Have you ever dreamed of packing your bags, quitting your 9-5 job and setting off on an adventure of a lifetime travelling the world?
Well, for many of the 25 travel bloggers that we interviewed for this post, that dream is a reality! Luckily for you, they have decided to blog about it every step of the way.
The travel bloggers featured in this post reveal how they manage to create a steady stream of income from monetizing their blogs with higher travel affiliate payouts that makes their enviable lifestyles possible.
Whether you are an avid travel blogger looking to increase your monthly revenue, or a newbie just learning to start a blog – this post guarantees to give you new ideas about how to make money blogging.
Keep reading to find out what our blogging experts revealed in their response to one interesting question:
“What Is Your Top Tip for How to Make Money With a Travel Blog?”
The responses were varied, but most of our experts concurred on these main pieces of advice about how to make money blogging:
- Spread your portfolio of products and earning opportunities– Before you home-in on what works best for you, try to experiment with a variety of monetization techniques. This can be everything from affiliate links, paid partnerships and social media promotion to brand campaigns and sponsorships. You can create a more passive income stream for your blog by working out which is the most effective.
- Sell products and services that your readers need – Consider selling digital marketing training to aspiring bloggers or travel consulting to your readers who are looking to dig deeper into the content that they see on your site.
- Think outside the box – What can you do that nobody else is? Marketing yourself as a very specific entity within the blogging world can help you align your expertise with brand partnerships that will generate higher revenue as your audience is so targeted. Before you approach a brand ensure that you have a media kit ready and that you (and your readers) will have a genuine interest in their product or service.
- Focus on writing amazing content – Remember to plan long term. A great way to do this is to build a name for yourself as a provider of great content. Educating your readers and building trust is the best way to position yourself in a position of authority amongst other travel blogs.
Read on for more detailed answers from our panel of experts and leave a comment to let us know what tip you found the most useful.
The best way to make money from a travel blog is to listen to what your readers need. Then create a solution for their problems and pain points. Products and services are the most secure and long-lasting way to make money, and you don’t necessarily need a huge platform. With other monetization models, such as ambassadorship or paid campaigns with tourism boards, you do.
Caz and Craig Makepeace want to live in a world where people travel more and create better memories, especially with their kids! They’re the founders of ytravelblog.com. Connect with them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
The best way to make money from a travel blog depends on what kind of subject matter you cover and what kind of content you share. If you’re doing reviews of gear or gadgets, affiliates can be the best channel. They’re a great way to earn commissions when you’re writing about specific products. If you’re doing narrative travel writing, sponsorships can make the most sense. A lot of travel brands partner with bloggers in the form of brand ambassadorships if there’s a good fit between their brand and your tone. If you have a large social media following, sponsored social posts or product placement in YouTube videos can be very lucrative. A lot of companies are looking for exposure on Instagram right now, and that’s a great monetization channel for those with significant followings. The most important thing is that you identify where your strengths are and choose a monetization method (or methods) that fits best.
Julie Falconer is a London-based travel writer and speaker. She runs an award-winning blog, A Lady in London, and has visited 100 countries. @aladyinlondon
I think it depends on how large your audience is. When you’re first starting out, the best way to monetise a travel blog is by treating it as a portfolio of your writing. You’ll be able to apply for freelance travel writing gigs by showing it as an example of your work, gradually increasing your rates as your writing and client list improves. Once you’ve been freelancing for a while, you’ll find that companies will start approaching you to ask you to write for them.
If you’ve been blogging for several years and have a large audience, you can then transition to an income that is much more passive. Affiliate income becomes much more achievable when you have an audience who are looking to travel in a similar style to you, and would buy the products you recommend. An alternative is selling products, like guide books or travel souvenirs on your blog.
Lauren is a full-time traveller, professional travel blogger at Never Ending Footsteps, and author of the travel memoir, How Not to Travel the World. @NEFootsteps
I think of my blog like a publication, one that has a very dedicated audience, so I look for paid partnerships that allow me to create and publish interesting content that will be exclusive to my site. Print magazines do this and there’s no reason it can’t work for bloggers too, when done well.
Kirsten Alana is a Luxury Travel & Lifestyle Photographer who left the Nomadic life behind to have a home in NYC. You can read about her travel adventures and what living a well-rounded life means to her at AviatorsAndACamera.com. @KirstenAlana
Diversification is key, perhaps not just with travel blogging, but monetising any blog. There is not one single revenue stream in travel blogging so you need to spread your portfolio of products and earning opportunities (affiliate, paid partnerships, social media promotion, brand campaigns and sponsorships for example).
On LiveShareTravel we have seen the most success with annual sponsorships, promotional offers and competitions – for which we generate a huge number of sales for clients and brand awareness through thousands of competition entries. Then they’re editorial and social media campaigns, which make up a lot of our revenue.
We do a lot of campaign work with destinations and brands on a collective basis through groups like Captivate, of which I’m a founder, and iambassador, for which I’m UK director. Brands and destination management organisations are gravitating towards these groups as they give them one point of contact for working with a number of bloggers on a campaign – this simplifies and streamlines blogger outreach and commissioning, plus the campaigns produce strong, amplified results. Clients don’t just see reach on one blog, but on those directly involved in the campaign, and the social media platforms of perhaps ten or more others.
Passive income streams are the Holy Grail in blogging. But these can be difficult to achieve without huge amounts of traffic, which just isn’t the reality for all but a handful of travel blogs – travel isn’t one of life’s “must-haves” or “need-to-know” areas, after all. And that is part of the reason why, as you try to build passive income, travel bloggers also need to diversify and seek other revenue streams.
Sarah Lee’s a print journalist/editor, and founder of an award-winning luxury travel blog, LiveShareTravel, which has partnered with TUI, Royal Brunei Airlines and destinations worldwide. @LiveShareTravel
There is one key thing you need to make money from a travel blog – and that’s influence. It doesn’t matter how large or small your audience is, as long as people will make decisions based on your recommendations. Influence can be gained by inspiring your readers, or educating them, informing them, or guiding them – but they need to trust you.
Once you have influence there are many specific ways to monetise. I think a great way is to form partnerships with destinations and brands and work out commercial deals where you can provide useful content for your readers which also serve the client’s needs. There are a lot of options in the travel world for people looking to make bookings or purchases and if you can point consumers towards an option that you are comfortable recommending, then everyone benefits from the situation.
Michael Turtle is a Travel blogger endlessly wandering around the world. From Sydney, Australia – Michael was awarded the Best Australian Lifestyle Blog 2014. @michaelturtle
Brands are always looking for high-quality lifestyle content and promotion, so as a fashion-minded travel and lifestyle blogger I’m able to find an authentic synergy between my audience, content and brands I endorse, and monetize my blog.
Kiersten Rich is the author of award-winning solo female travel & lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, festivals and photography from around the world. @theblondeabroad
Develop a niche within the blogging arena that relates to your style of travel, and then connect with brands that may share your voice. Whether it’s budget, luxury, adventure, or anything else, remain true to your message and you will stand out within this crowded space.
Once you do that, connect with brands that you feel best represent that idea and pitch them on working together. These are the big contracts that will help you have sustainable financials within the travel blogging space.
For example, my site is focused around slow, meaningful travel with local relationships, and I reach out to brands and tourism bureaus who wish to “Travel Deeper” with me.
Gareth Leonard is a world traveler who counts relationships formed over countries visited. The Original #TravelDeeper @tourist2townie
Before you can start to make money from your travel blog, you need to build up followers. The best way to do this is to network – both in real life, through attendance at conferences and press events, and virtually, via social media networks, forums and commenting on other blogs. If you share other people’s content, they tend to reciprocate. Once you have the following, you should add a PR/Media page to your site’s homepage with contact details. You’ll find that requests for sponsored posts, guest articles and sidebar advertising start to filter through. It’s important to be selective. If you’re helping to promote a brand, you should be confident you’d use their services yourself. If someone sends you a pre-written post, make sure it matches the style of your site or edit it to make it more relevant. Better yet, work with a company that asks you to write the post, so you have full control over the content. The best way to ensure that the brands you promote are a good match is to approach them yourself. If you always use a particular travel insurance company or airline, contact them and say you’re keen to write about their services and ask if they would be interested in sponsoring your article. Usually, they will either agree or send you information about affiliate advertising. The closer the brand matches your site, the higher the click through rate from your site to theirs, which means more money if you’ve agreed on affiliate advertising, or repeat partnerships if they’re happy with the outcome of your first collaboration.
There are plenty of other ways to earn money using your skills; for example, by selling your photographs, providing SEO/social media expertise or writing an eBook. Another thing to consider is that most travel bloggers ‘save’ more money than they ‘earn’. By this, I mean that, through press trips and reviews of comped services (ie, activities, courses, software, travel gear, transport, accommodation, etc.), we can do much more travelling at a much lower cost. It might not mean money in our bank accounts, but it means we can afford to stay on the road longer, which ultimately enhances the quality of our blogs through additional content.
Arianwen is the author of adventure travel blog Beyond Blighty. In the past three years, she’s backpacked solo through most of Latin America, taken on adrenaline sports in New Zealand, and lived and travelled in Australia. She’s currently touring South East Asia and about to pursue her divemaster qualification. @BeyondBlighty
The best way to make money is to think of your blog as a shop window. There’s no point in all these people coming to your blog if you have nothing to sell. Affiliate links can work really well if implemented correctly because they generate passive income. You can write a detailed blog post about a specific product or include a travel tips post, then include affiliate links to the companies you like to use. Another option is to write e-books. Lots of bloggers have written successful e-books and have even gone on to be published in print. Alternatively you could make money from direct advertising through collaborations and partnerships with big brands. Some travel bloggers are paid to take press trips abroad, particularly if they have large Instagram or social media followings. If you have a YouTube account and you’re talented at making videos people want to watch, this is another great way to partner with brands and charge for your services.
Victoria Brewood is a YouTuber, award-winning UK travel blogger, and actress. @PommieTravels
If you can create your own products or services you are on the safe side. Think of online courses or eBooks (travel guides, how to’s etc…). The margin for online products is pretty high as you only invest once, mainly time and you usually have no recurring costs for selling your product. I have written 3 guides and published one book with a publishing house in Germany that sell extremely well. If you focus on your numbers (visitors, likes, followers) and they are big enough campaigns with established brands can be a good income and pay really well. Affiliate Marketing is my favourite income as I don’t have to deal with support, invoices etc. If you can get your head around SEO that would be the best method to invest your time!
Sebastian runs multiple businesses and blogs. His main Blog Off-The-Path is Germany’s most successful adventure travel blog. With his agency Inhaltsreich, he consults and manages content for other sites. @s_canaves
It’s important to really find a niche and own it. Putting yourself in a simplistic category like adventure, luxury or budget will not make you stand out. What can you do that different within that niche? What can you do that nobody else is? That is different and stand out? With this, you can market yourself as a very specific entity within the blogging world, where you can demonstrate a very particular audience and voice. From there you can pitch for strategic campaigns and brand partnerships that align with your brand. For me, this has become the main stream of my blog income.
Becki Enright is a British Travel Press Award-winning travel blogger, writer & PR. @BordersofAdv
Most travel bloggers only think about a few monetization methods when they start their travel blog. This is limiting and often leads to poor earnings and over-reliance on one income stream. The best way to monetize a travel blog is to embrace a variety of monetization techniques that play to your strengths.
Most travel bloggers focus on ‘passive’ income sources such as product (usually e-book) sales, affiliate sales and sponsorships/sponsored content. However there are a lot of services that bloggers overlook the fact that there is great money to be made in providing services to destination marketing organizations and travel companies such as:
– Blogger outreach
– Content creation
– Training and consulting
I earned a living selling writing and photography for most of my career. I never really pursued any other forms of monetization until recently. But, after working for a travel company as a blog manager and speaking at several conferences, I found that there was such a huge demand for consulting and training that I started a company focussed solely on those services. Now, I sell those services at a premium and can afford to only sell my writing and photography when the price is right. Now I’m making much better money for less work.
Keep an open mind and actively seek the path of least resistance.
Matt Gibson, the CEO of Xpat.Media and Award-Winning Blogger behind XpatMatt.com.
The best way to make money from a travel blog is through brand partnerships. Bloggers are sponsored to be brand ambassadors for either a few weeks, a few months or a year and will naturally promote the brand within their social media updates and blog posts.
This only works if it’s a perfect match between a brand and a blog and the blogger has a genuine passion for the brand. When it’s a perfect match it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved; the brand gets mentioned by an influencer, the influencer helps to promote a brand they love and probably would have mentioned anyway, and the blogger’s audience finds out more about a brand they’re likely to have an interest in.
Travel bloggers aren’t restricted to working with brands that specialize in travel. They can work with tech companies, clothing and transport, beauty products or anything that relates to travel and their particular niche.
Monica Stott runs The Travel Hack, a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury – @TheTravelHack
The best to way to make money from a travel blog would be to first build up a solid readership and social media following. From there you can introduce affiliate links into different blog posts, web pages and newsletters that track reader purchases within the affiliated site and then in turn receive a % of any purchases your readers have made. It is a long-term strategy, but the safest option for a blogger like me in terms of professional reputation and keeping Google happy. I could build a blog and then sell any number of text links to SEO companies. While this would bring in a good amount of money in the short term, my blog would soon lose creditability with fellow bloggers and readers. Google would almost certainly take a disliking to my text links too, and hit my blog with a serious penalty.
London based budget travel blogger, instagramer, WordPress geek, football fan, burger and pizza fiend. @packsandbunks
The best way to make money from a travel blog is to figure out what you can provide that truly helps your readers solve a problem, whether that be through a product, service, reviews, etc. I’ve found success through both guiding my readers to problem-solving products I am an affiliate for, and by creating those products (digital and physical) myself. Relying on ads or sponsored content can be a fickle, stressful business, and instead should be used to supplement income that is being made while truly serving your audience’s needs.
Brooke Schoenman is a world traveler, blogger, writer, expat in Australia. @herpackinglist
Personally I think that the best way to make money from a travel blog is to use your blog as your resume. Use it to show your writing, photography and videography skills. Use it to show your interests and your own personality. Then from there connect with people who need content, photos taken and/or videos and find a way to work with them to the best of your ability by either creating content for them to own or sponsored posts on your own site.
If however you want a more direct way to make money from you site look into Google Adsense ads or think about doing affiliate sales. A few affiliates that are popular are Amazon, Etsy and a hosting service like BlueHost. Find ways to work these products into your site by writing an honest blog post perhaps that lists your five favourite things to take with you when you travel, link to the products on Amazon and fingers crossed you will start earning money from the sales.
The biggest piece of advice that I can give however is that making money from your blog isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work, time and commitment. Good luck!
Cailin O’Neil is an award winning Canadian travel, video and food blogger and freelance writer who has travelled mostly solo to over 44 countries and counting. @TravelYourself
I make the most money for my travel blog by accepting the occasional sponsored post from travel brands or destination marketing organisations that are looking to work with me to promote their product, service, or destination. I always write all of the content myself so it doesn’t sound too advertorial. Whenever possible, I always try to run a contest in order to give something back to my readers. I’ve had some contests that included free macaroon making lessons, a Guinness prize pack, and even gave away a Go Pro!
Chery Howard is a Canadian expat from Toronto living in Berlin. She blogs about her travels at cherylhoward.com, a site to inspire you to travel more or move abroad. @cherylhowardcom
Many travel bloggers assume advertising and selling links is going to be their holy grail to travelling the world working 4 hours a week. While that’s an option if you plan to live in the cheaper parts of the world like Asia, it’s a poor source of long term income and also leaves your blog open to accepting all sorts of content that may not align well with your brand.
Providing you care about your readers and want to build a name for yourself.
The real key to a successful and long term profitable blog is to align yourself with affiliate products that fit within your brand and the creation of your own content that you can on-sell. The travel niche is a big spending market with flights, accommodation, insurance being big expenses for people. Bundle that along with practical items like clothing, gear etc and a blogger can make significant returns with affiliate partnerships.
On top of affiliate sales, many travel bloggers have turned their hand at creating guide books and offering traveller planner services to their readers. Leveraging your first hand experience travelling the world this type of content is well received and more personal as people can email you and ask questions which the big guide books companies do not offer.
Chris Richardson is an award winning Australian Travel Blogger looking to make travel easy for all with budget help, visa advice and travel tips. @theaussienomad
The best and the easiest ways to monetise a travel blog have a huge difference between them. I’ve made easy money from my blog but I also quickly realised that it wasn’t the most sustainable way to monetise.
So the best way? Think big, think outside the box and think long term.
For me that meant creating my own online travel agency – EpicGapYear.com – to compliment the content and readership of my blog. Look for an organic extension of what you already blog about – it might not be the most obvious but it will probably work out to be the most sustainable.
Since quitting his job in 2009, Chris has been inspiring others to travel the world via his blog BackpackerBanter.com and online travel agency EpicGapYear.com. @epicgapyear
Don’t count on your travel blog to cover the majority of your income. There are plenty of ways to make money, like affiliate links, e-books, and partnerships, but if you don’t have a really large audience, or a specific service you are selling that attracts a niche crowd, you won’t be able to live off of your blog. Instead, create well-written and engaging content and try your hand at pitching publications and working as a freelance writer.
Diana is an American expat who quit her job in public relations to start a travel blog and head across the Atlantic Ocean to chase her dream of sharing travel stories with readers. She is also the co-founder of responsibletraveltourism.com. @DTravelsRound
Affiliate marketing is a potentially lucrative way to monetize a travel blog. This form of monetization works best with travel guides and how-to blogs (it’s much harder for travel narrative blogs). There are hundreds of travel products and services that offer an affiliate program (google “x travel product affiliate program” to find if a product does). You will not make any money by placing a banner on your site and hoping for the best, though. Successful affiliate marketers make their income by providing outstanding content to go with the affiliate offer. Some examples include writing a travel guide to a city and listing some recommended hotels, testing and reviewing travel gear, book reviews, and hotel reviews. Affiliate marketing is a competitive space so for greater success a guide/review should be comprehensive that people would naturally share on social media and link to. Successful affiliate marketers also stay within a niche (for example luxury hotels in Europe or a backpack review site).
James Clark is a long-term traveller running a location independent business since 2003. He blogs about his experiences at nomadicnotes.com. @nomadicnotes
Run competitions on your blog. Competitions not only bring great traffic to your blog as everyone loves a freebie but is also a great opportunity for a client to advertise their product to your audience. It could be anything from a book to a holiday or the latest technology gadget. Many companies will be willing to pay for running a competition on your blog as it can bring great social media engagement, often more so than a normal post. Try making part of the entry requirements to include following you and the client and/or sharing the post with their followers for extra engagement.
Jen is a travel blogger and social media expert. She looks for adventure wherever she turns, whether it’s trekking up mountains or trying random local delicacies she is never happier than when randomly wandering through a new country without a plan. @Jlowthrop
Creating a sustainable location independent lifestyle through a travel blog necessitates various income streams. And the strategies implemented to create these income streams vary greatly between blogs. For my blog, The Runaway Guide, I rely primarily on of dedicated readers. Readers who start off as aspiring runaways and through my guides turn into actual runaways. They join me on my tours or purchase travel insurance and other recommended resources through my blog.
Ultimately, the best way to make money is to cultivate an audience, determine what that audience wants, and provide and promote resources specific to their aspirations.
When Leif Harum was 16 he ran away from home and explored the far reaches of Europe and the Middle East without a cent to his name. On his blog, The Runaway Guide, he shares his experiences to prepare, empower and inspire others to embark on their own journeys no matter what the budget. @TheRunawayGuide
Determine why your audience reads your blog: do they want to be inspired with wanderlust by your personal stories, are they looking for product tips on what to take traveling, or do they want to learn the best ways to travel? The answer will give you an insight on how best to monetize your travel blog: through a non-fiction novel based on your travels; affiliate links to products, or digital products such as how-to e-books. A strong social media presence and readership can also help secure brand partnerships.
Alexandra Jimenez is a digital nomad and the editor of TravelFashionGirl.com. She spends her travels growing her online business while scuba diving her way around the globe. @TravlFashnGirl
Our panel of Travel Blogging experts revealed their secrets to success when it comes to growing a Travel Blog.
Which tip did you find the most useful? – Let us know in the comments below!