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It’s time to address the big beast:
Let’s face it, most people who see our travel lifestyle desire getting paid to travel. Just like I wanted it every time I watched another TV episode in Australia of Getaway or the Great Outdoors.
I was shocked when I’d hear behind the scenes tales of just how un-glamorous and exhausting it could be. Yeah right! It didn’t matter how exhausting it sounded, I knew that was the life for me. Getting paid to travel was more attractive than teaching – you want to know exhausting!
It turns out travel blogging is exhausting, and really not very lucrative, especially in the early years of your business, just like most businesses.
BUT, it IS a damn site better for me than teaching and I love it. I’ve never worked longer hours and I’ve been ejected so far out of my comfort zone that I no longer recognize the planet I’m on, nor the body I’m in.
It’s been a wild ride and I’d do it all over again – this time much smarter!
So, firstly let’s answer some commonly asked questions we consistently get in our inbox from people wanting the travel lifestyle a travel blog can bring.
Absolutely you can make money off a travel blog. You can make money off almost anything, either directly or indirectly. It’s incredible the doors that can open once you build an audience around something, and it’s amazing the amount of people I’ve met who make money off their passions.
The best way to earn an income travel blogging is by doing something you love and are good at. But you’ve got to earn it. You’ve got to build a foundation, a brand, an audience, and a product or service.
It’s important you get your foundation in place first. By that I mean things like:
You can’t build a skyscraper on a one inch slab of concrete. Build your foundation!
No. But it could be easier if you learn how to create a business and make money travel blogging from the start.
There’s a learning curve and it takes an investment of time and commitment like any business. It involves a lot of smarts and learning from the right people.
We’ve made huge mistakes, but over the past year have figured out how to do it the best way for us, and there will be a best way for everyone and a different business model for you depending on your skills, time commitment, goals, location, travel experience, and demographic.
Different doors can open whether you’re a family travel blogger, couple or solo. Whether you’re based in Australia, Europe, North America or elsewhere. Whether your strong at photography, or writing, or video. There are many variables at play.
We’re always innovating and growing and adding different income streams and using our data to evaluate how we’re making money travel blogging, what’s working , and what needs to change.
Experience, and having the right teachers helps immensely.
I want to be totally upfront with you – travel blogging takes a lot of time and energy and other blogging niches appear to provide a better income. It also takes an investment of money – but much smaller than if you were building a brick and mortar business – but still you’re going to have costs.
If you treat it like a business from the get go, and that means investing in education, tools and resources, then you’ll get paid as a business, not as a hobby.
Think like an entrepreneur, not an employee. It’s a huge mental cross over and if you’re not ready for it, it could take you out of the game.
Grow to the point where you have a lot of value to exchange. That’s the best way to make money as a travel blogger.
You can’t come into travel blogging and expect to be partnering with brands on paid campaigns or getting comped trips after two months of blogging.
Put in the hard yards to establish your credibility and build a community. If you don’t, you’re building a business on peanuts and they won’t get you too far out of the jungle.
It took us two years of intense work before money started flowing into our travel blogging business. It’s only been the last year that we’ve seen a healthy profit.
The best way to make money travel blogging depends on what skills and value you can bring to the table – play to your strengths.
Be creative. Be different. Explore many different income avenues.
There is no simple answer to this. Too many variables at play. It’s totally up to you and the audience you build around your brand.
I suggest you set big goals and then work towards them step by step. I think the higher your goals the more you’ll grow and the more you’ll eventually earn. Some people like to set more realistic goals.
I just put out the big numbers and then believe I can move closer to that. You know the saying, shoot for the moon and land amongst the stars!
The majority of travel bloggers can earn enough money for them to live well in developing countries. This is a very worthy goal. As long as you are happy and living a good life, then it doesn’t matter where you live or how high your income can grow.
If you can reach that state of happy financial independence by living in a country where your expenses are much lower, then that could be a raging success.
But for me, especially with our kids, I didn’t want to have to live in a developing country to hit financial independence. I wanted to be able to earn enough, no matter where I lived. That was the whole point to us starting a travel blog in the first place – to have time freedom, to be location independent.
We wanted the freedom to live wherever we choose. That involves being able to survive, as a family, in a place as expensive as our current one – Australia. And we have reached that level now.
We earn six figures because of our travel blog. This is not normal – BUT, and this is one of my life’s mantras – if we can do it, so can you.
Adopt this as your mantra too.
If someone else has done it, it’s evidence you can too. Now all you have to do is learn and carve out your own path AND why not try and do even better?
It’s exactly why we share this information on our travel blog. We want you to believe you can do it and we want you to go out and do it too!
You can achieve a full-time income from your travel blog when you focus on longevity, establishing your authority and credibility first, and building a loyal following that you give a lot of value to.
You’ve got to help your peeps believe in their own dreams and help give them what they need to do it too.
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We are not big believers of having one income stream. We like multiple income streams. It’s safer.
Before I started travel blogging, I once had 9 part-time jobs. I wasn’t taking any chances if one of them should get all plugged up. Besides I hated the box of a ground-hog-day job.
The thing you must understand – and this ties in so well to the value thing – you will not make much money OFF your travel blog (you can but you need super high traffic numbers) but BECAUSE of your travel blog.
Blogging can open up many doors for you, but they won’t open until you’re established as an authority figure and have a strong readership base. If you want this to be a long-term lifestyle then treat it as such. I see far too many travel bloggers getting into this game just to get free trips so they can travel. That might be all that you want and that’s fine if you do it in an ethical and credible way, but it’s not a viable long-term business plan.
Get our eBook, and discover the many other amazing ways you can get free or cheap travel. It’s less responsibility and WAY more fun!
If you want to make money as a travel blogger, you need a long-term business plan, not a free ride.
Back to how we make money travel blogging.
Man, this took us 3 years too long to dive into this income stream. I had the book 2/3 written before we even started the travel blog. It was my damn insecurities and fears that got in the way.
Creating your own products or services is a stable way to earn an income off your travel blog. B-School really helped me to get clear on the product launching process, and because of it, we now have two eBooks published, How to create the travel life you love and Step into Sacredness: 12 principles for creating the life your soul yearns for.
I’ve just finished my exciting 30 day Money Cleanse – helping you develop a better relationship with the stuff that will help you travel more!
I have my premium training: How to move from Blog to Business and I have collaborated on a course with my business coach and his wife called Confidence Igniter – it’s all about gaining confidence and control in your life – essentials for success and happiness in any aspect of your life.
So when you write that business plan of yours for your travel blog, start investigating the different products you can create and the value you can provide through them. (Be creative, there’s so much you can do)
I know what we do looks like a lot of fun and it is, but we also do a lot of work behind the scenes promoting destinations.
We work with destinations to promote their experiences via our travel blog and social channels. We work with them to choose activities, experiences and destinations that we know we’ll enjoy, that are of high quality and we know our readers will be interested in.
We don’t participate in campaigns that don’t fit with our brand or readers, and very rarely go on group campaigns with other bloggers or media. We just don’t think that it best fits with our travel story and we just like to do our own thing.
Yes we do sponsored posts, and we’ve been doing them for three years now. A few times a month we’ll have a sponsored post published on our site. This is when a brand wants us to promote their product or experience for any particular reason. Again, we choose carefully based upon the criteria above.
We’ll share products or services we understand, believe in, would use ourselves and we think is valuable to share. And we disclose, and so must you. If you don’t, trust me you’ll get called out and will lose credibility.
Sponsored posts are basically like an advertisement that is written by us. Sometimes these may come in the form of a sponsored social media update as well.
Something I’m really enjoying lately is public speaking.
I was a teacher for 15 years so have no problem getting up on stage to share my thoughts and experiences. It’s definitely something I want to do more of and am really digging into to sharpen my abilities in this arena.
Lately I‘ve been presenting at conferences organized by tourist boards, but have spoken at several blogging and social media conferences such as Problogger and SoMeT. Some speaking gigs are paid while others aren’t.
It’s a case by case basis depending on the packages offered. And it has to be a pretty awesome package for me to leave our road trip and family if they want me to speak without any compensation.
We have a private mentoring group that is connected to B-School. This technically falls under the affiliate stream of income, but I put it here as we actually offer a mentoring bonus instead of just taking the affiliate commission and sending them on their way to fend for themselves. So it’s a fair amount of work that we put into it.
We offer coaching calls where we share our tips and insights, and we have an active Facebook group where we answer questions from the Dreamer Fools and help guide and support them. (They are such a cool group btw!) We’ll be opening this again in Feb next year and will have some exciting bonuses to go with it.
We also do the odd coaching/mentoring call for people who have requested it.
This is where we promote other people’s products and services and receive a commission.
We recommend products or services that we personally use, like and trust. There might be the odd few that we haven’t had personal experience with, but we know the source as a highly trusted and reputable one.
We have affiliate partnerships with Booking.com, Airbnb and RentalCars.com We pretty much only promote these two companies as we feel they are the best, we use them allt he time ourselves, and it’s less confusing for you as our reader. We don’t want to be shoving 13 different accommodation booking sites in your face just so we can make money. We’d rather give you fewer options from a trustworthy and valuable provider.
We have various freelance content creation gigs running in the background.
I wrote for the Kidspot Going Places campaign sponsored by Nissan for 2 years. Kidspot is the largest parenting website in Australia and I wrote a column on family travel, which has just ended.
Craig currently writes two articles a month for HomeAway and we’re about to start writing two posts a month for the Destination NSW blog.
We’ve created videos for tourist boards and often do some ad hoc freelance writing gigs here and there. I’ve actually just submitted my first article for a print magazine!
Just to give you a few more ideas. Here are some other streams we’ve considered tapping into, or known of others’ who are making it work
There’s a huge market here for us to be able to help DMO’s and tourism companies with their social media and blogging strategy. Think about what skills you have learned through blogging. How could you then empower other businesses to do the same and improve their visibility?
If we had the time we could easily organize and manage blogger brand campaigns. We know how to make them work best. There are plenty of these groups popping up now that manage these types of relationships for travel bloggers.
There are plenty of mobile travel agencies. Travel blogger Chris from Backpacker Banter has just launched Epic Gap Year which acts like an online travel agency for epic experiences around the world. Cool idea.
You could become your own tour guide. Wandering Earl offers group tours around the world. As a seasoned traveller he is more than experienced in showing people how to have similar experiences to what he does. The Planet D and Gary Arndt have also hosted tours.
Would love to fulfill my dreams of being on Getaway. Love to have my own film crew following me around so I could just enjoy the adventure and relax!!
This is not an exhausted list of income streams. There are others creating and doing different projects all the time. It will be up to you to decide where your focus should be.
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