Guide to Becoming a Travel Blogger

Lots of people dream of becoming a travel blogger. After all, there are lots of benefits to the job: You’re getting paid to travel, you don’t have a boss, and you can enjoy fantastic new experiences while you’re working.
Woman sitting in a hammock looking at a lake and forest

However, it’s also very hard to be a travel blogger: Earning a living from a blog can take years, and it requires a lot of time and effort. You do need to be strategic and motivated to become a successful travel blogger—but don’t worry, it’s an achievable goal!

Here’s how to start a travel blog that will eventually pay 100% of your income.

Find your travel niche

There are hundreds of thousands of travel blogs online already; if you want yours to stand out, you’ll need to find a niche within traveling. For example, travel blogger Zim Ugochukwu found her niche when she started a blog for travelers of color. The site now has thousands of visitors each month, and her blog has been noticed by TIME magazine, The New York Times, and Elle.

Think about your traveling knowledge: If you know a lot about traveling around America, you could blog about traveling to every state. If you only travel to places with wildlife, you could blog about the wildlife across the world. If you only stay in tents, you could blog about camping, or traveling on a budget. Take your time with this—you need to choose something that you are truly passionate about.

Design your own website

Once you’ve decided on your niche, the next step is designing a website. This will be your first expense, and you should be willing to spend enough to make sure that your website looks great. If you don’t know anything about web design, hire a web designer to do the job for you; that way, you know the site will work well and look great.

Make sure your website is easy to navigate and understand, so readers don’t get confused. Visuals are also very important: If your site doesn’t look amazing, you’ll lose out on readers, which means you’ll lose out on money. You should also add social media buttons to your website, so that readers can easily share and “like” your articles.

Build an audience with valuable content

To start getting paid to travel, you’ll need to build up an audience with useful, valuable content. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to buy a high-quality camera; this and the website design will be your two major costs, and they’re well worth it. Successful travel blogs use high-quality images to draw readers in. Writing is very important, too, but pictures will make your articles much more appealing to your readers.

Travel blogs are interesting, but if yours isn’t useful it’ll struggle to gain a big audience. Make sure your writing is helpful and informative by including travel tips, budget trips, hotel and food recommendations, and average prices. Provide a valuable service to your readers so they’ll come back for more.

At this point, you’ll start to gain readers, but you still won’t be earning anything from your blog—the audience comes first, and then the money. Don’t let this discourage you; professional travel writers normally earn very little to start with, but those earnings can quickly leap up. Travel writer Jayme Moye earned $1,525 in her first year of writing, but she earned around $30,000 in her third year.

Expand your outreach

Now you’ve started the ball rolling and readers are trickling in. You may find that you have a few hundred followers, which will feel great. However, you need thousands of followers to monetize your blog—but getting the followers isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

You can expand your outreach in a few different ways. One of the best ways is guest blogging for other travel sites with lots of viewers; you write a blog post for their website for free, but the blogger will include a link to your profile. Your post will be viewed by a large audience, and if the post is good they’ll start following your blog. Guest posts will also increase your blog’s search ranking!

You should also create social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for your blog. You can share your articles on social media and they will reach a whole new audience, expanding your blog’s outreach even further.

Monetize your blog in multiple ways

Your blog now has dedicated followers and unique and interesting content, so you can start to think about monetizing your blog. There are lots of different ways to monetize your blog once you have thousands of followers: brand partnerships, affiliates, advertising, and working with other popular travel brands. Start with advertising: It’s simple to arrange, and you’ll earn a steady stream of money from users clicking on the ads (especially if the ads are targeted toward travel enthusiasts).

Disclaimer: Hey! Welcome to our disclaimer. Here’s what you need to know to safely consume this blog post: Any outbound links in this post will take you away from, to external sites in the wilds of the internet; neither Simple nor our partner banks, The Bancorp Bank and BBVA Compass, endorse any linked-to websites; and we didn’t pay/barter with/bribe anyone to appear in this post. Zim Ugochukwu and Jamie Moye are not Simple customers. And as much as we wish we could control the cost of things, any prices in this article are just estimates. Actual prices are up to retailers, manufacturers, and other people who’ve been granted magical powers over digits and dollar signs.