Will Travel Blogging Fund Long Term Travel?

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When we left home to travel in 2013 we hoped we could travel indefinitely, or for several years, on our savings and a few small income sources. We travelled ultra-cheap back then, these days we don’t, but we made budget travel our mission as we stretched our cash. Our newish travel blog was doing OK and we had a dream, would, could, travel blogging fund long term travel? 1 year in and our savings were gone. We had a ball but spent more than we planned so we stopped for a while when we hit the 12-month mark and my husband took a temporary position in London while we regrouped and rethought, before continuing our travels months later.

By 2017 we’d found balance between work and travel. The blog made money, so did my husband, we worked a bit, travelled a bit and our lifestyle was financially viable.

Fast forward to 2019 and yes, we could travel indefinitely on our blogging income. The problem is – we’d run out of places to go.

6+ years of travel, 7+ years of blogging. Let’s talk money! I’ll give you some background first on where we went and where the money went, skip further down if you just want to know where the money comes from now.

How We Created a Travel Blogging Income to Support Full Time Travel

Our Savings Lasted For 1 Year of Travel

bus sri lanka
So much fun in our first month in Sri Lanka, possibly our favourite country.Such small boys back then.

Life doesn’t always go to plan. Our savings, we hoped, would last us 2, maybe 4 years, but we ripped through them in just 12 months. No regrets, but we needed to get the travel blog earning, faster than expected.

We aimed to spend years in Asia travelling slowly on a very modest budget ( around $50/day). We found that achievable despite setbacks although slow travel didn’t really float our boat. Emergency surgery on Ko Phangan kept us stuck in a more expensive, but wonderful, place for a while and a bike crash took a chunk out of our savings.

Family health problems in the UK forced us to the expensive side of the world after only 6 months of Asian travel. The UK cost us a lot. ( 1 month in UK=5 months in Asia for us). We found reasonably priced accommodation and food but we didn’t scrimp on admission to attractions like the Harry Potter Studio Tour and The Doctor Who Experience. If you have to scrimp, it’s not fun. These days we’d get free admissions to anything like that, press passes, because of the blog.

So we got really silly with the cash. We then, bizarrely, decided to compound our overspend by splurging on an Atlantic Crossing Cruise.  We were in the right place at the right time for what we thought would be a once in a lifetime experience ( we were wrong, we’ve taken 3 cruises now). That cruise was awesome and worth every penny. Although cheaper than flying the 4 of us to New York, it was still a big lump of cash.

New York in the polar vortex and a month touring the USA followed, another money guzzler, including days in the Orlando theme parks and New Orleans for Mardi Gras. It was all wonderful, but it wasn’t Asia-cheap.

From there we took ourselves down to El Salvador to explore Central America for a couple of months before we hitch a ride back to Europe on another cruise ship. Then we were short of cash and Chef got a job.

That was where we started rethinking this adventure, we started really moving towards making it a financially sustainable lifestyle rather than just a gap year from which we would have to return.

Making Travel Blogging Pay For our Travel.

We loved that first year of non-stop travel and wouldn’t do it over another way. I think we had to get that year out of our systems before we slowed things down and became more location independent rather than just backpackers.

Seeing such a broad cross-section of countries and experiencing diverse forms of travel was a great experience. This trip was for the kids, part of their education, they’ve certainly seen a lot.

No regrets, ever, is the best way to live.

We discovered unexpected things by going with the flow and grabbing opportunities. We never thought we’d go on a cruise, let alone enjoy it so much that we’d book a second and third one. I’d never really fancied a road trip around the USA, but it was great fun for us allCanada was wonderful, we only managed to stay for two days but we fell in love. Seeing my home country, the UK, as a tourist over Christmas was delicious. It gave me a new appreciation for my amazing country. Central America proved interesting, challenging and exciting. I was well out of my comfort zone for once and that’s good.

All these adventures added up to a great year, but now we do things slightly differently.

5 Years of Blogging And it Didn’t Pay For Our Travel 100%, But We Were Almost There

Vang Vieng Laos
6 weeks in Laos. Another place we adored.

This section is from 2017 and represents our situation back then, later updates are further down the page.

“This blog is 5+ years old. We are Google Page Rank 3 ( an outdated metric) we have over 110,000 page views per month and scores of thousands of social media followers. It provides our income. My husband also works occasionally, he’s a chef and he loves what he does, so expensive purchases or trips aren’t out of reach, we can always earn a cash top-up in the kitchens.

I started the blog for fun and to promote the idea of homeschooling and travelling with kids. I found out that it was possible to make money through blogging after I’d started, it was news to me.  I was hanging out for the traffic to increase and Google to finally update PRs for a long time, but that wasn’t the answer, our income didn’t increased with the traffic.

Just after my Google page rank increased to a 3 in year 1 of travel, we made a decent amount of money. Almost $2000 that month, enough to live off if we could keep up that level. By then we were also receiving press passes regularly. But then things slowed to a few hundred here and there. Other bloggers reported the same trend.  Since then income has gradually improved month on month as I find new, more diverse and multiple income steams. (see below)

I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learned with you, to help you and eliminate a lot of the trial and error process. You’ll find a lot of tips and suggestions in our blogging section and of course we talk about this stuff all the time in our free Facebook group ( subscribers receive an invitation)”

7 Years of Blogging and The Travel Blogs Fully Fund Our Lives

What more can I say? It worked. 7 years isn’t how long it takes. I started out knowing nothing and figured it all out day by day. You won’t get rich overnight from travel blogging, but it needn’t take 7 years if you do it smart. I made big mistakes, huge mistakes, this site is still littered with early blogging disasters, but we got there.

How the Blogs Make Money

The income from our blogs is a patchwork of affiliate schemes and advertising fees, here’s a quick overview, you’ll find more information in other posts.

Amazon affiliate links do OK, maybe $100- $250 per month in 2017, add another zero there for 2019. See some examples on our travel gear pages. As Amazon is global and most income is from the USA, we needed a Payoneer account and card or similar to access Amazon US ( .com) earnings. There really was no other way to do this other than accepting Amazon dot com credits. I had thousands of dollars worth. Wish I’d got that Payoneer account sooner. These days you can also use Transferwise and I believe Amazon themselves have made payment easier for non US based affiliates.

Amazon now brings us good money, see our latest post on how to Make Your First $1000 on Amazon.

Do you want to start a blog of your own? Click here for 6 simple steps to starting your own blog

 Google Adsense did OK back in 2017, 5 years in, $8-$44 per day, every day, all year. That’s not bad for doing nothing. Once you reach Mediavine threshold your advertising revenue should shoot up. Today, 7 years in, we make money with 2 zeros, every day, from Mediavine adverts.

Legitimate promotional posts used to bring around $250 a time back in 2017. We use agencies such as Cooperatize and Izea to find this sort of paid work.  Just sign up and they’ll notify you when a client needs you to write for them. I’ve also been paid to promote big companies with 4 figure budgets. In 2019 we do no sponsored, paid, content, at all. We don’t need to.

Agoda affiliate commissions grow and grow, we had our first $1000 payout in 2017. This hasn’t grown significantly into 2019 because we haven’t really targetted hotel sales.

I get paid to write sometimes, I also get paid to share on social media. People normally contact me. This is very rare, I’ve probably made under $500 doing this, ever.

Other affiliate programmes bring in money too, we use shareasale.com ( and other agencies) to find relevant affiliate schemes. The more you have the better. I am a member of at least 50 affiliate schemes, all provide us with an income.

There are other great perks to blogging, we qualify for media passes to a lot of attractions, we do very well in that area as family travellers. Bloggers often manage to score promotional accommodation deals, we choose to do that very infrequently, but we love it when we do. Many of our Stays in Sri Lanka recently were luxury hotel and villa promotions.

I used to do some paid virtual assistant work, specialising in growing Pinterest accounts and creating websites.. I also did some paid mentoring in blogging after people came to me asking for help, I don’t do it now.

A non-lucrative blogging bonus is the group of wonderful friends I’ve made in the community, we’ve shared and helped each other at every step of the way. There are some sharks around too, some nasty pieces of work. You need to be careful who you trust in this industry.

Are We Ready To Stop Travelling Full Time?

Richmond Upon Thames, London
Richmond Upon Thames, London, our base when we’re “resting” from travel.

Yes we are, from time to time. These days we only travel about half of the year while basing ourselves in Romania, Australia, Vietnam and London. Sometimes circumstance forces us to stay still for a while, sometimes we just need a break and some downtime for work and studies. I’ve not had my fill of seeing the world and probably never will, but the constant work involved in full-time travel gets wearing after a few years. It’s also fun to stop and focus on other things. I’ve been learning to be a proper photographer and the kids have been catching up with friends, riding bikes, keeping rabbits and taking various classes, all things made possible by our beautiful lifestyle.

Please save to Pinterest – just use the red buttons.

travel income blogging location independent lifestyle

So it IS possible to fully fund a family travelling lifestyle through blogging. I keep plugging away, learning new tricks, sharing my triumphs and failures with you and constantly learning the trade. Who knows where this journey will take us from here?

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

49 thoughts on “Will Travel Blogging Fund Long Term Travel?”

  1. I found your blog as I couldn’t sleep, because I never can the night before we travel. It’s our last hours on the sunny costa blanca after a month of living here and I was desperately looking for traveling tips to make the returning home more bareable. Tips for traveling with kids, actually. And to be more precise, schooling kids while traveling. Yes, your worldschooling tips got me hooked. I actually had a long conversation last night with my husband about how f’d up this system is: we are both freelancers and we do afford some travelling, but we won’t be able to do it because our kid will have to be in school. And because we live in Romania, any form of alternative schooling here is such a big hustle. But this gave me hope and motivation and fortunately I still have 3 years to research and also to read this whole blog. 3 years in which I hope we can travel as much as possible. So a big THANK YOU! ?

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  2. This is my dream!!! I just want to take my kids and travel every where!

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  3. Great Tips! Such a great information.

    I agree with you that โ€we made budget travel our mission as we stretched our cash.โ€ I have always been facing problems with Travel Blogging and was trying to hire someone to help me.

    I will tweet your post. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Thanks a lot!

    Stefan

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  4. I have only just started to try and monetise my blog and it is very frustrating waiting to see that first dollar. What I liked most about this post is it is far more realistic than the bombardment of $100k blogger posts you usually find.
    Thank you and I look forward to following your journey.

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    • Hi Dean, thanks. This post was written a good few years ago, we’re doing really rather well now but it’s taken a lot of time and much trial and error. You’ll find more tips in our blogging section if you’re interested, but this is a travel blof, not a blogging blog. We just get asked all the time, how do we make money from the blogs? People just don’t even know it’s possible, even our close family! Good luck to you both ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. I think you’ve done really well income-wise with the blog and supplementing that with other types of online work and Chef’s gigs. We’re also trying to diversify our income streams, I’m building up freelance writing work again and Andrew has been doing well with teaching recruitment work and online teaching as well as possibly exam marking online. Blogging is a small part of our income which I hope to grow. I think you’re right though, travel does sap your time and strength making it difficult to work much; we’re hoping having a base in Chiang Mai will allow us to create a better work/life balance too.

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  6. Hello, Alyson, I am a single Mom that has been Worldschooling with my 9 yr old daughter, Jewel for several years, now. I can so relate. We are in need to return home, US. And liquify some more tangibles and look at other opportunities that will keep us on the road. As “slow” travelers, three months average in one place. We have been able to keep a budget n milk our supplies. I have not, YET. started blogging. But, i am seeing a way that i think could sustain us. It is all just Jelling now. I have been researching and studying online Products n services that would align with our passions in Life. We r finding ways to contribute as we travel. ( i am happy to share as i do a little testing out my formula) We gain so much from dropping in communities that we want to give where we r nourished in exchange. THANK YOU, for all your courage n inspiration. And just darn hard work. Because this web/travel pursuit time, money n energy. But, what other way is there when it is in our blood?!? bless,bless as they say here in Iceland. Wendy

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  7. Fantastic post. As “new” blogger, it’s very interesting to see different experiences like yours. Thanks for sharing. And good luck for your blog!!

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  8. Hi Alyson,

    Just saw this post linked through from your ‘crappy bits’ and it has been truly enlightening. I work in marketing and liaise heavily with bloggers (in a different industry) so I realise the competition is rife, but although many don’t make money off their blogs they still get quite a lot of freebies.

    Your blog if fantastic and was the first family travel blog I read when we started looking into long-term family travel. It quickly became a daily read and your inspiring words and stories have helped my family make the decision to let go of our UK life to travel. And for that, I (as I’m sure lots of other families are) am truly very grateful!

    I hope you have a wonderful time in London this summer, there is no better place to be when the sun is shining!

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  9. As new bloggers (beginning that uphill climb to earning our first dollar from writing) it is refreshing to see this post. Firstly, you guys are a success! From what little we know, it is so rare to be even getting a penny from blogging. Your achievements are an inspiration to us. What we have found online is that all the ‘successful’ bloggers are posting their success stories online with tips and guides to loads of traffic and $$, yet its not as easy as they imply. You share your story with honesty and such a raw sense of reality as to what is involved with blogging and its adverse impacts which we are now only beginning to understand. Thanks also for the refreshing approach from travelling as a reality and not just ‘living the dream’ material.

    Chin up.
    You inspire us.
    Kind regards,

    Prue and Becks

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    • Thanks Prue and Becks. This blog is indeed a huge success, far more so than I ever thought. I must admit that financially things have picked up a lot this month, we’re almost at $1000 and it’s only the 18th. If I can be of any more help to you shoot me an email, there are so many shortcuts to grow your blog that took me years to work out, plus you’ll need a contacts list.

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  10. Really enjoyed this honest post. Sounds like you’ve done and seen incredible things over the course of your trip, and if you need to slow down now, there’s no reason you can’t pick up traveling again at a later point. The logistical planning really does get exhausting and we’ve slowed down our travels in our 2nd year of traveling as well and are trying to avoid travel burnout. We’re renting an apartment in Penang Malaysia now for a month to try to work on other online projects (as the advertising revenue really is drying up) but things seem to be progressing fairly slowly, so we’ll see.

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    • Yes, we’re enjoying doing “nothing” in Guatemala although I’m still incredibly busy with work and the kids and their education. James has been researching flights back to Florida almost steadily for the last 2 days, so even though we’ve stopped for a while, it still goes on. Thanks Vicky.

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  11. An honest post – And you will find a way to hit the road again when the time or situation is right. In terms of blogging, Amazon sucks for me and always has. I had one great year with sponsored posts (ironically, I wasn’t cycling that year but saving for the next trip), but I find that income from blogging is harder now. I am looking at freelance writing now as a way to make an income whilst I travel… it might work for you also.

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  12. I’m loving your blog Alyson. You have shown how possible and amazing it is to travel as a family, see the world and just have fun. Yes, you’ll be “resting” for a while but I would still consider that as travel as it’s all part of the experience and since money doesn’t grow on trees, some cash definately has to be made, and then the pace can speed up again.

    I love the fact that even though you had a budget, you didn’t let it become the master of you and the be all and end all. I’ve heard of many people who landed in a wonderful place but because of “the budget” didn’t experience it as they would have liked to. Recently, I answered someone’s question about where to go in Europe. What I said to her was if you are coming here for the first time, go to all the wonderful places that you want to go to, tourist trap or not, forget the budget situation, and just have a fabulous time, who knows if you’ll ever go that way again.

    You’ve done an admirable job and I continue to enjoy reading what you’re up to. Call it the expat experience.

    Enjoy!

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    • Thanks Victoria, there’s no point in doing it if you have to scrimp. That should be my catch phrase. But, because we’re revisiting a lot of countries, we don’t need to spend so much. Take Sri Lanka, admission costs there to see the big draws would probably have been $1000. So we didn’t go. We’;ll be back, I’ve seen all of the places before ( except Yala) and the kids aren’t fussed. We got a lot more out of just soaking up the culture and atmosphere and food of the place. We had a wonderful time and hardly spent anything on admissions. In the UK we sought out free attractions, there are LOADS. Plus splurging on the things that were important to us, Harry Potter and Doctor Who. Things like Stone Henge, we looked at from the road, we didn’t need to spend $100 to get a bit closer.

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  13. I love this post! Most people aren’t this honest and matter of fact about the challenges of funding long term travel. My husband and I have a goal of long term travel with our kids and we were actually hoping that an internet venture my husband started with a friend last year was a first step towards having a location-independent income. But you know what? He hated it. About six months in he told me that the constant competition and self promotion required to get your name out online was wearing him down and it wasn’t for him. So we got a new plan: when we work, we’ll work and when we travel, we’ll travel. 25-30% of our income is going to the travel fund right now and it’s starting to add up quite nicely. Fortunately we both have jobs we enjoy for the most part and in a few years when we’ve saved up enough for an extended trip we’ll do it free of the pressure to try to finance it along the way. I admire people who can finance their travels through writing, but just like any career, it’s not for everyone. Sorry to ramble a bit, but I’m glad you are acknowledging that it’s not quite so easy as saying “Just go travel; you can fund your travels through blogging!” when it’s a bit more complicated than that. There are lots of different paths to lifelong exploring and I love reading about yours.

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  14. so much to say to you love. first of all, i’m so proud to call you my friend. i am thrilled that i am part of the love you are speaking of, being a part of that community of bloggers. second of all, you speak wisely that success is not measured here in money. your readership has sky-rocketed. you are amazing and you know it. third, making money online is tough. we know. forth, you know, like we all do, that life has seasons and seasons come and go and change and your family is changing to the next reality which may be settling down for a bit and then you will be free again to move. fifth, sounds like you lived it up and year off is a huge gift no matter what new surprises and gifts the universe brings you. sooo much love, gabi

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  15. Hey, I was thinking that if you wrote an eBook (they can be about 25-30 pages) about family travel. With so many people reading each day, they must be interested and looking for something. I’m looking for inspiration, cheap travel tips, making money online while I travel , and homeschooling. There’s much more than that too. But if you send out an email to your viewers to ask what they would like to see on your site it will give lots of material to keep them coming and may inspire an eBook which can bring in a good deal of money. A website I love about this sort of thing is called smartpassiveincome.com. There’s no affiliate marketing here, I really think he’s the best and most honest voice online in this area.

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    • It’s something to consider Amanda, but do people actually buy e-books? I never have, they don’t interest me in the slightest. A lot of bloggers use them as give aways to encourage people to sign up, even when they’re free I don’t download them! Do people actually make any money out of e-books? I have no idea.

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      • They certainly do. I’ve seen many examples of them being successful. I’ve sent you an email that talks more about this. You have to have the right one for you crowd and they don’t need to be expensive to make money. I’ve purchased many things online like this to help me along on my dream.

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  16. You guys have done so much since you left Australia last year, it’s incredible! I totally agree that it’s really hard to earn a living from blogging and as you mention, you need a few income streams to survive. I started out on our travels with some freelance contracts from home which really helped out with those first couple of pricey months in New Zealand and Australia. As the months wore on I found freelancing interfered with our travel too much so this year we’ve decided to just concentrate on travelling and blogging and settle down in September to top up our funds in Asia, I think that’s the approach that will work best for us, sounds like it might be a good one for you guys too. We haven’t really spent much time trying to make money with our blog because as you point out, it takes a lot of time and commitment; I prefer to just see it as a creative outlet and a way to document our journey.

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    • I know Amy, the time commitment just isn’t worth it, particularly with the kids needing my attention more. But every few hundred we make is a bonus, can’t complain. We totally didn’t stick to our plan at all, did we!

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  17. Sorry to hear you’re having to stop traveling for a while, but I love that you have no regrets. I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time, and devour every post – so full of useful info for anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps!

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    • But is it really stopping? A lot of travel bloggers spend months in one spot, we’ll just be switching to a different mode of travel and giving ourselves a break from this level of intensity. It’s so nice this morning to wake up in Guatemala with an empty day in front of me, no pressure to research anything or go anywhere. I’ve got a $200 post to write too, so I can do that at my leisure and not have to squeeze it in.

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  18. If it were that easy we’d all be doing it! Unfortunately, as you’ve found out, despite the success of some blogs, the truth is, the vast majority earn only pennies. If that.

    You have to offer a product or service, be it an ebook or drop shipping, or some skill you have. You’re never going to earn enough to finance round the world travel for a family, just from a blog…

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  19. As always, I love your honesty Alyson. Many of us have been following along, and will continue to do so no matter where you end up. Yes, there are those that are making an income from blogging, but I bet ya they are working their asses off to do it. Your plan is a great one, settle in one place for a little while, get some paid work back in the bank, and then see where the wind blows you. As you said unforeseen expenses have popped up along the way, and I noticed you were moving a lot faster in the past few months. Go back to slow travel, enjoy the break, and I’m sure all will turn out fine ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Hi Gina, yes, we’ve been ripping around quickly because it’s so expensive over here, we wanted to get it done and head back to Asia and settle for a few months somewhere cheap. Unfortunately we’re stuck here until our cruise, 2 months to go and Central America is proving fairly costly at the moment.
      Some expenses were unforseen but some we’ve just said ” What the Heck” and taken head on. They weren’t in the plan, but plans are boring!

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  20. Great post. It would be nice if he could find a fantastic job in a place with inexpensive accommodations, surrounded by day trips for the kids. A dream? Maybe — bit if it’s out there, I know you’ll find it. Looking forward to reading more on Cental America & Spain.
    Best,
    Suzi

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  21. Making enough income off off one travel blog is so, SO hard. I’m not saying it’s impossible, people are/have done it, but it’s pretty rare and requires very large followings. You could hardly call what we do blogging anymore (at least when it comes to earning money).

    And what is the cost? As you say, it takes quite a bit of time and effort to maintain things and that comes straight out of the travel. Sometimes I envy people who travel untethered.

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    • It’s all about time Dave. Watching this figures go up is so addictive though, the blog becomes an obsession, but I’m startng to realise that if I just stopped, it really wouldn’t make much difference and we’d have a lot more free time.

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  22. also, I am interested to hear of the money you HAVE made from blogging! do you have a link or any more info to share that would explain how that works? Thanks!

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  23. thanks for your honest post. It really helps to hear of the difficulties as well as the highlights. Hang in there.

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  24. Could Chef get a job on one of the Semester at Sea voyages? They are 100 day college programs but staff can take their families on board for the trip and they are international.

    I love hearing about your travels. We homeschool as well and take our children on as many trips as possible (though they are mainly in the US or the Caribbean). I would love to try to be a more adventurous traveler.

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  25. I love your honest post here Alyson. No doubt, the internet does consume a lot of ones time when living on the road. I had no plans to make a living off my blog – it would be great if it turned into a passive income generator – i have been receiving many offers but i have turned them down as I don’t like adding material that I personally would not be interested in nor suit my blog post. Don’t see your next phase as stopping the travel – see it as a different form of travel. I too am looking at returning to Canada and working for a while and taking shorter trips during that time until the next big travel plan. I know you guys will find something soon ๐Ÿ™‚ I am keeping my eyes and ears wide open to throw opportunities to you should i see them . ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • It’s not passive though is it Tasha! It’s a lot of time and effort. That said, it’s the most enjoyable job I’ve ever had. And the worst paying. But if you take into account the thousands of $ of media passes we’ve had, it’s not so bad.

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  26. When there is a will there is a way. Woman, you have Will, so you will find the way. We aren’t making much on our blog either. The new year came and nada. We are trying to figure out other ways to earn. I think the secret is to have your hand in many different pots. It is nice to just slow down a bit too.

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      • Yep, I know. It is getting close to that for us too. We don’t want to empty the bank either. I am one that always needs to cushion too. By the time we get to SEA, we may need to find some work too.

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  27. You’ll do what you need to do – and it sounds like stopping for a while is right for all of you, for a number of reasons. And I’m sure those of us who follow you will cheer from the sidelines as you gather yourselves for whatever happens next.

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  28. Fantastic post, Alyson…a refreshingly honest presentation of of the realities of blog-funded travel. Also you’re right about how scrimping on outings makes things un-fun fast. I need to remember that more often.

    Looking forward to sharing several bottles of red with you in Me-jee-co!

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