I know, you’ve seen those Facebook ads, too: A young couple, deeply tanned, sunglasses on, with a tropical background—living the dream.
The headline reads: “3 years ago, we started blogging, now we earn six figures.” Or something similar.
Your heart longs for it to be true, but your head tells you: It’s too good to be true. Can you earn a living from travel blogging?
When I started blogging in 2007, it was a hobby. I had no intention to monetize my blog.
That changed in 2016. After getting burned out at my day job in marketing, I was ready to do something I was passionate about—travel, writing, and photography. But I also needed a decent income to pay the bills.
So, I dedicated myself to making it happen.
Last year, my dream became a reality: I made over $69,000 while traveling half the year. Here are my top three income streams from blogging that made it possible:
What is affiliate marketing? I write a blog post about a cool travel product, recommendations for my favorite hotels, or a holiday gift guide. When I mention the product, I link to the company with a special affiliate link… and, if people buy the product or book a hotel through that link, I get a commission.
This income varies quite a lot, depending on season and traffic. Last year, my affiliate income ranged from $1,500 to $4,500 monthly. Be strategic about your content and catch the reader at the exact moment when they want to buy.
My top affiliate companies: HotelsCombined, GetYourGuide, Amazon, Allianz.
I signed up for an advertisement network (MediaVine), and they place ads on my website. At first, I was shocked by the number of ads, but in over two years of having them, only three people complained (and two of them were my contributors). Now I make at least $2,500 to $3,000 per month from those ads.
Campaigns and sponsored posts
After I reached a certain level of traffic and social influence, I started working with brands and destinations on paid campaigns.
I go to travel conferences and networking events regularly, and, after connecting with PR agencies, brands, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), and destination marketing organizations (DMOs), I regularly get invited on press trips and campaigns.
Not only do these partners pay for my flight, accommodation, and tours, but I get a daily rate or a set amount for the content that I produce.
The campaigns have set deliverables, such as two blog posts, five Instagram posts, daily stories, three Facebook updates, etc.
Other times, a company gives me a product to review and compensates me for my time and access to my audience. This brings in about $5,000 a year, as I only work with brands and destinations that are a fit for my readers. But it does give me free access to travel destinations and cool products that I get to keep, such as suitcases, backpacks, travel clothing, and more.
Top tip: Rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket, diversify your income to reduce risks.
I prefer the first two income streams, because I have 100% control of what I write, and it’s passive—I write a post once and can earn from it indefinitely. There are many more ways to make a living from travel blogging. Find what works for your readers and repeat this method for your travel blog success.