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How to Make Money from Travel Blogging (Monetize your Travel Blog)

BZFLAG Medina Travel Blogging Tips 31 Comments

“What do you do for a living? How can you afford that travel lifestyle?”

BZFLAG and Jon:  We’re full-time travel bloggers! 

Here’s a quick recap on 10 ways to make money from Travel Blogging. I’ll discuss them in more detail as we go after sharing our personal travel blogging story.

1. Paid Press Trips

2. Brand Campaigns of Brand Ambassadorship

3. Webfluential for Sponsored Posts – Advertisers

4. Commission from Affiliate Partners

5. Social Media Promotions

6. Donation from Readers

7. Trip Planning or Travel Coaching (Here’s our services)

8. Public Speaking

9. Publishing E-books or Books

10. Exchange Deals – this is not monetary but could be considered as income!

BZFLAG and Jonathan

OUR TRAVEL BLOGGING STORY

For most people, travelling the world is an adventure which involves a lot of saving, followed by the slow yet inevitable draining of your funds, until you’re eventually reduced to the reality of returning home to re-integrate into society, getting back to work, and perhaps dreaming of the next adventure.

Not for us. When we started travelling, we knew that there would be no going home, no inevitable return to the office to save for another short-lived adventure. We were searching for a sustainable solution to travelling the world long-term, so saving, volunteering and bar work just didn’t fit the bill – reducing spending was only a temporary solution, we wanted to actually make money from traveling!

Some people assume that travel blogging is an easy task. Well, starting a blog is definitely easy, but running it as a business and turning it into source of income is not. Even before we started travel blogging, Jonathan’s aim in life was to find different ways to earn a living while traveling around the world, so we started testing out the different options – from teaching English in Vietnam, volunteering in hostels and restaurants, running a massage business in Peru and finally starting our own travel blog a little over a year ago.

We started the blog as part of our quest for a sustainable travel lifestyle. In the beginning we worked between 12 and 16 hours a day for more than 3 months, which gave us a good head start but it wasn’t sustainable or healthy and we certainly don’t recommend it, which is the main reason why we re-branded on making our website a community travel blog with over 20 writers around the world – Here’s how we did it.

If you just want to start a travel blog for fun and to share your experiences with your family and friends then I highly suggest that you use the Note platform on Facebook, because there you already have your “Facebook friends” as your audience. But if you plan to start a travel blog as real way to fund your travels or your lifestyle then you have to think about how to treat it like a serious business from the beginning.

I’m a very passionate person so whatever I do I have to put my very best into! I’m a very goal-driven and ambitious person, so I always have plans and strategies (my college degree was in Economics and my old profession was in the Quality Assurance field).

We started our travel journey in 2013, but only started travel blogging in late 2014 after a lot of persuasion from my family and friends to document our love story and our around the world trip. We didn’t know how to do it but the first thing that came to mind was to inspire my friends who were always complaining about their day jobs and to try to make a living, or at least to experience some discounted Luxury Hotels! We started reading a lot of articles and found that there were many professional travel bloggers earning a good living through full-time blogging. I wanted to be like them so I studied for 2 full months to find out how it all works and how they make money!

How to Start a Travel Blog and Earn Money in 6 months (Part 1 of 2) 1

After about a year of hard work we invested $1000 USD in re-designing our website. Our monthly running costs for the website can be over $1000 (USD), which pays for our domain name and managed hosting, social media advertising, automation tools, content creation for our writers / VA and other maintenance costs just to keep everything running. We didn’t have all the right gear when we started, but we’ve been very lucky and thankful to find some sponsors as well as gifts from family members, but I know that most of professional travel bloggers are investing money to have the latest gadgets to run their websites smoothly (if they couldn’t get it sponsored!). Yes, you need to invest money to earn/make money, perhaps not as much as we do, but we want to go bigger so we have to invest bigger.

Please also ask yourself what your strong point is – do you love photography, social media live posting, writing or making videos? You don’t have to do all of it, we don’t! I don’t know how to edit videos so we’ve decided to focus on written content and doing more live streaming ( or Periscope).

How to Start a Travel Blog and Earn Money in 6 months (Part 1 of 2) 9

After a year of travel blogging we’re on our way to reaching our travel goals and fulfilling our tag line “From Monkey Backpackers to Luxury Travelers”, so I’m going to share with you some of the ways that professional travel bloggers make money from Travel Blogging.

I have already written Part 1 of this article about how you can Start a Travel Blog.

10 Ways to Make Money from Travel Blogging (Monetize your Blog Tips)

1. Paid Press Trips

When we first started travel blogging, we were happy enough with getting discounts and eventually complimentary hotel stays from 1 night, up to a week stay. From there, we started to partner with tour companies on an exchange deal basis, with articles being written on our site or on theirs. I think it was beneficial for both parties, we even have messages from partners who told us that we brought them new clients who had read about them in our articles, so we were doing something right!

BZFLAG Travel - Key West - Florida Keys - Romantic Activities 2

Eventually, we learned that some tourism boards actually give you an allowance for attending the trip, or they can even pay you a daily rate. One of our writers went on a paid press trip in Indonesia and they gave her an $800 USD allowance for the 2-week trip. Now we’re also charging a daily rate when working with tourism boards aside from the cost of the flights, accommodation and excursions. We also have a New York-based Agent now who is helping us to land paid destination marketing projects and other campaign contracts.

We know of some bloggers who get paid from $300 – $500 per day just for attending press and fam trips! In exchange for this payment, you’re expected to do a lot of work and of course a report afterwards to show how effective your campaign has been – usually based on social media reports and traffic analytics.

2. Brand Campaigns or Brand Ambassadorship

When you have an audience and a following, companies will approach you to promote their products and services to them. If those products and services are appropriate to your audience and you would be happy to use them yourself, then you can promote them through sponsored posts, social media campaigns, ad banners on your website and more. While doing any of these just once will earn you a nice payment, it’s far more beneficial to both parties to form a long-term brand partnership, providing greater exposure of their brand and demonstrating a higher level of trust in their products. Of course, this also means that you’re securing a longer term, more reliable income.

3. WebFluential for Sponsored Posts – Advertisers

There are different ways to get sponsored posts, most of the time companies will send you an email to inquire about your rate which is usually between $150 to $800 depending on your Domain Authority (). Some bloggers frown upon other bloggers who are selling text links on their sites, but you just have to be smart and careful about it! You can read the story of our travel blogging friend Johnny Ward, and how he made his first million by doing this through his network of monetized websites – .

If your brand is not yet fully established then I suggest you join a website like , an online platform that connects brands with social influencers. Aside from Webfluential, you can also check  (most of our income are from Affiliate Window!)

4. Commission from Affiliate Partners

Affiliate Marketing is now one of the main sources of our income from travel blogging. Before blogging, I had always booked my Hotels or flight tickets online and we only discovered this method of earning money last year. Basically, the advertisers will pay you commission when you sell their products through your website – we usually earn from , , and other accommodation companies. They don’t charge extra to people booking through our links, it’s just the same as when you look and book a room from Google or , they earn commission too! So as long as you are responsible with what you recommend to your readers, then you can feel fine about earning a small reward for doing so!

I’d like to thank all of our readers who use our affiliate links to book their accommodation (like our Best Hostels and Best Luxury Hotels lists), as you are helping us to earn a living from the advice we give. We promise we will never recommend something that we wouldn’t use ourselves.

If you’re a travel blogger and you want to do this too then here are the companies we work with, all free to sign up and no minimum amount of traffic required –  , , . You can also me directly and avail a 3-hour Skype blogging coaching to help you analyse your blog site and teach you how you can properly monetize it, without selling your soul. Email is [email protected]

5. Social Media Promotions

I love Facebook and Twitter, but finally we have someone who has taken over our Instagram! As I’ve mentioned earlier, photography is not our strong point, but we’re slowly learning.

We know some bloggers who are earning money from Instagram alone by taking over brands’ Instagram accounts or posting advertisers’ photos in their own account. This is more common with fashion and lifestyle bloggers, but lately travel bloggers who have strong following on this platform are starting to earn some decent money too!

Travel Blogging Rates (our rates):

  • Facebook Promotion – $100 to $350
  • Twitter Shout Out – $50 to $200
  • Instagram Sponsored Post – $75 to $500
  • Twitter Chat Hosting – $250 to $400 (per hour)
  • Instagram Take over – $25 to $ 200 (per photo) depending on your following.

6. Donations from Readers

Yes, there are times when supportive readers give donations to their favourite travel bloggers! We had an amazing experience when we were building our blog in Costa Rica – we lost our GoPro and at the time it was the only camera we had (it was the early stages and we didn’t have much money at the time). Out of the blue, one reader sent us money by Paypal to buy a new one. I cried with joy for the whole week, I didn’t want to accept it at the beginning but that was a big blessing! I was more motivated to work hard on the blog after that, knowing how supportive people really were. From then we even had random readers who asked us for postcards, then we were surprised to find that they had deposited money in our Paypal account to thank us. Readers have sent me packages of Filipino food seasoning and clothes that I can wear on our travels etc! Really thankful!!

Creating content is hard – writing, taking photos and managing social media accounts are all tough, especially when your readers email you and send you unlimited questions on social media. I’m not complaining because they are the reason I do this and I love it! I personally reply to all the messages and emails that I receive everyday, maybe around 50 to 100 people! It takes time, sometimes even up to 6 hours of my day just replying. I’m not discouraging you guys to message us because I feel more motivated reading lovely messages from people supporting our blog but by doing this.

So thank you very much to everyone who appreciated all the work, you can still donate so I can buy Nutella (hehehe), feel free to message us to get our details!! We will never change and will try not to let you down as we grow bigger!

7. Trip Planning or Travel Coaching

I’ve done quite a few coaching sessions with readers-turned clients, some only do one time coaching while some choose a month-long process, asking about specific topics like – teaching English in Vietnam, getting visas in certain countries or even about starting a travel blog. It’s not a big money making project, but it feels good to help and it’s always way better talking to people directly. I usually do it via Skype and charge an hourly rate (with free post-consultation)

Here’s are the services we offer and what we charge, we hope to do this more full time as I really enjoy it and I’m really happy seeing that my I’m helping my clients to change their lives!

8. Public Speaking

I loved public speaking in high school and college and I thought it would be just the same in the blogging world, but it’s very different! Jonathan and I had our first opportunity to be a panel speaker during the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul, Turkey and we know that experience will open many more doors, which is already happening! We have a lot of plans to do more public speaking, training and coaching in the future. Let us get married first and then we’ll be right on it!

Jonathan at World Tourism Forum

CO speaking at World Tourism Forum

We know some Travel Bloggers turned public Speakers who are earning more than $2000 per event as well as their travel costs. We’ll make it there!

9. Publishing E-books or Books

Running a travel blog while traveling full time is really tiring so I haven’t been able to finish the books that I’ve been intending to write since last year, but finally I will be releasing my 3 e-books this summer!

Katrina Umandap Travel Ebooks

As much as I want to give them away for free, these are the products that we have worked hard on since last year and spent a lot of time researching and writing for our targeted audience! Our content on the website is 100% free, we even give away freebies and trips to our readers, but now I will be releasing something that I created from scratch and will be charging for it. So I hope you guys will support me on this one!

10. Exchange Deals – this is not monetary but could be considered as income!

Some people think that we actually don’t need to earn money because we’re already traveling the world, which is often mistaken for being rich and having a “hidden pot of gold” somewhere.Especially when they see us staying in 5 star luxury hotels! Well, we understand the confusion and where this misconception comes from, but the simple truth is that we aren’t actually paying for those hotels, they are provided free of charge!

This is how we do it – we often make an EXCHANGE DEAL agreement with brands like hotels, tour agencies and other travel companies which are perfect for our audience, or a part of our audience. In exchange for a free stay, or tour, we provide exposure of their brand through our social media and our website. Remember, there’s no such thing as free!

If you’re a travel blogger and want to learn how to pitch and get sponsored stays or trips, I can also help you with that with a 2-hour blogging coaching session so feel free to email me!

If you still want more expert help from the best, then you should check out either of these two blogging courses: , or  which Jonathan and I are members of.

We’re not yet earning the same combined amount of what we were earning while I was still working for an oil company in Iraq and Jonathan as an Architectural Technologist in the UK, but I know that all of the effort and money we invested in building this will reward us eventually! One day it will become our passive income while we’re busy building our Yoga Spa Resort and raising our cute little monkeys!

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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. So when you make a purchase we sometimes make a small commission, at no extra cost to you. The cost to you remains the same, sometimes even cheaper if we have negotiated a special deal for our readers.

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Comments 31

  1. Such a great post, thanks so much for all the advice! Our motivation is up again after reading this 🙂

  2. Seriously great couple of articles on the topics. We’re pretty new with our site and super helpful advice you’ve provided. Thx

  3. Hi BZFLAG and Jonathan, THANK YOU so much for being such an inspiration. I’ve recently launched my website, because of YOU. I’ve read all your blogs and they’re all very helpful. Thank you for being so selfless, sharing your experiences on the road. You’ve been inspiring a lot and I’m one of them. I’m starting to monetize through affiliate links. I hope to meet you both one day. I will surely ask for selfies (yes, a lot of selfies lol). Enjoy your honeymoon! I can’t wait for your upcoming live videos on Facebook. I love you both! – Noel

  4. Hi Nanci, I agree that starting a blog is essential in today’s Internet world, but getting a blog started and hosted can be daunting for most writers who want to focus on the craft and not the technical part of blogging. T

  5. I have read this post last week. You guys are awesome and such an ispiration to all bloggers regardless of the platform. Very informational post. God bless!

  6. Phew! Making money out of travel blogging sure does sound like a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. More power to you guys! Cheers to living your life the way you want to live it! 🙂

  7. Great post and thanks for sharing what you have learned. We are about 8 months into it and our traffic has been growing so some of these are quite timely for us. keep up the good work.

  8. Great tips – I’ve only used affiliate links but have since abandoned it altogether. I find that it takes away from my creative writing when I’m forced to write for something that I might not really believe in. BUT, it works and you’re a prime example of that – so good job and keep going 🙂

  9. Quite interesting. I never considered influencers as a significant factor. In all honesty, with school this project will have to wait.

  10. You guys are an inspiration! I’m a newbie travel blogger so reading posts like this are very inspiring to me! Although public relations is my background, I still have a long ways to go and a lot to learn! I’m currently teaching in South Korea and have blogging as a hobby. But I’m seriously considering making it a full time gig after being abroad and moving on to my next adventure!

    Thanks for your advice!

  11. This is an awesome post! I have recently started my blog and has not thought about monetizing it at this moment. but definitely would want to do it when the blog is ready. Would keep this post in mind.

  12. Congratulations for your successful blogging experience! There’s a lot of work behind it, you can be proud of that!

  13. I love how detailed this post and how open you guys are about sharing your journey. That is a rare thing in the travel blogging world as you might know. Kudos to you for being so large-hearted!

  14. I’m going to share this with my friend as she has just started sharing her travels on Insta and Youtube so maybe this is something she can consider for the future!!

  15. Keep up the work. I guess it depends on where you are in the world how much you get paid for certain tasks, but it all adds up and unless you work hard to blog and promote these money makers wont come. Angela from Daysinbed

  16. This is a very informative post. Thanks for sharing all these info. It will help a lot of travel bloggers and other bloggers too.

  17. Wow, I had no idea people paid so much for social media promotions, that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing! I don’t make any money blogging at the moment but I am going to bear these tips in mind for the future! LOVE your blog a lot. xx

  18. Great article in this increasingly competitive (super-competitive) field. Hopefully there is room for more people but if not, it will just spur more innovation!

  19. Such a great insight about running a travel blog. Like anything else there’s a lot of work wirh anything, but it must be rewarding x

  20. Thank you for the info guys, and congrats to all of your awesome success, you definitely deserve it!!!!! Much love, Alyssa

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COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER:Many of the articles on BZFLAG Travel Group are guest posts by a number of Approved Contributors and are hosted by BZFLAG Travel Group. Approved Contributors control their own work and post freely to our site. This includes all text and images that they use within their own work. All contributors are instructed to follow internationally recognised copyright and intellectual property guidelines. BZFLAG Travel Group takes its own responsibilities very seriously, so if you feel that any part of this work is abusive in any way, please send us an email so that we can investigate - [email protected]


DISCLOSURE: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. So when you make a purchase we sometimes make a small commission, at no extra cost to you. The cost to you remains the same, sometimes even cheaper if we have negotiated a special deal for our readers.We use all of the companies we have listed here and that’s why they are in this list, but of course we need to keep BZFLAG Travel Group running as well as it can, which is exactly what you’re helping with if you do decide to buy or book something through an affiliate link! If you have any more questions about the companies we use or any other companies you’re looking at, just email us and we’ll be happy to help.Please see our full disclaimer page for more information.