10 ways to make money with a travel blog (for real)

Who I am
Aina Martin
@ainamartin
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

When I started 6 years ago with travel blogging not only did I not have the slightest idea how to make money with a travel blog, but I didn't even know it could be done.

So if you are here you are probably already way ahead of me in the beginning and probably you will be able to start monetizing your blog long before what I actually did.

Know that there are many ways to make money with the blog, here we will see some of them and I will try to give you some ideas on the risks that it could entail (learned from my mistakes!) Because this article does not want to be a sterile list of ways to earn, but also a small guide with some tips to earn the right way by creating a blog that gives value to you but especially to your readers.



I also recommend that you read about this topic my interview at the international tourism fair in Milan on how to work with brands

Dispassionate advice: the most important thing is always create a valuable resource for your readers. If you want start a travel blog JUST to earn, DO MORE.

Also know that become a professional travel blogger it can be done, but it's not so easy how (many) want you to believe only in order to sell you their courses: earning something is easy, but making the blog become so profitable that to be able to consider it a job it's a long and constant process over the years and you need to have good SEO, blogging, web marketing, social media and bla bla bla skills.



And above all know that to make a travel blog economically there are no shortcuts, witchcraft, magical diaries: there is a lot of work, a lot of study and so much effort.

Another thing you absolutely need to know is that without a strategy you will never go anywhere. You may be thinking that everyone has always told you this, that you have heard this thousands of times, but that actually no one has ever taught you. what is a strategy e how to make a strategy.

This is not because bloggers are bad and ugly and want to keep all the secrets of success to themselves, but because the strategies depend on your goals and the goals are different for each of us: for example, if you aim to become an influencer on Instagram or want to sponsor a destination, you will have to follow a different strategy than if you decide to work with affiliations or advertising. The fact is that they are really different channels, with different objectives and different modalities.

First of all then you need to understand what you want to do and how you want to make money with a travel blog.

Why I chose one way over the other it's a difficult question: just know that as far as I'm concerned some ways didn't work and / or I wasn't capable and / or I didn't like them and / or they didn't give me satisfaction and / or I considered them unethical. This is why I wrote you that your strategy will have to find it by yourself.


Well, now forget for a second the glossy images of bloggers working on their PC on a Caribbean beach and read on because after the introduction I think you are ready to know how to make money with your travel blog!


1 – Copywriting

The first two years I opened ForToursLovers my greatest form of income was write paid content for other travel portals: I was a copywriter, in short.

Big portals always need people to produce new valuable content and it is quite easy to find work this way because on the other hand, finding good copywriters is really difficult.

The bad thing is that it's hard to find portals that pay you well. Especially at the beginning the articles are paid from 15 to 75 euros (depending on the length), but if you can do it with a certain consistency, it still helps your wallet.

Write content for other portals though has another very important factor: Get backlinks to your blog that will help it get value in the eyes of Mister Google. Not everyone wants to give them to you, you ask them (at worst they will answer no).

2 - Paid blog tours and sponsored campaigns

Anyone who opens a travel blog's dream is to get paid to travel the world, right or not? Living while traveling... thinking about it is so cool as a thing that you can't even believe it. Instead it can be done and there are many bloggers who make a nice nest egg this way.


Meanwhile, I make a premise: you do not open a blog to travel for free, get it out of your head, if this is your goal do something else. You don't travel for free for one simple reason: if someone pays you to go on a trip expects you to do a job, not a vacation (then if you do it depends on your personal and professional seriousness).


Then it's true, maybe they send you to a beach in the Maldives, or to Kyrgyzstan as happened to me, or in other cool parts of the world. You will have a lot of fun for sure, but you have to start with the idea that and I work: you will have to take beautiful photographs, you will have to publish on social media paying attention to the hashtags, you will have to write some texts for the blog once you get back home.

There are various types of collaborations in this sense: to participate in gods group blog tour (covered by expenses or even with one fee in money for the blogger) or create real ones campaigns (which in jargon are called "projects") for destinations.

La main difference among the group blog tours or a project is the following (with various nuances then from case to case): blog tours are often tours already decided by the organizers, in which you are called and in which you are included in a group together with other bloggers; you are brought here and there and you have to do the things that the organizers have decided for you.

I generally, unless they are paid blog tours or that interest me particularly I almost never participate. Sometimes I send collaborators in my place, because I think that, especially for those who are at the beginning of their blogging career, it is essential to see how others work and for start building relationships.

Projects (or campaigns) on the other hand are generally intended as projects that you blogger propose to various destinations (together with which you will then decide how to best carry out your campaign according to their needs).

To give you an example, the days I was in Riva del Garda it was a project, the mio bungee jumping it was a blog tour.

Margherita and I during our campaign in Kyrgyzstan

PRO day blog tour:

  • you have fun
  • if you enter the business you are often called, whether you are "famous" or not
  • live new experiences (and thus get material that you can then write on the blog)
  • network with other bloggers and learn

CONS of blog tours

  • you are not free to do what you want
  • the content you write will be very similar to that of other bloggers
  • in most cases they don't have one fee (i.e. you don't pay your bills)
  • you are hardly sent to French Polynesia, it is easier for you to be sent to knead orecchiette in Puglia or to the Mariuccia baths in Marina di Pisa (there is nothing wrong with that, it's just to make you understand not to dream too much, at least Start)

PRO of a campaign

  • it's a project you decide
  • it is generally well paid
  • gives you 100% original content for your blog
  • you decide who to propose it to (and therefore the destination to go to)

CONS of a campaign

  • it is very difficult to be able to do it: maybe the destinations have no budget and it is still very difficult to propose a project that is interesting for them, in short, you have to be really very good.

3 - Sponsored posts and links

Di Breslavtsev Oleg /

One of the traditional ways to make money with a blog is to write a sponsored article for other portals or for some products. A quick and easy earning method, which will most likely be proposed to you at the beginning (or almost) of your blogging business. The rates range, except in exceptional cases, from 20 euros to 500 euros (difficult).

The first thing you need to know is that the agencies that offer you this way of collaborating do it essentially for two reasons:

1 - try to attract and make known a product through your blog and thus find new potential customers among your readers

2 - get one or more outbound links to their portals and products, so buy "trust" on the search engine and go up in google results for certain search queries.

This is one of the ways of making money with a blog I refuse although it is a good way to make money if you do it correctly. Personally, I don't like it especially for one reason and that is I would never recommend a product on my blog that I have not used or do not know.

Second, you are often offered links to as many different things as possible. In my life as a travel blogger in the order I was proposed to put links to revolutionary vacuum cleaners, laxatives, sticky stars to put on the ceiling of the children's bedroom (which I do not have), mobile phone covers, even an air conditioner and shotguns. hunting!

Besides the fact that putting certain links is dangerous for the blog, but what my readers would think, of which I have gained the trust with the work of years, if one day on my travel blog I started writing about a vacuum cleaner advising them to buy it?

They would probably think either that I'm crazy or that I'm a hustler and that I sold their trust for a loaf of bread: they would be right.

Then there are also very serious collaborations of this type, with well-known and reliable brands and very in target and therefore I do not see anything wrong in doing it (after all we are talking about how to make money with a blog, right?) Even if I also avoid these unless you have personally tried the product and consider it to be of quality (if you do, you must write that it is a collaboration for transparency towards those who read you)

How to find these collaborations? In 90% of cases it is easier for them to find you, as there are real agencies that deal with "link building campaigns". Alternatively there are some portals in which you can subscribe, but in my experience in addition to offering you lousy links (and that in the long run they damage your blog), they also pay you lousy.

I heard of a portal that for each link pays 60 euros spread over 10 months to the wonderful figure of 6 euros per month (gross of course). Better not tell you what I think and in any case I would never, never, ever advise you to jeopardize your blog and your professionalism for such a sum.

PRO of sponsored posts / links

  • Easy earnings even at the beginning
  • If well done they can improve the user experience (see useful links)

AGAINST

  • You can compromise the quality of your blog
  • Penalty risks by the search engine (if not done properly)
  • You can lose the trust of your readers
  • They are often poorly paid

4 – Travel Designer (o Travel Planner)

At GaudiLab /

Many bloggers use the blog for sell their tailor-made itineraries as a travel designer, or create tailor-made trips for their readers who request it.

Not a bad way to work this, even if I don't. If you have really been in a place, better if you have lived there, who better than you can create a perfect itinerary (perhaps with some little-known gems)?

Please note: that by law, unless you are a travel agent, you cannot make reservations for your customers: so you create, sell an itinerary and stop.

In my opinion, this job is perfect for those who have a niche blog maybe on a particular area of ​​the world (are you an expert and do you have a blog only on Bali?)

If you are wondering why I don't do it, I am ready to tell you that I don't because to do it as God commands, it would take me a lot of time and if I had to calculate the hours it takes to create it, I would have to make it pay too much. my readers. Also, there are already travel planners or travel agents much better than me!

PRO of being a travel designer

  • Do what you like: talk about travel
  • You can give something unique and make people happy
  • In the long run you can resell the itineraries (modifying them for various needs)

AGAINST

  • It takes a long time to get it right
  • Consequently it is not well paid
  • If you are not capable, you risk ruining the holidays of those who have entrusted themselves to you

5 - Create and sell your own product

Di Breslavtsev Oleg /

Create and sell your own product it's one of the best ways to make money: whether it's a photo book, a guide, a blogging course or a book about traveling as a family, or a video, or a podcast, in short, anything you can create.

I don't have my own product yet (but I've been thinking about it for at least 3 years)

I surmise on the fact that to create a quality product you should have the necessary skills to do it, I'm assuming you have them.

It is important to do this successfully "have an audience" (whether they are readers or aspiring bloggers) before giving life to your creature: the risk is in fact to spend a lot of time to create something cool and not have enough customers to to sell it to!

So before you market your baby, it's best to build a solid blog and a large readership.

Also, if you are not an authority on a particular, time-consuming topic, "brand awareness”And specific skills, it is a bit difficult to be able to sell something.

PRO

  • you have few expenses (your time)
  • you can earn a lot
  • if the product is good it creates value for your readers

AGAINST

  • You can't do it at the beginning, when you don't have a well-known blog with many readers (i.e. you can but will probably sell little if not zero)
  • You must be recognized as authoritative in your field
  • You must have sound skills in what you do
  • If you don't sell you have spent a lot of time getting zero
  • You MUST know how to sell (for example, I am very denied)

6 – Tour leading

Another of the ways in which you can make money (and that I do or have done in the past) is to arrange with a tour operator for a trip, look for the tour participants among your readers and go on a trip with them.

Be careful that even here the legislation is not very clear, if you do not have a driving license you can only be a tour leader, not a guide, and for insurance reasons and for safety of those who come with you, you must rely on a tour operator that is in rule with all the trappings of the case.

PRO

  • You can organize specific and unique tours
  • Sometimes it is well paid
  • Live traveling!

AGAINST

  • You must have a minimum of audience or community that follows you (therefore traffic on the blog or on social channels)
  • You must be willing to travel in a group and you must be able to lead a group
  • You must know the tour operator you rely on

7 - Being a virtual assistant for other bloggers

At View Apart /

This is one of the things that works great abroad: doing thevirtual assistant for big bloggers.

What is a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is a person who helps another to dispose of the immense work that involves when you have a big blog: it means managing his social channels for another, writing his newsletters, disposing of mail, doing the canva and many other things.

This in my opinion it's a great way to make money: Not only does it give you something in terms of pennies (you have to get paid!), but work closely with a successful blogger gives you the opportunity to learn and train for free. If you think about how much good training costs (good training, GOOD) you already understand that if you find the right blogger (and not the person who exploits you: be careful there is full of smart bloggers) this way of working could give you a lot!

Unfortunately, I have never found a blogger who would give me this opportunity. All the offers I received were in exchange for training and unpaid, but the fact that I did not find it does not mean that you cannot find it.

After all, a few years have passed since I started and now there are many more bloggers than before and if you get to know them, try to propose!

PRO

  • you learn a lot without having to spend money on courses (good training costs)
  • you can also do it right away
  • earnings right away

AGAINST

  • You have to fall into the right hands
  • You don't make a lot of money
  • You may have little time left to carry out your personal projects

8 – Affiliate Marketing

By Gustavo Frazao /

This is my favorite earning channel and the one I use the most. What does it mean to do Affiliate Marketing? It means proposing products (the most varied) or services (the most varied) on your blog and with each purchase that is made through one of your links, you take a small percentage.

Don't worry, you're not fooling anyone, the readers who buy through your link they don't spend a single cent more than if they bought directly from the source. In fact, your percentage is calculated on the profit and not on the total cost of that product or service.

Let's take a practical example. One of the most used affiliate platforms on travel blogs are those for hotel booking (here you find a list of travel affiliate programs)

When a reader purchases a hotel room through a booking portal, the portal takes a percentage of the room cost. For example, if a room costs 60 euros, 40 euros are the hotel's earnings and 20 are the percentage of the booking portal (attention these are random numbers just to make you understand how it works).

If a reader books through your affiliate link the room for him will always cost 60 euros, 40 will always be taken by the hotel, but the portal will take 15 euros instead of 20, because 5 will be recognized to you ... cool isn't it?

Please note: that affiliate marketing is not as easy as it may seem right away and must be done in a certain way.

What I mean is that it is not enough to insert affiliate links here and there at random and infest your blog to become a millionaire, on the contrary, I believe that to do this successfully you must already be at a fairly advanced level of experience.

First of all, the percentages are often negligible (from a few cents to a few euros), second you must always recommend to your readers something that you consider valid, that you love and that you have tried yourself. Third, you must have a lot of visits, especially on the blog. Fourth, it takes a certain strategy, you need to study a lot to learn how to do it properly! Fifth you need to be clear and let the reader know that they are buying through an affiliate link. It's always part of that blogger / reader trust I was telling you about earlier and that is the basis of a blogger's success / failure.

Your readers are the most precious thing you can have, treat them as such!

A blogger without readers is not and never will be a successful blogger, you always have to conquer and never betray their trust in you. This is true in everything and always applies, whether you write about a destination, whether you recommend a product, a hotel or a booking platform.

Always be honest and transparent towards whoever reads you e recommend only good things that you first believe in, have tried and LOVE!

PRO

  • You can get to make good money
  • Your blog continues to earn even while you are having an aperitif with friends
  • It does not worsen the quality of your blog, on the contrary it provides added value.

AGAINST

  • You must know the products you recommend and you must have tried them first for yourself
  • You need to have tons of blog visits, so first you need to focus on growing your audience
  • You have to study a lot
  • You must open the VAT number (it is an ongoing work, it is not considered an occasional collaboration)

9 - Advertising

By Rawpixel.com /

I do not have YouTube's ADS, but click on them, on my blog at the moment (who knows in the future), but this is one of the ways to start earning money right away with your travel blog.

By advertising I mean the banners of Adsense or other platforms.

Le advertising revenue is based on traffic so in the beginning there is not much to do, you will earn a few cents. However, if you get good traffic, you can also have a good profit.

Here, too, advertising must be considered wisely, it must not disturb the reader at all. When I visit some websites with popups and advertisements everywhere that block me from reading, I click, I leave the site without reading a single line and I go to look for other blogs.

I was even so fed up that I installed Adblocker so that many advertisements were blocked. So even here you do things wisely, put advertisements that do not bother and study well which ones to put and which ones to block. For example, I once happened upon a travel blog where advertisements bombarded me with images of women full of cellulite to propose a cream. Best avoided on a travel blog, in my opinion.

However, if it is put with criteria, it could be absurd that it could give the blog a more professional air.

PRO

  • Like affiliate marketing, advertising is also a "passive income" or the blog earns even while you are at the beach
  • You can do it right away
  • It does not require special skills

AGAINST

  • Pay little: to earn you must have many visits ergo you have to study SEO
  • If it is too intrusive it becomes annoying for your readers
  • You must open the VAT number (it is an ongoing work, it is not considered an occasional collaboration)

10 - The Blog as a showcase

Di Song_about_summer /

When it comes to monetizing a travel blog, we often don't think about one of the main reasons every freelancer should start a blog: attract new customers to your profession (and it is not only valid in the travel field)

Are you a travel agent? Attracting readers you may find new customers for your agency.

Are you a photographer? Through the blog you can show your work and find new customers to take with you on photographic journeys.

Are you a social media manager? Idem.

Il blog is or should also be a showcase for your services, through which your readers can get to know you, understand who you are, what you do and how you do it: always face it!

In this case there are no cons, but only many pros!

How much do you earn with a travel blog?

Di Andrey_Popov /

Here it is, the question that everyone asks me:

"Martina, how much do you earn with a travel blog?"

I hate always give this answer: it depends.

If you live with your travel blog, you are like every other freelancer in the world: your income depends on your skills, on the commitment you will put in to carry it out, on how much you will be willing to continue investing in training to keep up with the web which, we all know, changes at the speed of light.

Today you can earn a few euros, tomorrow you can bill thousands, you can lose out, break even: overnight you may have everything or have nothing left.

I could tell you how much I earn now, but tomorrow may no longer be true.

Today you are first on Google and you make hundreds of euros with advertising, tomorrow you will no longer find yourself in the search results even crying in Arabic; until yesterday you were a famous influencer, today someone better than you has stolen all your customers; yesterday you got hundreds of likes on Facebook and all the organizations wanted to work with you, today the algorithm has changed and if all goes well you only get a couple of likes (consolation from friends).

Do you remember when at the beginning of the post I told you that if you want to start a blog just to make money, that then you should do something else? Here: the success (and the profit) of your blog will also depend on the passion, on how much you will be willing to start over if things go wrong and on the desire to carry it on for years with constancy, regardless of whether at the end of the month you have done a lot of money or not.

In any case, whether you become a professional blogger or you remain just a hobby blogger, it will be a wonderful adventure. Now that you know how to make money with a travel blog, get to work and ... good luck!

 

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