Updated: Apr 25, 2019
Many people dream about traveling the world for a living; and there are people who are actually able to do so that aren’t pilots, flight attendants, or businessmen. These people are known as travel bloggers and they get paid to visit and write about their major passion in life: travel.
Before you think it’s all a dream, it’s time to debunk a few myths and tell some truths about how to start a travel blog.
1. I may have to quit my full time job
First of all, please don't quit your job when you are just starting off! You may see a few full time Travel Bloggers where traveling is their job but that's most likely less than 2% of all Travel Bloggers. Most of the bloggers have jobs and still manage to travel and create content. You spend a lot of money in the beginning and usually nothing comes in. If you do want to quit to travel, make sure you have a lot of money saved up and a backup plan for if or when it doesn't work. Start by chronicling your weekend getaways, take a vacation and photograph it, then write about it. It's absolutely possible to do this with a job!
2. I need an expensive camera
No you don't need an expensive 1000 dollars worth of camera to start a travel blog. Just use your smartphone ~ It's all about the editing skills! There are a number of photo and video editing apps available that you can use.
3. I need to travel far off locations
Not at all! You can start by writing about the place where you live. It doesn't have to be an exotic location. If not, if you're an hour drive or a quick train ride away from a staycation that you can write about and photograph, you can visit the place over the weekend, and write about it. Nobody truly pays attention to where you're from and aren't going to say, "you're not a real Travel Blogger since you don't travel 5,000 miles". Travel blogging is all about good stories, photographs, videos and reviews.
4. I will get free hotels and trips all the time
I would say 50/50 even though people assume it's 90/10. Again, when you are just starting off you won't get free complimentary hotels and sponsored trips. It took several months (if not years) for any successful travel blogger to have their first free stay or sponsored trip. Just begin with writing some amazing content. clicking and posting beautiful photographs and building an audience for your posts.
5. My photos should always be perfect
Travel photographs are memories. You look at a picture and it conjures up thoughts, feelings, and smells that take you back to a long forgotten place.When composing a photograph, you want to make it as easy as possible for the person looking at it to figure out the subject and focus of the image. So, not-so-bad photography skills and good editing skills are all you need.
How to create an epic travel blog
Choose a really clever, memorable, and relevant blog name.
Choose a name which is short, memorable and easy to spell. Also check if a version of it is available on all social media platforms. Don't select a name which is too specific ~ like "backpacker" because the brand grows with you and choosing a broad niche is always better. Lots of travel bloggers want to be ‘travel and lifestyle bloggers’ but the term lifestyle is so broad that it can be applied to virtually anything.
Spend time building your network
If you’re serious about travel writing, you need the right connections so you have a place to pitch your ideas. While you’re remaining stationary for the time being, use it as an opportunity to reach out to travel companies, magazines, bloggers and known travel writers. That way once you’re back on the road you will know who to contact with your latest stories.
Content, Content and Some More Content
Once you have an audience, they would want to know more about you. Even if you are not travelling to a new place every other week, try to create engaging content for your followers. While inspiring travel stories make interesting reading, so do travel tips, suggestions and advice. People love to read advice from fellow travellers. Articles about what to pack, where to find the best hotels, how to navigate the trams, local customs are valuable to fellow travellers. Your insider knowledge might just help to get someone out of a sticky situation.
Decide how to generate income
Once you have sizeable traffic, then the opportunity to monetize exists. How exactly does one generate money on their blog? There are several ways, and I’ll walk you through them here.
Inserting Google banner ads (AdSense) onto blog posts is one way to earn money. That being said, you need high traffic on posts to generate significant income.
Some products or websites provide a small commission or percentage of each sale via an affiliate link. This means a blog can insert a link for say, Amazon, to a product they are reviewing and receive a small amount if a reader clicks the link.
A sponsored post is content written for a company that is published on your blog. For instance, a hotel may request you to review them in exchange for a free night’s stay, payment, or both.
Sponsorship can work well when the brand or product fits within your niche. It can expose readers to something or somewhere they’d love, and leave them inspired for their next trip.
Getting paid to travel - with marketing campaigns for brands and tourism boards
You can reach out to travel and tourism boards to promote a destination and their experiences via your travel blog and social channels. You can work with them to choose activities, experiences, and destinations that you know you’ll enjoy, that are of high quality and your readers will be interested in.
Where will you travel next? How will travel change you and how will you change the world?