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How I Make Money Travel Blogging

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When I tell people I’m a travel blogger, I can pretty much guarantee one of two reactions. It’s either excitement or total bafflement. Either way, it’s almost inevitable that I’ll be asked the same question: how do you make money travel blogging? I’ve been asked this so many times now that I’ve finally decided it would be easier just to write a blog post about it!

The answer is complicated! I make money in a lot of ways, some of them totally random. Other bloggers I know do things completely differently. The beauty of this industry is that it is so free – there are no right or wrong ways to do things, and no “one size fits all” structure for making money. It’s all about using your talents.

If you want to be a full-time travel blogger, there are quite a few ways to cash in on your hobby. This is how I make money from travel blogging…

How to Make Money Travel Blogging – My Methods

First, a word of warning. If your only goal with starting a travel blog is to make money – DON’T DO IT! If you don’t already love blogging or at least some aspect of blogging, this industry is not for you. You have to put in so much time and devotion to it that it could just take over your life.

There are far easier ways to make money online than blogging! I would only recommend travel blogging as a career if you already love blogging, writing, photography, or social media (or preferably all of the above) – and you want to turn that passion into a way of making money.

READ MORE: I’ve gone into a little more detail on the best ways to make money from a travel blog in this guide. But below is everything I do to make money from blogging, followed by all my tips for treating your blog as a career.

1 – Freelance Writing

Like I mentioned above, making money travel blogging is really all about finding ways to cash in on your talents. My strongest talent (I think) is writing, so that’s what I use to produce a lot of my income. I write on a freelance basis for a number of online publications, and they pay me nicely for my work.

How to Find Freelance Work as a Blogger

People often ask me how I found my freelance writing gigs. In almost all cases – they found me. Once I’d built up a successful little blog and a social media following, people began to notice me. People started getting in touch asking me to write for them, and slowly I built up a portfolio of work that I could use to show clients and negotiate better rates.

how I make money travel blogging

There are sites like Upwork, oDesk, and Fiverr which you can use to find freelance writing gigs. But I don’t think you should! For one thing, those sites usually take an unfair cut of your earnings – sometimes up to 20%. And for another, the pay is usually insulting low. $5 to write a 500 word article? Um… no thanks! People hiring freelancers for a job do so because they can’t do that job themselves – you have a skill set they don’t have and for that reason you should be paid fairly. So say no to crappy pay – even when you’re starting out.

A better way to find freelance work is to simply pitch to editors. Joining communities of travel bloggers, like the Lonely Planet Pathfinders, can be a good way to get an “in”, or you can just do some research and find publications that would be a good fit for your writing style. Come up with a great idea, get some really solid examples of your best writing online, and pitch to editors. Then pitch again and again – and develop a thick skin, because this industry is full of rejection!

2 – Digital Advertising

Quick word of advice. If you’re planning on advertising on your blog in any way, you need to be self-hosted. If you’re running your blog through, the free version of WordPress that does everything for you, then you can’t advertise in any form except their internal Adwords system (which is ugly and doesn’t pay out much, in my experience). I learnt this the hard way and had my blog totally shut down a few years ago – nearly losing everything I’d ever written.

So go self hosted! You get more control anyway and you can monetise your blog however you want. These are the three things you’ll need:

One – Set up your blog through (rather than .com), but if you’re already on the free version you can switch pretty easily.

Two – You’ll need a host. These are basically companies that you can rent a little bit of the internet from for your site to be on.

Three – Get a domain name (the bit that comes after the www.) to have your blog on. I get mine through and definitely recommend them; easy to use and pretty cheap.

These are a few of the different ways I advertise on my travel blog…

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts and advertorials are really popular ways to make money travel blogging. Essentially, these are articles that a client has paid me to write on my blog, featuring a mention of their company and usually a link back to their website.

There are pretty strict rules around sponsored posting so it’s important to be careful. Google don’t mind you including paid-for links on your site, but they should be no-follow and you should always use a disclaimer.


Since I first wrote this post, I’ve also added a new way to make money travel blogging into my personal arsenal. Mediavine! They basically act as an ad manager for your site. Once you hit 25,000 page views a month you can apply to join. Mediavine will automatically place ads all over your site – within pages, and in the sidebars and footers. The pop-up ad you can see at the footer of my site is a Mediavine ad.

What I love is that you get full control over the number of adverts, how often they appear, and also what is advertised. I’ve opted out of several topics that I don’t think fit in with my site. I’m still undecided about the number of ads, but I’ve had no complaints so far.

Medivine is probably the main way I make money travel blogging now. It’s easy, and once it’s set up there’s no more to do. The income is entirely passive. My rent is pretty much paid every month and everything else I earn just pays for my lifestyle.

Banner Ads

I’ll also sometimes sell individual banner ads to my clients. Ads in the sidebar or footer sections of my site. Usually, it’s a logo or some other graphic. I’m not really a fan of mess and clutter so I try not to have too many of these, but on occasion, if the brand is a good fit, I’ll add one in.

how to make money travel blogging
The banner on the right-hand side appears next to all my London posts – and the links in the post are all affiliate links.

These are pretty straightforward. For a few brands, I have a special tracking link which I use whenever I’m recommending their products. If you buy something I’ve recommended by clicking that link, I’ll get a small commission. It’s usually around 5%, sometimes less, and I don’t make a lot of money this way. But once it’s set up there is zero work involved so it’s a nice bit of extra pocket money for me. Some bloggers make a killing through affiliate sales, so it is possible.

I’ve used a LOT of affiliate programmes over the years. These are the ones I still use and recommend:

Amazon Affiliate Programme – This is my top performer. Any time I recommend a product, I link to it on Amazon using my referral link.

Awin (previously Affiliate Window) – Lot’s of good travel brands, easy to use platform. I like it for and

Trade Doubler – Lot’s of good brands, but not as easy to use (in my opinion).

Hostelworld – Works really well because I can use it for things I genuinely recommend. Every time I recommend a hostel, I use my Hostelworld referral code and if someone books it I’ll make a tiny bit of money.

3 – Paid Press Trips

A lot of the trips I do are press trips organised by a travel brand or a tourism board. They’ll cover most/all travel expenses and create an itinerary of activities and sightseeing for me to see the best side of a destination. Sometimes the trips are themed, like when I worked with Visit Spain on a trip all about the Camino del Norte which had a hiking/outdoorsy theme. Other times they’re more vague, designed to give a broad overview of the destination.

Most of the time, the exchange is just a “free” trip in exchange for blog coverage. I say free in quote marks because when it comes to blogging – nothing is free! A blog post takes several hours to put together: writing, editing, editing and uploading photos, creating a custom-made shareable image for Pinterest, promoting the post across social media. I’m trading my time, my skills, and my services for a trip… so it’s not a free holiday by any stretch of the imagination!

how to make money travel blogging
Working hard on a press trip with the lovely Wanderlust Chloe

Because of this, I sometimes charge a fee when I take part in a press trip or influencer event. Particularly when the client wants to guarantee a certain amount of coverage after the trip. If they are looking for lots of content – be it blog posts or social media – then I will charge a fee based on the amount they’re requesting.

How much do I charge for a press trip?

Well, that really varies hugely depending on what the client wants. For me it’s been anything from £400 – £2000! I don’t charge a daily rate, but put together a bespoke quotation based on what my client is asking for. Other bloggers have fixed daily rates, others don’t charge at all and do it all for the free travel. You have to consider what works for you and what your time, follower counts, and talents are worth.

4 – Selling Photography

Another of my strengths is photography. I have a degree in the subject so I’m actually qualified, and I’ve definitely gotten a lot better over the years. Lately, I’ve started selling some of my photos online as an extra source of income.

Digital Detox Challenge

How to Sell Your Travel Photos

The simplest way is to sign up to an online network, upload your best photos, and then wait for the money to come in! Otherwise, you could consider creating a shop through your website and making all your images purchasable – but it might be harder for people to find you.

Shutterstock – This is a stock image database, so you upload as many photos as you like. You make about $0.25 per download on Shutterstock, but there’s no limit to the amount of times one of your pics might be downloaded. If you have some really strong images, especially if they’re of places/things that there aren’t already lots of photos of, then you could see some really good profit. 1000 downloads a month is an extra $250 a month, and once you have everything set up you don’t have to do any work at all – so it’s completely passive income! Sign up here.

how to make money travel blogging
Make a bit of spare cash by selling your travel photos!

How to Start Making Money Travel Blogging

None of the opportunities I’ve outlined above came to me by mistake or good luck. I worked my butt off for years to get to where I am today! If you’re serious about making money travel blogging you’re going to need to put in a lot of work. There are exceptions, but in most cases to start making money from a blog you need to be getting good traffic, have a decent amount of followers, and/or very strong engagement*. Which means you need to be creating really good content!

There are cheats to get your traffic and followers up quickly, but brands won’t want to work with you if your blog and content isn’t also really good. There are tons of travel blogs out there, so why would someone pay to advertise on a sub-par blog if they can pay the same rate to a really good blogger?

If your blog is good, your engagement strong, and you have an audience, you’re ready to go. But how are people going to find you? Below are a few steps get to started making money through your blog.

How I Make Money Travel Blogging

*You don’t need to have a huge audience (although it helps!). If you are writing within a particularly small niche, especially one that doesn’t have a lot being written about it, you might be reaching a highly targeted and very engaged audience and that can also be attractive to brands. 

Network, network, network!

They say “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. But in blogging, it’s more “who knows you” – so make sure all the important people do! Go to events. Go to blogging conferences like TBEX and Traverse. Email PR companies with your media kit. Engage with brands on social media. Do anything and everything you can to get your name out there and meet people.

Create a banging media kit

Want to work with brands as a travel blogger? Make a media kit and make sure it can be easily found on your site. A really good media kit should be simple, professional-looking, and full of all your blog’s stats. Feel free to check out mine for some inspiration!

Be easy to contact

Get a professional-looking email address (NOT [email protected]) and make it clear on your site. Have a dedicated “Work with Me” landing page and link to it from your homepage or menu. Make it easy for people to find you and get in touch. And always reply, even if it’s to turn an offer down.

Go Self Hosted

I’ve already mentioned this above but thought I’d just reiterate here. You can’t advertise on your blog if it’s a free, hosted site through You need to go through, own your own domain name, and go self-hosted so you can do what you like with your site.

surviving backpacker burnout
Give yourself a routine for a few days

Join Blogger Networks

There are a few online networks that help brands find bloggers to work with, so it’s worth creating a profile on some. The ones I like best are Famebit (mostly US opportunities but there are some worldwide ones), Bloggers Required (there’s a huge range of opportunities and lots of travel related stuff), The Blogger Programme (a lot of fashion brands, also lots of festivals), and SocialPubli (good for social media campaigns). And while I don’t love their sponsored post-payment strategy, I’ve noticed that Cooperatize have started sending out press trips and freelance writing campaigns to their network of influencers so it’s worth signing up to that one and checking the newsletter often.

Be professional

I used to work in customer services before I became a travel blogger. It’s given me a surprisingly handy set of skills that some other bloggers I know seem to lack! When you’re working with a brand, even if it seems like quite a casual arrangement or they’re just sending you a £10 gift, treat it like a serious business engagement. Whether they’re giving you free products, or paying up in cold hard cash, that brand is your customer. Give good customer service and they’ll come back – maybe with more money next time!

I reply to every single email I get as quickly as possible. I’m always polite and friendly – even when someone’s being rude to me. I always deliver whatever was agreed, by the agreed-upon deadline – and if something goes wrong to prevent me then I let the client know as soon as possible. These things feel obvious to me, but they really do make the world of difference.

Got a question about starting a blog or making money as a travel blogger? Leave me a comment below or shoot me an email. I’m working on a Q&A post so I would love to help out! 

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How I Make Money Travel Blogging

36 thoughts on “How I Make Money Travel Blogging”

  1. Hi Emily,

    Thank-you very much for writing this. It’s very down to earth and makes a lot of sense compared to the usual waffle followed by a link to an e-book. I love my blog so much that I am almost scared to ruin it by trying to make money from it, but it does take up a lot of my time, so I really do need to do something about it soon!

    Thanks again,

    Katie :)

    1. Hi Katie!!

      Thanks so much for reading – I’m glad you found it helpful. The LAST thing I want to do is be one of those bloggers flogging an e-book. “Get rich like me by buying this ebook, which by the way is the thing making me rich”… no thanks! But I genuinely get asked all the time how I make money so I thought I might as well put it on the blog.

      If you’ve already put a lot of work in on your blog then you really should do something small with it. Maybe just start with affiliate links? They’re great because you can use them for stuff you’re actually recommending. Plus once it’s set up it’s a passive income, you don’t need to do anything. I like the Amazon programme personally because I can use it for any and all products that I genuinely recommed. Plus you can choose to be paid in Amazon gift vouchers – so I always have a fund for birthday presents and goodies I need!

      Hope it all goes well for you – let me know how it goes! And if you have any questions I’m happy to help!

      Emily :)

  2. Hi Emily,

    This is such a useful post! I’ve been blogging for a few years but, as my freelance journalism commitments increase, I’ve found it hard to blog as often as I’d like to (not that I’m short of ideas – just the time to put it all together). Your tips on making money by selling images have definitely inspired me – it looks like a great way to get a bit of extra income with minimal effort.



    1. Hi Polly! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’m really pleased you found the post helpful. Selling images is a great idea, wish I’d started doing it a long time ago. Once everything is up there it’s just passive income, you don’t have to do anything. It’s so worth doing – especially if you’re like me and have thousands of images just sitting there not being used!

      Thanks for reading :)
      Em x

    1. Thank you. It varies for each and every blogger. I make a good income form sponsored posts but I’m fussy about who I will work with and I refuse a lot of irrelevant posts or things that I think will not interest my readers. My best income is from freelance posts and paid press trip campaigns. Hope the post helped you a bit :)

  3. Thanks Emily, this is an honest and very helpful post.

    You have shared some excellent resources, especially selling photography, both of which I have never heard of.

    It’s also interesting that as one of the more established “respected” bloggers, you are not totally against sponsored posts. There are too many mixed messages around putting sponsored posts on your blog so your advice is important.

    Thanks again, I’m off to explore more posts

    Best Wishes


    1. Hi Rob! Thanks so much for reading. Honest and helpful is EXACTLY what I was going for, so glad you thought so :)

      I think as long as you obey the correct advertising laws (eg always disclaim) and follow Google’s guidelines around selling links, sponsored posts are fine. I have a personal policy of writing them all myself, choosing the topic, and being 100% honest in all posts. I’m also upfront about when a post was sponsored. I hope my readers don’t mind them too much – I try not to do too many and don’t let spam overtake the site. It’s all personal preference really as long as you’re in line with the laws. And at the end of the day, bloggers have to eat too – so if there’s a way to make money by cashing in on your skills, I say go for it ;)

      Thanks so much for commenting

  4. Emily, Thanks so much for this. My wife and I are going to New Zealand for a year and we were going to make a Blog for our family and friends as well as just a cool way to document our trip. While planning for the trip we saw some bloggers that were making a lot of money from travel blogging. Then we thought, well if we can make even a little extra cash from it, then why not? We don’t have any expectations to make a huge amount of money, but anything to at least get us some extra spending money on the trip will be helpful. I have performed several searches on this topic, and I haven’t found anyone else giving this much comprehensive information. This is very helpful, thank you.

    1. Hi Captain Awesome, great name :) I’m really glad to hear that you found my post helpful. There are loads of ways you can make money from blogging, so if you have the talent for writing or taking pictures, why not cash in on it?

      Best of luck with planning your trip :)

  5. This is SUCH a great, no bullsh*t post! I’m growing my blog following at the moment – spending every spare minute on it, but it’s my baby and I love it! Would love to reach out to you via email?
    Thanks so much!

  6. Just did a Google search Emily on how to start making money from a blog. Yours was the only one that properly answered my question as I hadn’t a clue where to even start!

    I only launched my first ever blog last night so I better not get carried away as you said and think I’m going to make a fortune!

    I probably should’ve tried a few years ago and maybe now I’d be getting some income for my six month trip to South America and Central!

    Thanks again for the great advice

    1. Hi Caroline. That’s awesome news, I’m so glad you found the post helpful. It’s so tricky to know where to start with blogging and so on, so I hope my post helped a bit. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to help.

      When are you off to Latin America?


  7. wow, very informative , especially for me as I recently started blogging. Just wanted to ask do I need to buy a domain or kinda convert to .com before placing ads?
    looking ahead for guidance. thanks in advance

    1. It depends on the rules of the person you blog through. If you blog through then you need to convert to self hosted before placing ads – so you will need your own domain. I have a section on that in this post :)

  8. I have learned more from your blog just this morning (while drinking my coffee here in lovely Virginia, USA) than I have from several other blogs in recent weeks. Your energy, effort and passion are evident in your blog. I have saved it in my favorites and will refer back to it as I continue my journey.

    1. Hi Shanda!! Thanks so much for commenting – I’m delighted that you’ve found this blog post helpful. I hope Virginia is treating you well :) Thanks again for your kind words – it means so much to me.

  9. This has been really helpful advice thank you so much for sharing this and your experience. I am new to the travel blogging world and any advice, tips, help is very much appreciated.

  10. Hey Emily!
    We’re so glad you’re happy with your switch to Mediavine — we are so happy to have you!
    This is an awesome monetization post. As publishers ourselves, we agree that ads aren’t always our favorite, but it’s all about finding that balance between getting paid for your work and your reader’s experience.
    Thanks so much for the shoutout!
    — Susannah at Mediavine

  11. Thank you Emily, this has been the first clear and helpful post from all the search results i found on How to make money travel blogging.You properly answered most of my questions that i had on this topic as I have been really wandering how it goes!

    Thanks for the links will be definitely visiting and adding a few cents to you :)
    May great deals continue coming your way!

  12. A very interesting read. I started a long time ago, never concluded to build up a travel blog. I instead studied Documentary Photography, skill that I would like to use now to open the blog I always wanted to have. I would really appreciate a (or few) advice..
    I do have lots of travelling experiences and images that could be a good start for contents..but I am also stuck in UK now, meaning that I can’t find very interesting and exiting travel related stories or contents. I’m guessing followers and readers want to see exiting posts of exotic places.. How hard is to run travel blog when you cannot travel and only update and add contents those few times a year when you can afford to travel?

    1. That’s exactly how I started out with mine – I was living in London and only travelling a few times a year. So I wrote about those trips, past trips, and also my local area in London. With blogging, and even with some social media channels like Instagram, your posts don’t have to be live – especially on travel blogs. No one expects you only to write about trips while you’re on them! Also, remember that your followers might be based all over the world, so what seems normal to you – like your home country – may well seem exotic to some travellers. There are tons of bloggers out there who only travel part-time, around a full-time job! And I’ve been stuck in the UK since Jan and still managing to get views on my blog, although to be honest my “lifestyle” posts such as my recent quiz content have been performing better in recent weeks. Hope that helps :)

  13. Nic | Nic's Adventures

    Thanks for sharing, for a blogger that is moving into travel blogging from another niche, it’s helpful to know how to make my blog better and hopefully might get some brands to work with me and maybe some income – hopefully!! I know now what I have to do to improve my blog to make it better :)

    1. Good luck with the switch over Nic :) Travel is the BEST niche, so much scope to make it your own and so many different ways to work with brands if you think outside the box. Plus, travel is awesome!!

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