Pages

How I Make Money While Traveling

Talking about money is weird, but I think the time has come.

Every week I get around half a dozen emails along the lines of “how can I make money while traveling?” or “How do I monetize my blog?” I’m always a little bit loathe to answer, not because it’s a secret, but because as time goes on, I think of myself less and less as a person who makes money by traveling, and more as a person who is lucky enough to have a job that allows me to travel. Almost anyone would have a hard time emulating my career choices, which have been a mix of luck, taking absurd risks and crazy hard work.

Nonetheless, I understand why people are curious. So, skipping anything super personal like actual numbers (let’s just say it’s less than I made before I quit my office job, but still enough to get by and the number is growing each year), here is a breakdown of how I make money to travel:

Really need a new desk shot, this one is from Buenos Aires!

Twenty-Something Travel

A lot of people seem to think that travel blogging is the key to some sort of passive income lifestyle, where you live on the beach and drink cocktails and write stories all day. This honestly makes me laugh. Anyone who tells you they make a full time living off of just their travel blog is either lying or selling a boat load of text links (not the greatest long term strategy).

My TST related income breaks down into a few categories:

Advertising and Sponsored Content

Look over to the right on the sidebar, you see those ads? Those are just part of the advertising I sell on this site. The bulk of the rest of it is in the form of sponsored content.

What is sponsored content? It’s when a company pays me to post about them. An example would be when I helped Samsung promote their SOS Island competition. I always put a disclosure at the end of these posts so you know they were paid for.

I used to sell a lot of sidebar text links back in the day, when it was quick and easy money. Nowadays the text link market is seriously drying up so I have turned my focus to other more reliable income streams.

Sponsorships

Sponsorships are different than sponsored content in that they involve a long lasting relationship with a company. For example, I’m currently a Zipcar Brand Ambassador so every once in awhile I’ll write an article on how their services are enrich my life and travels. Again, I always disclose these relationships so you guys know what’s going on.

Affiliate Marketing

A tiny, but important component of my income. The way it works is that when you buy certain products through links on my site, I get a portion of the proceeds. I really only have two major affiliates that I work with: Travel Blog Success (my husband’s company) and Amazon. Amazon pays in store credit, which is super important because it allows me to buy more books!

 

If you’re looking for help building a great blog or making money this way, I really do recommend Travel Blog Success. My personal blogging tips are here.

Writing

My sites most important function business-wise is that it’s a platform for promoting myself as a writer and a brand. Over the past year I’ve transitioned from making a living selling links to making the bulk of my money via freelance writing. I much prefer this as it’s stable and I really enjoy it.

At this point in my career I don’t do a lot of pitching to newspapers or magazines. That might be something I pursue in the future, but right now it’s really hard to find the time. I much prefer to form lasting relationships with companies where I write for them on a set monthly basis. I’ve done writing projects for companies like Viator, Room 77, Eurail, and RoamRight travel insurance.

I get a lot of emails asking me how to break in to freelance travel writing, and I never have a good answer to give. I’m assuming most people don’t want to hear: start a travel blog and write for free for three years until companies start contacting you.

Everything Else

I’m definitely a bit of an internet jack of all trades: I’ll try anything once to make some money. In the past year here are a few of my other income streams.

Ebooks

A Year Without Make-Up was so much fun to write and so cool to share with everyone. I’ve made some money off of it (although maybe not as much as I initially hoped). I would definitely love to write another ebook, or even better, a real book.

 Navigate Media Projects

Navigate Media Group is a collective of bloggers who work together as a marketing and social media agency. We’ve worked on projects with Samsung, Visit Finland and more. Hopefully in the future I will be working with them on sponsored campaigns that will help put more money in my pocket (you will hear all about these things as they become realities).

So far the most worthwhile project for me financially has been our BlogHouse projects. I poured a lot of time and energy into putting together the Toronto Bloghouse and made a small stipend for my efforts. This is something I would definitely love to do again.

Photography

I’m definitely not the best photographer out there but I do manage to capture a cool shot once in awhile. This year I’ve started licensing some of my photography to tourism boards and tour companies I have worked with.

The Bottom Line

I won’t lie: cobbling together a living from all of these moving pieces isn’t easy. I work, a lot. More than in my old job and for less money per hour. I’m actually doing very well compared to a lot of travel bloggers out there, but I’ve been doing this for nearly five years now. What I do is unique to me, other bloggers make their money differently. Here are a few posts from other bloggers on how they make a living:

How I Make Money to Travel the World– Art of Adventuring (my other half!)

How We Fund Our Permanent Travels– Never Ending Voyage

This is How I Fund My Long-Term Travel Lifestyle– Expert Vagabond

How We Do It (And Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Us)– Hecktic Travels

How Do We Earn a Living? – Raising Miro

How to Go Freelance and Not Starve– Indecisive Traveler

Answers to Questions About our Work Life Balance– Edventure Project

How to Afford Long-Term World Travel: How Travel Bloggers Do it– Lash World Tour

How I Fund My Travels Around the World– Never Ending Footsteps

How Much Money Does This Blog Make?- Goats on the Road

About Page– Legal Nomads

About Page- Adventurous Kate

, ,

59 Responses to How I Make Money While Traveling

  1. Amanda November 11, 2013 at 12:17 PM #

    Good stuff, Stephanie. I, too, get this question a lot (especially via message on Facebook), and I should probably put together a post like this, too. People usually have no idea that we wear so many different hats! I’m still not at the point where I make a solid living blogging/freelancing, but I’m getting there.

    • Steph November 11, 2013 at 1:01 PM #

      For me the hard part is that the money is inconsistant. One month I will do really well, and the next will be a desolate wasteland. Makes it hard to plan!

      • Alana - Paper Planes November 18, 2013 at 4:07 AM #

        This is what I’m struggling with now! For the past six months work/money has either seemed all or nothing… :/

      • DJ Yabis | Dream Euro Trip November 25, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

        yeah i think the inconsistency in earning is one thing freelancers/entrepreneurs have in common. that’s why i think its important to diversify ;D

  2. Sky November 11, 2013 at 2:13 PM #

    Thanks for the post, Steph. I always love reading about how others are making the money to live their dreams. I think it’s important for others to realize that it’s not easy and definitely not always glamorous. But even though each post I read brings that point home more and more, I always end up thinking “This is it. This is what I want to do”, at the end of every post.

  3. Amanda @amandaelsewhere November 11, 2013 at 3:44 PM #

    Nowhere close to being able to survive off of my writing, and it seems to me that if it were easy, everyone would do it. And if everyone would/could do it, the market would be saturated. And then no one would/could do it.
    I am annoyed by people who ask travel bloggers how they make their money, and I’m not even the one being asked the questions. Kudos to you for writing this post, and being transparent about everything. I’m guessing no one wants to be told it takes three years and (probably) an initial investment in yourself (a lot of saving in order to start traveling).

  4. Jasper November 11, 2013 at 3:58 PM #

    Good read, I get the same question a lot. People really do seem to think we spend our days drinking cocktails on the beach and posting cool pictures on FB. They don’t realize how much work it is.

  5. Sam November 11, 2013 at 4:53 PM #

    Thanks for sharing, and for being honest, and adding in links to other bloggers answer to this, what must be the most asked question of successful travel bloggers – that’s really handy.

    Completely unrelated, but what is that black-fronted cupboard with a silver panel at the bottom in the pictures behind your laptop? It looks like an oven, but has what seems to be a pull-down door above it. I’m completely mesmerized by the mystery of it!

    • Steph November 11, 2013 at 5:02 PM #

      So the picture is from our apartment in Buenos Aires, and that is actually an indoor grill! Man I miss that place, we would have the best cookouts.

  6. Joe A. November 11, 2013 at 5:03 PM #

    I truly appreciate this post. As someone who is just breaking into the blogging/travel writing world, this post is invaluable. It’s a daunting proposition to enter an uncertain market like this and to use it to help fulfill travel dreams. But then, the rewards are well worth the risk.

  7. Shardae November 11, 2013 at 5:39 PM #

    Thanks for such an honest post! I feel like sometimes travel bloggers kinda talk around the making money thing (which I do understand, because it is quite a personal area), but it’s nice that you felt you could be so open about it. Definitely given me some food for thought and a few future goals to work towards 🙂

  8. Priya November 11, 2013 at 6:34 PM #

    Thanks for sharing this post! I’m always curious about traveling and making money, and love internet stalking people who do this for a living so I can learn from them. 🙂

  9. Laura November 11, 2013 at 7:13 PM #

    Thanks for taking the time to break it down in so much detail and share! I’m in the camp with a day job but if I was aspiring to be location independent I know I’d have to “diversify” like crazy and also really think creatively and innovate to have any chance of making a living!

  10. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown November 11, 2013 at 11:14 PM #

    I think it’s awesome you took the time to break it down and show people that it isn’t just sitting around the pool getting paid!! This is a great post for someone just starting to monetize a blog.

  11. Lauren | Miller Memoires November 12, 2013 at 2:30 AM #

    Thanks for taking the time to put a list together! I’ve been writing for a while now and am starting to put the work in to monetize it. You’re right! It’s not easy, takes time and effort. Good for you for making this lifestyle work for you 🙂

  12. Beth November 12, 2013 at 8:13 AM #

    Always nice to see how other bloggers are doing it– thanks for being so honest!

    If only it were as easy as sipping cocktails by the pool… 🙂

  13. Flora November 12, 2013 at 3:15 PM #

    Great post Steph – I have a mind to direct lots of those email enquiries here from now on!

  14. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas November 13, 2013 at 3:41 AM #

    Thanks for the post! I monetized just over a year ago, and while I don’t made oodles of money, the extra income has allowed me to put more back into my blog and to my start-up. Like you, I get queries often, so I’ll just send them your link!

  15. Chris Cavallari - Part Time Vagabond November 13, 2013 at 11:54 AM #

    Great post, Stephanie. I’ve been blogging about travel for 4 years, but never really thought of making money off it until this year. The real key to making a living doing this type of content creation is to diversify, as you have. Keep going strong!

  16. Denise November 13, 2013 at 12:51 PM #

    Awesome post! I’m a new reader here, also very passionate about travel-blogging. It’s admirable to see how you’ve worked hard and taken risks to do this, to share with us.

    withlovedc.tumblr.com

  17. Nick - Goats On The Road November 14, 2013 at 5:42 AM #

    Hey,

    Thanks for this article. I recently wrote a similar post on Goats On The Road (I won’t shamelessly link to it here) but it’s always interesting learning how other bloggers monetize.

    We really want to look more into freelance work, our blog’s a couple years old so maybe those companies will contact us soon!

    I think affiliate marketing is a small source of income for most bloggers and our affiliates bring in minimal amounts of income, but we would recommend them anyway because they are good resources.

    It’s good to endorse companies which we actually find useful.

    Thanks again for the post.

  18. Doug Cunnington November 15, 2013 at 9:58 PM #

    Hey Steph –
    I’m a new reader around here and I appreciate the transparency. I think the affiliate angle can be pretty powerful and I am also a fan of the Amazon Associate program. Amazon will also pay out with a direct deposit if you want but yep, books and goods are just fine.

    Do you have a recommended progression for the incomes streams you listed? Since you been doing this for a little while, I assume you grew the income slowly.
    Thanks!
    Doug

    • Steph November 17, 2013 at 11:51 AM #

      I started out selling ads and sponsored stuff and then slowly move into doing all of these other things. Every year I’ve made roughly $10,000 than the last! Slow but steady.

  19. Tara @ Two Travelaholics November 17, 2013 at 11:20 AM #

    Great post, Steph. Really appreciate you being detailed and transparent about everything! Congratulations on getting to such a great place with your work life!

  20. Bob of Walking Safaris November 18, 2013 at 9:36 AM #

    That’s a great list of how to make money while traveling. Ive always wondered how some people are able to travel all over the world and how they pay for their travel expenses. Its a great way to live. Recently, alot of companies and destinations are hiring bloggers to write articles on their products. This makes it even more lucrative for established writers. But i guess it takes time to get noticed.

  21. Gabriel November 19, 2013 at 4:38 PM #

    awesome! i’m starting to notice this trend of backpackers earning a living remotely by making creative content. I think it would be great if your could go into more detail about your routines and how you ended up in this line of work. like how long it took, revelations, likes and dislikes? Do you think you will be pursuing this path much longer?

  22. Peter Korchnak @ Where Is Your Toothbrush? November 23, 2013 at 3:44 PM #

    Thanks for sharing, Steph. I appreciate the links to related posts, too! All of this is very helpful as my wife and I work to get our travel blog off the ground. So far I have made way more money freelancing (more than the zero dollars from the blog, that is), but those gigs are tough to get…

  23. Nomadic Matt November 24, 2013 at 1:28 PM #

    Amazon also pays in cash money 🙂

    • Steph November 24, 2013 at 2:07 PM #

      You’re right it does, I’d much rather use it to enable my reading addiction though!

  24. Ivana November 30, 2013 at 3:50 AM #

    Many thanks for the honest post!!

  25. Camels & Chocolate December 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM #

    I always find it hilarious when people want to go into travel blogging for the money. I’m in the seventh year of my site and didn’t both selling my first link until year four. While it’s much easier now than it was back then to make some kind of income off a blog, I’ve yet to see anyone in the travel space make enough of a living on a travel blog alone (without outside writing gigs, etc.) to be able to afford a life in the United States and other luxuries like a house (not saying everyone wants that but so many travel bloggers live in SE Asia or elsewhere because of the low cost of living). I wonder if travel blogging will ever hit the jackpot like mommy blogging has? We can only hope…

    Thanks for your honesty!

  26. Carmen December 13, 2013 at 8:50 PM #

    Thank you for sharing and for your honesty! We make a little bit from our blog but the majority of our work is from freelance writing. We haven’t pitched to anyone yet but we can also seeing ourselves doing it sometime in the future.

    Great post – going to check out the other links you mentioned now too!

  27. ade December 23, 2013 at 3:41 AM #

    this is a really great and helpful post 😉 I am really hopping to go into freelance writing, so I will try and be more discipline and keep writing – until someone notices. All the best to you too!

  28. Jo Ann December 29, 2013 at 3:07 PM #

    Hi there

    I truly appreciate your candor in talking about your travels! I do have a question but it’s not one I want to post, lol. Can you message me so I can ask you? I know your on your honeymoon still, congrats btw!

    Thank you so much!

    • Steph December 29, 2013 at 4:56 PM #

      Hi Jo Ann, You can find my contact info at the top of the page, please feel free to send me an email!

  29. aba January 4, 2014 at 10:46 AM #

    Nice blog, came across your page bc of the wv scam accusations, even though I disagree I still like your drive to travel, which is why I kept reading your other stuff. I’m always open to hear how people are bring their travelling passions to life reasonably without drowning in serious debt and living out their cars. Really when it boils down to it I’m just want to help people and travel the world while financially successful. I’ll be back again to read more of your adventures. Kudos!

    from another twenty-something

  30. Konrad April 10, 2014 at 9:57 PM #

    Hey Steph
    Awesome post, you have the same name as my sister 🙂 I was just wandering how did you manage to get enough people to visit your website. I have began building a website so that I can fund my oversea’s trips as well and have followed some strategies outlined by a mentor but I really want to get more people visiting and connecting with me.
    Any suggestions my website is KonRadicool.com
    Thanks Again Steph and I love your blog 🙂
    Konrad

    • Steph April 11, 2014 at 9:41 AM #

      Hi Konrad,
      Mostly just a lot of patience, updating regularly and trying to write content I thought would interest people. If you dig I have a couple of articles on my top blogging tips which might help. Thanks!

  31. Kenny May 13, 2014 at 8:07 AM #

    making money via internet is never work for me (so far) ….. but i’m still looking for ways to make some passive income …. i read a lot of articles teaching people how and what to do but none of them really works or maybe too complicated for me.

    • Steph May 13, 2014 at 9:32 AM #

      I don’t know many people who have successfully managed to set up significant passive income. I suspect it’s a lot harder than many bloggers would have you believe.

  32. Trav Bell June 14, 2014 at 12:32 AM #

    This is a great article. Thanks for being real & giving the honest truth on travel blogging. I kind of do it, I guess. But not to the extent that you & the above mentioned travel hackers do. I’m not put off taking it further. It’s just good info to know going forward. Cheers – Trav

  33. Foisal Talukdar July 5, 2014 at 5:20 PM #

    Thanks steph. As a newbie I wasn’t aware of all of those secrets method. I agree to follow your affiliate marketting strategy which is really worthy.

  34. Nguyen July 21, 2014 at 12:20 AM #

    Thanks for sharing the tips. To add some value to your post, I think people can also earn money by having seminars and workshop teaching others about travel and everything else on the travel business.

  35. Mark September 8, 2014 at 12:28 PM #

    Great post.

    Would be interested to know yours or any other travel bloggers thoughts on the table here:

    http://onestep4ward.com/motivational-monday-hits-money-blog/

    Obviously there are lots of variables but do you think the figures are realistic?

    • Steph September 8, 2014 at 2:13 PM #

      Honestly, I’m not sure I understand what Johnny is saying in this article. Where is the money coming from in his model? Text links? ads? If it’s text links I would say definitely not, as that industry is nearly dead.

      What I’ve founds is that the amount of money you can make blogging isn’t necessarily tied to the amount of page views you get. It’s much more about how you market yourself and how creative you are about creating income streams.

  36. Pato Garcia April 15, 2015 at 1:06 PM #

    I just don’t agree with the “freelance” option, I’ve tried and it’s really complicated, it is too competitive, and it would be something that would need of our time (a lot of it) in order to generate income, when one travels want to know places, in conclusion: Or you go outside and know places or stay at the hotel “freelancing” until you have enough money to move to your next destination.

    • Steph April 15, 2015 at 2:58 PM #

      It’s definitely not for everyone, but it is what works for me.

      • mike3 October 26, 2016 at 11:09 AM #

        What other options exist?

  37. Shayne Zalameda June 15, 2015 at 9:57 PM #

    I’m also interested about sponsored trips but I also want to learn how to do balanced reviews because there’s this tendency to gear toward the positive when it’s sponsored. I have a disclaimer when it’s sponsored but I am having a hard time writing about the negative aspects of it, if ever there’s some.

    • Steph June 16, 2015 at 12:53 PM #

      This is definitely a challenge, especially for someone like me who tends to write about mostly the positives whether I’m sponsored or not. I think a lot of it is just having the balls to go there without fear of repercussion. Also remembering the importance of putting your audience first.

  38. Jema Patterson August 7, 2015 at 10:48 PM #

    Thanks for this post, Steph! I’ve just decided to try monetizing my hobby blog that’s been ten years in the making. Like you said in another post, it’s driving me a bit bonkers that there is no basic model. I know everyone will have unique opportunities and streams, but it’s so helpful to look at various models and either say “definitely not for me” or “I could try that!”

    Cheers, and looking forward to keeping up with you!

    p.s. found you because of PTBA’s roundup that included your WV issue. #supportsteph!

  39. TheGirl August 28, 2015 at 2:35 PM #

    I’m not a travel blogger, but yes, the question does come up on how to monetize blogs, and its no easy feat. I’ll be using some of your tips, there is also Sverve and BlogHer, if that helps.

  40. mike3 October 26, 2016 at 11:06 AM #

    However how much of it depends on grit and factors in your control, and how much of it depends on ones you CAN’T control?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. HOW TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL BLOGGER - STEP 5 - BoB around the worldBoB around the world - March 1, 2015

    […] How can I afford to travel and how much money I earn from travel blogging Twenty-Something Travel: How I make money while traveling Keep Calm and Travel: How to monetize a travgel […]

  2. How to find success and make money as a travel blogger - November 13, 2015

    […] Twenty-Something Travel: How I make money while travelling […]

  3. How to find success and make money as a travel blogger - November 13, 2015

    […] Twenty-Something Travel: How I make money while travelling […]

  4. Travel & Make Money - February 4, 2016

    […] How I Make Money While Traveling […]

Leave a Reply

css.php