots to share. Some bloggers like this type of blog because they can talk about a variety of topics. 

When you nail down your blog topic, you will then be ready for the next step – Choosing Your Blog Name.

You want the blog name to be memorable and the name should communicate clearly what the blog is about.

Since Bluehost is so good, their rates tend to be higher than many other hosts. But the good news for you is that Bluehost agreed to give a huge discount for Build Your Own Blog users.

Following any links here in this guide to Bluehost will get you a huge discount for your hosting service. Just click through and you will see the Exclusive offer for BuildYourOwnBlog users for the first year. Pretty cool, eh?

FULL DISCLOSURE: Some links on this site are affiliate links. Bluehost compensates me when you use this discount link. This enables me to provide you with the free blogging tips on this site.

The closer your blog name reflects the main purpose of the blog, the better. As you brainstorm name options, remember to not get too attached to a particular word. Two reasons why: 1. that name might already be taken, so you want to have some backup options. 2. That one word you’re stuck on probably won’t make or break your blog. If you have a blog about cars, your name doesn’t HAVE to include “cars.” Words like “automobile”, “ride,” or a specific brand like “F150” would let people know that your blog is about cars. 

If you plan to write on a wide variety of topics, you may want to use your own name for the blog. Or something like “Mike’s Musings” or “Tina’s Life” or whatever. If your name is taken, you can add in your middle name, or go with something like “Joe Blow Blog” or “Blogging with Joe.” 

Choosing your domain extension (a.k.a. the “domain suffix”)

The domain extension is what you choose to have at the end of your domain name. A .com is the most widely used extension, and others include .org, .net, and even .blog. In fact, the possible choices in domain extensions exploded a couple of years ago. 

So, if you choose a domain you like, and you find it has been taken, you might be able to simply change the extension and get what you want. For example, might be taken, but might be available. 

To find out if your domain is available, you will start the blog setup process and in just a few clicks, you will see a  page that looks like this. You will type in your domain name and choose your extension, then click “next” to find out if it’s available.


why I blog about my personal life

Why I blog about my personal life


I am often told that I have been very brave in sharing my life experiences and their intricate details on a public platform.

When I come to think of it, a smile rises to my lips. Not because I feel proud of being considered brave, but because I started this blog with full realization of this fact.

To me, it is not an act of bravery, but a choice.

A mere choice to include the world in my story.

Even if it means as an audience.

My first post, which is also the about page of my blog talks about the mission of my blog and why I decided to start a personal blog.

Like anyone else I too could keep the dark shades of my personality hidden, I too could never speak of my vulnerabilities, the troubles in my life or even if I would, I could keep the gory details of my divorce, health issues and other personal troubles to my self.

In fact, it’s rather convenient to present only the good, the strong and the rosy aspects of one’s life as is common on the social media networks.

The trouble that kind of blog would pose for me was, I wanted to start writing a daily diary. Something that would register my life as it is in reality.

No hiding the frustrations, no soaking up tears to pose as a strong person, no airbrushed emotions.

I wanted to portray the pain, joy, hurt, bitterness, despair, anger, innocence, everything in its true, unedited form.

I wanted to vent out my emotions through my blog, but at the same time, I wish to come back to these records from time to time to gauge my progress.

I wish to assess where am I heading to in my life, to smile at my changed self and to feel proud to have swum through the rough waters.

Why I blog about my personal life - My journey of being a candid, personal blogger and why I chose to be one. #theerailivedin #personalblogger #journaling

This blog is a mission, it holds much deeper meaning in my life than just telling the world what I went through, who I am, what am I made of and what life made me decide to do in my circumstances.

I sincerely wish that by sharing my life-story on a global platform, maybe someone, somewhere, someday will seek inspiration.

It might help someone prevent getting stuck in situations like I have and find better, timely resolution of issues that if overlooked can leave deep, painful scars.

I totally understand how many of my readers feel that I am going through mood swings every now and then. But the reality is, I register all of my negative thoughts so that my journey has all the emotions intact.

It is an attempt at improving my self-awareness by enabling me to see through life more clearly without defying the frustration, humiliation and anger that were once part of my journey.

The world is full of people who take pride in making us feel stupid should we dare to show an emotion other than elation, anger, boisterousness. To shun us on exposing our vulnerabilities.

Letting the world have a clear view of my raw, often unhealed, the sensitive side was laden with a fair share of insecurities.

That icky, picky, strange, panic-inducing feeling.

But…but… but, there is a silver lining to this ordeal.

Showing my true self has opened up a wiiiiiiiiide door for the people to walk in, feel a connect and say,

“You know what?

Me too.

I too have been there, felt that.”

The first step towards healing is the understanding of your position in life. Acceptance of one’s situation as it is without any form of manipulation marks the beginning of where things can only get better.

My blog is that starting point.

 How My Personal Blog Has Changed My Life For The Better:

♥  Writing a personal blog is cathartic. It has gifted me a safe, release valve for the many stresses in my life.

♥  Writing regularly has helped me record so many memories in words that I can conveniently revisit, relive and reassess at whim. Writing honestly about my life helped keep my creative juices flowing while keeping me observant of the minutest of details.

♥  Writing a personal blog has helped me build a close-knit community of readers some of whom are now my closest friends. It has been a beautiful journey of connecting with people who share my view of life and can feel a connection based on our beliefs.

♥  Regular writing has immensely helped me to process and communicate complex ideas effectively. My personal blog has added to the depth of my life and has redefined my perspective.

♥  A personal blog has helped me reap the mental, emotional and creative benefits of regular writing. I often don’t know what I think, what are my goals in life, until I read it written on my blog.

♥  My personal blog has helped me survive a difficult divorcedepressionstresses of being a single parent and the many life and health challenges life sent my way by connecting me with people from around the world. I feel grateful to be connected with like-minded people who share similar life experiences and perspectives through my blog.

♥  My blog helps me keep a track record of my successes and failures, that help me grow, reflect and most importantly serve as a record in the dullest moments of my life when I desperately need motivation.

♥  This blog is a step forward in my mission of sharing my story with the world in the hope that I can save someone from suffering the emotional traumas I suffered in my life.

♥  My blog has kept me accountable. Whenever the going got tough and I couldn’t foresee where I was headed, sharing my story on the blog has helped me find the pieces of the puzzle with the immense support and insights shared by the growing community of my blog readers. This community has helped me stay accountable and to evolve as a warrior from the worrier I have always been.

 ♥ My personal blog has helped hone my hobbies and interests. Be it cooking, photography or creative writing, I have had the opportunity to refine each of these with every post I wrote featuring them on my blog.

♥ My personal blog has helped me create a personal brand (well, sort of) and given my writing an exposure that landed me with a number of amazing paid writing opportunities.

Through this personal blog, I am trying my bit to be honest and open to my own-self by writing about my life, freely and truly.

I’m at work knocking down those massive walls built by my mind that once blocked help, support and kindness from reaching me.


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Love Real Food

How to Start a Food Blog: Step by Step

How to Start a Food Blog

Want to start a food blog but don’t know where to start? I know how frustrating it can be to deal with technical stuff when you really just want to share that killer recipe. Whether you want to start a cooking blog, or you want to become a more successful food blogger, I hope these tips will ease your technical troubles.

Ready to start a beautiful food blog? You have two options:

  1. Hire a web designer to do it for you. Custom designs usually cost thousands of dollars, but they are certainly an option if you have the money to spend. Be sure to ask for references and wait times before you write a check.
  2. Do it yourself. I’ll explain how to build your own self-hosted WordPress website below. It will cost you as little as $2.95 per month in hosting, plus the cost of a theme (free to $130). I built this site myself using the tools provided below, so I know you can do it!

Please note that this page contains affiliate links. I only link to products I trust and wholeheartedly recommend. Thank you for your support.

Start your own food blog: the basic steps

Here are the basic steps to set up a self-hosted WordPress food blog that is both beautiful and functional. Your blog will have your own domain name and your own distinct look, and it will be able to scale with you as your blog grows. When you’re starting a food blog, I recommend following these steps for a greater shot at success.

1) Name your blog and buy a matching domain name.

Domain names are short, memorable and typically end in .com (
Cost: free with Bluehost or around $15 per year elsewhere. 

2) Find a reliable web host.

A web host stores your website and makes it accessible to the world wide web. In other words, your website “lives” on your web host’s servers.
Cost: $2.95 per month and up.

3) Install WordPress.

WordPress is top-of-the-line, industry standard blogging software.
Cost: free!

4) Install a WordPress theme.

Your WordPress theme will determine the look, feel and functionality of your website.
Cost: free to $130.

5) Set up Google tools.

Google offers invaluable tools and services like Google Analytics, Search Console and Feedburner.
Cost: free!

6) Install WordPress plugins.

WordPress plugins extend the functionality of WordPress in certain areas. For example, one of my recommended free WordPress plugins helps prevent spam comments.
Cost: free, mostly!

7) Start blogging!

Publish those recipes, stories and photos.
Cost: hard work!

Step 1: Name your blog and buy a matching domain name.

Coming up with a name for your new blog might be the hardest step. You can start brainstorming by coming up with a short mission statement or by listing words that describe your cooking style, your lifestyle, your background, etc. Throw in your name and/or your dog’s name. 😉 Talk it out with friends. There are tons of great names out there that aren’t yet taken, I promise!

Characteristics of an ideal blog name

  • Descriptive
  • Memorable
  • Short
  • Easy to spell

Once you have some potential names in mind for your blog, you’ll need to check their availability. Since .com is the standard domain suffix, keep trying potential names until you find one that is available in .com. Don’t resort to hyphens or other punctuation marks to make it work (they’re too hard to remember).

Here’s a handy domain name checking tool from Bluehost. Enter your desired domain name, hit “Check domain” and it’ll tell you if your domain name is available. If so, snatch it up quick!

Once you have picked your perfect domain name, you can get it for free with your BlueHost hosting plan. (Or you can buy it for around $15 a year at GoDaddy and connect it to your web host later. That said, I don’t recommend GoDaddy as a web host based on personal experience.) Buy your domain name now, before someone else does!

Step 2: Find a reliable web host.

You’ll want to start with an affordable shared hosting plan that offers one-click WordPress installation. I know this hosting stuff sounds complicated, but pick one and power through! Your food blog awaits.

The best web host for new food blogs:

Bluehost web hosting

BlueHost: I recommend Bluehost for beginners and growing blogs because it’s affordable, reliable, easy to set up, fast, and offers 24/7 customer support. Bluehost’s “starter” plan is about as cheap as hosting gets. Click here to get started with BlueHost for as low as $2.95 per month and get a free domain name.

With Bluehost, like all the other inexpensive hosts, you’ll pay for your plan upfront. Don’t worry, though—if for some reason you aren’t happy with Bluehost, you can cancel within 30 days for a full refund. (Domain fee excluded, which you’d pay for elsewhere anyway.)

Good to know: Bluehost loves Cookie and Kate readers. Purchase your hosting through any of my links to Bluehost and you’ll get the best deal available. No promo code required.

Here’s how to get the most from your Bluehost plan:

First, choose your plan. I recommend the basic plan, which is the least expensive and offers everything you need to get started.

how to select your plan

Then, choose your term. In order to get your free domain name for a year (a $15 savings) and a significant discount on your monthly rate, you’ll need to pay for at least one year of hosting upfront. Feel free to choose a longer term if you’re serious about blogging and want to save more money, but one year is a great start.

how to select your package

Lastly, choose your add-ons. The only add-on I would choose is “Domain Privacy Protection,” which will make sure your personal address and phone number are kept private. Otherwise, your personal information will be available to marketers and the general public. Please be safe!

select your add-ons (privacy protection)

Step 3: Install WordPress.

This part should be pretty easy. If your web host is BlueHost, here’s how to install WordPress on BlueHost.

Once you’ve installed WordPress, go to Settings > Permalink Settings page and change your permalink structure to “Post name.” Hit save. Now it’s time to make your blog look pretty.

Step 4: Install a WordPress theme.

Now we’re getting to the fun part! Your WordPress theme will determine the look and feel of your site, so pick a good one.

What to look for in a WordPress theme

  • Well designed: Your theme should suit your aesthetic and offer the features you want. The theme should also be coded by someone who knows what they’re doing.
  • Responsive. Responsive designs are built to provide an optimal viewing experience for your visitors, whether they’re visiting from their computer, phone or tablet. That means your visitors won’t have to pinch and zoom to read your posts—your text will already be a legible size.
  • Optimized for search results: This goes along with the last couple of points, because a well-designed site will naturally rank higher in search results than a site built on a theme that is full of errors. (Want to know if you potential theme has coding errors? Run its URL through the W3C’s markup validation service. You don’t have to understand what all the errors mean, but know that fewer errors are better than more errors.)
  • User friendly: Find a theme that offers built-in design options so you don’t have to edit code to change basic stuff. These features will save you a ton of time. Your theme should make it easy for you to change your logo, color scheme, etc.
  • Backed by great support: When you experience technical issues, a responsive support team and/or community forums are invaluable resources.

My bottom line: You can start with a free theme, but I recommend that you pony up some cash for a premium WordPress theme from a reputable provider. The time and headaches that you save down the road will make it money well spent.

Recommended premium WordPress themes

I originally built this blog on a basic, free WordPress theme and customized it myself. In February 2014, I launched a redesigned website that is responsive and my site has grown significantly since then.

Studiopress themes

My blog uses a Studiopress theme. I believe that Studiopress offers the most gorgeous, functional themes available. All of their themes are responsive, which is a necessity these days! Their community forums are helpful, too. Check out Studiopress themes, available for a one-time fee of $59.95 and up.

Foodie Pro theme

Foodie Pro Theme is a fantastic Studiopress theme designed specifically for food blogs. After seeing how nice my friend’s new blog looks right out of the box, I wish I’d gone with the Foodie theme. The built-in recipe page template is a huge plus. Check out Foodie Pro Theme, available for a one-time fee of $129.95.

Brunch Pro theme

Brunch Pro Theme was also designed for food blogs, by the makers of Foodie Pro. Like Foodie Pro, Brunch Pro is beautiful to look at and offers a built-in recipe page template. Pick your favorite! Check out Brunch Pro Theme, available for a one-time fee of $129.95.

How to install a WordPress theme

Another easy step! Click here to learn how.

Tips for designing a user-friendly food blog

When you’re tweaking the settings on your WordPress theme, keep the following in mind.

  • Clear navigation: Keep your blog design clean and uncluttered, so visitors can find what they’re looking for.
  • Encourage following: Place prominent links to your RSS feed, email subscription option and social media on every page.
  • Commenting: Don’t require CAPTCHAs or ask visitors to login first.
  • Suggest sharing: Provide social media sharing buttons at the end of each post.

Step 5: Set up Google tools.

First, set up a new Google account and email (Gmail) address for your blog. It’s nice to keep your blog-related emails and accounts separate, and you will need a Google account to use the following tools. Create a new Gmail account here.

Once you have a Google account, log in and set up the following:

  • Google Analytics: Helps you track blog traffic. (Note: install the tracking code in your Yoast SEO plugin settings.)
  • Google Search Console: Makes sure your website is up and running. (Note: install the tracking code in your Yoast SEO plugin settings.)
  • Feedburner: Allows your visitors to subscribe to your posts by RSS or email. Also helps you keep track of your subscriber numbers.

Step 6: Install WordPress plugins.

Each of these plugins provide valuable features that might not automatically come with your theme.

Recommended WordPress plugins for food blogs:

  • Akismet: Filters out spam comments without requiring CAPTCHA. Nobody likes CAPTCHAs.
  • Tasty Recipes: Formats your recipes for search engine optimization (SEO), adds star ratings, creates print-friendly recipes, and more. This plugin will help your recipe’s photo show up in the search results, and we’re all more likely to click on those links, right? This is a paid plugin but I believe the functionality is absolutely worth the cost.
  • jQuery Pin It Button For Images: This plugin makes it really easy for your visitors to pin your pictures by adding a “Pin It” button as a hover effect. It’s super simple to set up.
  • Share Buttons of some sort: There are many social bookmarking plugins that will add a Facebook like button, Pin-It button, etc. to each post. Pick your favorite!
  • Subscribe To Comments Reloaded: With this plugin, your commenters will receive your replies to their comments by email. This is a helpful feature for readers and improves engagement.
  • WordPress Related Posts: I use this plugin to display related posts at the end of each post. I customized the display myself, but they offer several templates that look nice. I like this plugin because it works great and doesn’t slow my site down.
  • Yoast SEO: SEO is a complicated beast and this plug-in will help you make sure you have covered your bases. You will need to take the time to go through all the steps and set it up properly, though. Be sure to use it to set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console. It will be worth the effort!

How to install a WordPress plugin

Easy! Go to your WordPress dashboard and look in the sidebar for “Plugins.” Hover over “Plugins” and click on the “Add New” option.

Then look for the “Search Plugins” field and search for one of the plugins by name. When you find it, click “Install Now.” Then, configure the plugin settings as directed.

Step 7: Start blogging.

Congratulations!!! Now you’re ready to start publishing posts on your new food blog.

I have a food blog! Now what?

Here are my Top 20 Tips for Food Blogging, and you’ll find more helpful links below.

How do I write great content?

How do I take appetizing food photos and make videos?

Practice, practice and more practice!

How do I get traffic to my blog?

Search engine optimization (SEO): Following SEO best practices will help your posts rank well in search results.

More traffic-building resources:

How do food bloggers make money?

Options include ad networks, affiliate links, sponsored posts, ebooks, etc.


TRIP TO South Africa

The Perfect South African Road Trip

11/15/2018 by Kristin 84 Comments

Click to read an epic South Africa road trip itinerary with 13 unmissable stops that will help you make the most out of your time in South Africa! Accommodation guides and other essential tips included. #SouthAfrica
Pin me!

When I arrived in South Africa I knew that I wanted to do a road trip across the country.  As my first foray into the African continent, I was sure it would be different than Asia where I’d spent the previous three years of my life, easily hopping from place to place on a motorbike or one of the many buses.

South Africa wasn’t going to be as simple without plentiful public transport and easy local options, so a road trip seemed like the perfect way to take it all in.

I arrived without any idea of how to go about this, or how to find a partner in crime, but things have a way of working themselves out. A few days in I met Callum from Canada. He turned out to be the perfect road trip buddy and, lucky for us, the country far exceeded both of our expectations. Daily, we’d turn to each other in awe of what we saw. The constantly changing microclimates and incredible amount of diversity really blew us away. Since then I’ve returned twice, adding more destinations in each time. As far as road trips go, this must be one of the best places in the world to do one. If you’re considering it, grab the opportunity with both hands and enjoy the ride. Here’s the perfect South African road trip itinerary:

How to get Around

Self driving in South Africa is cheap and easy, and the most convenient option, IMHO. You can pay for services like Baz Bus, but once they drop you off, it gets hard to explore the area without wheels. If you share a rental with one or more other people, it works out cheaper and gives you so much more flexibility!

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If you’re looking for the right car rental, click here to compare options.

For the most part, you can go cheap with the car. I’ve rented a VW Golf and a Ford Fiesta and both were fine. Apart from potholes, most of the roads in South Africa are easy to traverse with a cheap, small car, including Kruger National Park. You don’t need a 4×4, unless you’re heading truly off the beaten path.

Additionally, I highly recommend getting a Vodacom SIM card when you arrive at the airport. It will help tremendously with navigating. Plus, WiFi in South Africa can be hard to come by.

Finally, don’t forget travel insurance when you’re in South Africa! I love the World Nomads explorer plan which covers hiking and other adventurous activities.

Without further ado, here’s the itinerary:


south africa road trip itinerary

Johannesburg is a great starting point for a road trip and with its rich history and the Apartheid Museum, a helpful introduction to South African culture. What I really loved about it was the openness and friendly nature of the locals, who are quite likely to invite you to hang out again and again.

I love the vibe of this city. It’s easy to talk to people there and it’s a welcoming place. I might be the only person in the world who prefers Joburg to Cape Town, but Johannesburg has a soul that I really enjoy.

Plus, if you’re there over a weekend, you can find wonderful markets full of friendly and outgoing people. If you have the time, I also recommend exploring Soweto, the biggest South African township.

*Remember to be careful in the big cities in South Africa, though. Don’t walk around, especially at night, and don’t leave anything at all, even if it’s a cheap pair of sunglasses, visible in the car.

Lay your head: I’d suggest an AirBnB rental.

Blyde River Canyon

south africa road trip
WOW just wow

A few years ago, a local South African let me in on a beautiful secret: Horseshoe Bend had a love child with the Drakensberg and it’s called Blyde River Canyon.

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Exploring the hiking trails, God’s Window, the Three Rondavels, and Mac Mac Falls all along the Panoramic Route can easily take up a full week in and of themselves, but if you are just looking for a stop on the way to Kruger National Park, stay near the Three Rondavels viewpoint to get this fantastic view.

Lay your head: Blyde Canyon: A Forever Resort

Kruger National Park

south africa road trip
I will forever remember the way a rhino looks when he runs – so silly!

It took me four visits back to South Africa to realize this, but if you don’t go to Kruger National Park you’re missing out! It’s so much fun to be able to go through a safari destination with paved roads and to be able to self drive. The best part was this could all be done with a tiny sedan!

south africa road trip
I know they’re murderous but Hyenas are so dang cute!

After being on safari in Etosha National Park, all throughout Botswana, Zambia, and the Serengeti, Kruger might actually be my favorite! There are a few other places where you can see the big five (Lions, leopards, buffalo, rhino, and elephants), all in the same day. There are also hippos, giraffes, zebras, lots of impala, honey badgers, genets, loads of birds, and tons of other animals I’m forgetting. To supplement your self drive, I highly recommend signing up for the night drives which you can book at your accommodation.



So you want to create your first programming blog?

This is an excellent idea. I believe that every developer should have a blog, and I will list the reasons why shortly.

In this article, I am going to assume that you are an absolute beginner who has never built a website before.

I will teach you exactly how to build your programming blog step-by-step, starting from choosing a web host, registering a domain name, choosing a good blogging platform for developers, all the way up to how you start writing and promoting your articles.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

Why Every Programmer should have a Blog?

First things first, why should you create your coding blog in the first place?

I get it.

Software engineers hate writing.

It’s even hard to get us to comment our own code.

So why on Earth would you start a programming blog?

Well actually, starting a programming blog will benefit you in numerous ways.

Let’s discuss some of those benefits.

1. Improve your technical skills

There is a well known old Latin principle “The best way to learn something is to teach it”.

I find this principle first-hand to be very true.

For years, I used to teach Computer Science to undergrad students.

I kid you not, every time I taught a course, I also became better at what I am teaching.

Teaching pushes you to learn more about your topic which is good not only for your students but for your own self as well.

Starting a Programming blog is very similar to teaching because in your blog you will be teaching the world about programming and computer science.

And honestly, that’s one of the main reasons why I started

I just love teaching.

If you want to be a better programmer, teach programming through your blog

2. Make some nice side income

Having a blog allows you to have a nice side-income stream that you wouldn’t otherwise have.I make an extra $1500~$2000 per month from this blog. Not a ton, but it helps pay a big chunk of the expensive silicon valley rent.

3. Market yourself

Instead of me babbling about how you can use your blog to market yourself, let’s look at REAL a real case study.

Do you know who Jeff Atwood is?

If you are in the software industry and you don’t know who Jeff Atwood is, then you have been living under a rock.

Just in case let me tell you that Atwood, along with Joel Spolsky, is the founder of Stack Overflow.

Now I am damn sure you know what Stack Overflow is.

If not, then you are definitely not ready to start a programming blog 🙂

But you know what Jeff Atwood is actually known for?

His blog, Coding Horror, which he created in 2004 is one of the most popular programming blogs on the internet.

Not only that, but his blog was the reason how he met Spolsky in the first place!

Don’t take it from me, look at what Atwood himself says:

Your blog will open the doors for various networking and business opportunities that you might not find otherwise.


4. Learn how to write and present your ideas

Believe it or not but your software career heavily relies on how good you are at communicating and presenting your ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, If you are a rockstar programmer you will still do well but your career potential will definitely be limited by your ability to present and communicate your ideas.

One of the many ways you can improve your communication skills is through writing.

If you feel that you suck at writing in the beginning, this is more common than you think.

Just keep at it and over time you will improve and get better.

5. Be an authority in your field

Having a Programming blog helps you build authority in your field.

And being an authority helps you stand out among other software engineers and opens the doors for leadership roles.

6. Learn about online marketing

In order to have a successful blog, you will need to market it.

Marketing your blog is actually not an easy task and requires you to learn a lot about online marketing.

I find online marketing to be an extremely valuable skill that software engineers need to have in their repertoire.

This in itself makes starting a blog a worthy goal in my opinion.

OK, Now How Can You Create a Programming Blog?

Now let’s talk specifically about what you need to do to get your blog up and running fast.

The first course of action is choosing a web host.

Step One: Choose a Web Host

You are a programmer so I am going to assume you know what web hosting is and what purpose it serves.

But just in case you don’t, web hosting is essentially the computer (or computers) that will host the files that make your blog.

A blog (or any website for that matter) is nothing but some files (e.g. HTML, javascript, CSS) living in a machine that is accessible from the internet.

And this machine has to be on 24/7 or otherwise your users won’t be able to access your site all the time.

There are literally a ton of options out there for services that can host your website but I will narrow them down for you to the two options that I personally use and am extremely happy with.