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30+ Travel Bloggers Earning Over 5,000 USD / Month & How They Monetize Their Blogs

By Kach Umandap January 7th, 2017 Posted in Travel Blog, Travel Blogging and Digital Nomads Tips 56 Comments

There’s a big difference between having a ‘popular’ vs. a ‘profitable’ blog. You can be a very popular blogger but you might not be monetizing your site properly, or you may be a blogger who doesn’t have a huge audience but still earns a decent amount of money with a optimised, niche website.

There are still many out there who think travel blogging is just a hobby, rather than a ‘real job,’ or a ‘real business.’ This may be true for some, but there are many bloggers out there for whom their travel blogs are a serious business, entirely supporting themselves and even their families, not just their travels and a few beers!

To demonstrate this, we found 30 travel bloggers who were willing to share with us how much they earn and how they do it!

In this article, we’re going to talk about the various ways that travel bloggers make money, including the self-submitted Income Profiles of 30 travel bloggers earning more than $5000 USD per month, topics include:

  • PART 1 – Surveyed Travel Bloggers and How Much They Earn
  • PART 2 – Travel Blogging Expenses – What are we Paying For?
  • PART 3 – How do Travel Bloggers Earn Money –  Travel Bloggers Income Reports!
  • PART 4 –  Tips for Newbie Bloggers – What Should You Do To Monetize Your Travel Blog?

(Please note that this article does contain some links to affiliated companies)

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Surveyed Travel Bloggers and How Much They Earn

*All figures in USD. All income information is based on data supplied by each blogger excluding all travel expenses (unless stated otherwise). For a detailed breakdown of each bloggers income check the bottom of the post.

If you’d like to add your income profile and share your pro travel blogging tips, feel free to fill out this form.

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The Business of Travel Blogging – EXPENSES

It would be great if travel blogging were all about income, but as with any business, the reality is that there are expenses (and huge taxes!). And just like in any other business, growth and increased income often come with greater expenses! If you’re not a blogger and wanted to be one, here’s my article on how you can start a travel blog.

According to our travel blogger income survey, those travel bloggers who earn more, also invest more into their business.

Here are some examples of the kinds of expenses that travel bloggers pay out for:

1. Virtual Assistants + Freelance Writers

Some bloggers have expanded and hired more people, like we have, to create great content for their websites. Hiring a writer is perfect for creating the type of content that doesn’t need to be personally written by you, but provides a different type of value to your readers.

As well as content writers, another way to grow your blogging business is to hire a team to support you with work that distracts you from what you do best. I have three full time, freelance virtual assistants working for me, focusing on graphic design, social media management, article submissions, and marketing. Outsourcing costs money, but done correctly it allows you to focus on what you do best (and the things that directly increase your income!)

2. Hosting, Domain, Plugins + Themes, Web Development, Security…

Any blogger at any level of income has to pay for at least some of these, and if you want to grow, then you’ll find that you definitely usually get what you pay for.  When you’re just getting started, it makes sense to start with cheaper packages, but if your traffic is growing and you’re starting to earn money, then it pays to invest in a higher standard of hosting and technical support. 

We started Two Monkeys Travel with Bluehost (because it was the cheapest), then we moved to Siteground (amazing support team), before finally moving over to Performance Foundry when we realized we needed a fully managed service so we could focus on running and growing the business. This is a perfect example of investing in growth – pay experts to do what they do best so that you can do the same!

Budget Hosting Companies:

  • Bluehost – Mixed reviews, but from $3 per month you get what you pay for!
  • Hostgator – another cheap hosting and same owners as Bluehost
  • inMotion

Hosting for higher traffic sites or simply more support:

  • Performance Foundry – Managed WordPress Hosting that we use for Two Monkeys Travel. As well as the hosting, they have a great technical support, they monitor the site, check plugins, improve site speed and keep it secure as well. Highly recommended!
  • Siteground – A good range of options. More expensive than the budget options and still self-managed, but they have an amazing support team 24 hours.  They won’t do it all for you, but they’re very good at hand holding!
  • WPEngine – No personal experience, but we’ve heard good things about them

3. Automation & Management Tools 

Outsourcing is one way to take time-consuming tasks off your hands, but another option is automation. In blogging, especially when starting from the bottom, the list of repetitive tasks just seems to get longer and longer, sucking up your valuable time and draining your motivation to do what you loved about blogging in the first place. Social media is usually the biggest culprit! The good news is that for every new repetitive task, there is always someone who will design a program or an app to do it for you. Some are great, while many are utterly shit, so read reviews and take advice from blogger groups and forums!  Here are some automation tools that are popular with bloggers and which we use on Two Monkeys Travel.  This is only a limited selection; there are dozens out there!

4. Advertising

Blogging is the same as any other business – You need to tell people that you exist! Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. The internet is a big place; it’s hard to get seen, and the big players like Facebook know it. We all know how it feels when Facebook decides to suddenly stop showing your posts to you followers. Basically, they want you to pay to boost your posts, so they’ll show them to more people. This can be a very effective way to get traffic when done correctly, but done incorrectly is just a big fat waste of money! It seems that every platform wants us to pay these days – Instagram Promotions; Google Adwords; Twitter Ads; there are probably more. We can’t tell you how to do this, or even if you should bother. Do some research and expect lots of trial and error…Good luck! 

(Please note that travel expenses like hotels, flights, food and other things are not included in the listed expenses above! This can be where most of the expenses go, unless your trips are sponsored! For taxes, it depends on the country where the business is registered, on our case, we pay it in the United Kingdom.)

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How do Travel Bloggers Earn Money from their Blogs?

According to our personal experience and from the blogger income survey, there are at least ten different ways you can earn money from travel blogging if you really want to dig into it. Here we’ll explain all the different ways our surveyed bloggers earn money with their blogs. (You can also read my article here on how we started monetizing our blog during our first year blogging)

But first… How Long Will it Take to Start Earning Money from Travel Blogging?

Before we get into this next part, we know a lot of new bloggers are asking this question…

On average, most of our surveyed bloggers took 1 to 2 years before they started monetizing their website, but in reality, if you started blogging already knowing everything, then you could start earning a lot faster. But who starts out already knowing everything, right?! There are exceptions to this, however, like us – We had our first $1000+ month with Two Monkeys Travel after just three months, but that came out of working 12 to 16 hour days on the laptop for those first three months. We don’t have to do that now, but you definitely get out what you put in! 

1. Affiliate Marketing

This is the best passive income model you can use for yourself and your blog, so please start this right from day 1! In short, affiliate marketing is recommending a brand, product or service to your readers, so that when they go to that website and buy something you are rewarded with a small share of the profits. There’s a lot more to it than that; like a supermarket putting the powdered milk next to the beer, if you’re doing it wrong you’re not gonna sell much-powdered milk!

If you want to learn more about Affiliate marketing and how to do it right, I suggest enrolling in the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course. The creator is not a travel blogger, but a Finance blogger who is earning almost 100,000 USD per month! We make $5000 to $6000 USD per month through affiliate marketing, and this course taught me a lot (some of them I already knew!)

Amazon Associates is a great affiliate program for selling products, but there are many brands that register with an affiliate marketing network to handle their affiliates for them. There are a few good ones, some bad ones and new ones popping all the time. It’s worth joining a few of these to cover a range of brands. Here are the ones we work with (and one we don’t!)

  • Affiliate Window – One of the best and 1/3 of our Affiliate earnings are from here! You can also create a customized campaign with the advertisers listed on their platform. They do ask for a credit card when you sign up, so they can charge $5 as an anti-fraud measure, then it is immediately refunded. If you would like to try to avoid this, email me directly and I can try to assist with a referral, but this is at their discretion. Email at [email protected] with subject: Affiliate Window Invitation Code.
  • CJ.com – Marmite – some love it & some hate it! Lots of brands, clunky and time-consuming to use but they have a Content Certified group where you can get sponsored campaigns.
  • Share a Sale – Lots of smaller brands and companies on here, also very good. I think we make around $1,000 to $ 2,000 USD per month from this platform.
  • Rakuten – Lots of options here, decent platform.

Other affiliate programs that are well worth joining for travel bloggers are anything to do with accommodation (Direct with Booking.com/ Agoda / Hostelworld/ Hotels.com and a lot more), tours, transportation, equipment. Just think about what you would spend money on to go traveling, find a company you would be happy to recommend to your grandmother, then check their website for a Partners or Affiliates section!

2. Brand Campaigns

When you have an audience and a following, companies will approach you to promote their products and services to them. If those products and services are appropriate to your audience and you would be happy to use them yourself, then you can promote them through sponsored posts, social media campaigns, ad banners on your website and more.  You can join these websites to help you find brands looking to work with bloggers:

  • Webfluential
  • Izea – you get sponsored post for your social media channels, some people earns $300 to $3000 per month from here!
  • The Blogger Programme – if you are from the UK or Europe based!
  • Tap Influence – the sponsored campaigns that we get here are usually around $800 to $ 4,000 USD! We once run a campaign that paid us $3,000 for a blog article + Facebook post.

Again, more are popping up every day, so keep an eye on the blogging groups to see what’s being said about them.

3. Brand Ambassadorship

What’s the difference from Brand Campaigns vs. Brand Ambassadorship?

In a Brand Ambassadorship, you’ll be promoting brands in the same way as you would for a brand campaign, but longer-term basis. It’s far more beneficial to both parties to form a long-term brand partnership, providing greater exposure for their brand and demonstrating a higher level of trust in their products. Of course, this also means that you’re securing a longer term, more reliable income. You need to be picky here, though because you’re choosing to become a supporter and spokesperson for that brand. Make sure the brand, its practices, and its values are aligned with yours and those of your audience.

Remember when Dennis Rodman became a public supporter and practically a spokesperson for North Korea? Remember how bad that was? Don’t be a brand ambassador for North Korea!

4. Paid Press Trips

Ah, the mythical golden paid press trips at the end of the blogging rainbow! Not at all mythical, you just need to be able to prove you’re worth what you’re charging and be on the right PR lists! The latter is a question of time and networking; it takes practice.

When you have those two things pretty much sorted, then you need to be very clear what you will provide in exchange for your fee. Put a lot of effort into this and design something that looks great. If you just type it out as an email, it implies that you might just make up your fees and deliverables on the spot. Of course, there is nothing wrong with free press trips, they’re great to build up your portfolio and network.

5. Freelance Writing

This is not directly making money from your blog, but it is leveraging your blog to get paid work writing for other websites and publications who then link back to your blog to expand your audience, so it’s all connected. Prices vary massively but you can get more tips from Goats on the Road or The Professional Hobo who get a good chunk of their income from freelance writing.

6. Selling Own Products – Ebooks / Books / Tshirts

Selling products are a great way to add new income streams to your blogging business. Ebooks can be made from repurposed blog content and photography. Audiobooks can be made to up-sell the Ebooks. You can make themed merchandise like mugs and t-shirts using online companies. If you know a lot about a certain subject, including blogging, then you can design a course to teach others. You can check out Nomadic Matt who sells his book + blogging course while Wandering Earl has his best-selling e-book on cruise ship jobs.

7. Providing Services From Your Website

Some travel bloggers have built such an audience and become such an authority on a subject that people are willing to pay them for their expertise. Some of our surveyed bloggers offer food tours, trip planning, and even one-on-one travel and life coaching! You can check DreamEuroTrip who provides travel planning in Europe and some other bloggers have their Media Agency who does social media management + content creation services.

8. Photography and Videography

Not the easiest way to make money, but if you have the skills, then there are many ways to sell your photos and videos. As well as the obvious method of selling photos through portals like Flickr, you could sell prints from your own site and sell your services directly to brands and hotel properties. The Travel Break, Nomadasaurus, and The Travel Vlogger all make the big chunk of their income from their photography/ videos.

9. Banner Advertising (Google Adsense + Ad networks)

There are not many bloggers who choose this route as a main means of income as the returns are low and the banners don’t look great on the site. Having said that, a limited number of Google Adsense or Ad Networks banners can be a nice supplemental income. Alternatively, some brands will pay directly to have banners on a website, but this is becoming less and less common.

10. SEO Sponsored Posts

There will always be mixed opinions on this one. Brands, or their PR companies, will approach bloggers asking to have an article published on their blog mentioning their name and linking back to their site. Can be a good way to make money, just be careful about who you link to and how. Most of OneStep4Ward’s income is through this monetization strategy.Monkey Dividers

Tips for Newbie Bloggers – What Should You do to Monetize Your Travel Blog?

1. Know Your Goals and Have a Business Plan

The fundamental difference between being a ‘hobby blogger’ and a professional blogger is that the aim of the blog is to make money. It sounds obvious, and it is, but so many bloggers have conflicting ideas about blogging and money, even to the point of feeling guilty about earning money from their website and audience. Unless you get over that, then every decision you make thereafter is going to be conflicted as well. Creating a business plan can help to focus your goals and help you keep direction and motivation.

2. Plan your Content and How you can Optimize and Monetize it

Once you have your business plan, you can use it to make decisions about the kind of content you want to include on your blog and how to monetize it. 

3. Attend Networking Events to be added on PR List

Networking events and travel trade shows are an important way to start getting your name out there in the industry, especially with tourism boards and PR companies. The events below are a great start:

4. Get a coach! Enroll on Travel Blogging and Business Courses

If you do everything by trial and error, then you’re going to take a very long time to progress. It makes sense to learn from people who have already learned the hard way and made a success out of what they do. Here are some good ones to get you started:

5. Focus on What You’re Good At – Optimise What You Have!

Social Media is great but don’t put all your effort into growing your numbers for the sake of it! Some of the bloggers above are not huge on some platforms on social media, but they are earning a lot of money from campaigns and from the traffic they do have. They know where to focus their efforts, and they have a very engaged audience!

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 Blogger Income Profile Infographic

collage-two-monkeys-travel-monetize-travel-blogIf you’d like to add your income profile and share your pro travel blogging tips, feel free to fill out this form.

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56 thoughts on “30+ Travel Bloggers Earning Over 5,000 USD / Month & How They Monetize Their Blogs

  1. I cannot click on the infographics for each blogger showing their individual details. Can you fix this? I see others posted about this problem too

  2. Marvelous work!. Blog is brilliantly written and provides all necessary information I really like this site. Thanks for sharing this useful post.Thanks for the effective information.

  3. Waow…. great post with great ideas. Thanks so much for putting it all together. Sure that You will help so many people. =)

  4. The infographic has all of the most interesting information (reason why I clicked the link), yet it is blurry, and cut off! I don’t understand why you don’t post that information directly on this post, or at least make it readable??

  5. Monetizing something really challenging these days, It will surely help me in my blogging journey thanks for sharing such deep information. I would really appreciate if you can help me with my blogging.

  6. Hi guys, the infografic is cut, can’t see the whole picture, especially the bottom part of each blogger, which highlights the monthly costs.

  7. Thanks for putting this together and helping us join a few dots! I found the most reassuring part of this post was when you mentioned “On average, most of our surveyed bloggers took 1 to 2 years before they started monetizing their website, but in reality, if you started blogging already knowing everything, then you could start earning a lot faster. But who starts out already knowing everything, right?!”

    I feel that is us! It’s taken us 12+ months to realize we can let go of a few things; e.g. Social media, to concentrate on other things more likely to lead to monetisation.

    Also glad to see some bloggers are offering services as part of their income streams as we’re now seeing we have valuable skills, e.g. SEO, email automation, video editing etc, that many business owners don’t.

  8. Good Luck to all but why do you think everyone has a “how to become a course” because there’s very little money actually producing travel content. 10 years ago it was a different story and making six to seven figures was possible. Now count yourself successful if your paying for your travels.
    Happy Travels,

  9. What a great post! Very inspirational and I love the cold hard facts and numbers. I’ll return again and again for all the great links and resources too.

  10. Loved your article. I wanted to make sure you knew about influence.co. We are a free influencer discovery tool and we also publish lots of free data about the industry. Let me know if we can ever be useful and supply information for future articles you write.

    Marketing and Community at influence.co

  11. Great information for expanding the blog and turning it into something important on an international level. Thank you for sharing! Good luck! 🙂

  12. I started in blogging year 2015 from free hosted blog.Then purchased a domain year 2017 even though i don’t have huge audience but still earned big bucks of money.Its about hardwork like Kach Medina-a popular travel blogger na nakilala ko.Inaaway nga ako ng girlfriend ko dahil may time na ayaw ko matulog dahil sa pagsusulat ng blog infront of my laptop.Ha…ha…ha…

  13. This is very useful information for someone just getting started. As for myself I wish I started this ages ago when I was actively traveling around Asia. Now I have blogs I can write and pictures to share. This gives me some inspiration and hope of something I can work my way up to

  14. WOW! What a great topic! I appreciate the information and know it took a while to compile. This year I’m focusing on monetizing my blog so this is a timely post!!

  15. This is an insane guide! As a newbie I am in the blogging world I am going to start to follow some of those tips. Pinning it for later. Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. This is such a great post! So many useful ideas for a newbie like me. I think I’m going to look into this course!

    Rebecca x

  17. Thanks for sharing this. I always feel bloggers just dish out how much they make per month, but (not always) mention how much they need to invest to make that much money. For me, I know each month I get a certain amount in my bankaccount and it is all mine to use as I need to. Thanks for sharing some more details on expenses too!

  18. So interesting!!!! I’m definitely bookmarking this to study more. I monetise a little but there’s so much to learn and so many different ways to do it!

  19. A great post, I found all the information useful! I have noted down a few of the links. Thanks for sharing this.

  20. This is such a great resource for taking a travel blog to the next level. I am still in the beginning stages of my blog but there’s a ton of great ideas in here to help me step it up a notch. I’ll definitely be bookmarking this for future reference- thank you!!

  21. It’s an informative post. Thanks for sharing your findings and suggestions. Finding a good advertising network is something I’m working on at present and I’m looking for closer cooperation with fellow bloggers over the months ahead.

  22. Great roundup! I was earning little bits of money from my sites for a year or so before things started to increase to the point where blogging is now my main source of income. I’m not at $5000 a month yet, but I’m working on it and hopefully I’ll get there soon! I’m actually starting to share income reports on one of my site as a way to show others that it can be done, and as a way to hold myself accountable for actually improving my sites. Certainly an interesting and ever-changing way to make a living!

  23. Excellent post.
    Very informative with some great stats.
    It sort of confirms what i was expecting already, but it’s nice to see it put down so detailed and professional.

    1. Thanks Claus! Appreciate the feedback and happy that some bloggers were happy to participate! I reached out to a lot of them but some are hesitant to share the details (maybe because of taxes or it’s just too personal etc). But I think having 30 bloggers is enough to make a personal analysis! =)

  24. Such an extensive in-depth post! Kudos for curating all the info. The post and the effort that has gone behind it is highly motivating and inspiring 🙂

  25. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to all the bloggers mentioned and for putting out such an in-depth article. This is priceless information and tips that my blog could use as well.
    I’ve been blogging for about a year now and only recently decided to be serious about it.
    Thanks for motivating me further.

    1. YAY excited for you Talia! When you finally decided to take it seriously and have business plan in mind.. then you’ll reach there! =)

  26. Great post! I also earn an income by speaking at conferences and summits. Travel bloggers have lots of insight that is VERY valuable for brands, tourism boards and other businesses.

    1. Oh that’s true! No one on the bloggers surveyed mentioned that they earned from Public Speaking.. maybe other bloggers who didnt participated! But yes, I could update the article in the future about that one! Thank you!! <3

  27. Wow, Kach, this is such a pool of information! I’m bookmarking this! Thanks so much for putting it all together, great role models to follow 🙂 And now off to work on the blog! 😉

  28. whoa! what an in depth post. This must have taken you forever to do put together. Thanks for the wealth of information!

    1. It took me 2 months – a lot of people wanted to be in it then backed out then I had to contact more people again! haha! <3

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.