May 17, 2016

How much do travel bloggers get paid? How to make money from travel blogging in 5 easy steps.

How much do travel bloggers get paid?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when I say that my part time job is travel blogging. Travel blogging can blossom into a profitable business and the possibility of a six figure monthly payment if you manage to deliver world class travel information to your readers without making it too personal. At this stage of my life, travel blogging does not bring the bread on the table (and it is nowhere close to a five figure monthly payment!), but it still pays my bills and provides me with wonderful travel opportunities that would cost more than two monthly salaries if I had to pay them myself!

Unlike lifestyle blogging, travel blogging is not about a countless number of selfies and what you ate the other day, but about keeping your readers well informed for their upcoming trips and being always able to advice them and connect them to the right people to get the information they need.

In theory becoming a travel blogger, travelling around the world, experiencing fantasy destinations, reviewing 5* hotels and tasting the best dinner menus sounds like a dream to any person having a 9-5 day job. It’s no wonders why travel blogging has been characterised as the most romantic job!

BUT to make a living from your travel blog is more complicated and difficult than it sounds. It needs good strategy, business sense, talent in photography, manners, social skills, writing skills, time and commitment. And above everything you HAVE TO LOVE IT, trust me if you are pretending people will see through the lies and it will have the opposite impact of what you were wishing for initially. In travel blogging there is no room for vain personalities and fake followers.

So the big questions remain, how to make money from travel blogging and how much do travel bloggers get paid?

Before I try to answer these questions I would like to make sure you have your blogging basis right, and by this I mean:

-An easily navigated blog design
-Social media communities engagement
-A list of PR contacts
-Clear brand
-Top quality content and writing
-Manners (they certainly matter)

Now that we have these established let’s go through 5 easy steps to make it into the travel blogging scene:

1. Find your niche, get knowledgeable and don’t pretend otherwise.
There are too many generic and boring travel blogs out there so focus to a specific niche and make it your thing. Is luxury travelling your thing? Then connect with the market and start reviewing 5* hotels. You could earn commissions for yacht rentals and  high end hotel tours very soon, however do not pretend that you are a specialist unless you have done your reading well. Spending a week in Malibu doesn’t make you a travel expert of Malibu! Get in-depth knowledge, talk to the locals and don’t make generalizations about countries without exploring the most part of them. I remember there was a blogger who characterised ‘cruel‘ an entire country based on two stay dogs that she found on the streets. Don’t mind me, but who gave you the authority to critisize a nation without having spoken to the majority of the people (if this would ever be possible) but by only making assumptions based on two stray dogs?

2. Build trust relationships with your audience.
A few years ago travel blogging meant taking a few pictures of the place you are visiting and then posting about your trip on the blog. There was no competition but also no creativity. Blog posts were boring and people would go on Tripadvisor for recommendations than a travel blog. What has changed this relationship though is the ability of travel bloggers to become trustworthy and have people asking them questions than googling or posting questions on Reddit. Through my blogging pathway I have managed to build a loyal audience that always asks me suggestions about trips and weekend getaways that I am more than happy to answer. I am nothing if not honest and helpful and in a way this also shows the facade of travelling which I am talking next. Honest relationships do not have to do only with followers but also with small businesses trust.

Many of the people I work with are small, family owned businesses who trust my work and invest their money on me. Everytime I book a deal I want to make sure they will get a return in their investment and build a trusting relationship with me for future notice.

It is very important to be an ethical blogger and I personally turn down a deal if it is the wrong fit with my brand and my audience. Everytime I receive an invitation I ask myself ‘would I pay for this with my own money?‘ If this answer is yes then I am in!

3. The reality and facade of travel blogging and how to deal with it. 
If you are looking into making easy money then travel blogging is not for you. You have to produce content daily, promote your product (aka blog) in every possible way and travelling will never be the same again. Yes you read this right. You might write the most creative articles in the world but if there is no engagement then companies and PR people will not be interested in your blog, and this is why fake followers will not do any favours either. You might have a 10k ‘followership’ on Twitter to maintain a certain fake persona but if there are no likes or replies it smells fishy. Another travel blogging facade/trap is expecting to pay the bills from press trips-it’s not going to happen. All the travel bloggers (including myself) who go on press trips that are paid by an agency or company never receive compensation in banknotes but are getting paid by staying in luxury hotels and eating in the best restaurants of the city. Do not be fooled by all these instagram travel bloggers who jump from one place to another almost every week. I can guarantee you that most of them have a husband or parents paying their bills, which makes their situation sad and just vanishes all the insta-magic. If you want to attend press trips and enjoy the occasional holidays then you certainly need to have a second job and pay the bills. This is also the reason why many travel bloggers who left their daily jobs live in developing countries; it is cheaper and easier to live from travel blogging in Thailand than in Scotland!

4. Be patient and network.
One of the best UK travel bloggers revealed to me that it took her 5 years of top quality blogging to have a profitable brand nowadays. While most of her instagram pictures show her globetrotting around the world and having all these great experiences that very few can enjoy, reality is she was very patient and was just waiting for the right time to come. Having said this, relationships and manners matter most than everything. You might be a small blogger but if you manage to find the right people and pinch them with articles and ideas then you are almost there. Twitter helps a lot in terms of this. Find the people you think are able to help you and start interacting with them. Do not be too noisy, just have a gentle approach and when the moment comes introduce yourself through emails and make your presence noticeable.

5. What’s the best way to make money as a travel blogger?
The entire point of travel blogging is to share your opinion and inspire people to travel the world. For me, travel blogging is about making people travel through my posts and inspire them to do it; if a girl like me who works so many hours per day can still do travelling then what is your excuse? However, travelling can be expensive and then you need money to pay your bills so if you could make money out of blogging then it’s a win-win situation! There are no rules as to how much money you can make from travel blogging, usually income comes from affiliate links, ads, and one-to-one deals with hotels. You can get paid for marketing campaigns with tourism boards and brands that want to promote their clothing or travel related products (e.g GoPro). You can get extra money from writing articles to travel columns of magazines and newspapers and for sponsored posts on your blog where you promote a particular hotel or fun activity. Freelance content writing will not give you much money but if you manage to have a list of clients for whom you write monthly then it adds up a considerable amount to your budget. I personally get paid in a variety of different ways; sponsored social media campaigns, paid partnerships (that are strategically placed on my Twitter), giveaways and product placements are my top ways to pay the bills.

There are plenty other ways to make money while being a travel blogger however-as always- I am talking about my experiences and brand. I would love it if you could share your suggestions and experiences as travel bloggers so far. And if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me or contact me on my social media.

Happy travels!

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