How to start a travel blog and make money in 2022

I love seeing and exploring new places. 

I’ve been to New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. 

Hoping to travel more when I have the time and after the current (the year 2022) pandemic is over.

If I had more brains, eight hands, and time, I would definitely have a travel blog.

Sadly, I’m only human. 

However! What I know now will guarantee your travel blog success.

Ready to get started?

This is how to start a travel blog and make money.

How to start a travel blog business

Man in Vietnam's sunset
Me in Vietnam

Blogging about your hobbies is a great way to keep a record of your journey. Especially when it comes to travel. 

When you start a blog with the purpose to make money, you need to treat your blog like a business. 

Once you treat it like a business, you won’t be nonchalant about it; you’ll treat it with respect and give it your 100%

You’ll have a plan, clear goals, and a budget. Or, in my case, little to no budget. But, once you start seeing success, you can put more into your business. 

Step #1 Write your business plan

Do you know your target market?

Expenses?

How will you make money with your blog?

Marketing?

How will you differentiate yourself from hundreds of established travel blogs?

Target market

Identify your market. Who is going to read your blog?

Affluent individuals, middle-income families, or broke students?

Once you know who your audience is, you can start creating blogs that resonate well with them.

Expenses

You need to know your expenses before doing anything. Neglecting this part will have you broke within the first year of your business.

Luckily, blogging involves little to no capital at all and it won’t cost an arm and a leg to get started.

If you have no idea what your expenses are, keep a record as you run your business. Start a spreadsheet and record your business spendings.

How to make money with your travel blog?

The popular way of making money with a blog is putting ads all over your website. But, advertisement is not the only way to monetize a blog.

There is sponsored content, travel deals, and sale commissions. 

More ways to make money with your travel blog later…

Marketing

Marketing will probably make or break your business. You must read up on marketing for a higher chance of success. 

Marketing can propel your blog from $0 to $1000 a month when done right. There are many ways you can market a blog, especially in this digital age. So much cheaper these days.

What makes you unique?

Japanese girls dressed in Geisha outfits
With locals dressed in Geisha outfits

Are you a traveler? 

Or, a food traveler?

Maybe, you like traveling with a neck pillow.

Or, you like to walk around in a Geta (traditional Japanese sandals).

Whatever that weird thing is, use it to make you memorable.

Look, there are thousands, if not millions, of travel blogs on the internet. 

And, they are all vying for attention. How will you get people to look at your blog instead of the  competition?

That’s just a quick business plan, but knowing some of these will help your business grow faster.

Step #2 Name your travel blog

I wrote a detailed general guide on how to name your blog.

But not specific to the travel industry. 

So, here’s my take on naming your travel blog.

You’ve probably searched through travel blogs during your lifetime. And some names will pop up to mind—names such as Nomadic Matt, Tripadvisor, or Thrillist.

Don’t do them. If you were thinking of Tripadvisor[yournamehere].com, forget it. 

Come up with something original. It might take some time, maybe days or weeks. But, trust me, you want to get this right the first time.

Changing names is a headache!

Tips for naming your travel blog

  • Relates to travel – When your name speaks, travel, people searching about travel-related will pick your site compared to a site named ynghom.com.
  • Speakable – Make it pronounceable. Nothing worst when someone is talking about your something, and they can’t say the name right. Don’t abbreviate your name if possible.
  • Keep it short – Keep it to two to three words. Ideally, one or two words. And, it’s easier to type.
  • Make sure it’s available in the social network – Go to Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and all the other social media platform to check if the name is available.
  • Check if your website is available – Once you come up with the best travel blog name, check if it’s available by using the tool below:

Disclosure: We are a Bluehost affiliate. We earn a commission when you sign up using the following links. This is at no additional cost to you.

The above steps are how I come up with my domain names. With Blogzn, it took me a week to make up my mind. Once I bought the domain name and hosted it, I came up with another name that I thought was better. It never ends!

Step #3 Score a free domain name for your travel blog

Here’s how you can get a free domain name from Bluehost. I detailed everything in the “Buy your domain” article, which you can get to by clicking here.

Essentially, Bluehost is what I recommend because it’s so much easier for people to navigate. 

Their dashboards, domain managers, their website is so simple to use compared to many. It’s very user friendly. Don’t waste time learning how to navigate through a complicated site. 

You don’t want a complicated domain manager so hard to use that you have to look up how to do simple stuff. Time is precious.

Step #4 Install WordPress

WordPress is the number 1 CMS (content management system) in my books. WordPress has many developers maintaining the platform. Plenty of free themes to make your site beautiful and plugins to make it shine.

Installing WordPress into your Bluehost site is simple as 1-2-3-4-5. Click how to install the WordPress guide for more explanation.

  1. Sign in to Bluehost
  2. Go to “My sites”
  3. Press “Create site”
  4. Click on Install WordPress
  5. Create a username and password

Done.

Step #5 Document and educate

Udon, Asahi beer, and a laptop in Japan
Documenting travels

Travel blogging is about your travels. Your first-hand experience in places you’ve been to. 

The problem with a fresh site, a new name, and brand is that no one knows you. 

Talking about what you are doing is great when you have thousands who are willing to tune in and listen to you talk about what time you walk up this morning.

No one is looking for “what [yourname] did this morning.” Instead, people search for the best places to see in [insert name of place here].

So, as well as documenting your travels, you also need to educate your readers. Things like the best place to see in [location] for free. Or how to stay sane and safe while traveling alone.

Countless people are searching for many things online about places they haven’t been.

Be their number one resource for travel.

But there are big travel websites on the internet that are providing travel tips and tricks already. How do you compete?

If this was on the back of my mind while making a weight loss blog, I wouldn’t have moved the needle. 

Step #6 Keep blogging

I know how hard it is to come up with content, especially in the travel space where the theme of the blog is going to different places. 

If you are stuck in one place, especially in a global pandemic, what do you blog about?

Perhaps, you don’t have the financial means at the moment, but traveling is an itch you have to scratch. Don’t worry about it.

Do you know how many people are searching Google about my local town, Sydney? Millions!

And they are not only searching for things to do in Sydney, but they are also looking for places to eat, the best restaurants, and the best beaches. 

Tourists don’t just want to visit Sydney. People living in Sydney need to know the best pho` joint in Sydney too.

Granted, Sydney is a popular tourist destination. Okay, let’s look at the most remote city in the US, Glasgow, Montana.

[source: The Middle of Nowhere]

The Washington Post called it the most isolated city, with 3300 population, and about 4.5 hours from anywhere. 

People are searching on Google about things to do in Glasgow, Montana, Montana’s best restaurants, and Glasgow Montana hotels. 

search result for things to do in glasgow montana
Search result for “things to do in Glasgow Montana

As you can see, even a city with only 3000 people living in it is traveled to.

There are many things you can write about your local area. You don’t need to fly a thousand miles to make travel content. 

Need a break from travel or run out of things to talk about your locale? How about educating your readers on the best way to beat jet lag. You can talk about your nasty 15-hour jet lag and what helped you get over the fatigue.

Or, how about you educate your readers about TSA locks? And that TSA is allowed to cut off your padlock to check your luggage. 

[source: TSA recognized locks]

How to make money with a travel blog

You can make money out of any hobby if you are creative enough. Absurd? 

Look at this Youtube channel about slime. 

nastya slime youtube channel
Nastya Slime’s Youtube

With 1.72M subscribers and counting, you think she is not making money with the most ridiculous hobby? 

As long as there are other people interested in the same thing as you, you can make money off it with the internet.

Now that we got that out of the way, the following are ways you can make money travel blogging:

  • Ads
  • Affiliate
  • Travel deals
  • Sponsored content

Ads

Ads are the most common ways a website can make money. I don’t recommend using ads due to the small amount you can earn. However, it’s consistent. 

You can start using AdSense from the get. Or, you can wait until you have enough traffic coming into your website to partner with a premium ad network. 

Ad networks such as Mediavine can pay as much as $30 per 1000 pageviews. So, if you are making 30,000 page views a month, you can earn (takes calculator out) $900.00 a month! And that can be every month. Imagine you doubled your traffic? That’s $1,800 a month of guaranteed income. Well, I shouldn’t really say guaranteed because Mediavine earnings can fluctuate too. Still, your income would be somewhere in that range. 

Mediavine increased their requirements from 25k sessions per month to 50k sessions. That’s not pageviews, by the way. That is per session. For clarification, click here to go to Mediavine’s article about Miley Cyrus killing pageviews. 

If 50K sessions are hard to come by, another premium ad network that pays well is Adthrive. However, Adthrive requires 100k page views per month. 

There are others you can try if you’re not hitting groundbreaking numbers yet. You can always partner up with Google Adsense right from the start. 

Ezoic is a good choice if you’re at 10k sessions per month. Ezoic did an experiment with over 300 websites to see their average earnings after implementing Ezoic.

The average increase in revenue per month increased by 93%. If you’re wondering how much a site can earn on Ezoic with 10k pageviews, one site made $110.58 with only 8500 pageviews. 

$110.58 may not be much, but that money has paid for your hosting for the whole year! 

Please feel free to chime in if you have a great ad network to add. 

I recommend Mediavine because it was started by bloggers. Mediavine probably cares about your site’s readers more so than the other ad networks.

Affiliate

banner of disneyland hong kong
I want to go to Disneyland Hong Kong!

Ah, affiliate money. All you have to do is recommend products and wait for the money to roll in.

Your commission from recommending products pale in comparison to selling your own. But, affiliate marketing is less of a headache.

You don’t have to send out products. You don’t have to track inventory. There’s no need for capital, no customer service, more importantly, no risk.

I love affiliate marketing. It is my primary source of income. I haven’t ventured to sell my own products yet on my other website. 

As a travel blogger, you can recommend hotels, airlines, or third-party booking sites like skyscanner.com.

I’d skip the middlemen and go straight to the source and ask for their affiliate program for higher earnings.

Take the Holiday Inn, for example. Let’s say you stayed there for the night and loved every minute of it. Naturally, you want to recommend the hotel, right?

Search for Holiday Inn’s affiliate program before you recommend it. You’ll see that Holiday Inn is part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group and that they use Commission Junction to handle their affiliate marketing.

Sign up for Commission Junction to find more opportunities to make money. From the time of this writing, IHG is offering a 3% commission rate from qualified bookings.

So, if someone booked a hotel worth $1000, you’d take $30 from that transaction. Sounds easy, right? Well, yes and no. 

You still have to make great content for readers to love and make them trust you. But that blog will work as a salesperson for you like clockwork, generating recurring income for years.

Travel deals

hot steam coming out of the ground in Rotorua, New Zealand
Steamy in Rotorua, New Zealand

There are hotels, airlines, and tourist attractions that pay an outstanding amount to bloggers who are getting significant traffic to their website.

And, most of the time, these groups will let you stay in their hotels, fly in their airline, and be pampered in a spa retreat, all for free. In return for a great review.

Many travel bloggers you see are getting the same treatment. Take Mark Wiens, for example. Yeah, Mark Wiens, the guy that has orgasms when eating great food.

Okay, so he started off as a vlogger. He does have a website for contact information and blogs about the food he eats in his travels.

You might be wondering how a travel blogger can travel every month. You bet that it’s not an out of pocket expense. Most travel bloggers/vloggers get to new places via travel deals. 

Many travel bloggers do not want to reach out to companies to score some gigs. And this is where they go wrong. 

Even unknown travel bloggers are getting paid to stay in hotels and fly for free because they asked.

When you just begin your journey, no one is looking for your name. Swallow your pride or find courage and approach Qantas, Holiday Inn, or that waterpark you’ve been eyeing. 

What do you have to lose? You have so much to gain.

Sponsored content

Lastly, you can feature a company on your website for a fee. Experienced travel bloggers can write. Beginner bloggers may need more time to polish up their writing prose.

Once you are an established travel blogger, you will get emails from marketing teams to write them a sponsored content. 

They can also write the content saving you the hassle but giving you the full copyrights to the written article. Make sure you get that clear before you do anything.

How to start a travel blog for free

Many platforms let you blog about your travels for free. WordPress, Medium, Blogger, Wix, Hostgator, Tumblr are platforms to blog about your travels. Heck, you can use Instagram and Facebook for travel blogging.

The benefit of starting a blog on Facebook or other social media blogging platforms is awareness. 

There are millions of people visiting social media daily. You can build your brand on these platforms, and as you grow a following, you can start an adequately hosted website. A good travel website that contains your brand.

The pros of starting a travel blog for free is that there is no outlay from you. You can blog about your travels without worrying about the next hosting bill. 

The cons without putting skin in the game are that you’ll treat it like another time waster. And never put in the effort to make it work.

Out of all the blogging platforms I’ve mentioned, I’d pick WordPress if I wanted to start a travel blog for free.

WordPress dot com is the free cloud version of the most amazing content management system. 

You get terrific themes for free, you get your own subdomain (https://www.yoursite.wordpress.com), and it’s scalable.

Moreover, WordPress is proven to be the best search engine optimized content management system and is powering 39% of websites on the internet.

wordpress runs 39% of websites
WordPress runs 39% of websites

Signing up with wordpress.com will allow you to start your travel blog risk-free. And there is plenty of room to grow. 

Conclusion

man posing with a tiger
Thailand, Me, and a cat.

And that is how to start a travel blog business that makes money in 2022. 

Do the following steps to finally get the ball rolling:

  1. Write your business plan
  2. Name your travel blog
  3. Get a domain and hosting
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Document and educate
  6. Keep blogging

Starting a travel blog in 2022 that makes money can be daunting. With all the billion other websites out there that have been around for years. How do you even compete with a new website? 

I’m not going to lie, it’s not a walk in the park, it’s going to be hard, but you can do it.

How am I competing and making money online in one of the competitive niches—weight loss?

I can’t promise you that you’ll make money. That is up to you. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but you will never make money online if you don’t take action.

I know because I was like that. I always had doubts, and it sabotaged my efforts and commitment.

You can always add more to the bajillion of blogs on the internet that do nothing. You can also start building your blog that makes money using this proven how to create a blog guide.


SEO Geek, Copy Nerd, Cheesecake monster.

Just an ordinary guy with epic dreams

Christian Tanobey

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