Can Travel Blogging Be Labeled As A Career?

Last night, one of the Germans I met at my hostel asked, “how the hell can you travel two years in South America without running out of cash?”

“I’m a travel writer,” I responded followed by the repeated sentences I tell everyone on what I do in life. In one of my travel blogging groups, there was a debate between calling ourselves “travel writers” and “bloggers.” To be honest, I don’t really know what to call myself. I believe “blogger” is still an appropriate label however, in South America, this word is not understandable so I use writer more often. Some say if you’ve already converted your blog into a business and start working with companies, you should call yourself a writer/journalist but I believe blogger fits me better.

I got used to people looking at me with endless questions at the back of their heads when I say this. Probably, no one can ever imagine that being a journalist can have this much perks. I myself didn’t pursue a degree in Journalism in college because I am from a country where writers don’t get enough recognition nor money for food. “You blog to travel? If that’s the case, I am putting up my own blog right now,” the German dude said. Wait, wait, you got me wrong honey. There’s more to it than writing and publishing.

 

How Can You Earn From Blogging?

Once your blog starts to stabilise following and engaging content, different companies will approach you and offer you the following:

Advertisements – I don’t have a lot of this and more often than not, I decline banner advert offers because I don’t want my blog to look like a big advertising site. Notice that some travel blogs have a lot of banner ads on their sidebars. They get paid for that! Take note, the prices depend on the size of the ad.

Affiliate Marketing – Websites like AGODA and Amazon offer affiliate marketing to bloggers where we get commission from every reader clicks. For example, if you book a hotel with Agoda through a travel blog, the blogger gets a commission (not too big, really) for every completed transaction.

Sponsored Posts – This is where the freebies come in. Companies that are relevant to your niche will send you products to review. This doesn’t come monetarily and I’ve done this a lot for hotels, restaurants and tour agencies. Basically, it’s an x-deal.

Note: Rates depend on your Google ranking, domain authority and social media engagement/following.

 

Other ways include:

  • Photography. Are you a photographer? Yes, you can sell photos online and this pays very well!
  • Ebooks. Are you an expert in a certain field of traveling? Write it down and sell an e-book! Most e-books being sold by bloggers are self-help books. You can see some samples here.
  • Web Design – I’ve been often approached for the minimalist design of my blog but believe me, I only know the basic. This is kind of a heavy workload however, web designing can pay up to $500 minimum, depending on the client.
  • Consulting – At the moment, I am doing travel coaching to those who want to start a life of travel and social media consultancy to companies who wish to improve their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ performances.

 

How long it will take to earn from travel blogging?

Hmmm. I say give it a year. When I started, I have three avid readers and one of them is my mother. Don’t expect to have a solid audience the day you start your blog. Your family will be the first ones — from there, you can build active following and engagement. It’s not too easy but the hard work will pay off.

 

What’s a day of a travel blogger looks like?

OMG, the workload is too much but since this is a full-time job for me, I got used to it. Imagine, you have to write, update all your social media platforms and monitor your performance in Google Analytics/ Web Master Tools. It’s a 24/7 job but I really enjoy it and I would prefer this over sitting down at the office.

 

How do you make people read your blog?

It took a lot of time for me to put myself out there because I wasn’t really planning to make a career out of travel blogging but when opportunities came and I needed to keep myself on the road, I grabbed it. I guess, the best answer to this question is creating a brand. What makes you different from the millions of travel bloggers who are already out there? How will you identify yourself as a travel blogger? As for me, honesty and truth works better. I used to stress with what I will write on my blog and when I decided to be honest, to tell the truth about what happens when you are out here, people bought it.

Remember, when you come out here to travel the world, you will always have different stories to tell, a different traveling style and your personality will always make you, you.

To all my readers and friends, I am highly encouraging you to build a blog once you decide to travel the world. Believe me, it will help a lot. Just this week, I reviewed three restaurants and two hotels in Cusco, Peru and I didn’t pay for anything!

Write your thoughts. Write everything down. Don’t worry about the grammar — that comes later. You don’t need highfalutin jargons. Just be yourself and may your writing end up really really really beautiful.


Want to start a travel blog? I can help you with that! Click here to find out more.

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • Adrenaline Romance
    January 12, 2015

    Very nice article, Trisha! This will be very helpful for those who want to travel and work at the same time.

    Sheila and I are travel writers/bloggers as well, but we do not live a “nomadic” lifestyle due to household responsibilities. We work during weekdays then go adventuring on weekends. For long, major travels and adventures, we strategically schedule our vacation leaves so that they coincide with no-work holidays in the Philippines and in the US.

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  • January 13, 2015

    Nice one Trisha! Actually, that’s also a question I wanted to ask you. Thanks for these notes. I’m jotting them down for future references. 🙂

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  • January 15, 2015

    “When I started, I have three avid readers and one of them is my mother.” Ahah! I lost my best reader (my mom) when I started writing in English :'(
    It’s a great article, you can be proud of your work! You have one of the best travel blog now.

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  • World Journeys
    January 15, 2015

    great article! you are certainly very inspiring! 🙂

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  • January 17, 2015

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. With hard work and determination it is definitely possible. I know how it feels when people don’t quite understand what travel writing/blogging is about – how ever you want to call it. I actually also switch back and forth depending on who I’m speaking to. But eventually it’s the same and all that counts is the love for travel.

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  • iluv2globetrot
    January 17, 2015

    Nice write-up! I totally agree, it’s hard work but the pay off can be awesome when you put the work in!

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  • Brent N Stacey-jean Inion
    January 17, 2015

    The ‘minimalist’ format is actually very readable and useful for the slower connections we sometimes have in C. and S. America; no wonder you get requests for design work. Agreed on being candid and honest. Thanks for your straightforward insights.

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  • Kerwin McKenzie
    January 17, 2015

    Next time, just say you are a travel agent, but better :-); they’ll understand that a lot easier.

    Another way to make money is becoming a brand ambassador, although much harder to accomplish. And it will take much longer than a year to make a living from “travel blogging.” :-).

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  • January 17, 2015

    I started my travel blog for myself, as it grew its becoming a “business” one that I am justly proud of. Great points that I’m sure will help guide me along the way.

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  • January 18, 2015

    Blogging of any kind is definitely a legitimate career! I would agree that for most people it takes more than one year to start making money, and I certainly think people should be made aware of how much work it is before they start (24/7 is right – I’m never not thinking about my blog). But if people are ok with these two things then absolutely blogging is something worth looking into as a career.

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  • Kate-Frankie Brennan
    January 18, 2015

    This is a great article. I’m just starting to really try with my blog and have a first advert. Its so much work but I want to have all of my memories of travel and tips in one place and maybe help others to see more of the world too!
    It is hard to explain blogging to people but I heard something I really liked the other day – we are social influencers!
    Good luck with your travels and blog and I’ll try to follow your adventures 🙂

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  • January 19, 2015

    Great article, I think we all get asked that question a lot:) I am always trying to explain it to people that just cannot believe that you can make any money on a blog! I am not sure it could be counted as a career, but it is certainly a job, and a far tougher one than most people think!

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  • January 19, 2015

    I usually just say “travel writer” because it’s a lot easier to explain. When people push, I say most of my work is freelance, whether it’s writing, photography, social media or otherwise.

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  • January 19, 2015

    I like to say I am travel blogger, and use travel writer whenever someone is not familiar with the term blogger. I think the honest voice plus the consistency is what will create your identity and utlimately pay off.

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  • January 25, 2015

    Thanks, guys! Good that you still have time to travel. Cheers to girls who travel!

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  • January 25, 2015

    Good luck, Chester! I can see that you are really eager to travel the world!

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  • January 25, 2015

    Thank you so much!!!

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  • January 25, 2015

    Thank you 😉

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.