I feel like I’m traveling with you when I watch your videos.” – A comment on one of my YouTube videos.

And in fact, many of the emails and Facebook messages I get asked these days, begin something like, “Hey, I saw your videos…”

Why did I share this?

It demonstrates the power you have with videos, and the potential you have to connect with your audience.

In this post, I’m going to share with you a step-by-step guide on how to make travel videos for YouTube (and then depending on what your goal is, I’ll show you how to grow your channel and subscribers).

video seo
You can tell such an amazing story through video

Why Are Videos Important?

Word of Warning: This guide is long and extensive (and I share a lot of the things I’ve done to grow my YouTube channel), so if you’re interesting in learning how to make travel videos (or any video) for YouTube, I would encourage you to read through ALL of it. And if you have a question, leave a comment at the bottom.

The reason videos are so important is because they are incredibly engaging and offer a well rounded sensory experience that includes visual motion, sound, story, and personality.

I always loved taking photos of food and blogging about it, but I continued to think to myself that there had to be a better way to show the atmosphere of eating and the emotion of tasting delicious food.

It was sometime in 2011 that it hit me:

I needed to start making travel and food videos and posting them on my YouTube channel.

On that day I committed myself to learning how to make travel videos (mostly food focused), and how to optimize video SEO on YouTube (which is not only the biggest video website platform, but also the world’s second largest search engine).

When I first started making video, I had no experience, and had little clue what I was doing (and I only had a small point and shoot camera). Today, my YouTube channel is my main sources of making money and getting traffic.

The point of saying this is:

Videos have massive potential. And even if you have no experience, and have no idea what you’re doing, you can still get started today (and this guide will walk you through getting started).

youtube travel videos
You can make great videos, even by yourself.

How to Make Travel Videos for YouTube

One of the greatest things about making travel videos yourself is that you’re the producer, and you can decide what you want to do, how you want to film your story, and you don’t have to let anyone else approve your video before you publish it.

This first section is going to cover a quick formula for how to make travel videos, and we’ll then go much more in-depth about each of these topics below.

4 Basic Steps:

  1. Define Your Story: According to the Harvard Business Review, our brains naturally love stories and are attracted to following them. Think about what story you’re going to share in your video.
  2. Film Your Video: Once you have your story, it’s time to start filming your video. I would recommend getting lots of both close up detailed shots, and long wide shots. And get some extra shots for post editing too.
  3. Edit Your Video: Editing your video is the process of taking the raw clips you filmed, and making them into a flowable story, where you can cut out parts you don’t need, and keep everything in sequence. Editing a video is sort of like doing a puzzle, you get to fit everything together.
  4. Publish and Promote: Once you’ve created your video, it’s time to upload it to YouTube or anywhere else of your choosing, and optimize and promote it so you can share your video story with others.

Now, let’s get into some serious details.

how to make travel videos for youtube
Wouldn’t it be nice to make a video eating blue rice, instead of just having a photo?

Travel Video Ideas

Before you start making travel videos, you might want to take some time to think about the types of travel videos you want to create.

Sometimes though, it helps to start making videos first. Then once you’ve done some experimenting, you’ll be able to narrow in on the types of videos you enjoy making, and that are most effective for what you’re doing.

Types of videos

There are many kinds of travel video possibilities and these are just a few to get your ideas flowing.

But the BEST way to figure out what kind of travel videos you want to start making, is to start filming and publishing and seeing what works and what you enjoy.

What’s the most important thing about a video?

Casey Neistat, one of the greatest vloggers on YouTube, has consistently said “story” is the most important component of ANY video.

I fully agree.

Have you ever watched one of those amazingly filmed scenery videos with the gorgeous footage and music in the background? After about a minute of watching, maybe you got bored and went to the next video. It’s inspirational, but not a story.

On the flip-side, you’ve watched a video where someone is explaining something or sharing something, that keeps you engaged and watching, and walks you through a story. And all of a sudden you don’t know where 10 minutes just went.

Think about a story for every video you make.

Will you be the face of your video?

The way I see it, there are in general just 2 different types of travel videos:

  1. You are in the video
  2. You are not in the video

I’ll tell you this:

If viewers can see your face and feel your personality, they will instantly connect much better with you than if they don’t see your face.

I’m not saying you need to be the main part of your video, but what I think works best is a mixture of being on camera and then overlaying video clips to explain what you’re talking about.

I was nervous and felt weird the first time I decided to make a food video on camera. Speaking in front of the camera, even if you’re filming yourself, can be a scary thing. But I’m here to tell you that, just like most things you practice, you get better and more comfortable at it.

If you choose not to be on camera you can always edit your videos and add voice overs or add music to your travel videos.

Video Cameras and Equipment

Cameras and equipment are of course essential for making videos. But at the same time, if you don’t have a plan or story, they aren’t worth much.

Video quality is important, but at the same time, I would encourage you to still make videos, even if you don’t feel your equipment is good enough. You can record great video nowadays with point and shoot cameras, or even phones.

I started with a point and shoot camera (I think it was 4.3 megapixel), and I also formerly used a Canon 70D to film my videos (the Canon 80D is the updated version and a great camera). It’s a great camera because it has a wonderful autofocus so you can easily film yourself. But it’s a pretty big and bulky camera.

As of mid 2015, I switched over to a mirrorless camera that is much smaller and easier to use, and I’ve been very happy with the image quality.

Video camera I use:

Almost all my videos are filmed with this simple setup. You may also want to consider using a tripod or monopod for best video results, but it’s not necessary. I normally don’t carry a full tripod with me, but I do use a Joby gorilla pod frequently.

editing travel videos
Editing video takes time, but it’s well worth it

Edit Your YouTube Videos

There are endless ways for how to make travel videos and edit them, but here’s a formula that I use, and it has worked well.

As a side note, knowing how I’m going to edit my videos, also helps me when I’m filming. So it might be helpful for you to decided how your going to edit before you start filming.

4 Step Editing Formula:

  1. Introduction (around 10 seconds): The first 10 seconds of your video are hugely important. If it’s no engaging enough, people will leave your video. Capture viewers attention with something interesting or tell them what your video is going to be about.
  2. You logo brand (5 seconds): Next, promote your brand. I simply use my logo and add music to it, but others have a more fancy intro.
  3. Body of video: (3 – 8 minutes, or could be longer): This is the body storyline of your video, the bulk of the content.
  4. Ending and Call To Action (around 10 – 15 seconds): At the end of your video, it’s a good idea to have a call to action. I usually ask viewers to click thumbs up (this can help increase your video rankings), and to subscribe for future videos. One of the most effective ways to achieve a call to action at the end of a video is to speak it, ask viewers to do something. But you can also include an end card that you annotate (do this by building it into your video when you’re editing).

A good length to aim for is from 3 – 10 minutes, but you can also try different length videos as well. I’ve had shorter 1 minute videos do well, and longer 15 minute videos do well.

For this travel videos guide, I’m not going to get into the details of actual editing. However, it’s pretty easy to learn, depending on what software you use. You don’t need to worry about special effects or doing anything too fancy, just mainly focus on cutting out parts you don’t need and adding in pieces you do need to complete your story.

Editing Tools

You’ve created your video, it’s now time to upload it.

Upload Your Video to YouTube

After shooing and editing your videos, it’s time to upload them to YouTube!

For starters, I always upload my videos as “Private,” so that I can put all the finishing touches, like keywords, descriptions, titles, and annotations, on them before publishing it to the public.

This also allows me to schedule my videos to publish at the exact time that I’ve told my subscribers I’m going to publish.

I probably don’t need to mention this, but just login to your YouTube account, click upload in the upper right corner, and simply drag your video file onto the upload screen. Then wait until it finishes uploading and processing.

But the work doesn’t end here…

video SEO
Use keywords to your advantage

Optimize Your Video for YouTube

Making and editing a video is only half the work… keep persisting to optimize your videos, it’s worth it in the long run.

What’s the point of optimizing (YouTube SEO)?

Let’s say you have two phrases that mean the same thing, like: “What to do in Bangkok” and “Things to do in Bangkok.” But let’s say 10 times more people search for one of the phrases over the other. Wouldn’t you want to know which phrase that is so that you can target it with your video?

This process looks complicated, but really once you get the hang of it, you can do it pretty quickly and effortlessly, and it gets much easier the more you do it.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is not something you have to overdo with it comes to marketing your videos on YouTube, but it is helpful to target words that get more traffic.

growing your youtube channel
Here are some steps you can take to grow your YouTube channel

How to Grow Your YouTube Channel

The way I see it there are 2 main methods of growing your channel which are in your control.

  1. Gain Subscribers: Subscribers are people who subscribe to your YouTube channel and when you publish a video, they are notified and often watch your newest published videos soon after you release them.
  2. Create Evergreen Videos (Video SEO): Evergreen content are videos that rank well when people search on YouTube or Google, and can continue to rack up views over time. These videos bring in new viewers continuously (day and night), and you always have an opportunity to convert them into subscribers. Tips for creating evergreen videos is summarized in the optimize section above.

I say “in your control” because you can do these two things yourself to boost your YouTube channel.

Other less controllable methods for growing your YouTube channels are are somewhat out of your immediate control.

However, focusing on the two things mentioned above and improving your overall channel authority and watch time, will increase your chances of less controllable factors which include things like YouTube promoting your videos as suggested videos or even having one of your videos go viral.

Things To Do:

If you follow these tips and keep publishing videos, I’m pretty confident your YouTube channel will grow.


Along with first starting a blog, the decision to start making travel and food videos for YouTube and growing my YouTube channel, was probably the best choice I’ve made in my online career.

In this guide on how to make travel videos for YouTube we’ve gone over a step by step plan on how you can start to make videos and grow your channel (and your videos don’t need to be only about travel, this guide will work for any subject of video).

There’s no doubt that it takes a lot of work. But the beauty of making videos, especially when you have a a platform like YouTube to share them on, is that you have the potential to connect with millions of people from around the world.

Don’t wait, start creating and telling your story today.

If you have any questions or comments, leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!