7 Ways I Make Money Travel Blogging

The number one question I get asked when I say I’m a full-time travel blogger is how do I make money from travel blogging. I don’t think people are nosey, they’re just fascinated, but even when I try to explain how to make money travel blogging, they still look confused. So, I thought I’d explain exactly how I make my money as a travel blogger, where I make it, clear up a few questions I get sent regularly and set out a few ideas on what I plan to do for the future to keep the cash rolling in.

This is part 5 of 15 of the Travel Blogger High Series: The Online School for Wannabe Travel Bloggers

1. Copywriting

I write for a few travel companies about the topics they give me. Some of this is incredibly well paid, others not so much. Thanks to my blog and how long I’ve been doing it, I’ve managed to get this work though them approaching me, rather than me having to go out and look for work. It’s important to keep as many clients as you can cope with when you’re freelance, as one client could drop you at any time and it helps to have a back up (it happens).

Create a ‘work with me‘ section on your blog to make sure people know that you’re in the market for work, and treat every unsolicited email you get in your inbox as a work opportunity. You need to keep your eye on the ball to jump on the opportunities that open up to you in this way. Once you have an email address, you have an in.

2. Freelance writing

How to make money travel blogging

Opportunities to earn some money freelance writing come along regularly and depending on my time and the pay, I’ll decide whether to take them up. I write for a number of websites on a range of topics and enjoy the diversity of writing for a different audience. It’s a great idea to use your blog as a portfolio for more work – this is one of the most common ways for travel bloggers to make money.

3. Sponsored content

Sometimes companies will pay me to write about them or their campaign – just like the way magazines and newspapers write around the advertising they manage to get in their publications.  This is necessary for me to to keep on travelling and it can be quite good money.

This can be a pretty sketchy topic for over sensitive bloggers, by the book SEOs and those who live in fear, thanks to the Google guidelines on sponsored content. My advice would be to only work with travel companies you like and trust and not to do it too often. I know a travel blogger who’s entire site got delisted in Google because she accepted too many, and probably took them from dodgy gambling sites too. It’s up to you whether you want to take the risk. Most travel bloggers do, whether they admit it or not.

  • For example: How to Earn Money on Anything

4. Competitions

How to make money travel blogging

Now and again I’ll be paid to feature a competition on vickyflipfloptravels.com. I do this because I love competitions – thanks to travel competitions I’ve been to Sharm el Sheikh, Amsterdam and Zanzibar – they can help you travel when you don’t have the money. And because it’s a less intrusive way of making a bit of cash from companies who can afford it. I fully support the competitions I feature but in agreeing to have them on site, I know I can’t win. But you can – so the odds are even better.

  • For example: Win a Two-Week Tour of New Zealand, With Flights (closed now)

5. Affiliate links

I write about travel and festivals. This provides a nice little income through affiliates thanks to the products I’ve tried and tested on Amazon. One of the most popular posts on my blog is Awesome Ways to Sneak Alcohol into Festivals. I’ve recommended a few products on here to help you smuggle booze and every time someone clicks on these posts and buys the item I earn a few pennies. It’s not much individually, but over time, especially during the summer, it adds up to a few hundred a month without me having to do anything. Here’s an example of the Amazon dashboard so you can see how much little you can make off an item.

How I make money travel blogging

One of the tricks I’ve learnt is to sell some really cheap things, like the ponchos, to boost your quantity so you can move up to the next earnings bracket. Then sell some more expensive things too to bring your overall earnings up.

I’m also signed up to the HostelBookers.com affiliate scheme, although I haven’t made much money of this at all. I don’t recommend that many hostels on here so of course, I won’t have many bookings.

I don’t create my posts with these affiliate links in especially to have links, but if I’m recommending a product or a hostel I may as well earn a little to pay for my next one right?

I’ve looked at other affiliate schemes but none so far have appealed. The amount you earn is so little you have to ask if it’s worth getting involved. Look for affiliate schemes that are really complementary to your blog or the sales will be so small, it won’t be worth it. Have a look around and see if there are any to suit your blog and niche – I know some people, like Darren Rowse, earn a small fortune.

6. Working for gapyear.com

How I make money travel blogging

I still work for my old company gapyear.com on an hourly contract doing various things. I worked there for 18 months as Content and Social Media Manager until I left to go travelling so I know the company inside out. If you’re thinking of leaving a job you should always leave on good terms, and if you’ve identified a gap in their workings while you’ve been there pitch an idea to them to fill it. It’s great to still be working for them, and I got to go to the Christmas party too.

7. Easy Social Media for Hostels eCourse

How I Make Money travel blogging

I launched the Easy Social Media for Hostels eCourse a few months ago and so far the response has been great. I genuinely wanted to help hostels to be better on social media and to show them how to do it step by step. It’s something that’s been at the back of mind for a while since seeing all the shoddy online profiles during my work at HostelBookers.com and I’m glad I finally managed to finish the ebook and get it out there.

I have plans for more ebooks, based on the most popular topics from my blog. This can be a nice little earner if you find a unique topic that’s not been written about before and you can passionately create some valuable content around it that goes above and beyond the usual content you’ll find on your blog.

More ideas to making money travel blogging

There are a lot more ways to make money from travel blogging, but the seven above are the ones I’ve had the most success with. They’ve helped me to keep travelling for the past few months.

This year I’d like to think about earning a bit more, and here’s how I’ll do it.

Public speaking – I’ve had quite a few requests over the last months but haven’t been able to do any as I’m out the country. I’d definitely be interested in helping more people and companies with their blogging skills, so it’s something to look at in the next few months.

Ads – I’ve not found an ads method that suits me yet. Some bloggers have Google Adsense, PPC ads and CPM ads all over their site, but I think you’d have to be a really huge blog before you did that to make it worth it. I get approached weekly by some native advertising company telling me it will change my life, but I just don’t want to clog my blog. I’ll keep my eyes open for less intrusive options.

Higher value affiliate deals – one of my favourite money-making authorities, Pat Flynn, earns an absolute fortune from commissions just advertising BlueHost and selling high value affiliate deals. This is maybe something to look at when you have high numbers, and if you’re a niche site. I definitely want to do more with my affiliates, but as I said above, it’s a case of finding the right product.

Guest posts – I really need to start writing for other people to get backlinks to improve my blog, and to make a bit of cash. Take a look at this list from Caroline in the City for some good paying gigs for your words.

Newspapers and magazines – I used to work in the magazine industry, for some of the biggest titles. In 2015 I plan to use that knowledge and history to get my work in more print publications. Last year I managed Wanderlust, twice, but that’s it. This year I’m going for an article in The Guardian. I’ll let you know as and when it happens.

Travel blogger bitching

Just  to note, there can be quite a lot of negativity around travel bloggers making money in the industry.

  • “Ewww, they just bash out eBooks, they should give that away for free”
  • “Ewww, they just saved up loads from working in finance, it’s easy for them”
  • “Ewww, they do sponsored content”
  • “Ewww, they have adverts”
  • “Ewww, they sold out and work for blah blah”

So, how exactly are you expected to pay for the travels you write about for free?

I say pick your revenue(s), do it well, and go for it.

This is part 5 of 15 of the Travel Blogger High Series: The Online School for Wannabe Travel Bloggers

 

Making money travel blogging

There are lots of ways to make money travel blogging – all requiring lots of hard work, some imagination and a touch of creativity – you’ve just got to get out there, find the jobs and create the opportunities. You can do it!

Any more questions?

VickyFlipFlopTravels

Just How Expensive is Tokyo for a Week?
Happy 3rd Blog Birthday To Me!

32 Comments

  1. by Elle Croft on February 2, 2015  12:00 pm Reply

    Great post!
    I think there can be this sense of secrecy around how bloggers make money when, really, everyone knows we have to make it somehow! Might as well be open about how it's done.
    Thanks for sharing this :-)

    • by Vicky on February 3, 2015  11:26 am Reply

      Yeah, people definitely keep their cards very close to their chest when it comes to money making. From what I've seen around these are definitely the key ways that travel bloggers are going about it though. Happy to help!

  2. by zoomingjapan on February 2, 2015  12:27 pm Reply

    Very nice overview. Thanks for that.

    I don't know if I should consider myself a travel blogger, probably not. I only write about Japan.
    Thus my earning opportunities are extremely limited and I mainly get money from ads. It goes without saying that I don't earn much at all and that I could never make a living from it, but then again I don't put that much work into my blog as I don't have enough time to do so. ^___^;;

    • by Vicky on February 3, 2015  11:24 am Reply

      You're definitely a travel blogger! A really blummin useful one! It's good to have some expertise, people know where they can go to get valid and valuable advice on Japan. I've loved your blog this trip!

  3. by Steph Rogers on February 2, 2015  3:51 pm Reply

    This post has a lot of great tips on how to get paid as a travel blogger! Blogging is something I am definitely interested in as being more than just a hobby and this post gives some pretty inspiring ideas on how to make it so.

    Thanks for the great tips and post!

    http://thelifeofastudenttraveller.blogspot.co.uk

    • by Vicky on February 3, 2015  11:23 am Reply

      Hey Steph, thanks for reading and I hope it's given you a few ideas on how to get started making some hard cash on your blog. No rush though – enjoy the ride!

  4. by Rob on February 2, 2015  6:06 pm Reply

    Another interesting post Vicky, I really appreciate your insight and honesty.
    It's far too early for me to even think about money so I've saved this post for the future.
    I hate too many ads on a blog it sort of gives the impression that's all the blog's for so it's useful to see the alternatives.
    Great stuff!

    • by Vicky on February 3, 2015  11:21 am Reply

      Yeah too many ads sucks. I agree. Too distracting. Well it's food for thought for another time!

  5. by John on February 3, 2015  11:25 am Reply

    It's always nice to hear how other bloggers make money :). Sponsored content is one of those advertising revenue models which sounds interesting to me but does pose the threat of being penalized by sites. Do you work with specific platforms specialized in sponsored content (I've heard of SeedingUp, clevergirlscollective) or do you reach out?

    • by Vicky on February 3, 2015  11:35 am Reply

      Hey John, I've tried a few platforms but just found them annoying to be honest. I prefer to work with agencies. Seems more legit too.

  6. by Kirsten (@TheAmericanTravelProject) on February 3, 2015  3:27 pm Reply

    Thanks for the info! I am a travel blogger (family, USA centered), but don't really make money from it (luckily I have a 'real' job too...lol). I have only been blogging for a year, so there is still so much to learn. I am going to read your series. Thanks for sharing!

    • by Vicky on February 6, 2015  7:17 am Reply

      No worries Kirsten. Thanks for reading :)

  7. by Emma Hart on February 3, 2015  6:34 pm Reply

    Vicky I love your honesty on this post. It's definitely given me food for thought for when and if I want to earn some money for my blog. Great tips and ideas for the future! And still getting to go to your previous job's Christmas parties has got to be a bonus?

    • by Vicky on February 6, 2015  7:14 am Reply

      Yeah, that was pretty sweet. Free food and drink and everything! Glad I've given you a few things to think about :)

    • by Vicky on February 6, 2015  7:13 am Reply

      No worries Caroline. It's a great resource – just need to find the time to act on it :)

  8. by Olga on February 5, 2015  8:01 pm Reply

    Very informative, thanks!

    As travel bloggers, we all dream about how to monetize our blogs successfully, but it's such a careful matter!
    As you said, if you sell out, or accept too many sponsored posts that have nothing to do with your blog, then it actually ruins it!

    www.therussianabroad.com

    • by Vicky on February 6, 2015  7:09 am Reply

      Yes, there's definitely a fine balance between making money and ruining your blog. I think it's up to you to decide where that is though – and to listen to your readers, and keep up with what they're saying about you. You need to be careful!

  9. by Linda Bibb on February 9, 2015  3:16 am Reply

    Thank you for this post, Vicky. Small world; we were actually discussing this topic around the dinner table tonight and brainstorming some new income ideas besides the affiliates and ebooks because ... well, you know, running a travel blog costs money.

    Sometimes when people complain that we should share our knowledge free of charge, I want to tell them to try that with a doctor or lawyer and see how far you get. I mean, if you're providing a valuable service (travel advice counts) then why shouldn't you get paid for it?

    In any case, it's helpful to learn how others make money with their blogs because it can spark some ideas. I especially appreciate your tip on selling some cheap items to boost counts on Amazon. I'm using that one! The freelance writer option, though? Not for me, I'm not prolific enough for that. :)

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  11. by Graham Franklin on February 20, 2015  9:57 am Reply

    Hi Vicky
    Glad you like the website name. I'm interested in the copywriting and freelance writing side of things at the moment. I did a little bit of research on it before I started my blog, but I'm not sure what or where is the best place to find the work. If I apply for any of these jobs, should I point to my blog as a portfolio? Any tips would be welcome as I might be travelling to Thailand soon.

    • by Vicky on February 20, 2015  10:05 am Reply

      Hi Graham, yeah definitely! Show them all the work you've done. You could also buy your name as a domain name and set up some sort of portfolio there. I have victoriaphilpott.com – although it definitely needs some work...

  12. by Graham Franklin on February 20, 2015  10:13 am Reply

    Just looked at your site, that's a good idea. How about copywriting sites, would copyblogger and iwriter be useful, although I'm not sure if my writing is up to standard to yet...

  13. by Karla on October 22, 2015  4:49 pm Reply

    I really like your blog. It's nice and easy to get around too.

    • by Vicky on October 23, 2015  4:59 pm Reply

      Ah thank you Karla. I designed it so it makes me happy to read that!

  14. by Tamason Gamble on November 24, 2015  4:51 pm Reply

    There are some great suggestions here. As a person that is looking to earn more money from freelance writing do you have any further suggestions on where I should look forwork. I do several internet searches and am aware of things like UpWork but I am interested to find out where others gain work from.

  15. by Leonie Parker on November 25, 2015  1:28 pm Reply

    Great Post!! I was wondering where you normally find the competitions?



    Leonie ♥ Lo On The Go

  16. by Olga on March 28, 2016  8:05 am Reply

    Hi, Vicky! Thanks for the useful tips. I really must to try few of them (Sponsored Posts and freelance writing). Now I use affiliate program from globelink for my travel website and have 20% from sale. Also, I provide social media content.

    • by Vicky on March 30, 2016  5:36 am Reply

      Ah yes, they've emailed me a few times. Still sitting firmly in my to do file. One day I'll get round to them. Glad I could help :).

  17. by Agness of aTukTuk on May 2, 2017  1:40 pm Reply

    These are some amazing tips, Vicky! I have to try some of your suggestions!

    • by Vicky on May 6, 2017  10:28 pm Reply

      Hope it helps with the money making Agness – thanks for reading!

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