Travel Writer of the Week: Tonya Prater

Tonya’s website is Travel Inspired Living and was launched in 2009.

Bio: Tonya Prater is a full-time content creator as well as a wife, mom, former full-time RVer, and author of Secret Cleveland: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure, the 2nd edition of 100 Things to do in Cleveland before you Die and the Roadside Attractions Adult Coloring Book.

An avid road tripper and roadside attraction enthusiast, Tonya dreams of returning to her nomadic roots and van camping around the United States with her husband and two of her four cats that she is sure are destined to live lives of adventure.

She believes travel doesn’t need to be difficult, expensive, or take you across the globe to be memorable and is on a mission to inspire her readers to get out and explore the world around them.

Here is Tonya’s Q&A About her Life as a Travel Content Creatoraspiring travel writer of the week

Tonya Prater from Travel Inspired Living

Do you consider yourself a travel blogger, travel writer or travel photographer or? Can I say all of the above? It depends on my mood and who I’m talking to.

How long have you been a blogger/writer/photographer? This is my 11th year.

Where do you call home? I live in Mansfield, Ohio which is where the blockbuster movie, The Shawshank Redemption is filmed.

How many countries have you been to? 8

How many continents have you been to? 3

Top 5 destinations on your travel to-do list: Hawaii, the New England States, an RV trip with my mom and dad so they can see the national parks in the Western States, a tour of WWII sites in Europe with my husband, and a trip to Israel.

Earliest travel memory: Road tripping along the shores of Lake Erie, here in Ohio, with my family. I remember seeing huge, towering fiberglass dinosaurs at the entrance to a now-defunct tourist attraction called Prehistoric Forest. I’m pretty sure my fascination with roadside attractions stems from this memory. I always wanted to stop but never did until I had children of my own. Sadly, I can’t say it was worth the wait.

Favorite Travel Writer: I’m a bit indecisive so I’ll give you three; Bill Bryson, John Steinbeck (I loved Travels with Charley) and Thor Heyerdahl because his expedition abroad the Kon Tiki fascinated me.

Favorite Travel Photographer: Rick Gerrity. He travels throughout the United States, visiting places that aren’t well known while making connections with people everywhere he goes. He’s very gifted and his photos tell stories. I’ve had the pleasure of joining him for a photography workshop and would love to shadow him for a few days soaking up all his wisdom.

Favorite Travel Blog/s or Website/s:,,

The trip that turned me from a vacationer to a traveler: I think I’ve always been a traveler. I learned early on from my mom and dad what an adventure it can be to seek out spots that are off-the-beaten-path and to appreciate and patronize local mom & pop restaurants and stores.

The trip that turned you into a travel writer/blogger/photographer: I didn’t start blogging as a travel blogger so for me the trip that probably turned me into a travel blogger was when my family was invited to a weekend getaway at Callaway Gardens in Georgia. It was our first hosted stay and I documented everything.

My first steps to become a travel writer/blogger/photographer:

I never planned to be a travel writer. I was a homeschool mom who wrote the newsletter for my local support group when I started interning for a homeschool magazine. It was then I decided that I’d start a blog that started mainly sharing our life as a full-time RV family taking field trips. I gradually morphed into travel completely due to interest from my readers.

Are you an independent traveler or do you participate in organized media trips?  I’m pretty selective when it comes to organized group media trips because I want to make sure they are a great fit for me and my readers. I do love to plan my own travel though and on occasion will pitch for hosted stays.

The social media platform driving the most traffic to my site is: Pinterest but I really consider that a search engine so if we’re talking purely social media, it would be Facebook.

My top tip to use Pinterest for traffic:

Be consistent with posting and be yourself. Don’t just share where you’re going or where you’ve been but share why your readers/followers should go too. Let them know what’s in it for them.

My favorite tool/app for social media: Ripl because it allows me to make branded graphics and videos easily on the road to share on my social media channels.

Favorite Travel Twitter Chat: #RoadTripChat that takes place every Monday at 9 p.m. EST

If only I had the time, I’d do/finish…… Does clean my spare bedroom and turn it into an office count? Purely blog related, it would be to build my email list and create an email sequence.

My top tip for aspiring travel writers and bloggers!

It’s so important to know your why. Travel blogging is very rewarding, but it can also be difficult and lonely. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten overwhelmed or burnt out and wanted to quit. Each time, I’ve had to go back and remember why I wanted to blog in the first place.

Best travel tip for travelers:

Travel is not about checking off a checklist, it’s about making memories. Don’t plan every moment. Leave some time for spontaneity.

Connect with Tonya!


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