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Travel trends are changing, remote work is the new norm and The Great Resignation’s helping millions of people reconsider what it means to be successful. That’s why there’s never been a better time to start a travel blog.
“There’s a new American dream,” writes Cathy Heller, author of Don’t Keep Your Day Job: How to Turn Your Passion into Your Career. “The goal isn’t necessarily to become famous or beat the competition within someone else’s paradigm. It’s about simply finding a way to make a living doing what you love, stepping into the space where joy commands your compass.”
If your compass involves traveling, writing and sharing your life experiences, travel blogging’s a great way to focus your interests into something that can be meaningful — and profitable.
Sure, blogging’s nothing new, but here’s the good news: travel’s changed significantly over the last few years, and there’s arguably more content to create now than ever before.
There’s always room for new voices in blogging, and there’s no reason why one of those can’t be yours.
Why Blogging Still Works
Here’s more good news: blogging isn’t as cool as it used to be. Thanks to social media, blogging doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it once did. And if you’re an aspiring travel blogger, that’s great.
Consider the Google search “how to start a blog.” Thousands of people search that each year, but according to Google Trends, its peak usage came way back in 2011, over 10 years ago.
The trend for “how to become an influencer,” on the other hand, looks a little different.
It’d be easy to think that the need for blogs also plummeted, replaced by social media platforms and their easy-to-consume content. But that’s not even remotely true.
There are billions of Google searches performed every day — and most have nothing to do with social media. Depending on your source, there are an estimated 3.5 to 5.6 billion daily Google searches, and that’s grown since 2011.
And that many searches means endless opportunities to create content.
So crunch the numbers: fewer people are researching how to start blogs, but the need for content to meet billions of Google searches is higher than ever. That’s exactly why it’s not too late to start your travel blog.
The opportunity’s there, so if you’re considering starting a travel blog this year, there’s a roadmap you can follow to avoid crucial mistakes and speed up the learning curve.
Here are nine essential steps to starting and growing a travel blog that allows you to pursue meaningful work and educate others with your unique mix of experience and knowledge.
1. Find your angle.
Travel’s a trillion-dollar industry, and there’s no way you can cover it all. Even a big site like Travel + Leisure can’t tackle everything. So the best way to get started is to find your blog’s angle or niche.
In general, the more focused you can get, the better your chance of success. When you funnel your energy and content into one specific area of travel, you have a better chance of building trust with readers and search engines, which are both important to long-term growth.
Some ways to narrow down your focus include blogging about a specific type of travel, traveler, place, interest or activity. If you need help deciding what to focus on, take a few minutes to list out 10 to 20 blog posts you could potentially write if you started today.
Don’t overthink it: do a quick brainstorm, and when you’re done, see if you can identify any common threads tying your potential blog post ideas together. If the majority of your topics are about one specific place or interest, that can clue you into your ideal niche.
Here’s a look at some common travel blog angles.
Type of Travel
Many travel blogs do a great job of differentiating themselves by focusing on one type of travel. Gnomad Home focuses on van life travel, for example, and The Poor Traveler highlights budget travel ideas. Territory Supply features outdoors-focused travel content, and Cruise Port Advisor focuses on cruise-specific content.
If you go this route, be sure that the type of travel you choose can grow and scale with you. Go too specific and you might run out of relevant content to create after a few months or years. And if you go too broad, you run the risk of never developing authority and expertise in one specific area.
Type of Traveler
You can also cater to a specific type of traveler. Adventurous Kate focuses on solo female travelers, while The Bucket List Family is targeted to traveling families. HalfHalfTravel offers content to digital nomads looking to work remotely while exploring the world.
If you want to help a specific type of traveler because you relate to their needs, this is a great way to narrow your blog’s focus.
Type of Place
Covering a specific place is also a great way to build trust, expertise and authority, both with your readers and Google. Phoenix with Kids highlights family-friendly things to do in the Valley, while New England With Love covers various travel topics in that region.
You can also focus on a type of place that exists in multiple areas, like National Parks, covered by blogs like Discover Our Parks. As with the other angles, if you focus on one specific place, you’ll want to make sure it offers room to grow. Narrowing too much can limit your content opportunities and make it difficult to reach traffic volumes needed to generate revenue (we’ll get to that later).
Type of Interest or Activity
You can also niche down by focusing on a specific interest or activity. Travel Fashion Girl combines travel with fashion content, A Taste of Koko combines travel and food blogging, and Inside the Magic runs Disney-related content.
If you wanna get really specific, you can go several levels deep into an interest, the way The Disney Food Blog covers food within Disney parks. The risk here is limiting your content potential, but the upside is that you can tap into a highly engaged community.
Combining Multiple Interests
One of the best ways to find your niche is to combine multiple interests into one. At Territory Supply, we’re into the outdoors, but we also like traveling in general, so it was an easy decision to combine the two.
Ultimately, you need to find what aligns with your interests and lifestyle. Pay attention to the niches and communities you’re already interested in, where you feel you can contribute the most, and who you want to help with your content. All those factors can make it easier to determine your niche.
What to remember: find a travel niche that caters to a specific audience, but allows room to grow over time.
2. Choose a name and messaging.
Here’s a hot take: no one cares what your blog’s name is.
This is what I mean: when people search Google or Pinterest for travel ideas, they’re searching for answers to their questions. They want help with their travel needs. It’s about them, not you. You can have an amazingly clever blog name and mind-blowing photos, but if you can’t help readers get what they’re looking for, you’re missing the point.
So if you’re at this stage, progress means picking a name and moving on – not spending days and weeks and months finding the perfect name. Your main goal should be getting closer to content creation.
That said, you’ll want to find a name you can grow with and avoid anything that might limit your future content opportunities. Don’t pick a name like Steve Explores Las Vegas! if you think there’s a chance you’ll move in a few years and want to write about somewhere else.
If you’re a student traveling on a shoestring budget, for example, you’ll want to consider that you might not have the same frugal approach to travel when you’re out of school. Pick a name that lets you grow and pivot if needed.
Your name can also be an extension of the message and feeling you want to convey on your blog. Think about the emotions you want your name, content and brand to generate in readers, and use that vibe to find potential names.
Some common travel blog name words include:
- abroad, international
There’s also something to be said for avoiding these altogether and standing out with something unique. Bobo & Chichi, for example, has none of these words, but it’s a dope travel blog and has good branding and messaging.
What to remember: your blog name doesn’t matter as much as you think it does, so choose something you can grow with and move forward.
3. Grab a domain and hosting.
With your name picked out, it’s time to buy your domain and set up hosting. You can do both these with the same registrar or hosting company, like GoDaddy, or register the domain with GoDaddy and choose a separate host.
Like picking out a domain name, the important thing with hosting is to make a decision you can live with and move on (you can also change hosts down the road pretty easily). Find a host you trust, sign up and move on to the next step. If you want to go with a big company that’s well-known, there are plenty of options like Bluehost and GoDaddy.
In my experience, those larger companies don’t always offer the same level of service and attention that smaller hosts do, so over the last few years I’ve moved away from them and now use and recommend BigScoots and SiteGround.
The customer service and technical support I’ve received from these hosts over the years blows away what I ever received from Bluehost, and their reliability is also stellar. I’ve had help from both companies with things like setting up WordPress installs, solving technical issues, implementing site migrations and more.
If you’re new to setting up websites, there’s a lot to be said for having access to good technical support, so whoever you go with, be sure to look around online to get an idea of their support and customer service reputation.
The main point? Cheaper and bigger isn’t always better when it comes to hosting companies, so do your research and remember that technical support and customer service are more important the further along you go in your blogging journey.
Don’t Overthink Hosting
Over the years I’ve read tons of “how to start a blog” articles and noticed many of them focus too much on hosting. There are two reasons why, I think: first, hosting can seem complicated and may need more step-by-step directions and screenshots than anything else in the setup process.
But more importantly, I think these articles focus on hosting because that’s where the money is. I can’t even count how many bloggers I’ve seen recommend Bluehost over the years — mostly because Bluehost has one of the best-paying affiliate programs for bloggers.
So when you see all your favorite bloggers recommending Bluehost, consider that it could be more about their affiliate program rather than Bluehost’s actual hosting and customer service. Bluehost is cheap and used by thousands of bloggers, so it’s not “bad” by any means, but it’s also not the only option out there, so don’t be thrown off by how many bloggers link to them.
Also consider that the host you choose isn’t nearly as important as the content you create, so when you see a big long article focusing too much on hosting, they’re missing the point. Yes, hosting is how you technically start a blog, but setting things up is the easy part.
Growing your blog to the point that it gets traffic and generates revenue is the real goal.
What to remember: hosting is important, but it won’t make or break your blog: choose a company you trust and move closer to content creation.
4. Set up WordPress and tracking.
Millions of blogs — more than 40% of all websites — run on WordPress, and there’s a good reason why: loads of customizations and a generally easy-to-use interface makes it accessible to all the people who don’t know how to code/design/develop sites (like me!).
If you don’t mind a mild learning curve, WordPress is the way to go, though there are even easier site builders out there, like Wix and Squarespace. If you envision really growing your site with lots of content over the years, though, it’s best to commit to WordPress and learn how it works.
Some hosting companies offer WordPress-specific hosting packages, but those that don’t still offer WordPress as an installation option. Look through your host’s plans before committing to one — you don’t necessarily need WordPress-specific hosting, though it may help with setup.
Once you have WordPress set up, you’ll want to install basic tracking on your site with Google Analytics (overall traffic data) and Google Search Console (organic traffic data). It might be weeks or months before any real data comes in, but it’s good to set it up from the start. You can also use Google Tag Manager to help with tracking.
What to remember: WordPress powers millions of sites, has a relatively easy learning curve and offers flexible options you can grow with over time.
5. Create your content.
Finally, the good stuff.
Content is the biggest factor that determines your blogging success. Not branding, not domain names, not hosting, not logos — just good ol’ fashioned blog posts. Here’s how to build your basic content strategy.
Remember Your Angle
Everything you cover on your blog should come back to your angle, messaging and target audience. If you follow that rule of thumb, it eliminates a lot of content opportunities you won’t have to worry about.
Narrowing down your focus narrows down the decisions you have to make about what to write about, which can make it easier to pick topics and move forward.
Do the (Keyword) Research
Use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush or free keyword tools to find keywords to use as the foundation of your blog posts. You don’t have to be an SEO wiz to grow your blog, but you do need to understand why keywords are so important.
Look at keywords like supply and demand.
Google (or Pinterest, YouTube, etc.) users make a search — the demand — and a webpage shows up to supply the information requested. If you think of it in in those terms, your job as a travel blogger is to supply the best information to the most relevant demands of your audience.
Without doing keyword research, you might choose a blog post topic that absolutely no one is looking up. And if they’re not looking it up, they won’t find your blog post. On the other hand, if you use keywords to guide your topic selection, you’re giving yourself a better chance of blogging about something people are interested in.
So don’t go it alone: use keyword tools to see what your audience is actually looking for.
Start Small, then Grow
When you’re new to the blogging game, you won’t have any trust with Google or your audience. And since Google likes to see expertise, authority and trustworthiness, you need to find a way to build your online reputation. Over time, your reputation for providing valuable content will grow, and Google (and readers) will see you as a helpful online resource.
One of the best ways to do that is to start small, with long-tail keywords and topics that aren’t very competitive, and are “doable” for beginning bloggers.
Here’s an example: if you start a blog about traveling around Seattle, you won’t be able to rank in Google for competitive searches like “Seattle activities” right away. You’re not going to beat out established sites like Tripadvisor, U.S. News, Thrillist or Travel + Leisure. It’s just not happening.
But, if you start small with a super specific long-tail topic like “things to do in pioneer square Seattle,” you’re now competing with fewer sites covering that specific topic, and because it’s less competitive, it’s more accessible to small blogs.
Why it works: big travel sites like to focus on high-traffic keywords, understandably, and since no site can cover everything, it means a lot of smaller, less-searched keywords don’t get covered by the big travel brands. As a beginning blogger, that’s exactly where you can find good content opportunities.
As you gain trust with your audience and Google over time, you’ll be able to work up to more competitive topics that weren’t accessible to you in the beginning. It might take years to get to this point, but it can be well worth your patience.
Build on Your Momentum
Once your content is rolling in and you start to get traffic, pay attention to what’s working and what’s not. The best way to solidify your expertise and authority is to build where you have momentum.
In the example above, let’s say after a few months or a year, your Pioneer Square blog post is getting some good traffic and engagement, and you want to build on its success. So you write similar articles about nearby neighborhoods — about what to do in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, for example.
Or, you continue focusing on Pioneer Square and cover the best places to eat or stay in the area. Your best future content opportunities depend largely on your current success and momentum, so build relevant content “clusters” to focus your expertise.
Over time, you’ll be able to take more chances on new topics and angles, but if you do that too much at the start, you risk wasting any traffic momentum you might have.
What to remember: content is the most important part of your blog, so put the bulk of your time, energy and resources into creating good content that provides real value to your audience.
6. Build your platform.
As your blog grows, you’ll want to naturally build your brand on other content networks: social media, Pinterest, YouTube and so on. There’s value in all those platforms, of course, but early on it’s important to focus as much as possible on creating your blog’s content — and not spreading yourself too thin.
Don’t feel like you have to join every social media network just to be there. Be selective about where your time and resources go, and don’t try to do it all. There’s just no way to be everywhere effectively and still have time to do what matters: blog.
Wherever you build your brand should be an extension of your audience and blog content. If you’re blogging about one location, join relevant Facebook groups and contribute when you can. Last year, we had an article posted on Quirky Minnesota Places, a Facebook group, and that one post sent over thousands of visits.
I’m not a huge social media fan, so I’m biased, but I would tell any beginning blogger to focus as much as they can on creating content for their site first and foremost, then reuse, recycle or rehash that content to be used elsewhere.
It’s easy to get caught on the social media hamster wheel, but when you focus on creating content for your site, you’re building an asset that can get traffic and earn revenue for years to come — not just something that people will “like” for a few days.
Remember: blogging isn’t as “cool” as it used to be, so it’s easy to think that social media should be your content focus since it’s always right in front of us. But successful travel bloggers understand the value of prioritizing website content because of its longevity and ability to make recurring revenue over time.
What to remember: be selective about where you build your brand — don’t spread yourself too thin or take your primary focus too far away from your blog’s content.
7. Monetize your blog.
You can make a solid income with travel blogging, but it shouldn’t be your focus right away. The money comes after you’ve built a platform of content that provides value to your readers. As your audience grows, it’ll be easier to pursue monetization strategies that work for you.
Here’s a look at some of the most common ways to monetize your travel blog.
Affiliate marketing’s been around forever, but it’s still a good way to earn revenue. The key to successful affiliate marketing is delivering links and value where it makes sense for the reader — not just throwing links everywhere all willy-nilly.
There’s not really a natural place to insert affiliate links in our hiking articles, for example, so we mostly skip affiliate links there and know those articles will earn advertising revenue.
Our article on REI member rewards, on the other hand, is more aligned with affiliate marketing, so we include links to REI throughout the content. It makes sense for us, but it also makes sense for the reader, who’s searching for information on REI and their membership program.
Affiliate marketing can get a bad rap because of all the spammy, thin affiliate sites out there, but if you do it in a way that’s helpful for readers, it can still be a great revenue stream that doesn’t offend your audience.
Putting display ads on your travel blog is one of the easiest ways to generate revenue, but ads typically earn less money per visitor than other income streams. That’s totally fine — Territory Supply relies on ads so we can pay our writers good rates — but it also means you’ll need a good volume of traffic to make significant money.
There are a few standard ad networks bloggers join, including Google AdSense, Ezoic, Mediavine and AdThrive. In my experience, it’s not really worth joining Google Adsense when you’re just getting started — you won’t make much, and it can be worth having a better user experience upfront for your audience.
Mediavine and AdThrive both have minimum traffic requirements, but once you meet those, you can make much more than you would with AdSense. In my experience with Territory Supply, AdThrive has been an exceptional ad network: they offer great rates (RPMs), excellent customer service, and tech help when we need it.
Sponsored content is cool with Google, just be sure to follow their guidelines on linking and properly disclose when you’re publishing sponsored content. This revenue stream can be more difficult to scale, but with traffic and a good media kit it’s more than doable.
Here’s an example of sponsored content over at Roadtrippers. The content’s clearly labeled as “Partner Content,” so it’s not deceiving, and it aligns with the site’s non-sponsored content, so it doesn’t stand out as being off-brand.
Products & Services
Selling products or services is a good way to earn more money per visitor, so if you go this route you may not need the high volume of traffic you would with display ads. Common products include ebooks, like those sold by Nomadic Matt, or itineraries like you’ll find at Dirt In My Shoes.
Services can be a little trickier, but they’re still doable. Readers might be interested in custom travel planning, or they may want blog consulting services. As with affiliate marketing, it only makes sense to pitch products and services when it offers relevant help or benefits to your audience.
Selling merch can be tricky because of the e-commerce element, but it’s still a viable way to bring in money. The Mandagies, for example, have a print shop that’s separate from their main travel blog. It features high-quality prints from their travels, and offers another way to earn money from their community.
Memberships are a lot of work, but if you can find (or build) a community and meet their needs, it can be a good way to rely on recurring monthly income.
Scott’s Cheap Flights, for example, is a membership community that helps people find cheap flights around the world. They offer a premium and elite membership with tiered benefits, so there are options for all types of travelers.
The key with a membership is to deliver more value than the price of the membership, so that it’s a no-brainer to join up. If you don’t clearly explain how much value your community can provide, it may be difficult to persuade new members to join.
Substack’s exploded in popularity the last few years, proving that readers are willing to pay for premium content. If you can deliver the goods, you may be able to find a paying audience open to gated email content.
A good example is Yolo Intel, the paid newsletter from travel expert Yolanda Edwards. You can subscribe to a free version with limited content, or pay for premium content that unlocks additional benefits. Yolo Intel has thousands of subscribers paying a few dollars per month to get access to Yolanda’s content, and she delivers consistent value to keep them around.
If you’re just starting out, a paid newsletter might be a better option down the road, but if you have previous experience writing or a solid social media presence, a paid newsletter can be a good way to supplement your blog content.
What to remember: there are a lot of ways to monetize, but don’t put the cart before the horse — provide value to your readers first and foremost, then focus on revenue.
8. Scale your content.
Once you have a content game plan in place, it’s time to ramp things up. Content production — including frequency and quality — is one of the most important factors in your growth, so it’s worth spending time figuring out how fast you want to (or can) scale.
Scaling your content should also be a reflection of your goals. If you’re trying to get to a full-time income as quickly as possible, then growing content looks a lot different than simply wanting a casual, creative outlet for your travels.
There are a few ways to scale your content, and each has its pros and cons.
Do it All Yourself
Most travel bloggers fall into this category: they naturally want to write content themselves and put their unique stamp on each blog post. Going this route helps establish a personal connection with readers, and allows you to fully control what’s being published.
The only downside, as any blogger knows, is that writing is hard work and takes time. And writing everything yourself takes a lot of time, so this option either limits how quickly you can post content, or takes up an enormous amount of time to publish everything you want to cover.
Works best for: bloggers who want to focus on their personal voice and brand, and aren’t concerned with publishing content too quickly.
Work with Other Writers
You can speed up your content process by working with other travel bloggers and writers. Lia and Jeremy at Practical Wanderlust, for example, provide guidelines for other bloggers looking to pitch paid travel posts. It’s a great way for them to attract other bloggers and speed up the content that comes in.
The main drawback to this option is that it takes money, so if you’re starting on a shoestring budget, you might not have the resources to work with writers immediately. You may need to start by writing everything yourself, then begin working with other writers when revenue starts rolling in — that’s what we did with Territory Supply.
Works best for: bloggers who have the financial resources and want to speed up content production, even if it means not having the same personal touch on each blog post.
Be Open to Guest Posts
You can also accept guest posts from other writers. The Blonde Abroad, for example, has a guest post page with guidelines, and makes the distinction between a guest poster and a regular contributor. The advantage to working with guest posts is that they’re typically free in exchange for allowing the author to include a link to their own blog in the article or author bio.
The downside to guest posts is that this style of content attracts a lot of low-quality content providers, so articles you receive might not be up to your own quality standards. You might have to spend time on intensive editing, significant feedback, or rejecting articles outright, so it’s not always easy to scale just using guest posts.
Works best for: bloggers open to posting other writers’ content, but who don’t have the budget for regular contributors.
Your Goals Determine Your Process
How you scale your content, once again, comes down to your goals.
If you’re starting a blog so you can journal your personal travel experiences, it makes sense to write everything yourself. And if you’re looking to grow your blog into a full-time job, and have the financial means to scale, then working with other writers can help get you there quicker.
What to remember: scale your content based on your goals, and if you write everything yourself, like most travel bloggers, expect growth to take more time than it would if you bring other contributors into your fold.
9. Stick with it.
Here’s the real secret to becoming a travel blogger: give yourself time to grow. Blogging is hardly a get-rich-quick plan, and it’s not nearly as “passive” as some people make it out to be. It’s hard work, it’s trial-and-error, and it’s a lot of ups and downs.
But that’s also what makes it meaningful — and fun. The key is to work with persistence and curiosity over the long haul, and even when it looks like it’s not moving very fast, remember that the work you put into a blog compounds over time. Growth is slow at first, but speeds up once you’ve built momentum.
Les Brown, one of my favorite old-school motivational speakers, points out this principle with the metaphor of the bamboo tree.
Keep watering, even when you can’t see the growth going on behind the scenes.
What to remember: traffic, revenue and however else you define “success” for your blog takes time: be patient and trust in your processes.
Recap: How to Start a Travel Blog
That was a ton of info, so here’s a quick review of how to start a successful travel blog that helps educate readers, allows you to do work you enjoy, and opens the door to future travel opportunities for years to come:
- find a specific type of travel, traveler or interest you’d like to target
- choose a name that allows you to grow (doesn’t have to be perfect)
- set up hosting and WordPress and move on
- create long-tail content that’s accessible for beginning bloggers
- be selective about your platform and where you spend your time (don’t do it all)
- focus on monetization after providing value through content
- choose how you want to scale your content over time
- keep on that grind!
As the saying goes, it’s simple, but it’s not easy.
It takes a lot of hard work: early mornings, late nights, weekends on the laptop, however you do it. But for those willing to put in the work, the reward can be far more meaningful and profitable than settling for a boring day job.
Travel Blogging FAQs
Is it really worth starting a travel blog in 2022?
The short answer is yes, it’s still worth starting a travel blog. Even though there are travel bloggers who’ve been doin’ the damn thing for a decade or longer, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more creators to join.
In fact, budding travel bloggers often have a unique perspective and approach that seasoned (and sometimes grizzled) travel bloggers might not have. If you started a travel blog 10 years ago when social media wasn’t what it is today, you might have a totally different style and vibe than a blog started this year.
There’s also the fact that travel-related searches evolve over time. Getaway, for example, is a relatively new brand that’s grown tremendously the last few years, so there are content opportunities (like this) related to their tiny cabins that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
If you’re paying attention to travel trends — which you should be — you’ll find there are always new topics to cover, or old topics to cover in a new way. Plenty of blogs have covered where to stay in Jackson Hole, but how many include the area’s newest motor lodge, The Virginian?
There are always new travel blogging opportunities, but you have to get out and find ‘em.
Finally, there’s no end to the number of travel searches people make online, whether it’s on Google, Pinterest, YouTube or another platform. Every day, millions of people search for new places to visit, countries to explore, trails to hike, restaurants to dine in and so on.
And that’s not changing anytime soon.
Someone has to offer up helpful content to each one of those searches, so why shouldn’t it be you? If you know some place like the back of your hand, or want to travel there to figure it out, starting a travel blog is a great way to share your experience and knowledge in a way that helps readers and gives you the chance to earn a living doing what you enjoy.
Are travel blogs still profitable?
Yep, they can be. As long as you create content that gets traffic and find the best ways to monetize your site, travel blogs can definitely be profitable.
Sometimes that profit is a part-time income that makes it easier to pay the bills each month, and sometimes it’s that PEACE OUT DAY JOB profit that allows you to quit your dull 9-to-5. In either case, the processes behind making a travel blog profitable are the same, it’s just a matter of how much you scale things over time.
If your content strategy is sound, your travel blog can be profitable.
How much money do travel bloggers make?
Some travel bloggers make no money from their sites, and others make six or seven figures every year. In general, I’d guess most travel bloggers don’t make much money unless they have a really strong content and keyword research process in place — and persistence.
Travel bloggers posting their income reports and making six figures are probably the exception, but it’s completely realistic to reach this level over time, even if you’re just getting started. Territory Supply brings in six-figure revenues and we still have plenty of room to grow — and there are tons of sites bigger than we are, so there are lots of bloggers making full-time incomes.
On the flip side, there are tons of travel bloggers who don’t have the right content approach, who probably post a few articles, don’t get immediate traffic and traction, don’t make immediate money, then give up and move on to something else.
But you won’t do that. YOU WON’T DO THAT, RIGHT?!
How do travel blogs make money?
We covered this in the monetization section, but most travel blogs make money through advertising, affiliate marketing, digital products, services — often a combination of all those. Having more than one income stream helps stabilize your business, and sometimes one piece of content can be monetized two or three different ways (ads, affiliate links, promoting an ebook, etc.).
In general, the “easier” ways to make money, like showing display ads, don’t make as much money per visitor, but they have a lower barrier to entry. The more profitable ways to make money, like digital products or courses, can bring in more money, but also require more time and development to get ‘em working.
How much does it cost to start a travel blog?
Doing the bare minimum doesn’t cost much: you can usually find a GoDaddy promo code and snag a domain for $12 to $15 per year, and if you go with a host like BigScoots, you can get monthly hosting as cheap as $7.95.
So barebones, you could start with as little as $25 and an ongoing cost of $8 per month. There are plenty of free WordPress themes and free logo builders out there, so you can put together a decent looking site by just investing your time.
From there it’s all about content, which takes time but not necessarily money, unless you want someone else to write the content.
If you have more money to spend on your travel blog, you can invest in more polished themes, help with content, etc. The biggest driver of your success will be your content calendar, so if you have the money, I’d recommend getting a month of Ahrefs or SEMrush to put together enough topics to last you a few months or longer.
If I was starting a brand new travel blog and had $100 to spend, I’d 100% spend it on a month’s worth of Ahrefs services rather than buying a WordPress theme or having a logo designed. In the beginning, those things don’t matter nearly as much as you think they might.
Can I start a travel blog without traveling?
Sure, if you’re living on a tight budget or with limited time off, you can still start a travel blog. Maybe you have photos and notes from past trips and can put together content that way. You can also create content based on future trips you plan to take: if you’re doing all the research, you might as well make something with it.
You can also create inspiration-based blog posts that rely on readily available information rather than firsthand experience. AFAR’s list of the best places to visit in March, for example, was written based on research and travel trends. The author, Mark, didn’t have to travel to each of the 10 places to put together his list, but instead found a unique angle for each one that he could find without necessarily having to go there.
The amount of travel you need to do is likely based on your messaging and the topics you cover. If your blog’s all about your firsthand adventures around the world, then traveling is a must-do. If your blog’s more about providing travel inspiration and ideas, you don’t necessarily need to travel to each destination to write about it.
Check out sites like AFAR and Travel + Leisure to see the difference between these styles of travel content, then compare those larger sites to a smaller personal travel site like Aliz’s Wonderland.
How long does it take to start earning money as a travel blogger?
I’m not gonna sugarcoat it: blogging income isn’t fast or easy. It takes time — weeks, months, and years of focusing on your craft and business.
You may see success early on, depending on how quickly you add content, but in general I wouldn’t expect to start earning significant money the first year of blogging. It really just depends on how quickly your traffic and presence grows, though.
Just remember it’s a long-term game, and if it takes a few years to work up to a consistent income, it’s still well worth the time and energy, especially if it’s something you enjoy doing.
How do travel bloggers get paid?
Depending on how you monetize your site, you can get paid through direct deposit, check, PayPal, or wire transfers. Each ad network or affiliate program has their own payment options, so the best way to find out how you’ll get paid is to sign up with partners you’d like to work with.
AdThrive, for example, offers direct deposit, wire transfers, checks, and PayPal. Other networks or partners may only offer one payment method, and some may have minimum payouts, so that you have to reach a certain threshold before getting paid.
In general, getting paid as a travel blogger is super easy and not really anything to worry about as you get started.
What are some good examples of travel blogs?
There are thousands of great travel blogs out there, but here are a few that do a good job of catering to a specific niche and creating engaging content:
- The Blonde Abroad (solo female travel)
- Park Ranger John (National Parks travel)
- The Mandagies (PNW travel and photography)
- We Are Travel Girls (female travel community)
- Flying the Nest (family travel)
- The Broke Backpacker (adventure travel)
- California Crossroads (California travel)
- A Taste of Koko (Austin food/travel blog)
- Drink Tea & Travel (sustainable travel)
- Van Clan (van life travel)
Each of these blogs combines good branding, content and messaging targeted to a defined niche and audience. Their content isn’t for everyone, but that’s the point: travel blogging is a huge industry, and you can’t be everything to everyone.
So decide what you want to create, who you want to help, and the best way to present your experience, knowledge and research. Do it consistently over time, help enough people get what they’re looking for, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful travel blog.
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