This is a great piece from Stuart McDonald (@travelfish) reflecting on the past 19 years of building travelfish.org and what he would do the same, and differently, if he was starting Travelfish today.
Here's his first 5 tips...
1. Wouldn’t accept freebies2. Wouldn’t have ads3. Would have a paywall4. Wouldn’t work with properties and/or tourism boards5. Would use in-house copy only
👉 Full list at couchfish.substack.com/p/couchfish-some-thoughts-on-19-years
Short personal story about Travelfish: I first saw Travelfish "in the wild" at an internet cafe in Laos in 2009. I looked over to talk to another backpacker at the cafe, and on the screen of their desktop PC (yes, remember them!) was the Travelfish website. I was working on a travel startup (a stackoverflow for travel) and was so excited to see a real life traveler using online guides for travel planning!
Thanks. Very useful.
Hey Ian, thanks for posting this—and for using the site in 2009!
It was an interesting thought process putting the list together, as the list could be far longer, but I was looking for a mix of points between those that are kinda travel publisher inside-baseball, and those that will be more relevant to travellers/readers rather than publishers.
Probably an important point not highlighted, is that my points will almost certainly mean less revenue overall, perhaps a lot less, but that was my choice.
I think, overall, we were lucky to start when we did, as search was an important funnel, and that field is far different today compared to what it was then. As I hinted at in the post, if I was to do this again—from scratch—I’d almost certainly do it as a paid newsletter rather than as a website.
Anyways, if any TM readers have any further questions or need any clarification on any of my points, happy to expand on any of this as required.
personal obsession question: when you and your staff go places to check them out, what bag are you packing?
I have a fairly small 22 litre Eiger pack, which is the most common one I take (I have a bigger 35 litre one, but don’t use that much). I don’t pack much—laptop, cables, notebooks and two or three changes of clothes depending on the trip. The bigger one is here—the smaller one seems not to be listed anymore. eigeradventure.com/migrate-2-0-35l-rucksackCheers