The process of starting your travel blog is one of the easiest parts of your blogging journey.
Figuring out how to make money as a travel blogger – now that’s where the fun starts!
Before diving into the different monetization strategy, there’s something I want to quickly go over.
Blogging is definitely NOT an easy way to make money.
While it can be lucrative, it can take months or years to start earning an income that will support you abroad.
This is only the case if you don’t quit after a few months (something that’s extremely common in the blog industry).
On the other hand, with the right foundation and heaps of effort you can work your way to success as a travel blogger.
Keep in mind that blogging isn’t all about writing blog posts and screwing around on social media.
There is a lot of work in monetizing a travel blog successfully and you need to treat it like a business.
Spending one or two hours a week during your free time isn’t going to get you the results you want.
It’s important to be focused and hungry for success from day one, otherwise what’s the point in trying?
Is it Possible for You to Make Money Travel Blogging?
It’s 100% possible that you’re able to make money with your blog.
However, it depends on a wide range of factors how successful you’ll be.
In order for your blog to make an income you’ll need to be passionate, hard-working and dedicated.
Along with writing content you need to be able to create a solid foundation for your site.
This involves building a brand that people can relate to, growing your audience, providing value and managing the daily tasks that running a blog requires.
Some of the most important factors of creating a successful travel blog include:
- Developing your brand
- Creating a clear message
- Writing solid and helpful content
- Building a list through email subscribers
- Providing a functional, easy to use and professional looking website
- Optimizing your website properly
- Knowing which tools and resources you need to use
- Interacting efficiently with social media contacts
- Offering something unique to your audience
- Building relationships with other bloggers and influencers
- Creating a media kit
These are just some of the factors involved in monetizing a travel blog.
In this post you’ll learn more about all of the best strategies and tactics you can use to start earning a blogging income.
Is Travel Blogging an Easy Way to Make Money?
Like I mentioned above there are plenty of easier ways to make money than travel blogging.
Not only are there so many different technical aspects of managing and running a website that you need to learn but you need to spend a lot of your own time and money writing content and driving traffic to your blog before you even earn your first dollar.
Anybody can start a blog but making profitable and earning a living from a website is a lot harder.
The time aspect of blogging is what deters most people. If you look at some of the most successful travel bloggers online you’ll see that the majority of them started their blogs three, four or even ten years ago and they’re only now making enough money to support themselves and their travels.
During the same time period thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, of different blogs have started and failed to earn anything more than a few dollars.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to deter you from making an effort but I just want to make it clear that making a living with a travel blog isn’t easy, takes a lot of time and more people have tried and failed along the way than have become successful.
If you’re not able to spend a few hours every day working on your blog then it’s going to be a lot harder for you to make it and it will probably be easier to just get a job or make money traveling in different ways.
The upside when it comes to how to make money with a travel blog is that the more time and energy that you put into it the easier it becomes.
At first it might all seem so daunting – coming up with a name, writing content, figuring out how to do SEO for your travel blog, building relationships with other bloggers, building links, deciding on hosting and all of the other fun stuff that comes with starting and managing a website.
Eventually though it just becomes like anything else and you become better and more efficient at what you’re doing.
That’s why I always recommend giving it a go and seeing how well you can do rather than giving up without trying at all.
Multiple Income Streams Are Essential
All of the top travel bloggers in the world have multiple sources of income related to their blog.
Personally, there are more than a dozen ways that this blog earns money every month.
These different income streams can add up to a substantial amount.
The other benefit to diversifying is that you’re not relying on a single source of income to support you.
This way if one of your income sources dries up you’ll have other sources of income continually coming in.
So how do you take advantage of multiple income streams?
Once your blog is established you can branch out into the different monetization strategies.
For example, spend the first month focusing on making the most money with Adsense or display advertising.
With a better understanding of how that works, move on to a different monetization strategy and try that one out for another month.
Keep working your way down the list until you have enough income streams for your financial security.
What Are the Best Ways to Make Money Travel Blogging?
There’s one thing to keep in mind with whatever method of monetization you want to earn from:
The best thing you can do when it comes to making money blogging is to provide as much value as you can to people looking for information and help when it comes to traveling.
What I mean by this is that you want to create content that’s helpful or entertaining that your readers will find value in.
You want to answer questions people have, solve problems people encounter or make them want to live vicariously through your traveling experiences – that’s how you provide value.
That’s really the secret when it comes to the best ways to make money blogging.
As long as you are able to provide your readers with what they want then you’ll be able to monetize your traffic and make money.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways that you can make money from your travel blog:
The best ways to make money blogging for beginners is with affiliate marketing.
Take a look at my post on affiliate marketing for travel bloggers for an in-depth guide on this strategy.
Affiliate marketing is when you promote a product on your website by linking to it or using a banner, someone then will click through to that product or service and if they end up buying it then you get a small commission on the sale.
There are plenty of affiliates for accommodation, flights and all sorts of travel gear/products that travelers use regularly. Basically, almost every product that people spend money on online has an affiliate program and it’s a great way to earn some money for your blog if you’re just getting started.
One of the most popular travel affiliate programs is Amazon Affiliates.
There are quite a few products on Amazon that you can promote through your travel site and if someone buys one of those products after clicking your link you can earn a nice commission.
The drawback to earning with affiliate marketing is that you need a lot of traffic and high conversions if you want to make good money.
One or two people buying something or booking something through your link every day is nice but it’s not going to be able to pay for all of your trips.
If you create helpful content and you’re able to drive a lot of traffic to your website then you’ll definitely be able to enjoy a nice living through affiliate marketing.
Along with Amazon there are plenty of other affiliate networks that you can use on your website.
Display advertising, or using banner ads on your website, is one of the easiest ways that you can start earning money with your blog.
They are very easy to set up and get going and as your blog grows you’ll be able to make more and more from your ads.
There are a few different options you have when it comes to companies that you can advertise with.
The travel niche isn’t that well-suited for banner advertising, especially if you’re writing about destinations or a niche that doesn’t spend too much money like budget travelers, but the opportunities are there if you’re writing about high ticket niches like river cruises or tech gadgets.
If you’re not using Adblock then you can probably see a few different ads on my site. Some people might find them annoying but in today’s online world advertising is a way of life and they can actually end up being quite helpful depending on what people are looking for.
Selling Digital Products
Creating and selling your own products is one of the most effective ways to make a lot of money travel blogging.
With your own product you control the price, design, marketing, content, and everything about it.
Instead of taking a commission you earn a bigger percentage of the profit from the income of selling products.
Creating a product is a better alternative to promoting other people’s products and services.
You can choose to use products as your main income source or as an additional stream of income.
For travel bloggers, there are options for both digital and physical products.
Selling digital products brings you into the e-commerce side of blogging.
There’s a lot of up-front work and expenses with physical products.
Most travel bloggers would be better off with digital products.
Some examples of digital products travel bloggers can create include:
- Online courses and workshops
- Ebooks and digital guides
- Premium content (membership sites, private access groups, etc)
- Travel photos and video
- Apps, themes, or plugins design for other travel bloggers
One of the best things about selling digital products is they will keep selling as long as you’re promoting.
There are products I’ve created 3+ years ago that still makes sales almost every day.
Offering Personalized Travel or Marketing Services
Depending on how long you’ve been travel blogging it’s likely you’ve gained a number of marketable skills.
You can use these skills as a travel blog monetization strategy to start making money from all the work you’ve already put in.
What’s great about offering services are the low start-up costs and the lack of inventory.
You get paid for the work you do, something you’re probably passionate about if it’s travel-related.
The only downside to offering services is that it’s not scalable.
This means you’re trading your time your money which limits your earning potential.
Some examples of services you can offer as a travel blogger include:
- Digital marketing and blog optimization
- Freelance writing
- Virtual assistant and online support
- Public speaking
With services you need to be constantly pitching and promoting to keep leads in your funnel.
The onus falls on you, the blogger, to make money with this strategy.
Mentoring and Coaching
This is a service you can offer that deserves its own mention as a lucrative monetization strategy.
As a skilled travel blogger it’s possible to mentor or coach up-and-coming bloggers looking for support on their journey.
Blogging can be overwhelming, especially for beginners, and people are always looking for someone to help them out.
You can use your blog as a platform for getting leads and promoting your coaching/mentor services.
Consulting also falls into this category, another strategy to try out if you’re looking to work with small travel businesses.
The first step to start coaching is to create a niche for yourself and only work with bloggers in this niche.
Setting yourself apart from other coaches is important.
Once you’re ready to start offering services you need to be constantly pitching and promoting for the strategy to work.
Start a Bespoke Travel Agency
Starting a travel agency isn’t something that’s reserved only for large businesses and people with a lot of money.
All you need is an idea, a website, and the will to work to start your own travel agency and make money with it.
For example, what’s the travel industry like in your hometown?
Many mid-sized cities have a lack of options for visitors when it comes to fun and exciting touristy things to do.
This is a great niche to fill with an agency or travel business that provides services directly to future travelers.
There are a number of different avenues to pursue if this is a strategy you’re interested in trying.
Check out this helpful post on starting your own travel agency for an in-depth guide.
This is one of those newer monetization strategies that’s become popular with the rise in “influencer marketing”.
What are sponsored posts?
It’s when a company reaches out to you and offers something in exchange for a blog post.
It could be products looking for reviews, hotels looking for online promotion, or travel businesses looking to grow their audience.
This isn’t a strategy I personally have much experience with, although plenty of people are making money with sponsored posts in the travel blog industry.
The idea behind sponsored posts is great.
They’re more of a natural advertisement for products or services you personally believe in.
Bloggers benefit from sponsored posts by getting paid or getting free products and your audience benefits from your honest review.
Take a look at this helpful guide on finding sponsored posts if you need getting started.
When you pitch for freelance writing gigs your blog is bound to impress potential clients and leads.
That’s the trick with freelance writing – you need to be pitching all the time if you want to be successful.
Unless you have a blog dedicated to writing services it’s unlikely anyone is going to reach out for your help.
As a freelance travel writer the opportunities are endless when it comes to finding work.
Travel is becoming more popular and there are thousands of travel-related publications looking for writers.
If you’re not comfortable with pitching people directly you can start by offering your services on platforms like Fiverr and UpWork.
Then, once you’ve gained a few clients, you can start pitching businesses and bigger travel companies for writing gigs.
With a small client base freelance writing can be lucrative enough to be considered as a main monetization strategy for travel bloggers.
Email marketing is a tricky and technical way to monetize your travel blog.
It’s also one of the most lucrative strategies that can have the longest lasting impact on your blog success.
It’s not surprising that email marketing has the highest conversion rates out of any other marketing channel.
Believe it or not, nearly 70% of online consumers have made a purchase after getting an email from someone!
To take advantage of this strategy you’ll need your own product or service to promote to your list.
Promoting affiliate offers to your email list can result in some sales but it’s the least effective way of making money this way.
Instead, focus on building your list and promoting your own product or service.
There are heaps of guides online that you can use if you need help getting started with email marketing.
Can You Start a Travel Blog for Free and Still Make Money?
It’s possible (and easy) to start a travel blog for free and monetize it, although this isn’t something I’d recommend.
The problem with using a free blogging platform is that you don’t much control over your content.
At any time you’re free blog can be deleted, removed, and in some cases it’s against the platform policy to monetize.
Without easy and affordable it is to start your own travel blog, that’s the best way to move forward if you’re hoping to make money this way.
Take a look at this post on how to start a travel blog if you don’t have one already.