How to be a Travel Blogger
Thinking of starting a new career, and wondering how to be a travel blogger? There’s so many great resources out there, from blog posts, to classes, apps and more.
We’ve compiled the best resources in every category to help you get you started and make money as a travel blogger!
In order to make this large list more navigable, it’s organized in collapsible headings. Click on any of the subjects below to expand it:
How to be a Travel Blogger: Travel Blogging Classes
Superstar Blogging: Comprehensive travel blogging course from hugely successful travel blogger Nomadic Matt. It features interviews and content from travel bloggers, SEO and tech experts and more. The courses cover the business of blogging, travel photography, travel writing, and travel videography. You’ll also get access to their tech support to guide you through any issues or questions encountered when setting up your blog
Travel Blog Success: A favorite of big travel bloggers, this class teaches the fundamentals of how to be a travel blogger, as well as how to monetize your blog. You’ll get lifetime access to a members-only Facebook group, blogger opportunity bulletin board, and weekly Q&A’s– nice perks that can go a long way towards your success.
How to be a Travel Blogger: In Person Blogging Classes
The Travel Bootcamp: An intensive one-day conference on how to be a travel blogger, created by Instagramer Lauren Bath, blogger Liz Carlson, and travel writer Georgia Rickard. They cover intermediate to advanced topics like building your following, branding, pitching ideas, how to price, and more.
Travel Bootcamp is held periodically in locations around Australia and New Zealand (an excellent excuse for a trip!).
How to be a Travel Blogger: Choosing a Name for Your Blog
You’ll want to start out with a personalized domain name that matches the name you’ve chosen for your travel blog. You can buy a cheap domain from many sites, and sometimes from your web host, which is the easiest way.
Take some time choosing your name: make it short and memorable, and avoid overused travel blog words like “nomad” and “abroad.”
Backing up, it can help to choose your travel niche beforehand, and name your blog accordingly.
For example, if you plan to focus on budget travel, let that inform your choice of name, so it’s easy to tell what you blog is about immediately.
However, be careful not to paint yourself into a corner. If you mention a particular country in your name, you’d better be prepared to continue focusing on that country for the life of your blog!
Do some research to make sure you’re not choosing a name that’s too similar to another blogger, and be sure to check that your name is available not only for a domain, but also as a social media handle.
How to be a Travel Blogger: Setting up Your Blog
The majority of bloggers use WordPress for their blogs. It’s an open-source (read: free!) website creation tool with all the features you need to run a blog. So we’ll focus specifically on WordPress setup here.
Managed WordPress Hosting is the easiest way to host your website. The host will install WordPress for you, keep it up to date, and help out with any issues. Here’s our recommendations:
WP Engine: We use them, and have only good things to say! Great customer service with 24/7 chat support, easy to use interface and set up, and reasonable prices. They offer free SSL, which is something you should spring for, as it will give you an SEO boost.
WP Engine doesn’t sell domains though, so you’ll need to purchase your domain elsewhere, like GoDaddy, then follow instructions to set up the DNS. It’s fairly easy, but if you want a seamless domain setup, go with Bluehost.
Bluehost: Another blogger favorite. They’re a little cheaper than WP Engine for lower level plans, and they do sell domain names, for a seamless setup. Bluehost also offers free SSL.
GoDaddy: They have the biggest name recognition, decent customer service, and sell domains. However, they don’t offer chat or e-mail support. This can be an issue if you’re traveling, or just hate talking on the phone. GoDaddy also doesn’t offer free SSL.
How to be a Travel Blogger: Blog Design
WordPress includes a number of free basic themes, but you’ll no doubt want a more attractive, customizable theme. Here’s two great options for reasonably priced themes:
Creative Market: Beautifully designed WordPress blog themes. Can lean more towards feminine designs.
How to be a Travel Blogger: Promoting Your Blog
Don’t sit back and hope people will find you! Sign up for social media accounts, and get starting promoting your new blog on social media and beyond.
Social media management apps can automate your posts, freeing you up to explore:
Viraltag: Affordable and easy to use social media scheduling and analytics. Give them a try for free: they’re one of the few sites that don’t ask for a credit card for their free trial.
Hootsuite: Social media management app. Not quite as user friendly, but they offer a free limited plan.
Buffer: Social media management app similar to Viraltag. They offer a free plan, but you don’t get analytics until a mid tier plan.
Most bloggers recommend that you start an e-mail list right away. Some popular e-mail providers include:
Aweber: E-mail marketing with tons of features, including WordPress integration, free stock photos and templates.
ConvertKit: E-mail marketing designed for bloggers, with WordPress integration, templates and more.
Constant Contact: Another popular e-mail marketing service, offering plenty of features including templates, analytics, and a generous 60 day free trial.
Other useful promotion links:
Canva: Easy blog, Pinterest and logo graphic creation for non graphic designers. They charge for some features and graphics, but you can generally accomplish what you want without paying.
Gleam: Giveaways are a good way to drive traffic and encourage people to follow you on social media–and you don’t need to offer a huge prize to hold a successful giveaway. Gleam offers an attractive, easy to use giveaway widget. There’s paid plans available, but you can run a basic giveaway for free.
How to be a Travel Blogger: Advice from Travel Bloggers
CNN: How to be a Travel Blogger: The Pros Share Their Tips
Nomadic Matt: 9 Ways to Become a Successful Blogger
Expert Vagabond: 11 Secrets to Becoming a Professional Travel Blogger
Adventurous Kate: The Reality of Being a Professional Travel Blogger
Wanderlust: Get Paid to Travel: Become a Travel Blogger
Young Adventuress: So You Want to Be a Travel Blogger
World of Wanderlust: Exactly How Do You Become A Travel Blogger?
How to be a Travel Blogger: How to Make Money
Unfortunately, we can’t help you with industry contacts; you’ll have to network with other travel bloggers, join a professional association, or take a travel blogging course.
But here’s some affiliate programs and ad programs to consider if they fit your blog content. Most affiliate networks include at least some travel merchants like hotel chains and airlines.
Amazon Associates: Earn commissions for referring purchases to Amazon.com.
Affiliate Window: Affiliate network with a large number of merchants, including Etsy.
Commission Junction: Another large affiliate network with a good variety of travel related merchants.
ShareASale: Large affiliate network that leans more toward fashion and home merchants (but still has some travel merchants worth checking out).
Google AdSense: Show text and display ads from Google’s ad network. Doesn’t pay much until you have high traffic, so consider what the best use of your ad space is.
Cooperatize: A “Marketplace for Travel Advertisers, Bloggers & Micro-Influencers.” Sign up for sponsorship opportunities.
Here’s some great posts from travel bloggers laying out how they make money:
Expert Vagabond: Here’s How I Get Paid to Travel the World
Girl Tweets World: 13 Ways I’ve Made Money From Travel Blogging
Monetize Pros: How to Make Money Travel Blogging
Business Insider: A travel-blogging couple who earns up to $6,000 a month shares exactly how they make money on the road
How to be a Travel Blogger: Professional Organizations & Conferences
Travel Massive: Large networking site open to anyone in the travel industry. It’s free to join, and many of their educational and networking events are free. They have local chapters to facilitate networking in your area.
Young Travel Professionals: Another networking group for those in the travel industry, very similar to Travel Massive. Free to join, many events are free, they have local chapters, and a job posting board as well.
Professional Travel Bloggers Association: A small association of travel bloggers and travel industry members. You’ll have access to some discounts and a private Facebook group, as well as appearing the search results as a potential blogger for their industry member’s campaigns. Our sources say it can be ok for networking, but the membership is pricey for the actual benefits.
MatadorU: They used to offer online travel writing courses, but seem to have discontinued them. However, they’ve maintained the community, and you can sign up for a free account with access to the forums and job marketplace.
TBEX: The largest conference for travel industry professionals. They hold multiple conferences each year around the world; check to see if one is near you.
ITB Berlin: The world’s largest travel trade show. Good for networking and frequently attended by major travel bloggers. ITB also holds conferences in Asia and India.
World Travel Market: Another travel trade show popular with travel bloggers, World Travel Market is held in London every year.
Women’s Travel Fest: A lesser known travel conference focused on female travelers.
Women in Travel Summit: A larger female focused travel conference; looking at the speakers and schedule compared to the Women’s Travel Fest, our money’s on this one.
The Social Travel Summit: A travel conference that connects the travel industry with professional travel influencers. The focus is geared towards online publishers, so it’s a great option for travel bloggers.
How to be a Travel Blogger: Bookkeeping & Taxes
Treat your blog like a business from the beginning, and track your income and expenses.
Wave Apps: Online accounting software for small businesses. Free for basic services, you only pay for payment processing and payroll services.
Quickbooks: Online or desktop based accounting software for small to large businesses. There’s a monthly fee, but more available features, including the ability to project and pay quarterly taxes online.
AND CO: A free app for entrepreneurs that manages contracts, time and expense tracking, invoices and more.
Speaking of taxes, consult with an accountant or do your research to understand your tax situation and potential tax liability from your earnings. Some helpful links:
Susan Shain: What You Need to Know About Taxes for Travel Bloggers
Clark’s Condensed: Tax Tips for Bloggers
GoCurryCracker: Never Pay Taxes Again by Moving Abroad
How to be a Travel Blogger: SEO & Analytics
Knowing how to optimize your blog to rank well in Google, and how to analyze your traffic is an important aspect of travel blogging as a business.
Google Analytics: A necessity. Install the code on your website (or use a WordPress plugin to do so), and Google will track where your website traffic is coming from, what pages people visit, how long they stay, even give you some info about who your visitors are. You’ll need this to know if your promotion methods are working, and to prove your traffic to interested sponsors.
Google Search Console: Allows you to see how your posts are ranking on Google, what pages Google has indexed and any errors Google has encountered on your site.
SEO is vital to your blog, but can be a big learning curve. We recommend formal tutorials like Nomadic Matt’s SuperStar Blogging, which has a section on SEO.
Here’s some helpful SEO links:
Chasing the Donkey: Comprehensive Guide to SEO for Travel Blogs
Make Time to See the World: Social Media & SEO Tips to Boost Your Blog
Travel Blogs with CommentLuv: Links back to your blog help your SEO, and the CommentLuv system gives you that backlink, sometimes a valued “dofollow” link. Visit the blogs, leave relevant, thoughtful comments, and include your blog URL in the “website” field of the comment form.
How to be a Travel Blogger: Traveling Cheaply
Until you’re making boatloads of money, or getting your travel comped, you’ll want to control expenses. Here’s some guides to traveling on a budget:
Nomadic Matt: How to Move Abroad and Save Money
Trusted Housesitters: House sitting can significantly reduce your costs, allowing you to stretch your dollars while you travel– all while staying in nicer accommodations. Many homeowners are looking for someone to care for their pets while they’re gone, so it helps if you’re an animal lover and have experience taking care of animals.
The Professional Hobo: Financial Travel Tips
The Points Guy: The Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles (he’s also a good example of a highly successful niche travel blogger)
Many bloggers take jobs abroad to finance their travels and make money while building up their blog. Here’s some useful guides and websites:
Help Exchange: Find work and volunteer opportunities while you travel. You’ll help out a local farm, hostel, or other small business, and get food and lodging in return.
Workaway: Similar to Help Exchange, but with more paid opportunities.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL): Most schools will require you to be certified, but once you are, hunt down jobs on Dave’s ESL Cafe, and Go Overseas. If you’re just out of college, and interested in Japan, JET is also one to consider.
How to be a Travel Blogger: What Gear do You Need?
We could give you a giant list of shiny new travel gear, but the truth is you don’t need much to start. Don’t feel bad about sticking with your battered suitcase or old laptop.
There are a couple things you should have:
A good camera for travel. Photos are an incredibly important part of travel blogging, and many bloggers have upped their game in recent years, taking pro level photos.
A lightweight, portable tripod. We like the flexibility of the GorillaPod, but you may prefer a full size tripod.
A laptop and smartphone; whatever you already have is probably fine, so long as your laptop is powerful enough to run the programs you need. The smartphone you’ll mainly use for Instagram and other social media.