How To Become A Travel Blogger And Get Paid
For many, becoming a travel blogger seems like the perfect job. You can spend your time travelling around exploring new places, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures — and make money at the same time by sharing your experiences. But to earn enough to sustain your travels can be more difficult than it seems, and being a travel blogger isn’t just all about adventures.
In this article, we take a look at how to become a travel blogger and get paid for it.
How to start a travel blog
Before you can start earning money as a travel blogger you need to get your blog up and running. Here are the basics of setting up a successful travel blog.
Start reading and learning
It’s not enough just to have some great stories to share and a bit of writing experience — to run a successful travel blog you need to know how to run a business.
Take some time to read and learn about setting up a blog, how to market your blog, business strategies, and the personal and professional skills you need to make it work. You’ll be able to learn from other people’s mistakes and figure out the best approach for your travel blog.
Narrow down your niche
There are thousands of travel blogs already out there — and a good way to distinguish yours is to have a clear niche.
Consider the thing that you really love about your travels and make that the focus of your blogging. For example, you might be interested in camping instead of staying in hotels, or you focus on trying local foods wherever you go.
Identifying what you’re really passionate and interested in will not only make it easier to establish a unique angle, but it’ll be easier to stick with it and your enthusiasm will shine through in your writing.
Once you’ve identified your niche, it’s a good idea to do some research into your target audience — what type of information and content are they looking for? Who do they follow on social media and what sites do they visit?
Create a brand for your blog
Image: Adventurous Kate
Coming up with a brand for your travel blog will help you to define its identity, make it more recognisable, and stick in people’s minds.
It’s important that your blog is consistent across every platform so you need to outline your purpose and values, and the messages and tone of voice you want to use. Visual branding elements like an eye-catching logo, brand colours, and fonts will also help people to build a connection with your travel blog.
Invest in your website
Your website needs to give a great first impression when someone discovers your blog, so invest some time and money into the design — you want it to look good and be easy to navigate.
As a travel blog, the visuals are also going to be key, so make sure you’ve got plenty of engaging and high-quality images. Clear-to-read maps, check-list infographics, high-quality photos of where you’ve been and what you’ve done — these will all help to build your reputation as a travel blogger worth following.
Start writing content
With your website set up and a clear idea of which niche you’re focusing on and who your target audience is, you need to start writing content.
As important as all the previous steps are, you need to be writing and publishing fresh blog posts on a regular basis as soon as possible. This way you can build up your travel blog, your credibility, and start to attract visitors.
Use social media
Social media is one of the best ways to build up an engaged audience for your travel blog, but it takes some time. You need to focus on two or three social media platforms and consistently share interesting content, with amazing images of the places you’re exploring.
While Instagram is one of the best channels for bloggers to build a brand, Facebook and Twitter can also be useful for building up your audience and boosting your online presence.
As well as posting content and sharing your blog content, you also need to interact with followers and other users on social media. Build relationships with other influencers in your niche as well to increase your reach.
How to make money from your travel blog
Once your travel blog is up and running, there are several different ways that you can start to earn money from it.
Affiliate marketing is where you recommend a product and share a link to it, and when someone clicks that link and buys the product you earn commission on the sale. It’s one of the key ways that many bloggers and influencers will earn money.
A number of travel and accommodation sites such as Booking.com, Skyscanner, and TripAdvisor have affiliate programs that you can sign up for. While Airbnb offers a referral program where you can earn credit to use on their site from successful referrals.
You could also review travel products like clothing, luggage, or tech items such as headphones or cameras, and sign up to Amazon’s affiliate program, Amazon Associates to earn a commission.
However, it’s important to be selective about the products you recommend — you need to build trust with your target audience, so only share things that you’ve actually used or genuinely believe are worth buying. If you share too many recommendations and affiliate links on your blog your audience might lose interest.
When your site gets enough traffic and you have an engaged audience, then you might be able to seek out paid partnerships and opportunities such as:
- Becoming a long term ambassador for a brand
- Working with brands or travel destinations as an influencer on a specific marketing campaign
- Promoting a product, event or service or publishing a review on your site
If you’re looking for brands and opportunities for partnerships, you have a number of different options. Travel companies like Expedia, eDreams, Jet2holidays and Naviglo all work with influencers to promote their brand. Several major hotel chains will also offer partnerships and sponsored trips, including Ritz Carlton, and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.
Even local tourism boards will sometimes partner with travel bloggers as well. For example, Tourism & Events Queensland accepts applications from digital influencers that wish to visit and promote the area.
You’ll often have to pitch for these kinds of opportunities and be able to demonstrate a considerable following and high volumes of traffic to your website. It’s also important to choose ones that align with your niche and values.
Advertising is another key way to make money from your travel blog.
You can use a free advertising network like Google AdSense to display targeted advertisements to your website. Depending on the ads you might get paid based on clicks, the number of impressions, or engagement, so you’ll need to get enough traffic to your sites to start earning money from the ads.
While advertising can be a good source of income, too many ads on your site can make it look untrustworthy and spammy. It can also slow down how long it takes your website to load, which could be an issue if your audience is travelling (likely, if you’re a travel blogger) and accessing your site with unreliable wifi.
Freelance writing work
Your travel blog can also become a portfolio that helps you to secure freelance opportunities.
Plenty of blogs and businesses are looking for people to help out writing content for their site, and if you can demonstrate your writing skills and experience then this will allow you to charge more for your service.
These are few publications that accept submissions from guest authors:
- Matador Network
- World Nomads
- National Geographic Travel
- Culture Trip
- The Culture-ist
Some of these sites will pay you for an article, others will just provide a link back to your blog and be good for boosting your portfolio. It’s always good to consider whether they’re paying enough or the site is high-profile enough to make it worth your while. In most cases, you’ll need to be able to pitch original angles and provide in-depth insights into a destination.
These are just a few of the best ways to get paid as a travel blogger, but there are plenty of other opportunities out there.
You just need to ensure that you have a good website, great content and can build up an engaged audience before you’re able to start bringing in serious money from your travel blog.