Want to travel around the world and document your adventures along the way? Then starting a travel blog might be for you — but do know it isn’t easy to make money from these diary-style blogs any longer.
In 2023, making money from a blog is about helping your readers solve their problems. It’s less about where you’ve traveled and more about how you can help people have a fantastic time traveling to those same places.
This article will give you five ways to make money from your travel blog to earn money while traveling and help fellow travelers in the process.
1. Ads On Your Site
Joining an ad network is one of the easiest ways to earn money from your travel blog. You have a few choices for which ad network to go with, depending on where you’re at in your blogging journey.
Two ad networks, Google AdSense and Ezoic have no traffic requirement, so you can join even if you don’t have a lot of visitors to your site yet. The more traffic you have, the more money you make from advertising. For this reason, some bloggers wait until they have a few thousand monthly page views before starting with ads on their site, but some begin immediately.
Some networks, like Monumetric and She Media have traffic thresholds they want you to reach before you join their network. Currently, each one requires 10,000 monthly page views to enter, but for some blog owners, they accept lower numbers.
At the top tier of website ads, there’s Mediavine and AdThrive. These premium ad networks require much more traffic — Mediavine asks for 50,000 monthly sessions, and AdThrive wants 100,000 monthly page views.
You’d need to work to get your blog to those levels, but when you do, you can expect about $1,500-$3,000 per month in passive income.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you recommend products, goods, and/or services to your blog readers. They purchase them using an affiliate link, and you make a commission on the purchase.
There are many affiliate marketing programs for travel bloggers, and most companies have an affiliate program. The ones that tend to make the most money for travel bloggers are the ones in the travel niche. While even retail giants like Amazon and Walmart have affiliate programs, travel bloggers will want to seek out programs for hotels, tours, rental cars, travel insurance, and other things travelers need.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Discover Cars: Car rental affiliate program
- SafetyWing: Travel insurance affiliate program
- Booking.com: Hotel affiliate program
- HostelWorld: Hotel affiliate program
- Viator: Tours affiliate program
To join, you must apply to each of the programs. When you’re accepted, you’ll have access to what’s called your affiliate dashboard.
In the dashboard, you can track your sales and commissions and make what’s called affiliate links. Affiliate links contain a unique UTM tracking code that lets the company know which sales came through you so that they can pay you. Depending on the affiliate program, commission rates vary from about 1%-30%.
3. Press Trips
You get paid to travel on a press trip, and your travel expenses are also usually covered. It’s basically living the travel blogger dream, and here’s how you’d find press trips and paid blog opportunities.
Let’s say you’re planning a trip to Antigua, Guatemala, and want to see if there are any opportunities available for you to work while you’re there. The Guatemala Tourism Board or an equivalent organization would be a great place to start.
If press opportunities are available, you can pitch yourself and let the Tourism Board know why you’re the best person for the job.
A few ways you can stand out from the competition include having a significant Instagram or TikTok following, having a high number of viewers to your site each month, or, better yet, having a lot of website traffic from Guatemala specifically.
If you get selected for the press trip, you and the Tourism Board will have to agree on the specifics of when and how you will get paid, your deadline for the content they want you to produce for them, and more.
If you’re wondering — Is it that easy to land paid press trips as a travel blogger? The answer is that it depends.
If you have a large social media following, high-traffic blog, or blog with an entirely focused niche (for example, if you have a Guatemala blog, the Guatemala Tourism Board is more likely to choose you), then yes, getting paid press trips is easier than you’d think.
In truth, most new bloggers just starting will get a lot more no’s than yes’s for paid trips. Don’t let that deter you!
These trips can be highly competitive, and Tourism Boards usually get a lot of applicants who want to participate in their campaigns. To stand out, you’ll need to pitch them in a way that makes sense to pick you over the other bloggers.
4. Sponsored Content
A few other ways you can make money travel blogging include writing sponsored posts and selling sponsored links. All bloggers charge differently for these services, but you might expect upwards of $1,000 from an entire blog post and $50-100 from a single link, though rates vary.
Unlike a fully-sponsored press trip, sponsored posts and sponsored links are much easier to come by — and much easier to get a company to pay for you.
Sponsored posts are when a company pays you to review them, whether for their tour company, their hotel, a review of their travel product(s), or even just a write-up about the company in general.
Like a travel influencer, the company would pay you to promote them on your blog. With these promos, companies want you to use your voice so the message gets to your audience in a way that will resonate with them.
While companies may have a team of experts working on their advertising and marketing campaigns, they know no one can speak to your audience better than you. For this reason, companies usually give content creators a lot of creative control.
To find sponsorship deals, you can reach out to companies directly and offer to write a post to promote their products or services. Make sure to include your rate, so they know this isn’t a pro bono article.
Sometimes, companies will contact you about a sponsorship or brand partnership deal. You’ll want a contact page on your blog so they can find you or your contact information displayed somewhere prominent.
Some companies won’t want an entire blog but will want you to insert a link to their site in one of your existing blog posts. Different bloggers price these links differently, but $50-100 for a link isn’t uncommon.
Here’s how sponsored links work: Say you have a blog ranking #1 on Page 1 of Google for an article titled “10 Best Backpacks for Traveling Europe.” A top backpack company might see your post and offer you money for a link to their website in that top-ranking post.
As it only takes a few seconds to insert a link in an existing post, links will earn you less than an entire blog post dedicated to one specific company.
Remember that your reputation is on the line when you make personal recommendations about products, goods, and/or services. These sponsored posts and links work best when you genuinely love the company and its product(s).
5. Use Your Blog as a Portfolio to Get Freelance Work or VA Work
They say that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s definitely a long game, and it takes many bloggers a year (or several years) before you grow an audience and earn a full-time living from your blog.
In the interim, consider freelance writing. You can use your travel blog as a way to showcase your talents and still get paid while you’re traveling. You can list yourself on Fiverr or UpWork, or join some Facebook groups for travel bloggers and offer your writing services.
You can also look into being a virtual assistant or VA. After all, the V in VA implies that you work “virtually” from anywhere in the world, so you can still be working while you travel.
As you can see, there are several ways to make money as a travel blogger. Remember, though, the most successful bloggers have multiple income streams, so don’t limit yourself to just one way if you want to be the next six- and seven-figure travel blogger.
This is a guest post by Shelley Marmor, blogger at Travel Blogging 101.