Want to learn how to become a travel blogger? Here are the 15 tips I’ve used to grow & monetize several travel blogs in my 10+ years of professional, full-time travel blogging.
These days, it seems as though everyone wants to learn how to become a travel blogger, and I don’t blame them! Having the opportunity to make money online while following your passion for travel is something that we in the internet generation are lucky to have.
Nick and I have been running Goats On The Road for 10 years now and Your Irish Adventure for 2 years.
For the past 8 years, travel blogging has been our sole source of income.
In my opinion, there’s no better way to get paid to travel! If you want to learn how to become a travel blogger, but not just any travel blogger, a successful one, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, I’ll share our best tips to help you become a travel blogger. Let’s get started.
(Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. It won’t cost you extra and we thank you in advance for your support.)
1. Start A Travel Blog – The Right Way
First of all, you need to actually create a travel blog in order for it to become successful. It sounds simple enough, right?
There are numerous steps to starting a website. You’ll need to pick a travel blog name, choose a hosting company, decide on a blog theme, and then navigate your way through WordPress.
For us, this is simple. We’re always in the back end of our website messing around with coding or the design. As I said, we’ve been at this for a decade-plus, so it’s second nature to us.
But for newbies who are learning how to become a travel blogger, it’s not so simple and can be a daunting, hair-pulling task. Every little mistake you make in the beginning could come back to bite you down the road.
Starting your travel blog the correct way is incredibly important.
That’s why we’ve created our Beginner Blogging Course, which helps you set up your travel blog step-by-step. I wish we had this course when we started out – hours of Googling and YouTubing could have been avoided…not to mention, all of the mistakes!
If you start a travel blog through our link here, then you get the course for free. Plus, we will give you our Best Blogging Tips eBook, SEO Checklist, and access to our VIP Facebook Group as well for 24/7 support.
Start your blog the right way so it grows faster, reaches more people, and earns you money sooner.
2. Pick a Niche
According to Worldometers, today alone there were 2,760,019 blog posts published on Wordpress somewhere in the world. Those aren’t strictly travel-related blog posts, but still, that’s a lot of content!
Now more than ever, it’s imperative that you have a niche when learning how to become a successful travel blogger.
You need to stand out and be an authority on the topic that your blog is about. I personally don’t believe that you can be just a travel blog anymore, you need more.
So how do your get your blog posts seen? You niche down.
Here are some examples of various travel niches:
- Budget family travel
- Travel in (city or country specific)
- UNESCO travel
- Travelling with a pet
- Luxury adventure travel
- Travel in Europe
- Travelling on a sailboat
- Travelling with a disability
- Scuba diving around the world
- Vegan travel
- Travelling in a van in (country)
- Travelling in a van as a vegan
- Fitness & Travel in a Van
- Working while travelling in (country)
You get the picture.
If someone is reading your blog and they see that it’s a Luxury Travel Blog, they’ll think “cool, I’m luxury too!”
Then if they keep reading and realize that it’s also a Luxury Travel Blog for Female Travellers, they’ll likely think “Wow, Luxury Female Travel, that’s exactly me!”
This multi-level assimilation is what makes a niche so important and will help you truly connect with your followers.
3. Create Epic Content
When I was learning how to become a travel blogger, I was constantly told by fellow bloggers that “content is king”. To this day, I still believe that 100%.
But what does that mean?
It means creating informative articles for your readers. If you look back on our earlier posts, they’re a bit embarrassing – there’s a lot of “I did this, and today we travelled here” – which is OK (it’s a blog after all), but there wasn’t anything substantial that our readers could take away from the articles.
Once we realized that in order to become professional bloggers (rather than hobby bloggers) we needed to create epic, practical, useful content, our mindset and writing style changed and we started seeing traffic to our website.
If you want to blog as a hobby, then write about whatever you want. But, if you want this to be a successful business and make money from travel blogging, then you need to think about your audience.
I hate to say it, but no one cares where you went last week, or the bus ride you took. BUT, they do care about the details of where you went (the restaurants, the landscape, the people, the culture, the overall vibe) and they do care about the logistics of that bus ride you took like how much it cost, where you booked it and how long it took.
Reading someone’s diary is boring. Reading someone’s stories about travel and finding useful information is what people want when they’re using Google.
If you’re going to Colombia, write an in-depth travel guide, or a compelling story about a particular place that makes the reader want to travel there. Focus on lists – the top things to do in Colombia, the best places to hike in the country, the top spots for foodies, what to pack for the trip, or things people should know when travelling to Colombia.
Within those articles, keep your voice and your flavour (that’s why people read blogs), and when your personality mixes with useful content, that’s when you’ve hit the jackpot. Find the sweet spot between being informative and being personable.
Articles should be well researched, provide as much information as possible, be lengthy (1,500+ words), have images throughout, and be reader friendly (focus on font size, paragraph length, using headings to split up content, etc.)
The goal of travel blogging is to inspire people to do something or go somewhere, and then give them details on how to do so. Blogging isn’t just about you, it’s about those you are reaching with your words. Not only will your readers like your articles, but so will Google and other search engines.
4. Publish A LOT
When people are first learning to travel blog, they probably think it’s all free flights and press trips, but in reality, there is a lot of work involved, especially if you want to become a successful travel blogger.
You need to publish blog posts. A LOT of them.
My recommendation is to publish at least 3 blog posts per week when you’re starting out.
I know, this is a bit of commitment and a lot of work, but it pays off.
The more content you have on your travel blog, the more likely you’ll be found by search engines and linked to from other sources.
Here’s an added kicker. You need to write longer, super useful blog posts (around 2,500-3,500 words in most cases) and use proper SEO practices (more on that below).
We’ve personally started 5 successful blogs that earn money and if there’s anything we’ve learned, is that consistency and quality are key.
Of course, you can write one post per week, or one per month, but it will just take you that much longer to become a successful travel blogger.
Once you’ve learned how to write a blog post and you’ve practiced optimizing your workflow, you should be able to bang out a super-useful 2,500-word blog post in 3 hours.
So, 3 posts per week is really just 9 hours per week and the rest of your workday can be spent marketing, monetizing, and focusing on SEO.
5. Learn SEO
Be prepared to dive into a whole new rabbit hole of learning.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of writing, internal linking, backlinking and formatting your entire website in a way that search engines (like Google) will reward.
Here are the basics:
- Keyword Research: Keyword Research is when you find out what people search in Google, before you write your content. Using free tools like WordStream, or (better) paid tools like Keysearch, you can find out how many people are searching the topics you plan to write about.
For example, maybe you want to write a post about your recent trip and you think you might title it “10 Things I Did in Paris”. If you type that title into WordStream or KeySearch, you’ll find that 0 people search that. Instead, “Things To Do in Paris” has more than 22,000 searches per month! Now that’s the term you want to go for.
- Write SEO Content: This simply means that you format your post in a way that Google understands. You include your main keyword in the content as well as secondary keywords that are relevant (like “attractions in Paris”), you break it up with H2 tags (just like the larger fonts in this list you’re reading), and you include interesting photos and facts to benefit your reader.
- Build Internal Links: After the post is published, you go into all of your other posts about France and you link back to your new guide about things to do in Paris. You also link from your Things To Do in Paris post to all of your other France and relevant content. This helps Google Bots to better crawl your website and understand your content.
- Build Backlinks: Sometimes when you write great content, other blogs & websites will automatically link to you because your post is so useful (another reason you have to write the best content possible). Every time another website links to your blog post, it counts as a vote for Google. The more votes you have, the higher you’ll appear in search results and the more traffic your blog will receive.
You should also build backlinks by forming relationships with other bloggers and asking them to link to your post wherever relevant in their own posts, or by writing guest posts for them.
- Keep Up To Date: Just because your blog post is published, doesn’t mean you’re done with it. Always go back on your old content to make sure all of the links still work, the tours/hotels are still in business and the content is still relevant. Google loves to see websites that take an active role in keeping their content current.
Of course, the above is a gross simplification of a very complex topic that is SEO, but if you want to dive deeper, we also have a free SEO training course that you can join by clicking here.
💡 Quick Tip: Once you’ve written an article using that search term the appropriate amount of times (get yourself the Yoast plug-in for Wordpress), and you’ve added the term to the “alt-text” of the photos in the article, the title, the URL and the Meta description, you’re ready to publish the post.
6. Get Featured On Big Websites
We talked briefly in the previous section about building backlinks. One of the best ways to do this is by getting featured on bigger websites than your own.
If you look on our home page, you’ll see we’ve been featured on large well-known publications like Forbes, CNN, Business Insider, National Geographic, and many more.
This is not a coincidence!
In some cases, these brands reached out to us, but in most of our features, we actively reached out to the writers and editors of those websites to pitch our story.
When it comes to backlinks, not all links are created equal. The higher the Domain Authority of a website, the more value it holds in Google.
Domain Authority is a rough estimate of the SEO value of a domain (website), and they quantify the worth with a score from 1 to 100.
A single link from a DA90 will be worth much more than dozens of links from a bunch of DA20 sites.
This is why getting featured is so valuable to a travel blog.
How do you get your travel blog featured on big websites?
The best way to get your travel blog featured on big websites and blogs is to first get to know the type of content they publish.
Sign up for a bunch of email newsletters and notifications for websites that write about travel.
Getting featured not only helps you get super valuable links back to your site (the author will often link to your website naturally when talking about you), but it also helps with your E-A-T (Expertise Authority and Trustworthiness).
Google uses E-A-T to determine which blogs and bloggers are worthy of being in the search results and one of the best ways to build it is by getting powerful links from well-known domains.
If you want to become a travel blogger and succeed, you should always be thinking about how to demonstrate your E-A-T.
7. Be Your Awesome Self
Being a travel blogger means providing travel information to your followers, but it also means being YOU.
Most likely, the reason that people started following you in the first place was because of your writing style, your personal story, or how you portray yourself on camera.
People will like your content and find it useful, but they’ll also feel like they’re connecting with you personally. Having that relationship with your audience is what being a successful blogger is all about. We absolutely love interacting with our readers through email, blog comments and social media.
Be authentic and genuine in the articles you write, the social media posts you add, the emails you send out and the videos you create. Your followers want to feel like they are a part of your journey, and your community.
Being authentic and genuine also means being 100% transparent with your audience when you write posts. If a trip is sponsored, tell them. If you have affiliate links in an article, make sure you disclose that. If you’ve made a mistake about something, own up to it.
Just be honest and open and let your awesome self shine through.
8. Get Noticed
How do travel bloggers get noticed when there are so many blogs online today?
Four main ways:
- being niche (as discussed above)
- doing something unique
- knowing SEO
- marketing yourself
Like I said above, you need to have a niche to stand out from the crowd, but you also need to be doing something interesting.
Are you travelling to every country in the world? Do you house sit abroad and earn free accommodation? Are you planning to cycle the Pamir Highway in Central Asia? Driving a camper van across New Zealand? Teaching English in China? Rock climbing in California?
Those are all very exciting and unique takes on travel and lifestyle. If you market yourself properly, people will hear about the awesome trip you’re doing and want to follow your journey, while gaining insights on how they can follow in your footsteps.
But, how do people see those cool things you’re doing? Either by chance, from SEO (more on that below), or by marketing yourself and your website.
Here’s a few way to market your travel blog:
1. Guest Posting: This is what will get you noticed. Reach out to bloggers in your niche and pitch them an article idea. Once they agree, write a compelling post while linking back to your website, a particular post or upcoming adventure. Do this multiple times, not once, not twice, but ten or more times. Find at minimum ten blogs in your genre, write a new article for each of them and have them all published around the same date within the same month – we’ve dubbed this the “guest post bomb“. We did this when we were embarking on our trip through Central Asia and Iran and gained a lot of new followers this way.
2. Getting Featured: Getting featured on a large publication is an excellent way to reach more people, and in turn, have them follow your blog. If you’re doing something unique that gets noticed, large publications will reach out to you, but if they don’t, you can always pitch them. Write to Lonely Planet, NatGeo, BBC, Forbes, etc. and pitch them your story / angle. If they accept and feature you on their website, you’ll receive thousands of new followers. (you can actually get paid to write online with these companies – many of which are big brands)
3. Attending Events: There’s something to be said about actually meeting people in person rather than just reaching out online. Attending travel conferences or press trips with fellow bloggers and PR reps for companies is a great way to get your name out there. Once they meet you in person and see your personality (and travel blog stats), they’ll want to collaborate with you – whether in the form of guest posting, social / video collaborations, or press trips. The more connections you make, the easier it will be to market your travel blog.
4. Being Social: By this I mean being social online and interacting with those in your niche. There are numerous travel groups and communities on Facebook that you can join, and there are lots of sharing groups as well where bloggers share each other’s content to help give it a boost. Read other relevant articles and leave genuine comments on them to get yourself noticed. Joining Twitter chats are a great way to interact with those who are interested in the same things as you, in real-time. Plus, they’ll get to know you better and in turn, follow you. (More on social media below).
9. Don’t Forget About Social Media
Love it or hate it, social media isn’t going anywhere! And, for those who want to become successful travel bloggers, this is a good thing.
Every time you write a new blog post, share it across your social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and of course, Pinterest (Google+ is dead). Use relevant hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, and to get a further reach, tag people who you think would be interested in your post – without being spammy.
Facebook: Post a wide variety of things on your Facebook account, mix it up! Not only does Facebook’s algorithm like this, but your readers will as well. One day you could add a stunning photo, the next day ask your community a question, followed by a link to one of your articles, and then a live Facebook video of you doing something interesting.
Create a group for your brand – ours is Turn Travel Into A Lifestyle – and connect with your readers there.
I’ve found that posting once per day on Facebook works the best for our engagement. To figure out what time of the day your readers are online, check your Facebook analytics under “insights”.
Instagram: Make sure your photos are beautiful. This platform is strictly about images and since it’s completely visual, you need to catch someone’s eye right away before they keep scrolling past you…
Use programs like Lightroom or Snapseed to edit your photos before posting them on Instagram. Use relevant hashtags, geo-tag the location, and tag people who are either in the photo or accounts in the region.
For example, when posting about Barbados, I tagged the tourism board and some other Barbados Instagram accounts and they reposted my image. When this happens (and you receive proper credit), it’ll help you gain new followers.
We’ve found that posting every couple of days works best for our Instagram engagement, and again, check which time of day your followers are online. This can be found in your “Insights”.
The most important thing to remember with Facebook and Instagram is to reply to your readers when they comment on your content. Engage with them, and reply to their comments with a question so you can keep the conversation going.
TikTok: Everyone knows that TikTok is the newest and fastest growing social network. If you want to become a successful travel blogger, you better be on TikTok.
Consider posting quick 60-second tutorial videos or “places to visit” videos on TikTok. Find a niche on the platform. Something your followers can always expect from you and run with it.
Pinterest: For us, the least important platform has to be Twitter, while the most important is Pinterest. Why? Because Pinterest actually brings a lot of traffic to our website, and when utilized properly, it can be a game changer. It’s like a search engine in itself.
Traffic to your website = advertising revenue, product sales, affiliate commissions and new followers.
Use programs like Canva to create pinnable images at the bottom of all your posts. People won’t pin your content to their “boards” if there isn’t an appealing image with a caption on it. Utilize Tailwind for Tribes, and to schedule your pins to boards in intervals. For us, Tailwind has been the best scheduling program.
The amount of followers you have on Pinterest doesn’t matter, it’s about how many times your pins are repinned and engaged with.
YouTube: In my opinion, you’re either a blogger, or a YouTuber. They are both huge platforms with endless things to learn. If you’re both, your days will be filled with content creation, editing, marketing, and networking. It’s too much and is incredibly overwhelming to successfully run both.
We’ve had our YouTube channel since around 2012, and we’ve hardly made any money from it, yet we put in hours filming and creating videos. For us, it’s now a supplement to our website and if partners want us to create a video for a campaign, we will.
To sum up, social media is a great way to connect with your readers, and it’s also an amazing outlet for your new content.
10. Collect Emails
Do you own Google? Instagram? YouTube? Facebook? Nope. So, if anything should happen (knock on wood!) to any of those platforms, your content, followers and revenue could be wiped out.
Needless to say, that would be devastating.
The only thing that you actually own are products you’ve created (more below), and the email addresses that you’ve collected.
In order to create an email list, you’ll need to offer your readers something. You need a product that they want to “opt-in” for, by providing you with their email address. It’s called a “lead magnet”.
We create pop-ups through the popular Thrive Leads, but there are other (cheaper) programs such as MailChimp that you can use.
Most travel bloggers offer an ebook, a check-list, or some sort of free training in exchange for the email address. We offer our 101 Ways To Make Money Travelling ebook when people subscribe to our newsletter, which is sent out weekly.
Because we have collected these emails, we now have a direct line to our followers. We can send them personal messages, give them VIP access to our products and provide them with content that no one else receives. Your newsletter followers will be the most loyal of all your readers.
We use ConvertKit for our email marketing lists, but there are other companies out there such as MailChimp and Constant Contact.
11. Invest In Your Business
In order for your travel blog to thrive, you need to invest in it – time, energy, and money. It’s your business, so make sure you treat it like one.
Obviously, you’ll be spending lots of time writing and marketing your travel blog, but you should be spending time researching the latest trends and making sure you’re up to date with website protocol.
If you want to become a travel blogger, just know that you’ll be constantly learning and educating yourself – there’s always something to know in this business.
Set aside some time each day or week to sit down and study a particular website-related topic. Maybe you want to brush up on SEO practices and affiliate marketing, or perhaps you need to know more about the current privacy and data collection guidelines.
Invest in your travel blog by educating yourself and staying on top of the best practices.
You should also put financial investments into your blog if you want it to become successful. It took us a while to realize that investing cash into our business was a good thing – we never liked seeing the money leave our bank account, but the rewards were worth it. This is your business, putting cash back into it is not a negative thing.
Purchase courses and ebooks to gain knowledge and become an expert on a particular topic. Spend money on Facebook advertising, Keyword search programs, an SEO team, a website designer, travel conferences and virtual assistants.
You’re just one person, you can’t do it all. Hire people who are experts in their field and your blog will grow rapidly.
Note: when you’re first learning how to become a travel blogger, you probably won’t have a lot of cash to throw into your website. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and hire a bunch of people. Start with one person and go from there.
12. Diversify Your Income Streams
Diversity is key in this industry! In order to become a successful travel blogger and run a six figure blog, you need to have numerous income streams. Don’t rely on just one way of earning money each month, this is a volatile industry, but if you prepare yourself and diversify your money-making methods, you’ll be fine.
We personally make money through affiliate marketing, in-content advertising, paid partnerships, FAM trips / press trips, sponsored content, product sales, social media management, content creation, freelance writing… the list goes on.
Here are a few ways to make money and become a successful travel blogger:
1. Affiliate Marketing: This is by far our favourite earning method. Affiliate Marketing is when you share products on your website that you use and trust, and in turn, those companies pay you a commission when someone purchases their product.
Run Google searches for companies in your niche and see if they have an affiliate program, most companies do. Some popular ones for travel bloggers include: World Nomads, Amazon, Booking.com and Expedia. But, there are many more.
2. In-content Advertising: Mediavine offers bloggers a very fair rate for showing relevant ads on their website. Once you hit 50,000 monthly sessions on your website, you can start earning from Mediavine. Apply here.
3. Sponsored Content: Most blogs start this way. Sponsored Content is when a company contacts you via email (or you reach out to them) and ask you to write about their product or brand. They pay for the advertising and the link to their site (between $200 – $750+ USD / article).
4. Create a Product: As I said above, you only own the emails you collect and the products you create. Having something that’s your own that you can personally sell to your followers is a must. Ebooks, online courses, t-shirts, tours…whatever you can think of.
5. Freelance Writing: Writing on your own travel blog is a must, but a good way to make money is to do some freelance writing on the side – either for major publications or for fellow travel bloggers.
6. Press Trips: Destination marketing is something that has taken off over the years. Tourism boards, tour companies and hotels are starting to see the value travel bloggers can provide. Basically, once you become a successful travel blogger and have a large following, you will be able to promote various destinations to your readers, and receive a salary. We’ve been invited on numerous press trips by tourism boards and have always had a great time, and completed successful campaigns.
These are just some of the ways that travel bloggers make money. Think outside the box and come up with an idea of your own.
13. Go To Travel Blogging Conferences
Attending travel blogging conferences is one of the best ways to become a successful travel blogger.
We’ve personally attended and spoken at quite a few travel blogging conferences and we can attest to their value.
At these conferences, not only will you meet up with some like-minded travellers and bloggers, but you’ll also be introduced to some of the leading brands in the travel industry.
On top of that, you can attend the talks that happen at these events and learn from other travel bloggers who have been blogging for much longer than you.
Here are a few of the best conferences for travel bloggers:
- TBEX: Probably the longest-running and largest travel blogger conferences in the world, TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) was first held in Chicago in 2019 and has since attracted the biggest names in travel and travel blogging.
- TravelCon: One of the largest travel blog conferences put on by one of the world’s top travel bloggers, Nomadic Matt, TravelCon is another great place to network with travel companies.
- Digital Travel Summit: Since its first meeting in 1999, Digital Travel Summit has produced 5 different summits around the world
14. Put Your Readers First
This could have easily been the #1 way to become a successful travel blogger.
No matter what, at every step along the way, you should be putting your readers first. What do they want to read? What kind of content do they want to see? What interests them?
Your readers ultimately sign your paycheck and pay your bills, so it’s vital that you place their interests, desires, and preferences paramount in your business.
Every single time you write a post, you should be asking yourself:
“Does this article cover everything that my readers will want to know about this topic?”.
If it doesn’t fully cover the topic, then you should go back into it and find ways to improve it.
Some ways to improve your content include:
- Videos: Can you add a video on the topic to explain it better and be more visual?
- Photos: Are your photos good enough? Are they inspiring? Do they help portray the destination or topic you’re writing about.
- Diagrams & Infographics: In tutorial and how-to pieces, visual diagrams and infographics are very useful. Consider creating them in Canva and taking your post to the next level.
- FAQs: Google and readers love to see FAQs at the bottom of posts. This helps to make sure you cover every question the reader has on the topic. To find FAQs, just Google your main keyword and usually Google lists a few FAQs in their own search results.
15. Never Stop Learning and Don’t Give Up!
Learning how to become a successful travel blogger is a neverending curve. You can never know everything about blogging.
Every time you answer one question, 10 more will pop up. And on top of that, the industry and technology changes every single year.
Stay on top of it. Attend conferences, read books about travel blogging, and watch videos on YouTube.
The best way to become successful at blogging is to absorb as much as possible and never stop learning.
When you’re first learning how to become a travel blogger, the thought of just throwing your hands up in the air and giving up might seem appealing.
In the beginning, it can be slow going, but if you stick with it, have a positive attitude, and have a goal of becoming a successful travel blogger, it’ll happen.
Final Thoughts On Becoming a Successful Travel Blogger
We started out when there was hardly any information online and we knew nothing about websites, marketing, or writing.
These days, this website is one of the Top 50 travel sites online (based on traffic), we earn more money now than we did living in Canada, and – best of all – we love what we do! There were some tough days when we first started out, but we’re so glad we didn’t quit.
Follow the steps above and constantly be researching and learning – soak up as much information as you can. But most importantly, have fun while you’re at it. If you have any questions about becoming a travel blogger, feel free to email us. Happy blogging!
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