For travel lovers, there’s no better job in the world than travel blogging, but there are a lot of misconceptions about the job and what it entails. Of course there are! Few bloggers are actually turning their blogs into a business these days, so most people have no idea what is involved in the life of a professional travel blogger.
This article was easy for me to create because I have so many questions from aspiring digital nomads showing up in my inbox each day. The answer to these questions are very important and everyone who wants to start a travel blog should understand them before having a real go at this profession.
In this article, I’m going to cover some of the most common misconceptions and frequently asked questions about travel blogging and I’m going to answer the most important queries about the job in an attempt to help travel bloggers on their journey.
1. Can I Earn a Good Living From Travel Blogging?
Without a doubt, one of the biggest misconceptions about travel blogging is that it’s not a reliable source of income. When we tell people that we’re travel bloggers, their first response is: “yeah, but how do you earn money?”.
I think the misconception that travel blogs don’t earn money is further extenuated by top bloggers who say: “You’ll never get rich as a travel blogger”.
What a horrible thing to say! I know of some travel bloggers who make $60,000 / month! I’m not sure if it’s my modest upbringing or my moderate understanding of the global economy, but I would say that’s quite a bit of money.
The truth of the matter is that the average wage of a travel blogger is probably around $10 / month. That’s not because it’s not a lucrative career choice, it’s just that so many travel bloggers are just doing it for fun and have no intention of turning it into a business.
Of the millions upon millions of travel blogs on the internet, most of them are just posting up photos and stories for their families to read. This is great and we did this as well a few years back. But when thinking of the salary of a professional travel blogger, you can’t let the people blogging for fun bring the average wage down.
When you think of what baseball players make, you don’t say “$10 / year on average because kids in little leagues and amateurs aren’t getting paid”.
Similarly, the average salary for professional travel bloggers isn’t as bad as you may think.
From our connections in the industry and through groups that we’re a part of, we estimate that there are tens of thousands of bloggers around the world who earn enough to pay for their travels. There are thousands who earn $5,000+ / month and around a hundred earning $100K / year or more.
These are just travel / lifestyle bloggers as well. You could be a mommy blogger, a tech blogger, or a fashion blogger and make millions!
I’m guestimating these numbers in the travel sector only.
Of course, their wages aren’t just from blogging. Most successful bloggers also earn money from freelance writing, consulting, social media management and more. Generally all of these side businesses stem from their blogs though.
I like to put it this way when people ask if blogging pays well: When Dariece and I lived in Canada we had jobs that paid pretty well. I was a printing press operator and she was a legal assistant.
I worked an average of 65 hours / week and Dariece around 50. We earned enough to buy a nice condo in downtown Calgary and have a vehicle. The typical middle class life of a Canadian from Alberta.
Today, we work on our blog only 15 hours / week, we take home nearly double what we did in Canada and we have less expenses (no mortgage, debt, etc.).
We are doing what we love, we travel full-time and we’re saving more than we ever could have back in Canada.
Can blogging be lucrative? Absolutely. If you treat it like a business and stick with it, you can become a wealthy travel blogger.
2. Is Travel Blogging a Real Job?
Travel blogging is a real job! To be a successful travel blogger, you need to consistently produce content, create videos, share knowledge, market your brand and build an audience. This can take a lot of time.
Blogging is not just a real job, a successful blog is a full-on business. Our blog currently has 6 staff writers, a design and development team and a full-time virtual assistant. It takes more than the two of us to keep this thing running!
The great thing about travel blogging is that it’s a fun job. We love every minute of it. We love writing stories, taking photos, creating videos, working with tourism boards, connecting with other travellers online and getting sent around the world to do what we love.
I have to say that travel blogging is a real job, but it doesn’t have any of the downsides that come from a normal nine-to-five.
I’m writing this article from my living room. It’s 11:00am and I’m still in my pyjamas. I’m looking out at a pool that overlooks the sea in the Caribbean. A marginal improvement from the view inside the plastic packaging plant I used to work at in Canada.
I used to get up at 6:00 in the morning to drive to work (often stuck in traffic), spend 12 hours in a factory before driving home exhausted.
Travel blogging is a “real job”, and it’s the best possible version of a career that I can think of.
3. Do Travel Bloggers Get Free Travel?
I think there’s a big issue with this idea that travel bloggers always travel for free. For one, it spawns an entire generation of would-be travel bloggers who get into the business solely for the purpose of getting “free travel”.
The idea that it’s “free” isn’t 100% accurate because you’re working for it. When you go to work at a normal job and you get paid on payday, that’s not “free” money, because you worked for it. It’s the same with travel bloggers getting comped travel.
It’s important that aspiring travel bloggers understand that you are entering into an agreement with the company, tourism board, airline or brand and you are required to produce a certain level of content in exchange for what is given complimentary to you.
Too many new bloggers don’t take these types of partnerships seriously and do the bare minimum in return, expecting that they “deserve” the free services simply because they run a blog. Companies expect (and deserve) a certain level of return on their investment and professionalism when dealing with bloggers.
Blogger partnerships are an exchange and need to be treated as such. In my mind, it’s nice to get comped hotel rooms, air travel, tours and products, but I don’t think of it as free, I think of it as an exchange and a business partnership.
4. Do You Need To Work Lots of Hours?
There are many bloggers who work their asses off to earn a decent living from blogging, but I don’t think that it’s necessary to do so. Some people just enjoy blogging!
If you build your blog properly, and try to create a passive income model, there’s no reason why you have to spend too much time on your computer.
Dariece and I often say that we don’t work more than 15 hours / week on our blog and to be honest, we could cut that time in half and our income wouldn’t suffer too much. That is because we’ve created a passive income model which allows us to spend less time working and more time doing what we love the most – travel.
If you love being on your computer blogging, then by all means, spend 50 hours / week on it! But just because you’re a travel blogger trying to earn a living, doesn’t mean you have to work long hours. You just need to be smart in your approach.
We started our travel blog so that we didn’t have to spend so much time at work. We wanted the freedom to spend more time with each other, travelling and seeing the world. For this reason, we limit our time on our computers to 15 hours / week. If you want to, you can limit your blogging hours as well. Not all blogs have to be full-time jobs!
5. Do You Need To Be Web Savvy?
So many people believe that you need to be a coding genius or an internet hacker in order to create a travel blog. When we started our blog, I had to Google EVERYTHING. Literally. I didn’t even know what WordPress was before we bought our domain.
You don’t need to know anything about blogging in order to start your own blog.
Luckily these days there are countless tutorials, videos and articles online that can help you solve pretty much any problem that arises when starting a blog. I believe that even if you’re 75 years old and you can barely send text messages to your grandchildren, you can learn to blog.
Once you start a blog and get it up and running, the basics of keeping it going are pretty straight forward. You need to write blog posts, add photos and post on social media accounts.
We know that it can be a bit intimidating at first, which is why we’ve created this post about how to start a blog for anyone who is interested in it. If you start a blog using that post, we will even send you our ebook: “The Absolute Best Blogging Tips: Advice On How To Make Money Online” for FREE.
This post and the corresponding book explains (in layman’s terms), how to buy a domain, choose a design for your blog, write articles, add photos, manage social media and even how to start earning money from blogging.
The only regret that we have in our blogging career is that we didn’t start one earlier.
6. Isn’t The Market is Too Saturated?
I get the same email all of the time: “There are thousands of blogs now. Everyone and their dog has a travel blog. How could I ever make a name for myself and make money when competing with all of these other bloggers”.
Firstly, I don’t like to use the word “competing”. Aside from a select few, I think all travel bloggers are a part of a community which is always helping us grow as a whole. Whether your starting out or you’re a pro blogger, you can always learn and expand by tapping into the knowledge base of the travel blogging community.
Secondly, I had the exact same thing on my mind before we decided to start this blog. Big bloggers like ThePlanetD and Nomadic Samuel had made a name for themselves before the market got saturated. How could we ever carve out a niche?
The truth is, while it’s extremely important to find your own niche and while the market today is much more saturated with bloggers, it’s also more saturated with opportunity. When Dave and Deb started their blog, The Planet D, they didn’t have as much “competition” with other bloggers, but brands, destinations and companies also weren’t as keen to work with bloggers in those days.
Today, businesses are beginning to understand the value of working with travel bloggers so while there are a lot more blogs than ever before, there is also a lot higher chance of getting paid gigs, sponsors and brand ambassadorships.
Ultimately, your niche is you, your personality and your way of writing. That’s what will make you stand out in the crowd. Make sure you keep your personality shining throughout your blog and social media profiles.
7. I’m Not Travelling Now. Should I Bother Starting a Blog?
This is another very common email in my inbox. It’s not easy to save a bunch of money and go on a year-long trip so you can blog about it. But just because you’re at home saving money, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start your blog today.
In fact, the planning, saving, packing and preparing stages of travel are some of the most searched terms in Google. You should be blogging about your experience preparing for your adventure as those posts could end up being the foundation of your blog.
People are interested in the preparation process and also about what it’s like to work, save and dream of travel. Don’t be afraid to blog about your home life! Your readers are going to be following YOU and your story, so you can grow an excellent, loyal following while you’re still at home.
In my opinion, every day you don’t start a blog is a day you’re missing out on a new reader and a potential opportunity.
8. How To I Create an Audience?
Once you start your blog, this is probably going to be your biggest question. I remember the early days all to well. I would wake up in the morning, roll over and check my Google Analytics. 20 people visited the site. We had been running the blog for 6 months and still, nobody was seeing it!
What were we doing wrong? Why did our blog have no traffic?
Before worrying too much about getting massive traffic, you need to understand that this slow growth process is simply the nature of the game.
There will be times when your blog is moving at a snail’s pace and you consider quitting. Don’t! If I could give one tip to new bloggers it would be the same tip that all professional bloggers repeat… DON’T GIVE UP.
Having said that, there are some things you can do that can boost your traffic quickly. Mainly, you need to market your blog and your social media and get your name out there. If you’re a blogger and you can’t figure out why your traffic isn’t improving, you need to check out our article: How To Boost Your Blog Traffic.
It will give you the tools you need to quickly build up an audience and keep it.
9. How Long Does it Take Before My Blog Will Earn Money?
This is a very common question and a very important one. Of course if you’re putting a ton of effort into your blog, you are going to want to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. When will you see the light? That depends on your hustle and focus.
I would say confidently that if you are producing content on a regular basis, marketing your blog properly and treating it as a business from the get go, you should be able to make money after 6 – 8 months. It took us a year to earn our first income, but we didn’t have our ebook to give us a head start 😉
Your first money will likely come from sponsored posts. A method that you will one day want to move away from, but it’s a good place to start so that you can reap some benefits for all of your hard work.
Once you have a bit of traffic, your Domain Authority has reached 15 – 20 and you’ve had your blog seen on other blogs, you’ll probably start getting emails from advertisers asking to place links on your site. You can have them write the article or you can write it yourself and they’ll typically pay $100 – $200 for new blogs and upwards of $1,000 for established blogs.
After 8 months to a year, you may expect to get a few of these each month, as well as some revenue from affiliate sales like Amazon and Booking.com. Within a year, if you’re doing everything right and following the tips in Our Travel Blogging Section, you should be able to earn around $1,500 / month from your blog.
This would be only if you’re excelling. At the very least you should be able to make a few hundred bucks a month to help pay for your travels. Of course these numbers are complete estimates and depend entirely on how you build your blog, but many bloggers are earning this much after just a year.
If you stick with it, after 2 years you could be making $3,000 / month, after 3 you could be making $6K and after 4 years you could be up around $10,000 / month. Check out the evolution of this blog to find out more about what your blogging journey may look like.
10. How Do Blogs Actually Earn Money?
There are countless ways that a blog can earn money. Affiliate marketing is one of the main ones. They earn the blogger commission when someone buys a product, service or trip through their link. Some bloggers sell ebooks and consulting courses. Some bloggers have freelancing work and banner ads posted up.
Lately, this blog earns 5 figures a month. Typically around 25% from content creation on other sites, 25% from affiliate sales, 20% from social media management for other brands, 25% from direct advertising and promotions, and about 10% from ebook sales.
As you can see from the Goats on the Road example, there is a wide range of income sources. A few of them (like social media management and freelance) aren’t directly related to the blog itself, however, we learned these skills by being bloggers and thus count them under the blogging income umbrella.
If you stick to your blog, post frequently and keep on top of your social media, your blog will naturally grow over time and its income will grow with it. Our blog has pretty much doubled in traffic and income every year since we started.
In July of 2012, when we first started the blog, our income was $0 USD. In July of 2013 it went up to $1,155, in July of 2014 it was $1,760. The same month in 2015 we saw a jump to $3,980 and in July of 2016 the blog netted triple what it did in the same month of the previous year. That’s pretty good growth!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We knew NOTHING about blogging, social media or online marketing before starting this blog. We simply read other blogs and learnt from them. We watched YouTube tutorials and we absorbed as much knowledge as we could along the way.
Our blog is doing quite well financially and we’ve only been blogging for 4 years! We’re very happy about this and it just goes to show that if you are passionate about what you blog about and you keep at it, it can make a good living.
- Blogging can earn you good money.
- Blogging is a business, treat it as one.
- As a travel blogger, you may enter into partnerships in exchange for travel. These are exchanges and are not just “free travel”. Don’t start a blog if your intention is only to get “free travel” wherever you go.
- You don’t need to work your ass of to earn money blogging. Build a passive income model using affiliate sales, product sales and brand partnerships to ensure that you can spend more time travelling and less time blogging. Also, consider hiring assistants and writers as soon as you can afford to.
- You don’t need to know the first thing about computers, photography, videography and social media to get started. You can learn it all as you go.
- You’re not too late! There are more travel blogs online today than ever before, but there are also far more opportunities available for travel bloggers
- Just because you’re at home saving money and not currently travelling, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start a blog. Don’t put it off any more! Start a travel blog today!
- Building an audience will take time, but there are methods to speed up the process. Guest post, comment on other blogs, be active in forums, work on social media and try your best to get your name out there by any (ethical) means possible.
- Don’t expect to earn money right away. Income will come, but it takes time. After 6 months you could hope to earn a few hundred dollars per month and after a year, you may be up to $1,500. If you’re an efficient blogger and you keep at it, your income could double every year.
- Blogs earn money in many ways, but mainly through affiliate sales, product sales, outside jobs, direct advertising and link placement / reviews. Income generally grows with the blog and its audience.
More and more people are starting to realize that blogging can be a reliable source of income and it’s a great way to live a location independent lifestyle. With the increasing interest in the profession, comes a lot of unanswered questions. Hopefully I’ve covered some of the most common ones here.
Do you have any questions about blogging as a career? Go ahead, ask us in the comments section below or shoot us an email! Want our blogging ebook? You can have it for free if you start a blog here, or you can purchase it on Amazon.
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