It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for over 10 years, but it’s true. And after all of that time learning how to make money with not just one, but multiple travel blogs, I’ve decided to finally write this post on how to make money with a travel blog in 2023.
Table of Contents
- 15 Ways To Make Money With a Travel Blog in 2023
- 1. Churn Out Content
- 2. Place Ads On Your Site
- 3. Join Affiliate Programs
- 4. Become a Freelance Writer
- 5. Sell A Digital Product
- 6. Sell Merch
- 7. Paid Press Trips
- 8. Get Sponsored
- 9. Sponsored Posts
- 10. Sponsored Links
- 11. Monetize Your YouTube Channel
- 12. Monetize Your Instagram
- 13. Run Your Own Tours
- 14. Work as a VA For Other Bloggers
- 15. Develop Your Own Travel Product
- Blogging Tips To Earn Money From Your Travel Blog
- How To Make Money Travel Blogging FAQs
- How Travel Blogs Make Money Video
- Final Thoughts on How To Make Money From a Travel Blog
Let me tell you first that earning money from a travel blog will take some time. I’ve now successfully started, purchased, and monetized 4 different blogs. In my experience, the amount of time it takes to earn money, and how much you earn, depends on how much content you put out and how much work you put in.
In this post, I’m going to share with you the best ways to earn money from a travel blog both directly on your site (like through ads and affiliates) and off of your site by leveraging your blog as a portfolio and finding remote work.
15 Ways To Make Money With a Travel Blog in 2023
Let’s get started. Here are my top choices to show you how to make money with a travel blog.
1. Churn Out Content
When you start a new blog, one of the first things everyone wants to do is spend time designing it to look pretty or adding cool pictures. The thing is, most of that time is wasted.
First, you need to learn how to write a blog post, and then spend your time writing posts.
To earn money travel blogging, you need to push content out. That means you should be writing 3-5 posts per week minimum to start and each of these posts should be at least 2,000 words.
The more content you have on your site, the more chance you have of Google and thus, new readers, finding your travel blog.
In the age of ads and affiliates (more on that later), the more content you have, the more traffic you’ll likely have and thus, the more money you can make from your travel blog.
But you can’t just churn out any content. You need to be focusing on SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
SEO is the practice of writing posts based on what people search in Google, and optimizing those posts so that the Google bots can crawl them and know exactly what they’re about.
These days, SEO is much more holistic than it used to be. Basically, if you’re writing posts on topics that people actually search in Google, and you’re creating the absolute best content you can, then you have a good chance of showing up in search results.
I won’t go too much into depth about SEO here because we have a free 1-hour training lesson all about how to grow a travel blog with SEO, but basically, in order to earn money from a travel blog, you need to write a lot of posts and all should have SEO in mind.
If you want to learn how to become a travel blogger and make money, the number one tip I can give is to write as much content as you can and every post must be the best piece of content you can possibly produce.
2. Place Ads On Your Site
Do you see all of these ads on our site? They’re automatically placed there by a company called Mediavine.
How can you make money from ads? You simply activate a plugin on your website and it will populate your pages with ads. These ads are tracked to your ad account and you are automatically paid.
How cool is that?!
In-content ads are one of the best ways to earn passive income from a travel blog.
Don’t get me wrong though. If you start a brand new travel blog today and simply turn on ads, it won’t earn you any money.
First of all, Mediavine has a minimum traffic threshold in order to be accepted to their program, but also, in order to earn money from ads you need to have traffic.
How do you get traffic? We have written extensively about how to get traffic to your travel blog, but basically, you need to learn basic SEO and use that knowledge to write 3-5 posts per week.
After doing this for some time, you will start to see your traffic increase. As it increases, so will your monthly revenue.
Mediavine requires a minimum of 50,000 sessions per month in order to serve their ads on your travel blog and earn money, but other ad partners like Ezoic and Google Ads will let you start right away.
The best part of blog ads is that you earn money from your travel blog while you’re asleep!
Best Ad Networks For Travel Bloggers
I’ve personally used a few different ad networks on my blogs and after a lot of testing, we’ve stuck with Mediavine, mostly because of their customer service and high RPMs (how much you get paid per visit).
When it comes to ads, if you’re asking yourself how much do travel bloggers make, it’s largely down to their RPMs.
But Mediavine isn’t the only ad network out there. Here are a few of the best ad networks for travel bloggers.
Mediavine: Let’s start with our favorite. Mediavine is the best ad network for travel bloggers because they are owned by Conde Nest, a massive travel network with a big name brand in the travel industry. They understand travel bloggers and they pay us and treat us well.
AdThrive: For a while, AdThrive was considered a step above Mediavine because they had a higher threshold for new partners (100,000 monthly pageviews). I have friends who have switched from Mediavine to AdThrive and in all cases, there haven’t been enormous increases in RPM.
Ezoic: This company has been getting better year after year and lately, their RPMs are competing with Mediavine. We probably get an email every day from someone at Ezoic asking us to switch our travel blogs to their platforms, but we haven’t moved because we believe that the RPMs and customer service is still better at Mediavine.
Google Adsense: This is really only for people who can’t meet the traffic thresholds of the above companies. Google Ads will let you place ads on your site no matter how small it is, but don’t expect big money. The RPMs direct with Google are painfully low.
3. Join Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs are one of the best ways to earn money from a travel blog because there are so many travel-related affiliates out there.
A lot of people want to know how to be a travel blogger and make money. Affiliate marketing is probably at the top of the list.
What is an affiliate program?
Basically, an affiliate program is a tracking system that is used by almost all of your favorite travel brands. Expedia, Booking.com, Airbnb, and SkyScanner, all have affiliate programs.
As a travel blogger, you can make money as an affiliate by creating special tracking links on your blog.
Whenever one of your readers click on those special tracking links and purchase from the company’s website, you’ll earn a commission.
Here’s an example:
You write a post called “Best Hotels in Paris” and then you link to each hotel using your special Booking.com tracking link.
When readers come to that post, clicks one of those links, and books the hotel, you’ll receive a commission that is a percentage of their total purchase.
If they book a $500-per-night hotel room for an entire week, you can earn a pretty great commission.
This is a good way to earn passive income blogging while helping your readers to choose the best hotels, travel insurance, flights, and more.
When choosing an affiliate program to earn money on your travel blog, you’ll want to make sure it has 2 things:
- Long Cookie Duration: The longer the cookie duration the more money you’ll make. Sometimes your readers will click your link, but won’t decide to book for another 2 weeks. If the cookie duration is longer than 2 weeks, you’ll still get your commission, even if they leave the site and come back 2 weeks later.
- Good Commission: The higher the commission percentage, the more you’ll earn. Just be careful with the wording of some travel blog affiliate programs. Some commissions will be a percentage of their commission (ie: booking.com takes 15-20% commission on every booking. As an affiliate you’ll get 25% of that commission, not 25% of the entire order)
Best Affiliate Programs For Travel Bloggers
If you want to earn money from your travel blog through affiliates, then you have to choose the right affiliate programs.
Below are some of my favorite affiliate programs for travel bloggers.
Best Accommodation Affiliates For Travel Bloggers
Booking.com: This is an affiliate program that has been around for a long time. The commission is 25% of their total commission (15-20% of the booking) and they have a great 30-day cookie.
Airbnb: This was once the best affiliate program for travel bloggers, but Airbnb canceled its affiliate program at the height of COVID, leaving thousands of bloggers out of money and out of luck. They do still have an affiliate program through Impact Radius, which is why I’m listing it here, but you’ll need 1 million visitors to qualify. Airbnb offers a 20% commission for a 30-day cookie.
VRBO: This is the next best thing to Airbnb when it comes to an affiliate for apartment-like stays. They offer 2-4% commission on a 7-day cookie.
Expedia.com: Expedia is a brand that travelers have known and trusted for decades. We’ve earned decent commission from them in the past, but we don’t find that they convert as well as Booking or Airbnb. They offer a 3-4% commission on a 7-day cookie window.
HostelWorld: This was the first accommodation affiliate that made us money as travel bloggers and at its height, we were earning over $500 per month from HostelWorld commissions. These days, our blog is no longer a “budget travel blog” so we opt for the more digital nomad and remote work-friendly sites like Airbnb and VRBO, but if you’re writing a lot about budget travel, then their 40% commission rate (off their profits) and 30-day cookie isn’t bad.
Best Tour Affiliates For Travel Bloggers
GetYourGuide: Mostly for tours in Europe, we’ve been using GetYourGuide as our primary tour affiliate for years. They offer up to 8% commission on a 31-day cookie window.
Airbnb: Again, Airbnb experiences are the highest converting tours online for travel bloggers. Unfortunately, without 1 million readers per month, you’re out of luck. A total bummer for new bloggers.
Viator: This is the USA alternative to GetYourGuide and while it doesn’t convert as well, Americans seem to prefer it so it’s best to use these links in posts about destinations in the US. They offer up to 8% commission on a 30-day cookie window.
Best Travel Insurance Affiliates For Travel Bloggers
WorldNomads: This was the first travel insurance we ever earned money on through our travel blog. They offer a superb 10% commission for a 60-day cookie window.
SafetyWing: We now mostly earn money from SafetyWing as our primary travel insurance affiliate because they’re the company we actually use and they’re best for truly nomadic people. They have a 10% commission rate with an insanely generous 365-day cookie window.
Best Car Rental Affiliates For Travel Bloggers
Expedia: The same 3-4% commission on a 7-day cookie. In our experience, Expedia and any car rental affiliate just don’t seem to convert well for travel bloggers.
Discover Cars: Probably the most straightforward car rental affiliate for travel bloggers to earn money from, Discover Cars offers a 30% commission on their profits with a generous 365-day cookie.
Best Gear Affiliates For Travel Bloggers
Amazon: No matter how hard you try to earn money with other online stores, they’ll never convert as well as Amazon. I’ve tested dozens of different online stores and Amazon always performs best. Their commission structure depends on the category of products, but most travel products like hiking shoes, backpacks and cameras fall in the 4% category with a depressing 24-hour cookie window.
REI: We’ve tried and tried to earn more money with REI but it just doesn’t convert as well as Amazon. This is probably because it’s not as well-known a brand for shopping online. Still, with a 5% commission and a 15-day cookie, if you get it right it could earn more than Amazon.
4. Become a Freelance Writer
Finding freelance writing jobs and getting paid to write online has multiple benefits for your wallet and your travel blog.
At the time, we had no real experience as freelance writers. We still managed to start a freelance writing business alongside our travel blog and guess what, it actually helped our travel blog earn more money too.
How? Because every time we wrote a post for a publication that had more traffic than us, we linked back to our travel blog.
That meant when people read the post on that site, they often clicked over to our blog and became regular readers. As I’ve already established in this post, the more traffic you have, the more your travel blog can earn.
That’s why freelance writing is one of the best ways to earn money through a travel blog. It’s genius.
You get paid to write the post, but you also acquire valuable links.
And these links don’t just bring over readers from the companies you write for either.
Once Google sees a lot of links pointing to your travel blog from authoritative and trustworthy domains, it will start ranking you higher in Google.
This is a great form of link building, which is an important SEO strategy to grow traffic.
Check out our list of 99 websites that pay freelance writers and find a new freelance writing job today.
Expect to get paid anywhere from $50-$4,000 for a post. In my experience, the average is around $75-$100 for a 2,000-3,000 word article.
If you can write an article in 2 hours, you’d be earning around $50 per hour.
Best Websites To Get Paid as a Freelance Writer
We have an entire list of 99 Websites That Will Pay You To Write, but here are a few of our top picks for 2022:
- Pay: $75 – $150 per 1,250 – 3,000 words
This was one of our very first online jobs in freelance writing. Transitions abroad is a bit picky and they want really high quality and unique content, but the pay is worth having to pitch a few ideas.
- Pay: $0.50 cents / word (usually around $600 – $700 max per article)
World Nomads is a travel insurance company, but from time-to-time they put together a lot of in-depth guides and they’ve really been working on their blog. Keep a lookout on their site for freelance writing opportunities as they pay quite well.
- Pay: $50 / article with photos
Matador is one of the biggest travel blogs out there and they pay $50 per article to write on their site. They also have some press trip opportunities for travel bloggers so you can get paid to travel.
5. Sell A Digital Product
If you want to make money from your travel blog, one of the best ways to do it is by selling a digital product.
Digital products include ebooks, courses, videos, photos and much more.
All you have to do is create the product once, and sell it to your readers. The key here is to make the product as useful as possible. Take your time!
Once your digital product is completed and posted for sale on your site, you can earn money from it for years to come.
In some cases, you’ll have to update the content if it’s information-based, but we know of a few bloggers who are earning upwards of $1 million per year from selling digital products. Not bad right?
We’ve successfully earned a few thousand dollars per month selling digital products on our travel blog, like our ebooks, and blogging courses.
We have a free course on travel blogging for beginners, and we also started an SEO course to become a professional travel blogger.
Both are super rewarding for us because we see bloggers quitting their regular jobs all the time in exchange for a life of a travel blogger.
Best Digital Products To Sell as a Travel Blogger
There aren’t that many different types of digital products you can sell to earn money from a travel blog, but we’ve tried them all. Here’s the full list:
Digital Course: This is the #1 best way to earn money selling digital products from your travel blog. Create a course about anything from how to travel to how to start a travel blog and you can sell it through companies like Teachable.
Ebooks: We’ve been selling ebooks for years and have made thousands of dollars doing it. Because ebooks have a low ticket value compared to eCourses, they won’t likely earn as much, but they’re still a great option. Consider E-Junkie and Amazon for helping you sell your ebooks on your website.
6. Sell Merch
Selling merch, like T-shirts, hats, iPhone cases and photographs isn’t quite as easy as selling digital products.
For this, you’ll have to deal with customer returns, shipping, and manufacturer defaults.
We started our own online store after just a few months of starting our travel blog and we were able to earn a few hundred dollars from it (mostly through friends and family).
But we never spent a lot of time trying to sell merch to our readers. But some bloggers are making tens of thousands of dollars per month selling merch to their readers.
These days, there are plenty of companies to make selling merch easier like Teespring, Shopify, and Printify.
These companies will handle all of the annoying stuff, like customer returns, customer service, shopping cart sales funnels, and more.
All you have to do is come up with cool designs and sell them to your audience.
I have done a ton of research on creating an online store selling t-shirts, and while it has never been a massive part of our business overall, if you want it to be part of yours I recommend checking out Wholesale Ted on YouTube.
She’s super successful at selling merch and teaches her viewers how to make money selling online in her YouTube videos.
Best Products To Sell as a Travel Blogger
Not all products will sell equally. Did you know that studies have shown that black t-shirts sell best 9 out of 10 times? Similarly, you’ll probably sell a lot more T-shirts than you will hats. It’s just the way it goes.
Here are some of the best-selling items you can sell as a travel blogger:
T-Shirts: That’s right. Selling T-shirts is the best way to earn money selling merch as a travel blogger. But don’t just sell t-shirts with your brand name on them. Consider fun travel quotes, cool travel illustrations, and funny travel jokes.
Hats: Yep, you can still make money selling hats, although they probably won’t sell as well as t-shirts unless you promote them better. Consider the same strategies as you would for selling t-shirts.
Backpacks: Very few online stores will allow you to sell custom design backpacks. Printful has a good system for it and you may find that your travel blog readers love getting a custom pack from you.
Travel Photos: I know of some travel bloggers who have earned good money by selling their travel photos, but in general selling physical photos is hard business. If you do want to go this route, consider using companies like Etsy or Shutterstock to help you sell both physical and digital photographs.
See Also: How To Improve Your Travel Photography
7. Paid Press Trips
We’ve written extensively on how we’ve received paid press trips. Over the years been paid by tourism boards, hotel companies, tour companies and airlines to share their services with our readers.
Paid press trips are a great way to literally get paid to travel. Generally, the company will pay to fly you out, put you up in a hotel and organize tours for you, and on top of all that, you’ll get paid.
After the trip was over, we had to complete a series of deliverables for the campaign, like blog posts, videos, social shares, photos and shares in our email newsletter.
The key to getting press trips is to always over-deliver. We take our press partnerships very seriously and if our partners didn’t see ROI (Return On their Investment) we’d be very disappointed in ourselves.
Always ensure that you’re creating the best content possible for your press partners and that you’re highlighting their product or service in an honest and genuine way.
Another way to get more press trips is to join conferences where big brands attend. Bring your business cards, and media kit and get ready to mingle and network.
We’ve spoken at conferences and it’s been a great way to network and get paid partnerships.
Best Conferences To Land Press Trips
Landing press trips isn’t easy. A lot of time you’ll have to meet the marketing representatives in person and the best places to do that are conferences. Here are some of the best ones for getting great contacts:
TBEX: One of the longest-running and largest travel blogger conferences in the world, TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) was first held in Chicago in 2019 and since then it’s attracted the biggest names in travel and travel blogging.
TravelCon: One of the biggest travel blog conferences put on by the world’s biggest travel blogger, Nomadic Matt, TravelCon is another great place to network with travel companies.
Digital Travel Summit: Since its first conference in 1999, Digital Travel Summit has put on 5 different conferences around the world.
8. Get Sponsored
We’ll get into some other forms of sponsorship later in this post, like sponsored links and sponsored videos, but first I want to talk about true sponsorship. A full-time sponsor who pays you a retainer to promote their product or service.
We’ve had quite a few of these types of sponsors over the years. This is the best way to earn money from a travel blog through sponsorship because the income is consistent and pretty much guaranteed for the lifetime of the contract.
Getting long-term sponsors isn’t easy. You’ll have to find the correct marketing contact who deals with this type of press relation and pitch your case.
Sponsors typically work best when they’re super niche. If you have a travel blog about hiking in California for example, then you might be able to get a sponsor like California-based gear company Patagonia®.
When pitching for sponsorship, be sure to explain why your travel blog is super-relevant to their brand, how you can help them, and why your audience is more engaged than other bloggers.
Be sure to send examples of your work like videos, photos, and blog posts along with your Media Kit that shows your social numbers, traffic, and traffic demographics.
Best Travel Brands That Sponsor Travel Bloggers
Not all travel brands are open to sending travel bloggers a cheque each month. Here are a few brands that are known to sponsor travel bloggers:
Kathmandu: This is a hiking and outdoors brand that sponsors some travel bloggers to create blog posts and videos for them.
GoPro: GoPro has been known to sponsor a lot of travel bloggers over the years. We worked with them in the past and they sent us some free GoPro cameras, but they also pay bloggers and send them on paid trips to get action adventure footage with their newest actioncam.
Vanguard: This is a backpack company that sponsors travel bloggers to create videos, blog posts and take photos of their products. We worked with Vanguard for years and they paid us a retainer to continuously promote their awesome gear.
Airlines: I didn’t list a specific airline here because it will depend entirely on where your travel blog is based. A travel blog about Europe won’t likely earn any flight sponsorship deals from AirAsia for example. We’ve been sponsored for one-off flights with Turkish Airlines, Cathay Pacific and AeroMexico, but some of the big bloggers out there have ongoing deals with huge airlines to get paid and fly for free.
9. Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are a very common way for new travel bloggers to earn a bit of money from their travel blogs.
Here’s how it works: As your blog grows and gets a larger audience, it also grows in DA (Domain Authority). DA is a number from 1-100 that is a rough estimate of a website’s overall SEO health.
The higher that number gets on your blog, the more valuable your blog is to potential advertisers.
As your DA goes up, you’ll start getting emails in your inbox from companies asking to pay you to add links to your site.
Here’s where you have to be careful.
Google is very clear in its guidelines that you need to mark the link is no-follow and tell your readers that the link is paid. This is not only good SEO practice, but it’s ethically a more honest way to place any sponsored content on your blog.
If you tell the advertiser that you’ll be doing this and they still agree to pay, then you’re ready to earn some money.
Where To Find Sponsored Post Opportunities For Travel Bloggers
The days of sponsored posts are almost gone. Google has cracked down on this practice and rightly so. Too many people were breaking the rules and adding do-follow sponsored posts to their blogs with no disclosure of sponsorship.
However, there are still a few places to find sponsored post opportunities.
Facebook Groups: There are still a few Facebook Groups out there where bloggers share their sponsored post contacts. These groups are generally very VIP and you’ll have to apply with quite a few contacts of your own to get accepted.
Your Inbox: As your blog grows, you’ll organically start getting emails with sponsored post opportunities. Unfortunately, a lot of these are spam emails from spam companies that will want you to break Google’s rules. If you take the time to filter through them, you’ll often get a few that are legitimate each month.
10. Sponsored Links
Sponsored links follow the same principle as sponsored posts. The bigger your travel blog gets, the more people will want you pay you to link to their website from your blog.
The difference is that with sponsored links, you won’t have to write an entire post to add their link. They’ll just ask you to place the link in a post that you’ve already published.
This will take you a fraction of the time, and the pay is still decent. Usually around $100-$500 per link depending on how established your blog is.
Again, you’ll have to follow the same Google Guidelines and mark them as no-follow or sponsored and disclose any payment with your readers.
11. Monetize Your YouTube Channel
Growing a YouTube Channel is a lot like growing a blog. You’ll have to spend a lot of time creating content and marketing your channel so that it gets views.
Unless you get lucky with one insanely viral video, you’ll likely be in this for the long haul.
In order to monetize on YouTube, you’ll have to follow their guidelines and reach 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours.
Once monetized, you can simply turn on ads on approved videos and start earning money through your Adsense account.
In my experience, YouTube is a pretty difficult way for travel bloggers to earn money because you need A LOT of views to earn a decent income.
Our main channel has 20,000 subscribers and even at its height, we were only earning a few hundred dollars per month from ads.
Still, the highest-paid YouTubers are earning millions of dollars per year, so clearly there are plenty of opportunities to earn money on YouTube.
Best Ways To Monetize a YouTube Channel
YouTube Channels can be monetized in more ways than just ads and that’s how you can start earning more money through YouTube.
Ads: Firstly, ads are the main way that most new YouTubers earn money. By placing ads on your videos, you will earn a percentage of the ad revenue that Google Inc. earns from the ads.
Sponsorships: While I haven’t earned a lot of money through YouTube ads, the channel that I started in 2020 was earning money from sponsors after less than a year.
Selling Merch: Just like from your blog, you can earn a lot of money selling merch on YouTube. Think t-shirts, hats, backpacks, and all the same garb you have on your website store. In most cases, you’ll link to the same sales pages from your YouTube videos and video descriptions.
12. Monetize Your Instagram
It’s no secret that you can get paid VERY well for posting on Instagram, with some of the highest-paid influencers earning up to $1.5 million per post.
I’m not saying that you’re just going to monetize and earn millions, but by growing your Instagram and working to build your brand on the platform, it can actually be a very solid side-hustle for your blog.
Unlike YouTube, Instagram doesn’t have a one-click solution for advertising. There’s no minimum follower count to apply for their advertising platform because they don’t have one.
Instead, you’ll have to grow your Instagram page organically and then brands will approach you (or you can approach them) for sponsored Instagram posts.
Goats On The Road’s Instagram is not one of the most popular ones out there with only 26K followers. But we’ve still been able to sell some sponsored posts on the platform.
These were photos of destinations or products that we’ve used or have visited and are happy to share with our readers.
How To Monetize Instagram
There is no simple answer to this challenging problem. Gone are the days when you can spam people with comments to follow you or follow and unfollow multiple accounts to gain thousands of followers per week. Now you’ll have to be more organic in your efforts to grow.
Grow Your Account First: First, you’ll have to grow your account organically. You can do this by posting regularly and using all of the features of the platform like posts, stories, video posts and in particular, Reels.
Find out what works and what gets the most likes and double down on that. Also, follow accounts in your niche to see what they’re doing to grow quickly.
Lastly, in this (way too summarized) crash course in Instagram growth, try to get featured on larger accounts. You can pay influencers to mention your account on theirs, or if you have influencer friends, you can ask them to collab.
Pitch Potential Sponsors: Once you have a following, if you’re still not getting any emails from sponsors, you can reach out to them yourself. Create a media kit and send it to them explaining why you think your audience matches with their brand.
Sell Merch: Another way Instagram influencers make money is by selling their own merch. Just like on your blog and YouTube, on Instagram you can wear your merch and promote it in some of your posts.
Sell Filters: This is a bit cliche these days, but there are still Instagrammers earning money selling their photo and video filters. If your photos are unique and eye-catching, people will want theirs to look the same. Sell them your Photoshop photo filters for a nice little supplement of income.
13. Run Your Own Tours
This is one aspect of our business that we’ve always considered but never followed through on ourselves.
Some very close blogging friends we know run tours however and have earned upwards of $20,000 for one week of traveling around with a group of like-minded readers/followers.
If you’re an expert hiker, you can plan hiking trips where you take your crowd out for an epic trek in the mountains.
Enjoy wineries? Why not plan a 7-day adventure for your fans in Tuscany?
The options are endless. Even writing this now I’m again wondering why we haven’t done this yet. We’ve done meetups around the world where we just said we’d be at a bar and meet some of our readers there, but I think it would be so fun to travel with them.
Having this community is one of the great perks of travel blogging and running your own tours can help you better connect with your audience.
How To Monetize Your Travel Blog Through Your Own Tours
So how does it work? Basically, first you need to build an audience, and then you have three options:
- You can create your own tour entirely from scratch. For this, you’ll have to visit the destination, stay in all the hotels, test out all of the experiences, and literally plan the entire tour from the ground up.
- You can work with a local tour company on the ground. This is the way we have considered doing it. You hire a local tour company who already does all of the experiences you plan to do. You utilize their already set-up transportation and accommodation network.
- Work with an influencer tour company. We’ve been approached by a few of these companies and we almost went through with one this year. Basically, these companies work with influencers who have an audience and help them cater-make trips for their followers. They handle all of the logistics, marketing, customer service, online ordering, and the tour itself, making this the most hands-off option. Of course, they also take a bigger cut.
14. Work as a VA For Other Bloggers
Working as a VA (Virtual Assistant) is another service we’ve personally used to earn extra money as travel bloggers. As you’re building your blog, you’ll gather incredibly valuable knowledge about blogging and running a business.
This knowledge is useful for other bloggers and they’ll hire you to help them run their own blog.
You might end up creating Pinterest images for them, running their social media or being their main editor.
When we were working as VAs for other blogs and websites, we managed and learned to grow Pinterest, wrote posts for their blogs, edited, and much more.
We joined some Pinterest Facebook Groups for Travel Bloggers that helped us to get the pins seen by more people and in turn, our employers were extremely happy with our work.
We definitely weren’t the top-paid VAs out there. There are VAs making upwards of $10,000 per month working from home. Not a bad gig!
How To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs
We have an entire guide on how to find virtual assistant jobs, so I won’t go too much into depth in this post, but here are a few of the main places to look:
FlexJobs: This massive online database holds over 5,000 businesses and lists thousands of jobs for virtual assistants. FlexJobs has built a name for itself a trustworthy platform for connecting hard-working VAs with real, verified employers.
Upwork: We’ve personally used Upwork on dozens of occasions to hire our own staff. It’s an incredibly intuitive and easy-to-use platform where you can post jobs you need to be done, or apply for jobs that are posted. You’ll find thousands of opportunities for Virtual Assistant-type jobs and tasks on Upwork and it’s easy to apply.
Freelancer: This site is one of the largest online marketplaces for finding freelance jobs, virtual assistant jobs, and general crowdsourcing. They have over 31 million users all spread across 247 countries. With so many users, there are plenty of opportunities to find freelance virtual assistant work.
15. Develop Your Own Travel Product
This one is going to be a bit more difficult. Finding a manufacturer, customizing a product to be your own, branding it and marketing it to your audience is an entire business in itself.
But imagine you could make the travel products you love even better and then brand them and sell them to your audience?
For example, every backpacker knows how to create a better backpack. Whether it’s adding a better outside pocket to hold a water bottle or waterproof zippers to keep your stuff dry.
You can find manufacturers of backpacks on sites like Alibaba and then piece together all of the aspects that make a great backpack and customize it enough that it’s your own product.
You wouldn’t be the first influencer to sell backpacks and earn money, with some earning upwards of $76,000, but you’d be developing a product that could truly help your readers and followers, which is a very rewarding way to monetize a travel blog.
How To Develop & Sell Your Own Product
To do this properly and at scale, you’ll have to head to the country of manufacture to nail down the specifics. You’ll also have to dial in the economics of the product to ensure your margins are high enough.
Check on sites like Alibaba and visit trade shows like Canton Fair, a huge Chinese import/export show in Guangzhou where distributors meet manufacturers to help increase business opportunities.
From there you’ll have to work with the manufacturer to build a high-quality but cost efficient product that your audience will love, and then promote it through your online platforms like your travel blog and social media.
As I said, it’s not an easy process, but the rewards of earning money from your travel blog while supplying your audience with a product they use and love is priceless.
Blogging Tips To Earn Money From Your Travel Blog
Earlier in this post, I talked about the fact that I’ve built numerous profitable travel blogs over the years, and a couple of blogs in other niches as well.
What I’ve learned is that if you follow a few simple tips, you can learn how to make money from a travel blog and find success when you put your mind to it.
This was number 1 on this list of how to make money from a travel blog, but it’s an important one. If you’re unable to post 3-5 times per week, then you should expect your blog to take a lot longer to earn money.
This is a bit more difficult if you’re travel blogging while on the move, but if you stay stationary once in a while and work hard on your site, you should be able to write this much or more.
If you’re unable to post this often, consider hiring writers. Check on sites like Upwork for freelance writers who are experts in your niche.
Usually, you can pay around $50 for a 2,000-word post. If you can afford to invest a few thousand dollars in your travel blog upfront, you should be able to see a good ROI over time.
Optimize Your Productivity
I’ve always been a firm believer that you should never stop optimizing.
As you get better at writing blog posts, try to find ways to speed up the process that doesn’t diminish the quality of your work.
One of the best ways to do this is by using productivity apps, but you can also write down your processes so they are easier to visualize, and then try to see how they can be improved.
Consider creating a schedule for your travel blog and a schedule for your social media to grow them as fast as possible over time.
See Also: Time Saving Upgrades For Digital Nomads
Write Lucrative Posts
What do I mean by lucrative posts? Not all keywords are created equal. If you write a post called “How My Dog Fluffy Made it From Amsterdam to Bangkok”, your readers might like the quirky title.
But nobody is searching that in Google and if they did, what affiliates could be placed in that post in order to earn money from your travel blog? Probably none.
Instead, a post like “How To Travel With a Dog From Europe to Asia” might be a much better term. Likely more people search that in Google than they do your specific dog, Fluffy, and also there are ample opportunities for affiliates in that post.
You could link to airline affiliates that allow pets. You could link to Amazon for the best kennels for travel. You could link to a GPS tracking affiliate for the tracker you put on Fluffy’s neck to ensure you know where he is during the trip.
When writing content, you should always think about how you’ll be able to monetize it on your travel blog.
Some great post ideas include:
- Things To Do In: These are great for tour affiliates like GetYourGuide and Viator.
- Where To Stay In: Perfect for hotel and apartment affiliates.
- How To Get From A to B: Here your travel blog can earn money through airline and bus affiliates.
- Best Travel Products: There’s no better affiliate than Amazon and these travel product lists like “best waist packs for travel” tend to have high search volume and convert very well.
- Travel Product Review: Again, the perfect place for Amazon affiliate links. Review the travel products you use and love.
Update Your Old Content
Nobody likes getting to a post only to find out that none of the links work anymore, all of the products are out of stock and the tour companies listed have gone out of business.
The funny thing is, Google hates this too.
Just as important as creating new content for your travel blog, you should make sure you’re going back to your old posts and updating them.
This is an important aspect of making money from travel blogging because if your affiliate links are pointing to products that are out of stock or hotels and tour companies that are out of business, then you’re losing money.
Try to go back into 2 or 3 of your older posts and update them each and every week.
SEO is the single most important thing you need to learn if you want to make money travel blogging.
Learning SEO will teach you how to write posts that will actually show up in search results, and how to market your blog properly in order to grow organically in search engines.
I won’t go too much into depth here because we have a free 1-hour SEO training video on our site, but here are the basics:
Keyword Research: Use tools like KeySearch, or free tools like Keyword Surfer to find topics that your audience actually searches in Google. The difference between writing a post titled “Hotels in Prague” and one called “Best Places To Stay in Prague” could be thousands of readers to your site. These tools can help you identify these high-volume keywords and key phrases, and which ones aren’t too difficult to rank for.
Write SEO Content: You need to write content that Google can understand. Now that you have your keyword, write a post that best answers the user’s query. Include the keyword in the post title and throughout the post and do your best to create a better article than what shows up in Google’s top 5 search results currently.
Interlink: Once you have a few posts on a topic (ie: Places To Visit in Thailand), it’s time to link to other posts you have on your site that are relevant (ie: Things To Do in Bangkok). Make sure that all of your posts link to each other. Not only is it good for search engines, but your readers will be better able to navigate your site and find the information they need using these links.
Build Organic Backlinks: Now it’s time for the hard part. You need to start reaching out to your travel blogging colleagues and make relationships with them. Don’t just spam them! Try to help them and in return, see if you can get a link back to posts on your site. Often in the form of guest posting. To earn money from travel blogging, you’ll need to be building a few links each and every week.
Be Super Niche
You may have noticed that everyone and their dog has a travel blog these days. Don’t get discouraged. This just means that you have to be more specific in your brand identity.
Don’t just be a “Budget Travel Blogger”. Blog about budget travel in Bozeman, Montana.
Don’t just be a “Couples Travel Blog“. Blog about romantic overwater bungalow destinations for couples.
I think you get my drift. Gone are the days when you can just be a travel blogger. Unless of course, you’re outrageously attractive or charming.
These days you have to niche down. Write a travel blog about the city you live in, your unique disability while traveling or traveling to a specific destination with pets. Like how to travel Europe with a dog.
To find a more specific niche, just take current popular travel blog niches and add 2 extra identifiers.
Couples Travel Blog + Eastern Europe + Luxury
Food Travel Blog + Street Food + Latin America
Budget Travel Blog + Beach Huts + Southeast Asia
Make Sure Your Travel Blog is Fast
One of the quickest ways to lose money on a travel blog is by having a website that is slow to load. The longer a page takes to load, the more likely your readers will simply click away to someone else’s site.
Luckily these days, some WordPress themes and WordPress Plugins make it pretty easy to have a fast-loading travel blog.
In our Beginner Blogger Course, we show new bloggers how to start a blog using the fastest themes, and build it so that it’s lightweight and super fast to load.
If you already have a blog and you find it’s loading slowly on speed test sites like PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix and Pingdom, consider changing your theme to either Astra or GeneratePress, removing unnecessary styling and animations and caching with the WPRocket Plugin.
Be Genuine & Honest
This is probably my number 1 tip for any travel blogger who wants to earn money from travel blogging.
People on the internet can sniff out BS a mile away. Always be honest with your readers. Disclose any time you’re working with a company. Tell them the truth about what travel is like, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
They will appreciate your honesty and it will ingratiate you to them.
Just because you never see their faces, doesn’t mean that they aren’t real people. Every time you’re writing a post on your site, try to picture your reader as a person in front of you.
This will help you to write better content and to build the best travel blog possible.
How To Make Money Travel Blogging FAQs
When I first started travel blogging back in 2009, I had a million questions about how to make money from a travel blog.
I’m not going to be able to answer all of your questions here, but I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about earning an income from a travel blog.
See Also: 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Blogging
Travel blogs make anywhere from $0-$1 million+/ year. Some of the top travel bloggers earn as much as $100,000 per month from their blogs. We also have a post on how much travel bloggers make that goes into more detail on this topic.
A travel blogger’s salary will depend largely on the work they put into the blog and the quality of content they produce.
In my opinion, yes. 100%. Starting our first travel blog (this one you’re reading) was the best decision we ever made.
It has given us a life we could only have dreamt of. We travel full-time, often for free, and earn a decent living while doing it. The perks of this job are almost beyond belief. Will it be easy to build a successful travel blog that earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per year? No. You’ll have to put in some time and work hard at it. Will it be fun? Absolutely. If you enjoy traveling, writing, and taking photos, none of your time building your travel blog should feel like work.
In general, it will take a travel blog at least 3-6 months to start earning money.
How quickly your travel blog earns money will depend on how much content you write and how monetizable that content is. If you’re writing SEO content for potentially lucrative key terms, you could be earning money within a few months.
It took us 9 months to earn any income from this blog. But on subsequent blogs we’ve built since this one, we’ve been able to start earning some money within 3-4 months.
I started another blog in 2020 and after 1-year it was earning a good monthly income. This is largely due to the fact that I chose a good niche and that I followed proper SEO strategies.
We made some mistakes along the way, and so will you, but luckily there are many ways that travel blogging can help support a nomadic lifestyle.
Following some basic first steps, you will likely be at least a year before you could replace your full-time income with a travel blog.
See Also: 5 Stages All Bloggers Go Through When Building a Successful Travel Blog
Starting a travel blog will cost around $2.95 per month or around $36 per year. In our How To Start a Travel Blog guide, we recommend people start their blogs with Bluehost. We’ve tested a lot of hosts and Bluehost is our favorite because they are affordable, have excellent customer service, and have fast-loading servers.
While it may not be as reliable as a pay cheque from an employer, in some ways travel blog income is more reliable than a regular job. As a travel blogger, you don’t have the risk of getting fired or laid off, so once you build your income it is generally there to stay. Some of the main things that affect your earnings are Google Algorithm Updates which can decrease (or increase) your traffic overnight, and of course, the thing of which travel bloggers shall not speak of that happened in 2020 and halted global travel.
See Also: Our Location Independent Lifestyle (What Does it Cost?)
To start a travel blog you’ll need a laptop. At the very least a tablet (I don’t recommend trying to build a blog from a smartphone. You’ll also need a camera (a smartphone camera is ideal), and a decent wifi connection. That’s it.
Check out our full guide of the gear we use for travel blogging.
We have an entire post on how to pick a travel blog name, but basically, you should keep it short and sweet and try to think of something that’s easily memorable.
Every travel blog needs to have a home page, an about page, and a contact page so that your readers can get to know you, what your site is about, and contact you if they have questions.
Don’t miss our guide to all of the important features to have on your travel blog.
Indeed this is something we didn’t talk about enough in this post about how to earn money from travel blogging.
The truth is, one of the major perks of running your own travel blog is that once you’ve grown the blog, you’ll often be invited on trips, tours and to hotels, simply because you have a valuable audience. This isn’t necessarily a way that travel bloggers make money, but it is a way to save money while you’re traveling by enjoying amazing travel experiences for free.
Yes. Travel bloggers are often hired by tourism boards, hotels, tour operators, and airlines to travel to destinations, have travel experiences and stay in accommodations to later share them with their audience.
These travel blogger jobs mean that travel bloggers are often paid as much as $1000 per day to travel the world.
As your blog grows, you will start receiving emails from tourism boards, airlines, hotels, and tour operators asking you to share their services or product on your travel blog.
In many cases, they will pay for your trips in exchange for you sharing your experience with your audience on your travel blog. We have had hundreds of free hotels, tours, flights and products sent to us over the years and it’s a great way to monetize a travel blog.
As you grow your travel Instagram account and get more followers and engagement, you will start getting PMs from (or you can reach out and pitch) brands that want to work with you.
In exchange for a post on your Instagram account sharing their product or service, you’ll get paid a fee. This fee varies greatly but you should be able to charge around $500 for an Instagram share, depending on your niche, followers, and engagement.
No. I want to be 100% honest here. Don’t expect that by just publishing a blog post, you’re going to earn money.
To make money as a travel blogger you will have to work a lot of hours and write a lot of blog posts, market your blog and work on improving your skills over time.
The good news is that a lot of money that travel bloggers earn can be passive, which means once your blog is established, you can earn money from ads and affiliates without actively having to be on your laptop.
This varies wildly. Travel bloggers work between 5 and 80 hours per week.
When we first started our travel blog, we worked around 20 hours per week to build it. Now, we work on average probably 5 hours per week on the blog. We know of many other bloggers who worked 80 hours per week to grow their blogs.
I know, that’s a huge difference. Just know that when you’re working for yourself on your own travel blog, if you’re writing SEO content and marketing your blog properly, time spent generally directly translates to traffic and income earned.
This means you can choose your own hours. If you want to work 20 hours per week, it will just take you a little longer to grow than it would if you worked 40 hours per week, assuming you’re prioritizing content and SEO during all of your work hours. The key is to find a good balance between work and travel.
The benefits of owning your own travel blog include an income, free travel, helping other travelers to have wonderful travel experiences and having a fun project of your own to work on and build.
Starting this travel blog truly changed our lives and we’re so thankful that we recognized the benefits of having a travel blog early on.
See Also: 10 Reasons To Start a Travel Blog Today
Yes. There is more opportunity for travel bloggers in 2022 than ever before. There are more companies to work with, more conferences to attend, and more tourism boards understanding the value of hiring bloggers.
Travel blogging is a great way to earn money while connecting with like-minded travelers.
I have started many blogs over the years. I started one in 2020, another one in 2021, and it won’t be the last. So long as there are blogs on the internet, it is worth starting one around one of your passions.
People always ask me if it’s still worth starting a travel blog in 2022 and if the market is too saturated. My answer is always the same.
Yes, the market is more saturated, but there’s also more opportunity. When we started this blog back in 2012, hardly any travel companies understood the value of working with travel bloggers.
These days, pretty much every tour company, hotel, and tourism board is chomping at the bit to get the top travel bloggers to their accommodation, experience, or destination.
Yes! We have a free 1 hour SEO training session. Once you join the session, you’ll be offered a discount on our Complete SEO Blogger Course.
This course includes everything you need to know about building a travel blog and monetizing it to earn money.
How Travel Blogs Make Money Video
Final Thoughts on How To Make Money From a Travel Blog
As we’ve discussed in this article, there are many ways to earn money from a travel blog.
This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You’ll have to work on your travel blog in order to get it to the point that it can earn money. But it can be a fun and exhilarating journey.
We’ve been doing this for more than a decade and I still pinch myself sometimes when I look at the life our travel blog has helped us to create.
We work very few hours per week and our days are filled with travel, experience, and joy.
If you love travel, photography, and writing, then travel blogging is the job for you.