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.