Ever wonder how to become a travel blogger and get paid to travel? If you love to travel, this has probably come across your mind and wondered how to go about doing it.
I know I have in the past. While I didn’t start as a travel blogger and still don’t consider myself as a travel blogger per sé, I have done comped travel and got paid to travel and write about it. You can find some of my writings under the Travel and Lifestyle section of this blog.
Travel blogging has become huge the past few years and many individuals have gone on to become a full-time travel blogger and are living “the life.” I must admit the travel blogging lifestyle is pretty luxurious. However, just like any business and blogging, travel blogging can be a business and you must treat it as such if you would like for it to be your source of full-time income eventually. It also takes a little bit of time to take off and you must put in a lot of effort at the beginning. However, the perks can be very rewarding, especially once you start getting paid to travel and write about it.
How Does One Become a Travel Blogger?
First, you must have an existing blog that has travel as the majority of its content. If you don’t have a blog yet, it is fast and fairly easy to get started with one, especially with Bluehost.com. Here’s a FREE quick guide on how you can get one up and running in no time for as low as $3.95/month. It is very important to have a reliable host because you need to have your website up and running 100% of the time. You just don’t know when you have visitors on your blog.
In the free guide I mentioned above, I also shared some highly recommended sites that you can use to get your WordPress theme to get a professional and good-looking travel blog.
As I’ve mentioned above, if you want to become a travel blogger and get paid to travel, you must treat this as a business and as such, you have some investments to make. Firstly, the blog itself. It is a very minimal monetary investment that can potentially bring you a lifetime of luxury and full-time income by doing what you love. Secondly a DSLR camera. You don’t have to buy the most expensive to begin with. In fact, I know a lot of bloggers who use the entry level Canon Rebel T6 Kit. I highly recommend that you also get the 50 MM lens. Because travel blogging is all about capturing the moments and the beauty of the place, a good DSLR and a good camera smart phone is a must.
So to do a quick summary, here’s what you need to get started:
- An existing blog. If you don’t have one yet, here’s a quick guide on how you can get set-up with one immediately.
- DSLR camera (Recommended: Canon Rebel T6 Kitt + 50 MM lens)
- A good camera smart phone
Once you have set-up your blog, it’s time to produce your travel content. If your goal is to actually travel and write about the destinations that you visit, then you’re going to have to produce similar content in the beginning. Like I said, just like any business, you’re going to have to make some investments – traveling being one of them. You don’t have to travel luxuriously at first. If budget is tight, do a couple of staycations in your hometown and then write about it. You can also do a road trip to a neighboring city that’s 3-4 hours away and write about it as well. Things to do around your hometown that you know of can be a great starting content. Build up some “evergreen” or “cornerstone” travel content. By that I mean, timeless pieces that people will be searching for even after so many years have passed.
Here are some travel content ideas that you can write about to begin with:
- X (Number) Things You Can Do As a Single / Couple in __________ (Your City)
- How to Staycation in Style in ____________ (Your City)
- Family Staycation Ideas in _____________ (Your City)
- Daytrip Destination Ideas in ____________ (Your State)
- Road Trip To ___________ (Neighboring City): What To Do for Fun & Where to Stay
- X Things You Must Pack for a Road Trip to _________ (Destination)
- X (Number) Destinations in __________ (Your State) That You Don’t Know About
- X (Number) Attractions You Must Visit In ___________ (Your City or Destination)
- X (Number) Tips to Travel as a Single (if you’re single) in ____________ (Destination)
- X Tips for Entertaining Your Kids During a Roadtrip
It is ideal to have at least 20-25 cornerstone/evergreen travel-related content before you start promoting your travel blog.
Once you’ve written your 20-25 cornerstone content, it’s time to drive traffic to your blog and build your following. You have to understand that when working with brands, numbers matter. The number of your social media following, engagement rate, blog readership, monthly page views, unique monthly visitors, etc, will be looked at when you approach brands and vice versa.
Of course, having a professional looking blog and photos can give the WOW factor. But eventually, brands are always after what you can bring them. Always think of “WIIFM” principle – “What’s in it for me?” for both your readers and brands. If your numbers are low, the brand won’t see it it as beneficial to work with you. So your goal in the next few weeks after your blog launch is to drive traffic to your blog. You can’t expect people to just magically find your blog. You have to put in some effort in promoting it.
I’m not going into all the details on this post as far as driving traffic and building your social media following. I suggest looking at my Blogging for Profit Series below, especially Blogging for Profit Series 7: 10 Ways Guaranteed to Drive Traffic to Your Blog, after you finish reading this post in its entirety.
How To Get Comped Hotel Accommodations & Get Paid to Travel
Once you’ve driven traffic to your blog, established your blog readership, and built up your social media following, the next step is to start signing up with blogger/influencer networks and reaching out to PR (Public Relations) companies and digital marketing agencies.
In the beginning of your travel blogging career, you are going to have to be proactive. You have to present yourself to PR companies and get on their radar. Most hotels have a dedicated PR person and if not, they have a third-party PR agency to handle their press department.
I suggest checking out The Ultimate List of Blogger / Influencer Networks, PR Firms & Digital Marketing Companies, Affiliate Networks and Ad Networks. I have compiled a list of blogger/influencer networks, PR firms, and digital marketing agencies in all beauty, fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, food, and travel industry. This is a MUST HAVE tool because it will literally save you hundreds of hours in research and you can focus your time and efforts in other important blog-related things you need to handle. In that list, I have also shared a sample email that you can send to those companies to get on their PR/blogger/influencer list that can bring you different kinds of opportunities. You may also be able to receive some travel-related products for review on your blog.
Once you have more hotel review or travel guide contents, it gets a lot easier to get more comped hotel accommodations and as soon as you get in more PR databases, you will be presented with more opportunities to go on press trips or personal travel and get paid to do it at the same time. Even though I’m not a travel blogger per sé, as I’ve mentioned previously, I have been fortunate to have gotten paid to travel and write about it.
As you can see, in the beginning you need to put a lot of effort into this. Most traditional businesses take up to 2-3 years in getting really established. Thankfully, that’s not the case in blogging. There are a lot of bloggers out there, travel or other industry, that have established their blogs in a short amount of time. The more time and effort you put in it, the faster you can become successful. There are a lot of tools these days that are available at your disposal. Make use of them. Hopefully you find this post helpful as well.
Wishing you the best in your travel blogging journey!