Blogging about travel can be a great way to share your experiences, insights, and tips with others who are interested in exploring the world.
As a blog coach, I can say that it might also be a way to make money! Regardless of your goals, here is your guide on how to start a travel blog.
What is travel blogging? Travel Blogging Niche
Travel blogging refers to creating content related to your personal travel experiences and sharing them online through a travel blog.
Some professional travel bloggers use traditional blogs (like on WordPress). But some also call themselves “bloggers” while only using social for to share their content (like Instagram).
A successful travel blog typically contains posts, articles, photos, and/or videos to document the blogger’s experiences while traveling to different places around the world.
A successful blog for traveling often share tips, advice, and insights on various aspects of travel. This includes blog posts on things like budgeting, planning, hotels and accommodation, food, transportation, and things to do in the places they travel to. They may also provide reviews and recommendations for all of these things based on their own experience.
While travel blogging took a massive hit in 2020 and the couple years following, it’s now again on the rise.
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Choose a travel blogging niche
Even though “travel” is obviously a niche, it can be helpful for SEO to narrow down even more.
So, start by determining the specific aspect of travel that you want to focus on. This could be budget travel, luxury travel, adventure travel, family travel, etc. A former client of mine created a blog about Disney travel that gets over 40,000 monthly views!
By choosing a niche, you will be able to attract a specific audience and create more targeted content. Targeted content = is helpful for making money more easily.
Different Types of Travel Bloggers
1. Luxury Travel Bloggers
Luxury travel bloggers specialize in high-end trips and destinations, providing detailed reviews of exclusive hotels, restaurants and experiences.
They should feature stunning photography, as well as provide helpful tips for readers wanting to experience similar luxury. Most luxury travel bloggers have years of experience traveling, and may also have connections to top-tier tour operators, resorts, cruise lines and other travel services.
2. Aspiring Travel Bloggers
Aspiring travel bloggers are people who are less experienced travelers. They write from a perspective of learning about traveling, and sharing their journey to help others. They should post stories about their own experiences.
Aspiring bloggers may share photos and videos from their travels, but the quality isn’t as important as with a luxury travel blog. A theme for them involves enthusiasm, and sharing personal stories.
3. Personal Travel Blogs
Personal travel blogs showcase a person’s unique journey through life as they explore different countries and cultures around the world. They write from a more experienced perspective. These blogs often include personal stories that highlight poignant memories from their trips in combination with captivating photos.
The main focus involves documenting the person’s own exploration through life, enabling others to gain insight. These blogs are more thought provoking in nature.
4. Family Travel Blogs
Family travel blogs chronicle journeys taken by larger groups (like families or friends) traveling together. They write about everything from planning to departure when planning trips that involve a lot of people.
Many family travel blogs provide info regarding how to navigate a destination more affordably with children in tow while also offering tips on age appropriate activities parents can enjoy alongside their kids at any given location around the world.
5. Traveling On A Budget
Budget friendly blogs write about traveling affordably. They should cover practical advice on saving money, while still experiencing all that a destination has to offer.
6. Digital Nomads
This one seems a little tangential, but I think it’s important to mention digital nomads as a possible travel niche.
Digital nomads work remotely while travelling around the world full time, or for extended periods of time. Sometimes even indefinitely!
These tech savvy travellers either have flexible full time remote jobs, or more often the are freelancers or online entrepreneurs, like a professional travel blogger 🙂
Digital nomads who are travel bloggers should write about their travels while also talking about the entrepreneurial and nomadic aspects of their life. Going on a trip and coming home is very different than traveling without a home base!
These aren’t the only niches you can choose as a professional travel blogger but hopefully this gives you some ideas.
Start a Travel Blog
While you can have a completely free blog by using WordPress, if you plan to monetize, I’d highly recommend having a self hosted blog.
This is because if you want to monetize, you’ll want to have as much control over your website as possible.
What does “self hosted” mean?
A “self-hosted” blog means that you are responsible for hosting the files and data that make up your website. You can do this on your own server (unlikely unless you’re mega-techy) or through a web hosting provider.
I personally use Flywheel for my hosting, but other popular options you might have heard of are: Godaddy, Bluehost, BigScoots (and there are tons of others).
Select a blogging platform
There are several blogging platforms available, but I would strongly recommend you create a WordPress site because 1) it has the most flexibility and 2) it has a lot of tools to help with SEO.
WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for blogging. WordPress (and most of the other platforms I mention in this post) is a content management system. You don’t really have to know what this means BUT: a CMS means you can create a website without using any code.
WordPress has a ton of features that make it easy for you to have a functional and well-designed blog. Another popular choice for travel blogs is Blogger, which has less customization options but is still very user-friendly.
I would highly advise against Blogger, but more on that below.
Self hosted wordpress account
In the case of a self-hosted WordPress website, this means you are responsible for finding a web host, installing WordPress on your host, and managing your website’s content and functionality.
This sounds a little complicated, but any host you sign up with will have very clear instructions. I promise!
This is different from hosting your website on a platform like WordPress.com or Blogger, where the platform handles the hosting for you. WordPress.com and Blogger are free, but there’s a huge downside: no control.
With a self-hosted website, you have more control over your website and can customize it to your liking with plugins, themes, and other tools. However, it also requires more technical knowledge and responsibility for managing your website’s security, backups, and updates.
Starting a self-hosted WordPress website involves a few more steps than creating a website on WordPress.com.
Here are the basic steps to get started:
- Choose a web hosting company: You will need to choose a web hosting provider that meets your needs and budget. There are many providers to choose from, such as Bluehost, SiteGround, and HostGator. I personally use Flywheel because its super intuitive and easy to get started. It’s not the cheapest host, but it’s also not the most expensive.
- Choose a travel blog domain: You will also need to purchase a domain name for your website. This is the address people will use to access your website, such as www.yourwebsite.com. I prefer Godaddy for this, and it’s extremely easy to set up and search for domains. It also plays nice with Flywheel hosting.
- Install WordPress: Most web hosting providers offer a simple way to install WordPress on your website. You can usually do this through a one-click installation process.
- Choose a WordPress theme: Once WordPress is installed, you can choose a theme for your website. A theme determines the look and feel of your website and can be customized to suit your needs. My favorite free themes are Ashe and Astra, because they are great for blogs, look nice “out of the box” and have lots of customizations. A lot of themes can be confusing, so I’d start with one of these two.
- Install plugins: WordPress plugins are small pieces of software that add extra functionality to your website. You can install WordPress plugins for things like social media sharing, search engine optimization, and having forms on your site. Yoast SEO is a super popular plugin for SEO for example. (Rank Math is free for SEO as well, and I think the data is a little better).
Starting a self-hosted WordPress website can be more complex than creating a website on WordPress.com, but it also gives you more control over your website and can be more cost-effective in the long run.
Should you hire a developer?
When you’re a beginner blogger, I actually don’t recommend trying to find a cheap web developer.
Because blogging involves content creation over a long period of time, hiring a developer can be really disempowering! Instead, I recommend working with a coach that can empower you.
This will cost similarly to an expensive web developer, but will save you a ton of time and money in the long term.
Decide how you plan to monetize your travel blog
The next step in blogging about travel involves deciding whether or not you want your hobby monetized.
If you want to make money blogging, I recommend deciding EARLY how you primarily want to make money with your blog, because it will influence your content and your marketing.
One of the most common ways to monetize a travel blog is by having ads on the site (like adsense, Ezoic, Mediavine or SheMedia). Usually the payouts for ads are pretty low until you have a significant amount of views.
This is a big limitation for earning potential when you are just starting out – but with a few thousand monthly views, your ad revenue can at least cover your costs.
Alternatively, you can sell advertising space on your blog. By partnering with travel companies or other brands, you can offer them promotional space on your blog in exchange for payment.
Another way to monetize a blog is through affiliate marketing.
You would include affiliate links to related products and services in your posts, which will earn you a commission when someone clicks through and purchases from those links.
The hardest part of making money with affiliates is finding great partners and products that relate to what you write about.
You can start researching what partnerships are available by searching for travel affiliate programs. Look for affiliates that have multiple products and higher payouts. Amazon is great because they have a TON of products, but they also have super duper low payouts (and have decreased payouts multiple times since 2020).
Creating sponsored content for travel brands is another great option for bloggers who want to monetize.
Sponsored content means that someone is paying you to put their content on your blog. Or, they might be paying you to write content about them to put on your blog.
This typically involves producing an original blog post (such as reviews, stories, or vlogs) about specific products or destinations that are sponsored by the brand and/or posted on their website.
Many bloggers also charge for guest posts or interviews with other bloggers. You can also reach out to other bloggers to cross promote for free, but sponsored content is a great option for monetization.
And lastly, selling eBooks, online courses or other digital products related to travel blogging is a great way to monetize.
Not only do these products provide value, but they can create a great income stream without having to rely solely on advertising revenue.
A lot of people ask what they could create a product for with a travel site. One example is an ebook on travel blogging tips for certain popular vacations. You can also create printable packing guides, budget planners, or calendars.
I have one client who created a course on how to travel for free using credit card points!
Ultimately, there are lot of ways to make money with a blog.
What works best depends heavily on your niche, your audience, and what you are personally interested in. Eventually your goal is to have a few different income streams, but I would start with two that you want to go ALL IN on.
Doing market research ahead of time can help ensure that you don’t waste time chasing after opportunities that won’t generate any returns. With some perseverance and dedication though, you should be able to start making money from your site in no time!
Name your travel blog
Choose a name that is catchy, memorable, and relevant to your niche. The easiest way to do this is to FIRST search for available domain names. You can do this for free on GoDaddy.
Here are some other tips for naming your travel blog:
- Reflect your niche: Consider your niche and the type of travel content you will be creating. Choose a name that reflects your niche, whether it’s adventure travel, luxury travel, solo travel, or something else.
- Make it memorable: Choose a name that is easy to remember and spell, and that stands out from other travel blogs. Avoid generic names that are hard to distinguish from others.
- Keep it short and simple: A short and simple name is more memorable and easier to type in the search bar. A long and complex name can be easily forgotten, and harder to type.
- Be creative and unique: Think outside the box and be creative with your name. Consider using puns, alliteration, or incorporating the name of your favorite destination into your blog name.
- Check for domain availability: Before finalizing your name, make sure to check if the domain name is available. You want to make sure you can secure the domain name for your blog.
Blogging About Travel: Create a content plan
Plan your content in advance, so you always have something to post. You can write about your personal travel experiences, destination guides, travel tips, or any other travel-related topic that interests you.
Next, you should start planning out what kind of content you’re going to be posting on your blog.
It’s important to create content that readers will find interesting and engaging. Think about the type of posts that are already popular in the travel community as well as topics related to places you’ve traveled or plan on traveling in the future. Writing about unique experiences or offering tips for budget-friendly trips can also be great ways to captivate readers.
You may also want to include links to other sources such as local websites or travel agencies so readers can easily find additional information about their destination.
Not every blog needs to have a lot of visuals, but travel blogging is an exception. People want to SEE your experiences, not just read about them. Amazing photos and videos are essential for travel blogs as they attract readers and give them a glimpse of your experiences.
You could consider investing in a good camera, but your cell phone is probably good enough. If you’re not confident about taking great photos, you can find great free resources for this on YouTube.
First Blog Post
The first blog posts on a travel blog should introduce yourself and your blog’s purpose to your readers. Here are some ideas for your first few blog posts:
- Introduction post: Write an introduction post that tells your readers who you are, what your blog is about, and why you are passionate about travel.
- Travel experiences: Share some of your past travel experiences, such as a memorable trip or a funny travel story. This helps your readers get to know you and your travel style.
- Destination guides: Write a destination guide for a place you have visited, including tips for where to stay, what to see and do, and where to eat.
- Packing lists: Create a packing list for a particular type of trip, such as a beach vacation or a backpacking trip.
- Travel tips: Share some of your best travel tips, such as how to find cheap flights or how to stay healthy while traveling.
- Photo essays: Create a photo essay of a recent trip you took, showcasing some of your favorite photos and the stories behind them.
Remember, the first few blog posts on your travel blog are important for setting the tone and building your audience. Create content that feels exciting and fun for you to share.
Search Engine Optimization
I wouldn’t obsess over becoming an SEO expert at this stage, BUT, I would learn the basics of keyword research so you don’t have to come back later and update all your posts.
Make sure you include keywords in titles and page descriptions that people might search. You want to find words that have at least 500 monthly searches, and have low to medium competition. Competition refers to how hard it would be to rank for any particular keyword.
What words would readers use when looking for information on places they want to visit? Start there, and then use the Google keyword planner (free) or Ubersuggest (cheap) to find the competition and number of monthly searches.
Successful Travel Blogger – Start Marketing
The most sustainable traffic you can get will be from search traffic (like Google). However, search engine optimization takes months or years. If you want to become a successful travel blogger faster, you can try other types of marketing.
Social Media Marketing & Social Media Platforms
Social media is a great way to get more visibility for a new blog before you have a successful travel blog. For blogs, platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are all popular.
You don’t have to go crazy with branding in the beginning, but I would try to be Use consistent across all your social platforms.
This makes it easier for people to recognize your brand. Some examples on how to do this are using the same profile picture, cover photo, and bio on all your accounts. Travel is a visual experience, so use high-quality photos and videos to tell a story and showcase your travel experiences.
Using Pinterest for Your Successful Travel Blog
Another social platform you can use to promote your travel blogging is Pinterest. I’m putting it in it’s own category because like Google, Pinterest is actually a search engine.
It takes a little more effort than other social media platforms, but the short term traffic potential is also MUCH higher. IF you have to choose only one social media platform, I would probably do Pinterest.
Here is a post to help you get started on Pinterest.
Tourism boards, also known as destination marketing organizations (DMOs), are government or privately funded organizations. They are responsible for promoting tourism in a specific destination. Their primary role is to market and promote the destination to potential visitors and to provide information and resources to tourists.
These boards work closely with local businesses, travel agencies, and other stakeholders in the tourism industry to develop and implement marketing strategies that showcase the destination’s unique attractions, culture, and experiences.
They may also offer visitor services such as information centers, visitor guides, and online resources to help tourists plan their trip.
Word of mouth marketing
Word of mouth can be a powerful way to promote your travel blog when you’re new. What is word of mouth marketing? Here are some travel blogging tips for leveraging word of mouth:
Provide amazing content
The best way to encourage word of mouth marketing is to create amazing content that people want to share. The best way to do this is to write about things you’re obsessed with and excited to share.
Engaging blog posts, beautiful photos and videos, and valuable information all help people want to share.
Encourage social sharing
Be explicit and ask readers for what you want! And make it easy for them to share your content.
You can do this by using a free social sharing plugin on WordPress. Include social sharing buttons on your blog posts, and always encourage readers to share your content.
Collaborate with other travel bloggers
Collaborate with other travel bloggers and social media influencers in your niche to cross-promote each other’s content.
I would try to find amazing travel bloggers who are newer (like you) so they’ll be more likely to want to collab with you.
Encourage user-generated content
Encourage your readers to share their travel stories and photos on social media using a branded hashtag. This not only helps to spread the word about your blog but also creates a community around your brand.
Offer incentives for readers who share your content or refer new readers to your blog. This could include giveaways, exclusive content, or discounts on travel-related products or services.
Travel Blogging Community
In addition to collaborating with newer bloggers like yourself to cross promote, there’s lots of other ways you can leverage the travel blogging community. Consider guest posting on other blogs, participating in travel-related Twitter chats, or partnering with brands for sponsored content.