Ever wondered how travel bloggers like Jack Morris or Paula Pant maintain a lifestyle, as exotic as theirs. You aren’t the first one though who wants a lifestyle like them. Envying lifestyles that pay you to travel to exotic locations, happens for obvious reasons. Doesn’t it? We Millennials are stuck by wanderlust like no other generation of the past. Did you know Jack Morris dropped out of school at the age of 17 and worked as a carpet Cleaner? Today, he doesn’t post for anything less than $3000. Recently a phone company paid him $35,000 for just 5 Instagram photos and 2 days of filming. (Raises brows and sighs in despair!)
You have to admit at some point in your adult life you must have wanted to be a travel blogger. Trust me you aren’t the first one or for that matter the last one. There’s solid evidence to it, my dear friend. According to Google 2016 survey,” How to become a travel Blogger” is actually the 7th most searched phrase on the web. You might have stopped then and there with a sense of skepticism about how to start a travel blog and how to manage your finances. I don’t blame you for that. But what if I tell you it’s absolutely doable? Everything is actually if you know the right steps to go about it.
Wondering if you are the “Travel Blogger “material?
Trust me you can be a travel blogger, irrespective of your age, gender, religion or profession. I know travel bloggers who are physically challenged and some are in their late 70s too. My extensive research on travel bloggers has made me believe, they are very much like me and you. The only difference is their passion for travel and their risk-taking nature. Travel Bloggers are people like you and me, who enjoy socializing, are curious by nature and have a serious love for travel.
Wondering how to manage your Finances as a Newbie Travel Blogger?
There are 2 questions right now that are bothering you at this point. Point 1, how much money will you have to invest and where to invest that money? Point 2, where to find that money? Travel Blogging is like any other business you know. You form a strong base for the reason you are passionate about and then monetize it. A lot of bloggers follow the “Blog first, monetize it later” formula. However, you should have a concrete idea about how to earn that money. This will help you have a better idea of your approaches and blogs.
How much money will you have to invest and where to invest that money?
There’s no minimum or maximum amount to point out actually. If you are someone who was smart to invest in Bitcoins, go ahead buy a flying drone for $1700. Jokes apart! If you want to stay here in the long run, you will have to spend in the beginning. It is very important to invest in a couple of basics if you are serious about your branding and business. Yes, there are free platforms. But they can very be limiting in the long run. Apart from the expenses of your travels, you have to pay for your web hosting, web designing, e-courses and for high-end equipment etc.
There are thousands of tools and apps floating on the web today, that enhance your webpage. Most bloggers get overwhelmed and try to learn it all leading to creative blocks occasionally. It’s okay to outsource some of your work and just focus on your writing. Remember your experience or your story is what will keep your audience glued to you.
Where to find that money?
Most bloggers I know and read about, start with their savings account. You are on your own, to begin with, like all the other businesses. The passion for travel is what triggers most travel influencers to quit their jobs. Many have sold their property, broken down FDs and of the likes. They start with an intention to travel for a year or 2 with money they collect. Some eventually get back to mundane lives once they run out of the money. But the really crazy ones, see the beauty of traveling and find ways to earn money while doing it. What makes you unique is your story about a place or location. For example, if you are an expert swimmer you could write/post about your experience in Blue Lagoon, Iceland. How you travel will be different from how I travel, isn’t it? People will love to see or read your story, it would inspire them to travel. That’s when Brands see your potential and would want you to endorse them. It could be clothes, equipment’s, locations or even an energy bar.
Where do travel bloggers potentially get the money from?
- Travel Blogging –
No, this is not the only source of income. But the most important one, because it forms the base of all major incomes. Your travel blog talks about you and your journey. It is what attracts your audience to you and will keep them glued.
- Brand Partnerships –
Over a period of time, you will have a loyal set of audience and companies would be interested in reaching out to them. You will be the mediator here. It happens in form of sponsored blog posts, Instagram posts etc. It’s very important to work with brands and companies that make sense to you. For example, if you are someone who talks about the value of fitness in our lifestyles, a post about fried chicken won’t make sense.
- Long-term ambassadorship-
These usually work as partnerships and not like traditional advertising. They include continuous blog posts, coverage, company posts and creating giveaways. These require more attention and do actually pay the big bucks.
- Affiliate Links –
Once you are an established travel blogger there would be other people that would be seeking your travel insights. It could be on the gears you use or the equipment’s they want to be reviewed. That’s when you include affiliate links to those products. That would mean if some of your audience decide to click on them and make a purchase a small part of it comes to you. If your website has a good crowd it usually adds up to a big amount.
- Photography sales –
You are in for a treat if you have steady photographers’ hands. Tour companies, media companies, tourism boards would want to buy your image. You can earn a good amount by licensing your pictures for commercial campaigns.
- Destination Marketing –
There will be occasions when a tourism board might want you to visit their location. They are potentially targeting your audience. These campaigns usually include pictures, videos, blog posts to attract tourists to that location.
- Display Adds –
Google has an advertising platform called Adsense. It displays relevant Ads within your blog content. Each time a viewer clicks on them, you get paid. It isn’t a big amount but money nonetheless.
- Freelance travel writing –
If you are someone who loves writing and has travel stories in bundles, you could write for others too. There will be websites that want content for their websites and you already have a lot to share.
It could ideally be any other way you think you can earn money while still traveling. If you think you make great candles, probably make a business out of it. I have read about travel bloggers who have actually driven other people’s car to earn money.
The steps to start you travel blogging journey –
- Pick a travel Blog name –
Your travel blog name should speak volumes about you. (Mine would be Moody-On-The-Move, it looked lamer after I typed it) Make it short, simple and not lame like mine.
- Choose the hosting for your blog-
You need an address in the digital world, your hosting does that for you. It comes cheap usually and contents all your blogs, pictures and videos.
- Take a self-hosted WordPress account-
This will let you have full control over your content. You can freely post ads and add themes etc. This will basically give you more freedom to customize your website.
- Learn how to work on WordPress and select a professional theme for your website
- Download useful plugins –
These will help you optimize your articles, make them more mobile friendly and many other benefits.
- Create an “About Me” page and flirt with social media –
You are nearly good to go, but not before writing a good bio. Your “About page” should resonate with your audience and talk about your reasons to travel etc.
You should use it on all social media platforms, preferably with the same name for consistency.
- If you have the budget, enroll yourself in a travel blogging course
- And most importantly keep traveling and writing about them.
By now you must have a fair idea about the importance of the internet and the online tools if you want to succeed as a travel blogger.
There are numerous online tools and Applications that will help you in improving your content.
- Trip Advisor is a great tool to look out for the best sights in a location and is a great source of user-generated content on travel. It is a great tool to improve your travel-blogger authority.
- Flickr is a great source to find attractive pictures when you don’t have pictures of your own. There will be instances when you will travel to destinations without your camera.
- Grammarly is a great tool to improve your structuring errors and grammatical mistakes. It has been a personal favorite with people(Me) who have a serious issue with comma usage.
- Blogger Link Up– It’s like a marketplace for guest bloggers. It has listings of sites with guest blogging requirements and writers available for guest blogging. It’s a great place to find writing opportunities and also to get your work done.
- Twitter is a great platform to know about the in-trend hashtags in the travelers’ community. You can be a part of these virtual events and make conversations with fellow travel bloggers. It helps you to gain followership and promote your travel blog.
- Piwik is a great tool to analyze your demographic data and traffic statistics. As you start your travel blog you would soon want to know more about your audience, it will be easier to reach out to them.
- WordPress is an indispensable tool for most writers. If you are someone who has limited knowledge/interest in programming and web design, WordPress comes to your rescue. It allows you to choose from among a thousand professional theme and also adds Plugins that can literally do most of your work.
- Travel Bloggers Academy is a virtual academy which like hub store for travel bloggers. It covers topics on SEO to tips on creating content, it covers a vast spectrum of topics for travel bloggers. You can either choose to read their public articles or do a course by paying up an amount.
These are certainly the most important tools Travel Bloggers use, but there are a thousand more in the web. And there are more coming up as the number of travel bloggers is increasing.
The reality check – Travel Blogging is not always a rosy picture like you would want to think. It can be very stressful and time-consuming in the beginning phase, but it gets better with time. Like all businesses and venture, travel blogging takes effort and time to take off.
Being a professional Travel blogger is not everyone’s cup of tea, it ideally can’t be. In today’s competitive Digital world not many dream of backpacking in a tropical country or sharing a meal with a Giraffe. Not a lot of people are willing to risk the comfort of their homes and cars for an adventure in a foreign land. And if you are among the adventurous few, what’s stopping you? Pack your bags and fly!
Tell me about your first travel, your first travel Blog or just about the first freebie you were sent.
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