How to Start a Travel Blog And Make Money Traveling

How to Start a Travel Blog And Make Money Traveling 2019-08-15T14:31:39+00:00

When I started to travel outside of the USA, I found myself leaving many reviews on Trip Advisor.  I like to help people out, and I believe peer reviews to be very helpful when making decisions about traveling anywhere I’ve never been.  However, after becoming a very seasoned contributor to Trip Advisor, (and many other blogs where I had to get my opinion across), I realized that I was simply building their website and earning them money!  What a novel concept, let other people create your content while you sit back and collect revenue.

There had to be a better way to document my travels and actually keep my memories in a safe place for myself and others who cared to read my musings, right?  That’s when I decided to start All World Travel, a blog that simply shared my experiences and travel reviews with anyone who surfed into the website.  While the first year was challenging, it was mostly because my time was spent mapping out how I wanted to lay out the site, what I wanted to focus on, and well, let’s face it, being a single Dad and Entrepreneur.  Time was scarce, and I really didn’t have time to reflect on my travel like I thought I would.  However, when I invested in a better website design, got my first fifty pieces of content up (more on that later), and got some love from Google, things really turned around for me, and this became not only a great place to store my experiences, but also a profitable venture to add to my Digital Marketing Portfolio.

Along the journey, many websites have mentioned my reviews, cited my experiences, and gained an audience that checks out my latest trip reports quite frequently.  Whether I update the site daily, or take a few weeks off to work or actually enjoy my travels, doesn’t matter.  There are still revenues gained and new readers stopping by daily.  While I’m not the biggest travel blogger out there, I’ve hardly started and really like where I’m positioned.

It certainly helped that I enjoy writing. In fact, I’m currently writing a book about business called Amplifying Average.  It also helped that I’m a Digital Marketer by trade, and I have a lot of contacts to help set up a website, which is actually easier now in 2019 than it ever was, thanks to WordPress and a lot of push-button plugins that make things run smoothly.  However, no matter what your skill set is online,  you can easily learn to run a travel blog if you don’t mind learning some absolute basics.  (Later in this content you’ll find a done for you solution and tutorial that will give you a “quick pass” to getting ahead of the learning curve, in case you are really interested in some help with setting up your travel blog.)

Updating All World has been nothing short of an absolute blast, as I’ve done updates from many parts of the world, with ideas and experiences fresh in my head. I’ve met people from all over the world through this blog, and have answered many questions that fellow wanderers have had along the way.

Starting this blog was certainly something that gave me an outlet for sharing my experiences, helping people, and not making someone else rich along the way!  (Sorry TripAdvisor.)

There are many people out there trying to tell others how to start a travel blog, but I’ll go on record that I have yet to find one with a background in Digital Marketing.  Sure, there are MANY good tutorials out there that will no doubt connect some dots for you, but I feel like if you really need professional guidance, I’m the only person out there with the resume to provide that.  Most Digital Marketers don’t operate a travel blog because they are too busy running their agency, and I’m quite the opposite.  As a 19 year veteran in the space, I have sort of gone the other direction and have my clients accounts managed well, and my global team is quite busy with that, which allows me to focus on other directives, like helping people make money with travel blogs!

The first piece of advice I will give you is that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to travel blogging. If you want to make your focus “travel tips,” that’s perfectly fine.  Same goes for focusing on one part of the world.  When you think about it, there are people making six figures yearly blogging about their own local City.  Google “City (pick one) + Nightlife” and you’ll find no shortage of websites about where to go for fun, food, and more.  These sites are all very profitable because they grow a local audience.  Now think about doing that state-wide, or even better, globally!

Step One:  Think of a Theme and Name for Your Travel Blog

This is a hard decision, but it’s also a fun one because you get to be creative with it.  I chose All World because I had the domain name socked away as an investment.  The fact that it has “world” in it is nice because I really like to travel the world, so boom, it was a good fit.  You can choose anything you want, like “BarcelonaTravekExpert.com,” or something like your name combined with “Travels” or even a fun one like “TheRedHeadWanderer” – there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to a website name.

Best Ways to Find a Catchy Domain Name

Be Memorable:  You can copy anyone out there using some generic form of a travel play on words, like “Travels,” “Wanders,” or “Backpacking,” but if you look around, there are many of those out there.  I’m not saying that’s a bad route to go, but if you want to stand out, do something NEW and different with your name.

Don’t Pidgeon Hole Yourself into One Niche:  What I mean by this is don’t make your blog “PanamaProTips.com” just because you are one of the most knowledgable travelers to that country right now.  You may end up wanting to expand into other countries you end up visiting later on.  Only do that if you are 100% that will be your niche forever.

Don’t Overlook Branding:  Your domain name should be memorable, yet short.  All World is a perfect example of this.  I never buy domain names with more than three words combined in them, and in most situations, I stick to two. The most valuable domains are single word domain names, but I would suggest you look elsewhere unless you have extremely deep pockets because those can go for six figures.  If you are a serious marketer with a legit budget, I would say go for it, but know that your money can better spent on marketing a domain, rather than spending the lion’s share on acquiring one.  As an aside, I always urge people to go with a .com.  It’s the most memorable domain extension on Earth.

Obtain the Social Media Accounts:  You need to also get the basic social media platform user names registered. It’s easier if you can get the same word or play on words in that user name as well.  So go out there and check (and secure) names at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Those are the most important in 2019,

Step Two – The Technical Part

First, you’ll need to set up web hosting.  For those of you extremely new to how the Internet works, all website need a website host.  A host is basically who you pay rent to for your domain name to make sure it has it’s place in Internet real estate.  Simple as that.

If this sounds too technical, remember that you only do it ONE TIME.  Then you are done.

I recommend you sign up for Blue Host, that’s all you need to get going.  Sure, you’ll see thousands of other hosts out there like GoDaddy, SiteGround, and others, but right now we’re going to get you started cheap and easy.

Of course, if you don’t want to do this part, we have a travel blog starter package solution where we’ll help you do all of this for a one time fee.  

Once you get your domain name hosted, you’ll want to install wordpress.  Here is a tutorial on how to do just that.


Of course, we’ll do that for you as part of our travel blog starter package.

Step Three – Content is King if You Want to Make Money With a Travel Blog

The first few pages you make will be the ones that won’t really bring home the bacon, but they are important.

#1:   About 

This is where you tell the world who you are, why you are blogging, and anything else you want to convey to them.  I say, be personal!  Get to know them by letting them know who you are.  Let yourself be yourself.  Talk to the audience like you would talk to a friend of yours.  The more you let your personality come through to them the more they will connect with you, and of course, when they connect with you, they become fans, and you can make money off of your fans via page views, affiliate links, or advertising dollars.

#2:  Contact, Privacy Policy, and Disclaimer

It’s very important you give people a method to contact you.  This lets them know you are human!  Of course a privacy policy can be very simple, and a disclaimer keeps you out of hot water when you start making money by recommending products.  Examples of both are below:

#3:  Start Your Content

You can opt to write your first post and announce to the world what your mission is all about, or you can bust right into reviews, trip reports, or commentary about your exact niche.  There is no right or wrong answer, as this will be your first post, and in turn, get the least amount of page views, and of course, in due time, be buried in the trenches deep in your blog roll.

Some people will recommend that you start a business plan, or identify where you are going to make money with your site, but as a 19 year veteran in making a living online, I tell people to work on developing traffic and a following before wasting your time on that.  Your business plan can change very frequently.  I like to reference the movie “Field of Dreams”  – if you build it, they will come. 

When they come, you can then see “who comes.”  When you know your visitor, you can tailor offers to them and from there, formulate a more formal plan.  However, I would really advise you to NOT waste your time on a business plan until you have put in some more work, as you may find it a complete waste of time when you could have been writing.  

#4:  Poke Around Other Travel Blogs, Forums, and Facebook Groups

The Internet is an open book, so go read it!  Poke around any travel blogs out there and see how they are doing things.  Copy the things they do that make you smile, and learn from the things they do that make you want to leave their site.  Visit Facebook Groups, visit tourism sites that revolve around your exact niche in travel, and become an avid lurker and commenter.  From there, you can get guest post opportunities where you can build your brand.  (If this is over your head, I’ll teach you this.)

Other things you can do to track your efforts are to install Google Analytics or an alternative to that, which is called “Clicky.”  I’d go with Google to start because it’s free, but down the line you may want to upgrade.  This allows you to see where your traffic is coming from.  See the example below.

Connecting with others in the industry will allow you to gain extensive knowledge about the travel blogging industry, as well as get ideas on where your revenues could come from.  Plus, you have one thing in common – travel – so you should have no problems making connections!

The Perks of Earning a Living Through Blogging About Travel Experiences

Let’s start with the first perk – money!  When the cash register rings while you are on a mountain in Colorado, seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, or having a beer at a Brewery in Panama, it’s a great feeling.  These are all things that have actually happened to me, and I can’t tell you the jubilation I feel each time I realize that I’m truly doing what I love.

The second perk is that you can get press trips, comped hotel stays, or even get products for review.  I don’t consider myself in mainstream media (yet), so I don’t get anything in terms of press trips, but I’ve been to many establishments that have offered me free or discounted food and beverages when I mention that I’m going to be writing a review for a travel publication.  When it comes to hotels, I always mention this at check-in and sometimes I get a room upgrade.  It’s free to ask, and while I have been told “we don’t care,” by some places, it really is no sweat to me and I don’t let it affect the way I write about the establishment.

Lastly, the feeling of having a digital collection of musings and media to look back on is simply one that I cherish perhaps more than everything else.  When I see trips that I went on years ago, it makes itch to go back and re-visit those memories!

The Perks of Earning a Living Through Blogging About Travel Experiences

Let’s start with the first perk – money!  When the cash register rings while you are on a mountain in Colorado, seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, or having a beer at a Brewery in Panama, it’s a great feeling.  These are all things that have actually happened to me, and I can’t tell you the jubilation I feel each time I realize that I’m truly doing what I love.

The second perk is that you can get press trips, comped hotel stays, or even get products for review.  I don’t consider myself in mainstream media (yet), so I don’t get anything in terms of press trips, but I’ve been to many establishments that have offered me free or discounted food and beverages when I mention that I’m going to be writing a review for a travel publication.  When it comes to hotels, I always mention this at check-in and sometimes I get a room upgrade.  It’s free to ask, and while I have been told “we don’t care,” by some places, it really is no sweat to me and I don’t let it affect the way I write about the establishment.

Lastly, the feeling of having a digital collection of musings and media to look back on is simply one that I cherish perhaps more than everything else.  When I see trips that I went on years ago, it makes itch to go back and re-visit those memories!

What are the Ways You Can Monetize (Make Money) With a Travel Website?

As mentioned above, there are perks that come with having a voice in the travel industry.  However, perks don’t pay the bills, they just save you money.  When it comes to making money with a travel blog, there are a few ways that you can leverage your audience to earn revenue that can go directly into your bank account.

Google Adsense:  the most simple way to earn money through visitors to your website.  Simply sign up for an account, and place banners on your website.  They say that every 1,000 visitors to your website should yield $1, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s just one facet to the whole equation.  (There are also other media companies that often times pay more, which I’ll get into with interested parties who want to know more.)

Guest Contributions:  these are a big source of income for me, and they should be for you as well.  When your site gains popularity, other websites will want to have links from your site, to theirs.  This is basic SEO strategy, and a whole different topic for another day, but just know that your website has a value to them.  You can charge whatever you want, but I usually ask them to submit a unique story with at least 750 words (which has to be on travel topics) that will benefit the readers of my site.  If they can do this, they can insert a link to their website in the content.  Some webmasters won’t tell you about this because they fear Google will report them for selling links, but I like to see it as an advertising fee. If you want to have your URL show up on my blog, there is a fee. Simple as that.

Amazon:  this is a great place to send people to buy things that they need for their trips. In fact, I have a whole page dedicated to this topic right here.  Literally any product you can imagine is for sale on Amazon, and people know and trust Amazon. It’s a very easy place to send people to and you’ll earn a commission along the way.

Affiliate Programs:  this can be very lucrative as well.  You can earn money on bookings, hotel stays, tours, airfare, travel insurance, and much more.  Think of all the sub-topics that exist in travel, and go from there.  The easiest way to think about how you’d sell someone on staying somewhere is by writing a trip report and talking about every place you booked during your stay.  For example, on your trip to Country A, you flew on this airline, stayed at this hotel, did this tour, and rented your car at this agency.  If you gave them all rave reviews, why wouldn’t someone want to follow your plan to a T?  Find out where you can earn affiliate commissions on each stay (most can work through Booking.com or similar sites) and insert links.  Simple as that.

One of my favorite travel affiliate programs is my favorite hotel brands, which has the iconic Marriott Bonvoy rewards program.

What are the Start Up Costs to Run a Travel Blog?

Of course, the million dollar question is, how much does it cost to start a travel blog?

If you want to run this and build it slowly, just with your content, your cost will be a domain name (about $10) and your monthly hosting (under $5 per month).  So, for less than the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac, you can have a travel blog that can not only give you an outlet to get your voice out there about travel, but also potentially make money along the way.

Of course, if you want to “make it big” you’ll need to write a lot, and have some great content out there that people want to link to.  (That’s what I do, just not at the pace I’d like to due to having a full time agency to run.)  You’ll also have some expenses like graphic design (unless you know how to do that yourself) so you can get at the very bare minimum, a logo. There are many places you can go to hire a logo designer for cheap, such as Fiverr.com, and also Upwork.com, but I’d avoid Upwork because they recently put a monthly fee on their billing platform.  There are always other options like your little cousin who is good on computers, a friend, a classmate, etc.  Think about who is in your network if money is an issue.

You can also get a WordPress theme (WordPress is the blogging platform you’ll use) and choose the layout of your site very easily.

Of course, if any or all of this sounds confusing to you, let me break down the steps again very simply on how to get started.

#1:  Buy a domain name.  (Visit:  GoDaddy.com.)

#2:  Sign Up for Website Hosting.  (Visit:  BlueHost.com)

#3:  Install WordPress (See above video tutorial.)

#4:  Create Your Content.  (Also, get a logo, choose your theme.)

Now, I have assisted a few people along their journey to become a travel blogger and got rave reviews.  So much to the tune that I decided to make a package to make things easy for anyone who wants to do the same.  Since I work online and have a full team of staff who help push things along, solve problems, and assist clients, I figured, why not help out aspiring travel bloggers?

Start a Travel Blog For Under $500

If you want someone to hold your hand through the entire process, and get you set up online, I’ve put together a package that does everything for you for one low price of $499.  Of course, you’ll have to buy your own domain name and sign up for website hosting, but those are staple costs you’ll encounter no matter what.  This package includes all of the set-up, installation, plus tutorials on how to use your new wordpress blog, and it includes one 30 minute phone call with me for support.

You’ll get to choose your wordpress theme of choice (I own about every theme package imaginable) and we’ll be off to the races in no time.  During the consultation call, I can help you decide on your niche if you are having trouble with that.  As a veteran marketer, my goal is to fast track you to success and make the learning curve basically zilch.  If you want testimonials, check them out here.

How to Start a Travel Blog And Make Money Traveling
5 (100%) 1 vote[s]

Tim

About 

Tim Schmidt is an Entrepreneur who helps companies grow their online business. A firm believer in creating great content, he founded AllWorld.com to empower world travelers. You can also find his work published at the Huffington Post, Social Media Today, and many other online journals. His latest claim to fame is having his footage of feeding giant crocodiles in Costa Rica featured on Animal Planet. Visit his official site to learn more about him.

My Web Form New

 

We respect your email privacy