Last Updated 27/11/2021.
I’m asked all the time so here are my best tips on how to make money travel blogging. Blogging funds our life, 2 adults, 2 kids now almost grown, full-time travel. Travel blogging and running this travel blog allowed us to see the world. We’re 100% legitimate and the money comes from the blog, not selling courses. We genuinely love travel and sharing the world with our readers, we’re going to continue to be travel bloggers not course sellers. So here are some pointers and tips to help you make an income from your blog or website.
How much travel bloggers earn varies enormously. New travel bloggers will earn nothing. In your first year you could make a useful amount of money, but you’d need another income to support you.
Once a travel blog is earning well, let’s say in two years plus, travel bloggers can earn a living wage. My travel blog earns enough to support a family.
However, not all travel blogs will succeed. You have to blog the right way. There are many right ways and many more wrong ways.
I don’t publish income reports, but in a good month my travel blog can make five figures. The amount of money a travel blogger earns is affected by time of year, business model, the blogger’s expertise, and how hard they work. Their audience will affect income too.
Travel bloggers generally make the most money from a US audience or the other rich western, English-speaking countries.
In Asia we earn most from Malaysia and Singapore, of course, Dubai. Having readers in wealthy nations earns us more in advertising revenue.
These tips aren’t in any particular order and not in huge detail because I’m not writing a book here, but I hope you find them useful.
Our story is simple, we travelled for 1 year on savings, tasted freedom, and didn’t want to go home, so we worked like crazy to make our lifestyle financially sustainable. It was a lot of work, but we got there.
You can read about it in our eBook, The Seven Year Ditch. (not available right now, sorry)
Throughout this period we kept travelling, with some longer stays (what they call slow travel ) to focus on work, kids and sports.
My husband is a competing Ironman triathlete, our children were home educated and are wonderful teenagers now completing the highschool years in an online international school.
We’ve been to every continent bar Antarctica, spent months living in Vietnam, Romania, England, Wales, Australia, we’ve been to Everest Base Camp and to Tibet and it has all (with a very few exceptions) been wonderful.
But this website is the heart of our mission. Our travels are often planned with the information we need to get on here in mind. All of our spare time we sank into creating this travel resource, for you to use.
Welcome to our site, it’s the 5 th member of the family. Just like a new baby, it didn’t come with instructions. We had to figure out what worked through trial and error plus intense data analysis.
Luckily, I love looking at data.
You’ll find a video above, if you let more play, watch them, turn the sound on, get to know us and what we do.
We were on the road for almost 6 years without once going “home”. We will continue to travel and will eventually, we hope, buy homes in the UK, Romania and Australia. But this post is about the travel blog.
You’ll find more on how to make money travel blogging in the blogging section of this website. Please remember that no two bloggers make a living in the same way, there are many ways.
I just know that my way works.
How Do Travel Bloggers Make Money?
I am so sick of reading that making money from a travel blog is hard, it’s not, it’s actually pretty easy if you know what you’re doing. The problem is, a lot of people don’t have a clue how it’s done and repeatedly bash their heads against a brick wall before giving up in a huff.
It’s not about writing, it’s not about stories, it’s about understanding the internet and how it works.
I’m not saying it doesn’t take a lot of work, you will put hours and hours into creating your income, it’s just not difficult and almost anyone can do it if they have the dedication and the time.
You also have to be prepared to get the know-how.
I have been known to say that once you know how it’s done you can basically print your own money. I stand by that, but you will need to put a lot of time and effort in. This is no get rich quick scheme.
Be Genuine and Love What You Do
I hate fakes and I’m sure you do too. Don’t be one. They’re too easy to spot and you’ll turn people off.
You have to love this game, it’s fun, it’s exciting and it’s addictive. If you find it a chore you’ll never put the hours in.
Be an Expert on Travel
If you’re going to write a complete guide to a destination then you’d better have spent several months there. Nothing is worse than bloggers who don’t know their topic.
People do write posts about places they’ve never been, it’s common and it’s easy, but who wants to read that?
Plan your travels to give you the knowledge you need to write your posts.
Specialise in a particular place, know your facts and be a reliable source of information. Write all the posts anybody could ever need on that destination, be a respected source.
Specialising like this is good for your site’s SEO and Google ranking, not just good for your readers.
Forget Niche and Audience, They’re Dead
Let me qualify that because that’s a strange thing to say. Niche isn’t dead, of course, just don’t worry quite so much about it.
My niche is travel. Not travel with kids. That’s a very broad niche. I also cover blogging, worldschooling, food, and homeschooling on this site. So long as everything hangs together and your site structure makes sense it all seems to work just fine.
Know that general travel sites like mine are a huge amount of work, a narrow niche site is easier to get off the ground.
People talk about “their audience” this whole concept is rubbish. Through the power of the internet and good SEO you can reach anyone, anywhere. It’s not about followers at all for us. I don’t know of many people who make a living through followers, some do.
If our traffic was dependent on our existing audience, our followers, I’d never have made anything approaching a decent income. We have at least 50,000 followers if you combine the platforms, maybe more.
Your Facebook audience or your subscriber list are another matter, they like you to be a bit consistent, but Google search allows you to reach anyone, anywhere with a connection. If you do it right.
Facebook and followers probably account for less than 5% of my traffic.
A 40 year old single male Himalayan trekker is as likely to visit my site as a young mum wanting to go on holiday in Thailand with her kids. Write the posts, be the authority, get the authority and they will come.
Obviously, Google likes you to be an expert on a particular topic, but if that topic is say, Sri Lanka, you can reach almost anybody with an interest in that destination.
I’d recommend focusing on one topic, covering it fully (multiple keywords, multiple posts), and then moving on to another to cover in-depth. Add more from time to time to that original “basket” of content and keep updating, but be a serial specialist, not a forever generalist.
If you don’t have kids of course you shouldn’t be writing about family travel (although obviously, you could take guest posts from parent bloggers) but there’s nothing to stop you targeting any audience you like.
Of course, if you want to be niche you can be, no problem at all, but remember you’re limiting your audience.
Super niche sites often gain recognition and work with brands within that narrow sector when they are still relatively small. They can also build great authority and therefore good rankings on their field of expertise, fast. You can do it that way but it’s not my way.
I want to cover the whole world and every style of travel. We have a few ” niche” sites too, none of them do as well as this one.
Other bloggers report that their niche destination or topic sites do better than their general sites. Both outcomes are possible and are dependent on many factors.
I make my money from the website not through brand promotions. Niche sales sites (but that’s not what I’m talking about here) were hit by the last Google update, I don’t have data, but that was partly its intent.
Plenty seem to still be doing well, I actually own a few niche sites but my travel niche site on Romania never took off. I moved all that Romania content to this big site where it does much better.
Multiple Income Streams are Essential
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, create multiple income streams and get them set up as early as possible. Install Adsense or Ezoic, join all the affiliate schemes you need, get some Amazon sales pages set up, get stuck into earning, early!
Be aware of legal requirements. You will need certain disclaimers, disclosures, and accessibility features.
How you make money travel blogging largely depends on how you want to do it. I rely on advertising and affiliate sales, other travel bloggers prefer to be paid to promote destinations, hotels, attractions, and so on.
If you have great photographic skills, sell images, other bloggers are paid for public speaking. There are many ways to make money blogging.
Some bloggers sell articles to magazines or other publications and some sell e-books and courses. The choice is yours but I prefer to earn the money to pay for the travel I want to do.
I find sponsored stays too much work and too much hassle.
I love my freedom, so I conjure my income out of pixels rather than by actually working for somebody else.
My income is what people call “passive”. It’s not truly passive, websites need maintenance, updating, and content adding frequently, but at least while we’re travelling I’m able to relax and not be on duty at all, sometimes.
Which Affiliate Schemes Make Money?
In no particular order, these are some of the affiliate schemes that make us money:
- Amazon (books, travel gear and more)
- Hotels Combined
- Travel Insurance
- 12Go Asia
- Tattoo Package
- Get Your Guide
- Longtail Pro and/ or Keysearch
- Board Booster and/or Tailwind
If you don’t recommend or use a product genuinely, don’t try to sell it. You will not sell any of these things without understanding SEO and getting a targeted audience to your site.
I would strongly recommend not putting all of your eggs in the Amazon basket. They have slashed their affiliate payment rates recently and this could continue. Be sure to check what percentage each type of product on Amazon will pay.
In some areas, affiliate commission has been reduced more than others.
Diversify, find other routes to affiliate revenue. We found joining Awin was very helpful in that they have so many companies and products on their books.
Another way to monitize that we’re testing right now on two of our sites is Sovrn /VigLink . What happens here is every outgoing link on your site can potentially be converted into an affiliate link through this third party. It looks promising, but take a good look at the setting on this one. We’ll update you on this more once we’ve run it for a few months.
Adsense v Mediavine v Ezoic
You will need some way of displaying ads on your site to make an income. Adsense is where most people start off. I still have several sites on Adsense.
Optimising Adsense revenue is quite a skill. Consider your ad placements carefully. I usually put an ad every 3 paragraphs.
One of my sites is with Ezoic. I’ve read that Ezoic makes more money than Adsense, but so far this hasn’t happened. That site is still pretty much earning the same as it was on Adsense with RPMs actually worse than some of my Google Adsense sites.
That said, it’s early days. I’ll give it a few more weeks.
Both Adsense and Ezoic slow down your site. I don’t see much difference between the two currently but my Ezoic site has far fewer total ads than any of my other sites.
The Mediavine site has the most, but this site is fast. It has passed CWV.
Mediavine now has an incredibly high traffic volume requirement before you can join. In my experience, they pay the best. This site is still with Mediavine.
As far as my experience goes, the way to make most money blogging is to get your traffic to Mediavine threshold, fast. Other ad networks like Mediavine exist, I haven’t tried them.
Knowing SEO and KWR Before You Start is Essential and Things Have Changed
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Keyword Research (KWR) are probably the best ways to get eyes and credit cards onto your website.
Social media and email subscriber lists work too, but your Google search traffic is vital and you’ll only get that with good SEO, good KWR and targetting.
Don’t write a post until you understand the purpose of that post in terms of either pleasing and attracting subscribers (getting people reading), giving solid information to build your reputation and authority, making money or attracting people ready to spend.
There is a post on SEO for beginners here.
Recently there has been a huge shift in how Google search results work. Google Rank Brain has blown it all out of the water (this is the best in-depth post I’ve seen on this).
Don’t focus solely on backlinks, DA and meta descriptions, it’s all about quality content and user satisfaction now. Rank brain has been great for me, it’s more human, write for humans.
Rank brain was quite a few years ago now, there have been dozens of updates from Google since. Always expect change.
A Quality Site is Fast and Slick
Your site needs to be fast, mobile-friendly and have great SEO. This tends to come with good hosting, a premium theme, and good (often paid) plugins and tools. You have to spend a little money to make more money.
Don’t worry about looks, just make your site fast, efficient, and clear. Also be aware of accessibility, you need good contrast of font to background.
People want information and they want to find it quickly and easily.
I would highly recommend investing in good hosting and a good, fast, secure theme. Your theme needs to be mobile responsive and you DO need an SSL certificate.
Google has now introduced Core Web Vitals (CWV). Your site needs to pass certain speed tests, CLS and LCP. This means it has to be fast and give an outstanding user experience.
This site, using Mediavine Ads plus Mediavine’s Trellis theme, plus Agathon hosting has passed. My Ezoic and Adsense sites have not passed despite the Ezoic site also running Trellis. Maybe it will in future.
Passing CWV did not seem to improve my traffic or rankings. So I don’t worry about it too much at the moment. They’re only failing fractionally, their speed isn’t poor.
If you can’t tick all of these quality and speed boxes you are likely sabotaging your own Google ranking.
Affiliate Income is About Targetted Traffic
How to make money from affiliate schemes?
It’s 99% pointless to put some random affiliate links into posts or into your sidebar. The people reading those posts aren’t looking to buy whatever you want them to buy.
The skill lies in getting the people on the point of purchasing onto your pages. Get them there via Google search (SEO and KWR) or from social media.
Just Get Them to Amazon
Amazon knows how to get people to buy. If you can get your reader to Amazon, you fought half the battle and won.
We have a post on making Amazon sales pages here. Because Amazon drops a cookie, anything your reader buys from Amazon for some time afterwards, will give you commission.
Remember that Amazon needs you to ad legal disclosures with exact wording to your site.
Content and Maximising Adsense Revenue
There is a skill to making as much money as possible from Google Adsense and it involves keeping eyes on pages longer and putting ads where eyes linger.
I had Adsense performing well. I’m with Mediavine now, which gives me an insanely good income, but you can’t join a premium advertising agency like that until you’ve got good traffic. Beginners have to start with Adsense or similar.
Beginners may only make a dollar a day, maybe less. But that’s better than nothing, right? You can build on that day by day.
Keep people looking at your Adsense ads longer and draw their eyes and their time, to the places the ads are. Pictures, captions, videos, charts, tables, text boxes, anything mixed media that draws attention will keep eyes on the spot.
Work those features. Keep content long to allow more ads to display.
A super handy tip is to increase your font size. The longer the post, the more ads display.
Know that “above the fold” is premium ad space. It’s not rocket science. Aim to get your traffic up above 50K Sessions per month so that you can join Mediavine fast. It’s an income game changer.
I jumped from around $600 per month to $1500 within weeks of changing.
Of course, keeping eyes on pages longer isn’t just good for your ad revenue, it’s also good for your Google ranking and your user satisfaction. If your readers are staying on page because of the useful and engaging content you are providing, everyone is happy.
Climb the Google Search Results as Fast as Possible
Grow your DA through legitimate link building, create quality, long, information-packed content, keep your readers on each page as long as possible, keep them on your site as long as possible, get plenty of social shares and get your on-site, technical, and on-page SEO right.
All these things will tell Google that your site is one they should be showing high in their search results.
Also, don’t target keywords you don’t have a chance of ranking for, try to find something a little obscure when you’re just starting out.
It’s usually better to have Google number 1s for low search volume posts than be on page 10 for high volume posts. You’ll soon learn that the correct answer to most blogging and SEO questions is, “It depends.”
This is why we study the data, to test and to find answers.
Remember that your DA is NOT in any way related to how highly Google will rank you, Google does not even consider your DA, so we’ve been told.
DA seemed to be the holy grail of SEO a couple of years ago but Google is way too smart for the fake backlink merchants now.
You can easily beat somebody with a higher DA than you if your content is better. DA is purely a measure of how many backlinks you have, it’s an indicator, but not something to pay too much attention to.
Keep an eye on your rankings in Search Console instead, if you’re climbing, all should be well.
Do not get involved in spammy sharing groups, link farms and link exchanges and assume that will make your site a success. It will come back to bite you, as they say.
Be genuine, be real, don’t try and cheat the system. Link building is a thing, obviously, a huge industry and it can lift a new site off the ground way faster. People pay a lot of money for backlinks.
What I’m saying is, if your content isn’t good, if people don’t like it, no amount of backlinks will help you stay on top. The Google ranking reflect human reaction to your post.
If your content doesn’t satisfy users, it will never perform well under Google.
Get More Content Out, Faster. Get Help.
I have paid writers in the past to help me increase the volume of content I’m publishing.
The more content you can publish, and the quicker you can get it out, the more traffic you will receive.
The more traffic to your blog, the more money you make.
I have a new secret weapon in speeding up my content creation. AI, artificial intelligence, can now write your blog posts for you. The technology is simply amazing and I can create maybe 6 posts a day using this tool. There is a free trial, use it well. Your free trial should allow you to write multiple posts in no time.
Improve Your Old Content (How?)
Wherever possible add something to your site to improve its rankings and bring you more traffic. More traffic equates to more money usually.
Your old content can decrease your site’s overall SERP rankings if it’s bad. Get it fixed, if it’s really bad and beyond redemption, remove it and re-purpose it under a better URL. You’ll likely need to redirect the old post to the new.
This is a last resort move but some of my old stuff was useless and embarrassing, it had to go.
Don’t worry too much about 404s and sometimes redirect. Another option is to tell Google not to index it.
But how to make money travel blogging? What are these income streams exactly?
More on that in this post on how to start a blog and make money, and this one on affiliate sales. That’s it for now, a quick 10-minute response because somebody asked the question. This is our truth about blogging and no 2 bloggers do it in exactly the same way.
I think the reality of the blogging industry is probably quite surprising to people who read blogs, they often assume it’s all about followers.
How to Become a Travel Blogger
You become a travel blogger by starting a travel blog. Just about anyone can start a travel blog, it’s cheap and fairly easy, no prior skills are really necessary.
Your domain (your travel blog name) should cost you about $10, your hosting, a similar monthly amount at basic level.
It doesn’t cost much to become a travel blogger. You don’t even need to have travelled extensively, you can become a travel blogger by researching travel online and creating content as you would an essay.
You don’t even need your own photos to become a travel blogger, many travel blogs use free or bought stock images. Of course, this isn’t the best way to begin.
The best way is to travel and to have a passion for travel, but if you haven’t even left the country yet, yes, you could start right now.
Read up on some of the basic skills of writing for SEO before you start, that’s the single most important tip for any new travel blogger.
How Do I Become a Travel Blogger?
It’s very easy to become a travel blogger. Buy your domain name (give some thought to keywords first), arrange hosting, install WordPress and start creating.
Almost anybody can start a travel blog and you can do it right now. See our post on how to start a travel blog.
What Skills Are Required To Be a Travel Blogger?
I had none when I started. I’ve learned as I’ve progressed. I’ve never bought a course nor paid for training.
You will need to be able to write in reasonable English (or another language) and be enthusiastic enough to want to learn the skills. You’ll learn to use WordPress or another blogging platform, about SEO, and social media marketing.
You can learn these skills for free on the internet, as I did. You will probably need to take a reasonable photo, you do not need to be a good photographer. I’m not, but if you are, that’s great.
Some bloggers just use stock images and create content about places they’ve never been. You will need to love your travel blog, without love, you likely won’t put the hours in.
What Equipment Do You Need to Be a Travel Blogger?
You will need a laptop and/or a phone plus power and wi-fi. That is all. If you’re serious about making videos and taking photos, start adding microphones, a gimbal, a drone and an underwater camera.
These items are in our Travel Essentials post.
How Much Money Do Travel Bloggers Make?
This varies. New bloggers or non-savvy bloggers make nothing. Travel blogger income rises over time as reach and audience grow.
I’ve made $500+ in a day often, I’ve made $1000+ some days.
Daily income varies and is dependant on skills and the hours you put in, but it is daily, no stops for weekends or holidays, you earn as you sleep, 24/7.
The top travel bloggers can make in excess of 6 figures per year, over 5 figures per month. I was in that bracket before the pandemic and it will come back. A few make much more.
Some “travel blogs” aren’t owned by individual bloggers, some are run by big businesses with millions invested. These blogs are likely making huge sums but are paying a big team.
Do Travel Bloggers Travel For Free?
Sometimes, yes, travel bloggers can travel for free. If this is your reason for wanting to be a travel blogger, it’s not a good one. “Free” travel actually involves a lot of work.
The blogger will be working for the destination, hotel, or attraction and there will be required deliverables. On this site, we choose not to do “free” travel, or at least do it very rarely. We find it more enjoyable working for ourselves or on passion projects.
Is a Travel Influencer a Travel Blogger?
No, not usually. Influencers and bloggers are not necessarily the same thing, but a blogger can also be an influencer. Being an influencer requires a lot of dedication, as does being a travel blogger.
I know there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day for me to do both well. If a blogger with a successful travel blog also finds success as a vlogger or Instagrammer, I’m impressed. Each of those things can be a full-time job. Bloggers often employ virtual assistants (VAs) or other employees to take on some of these roles.
If you found this post useful go to our eBooks listings. There you will find a couple of eBooks that could be helpful to you. The Seven Year Ditch explains how we managed to travel for seven years off the back of a travel blog, the other, The New Blogger’s Checklist, could be just the thing you need if you’re a very new to lower intermediate blogger wondering how to kick start your traffic and income. (Currently not available, sorry)
I’ll add more tips on making money blogging as I think of them this post is genuine and, I hope, helpful. We used to offer coaching and support in a private, personal group, we don’t anymore, sorry. There is a formula, blogging – which is actually website creation – is a science, not an art. I hope I can help you with that. Leave me a comment if you have questions or head back to the World Travel Family home page to check out the sort of content we produce.