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With the expansion of the internet, bloggers have become journalists for the new age. With so many sites seeking fresh information, bloggers have a chance to make their great content visible to millions of people every day.
As the blogging industry grows, so do the opportunities within that field. One of those opportunities is to become a travel blogger, a gig that unlocks freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to travel the world and make money by providing travel tips to readers at the same time.
- What is a Travel Blogger?
- Travel Blog Origins
- Skills and Qualifications
- Working Conditions
- Travel Blogger Salary
- Travel Blogger Jobs and Career Progression
- What’s it Really Like?
- How to Become a Travel Blogger
What is a Travel Blogger?
A travel blogger, also known as travel writer or just as “blogger”, is someone who travels around the world collecting material for writing about their travel experiences, deriving income from a variety of on-line and off-line sources.
These freelance writers maintain their own blog site and attempts to derive income from the value in their written articles and features. They often give travel tips about bucket list items, luxury travel, or far-off destinations like South Africa, New Zealand, Hawaii, Thailand, Colorado, or New York City.
The travel blogger must travel to a destination country (or more typically, a series of countries) in order to obtain exciting, informative experiences which he or she will then host on their blog site. They will also usually be required to upload good quality photography to illustrate the pieces.
Although the actual process of travelling and blogging does not result in any form of salary, revenues can be obtained from a variety of methods. Since many readers will likely turn to travel bloggers about advice related to budget travel, they will likely take the recommendation of the blogger and book through the blogger’s links and suggestions.
The first is from advertising; a popular blog site with many thousands of followers represents a valuable marketing channel, both for product suppliers and for hospitality destinations. Often, a hotel may contact a blogger and offer them a free stay in exchange for a positive feature about their property.
Other companies may offer the blogger free travel equipment, or simply purchase banner advertising on the site. Additionally, completed features hosted on the blog can be offered to print media who will publish travel stories in exchange for cash.
- Organising a travel plan to countries where the blogger intends to travel
- Making travel arrangements
- Organising visas where necessary
- Contacting potential advertisers to attempt to secure ad hoc and ongoing advertising
- Contacting product suppliers to arrange product reviews and sponsorship
- Pitching travel features to print media
Travel Blog Origins
The blog originated as a journal-like webpage (originally called a weblog) where people could write about everyday topics, post their photos or videos, share stories, recommend products, and generally make the events of their daily lives available for others.
Since all that’s needed is a computer and internet connection to blog, many travelers soon realized that they could have the best of both worlds – to blog while traveling.
After a while, blogs started to become more diverse in the topics they were covering. Although blogging started as a hobby for most people, many soon realized it could be a regular job. They began to continually maintain and work on blog content.
When people began to realize the popularity of traveling and blogging simultaneously, travel blogs started to appear worldwide. Bloggers who combined their two passions began to recognize that it’s possible to make a living out of it.
In time, as bloggers started posting about where they’re traveling on social media, hotels and resorts began offering their services in exchange for posts and complimentary reviews. And that’s how traveling turned into a business for travel bloggers.
Skills and Qualifications
There are no academic requirements for travel blogging. In fact many people choose this option because they lack sufficient qualifications, often travelling during university breaks, or to gather experience working in different territories, thereby adding to the experience on their CV.
Experience, however, is a different story. From the first trip, the travel blogger will be accumulating experience on a number of levels.
Firstly, the need to create professional written content, upload it to a blog, manage the pages and promote the travel blog are specific skills which are usually self-taught through experience.
Secondly, continuing travel trips give the blogger a thick skin, making them more able to deal with difficult situations as they arise whilst in the field; the first Asian trekking adventure, for example, is a daunting experience for many, as the blogger will need to deal with mosquito bites, crushing humidity, language and navigational difficulties and a variety of potentially dangerous eventualities.
After the writer has completed three such trips, they will probably be able to offer strong experiential advice to other travelers. This is how meaningful and valuable content translates to advertising revenues through a successful blog.
The Skillset of a Travel Blogger
As blogging became a full-time job that requires significant investments of time and money, bloggers had to develop a specific skill set to turn their pages into a profitable business.
Here’s what every blogger needs to know:
- How to write fresh and exciting content on a variety of social media channels
- How to edit photos to match your blog’s ideas and develop a signature aesthetic
- Understand how to use good quality photographic equipment, such as a digital SLR camera
- Understand how to use web-hosted blogging services such as WordPress and Twitter
- Be able to integrate customer’s paid advertising banners into own blog pages
- Be able to pitch successfully to travel and non-travel print magazines around the world
- The various ways to edit videos to create interest among your audience
- When to keep up with all social media updates and use them to create content
- Marketing strategies
- Sales strategies and how to use them on your blog
- Page optimization for Google search
- How to build good relationships with the brands with which you’re collaborating
- How to use Google Analytics
In addition to the skillset above, there are multiple traits that travel bloggers must also possess to be successful in this career.
Traits of a Successful Blogger
With more and more new blogs every day, it’s becoming harder to set yourself apart from the crowd. However, following our advice, you’ll create a blog that fits perfectly in a niche you’ve chosen:
- Always think strategically
- Invest in improving your writing skills
- Delegate your work
- Always set clear yearly goals
- Use social media to promote yourself as a brand
- Know your audience and connect with them
- Be happy to stay in a variety of accommodation types, from 5-star resorts down to backpacker shacks
- Have a love of travel and a desire to see far-off places
- Possess a decent level of English language writing skill
The actual ‘conditions of work’ form the whole experience of a travel adventure. This is because bloggers can work from any place in the world.
Just a few years ago, all they needed was a computer, a camera, and a backpack. But things have changed, and these days, travel bloggers have more equipment to make their photos better and to be able to perform photo post-production to its fullest.
Most bloggers will experience a variety of different accommodation levels, so one trip may be to a luxury resort by the Andaman Sea, returning to a small apartment in Bangkok for a few days, before heading out for a three day jungle adventure, with nothing but a backpack and mosquito repellent.
People tend to enjoy travelling or not enjoy it; those that love it tend to find it hard to settle down, always feeling the need to explore new places and tell others about their experience.
Travel Blogger Salary
There is no salary as such for travel blogging; it all depends on how visible the blog is in Google rankings, how many followers the site has, and the kind of reputation it enjoys.
At the outset, the blog’s value is zero because it is unknown and has no reputation. As the site accumulates followers and improves its search engine position, it begins to become more attractive to potential sponsors.
Likewise, it is difficult to advise bloggers starting out on what would be an appropriate level of income to sponsor their travelling activities, as the cost of near continual travel depends on the location.
For example, a travel blogger in Europe would need significantly higher revenues to continue to travel to expensive countries, whereas someone travelling in Asia could get by on a shoestring budget, taking advantage of free stays and cheap rentals.
How Do Travel Bloggers Make Money?
Of every 10 new travel blogs, maybe one or two will get to a point where they become profitable. Do you know what sets its creators apart? Perseverance.
When you start writing and traveling, you need to keep in mind that your blog most likely won’t be profitable in the first year. But what you can do is to make a strategy of the various techniques you’ll need to perform to start accumulating profits. There’s a lot of ways to earn from your blog, and here are just a few of them:
Banner advertising places ads in various locations on your website. If your website traffic numbers are good, you’ll have a profitable start. After a while, if the number of visits to your site starts growing, you’ll start getting even more money.
A great way to generate income for your website is to use sponsored posts. For instance, a brand that wants to reach your audience will pay you to mention their products or services in your post.
For any travel blogger, partnering with particular brands can prove extremely useful, especially with brands whose products you’re already using. It’s vital to pay attention to brands that are relevant to your blog and audience.
If you’re a traveler, brands that sell things you might use with traveling, such as sports equipment, hiking shoes, cameras, suitcases, etc., are more relevant than a brand that sells chairs. You get the picture.
Affiliate marketing is a well-known tool through which you get a percentage of the sale of every product that someone buys through your website.
If you’re writing a post explaining how some particular product helped you while traveling, the chances are high that a reader to click on the link and potentially buy the same product.
Platforms like Booking.com, Amazon, and Airbnb are currently having a lot of success with their affiliate programs. However, they don’t generate a high income.
Travel Blogger Jobs and Career Progression
Although not relevant per se, experienced travel writers and bloggers will develop a burgeoning portfolio of contacts, making it more likely that future travel features they complete will be published in print (or well funded by sponsors).
Well capitalised bloggers will be able to explore exotic and remote locations beyond the reach of inexperienced bloggers with limited resources.
Best Travel Blogs
There are many people who have turned their travel blogs into a full time job. With the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, many are appearing every day. However, some notable examples include Nomadic Matt, Adventurous Kate, and even entire travel companies like Wanderlust Travel Co.
Travel Blogger Employers
While many travel bloggers put together their own guidebook websites or blogs, there are gig opportunities working for somebody else’s travel company. As the world’s workforce increasingly shifts to remote work, travel jobs become even more common.
World Travel Holdings is a great example. The company is an award-winning travel company that assists thousands of travelers with all of their vacation needs. Opportunities are remote, meaning that you can work at home, or help customers while you’re abroad.
along those same lines, you could also become a Disney Travel Agent. There is a seemingly endless supply of travelers looking to visit Disney parks, so taking this job allows you to work as an independent contractor, making good money while still remaining an independent contractor.
If you really want to level up your travel blogger career, you can check out Traveling Vineyard.
In this role, you’ll be able to travel to different vineyards and try wine and experience all that the country’s greatest wine regions have to offer. There are no monthly minimum sales quotas, and you can sell as much or as little wine as you want.
It’s a fun social job that allows you to travel and become a wine expert, on somebody else’s dime.
How to Become a Travel Blogger
Learning how to start a travel blog is not as difficult as it was before. Before launching, you’ll need to figure out a blog name and choose a platform to host your website.
One option is to choose a platform like Wix or Blogger where you’ll get a domain, but with an extension that includes the host platform’s name. The other is to use WordPress, where you’ll have more control over your domain and website.
The second step is to create social media accounts for your blog and decide how you will promote your photos, videos, and experience on the road. Once you have everything set up, it’s time to start creating content and reposting it on all your channels.
Find Your Social Media Channels
Social media is necessary for everyone who wants to start a blog. There, you can create connections with your audience and brands and share your posts as well as your traveling story.
But using more than three channels can be overwhelming. It might eventually become frustrating because you might spend a lot of your time and energy on content that won’t reach its right audience.
For those reasons, try focusing on only two or three platforms to start. Here’s a list of trending social media platforms that can help travel bloggers share their stories:
Defining Future Goals
If you want your blog to succeed, you should set some short-term and long-term goals. When you have targets set, it will be easier to keep track of your progress.
Try to make your goals measurable and achievable, and set a specific timeframe for all of them. It would be good to do an overview three to four times a year to check your progress.
Different Travel Blogs
When you have a clear idea of what you want to write about and have the pictures you wish to incorporate in your traveling journal, you might see measurable results on your blog after just a few months.
These are some of the niches that are common among travel bloggers:
- Luxury travel
- Adventure travel
- Festival traveling
- Traveling and cooking
- Yoga traveling
- Slow traveling
- Weekend escape
- Camper traveling
Of course, you can create your travel niche combination as long as your content reflects it in the best possible way. Niches can serve as a guide that lets people know your area of expertise and lets all your content grow around it.
What’s it Really Like?
Sebastian Canaves-Börner describes himself as a business student, entrepreneur, traveller and citizen of the world. At the age of 23, he has already lived in six countries around the globe and is still looking for a permanent home.
He travels for a living off the back of his hugely successful www.off-the-path.com blog.
What made you decide or choose to get into this sort of career?
Boredom. In December 2006 I didn’t have much to do and was surfing the internet idly. I landed on a blog hosted on blogger.com and spontaneously registered.
For about 3 years I had a very personal blog where I wrote about my daily life. In 2007, I moved to Australia and created a second one which was already more travel-related, but more focused on informing my family and friends at home about what was going on in my life in Australia. I was surprised by the success it had among people who didn’t know me.
In 2011 I finally decided to create Off The Path, which was less personal and contained more information for readers.
Do you have a standard day or a standard type of ‘exercise’?
The first thing I do before I make coffee is check how many e-mails I have received and quickly scan to see if there is anything important. A blog is online 24/7 and this means that you work with people across all time zones.
My first activity is checking and replying to all the e-mails which have come in at night; then I check my analytics. I look at how many people visited the blog the day before, where they came from, how they accessed the website and what was the most popular post.
Then I get ready to go out and explore my surroundings for stories I can write. I regularly update my Facebook page status and tweet over my phone.
At around 7-8 PM, when I get back to base, I start being productive and start writing, and researching for my future posts. I like to have about two weeks of posts scheduled so I can easily go on a spontaneous trip without having to worry about the content.
What is the most common type of problem/call-out/enquiry to which you must attend?
Lately, many companies have been contacting me to ask me to try out their services since they can see when I’m in the region through my website and my social media profiles. It takes time to manage all this.
What do you like most about the job?
The flexibility; I can do whatever I want, and whenever I want. I can work from home, from a café or in a plane on the way to a press trip. The only thing I need is a laptop and a reasonably fast internet connection.
What do you like least about the job?
Advertisers that think that bloggers are paying for their trips with monopoly money! Blogging is a full time job and takes a lot of time. Many advertisers contact me and offer me a “donation” of $10 if I write a little post for them. I delete these e-mails immediately.
What are the key responsibilities?
To provide accurate and reliable information! It is important that all the information I provide is up to date and reliable by the time I press the publish button. Otherwise my readers would quickly unsubscribe from my blog.
What about academic requirements? Any formal demands, eg A Levels?
Nothing! Anybody can start a blog – all you need is a lot of time. Beginners can also start for free on platforms like Blogger and WordPress. Anyone who wants to take it seriously though should invest in a good host and buy their own domain. If you have no idea about design and basic html and php coding, I would recommend contracting a programmer who creates a website according to your preferences. After that you are ready to go!
What is the starting salary, and how does this increase over time with promotion?
You start with nothing. It took me years until I earned my first dollar with my blog. You have to be very patient and write qualitative, strong articles. It is also important that you focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The higher your Google Page Rank (PR) the more visitors you will get from search engines and the faster advertisers and destination companies will take notice of you.
What advice do you have for someone who is looking to get into this as a career?
Be patient and don’t start blogging as a full time job. Most people start this as a hobby and it becomes a job later. If you are patient you will succeed in the long term.
What are the most important qualities an applicant must and should possess?
You should have basic knowledge of HTML and web sites. Over time, you will find little bugs that need to be fixed and you will probably not be able to afford a programmer to look after your website every time there is a little problem.
Any closing questions, comments or additional advice?
Most bloggers have two or more websites: one main page and some other little pages where they make their income from; the main page is the brand which is being invited on press trips and to carry out tests for products, so on these pages you often won’t find advertising. The most money is made with other little pages which are fully funded and focus on a little niche.
What’s Next After Blogging
Blogging has encouraged many people to travel and truly experience the world. It has also become a steady income source for some as they turn away from conventional jobs and search for something different, new, and exciting.
For related jobs, check out some of these:
- Web content editor