With less than four weeks before entries close for the 2016 Travel Media Awards, we catch up with Kash Bhattacharya, winner of Travel Blogger & Vlogger of the Year 2015
Kash is the author of Budgettraveller.org —a blog he started in 2009 that chronicles his efforts to see the world in style and on a shoestring budget. From cheap eats to budget beds, Kash knows that seeing the world doesn’t have to cost the earth. So what’s the intrepid blogger and vlogger been up to since winning a coveted Travel Media Award last year?
Image, above: Kash (right) is presented his trophy by Eric Hallerberg, on behalf of category sponsor Sabre
What did winning Travel Blogger & Vlogger of the Year 2015 mean to you?
Greetings to you all from sunny Seville! The truth is that a few months on, it still hasn’t sunk in! I have to look at the award once in a while to remind myself that it wasn’t all a dream.
Has the win had an impact on your career?
The win has definitely raised my profile — and that the category exists has been great for the travel blogging industry too. I think the travel industry is still learning to harness and understand the value of working with professional travel bloggers like myself. So every award, every bit of awareness we can gain through prestigious events like the Travel Media Awards, has a lasting legacy.
My blogging colleagues from the industry, many of whom I’ve collaborated with over the years, were warm and generous in their response to my award. We’ve all grown up together and celebrate each other’s success — it’s a great community to be part of.
What did you most enjoy about last year’s ceremony?
Many of the people at the ceremony had impacted my career in various ways. They’d been a huge part of my story so it was pretty special to receive the award and celebrate with them later.
What have you been working on and where have you visited since we saw you last? Are there any particular projects or trips coming up that you’re excited about?
I’ve been busy working on the second edition of my Luxury Hostels of Europe guide, which will be launching in September. I’m currently filming 35 hostels across 25 cities; check out my Instagram account for a glimpse of what I’ve been up to.
I’ve just secured an annual partnership with Hostelworld, a brand that both my readers and I love, so I’m excited about that. Plus I’m working with Expedia and my blogging friends at iAmbassador on the third edition of Must Love Festivals, an annual storytelling project about cool, quirky festivals around the world. I’m hoping to visit over 40 unusual festivals in the next year! It’s going to be epic.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a travel blog? What are your tips for success?
My advice is simple: create inspiring, original content that will help people travel better. If you hold that philosophy close to your heart you will succeed.
What recent travel trends have piqued your interest?
I am very curious about the impact the sharing economy is having on the way we travel. Airbnb has changed the game: everyone is a budget traveller now. The hotel industry is at a point where it has to innovate or die, so I’m keeping an eye on new initiatives in that court.
I’m also interested in how destinations will tackle the issue of overcrowding in tourist hotspots. I think bloggers and the whole media sector have a huge role to play here in inspiring, educating travellers to get off the beaten path.
What destinations have you got your eye on this year?
Destinations that have caught my eye this year include San Sebastian, Emilia Romagna, Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Costa Brava. All of them have a fantastic cultural and culinary heritage. The boom in gastro-cultural tourism makes these prime destinations to look out for in 2016-2017.
Who are your heroes, professionally or otherwise?
I love Anthony Bourdain and his work, especially the new Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown series on CNN. Food, for me, is the starting point for exploring a destination. I love how he brings people together through food — it’s amazing how a simple meal can transcend all cultural, social and economic boundaries. Bourdain’s shows remind me that the world, despite its many troubles, is still a beautiful place and has so much to offer us. The only bad part of watching the show is that, for me, it serves as a reminder that there is a lot of eating and travelling to be done!
And finally, have you got your entry in for the 2016 Travel Media Awards?
Not yet. Thanks for the reminder!