Wondering how to start a travel blog post Covid19, or even whether you should?
If you’ve always loved the idea of jet setting off to beautiful beaches or awe-inspiring mountains in a faraway land, and getting paid to do it, then starting a travel blog is definitely the way to go.
But in a post-pandemic world, are travel blogs even a thing anymore?
The answer: absolutely.
In fact, now more than ever is probably a great time to start a travel blog as people begin to look for inspiration to start traveling again over the next few years.
Just look at the word ‘travel’ in google trends, compared to say ‘entrepreneurship’ or ‘cryptocurrency’ – both huge niches in their own right.
Jeff Bezos once said;
“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.”
Sure, the pandemic has definitely had an effect on the travel niche, and I’m sure the metaverse will affect it even more, however, people will always travel.
People will always go on holidays, extended breaks, staycations, etc.
And when they do they will want to know the best places to visit, the best things to do in their chosen destinations and look for recommendations and stories from, guess who?
You! The experienced and interesting travel blogger!
So, if you’re currently just thinking about becoming a travel blogger, don’t delay! Learn how to start a travel blog today!
Read on for a step-by-step guide to starting your own travel blog that stands out from the crowd, attracts an audience, and generates life changing income!
How to Start a Travel Blog in 8 Simple Steps
1. Choose a Travel Blogging Niche
Before you become too entrenched in learning the technicalities of how to start a travel blog, it’s essential that you define a clear identity, for yourself and for your travel blog.
In the earliest days of blogging, you might have been able to get away with writing a generic travel blog.
You might have attracted followers and traffic just because you were talking about all things travel.
But now, there are thousands of travel blogs out there, each one angling for people to pay attention to their packing tips, city guides, and travel hacks.
In order to build a successful travel blog, you need a unique angle that will help you stand out from the rest.
The best way to approach choosing a niche for your blog is to think about what kind of audience you want to attract.
Sit down and write a page-long description of your ideal reader, answering questions like:
- How old are they?
- What’s their gender?
- Where do they live?
- What’s their travel budget like?
- What kinds of vacations are they into (luxurious beach resorts, backpacking off the beaten path, or somewhere in between)?
You don’t have to pull all this information out of your own mind, in fact, you’ll be better off if you do a little research before finalizing your reader persona.
Visit places where your audience might hang out, like social media groups and forums. Read Amazon reviews of travel books. Check comments on travel blogs that you already like.
What kinds of interests or problems jump out to you? What commenters do you resonate with?
Find patterns between them, whether it’s their demographics, common interests, or topics that seem to keep popping up.
Digging into real-world conversations surrounding travel can help inspire you to choose a travel blogging niche that already has a potential audience.
For example, you could choose a topical niche, like budget travel, food travel, or ecotourism destinations.
Perhaps there’s a personality trait or characteristic that you can approach all of your posts from, like being a parent, a “starving artist,” or a digital nomad?
Those things work as a niche too, since you’re speaking to a narrow audience that resonates with that characteristic or trait.
Use my customer avatar sheet to dig into the kind of person you want to attract to your travel blog.
2. Choose a Name and Your Travel Blog Domain
Next on your journey of learning how to start a travel blog, try to pick a blog name that’s both catchy and unique, and one that tells readers what to expect without putting you in a box.
For example, if you go with The Broke College Student, will that angle (and name) limit you once you’re in your late 30s and trying to land sponsorship deals from luxury resorts?
You may decide it’s better to choose an adjective that describes your attitude rather than a literal state of being that may change in a few years.
My advice is to focus on a core value or trait you hold that’s not going anywhere.
Maybe you used to be a lawyer, like Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads.
Or maybe you’re a plus-sized traveler and want to make the travel space more inclusive like Jeff Jenkins of Chubby Diaries.
Here are a few tips for choosing a name:
- Avoid cliches (“nomad,” “adventure,” and “wander” are all over-used at this point)
- Avoid making it hard to spell (which means you should avoid numbers, hyphens, or punctuation marks)
- Try to choose a .com domain if possible
- Include keywords that you want to rank for
- Keep your domain name length between 6 and 14 characters
- Use a trademark lookup tool to make sure you aren’t choosing a trademarked brand name
- Use sites like Knowem or Namechk to check whether the name is also available as a handle on all the major social media platforms
I love namelix.com for choosing a brand or blog name.
Simply add your main keywords, the length you want your blog name to be and then select a style.
Namelix, will generate a whole screen for ideas for you to peruse and choose a blog name.
Then head to a domain registrar to ensure the domain is available and to purchase your brand new blog domain name.
You’ll need to buy it from a reliable domain registrar, so make sure the one you choose is accredited with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Some of the most popular domain registrars include:
- Google Domains
Some web hosting platforms offer a free domain name if you use them, so before you pull the trigger, you may want to decide on which host you’ll use and see if you can get a domain through their platform.
3. Select Your Travel Blog Hosting Platform
My firm recommendation for your travel blog hosting platform is WPX Hosting.
It’s what this blog you’re reading now is hosted on and in my opinion is one of the fastest hosting companies on the web today!
Here’s how one of my chunkiest blog posts rates on google pagespeed currently since switching to WPX.
Add to that they have the fastest customer service experience on the web.
If I have any kind of challenge at all, I simply logon, the live chat is available 24/7 and the customer service agent responds within seconds. It’s awesome!
Created by an online business owner for online business owners, the founder Terry Kyle, created WPX Hosting after becoming disillusioned with the hosting options available online.
You can read more about his story and my full WPX Hosting review here.
While it’s not the cheapest hosting company, it’s undoubtedly the best value for money, as speed is of the essence when it comes to search engine optimization and being found in google search.
The basic business package hosts up to 5 websites, so it’s unlikely your travel blog will ever need to go beyond the basic business hosting plan.
WPX also makes adding a self hosted wordpress account super easy.
After you register for your hosting plan, you’ll simply click a button to install wordpress and within a few minutes you’ll have a brand new travel blog online!
WPX isn’t your only option of course (just your best!). There are many different hosting companies to choose from for your travel blog.
Here are some other popular (and cheaper) hosting platforms you might want to consider:
- BlueHost—The most popular solution in the US, UK, and Canada, especially with beginners. It has consistent performance and uptime. Plans start at $2.75/month.
- GoDaddy—This platform is great for beginners, with 24/7 phone support and a one-click WordPress installation. Shared hosting starting at $6/month.
- DreamHost—Very highly rated, customizable, and fast. The pricing is also very transparent, with a 97-day money-back guarantee. Shared hosting starts at $2.59/month.
4. Build the Foundations of Your Travel Blog
In the next stage of learning how to start a travel blog, it’s time to lay the foundation for your successful travel blog.
The simplest solution is to hire a cheap web developer, to design and build your brand new travel blog from scratch.
However, there are plenty of user-friendly website builders out there that let beginners create their own blog without any knowledge of coding.
I recommend the behemoth of the blogging industry;
WordPress is the world’s most popular website building platform.
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com—but in a nutshell, WordPress.org is the better choice if you plan to build a large audience and monetize your travel blog.
It’s a self-hosted content management system (CMS) that gives you ownership over your site.
With WordPress, you can use one of the popular drag and drop page builders like Divi, Elementor, or Kadence to build your site and choose from 50,000+ free plugins to customize your wordpress blog even further.
The downside to WordPress is that the system has a bit of a learning curve compared to the other options below, including keeping up with updates, website backups, and plugin updates.
However, once you’re up and running the wordpress platform is the most customizable, intuitive, and user friendly blogging platform for travel bloggers.
Picking a WordPress Theme
You can either pick a free theme from your wordpress dashboard or pick from thousands of beautiful travel blogging themes using a simple page builder like Kadence or Astra.
These days, it’s easier than ever to create a beautiful looking travel website in just a few hours!
Install Your WordPress Plugins
If you choose to go with WordPress, you’ll need to install some critical plugins to maximize your site’s performance and capabilities.
On your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New. Then, simply search for the plugin you want to install. Click “Install Now” and “Activate.
There are tens of thousands of plugins available, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed when browsing the plugin library.
Here are my suggestions for the necessary plugins to get you started:
- Nitropack for site speed
- Optimole for image compression
- Mammoth.docx converter for creating posts in Google Docs and easily uploading them to WordPress
- Yoast SEO for (you guessed it) SEO
- Verlok’s Lazy Load to increase your blog’s initial load time
Also you’ll want to get google analytics enabled and setup.
You can use a plugin for this, or rather than add another plugin, create your account on google analytics and then add your UA number within the Yoast plugin, to ensure all your travel blog traffic is being tracked and you can see where your visitors are coming from.
If you’re not keen on starting your successful travel blog on wordpress and are instead looking for more of a blogging one stop shop, here’s a couple of other website building options for you;
Wix.com is a free website builder that you can use without needing to pay for hosting.
Wix comes with lots of templates and a built-in artificial intelligence design tool that helps you design a beautiful, functional website.
It also comes with a free SSL (a certificate that verifies the security of your site).
The free plan has limited storage and bandwidth (and shows Wix ads on your website), which lets you test out the platform without making much of a financial commitment.
So if you want to start a travel blog and build a large audience, I recommend upgrading to a premium plan eventually.
The paid plans start at $4.50/month, but you’ll need the $12.50/month plan as a minimum.
Squarespace is a professional website builder with enterprise-grade hosting infrastructure. (Basically means it’s fast and reliable)
It has several website designs that are fully customizable so that you can design your travel blog to fit your exact preferences. You can even mix and match templates to match your vision.
Squarespace is very user-friendly and intuitive; simply drag and drop elements to arrange them to your liking.
And if you choose to sell products later in your travel blog journey, Squarespace also offers an eCommerce plan that lets you easily add an online store to your site.
The downside to platforms like Wix and Squarespace is that they’re not self-hosted, meaning your website is hosted through their platform.
While self-hosting using WordPress takes a bit more to set up, it does mean you have more control over your travel blog in the long run.
In the end, there’s no right choice; it comes down to how much you value control vs. convenience.
5. The Fun Part: Design Your Travel Blog
And now the fun begins.
Once you have the groundwork laid for your travel blog, it’s time to choose a theme and design the aesthetic elements of your website.
Your target audience will be more drawn to your blog content if the visual aspect of your travel website is appealing, too.
Start by choosing a theme for your blog.
No matter which web builder you choose, there will be lots of free themes available. Many designed especially for travel blogs.
These themes often come with built-in features to help make your blog visually appealing and functional right out of the box, like:
- Image galleries
- Pinterest widgets
- Social media integrations
While there are a lot of great free themes out there, a premium theme can often give you a lot more flexibility and be worth the money.
If you’re on a WordPress site, install a theme by visiting your wordpress dashboard and clicking Appearance > Themes > Add New.
Once you have a theme, you can play with the layout of your travel blog pages.
Explore some of your favorite travel blogs and professional websites for inspiration and to see what seems to work well.
There are quite a few travel blogging styles out there, for example, The Blonde Abroad, uses artistic images and stylistic design to inspire aspiring travelers who land on her site:
Or on the other end of the spectrum, Scandinavia Standard, uses minimal and sophisticated design to avoid overwhelming visitors:
But don’t be afraid to think outside the box. The more unique your travel blog, the more it’ll stand out from the competition.
But while creativity is important, there are some rules that you should follow to make sure your travel blog performs well and has the best user experience (UX) possible.
Remember the following tips:
- Keep the navigation simple. Don’t split your content into too many categories, and limit your site structure to one or two levels. Give everything a clear label (and make it all accessible from the top header).
- Keep the focus on the content. If a visitor gets sidetracked by anything other than a blog article, your layout is doing something wrong. The most common layouts are single-column or two-column with the content on the left and the sidebar on the right.
- The content area should be wide enough, but not too wide. The minimum width should be 800 pixels. If the content area is too narrow, the reader may get frustrated and abandon the site.
- Prioritize readability when choosing fonts. Fancy or cool fonts are fun, but if your audience struggles to read what you’re saying, you’ll lose readers. For the most part, stick to legible fonts like Open Sans or Helvetica.
Consider Your Travel Blog Branding
A big part of designing your travel blog is coming up with your visual branding.
Design a logo for your travel blog (or commission one, there are plenty of talented freelance graphic designers on Fiverr that can give you a great result at an affordable price).
Then, invest in a few professional photos of yourself for your About page and your bio.
Quality photography is important for any website, but especially for travel blogs. However, don’t let yourself get stalled out on the design step.
It’s possible to go on forever working on your design, photos, and branding, so keep it simple to start, and remember that you can improve as you go.
Don’t let the design hold you back from getting started publishing content.
Content is the most important part of your travel blogging career.
6. Start Your Travel Blogging Journey
Speaking of content, this is the next and quite possibly most important step in learning how to start a travel blog.
Whether you’re currently at home or mid traveling the world, becoming a successful travel blogger depends on creating content, and lots of it!
1. Create Travel Content Even If Stuck at Home
Even if you’re currently unable to travel due to covid restrictions or lack of funds, you can still write about it!
- What are some past trips you can write about?
- Can you create content around your local area?
- What are some fantastic day trips you could take and create content around?
Wherever you live in the world, I guarantee someone somewhere wants to visit, so write about your surrounding area.
2. Create a Foundation of Travel Blog Posts
It’s a good rule of thumb to have at least five – ten posts ready to go before you hit publish. That way, if you get a bit behind in the future, you’ll have a buffer of content to keep your publishing rhythm from being interrupted.
So, what kinds of posts should you write?
Don’t feel like every post needs to be an in-depth story of your latest luxury vacation.
There are plenty of topics and formats you can implement to make your travel blog interesting and valuable to your audience (without needing to take a fancy vacation every weekend).
For instance, along with narrative posts of your travel adventures, your blog might contain a mix of:
- Listicles (“10 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Trip to London”)
- How-tos (“How to Get Through Airport Security as Painlessly as Possible”)
- Product reviews (“Eagle Creek Packing Tubes: Worth the Investment?”)
- Packing tips (“How I Took a 2-Week Vacation with Only a Carry-On”)
- Destination travel guides (“8 Must-Sees in Paris That Are off the Beaten Path”)
Your readers want to learn travel tips as much as they’ll also want to hear about your travel blogging journey, so be sure to add some travel blogging tips along the way!
3. Build a Travel Blogging Content Strategy
Running a successful travel blog takes more than flying by the seat of your pants. 😉
Writing blog posts, editing and uploading images, moderating comments, and promoting your travel blog on social media takes a lot of time and effort.
Without a solid plan, it’s easy to let your blog slide to the back burner, and before you know it, it becomes that old travel blog you used to work on but haven’t updated in months.
Instead, you need to stick to a regular content creation routine.
Make it a habit to add to your article idea list on a regular basis. Many people like to use a spreadsheet or Trello board to track their articles from ideation through publishing. That way, you can plan out publication schedules and keep yourself on track.
(Image source: Trello)
Not only should your content be good quality, but you need to make sure you follow SEO (search engine optimization) best practices to maximize the chances of your target audience finding your posts when they search Google for things like “Thailand trip ideas” or “what to pack for the beach.”
Learning how to create a content plan and optimize your travel blog content to rank on Google’s search engines can take a long time, and it’s a topic that should take up more than the space we have here. I recommend checking out my post on creating a content plan to learn more!
But remember, you don’t need to have dozens of blog posts in the backlog before you hit publish. SEO improves with site age, so I recommend that you go live once you’ve got five posts in the pipeline.
You’ll always be working to improve your site, so let it be an ongoing learning journey while you work to build an audience.
7. Traffic! Attract Readers to Your Travel Blog
Talking about SEO, as you’re learning how to start a travel blog, this is the first traffic strategy you need to get to grips with.
SEO is a massive subject, which entire websites, let alone posts have been devoted to, so I’ll just touch on some of the most important aspects here, relevant to getting your travel blog off the ground with a bang!
Search engine optimization is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s optimizing your content for the search engines (google, yahoo, bing, etc) so you’ll be the most relevant (and therefore show up) for those searching for specific keywords.
This all starts with good keyword research.
Keyword research is the practise of defining words and phrases people are searching for and then writing content around those topics.
The goal is to find keywords or phrases that have a high search volume, but low competition.
In other words, the top ten search results aren’t dominated by travel bloggers who’ve been doing this for years and now have extremely established websites with a lot of traffic and backlinks.
For example, let’s take a look at the keyword, ‘san diego national parks’.
You can see there are 2,200/month people searching for this information and the keyword difficulty is 4.
This would be a great keyphrase to write a post about as it gets a good amount of monthly searches and, as a new travel blog you have a chance of ranking for it.
Alternatively check this keyword out;
The searches are great, but you’ll likely need backlinks from over 134 websites to reach the top 10! The chances of your brand new travel blog ranking for ‘things to do in new york’ are very slim.
When you’re new to the game and are just about to start a travel blog, try to stick to keyword difficulties of ten or lower, even if the volume is only 100 a month.
You have a far better chance of ranking and starting to generate traffic than going after super high volume and therefore more difficult keywords.
An investment I highly recommend is Ahrefs or Ubersuggest to help you with keyword research. It’s a hugely important part of growing your travel blog and should be a priority.
NB: Top Tip. Ahrefs has a 7 day trial, so you could gather as many keywords in that 7 days as possible to get you off the ground and then reinvest when you’re earning.
It goes without saying that speed is a hugely important part of the blogging puzzle.
As of May 2021, speed became a priority for ranking on google with the introduction of core web vitals, a set of measurable numbers determining your site’s speed. If your site doesn’t adhere to these web vitals, it may affect your ability to rank.
The challenge with a travel blog is that it’s likely to be image heavy, so here are my top tips for creating and maintaining a fast website;
- Use WPX Hosting as your hosting company. It is one of the fastest hosting platforms on the web.
- Use a light theme like Astra or Kadence to build your site upon. The lighter the theme, the faster the loading times.
- Optimise all your images prior to uploading to your site. Resize your images to max 800 – 1000 px wide, keep the image size to under 100kb per image, push through tinypng.com if you need to reduce the size further.
- Upload the Nitropack plugin. The speediest caching and optimization plugin on the web!
I talked about creating a travel blogging content strategy above, however I want to reiterate that google loves consistent content.
The more you publish, the more google’s bots will crawl your website and index your pages. The faster you’re indexed, the better chances you have of ranking.
Stay consistent, try to post at least once a week if not more if time allows.
Much of SEO is about generating backlinks to your content. I’m not going to lie, this is a challenging task.
The best route to attract more backlinks is to start guest posting on fellow travel blogs as I mention below in the networking section.
It’s a great way to both build relationships with fellow travel bloggers and get quality backlinks back to your site.
The more links, the higher your domain authority, the easier it is to rank for your keywords.
You can see my post on guest posting for a step by step guide.
Another great route to attract backlinks is to use HARO – helpareporter.com. Simply create a free account and select the niche you want notifications about.
HARO will send you emails everyday with requests for quotes, stories or information on different topics relevant to your niche from websites and publications across the web.
You then submit your response with your website details and if you get featured, you get a link. I get a 15% – 20% response rate on my submissions.
It’s time consuming, but a great way to get quality links.
2. Create a Lead Magnet
Starting an effective travel blog is about more than having a beautiful design and compelling blog posts.
Don’t get me wrong, those things are the meat and potatoes of your blog, but if you want to maximize your chances of monetizing your blog later, you need a way to build and nurture a community.
In short, you want to turn your readers into subscribers—AKA loyal followers.
How do you do this, you ask?
By building an email list.
Your email list is a list of readers who have opted-in to receiving the occasional communication from you (such as a newsletter or blog updates).
But in order to convince the casual visitor to offer up their name and email address, you’ll need to offer something of value to them in exchange. These days, nearly every website has some sort of lead magnet.
Those pop-ups asking you to provide your email in order to get a 20% off coupon?
(Image source: Old Navy)
But for sites that don’t sell products, your lead magnet might be something else that provides value to your reader.
For example, Nomadic Matt tempts visitors to sign up for his expert travel tips delivered straight to their inbox.
But for a new travel blogger, it’s hard to convince readers to sign up simply for a newsletter or blog updates. The best way to tempt readers to give you their info is to promise real, actionable value right now.
Here are my favorite travel blogging lead magnet ideas:
- Packing list templates
- Destination guide(s)
- A guide to passport and visa requirements for your country
- Travel journal templates
- Walking tour maps
Get creative. Think about what your target audience would likely value, and do your best to create something that would appeal to them!
The leads you gather for your email list will be your core audience, your word-of-mouth marketing team, and your buyers when you do start selling products down the road.
So continue nurturing them once you’ve got their email. View your email list as another marketing channel, not just a sales tool. Be entertaining, creative, and provide real value to your audience, or they’ll just hit “unsubscribe.”
For more info on building your own email list, check out my post: How to Build a Huge Email List of Hot Leads for Your Business.
3. Promote Your Travel Blog on Social Media
Now that you’ve built your website and designed a killer content strategy for creating a loyal fan base, it’s time to spread the word about your amazing travel blog.
That’s where social media comes in. Social media is a free, powerful tool for amplifying your reach and getting noticed by your target audience. You just have to know how to use it the right way.
First and foremost, start small. Don’t try to master Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram all at once. You’ll end up having a mediocre presence on every platform (and you’ll eventually burn yourself out).
Instead, pick one or two social channels to become an expert in. Those should ideally be the places where your target audience hangs out.
Then, remember these tips to build a solid social media marketing strategy for your travel blog:
- Post consistently. Use automation tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your posts ahead of time. That way, it looks like you’re constantly online (without needing to be glued to your phone).
- Publish new blog posts to social. If you use WordPress, use the Publicize plugin to post new blog posts to your social channels automatically.
- Repost articles every so often. Don’t feel like you can only link to a blog post once. Linking to an older article every so often will keep it in circulation and help new readers find it. Use automation tools like Missingletter to build long-term promotional campaigns for each new blog post so you don’t have to remember to repost them.
- Use relevant hashtags. On most social channels, hashtags are a great way to get discovered by users who don’t necessarily follow you, but are interested in your content. Find popular hashtags that apply to your post and be sure to incorporate them.
- Integrate social sharing into your website. There are plenty of WordPress plugins (like Share Buttons and Shareaholic) that add social sharing buttons to every blog post. The easier you make it for readers to share your posts on social media, the more likely it’ll happen organically.
Travel blogging is akin to becoming an influencer online. People want to see and engage with your travel adventures, so create a social media profile and get posting!
4. Start Networking with Other Travel Bloggers and Brands
Don’t think of other travel bloggers as your competition, think of them as colleagues!
The travel blogging community is a dynamic and supportive one, so do your best to join in the conversation.
Follow bloggers in your niche on your social platforms. Make a point of interacting with them by:
- Liking and commenting on their posts
- Sharing their blog articles
- DMing some of your favorites to introduce yourself and start a dialogue
Another strategy for building your reputation in your niche is to guest post on other travel blogs.
Guest posting is a great way to get backlinks to your own blog while also building a relationship with other travel bloggers in your niche, not to mention get yourself in front of their audience.
To start guest posting, seek out blogs that appeal to your target audience and get in touch with the blog owner. Pitch them a topic idea and offer to write it for their site. You’d be surprised how many blog owners would love to get free content that they don’t have to write themselves!
You can also return the favor by inviting guest posters on your travel blog.
By cross-promoting each other on your blogs (and sharing the articles on your respective social media platforms), you can amplify yourselves to each other’s audiences. It’s a win-win.
And while you’re at it, network with existing travel brands as well as bloggers.
Do you use a travel brand in your day-to-day life, like a favorite luggage brand or sunscreen? Give them a free shoutout! Do a roundup of your favorite travel essentials and link back to your favorite brands.
Not only will these brands likely share your content to their own feeds, but the free PR can create sponsorship opportunities later.
This brings us to our last step in how to start a travel blog – making money!
8. Monetize Your Travel Blog
Making money blogging is not a pipedream. Many successful travel bloggers earn 6 figures a year from their travel blogs!
Big names like Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt, Earl of WanderingEarl.com, and Monica of The Travel Hack all reportedly make over $10,000 per month.
I won’t lie to you here and tell you it’s easy to make the big bucks.
Travel blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Many aspiring bloggers start their journey with unrealistic expectations of earning a living immediately once they take their travel blog live. But if you think that, you’re in for a nasty disappointment.
Instead, go into your travel blogging journey with a realistic idea of what to expect.
Making money from your travel blog is possible—and it’s even possible to make a lot of money from your travel blog—but it will take time and effort.
Let’s look at three of the most common ways to monetize a travel blog.
1. Affiliate Marketing
This first strategy is a great way to earn passive income even without a huge following.
Affiliate marketing is done by recommending a brand (or a specific product or service) on your travel blog. When readers make a purchase through a link on your website, you’ll receive a small percentage of the sale.
To make it work, you’ll need to promote products or services that are related to your niche. So for a travel blogger, possible affiliate marketing items might include:
- Flight booking websites
- Hotels and resorts
- Travel gear
- Camping equipment
- Tours and transportation
If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, I recommend joining an affiliate program like Amazon Associates, Affiliate Window, or Share a Sale.
You can also search out brands you’re interested in recommending to your audience, then look for an Affiliates or Partners section on their website.
2. Brand Sponsorships
Once you’ve built a larger readership, you’ll be able to work directly with brands to promote their products or services. This strategy is similar to affiliate marketing, but it’s not quite the same.
Affiliate marketing is being paid a commission for making sales. Every time a customer buys an item or service using your link, you get a small percentage (maybe 5%) of that income.
Sponsorship, on the other hand, isn’t about making money on a per-purchase basis. Instead, brands who sponsor you are paying to get in front of your audience.
Sponsorship payments are negotiated based on the overall return on investment (ROI) you’re likely to generate for the brand. So if you have a large audience and a high domain authority, that means you’re more likely to be a powerful marketing investment.
Your income percentage will be much higher than what you could get through making affiliate sales.
They want you to represent and promote their brand to your audience through things like:
- Sponsored posts
- Website banners
- Social media campaigns
Affiliate marketing is a great income method for a beginner travel blogger, but it can be less reliable.
As your following grows, you’ll start being approached by brands that want to sponsor you, which can be a much more consistent and lucrative stream of income.
Or if you’re ready to start looking for sponsors yourself, you can join websites like Izea, Webfluential, or Tap Influence.
3. Selling Merch and Digital Products
If selling other people’s products isn’t really your jam (or you just want a healthy mix of income streams), you may also want to consider selling products or services of your own.
For instance, you may want to sell:
- Ebooks on things like minimalist packing, travel guides to different destinations, etc.
- Courses and coaching for things like budget travel hacks, travel photography, and even travel blogging itself once you’re a seasoned pro
- Merch with your logo, like T-shirts, mugs, and even travel-specific items like monogrammed neck pillows or canvas bags
That’s why building an email list is so important. Once you’re ready to sell items, you’ll want to announce it to your loyal followers first.
Travel blogging is about building a relationship of trust with your target audience. Your readers like what you have to say, they learn from you, and they’ll eventually be willing to pay for more of your expertise or expertly-crafted products.
4. Display Advertising
Most successful travel bloggers generate income from display advertising.
You can either manually sell adspace on your travel blog, giving you complete control over where you place your ads and ensuring they don’t distract from your main content.
Or you can sign up with an ad network such as adthrive or mediavine.
You do however, need a good amount of traffic to make this work.
Currently to quality for mediavine, you’ll need 50,000 sessions/month and adthrive is even more at 80,000 sessions.
You better get writing!
Now you’ve started your journey and have learned the basics of how to start a travel blog, you need to keep learning!
Make time to stay up to date on the current trends and conversations in your niche. Read other travel blogs to learn what others are saying, both for inspiration and to stay knowledgeable.
Of course, you don’t want to copy other travel blogs’ content, your blog should be original, not only to avoid being penalized by Google for plagiarism, but also to attract a readership with fresh content that they won’t find on twenty other aspiring travel bloggers’ sites.
And once you can afford it, don’t be afraid to invest in courses that sharpen your relevant skills. For instance, you might want to learn more about:
- Photography and editing
- SEO and keyword research
- Coding and web design
- Social media marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Accounting and finance for small businesses
If you plan to make travel blogging more than a hobby, you need to treat it like a real business. Invest in growth and perfecting the skills that make you stand out from the crowd.
How to Start a Travel Blog Summary
Learning how to start a travel blog is a fantastic route to building an online lifestyle business that gives you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world!
If you love to travel then starting a travel blog is the ideal business for you!
Not only is it great fun writing about amazing places around the world and your experiences traveling, it’s also a fabulous way to create content for social media.
Who doesn’t love pictures of sunsets, waterfalls and turquoise waters!?
However, it’s not easy.
To start and grow a profitable travel blog will take time and commitment. You may have to publish hundreds of articles before anyone takes any notice of you.
Building links is tough going and unless you have a unique angle it can be hard to stand out.
However, if you’re in it for the long haul growing a travel blog will be an incredibly fulfilling adventure!
How to Start a Travel Blog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How Long Does it Take To Start Making Money From a Travel Blog?
As I mentioned above, travel blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. To become a professional travel blogger, it’ll take a serious investment of time and effort before you start to see a big return.
A Two Monkeys Travel Group survey found that most travel bloggers didn’t start monetizing their websites until after the first 1-2 years. But the more prepared you are when you start out, and the more work you put in on the front end, the more quickly you’ll start to see an income and grow a successful blog.
As with most things in life, you get out of it what you put in.
What are some misconceptions about being a travel blogger?
As with any influencer role, there are a lot of assumptions people make about travel blogging that just aren’t true. Let’s bust a few myths!
- Misconception #1: Travel bloggers spend all their time globetrotting in luxury and style. Instagram paints everything with a glamorous brush, but the reality of life on the road is often much more budget-friendly for most travel bloggers.
- Misconception #2: Travel influencers get everything for free. While some successful travel bloggers do get free items (like adventure gear or a stay in a hotel) in exchange for a brand shout-out, those free things are usually rare. You’ll still need to pay for the majority of your trips.
- Misconception #3: You have to be rich to get started as a travel blogger. While it never hurts to have a cushion of savings, you don’t need to have rich parents bankrolling your adventures if you want to become a travel blogger. Many successful travel bloggers hold down day jobs and blog on the side. Others start out on a shoestring budget and work temporary jobs while abroad to make ends meet.
How to Start a Travel Blog If I Can’t Travel Right Now?
You can easily start a travel blog, even if you’re currently grounded yourself!
Using keyword research to guide you, either write about exciting past trips and experiences you’d like to share, or write about the places you can’t wait to see when you start traveling again.
You can also include tips posts on packing, traveling, working abroad, traveling solo etc.
Don’t wait until your up in the air to start sharing your ideas on global travel.
How to Start a Travel Blog If I Don’t Like Writing
Many a travel blogger is more comfortable behind a camera or making videos.
If that’s the case, but you’d still love to start a travel blog alongside a youtube channel or photography portfolio, your best bet is to start accepting guest posts from the getgo.
Find other people, who love to write to come and share their travel stories on your travel blog.
Then supplement the written content with your beautiful photography or video making skills.
How to Start a Travel Blog With No Money?
There are so many free options available these days that it is possible to start a travel blog even if you have zero cash in the bank.
You could pick a platform like Wix to get started for free, however due to the bandwidth limitations it won’t be long before you’ll need to pay for a package.
Therefore, if you don’t want to spend a penny, I recommend getting started on a platform like Medium which is totally free and requires no set up. You simply log on and start posting.
Promote your Medium articles on your social media accounts, build an email list and as your income grows you can migrate over to your own website.
How Do I Know If Travel Blogging is Right For Me?
The idea of traveling full-time, taking gorgeous photos, building a loyal fan base, and making money while you’re at it may sound like a dream job for everyone. But in reality, not everyone is cut out to become a successful travel blogger.
The travel blogging market is pretty saturated, which means it’ll take time and dedication to stand out from the crowd. And travel is expensive, so for a while, any income you make may just be enough to cover your travel expenses.
But if travel is your passion and you’re excited by the idea of spending all your free time building a community around your travel expertise, travel blogging might be right for you!
It may take a lot of motivation and passion to succeed, but if you do, starting a travel blog can be endlessly rewarding.
As Andre Gide says, “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”