I know, you’ve seen those Facebook ads, too: A young couple, deeply tanned, sunglasses on, with a tropical background—living the dream. The headline reads: “3 years ago, we started blogging, now we earn six figures.” Or something similar. Your heart longs for it to be true, but your head tells you: It’s too good to be true. Can you earn a living from travel blogging?
When I started blogging in 2007, it was a hobby. I had no intention to monetize my blog. That changed in 2016. After getting burned out at my day job in marketing, I was ready to do something I was passionate about—travel, writing, and photography. But I also needed a decent income to pay the bills.
So, I dedicated myself to making it happen.
Last year, my dream became a reality: I made over $69,000 while traveling half the year. Here are my top three income streams from blogging that made it possible:
What is affiliate marketing? I write a blog post about a cool travel product, recommendations for my favorite hotels, or a holiday gift guide. When I mention the product, I link to the company with a special affiliate link… and, if people buy the product or book a hotel through that link, I get a commission.
This income varies quite a lot, depending on season and traffic. Last year, my affiliate income ranged from $1,500 to $4,500 monthly. Be strategic about your content and catch the reader at the exact moment when they want to buy.
My top affiliate companies: HotelsCombined, GetYourGuide, Amazon, Allianz.
I signed up for an advertisement network (MediaVine), and they place ads on my website. At first, I was shocked by the number of ads, but in over two years of having them, only three people complained (and two of them were my contributors). Now I make at least $2,500 to $3,000 per month from those ads.
Campaigns and sponsored posts
After I reached a certain level of traffic and social influence, I started working with brands and destinations on paid campaigns. I go to travel conferences and networking events regularly, and, after connecting with PR agencies, brands, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), and destination marketing organizations (DMOs), I regularly get invited on press trips and campaigns. Not only do these partners pay for my flight, accommodation, and tours, but I get a daily rate or a set amount for the content that I produce.
The campaigns have set deliverables, such as two blog posts, five Instagram posts, daily stories, three Facebook updates, etc.
Other times, a company gives me a product to review and compensates me for my time and access to my audience. This brings in about $5,000 a year, as I only work with brands and destinations that are a fit for my readers. But it does give me free access to travel destinations and cool products that I get to keep, such as suitcases, backpacks, travel clothing, and more.
Top tip: Rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket, diversify your income to reduce risks.
I prefer the first two income streams, because I have 100% control of what I write, and it’s passive—I write a post once and can earn from it indefinitely. There are many more ways to make a living from travel blogging. Find what works for your readers and repeat this method for your travel blog success.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]