You created a slick website, wrote countless pages of quality content and promoted yourself on social media extensively. Despite your hard efforts, your travel blog still hasn’t produced a penny – what’s going on? Monetizing a travel blog is a challenge many bloggers face and can be a huge struggle if you don’t know where to start. The good news is there are countless ways to make money from a travel blog and it’s not hard to do once you’ve built up an adequate following. Check out these six tried-and-true monetization methods if you’re ready to turn your travel blog from a hobby into a profitable business.
Six Ways to Monetize Your Travel Blog
Accept micropayments using QUID
Many travel bloggers sell advertising space on their website – but ask yourself, when did you last click on a banner ad? Probably not in a long time. While display advertising may have been an effective monetization method a few years ago, it can now come across as outdated and even spammy.
Luckily, QUID offers a better way to monetize your travel blog. QUID has everything you need to accept contributions as low as 1¢ for your posts, podcasts, or anything else you create. What does that mean for you? It means your readers can support you and your content by donating as much or as little as they like. Micropayments make it easy for your fans to reward you so you don’t have to resort to ads or subscription paywalls. The best part is there are zero fees for users.
Many content creators are already using QUID in a variety of ways and you can see it in action on popular travel blogs like Justin Plus Lauren and enSquaredAired.
Get started with a free entry-level plan which includes 10,000 transactions per month.
Affiliate marketing is when you promote other people’s products and services using special tracking links. You place these links in your blog articles and earn a small commission every time someone clicks them and makes a purchase. This is an excellent way to generate passive income. Most big companies already run affiliate programs including Amazon, Booking.com, Airbnb and World Nomads. You can also find thousands of products to promote on CJ Affiliate, the largest affiliate marketing network in the world.
The key to affiliate marketing is to recommend things you love and use already. The relationship between you and your fans is built on trust and you don’t want to risk losing credibility by selling products that aren’t relevant. It’s a good idea to be transparent about your affiliate links too. Top bloggers including Adventurous Kate and Expert Vagabond are very open about their participation in affiliate programs and include disclaimers on their home page.
From brand ambassador programs to Instagram features, sponsored content can take on many forms. One of the most common formats is sponsored blog posts where brands pay you to write articles about their product or service. You can land a collaboration by reaching out to companies or wait until they come to you.
Just like affiliate marketing, it’s best only to share products that align with your brand and audience. Be selective of what you choose to endorse and always let your readers know when a post is sponsored. When done right, sponsored content can be a win-win for both you and your client – just look at Brie and Reuben from Vancity Wild. The Vancouver couple loves capturing and sharing their West Coast adventures. They chose to partner with Fujifilm and used their new camera to document their day on the Sea to Sky Gondola. The post they put together features the kind of landscape photography their audience loves while highlighting the benefits of Fujifilm’s new camera.
Sponsored content can come from press trips as well. Tourism boards often invite travel bloggers to their country and will cover all expenses including flights, accommodation and activities in exchange for blog articles or social media posts about the destinations you visit.
Freelance Travel Writing
Consider freelance travel writing if you’re a seasoned and passionate wordsmith. The easiest way to get travel writing gigs is by pitching directly to publishers. Use your travel blog as a resume and to prove your authority in the industry when sending a proposal.
Pay varies greatly between publications but you can usually get between $50 to $200 per article. This range can go up depending on experience, article length and topic complexity. Publications that are always accepting submissions include Matador Network, WestJet Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, Outpost Magazine and ROVA. The husband and wife team behind Goats on the Road also list 99 travel publications that pay up to $4,000 and share how they earn thousands per month from freelance writing.
Don’t get discouraged if your pitches fall through. Award-winning travel blogger Emily Luxton says clients began coming to her once her travel blog gained a decent following. Focus on creating consistent, quality content and people will begin to take notice.
Sell Your Travel Photos
Selling your travel photos can be lucrative if photography and photo editing are your strongest skills.
Stock photo websites such as Shutterstock, Dreamstime and iStock by Getty Images pay royalties every time your content is downloaded by one of their customers. One image download usually nets you between $0.25 to $0.45. This is the easiest way to profit from your travel photos as stock agencies take care of all the marketing and transactions. All you need to do is upload your images to the platform and wait for the passive income to roll in. Keep in mind that selling stock photography is competitive and you’ll need to produce thousands of images that stand out from the rest to be successful.
Visual Society is another option if royalties aren’t enticing enough. The digital marketplace transforms your photos into high-quality canvases, allowing you to sell products that look like works of art. You can also set up an online store on your blog like New Zealand-based travel blogger Carmen Huter. An online store gives your fans a chance to purchase directly from you, which lets you keep 100% of the profits.
Travel photography can also be monetized by licensing them for editorial pieces or commercial marketing campaigns. Many companies will contact you if they like what they see on your Instagram feed. For a more active approach, send submissions to travel magazines such as Outdoor Photography and Backpacker.
Develop Your Own Products and Services
The world’s best travel bloggers are always looking for ways to cash in on their areas of expertise and you should too. Have you lived in Tokyo for years and know where all the hidden gems are? Write an eBook on it. Are you a travel hacking master who has earned millions of frequent flyer miles? Develop a course and teach others how to travel for pennies. Do you love trip planning and always get asked for travel recommendations? Provide travel consulting services and help your clients put together the ultimate vacation itinerary. The opportunities are endless in this area – look at Nomadic Matt’s budget travel guides, Salt in our Hair’s Adobe Lightroom pre-set packages or the luxurious retreats hosted by The Blonde Abroad to get an idea of the wide selection of products you can offer.
Make Money Travel Blogging
There are many other ways to monetize your travel blog, but today’s most prominent travel bloggers agree these six methods work best for them. The secret to making money from your travel blog is to focus on the areas you love and are good at. Capitalize on your talents and try to implement a mix of active and passive income streams to maximize your total income.
It’s also important to manage your expectations if you’re just getting your travel blog off the ground. Travel blogging is a marathon, not a race. You most likely won’t see money coming in right away as blogs take time to grow. Most content creators aren’t prepared to put in the time and effort that’s required to build and sustain a brand, which is why most travel blogs don’t make it past a year. To make it in this industry, you need to be persistent, patient and passionate about the value you bring to your readers.
The rewards can be substantial if you’re in it for the long run. Successful travel bloggers make over $5,000 per month with the most influential raking in over $20,000. Despite what others say about market saturation, it’s never too late to start travel blogging. There is high earning potential in this field if you differentiate yourself and bring something new to the table, such as a distinct voice/personality or unique area of expertise.
Check out these additional resources if you’re determined to make money travel blogging: