The big question so many travel bloggers want to know: How do you make money travel blogging and through social media?
Well, its no surprise. We basically are living the dream: Getting paid to travel the world!
Working as a professional travel blogger and social influencer has been a dream come true. From the outside it does seem like bliss, however travel blogging is exhausting and frustrating at the best of times. There are times when you want to punch your computer, times where you’re up all night trying to redesign certain sections and during your first year or so it can be so disheartening when your blog just isn’t monetising the way you thought it would. We’ve all been there.
However, we wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s been a wild rollercoaster of emotions and if we had the choice, we would do it all over again.
If you haven’t started a travel blog yet and want to: Here’s our step-by-step guide to starting your travel blog like a pro!
So before we get into the ways you can make money travel blogging and through social media. There are a few common questions we consistently receive from people wanting to start their own travel blog, but are unsure whether its worth it in the long run.
How long was it until you monetised your blog/social media profiles?
Our travel blog went live in October 2016, and we earned our very first income just before the end of the year (a mere $0.55!). It was still money, and from little acorns..! We didn’t really concentrate on monetising our blog until fairly recently, as our main objective was increasing page views, subscribers and collaborations.
In terms of our social media profiles, we consistently earn around $2,500 a month from Instagram (our main social media channel). This is mainly through sponsored posts, through apps like Shoutcart and Tribe. We do have over 55,000 Instagram followers (as of January 2017), want to know how we got this? Read our blog post: How to gain more Instagram followers.
Is it easy to make money travel blogging and through social media?
We’re going to be brutally honest, it could be easier. Travel bloggers compared to personal finance blogs make pennies. However, you should never just be creating a travel blog to earn free press-trips, money and sponsored posts. You should be travel blogging because you love it! If you think like this, the money will follow.
Making money will not come straight away, there is a learning curve you’ll have to follow. Investing in courses, themes, domains and logo designs will eat away your expenses, its no surprise that 90% of travel bloggers will stop after a year, as they’re not earning enough to cover their costs.
But don’t let this put you off. Being a successful travel blogger is all down to you. No one else. Just you. If we can do it, you can too.
Before you even think about how to make money travel blogging, connect with travel bloggers, learn from them. Concentrate on your page views, loyal subscribers and really interact with them. After all, if you haven’t got loyal readers, it is going to be very hard to earn a living from travel blogging. If you focus on these, like we said earlier: the money will follow.
If you treat travel blogging like a business from the beginning, and this means investing in courses, tools and resources, then you’ll get paid as a business, not as a hobby.
How much money can you earn?
There is no accurate figure we could give. It depends on so many factors. The top travel bloggers out there are earning a six figure income each year. Through various streams including selling courses, books, affiliate incomes, sponsorships and much more.
Set big goals and work towards them, the higher you set your goals the more motivated you’ll be to achieving them. Of course, don’t go over the top and say ‘I want to earn a six figure income in my first year of travel blogging’ as realistically that won’t happen, and you’ll become dishearten to not even reach anywhere near that.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to companies, marketers and other bloggers, if you don’t ask you won’t get!
Is social media really that important?
YES. Social media is our main form of traffic to our blog, especially Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Without it, we would be no where near where we are today. Yes, it does take up ALOT of your time, but it’s worth it. Without social media, how would you promote your new product, blog post or collaboration? How would you find other travel bloggers? Potential subscribers? The list goes on.
We suggest really engaging in social media for the first year of your blog, gain a strong and loyal following and from there start to monetise through this. You don’t even need a blog to earn money through social media. We started our Instagram a year before we started our blog and were already earning $1,500 a month from it, purely through sponsored posts! Thus, when we made our blog live, we already had a strong following due to our Instagram.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media.
10 ways to make money travel blogging
The thing you must understand is that you will not make that much money OFF your travel blog (you can but you need super high traffic numbers) but instead, BECAUSE of your travel blog.
Blogging can open up so many doors, but they won’t open until you’re an established blog and have a strong readership base. If you want this to be a you’re job then treat it as such. We see far too many travel bloggers getting into this game just to get free trips so they can travel. This is okay, but that isn’t going to get you anywhere, and people can see straight through that. If you love what you do, it will show through in your blog, and companies will see that.
If you want to make money travel blogging, you need a long-term business plan, not just a free ride to travel, as this won’t be sustainable in the future.
For example, we LOVE helping people travel in luxury for less. It fills us with happiness to know someone has implemented our strategies and is now able to travel well for less. Get our FREE E-Book and discover the amazing ways you can travel in luxury even when you’re a backpacker on a limited budget, through our various travel tips and hacks.
1. Affiliate Marketing
We love affiliate marketing, its so easy to set up and once the link is in the post, you’re good to go! You can earn an income in your sleep, when you’re travelling, and forever as long as the link is visible to your readers. It’s great for passive income.
Affiliate marketing is where you promote other people’s products and services and receive a small commission. We only recommend products or services that we personally use, like and trust, as we don’t want our readers to think we promote any old product, just so we earn commission. We’d rather give you a few options that we know are trustworthy and have great deals on.
Take a look at our Travel Recommendations Page for all our favourite companies when we’re planning, travelling and blogging!
Before we took a course on affiliate marketing, we were completely lost on how to implement it effectively so that we could turn readers into conversions. As a result, we took the course: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroder-Gardner. This was probably the BEST investment we have made in terms of purchasing an online course. She’s the best out there.
Learn how she went from $0 to $50,000 a month purely through affiliate marketing.
We wish we bought this course at the very beginning of our travel blogging career, as we basically had so much potential money sitting on the table, which we could have earned if we knew her strategies and techniques. If there is one income earning strategy we recommend you implement straight away, it’s affiliate marketing. You won’t get immediate results, but it will pay off in the long-run.
2. Freelance Travel Writing
This is where you write travel-related articles or produce videos for other websites. Many people write on the Huffington Post, Natural Geographic and other major travel forums. It can be a decent source of income for some travel bloggers just starting out and a great way to get your name out there to other potential clients and readers.
3. Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are when a brand wants to promote their product or experience for any particular reason, on your blog. It could be a product review, a hotel review etc. But be careful with what sponsored posts you allow, we get hundreds of emails each month asking to promote a product/service on our site, that doesn’t even link to our brand, so be picky and don’t be afraid to decline.
We’ll only share products or services we believe in, would use ourselves and we think is valuable to share to our readers. You must disclose that this is a sponsored post at the top of your blog post. Sponsored posts are basically like an advertisement that is written by you.
This is our main form of income through Instagram, we do on average 5-8 sponsored posts a month that align with our brand, and through this we earn around $2,500 a month.
4. Own Products
Now, you won’t want to create your own product until you have a large amount of traffic to your blog, many subscribers and a fairly large presence in the travel blogging world. By all means, start brainstorming for your ultimate giveaway, but we highly recommend you wait for a year or two before promoting your product to readers.
Your product may be an online course, an book, a physical product unique to your brand, basically anything you think will sell well to YOUR readers.
We’ve just started planning for our online course that we will be releasing in the near future, its a secret right now to what it will be, but lets just say, you’ll be travelling in luxury in no time 😉
5. Destination Marketing
If you’re lucky, a tourism board may invite you on an all expenses paid trip, in return for a review and write up about your experiences there. However, these are normally unpaid, but you will receive flights, accommodation, food and activities for free.
6. Travel Planning
If you are an expert in a certain field, for example travel in Thailand or Australia, you can get paid to travel plan. Lots of your followers are following you for advice and help because they’re off travelling soon. Why not connect with them over Skype, E-Mail or Facebook and arrange a consultation to help them plan their travels for a small fee? Its a win-win situation, you will connect with them, earn some cash and they’re have the benefit of learning from the best!
If you’re a social media guru, you can help companies who are new and unsure how to utilise social media get started. We may also help with content creation for their websites, or even run their IG and FB pages for a small fee.
8. Facebook Takeovers
This is a bit like consulting, however much more short-term. For example, you may be hired by tourism boards and travel companies to takeover their Facebook page for a period of time, to really promote and engage with readers.
A great tip to consider: If you’re offered a blog trip, go back to the sponsor with a list of services they can pick and choose from to build up a package that is both more engaging and far reaching than just producing blog content.
9. Speaking at Events
Is a great way to get noticed by potential clients and readers. Talk about your brand, what it does and how it can help people travel. Even if you’re a little shy, you’re love and passion for what you do will shine through, so don’t worry. Start off speaking at smaller events, and slowly work your way up.
10. Photography Sales
If your travel blog has a photography section, why not sell your licensed photos online to marketing and advertising campaigns? Businesses like tour companies, tourism boards, outdoor brands, media outlets, and much more may be interested in your portfolio, and if you never offer you will never receive.
If you’re serious about showcasing your photography skills, you should maybe consider an online shop so that readers can buy prints of your photos through your blog, only an idea but it might be worth a shot.
So there you have it! The many ways you could potentially earn and make money travel blogging and through social meda. Obviously some ways will be harder to implement from the get go, but there are a few great income streams you can install pretty much as soon as you go live with your blog.
The only thing that can stop you from becoming successful, is YOU.
We hope this answered your question on: ‘How to travel bloggers make money’. If you have any other questions just comment below! 🙂
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