Billed as Australia’s first professional Instagrammer, Lauren Bath was working as a chef when she quit her job in 2011 to follow her passion for travel photography.
Six year’s later, she is one of Australia’s most powerful travel influencers, with 464,400 Instagram followers, and counting. She also runs a successful business consulting on social media to the travel industry.
LAUREN’S TRAVEL TIPs
- Join a frequent flyer program, and try to stick to the same airline each time.
- Standardise your packing: having a routine and always putting things in the same place makes your packing so much faster and easier.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule when you’re not travelling, and do your best to sleep on long-haul flights.
- Travel with snacks, especially if you have a dietary requirement.
- Buy a local SIM card. It’s the first thing I get at an airport. It lets me keep my friends in the loop, and allows me to access the internet, like Google Maps.
- Bring your camera.
How did you start your travel career?
I was a chef who loved to travel in a career that didn’t make me a lot of money. I got into Instagram as a hobby, and that led me to get into photography. I was able to amass a crazy amounts of followers and eventually started emailing tourism boards, trying to figure out what I could offer them. I basically asked them to pay me to travel there.
I treated it as a business from day one. I worked my butt off, and I had to sacrifice many things. I almost sacrificed my relationship with my partner, but I knew that the first five years would always be the hardest when establishing a new business.
Now I’ve joined the Australian Society of Travel Writers, and I do marketing, provide consultation to tourism boards, and I create content for my clients to use on social media.
How do you fund your trips?
State tourism boards will sometimes pay for me to travel in some areas, but I still spend a lot of my own money on personal trips, passion projects, or to pay for my partner or my family to come with me. However, I am trying to work smarter, not harder, so I’ve started putting together projects like an online photography course.
Any tips for taking great travel photos?
Always have your camera with you. Be inspired by other people’s work, and read up on technical skills. But nothing will make you a better photographer than simply taking lots of photos.
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I have to say Scotland, because I’d like to trace my family ancestry. I have not been to Egypt, but I’ve always wanted to go; Namibia is totally on my bucket list, and the last one would be Turkey.
Most memorable travel experience?
That would be the first time that I went to the Kimberley, in Western Australia … thanks to great company, an iconic destination, my favourite images ever, and a sense of reverence, because Kimberley has a vast indigenous history. The gallery of images that I took away from that trip is still my most treasured set.
How have smartphones and social media changed the way people travel in 2017?
I think people are more exposed to beautiful images and ideas for travel. It’s made people want to travel more, and it’s helped them to see the potential of destinations they might not have thought of. Before smartphones, the marketing you saw at travel agents really dictated where you went.
Has the internet taken the romance out of travel?
Hell no – give me all the internet, all of the time. I find that there are more pros than cons because it just makes my life a lot easier. But I do look back on the days of getting lost and having no expectations and being surprised; there’s definitely some merit to that as well.