I want to be honest. This blog post was created out of frustration. I’m frustrated with the deceit that goes on in the blogging world. Too often when people search Google for “how to make money as a travel blogger” do I see blog posts titled, “5 Easy Steps to Creating a Money-Making Blog!” or “Start Earning Thousands From Your Blog in Just Six Weeks!”
Let’s get real. In NO way is creating a money-making blog easy. It never has been.
How To Make Money As A Travel Blogger
So, you’re looking to make money as a travel blogger, yeah?
Blogging takes a lot of hard work and self-taught skills. I’m tired of seeing these posts from other bloggers that claim the opposite. They are complete bullshit (excuse my language).
In reality, those posts are likely just trying to get you to purchase items and services from their affiliate links (affiliate links are the way bloggers make money). *Some* bloggers will tell you what you want to hear so that you’ll turn around and make them money.
But I’m not going to do that.
Sure, this post will contain affiliate links. I’ll also include links to our own products and services. But let’s shake things up a bit. I’m going to be 100% honest about what it takes to make money as a travel blogger.
There is no reason that a blogger should ever lie about the hard work that is required to turn a blog into a business. Don’t get me wrong, working remotely and setting your own schedule is incredible. I am in love with what I do.
But blogging is NOT easy.
Does that mean you shouldn’t start a blog and reach for your goals? Absolutely not.
The point of this guide is to walk you through every small detail about monetizing your travel blog. I want you to remember that making money from a travel blog is achievable; travelers do it every day. But be prepared for a LOT of work.
So, if you’re up for the challenge, let’s do this.
Step #1: Set Up Your Travel Website
If you want to create a travel blog that makes money, you’ll need to have a website – go figure! But, this is where a lot of people make mistakes. This is where I made a mistake. Twice.
Set up your website using the right platform.
I repeat. Save yourself time and use the right platform. Which is… self-hosted.
Self-Host Your Website
Start by signing up for an account with A2. Feel free to use our link >>click here<<.
It’s important to know that it will cost you money to set up your site. On average, it’s about $70 and that will cover the whole year.
Tips For Setting Up Your Website
Let’s face it… setting up your website
✔️A2 will ask if you want several different add-ons. We only recommend the ID Protection as an add-on. We don’t think the other add-ons are necessary.
✔️Once you’ve registered your account, you can login to WordPress.org on your A2 dashboard. That is where you will be designing your site and writing blog posts.
To get even more help registering with A2 and getting from A2 to WordPress, download our guide below:
TIP: While we 100% recommend using WordPress.org for your website, it’s important that you do not confuse this for WordPress.com.
✔️Choose a travel blog name that is aligns with your niche or travel in some way.
✔️Be sure to get a .com website rather than .net, .co, etc.
Step #2: Design Your Website
So, you’ve set up your account with A2 and opened your WordPress.org dashboard. Now you need to design your site and launch it!
Here are some important things to remember when designing your travel blog:
✔️Choose a fast theme. There are plenty of themes out there; we recommend one of the following free themes (do not pay for a theme – we have never once paid for a theme):
- Kadence – this is our favorite theme. It’s fast, easy to use, and incredibly functional. Be sure to download and utilize Kadence Blocks (the plugin) as well!
- Trellis – created by the top-tier ad company, Mediavine, you can expect amazing things out of Trellis.
- Astra – another fast and clean theme.
✔️ Launch your blog right away. No one will look at your website anyway. It will take you a few months to get some readers.
✔️ Keep your plugins to a minimum. Think of it like a cell phone.. what happens when you overload it with apps? It slows it down significantly. Keep it clean!
Step #3: Learn SEO
While some bloggers recommend waiting to learn SEO, I think that would completely derail your success. You must learn SEO and you must learn it from the beginning.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It sounds scary, but really what this means is that you’re writing for Google. You’re speaking Google’s language and writing blog posts that Google will be able to understand and show to users.
Long story short, SEO helps you rank on Google and grow your readers.
Interestingly enough, SEO is foolproof. With the right tricks and knowledge, you’ll be able to write content that WILL drive traffic to your site. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Writing content isn’t a game of luck, it’s a game of strategy. You WILL win if you use the right strategy. You will develop an audience if you write the correct blog posts and write them with quality in mind.
So, to sum it up, SEO is a writing style and rules your website must follow.
SEO Tips For Making Money As A Travel Blogger
✔️ Site speed matters (to an extent)
Make sure you have a website that is fast. This means minimal moving slides (pictures or videos that move across your screen), don’t have your Instagram feed load on your page, and choosing a fast theme (Kadence, Trellis, Astra).
✔️ Do keyword research
In order to grow your traffic on Google, you need to answer people’s questions or fulfill their search queries in some way. That means you need to write blog posts that focus on specific topics.
The best topics have low competition and high volume (meaning there are people searching for these things on the internet).
You can use a keyword research tool to find the best topics to target with your blog posts. Download free keyword tools like the Ubersuggest Chrome Extension, WhatsMySerp Chrome Extension, and Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension.
There are better and more powerful keyword research tools that you can use as well. Here are a few that we recommend:
- Keysearch – most affordable option.
- Ahrefs – our personal favorite, but pricier!
- SEMRush – also pricey.
✔️ Use your keyword appropriately
Once you have a good keyword, you’ll want to use it appropriately throughout your blog post. A few places you’ll want to use it (naturally, of course) are:
- URL slug
- Meta description
- First 100-200 words
- Alt-image description
Among other places. You’ll want to really dive into SEO and invest in your skills so that writing the way Google wants becomes second nature.
You can learn even more about blogging by joining one of our weekly free trainings below. Click the image, register, and I’ll see you there (yes, live! yes, me!).
✔️ Focus on user intent
What do these people REALLY want when they type these topics into Google? The first person who can give them the information they are looking for in an easy-to-consume way will win.
So, make sure that whenever you’re writing a blog post, you’re getting right to the point as quickly as you can. If they are looking for the ‘Best Things To Do In Milos’, give them a list of things to do in Milos first.
While you should include fluff, give them what they are looking for first and then include fluff.
✔️ Write more than the rest of them
If you’re looking to rank on Google and make money from your travel blog, you need to write more than the rest of the travel bloggers about any given topic. Go bigger and better with your blog posts (write more words) and you’ll be golden.
Step #4: Get Backlinks To Your Travel Blog
If you’re writing blog posts by now, you’re doing exactly what you should be doing. BUT, there’s another compenent to SEO for travel blogging that you need to hear about.
It’s something called backlinks.
You need to get backlinks to your website in order to make Google like you more and give you more traffic.
What Are Backlinks?
Half of you are probably wondering, “what the heck are backlinks?” Think of backlinks like votes for your website. When another website links to your website, this is considered a “backlink”.
Your goal will be to get as many high-quality backlinks as you can. The more you have, the faster you’ll be able to rank on Google and get readers to your travel blog.
Tips For Getting Backlinks For Travel Bloggers
There are several places you can get backlinks. I recommend the following:
HARO (AKA Help A Reporter Out) is a website that connects journalists with sources (you) for their stories and roundup posts. This is completely free.
Journalists from all types of high authority news sites hangout there including Business Insider, Forbes, CNBC, MSNBC, BBC, etc.
Sign up with HARO as a source and you’ll start to receive emails three times daily (5:35am, 12:35pm, 5:35pm EST). These emails are inquiries from journalists about the stories they are writing. Scan these emails as soon as you receive them and if any pertain to you, reply with your best answer. Don’t forget to include a link to your blog in your reply!
✔️ Guest Posts
Consider reaching out to other bloggers or websites to see if they would allow you to guest post for them. You’ll write a blog post for them and in exchange, you’ll get a few links back to your website within that post.
A very easy way to get backlinks as a new travel blogger is by participating in collaborations. Basically, a bunch of bloggers will come together to create one blog post and each person who added their tips to this post will get a backlink to their site.
Typically speaking, collaborations aren’t the highest quality backlinks, but they do help.
Step #5: Make Money With Your Travel Blog From Affiliate Marketing
Okay, so now you’re growing your traffic, but you want to make money from it. That’s where affiliate marketing comes in.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you recommend a product or service to your audience. This product is NOT your own product, but someone else’s. If someone takes your advice and purchases what you suggest, you will receive a commission from the company at no extra cost to the buyer.
Companies everywhere have affiliate programs that you can join. This affiliate money that they pay you for recommending their products is built into their marketing budget.
You can check out how we’ve included affiliate links in our post here: 32 Unforgettable Things To Do In Kauai 2022
Affiliate Marketing Tips For Travel Bloggers
If you want to make money travel blogging, follow these affiliate marketing tips:
✔️ Recommend products and services you love and that fit your audience
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I wouldn’t suggest being an affiliate for pool floaties if you’re a travel blogger… Stick to what fits your audience. Stay true to this or risk looking spammy.
✔️ Find affiliate programs quickly and easily
You can find your ideal affiliate programs by going to Google and typing in the name of the company you want to be an affiliate and ‘affiliate program’. For example, I might type into Google, “REI affiliate program”.
Read their terms of service, apply, and wait for a response. Most affiliate programs don’t have requirements to join. Most don’t even require a website!
✔️ Make your links stand out
Your affiliate links should stand out compared to the rest of your text. Make the background stand out (lighter color), use an emoji, bold the text, but most importantly, have the link and a call to action on a separate line.
Basically, you need to draw necessary attention to your links in order to get people to click on them.
Step #6: Make Money With Your Travel Blog From Ads
Affiliate marketing isn’t the only way that you can make money from a travel blog. In fact, it’s one of many, many ways travel bloggers make money.
I will say, travel bloggers are some of the most creative people in the world when it comes to monetizing their sites. I’ve seen people making money from their travel blogs in the craziest ways.
But, I want to talk about the most obvious ways people make money with travel blogs… Ads!
I want you to think about your favorite Youtube channel. I bet you hate those ads that run before the video starts, right? Well, those ads pay bills for a lot of people, especially our favorite creators.
And bloggers can make money from ads the same way that Youtubers do. The biggest difference? Bloggers have the freedom to choose any ad network they. Ad networks that pay a heck of a lot more than the Google Adsense you must have if you want ads on your Youtube channel.
Comparitively, bloggers (who use a top-tier network like Mediavine) make about 5-10x more than Youtubers do for the same amount of views.
- Google Adsense (Youtubers): Approximately $3-5 per 1,000 video views
- Mediavine (Bloggers): Approximately $25-40 per 1,000 page views
When To Join An Ad Network As A Blogger
Bloggers can join ad networks whenever they would like. Google Adsense, Ezoic, and several other networks don’t require a traffic minimum.
But higher quality ad networks like Mediavine, SheMedia, and AdThrive do have traffic minimums that you must meet at least once in order to be accepted.
Personally, I highly recommend waiting until you reach 50,000 monthly sessions to join an ad network because that means you’ll be able to join Mediavine.
The pennies that you would make with Google Adsense wouldn’t make a big enough difference (income-wise) to justify the way ads will slow down your website. Remember, Google likes fast websites, but lower quality ad networks will mess with that.
✔️ Wait To Join An Ad Network
This is the key takeaway. Wait to join an ad network until you reach at least 20,000 sessions. Anything before would be premature and it would cost your site speed/readers.
Learn More About Making Money From A Travel Blog
What I just covered is incredibly helpful and important. But SEO and affiliate marketing topics are complex. You will need to invest in your skills in order to learn exactly how to get blog posts to rank at the top of Google and make money from them.
Best Travel Blogging Courses
Scale Your Travel Blog is our course and coaching program. We launched in January 2021 and have since had 500+ students go through our doors.
Our course has become an overnight sensation. It is currently the top travel blogging coaching program worldwide winning numerous awards.
But we would be nothing without our dedicated students and the wins we have shared with them. You can check out our testimonials by clicking the link below:
But before you sign up for Scale Your Travel Blog, why not join us in a live workshop to see if this is the right fit for you? Sign up below:
The best part about our program is that it includes everything you need to know to grow your travel blog. You won’t have to purchase other courses because ours is all-inclusive.
We cover SEO, affiliate marketing, and email marketing in-depth in Scale Your Travel blog. Additionally, we touch on sponsorships, digital product production, mindset, and more.
*NOTE: If you want to grow and make money from a travel blog using social media, our course is not a good fit. We do not cover social media, and we don’t recommend it either.
Here’s why: you can get results that last for years and years…
… or results that last 24 hours like you’d get from Instagram…
Which one do you want to put energy into?
Best Travel Blog Resources For Making Money
✔️ A2– the cheapest and easiest web hosting platform.
✔️ BigScoots – the best web hosting platform. This is the one we use, but it is much more expensive than A2, so take that into consideration. I’d start with A2 and then move to BigScoots later when you start to make money from your blog.
✔️ ConvertKit – the best email marketing platform.
✔️ Mike & Laura Travel Youtube Channel – Looking to make money from your travel blog? We post new tutorials on our Youtube channel each week. Be sure to subscribe!
✔️ Free Travel Blogging Facebook Group – I also run a free Facebook group for learning more about travel blogging. You can join by clicking the link above.
How To Make Money As A Travel Blogger: FAQs
Okay, okay.. I know I just went through everything pretty quickly. And while I wish I could include everything I know about SEO, affiliate marketing, and email marketing in this post, it’s simply too much. This blog post would take months to read.
But, I still wanted to answer as many frequently asked questions about making money as a travel blogger as I could. So, here are the most common questions we get about blogging:
How Long Will It Take To Make Money As A Travel Blogger?
The time it takes to turn a travel blog into a money-making business varies for everyone. There is no definitive time frame for this to happen, so forget what other bloggers might have promised you with their “how-to” guides.
Our blogs typically earn money within the first 3-5 months, sometimes sooner! For new bloggers who can put 10 hours per week into their blog, you could expect to make money from your blog in the first 6 months (as long as you well-versed in SEO).
Our students from Scale Your Travel Blog who typically start from scratch (no prior SEO knowledge) usually start to earn money within the first 6-7 months. Again, sometimes a lot sooner. Sometimes later.
Learn more about making money from a travel blog by joining our free live training. Click the link below! I do these live each week!
If you take one thing away from this blog post, let it be that you should never compare your travel blog to others. Their journey to success is completely different from yours. There are so many different factors that attribute to turning a blog into a business. Comparing yourself is irrelevant.
Instead, focus on your own goals. With hard work, the money will come.
How Much Money Can I Make As A Travel Blogger?
This is another question that differs for every travel blogger. I know a lot of travel bloggers who make a couple of hundred dollars per month and I know a lot of travel bloggers who earn $20k+ per month (yes, seriously).
The amount of money you can make as a travel blogger depends on several different factors. Are you practicing proper affiliate marketing techniques? How many readers are coming to your site each day? Each month? Are you using ads; if so, what kind? Do you sell your own product?
These all matter when looking to earn money from a travel blog.
Why Should I Listen To You? Who Are You?
You’re probably wondering, “why should I listen to you? What makes this guide different from any other how-to-blog guide I’ve read in the past?”
That’s a fair question.
To you, I’m just another travel blogger. But what you might not know is that I’ve been working on my blog for the past 8+ years. I’ve struggled, made horrible blogging mistakes, and had epic triumphs. Through it all, I’ve documented every step. Every failure. Every success.
I’ve done thousands of hours of research trying to break into this harsh blogging world. The courses I’ve taken, books I’ve read, and podcasts I’ve listened to helped me understand what it takes to become a successful blogger.
Should I Do Pinterest For My Travel Blog?
The answer to this question is a big fat NO. Do not waste your time on Pinterest. I don’t care what you’ve heard from other bloggers, it is not worth your time as a travel blogger.
Here’s how I know: back in 2018-2019 I was testing everything in order to make money from my blog. Pinterest was one of the things I tried.
I poured so much of my time and effort into Pinterest and we even reached 1 million monthly viewers on the platform (whatever that means, right?).
All of my effort lead to 1300 clicks to my website. I spent more than 40 hours per week trying to grow my Pinterest and all I got was 1300 clicks? That’s a terrible return on time invested. It’s not worth it.
The Wrap-Up: How To Make Money As A Travel Blogger
I said from the start that I wasn’t going to lie to you about how to make money as a travel blogger. And thus far, I’ve been completely truthful. Travel blogging isn’t easy. But it’s definitely worth the time, effort, and struggle.
Now that you know how to make money as a travel blogger and the effort it takes, I hope you take this information and create the most successful travel blog out there.
Want To Be A Successful Travel Blogger?
Don’t forget to grab your free guide where we outline the 6 steps we took to turn our travel blog into a full-time, 6-figure business.
Enter your name and email below and we’ll deliver the guide directly to your inbox!
Find this post helpful? Save it to Pinterest for later!