How to Start a Travel Blog: With Help from Successful Travel Bloggers
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Ready to start a travel blog?
Maybe you have planned a backpacking trip and want to share your travel experiences or you travel frequently for work and are looking for a side hustle. Even with so many travel bloggers already making a full time living with their blog, there are plenty of locations, airlines, hotels, and tourist attractions to blog about.
With plenty of market share and the ability to start a travel blog online for free, travel blogging can actually turn into a very profitable business.
- Advice from Successful Travel Bloggers
- Is now a good time to start a travel blog?
- Best Travel Blog Niches
- Examples of Travel Blogs
- Ideas to write about for your travel blog
- Choosing a Travel Blog Name
- Travel Blog Logo Ideas
- Creating the Travel Blog
- Best Hosting for Travel Blogging = Bluehost
- WordPress Themes for Travel Blogging
- How to Monetize a Travel Blog
- Affiliate Marketing
- Monetize Your Travel Blog With Advertising
Advice from Successful Travel Bloggers
So, we asked a few travel bloggers for their best advice for starting a travel blog.
Will Hatton the CEO of The Broke Backpacker tells Niche Pursuits that starting a successful travel blog is all about building relationships. He takes pride in knowing that he can help his audience with his traveling expertise.
“Even if it's through a blog post on how to pack efficiently, I know that even though a reader may not be a customer of mine, we can build a relationship through social media, blog comments, and other online channels. It's the best way to get your name out there, and develop your own blog, for free.”
Building relationships may mean you have to get creative. Getting creative with content is what turned Phillip Weiss's blog into a success.
Phillip's successful travel blog PhillipWeiss.org has been featured in the LA Times, The Guardian, and Washington Post.
Phillip started his travel blog a few years ago with no technical knowledge about running the entire blog.
In the beginning, my articles were only focused on the storytelling and I completely neglected other elements such as the length and structure of the article, basic SEO principles, and a regular posting schedule. When this approach didn't give results, I decided to learn how to write in a way that combines my creativity and technical requirements. This is perhaps the most important takeaway I have from the process – blogging is really fun, but there are some standards that need to be met.
Jennifer Willy, the editor at Etias.com, a travel community with the latest information on Etias and other travel-related education, responded to our questions that were similar to Phillip's. Creating structure also means you have to post regularly. You have to emphasize and prioritize writing without generalizing your writings.
You have to plan the whole blog strategy to boost your brand power and awareness. So, you have to emphasize and prioritize writing and posting regularly on blogs. Try not to generalize your writings. It is your responsibility to make it not only personable but also relevant to the audience.
Jennifer also recommends being mindful of metrics.
“Select measurement metrics that will help you in achieving your aims and goals. Tracking success can include metrics such as engagement ratio, conversation, and sales numbers, etc.”
Think you are ready to start your very own travel blog? Read on to find out why now is a great time to start, the best niches to pursue, and the tools to make your blog a success.
Is now a good time to start a travel blog?
Well, it's not all sunny beaches and exotic hotels. Creating a travel blog is not an easy task, but it is well worth it if you love travel writing.
Once you get up and running, companies are willing to pay top dollar for engaging travel insights, and travel blogs provide just that.
Search History for Travel Keywords
The travel industry is an evergreen niche. Which means it optimized content for search that remains relevant for long periods.
Because it remains fresh and relevant for long periods, the return on investment for evergreen content is much greater than a niche website that turns over frequently.
Best Travel Blog Niches
Not all travel blogs are created equal. Choosing the right topic for your blog is crucial for success.
The best way how to start a travel blog is to choose a niche that interests you the most about travel and focus on that topic.
You want your writing to be fresh, engaging, and very entertaining so that people will keep coming back for more.
You'll also want to write content the search engines love.
Starting out, you'll want to choose a sub-niche. For example, the keywords for “Travel” will be near impossible to rank on Google and other search engines. But terms like “California Travel” will be much more manageable.
You can use tools like Ahrefs (or an adequate alternative to Ahrefs) to see what people are searching for on Google. Using their keyword finder option, you can type in your ideas and find the best performing content and strategies to get your blog post noticed.
Examples of Travel Blogs
Starting a travel blog can be quite daunting, especially for first-time bloggers. But with so many free resources available. Starting a travel blog is now easier than ever before.
Many bloggers freely share their experience and knowledge on how to get started. When learning how to start a travel blog use other successful travel bloggers as inspiration.
Here are a few of our favorite:
NomadicMatt is a blog written by Matt Kepnes (AKA Nomadic Matt) a travel blogger focusing on travel, specifically affordable travel. Nomadic Matt began his journey to living a location independent lifestyle in 2008. Since then, he has visited over 100 countries, lived in over 20, and traveled to every continent. The blog's motto is “Travel Like You Don't Need Money” and focuses on ways to travel long-term while spending as little money as possible along your journey.
NomadicMatt even has a course that can show you how to start a travel blog.Check out Nomadic Matt's Course
The Blonde Abroad
The Blonde Abroad is an extremely popular travel blog with a mission to inspire people to get out and explore the world. The site was created by Kierstin Rich and features travel destinations, tips and tricks for safely backpacking worldwide, budget travel, and other travel-related articles.
She is a self-proclaimed travel addict, and Kierstin's had the adventure bug since she was a young child. The Blonde Abroad website and blog document her trips worldwide.
From backpacking in Southeast Asia to leading tours around Europe, Kierstin has lived out of suitcases for most of her life. Her travels have left her with more stories that are inspiring!
And with a photojournalistic and informative writing style which helps make the blog fresh and unique.
Never Ending Footsteps
Never Ending Footsteps is the experimental travel blog of Lauren Juliff, who takes her quest to visit more remarkable places and speak with more fascinating people literally.
The site Never Ending Footsteps is a travel companion sharing her journey to help inspire you when you're planning for your next adventure.
She collects stories and images in real-time and creates beautiful travel narratives. It is designed as a journal, and will encourage you to write and be creative yourself!
Ideas to write about for your travel blog
Here are a few travel ideas you could write about or include in your social media:
- Incentivize acceptable travel practices, such as leaving no-trace or providing valued information to travelers.
- Top 5 destinations: blog about the top 5 places you need to go to
- Winning Getaways: A blog about traveling and how to win trips.
- Where Should I Pack Light? Your Ultimate Guide: a blog about weight limitations on flights and how to pack lightly.
- 5 Tips to Find a Good Place to Stay When Visiting a New City: A blog about the different ways you can find a place to stay when you want to travel somewhere.
- Bucket List Destinations For a Fairytale Honeymoon: blog around traveling the world on your honeymoon.
Choosing a Travel Blog Name
Whether you're writing a travel blog or starting any blog, for that matter, it's essential to choose a domain name that is memorable. Having the right blog name can get your blog off to a good start by producing more visits, which turns into more traffic, which leads to higher conversions.
I've come up with a list of domain names that are catchy, short, and easy to remember.
Domains come and go quickly, so use Namecheap to see if the domain name is available. Use these ideas as examples, but choose a blog name you love and makes sense for you.
Travel Blog Logo Ideas
Having an effective, professional logo that can be used in print and on the web will help grow your business and drive traffic to your site.
Your travel blog deserves a killer logo design! You'll want to create one that reflects your vision.
The best travel blogs have a logo design that is clean, modern, and speaks to the people who would want to read about your travel niche.
If your travel topic targets young professionals (20s-30s) and college students. The typography and imagery will likely be much different than if you are targeting retired travelers.
Design your Travel Blog Logo for $5
To create a logo that is set apart from the others, use Fiverr to hire a professional who will create it for you. Fiverr has made it very affordable to get top quality designers and other web design tasks done for you at great prices.
Fiverr is filled with great designers, but also you have to remember you get what you pay for. If you spend a little time sifting through the hundreds of designers, you are sure to find one that fits your needs.
You can typically tell the quality of their work by portfolio and reviews. When hiring a logo design from Fiverr you will want to look for someone that has plenty of great examples in their account, provide revisions, and have great reviews.Get Your Logo on Fiverr
Creating the Travel Blog
To take your idea from domain name to actual website, you need to have a hosting plan.
A website “host” is just a computer/server space that you can rent every month from an online company. There are many great hosts out there like Iridium Hosting which specializes in WordPress
You need to install WordPress and have your website computer files stored on a server that makes it easy for others to access online. And honestly, that's about all you need to know to get started as a travel blogger.
Bottom line, you need to set up a hosting plan to have your WordPress blog up and running.
Luckily, this is SUPER easy to do and only costs a few dollars a month when you use Bluehost.
Best Hosting for Travel Blogging = Bluehost
If you're new to blogging, I recommend that you go with Bluehost and use our link as you'll also get a free domain for the first year.
First of all, their hosting package options are cheap. For just a few dollars a month, you can be up and running with a fully functional and professional website.
Second, they are reliable. Bluehost has been around for years, and they host millions of websites. Your blog post will not disappear overnight because the company goes away.
You can even host multiple domains on one hosting account! So, let's say you start AwesomeVacationWebsite.com, but then decide you also want to create a second website called CrazyVacationWebsite.com. Well, with Bluehost, you don't have to buy a second hosting account. For the same monthly price, you can host dozens of websites.
There are plenty of free options to start travel blogging, but you have far less control, and as it's not all that expensive, it's well worth it to use WordPress on a hosting provider like Bluehost.
To truly succeed in travel blogging, you need to start and maintain your own website. It takes some time to get everything set up, and there are many things to learn (I've got the bruises to prove it). You can read my full post here on setting up Bluehost hosting.Get Started with Bluehost Here
If you are looking for a technical setup, use my in-depth guide here. Once you've completed the Bluehost setup you'll want to use the themes and tools below to customize your WordPress site to look and feel like a travel blog.
WordPress Themes for Travel Blogging
A WordPress theme is essentially the skin of your WordPress website. It's what gives it its look, feel, and style. Most themes today will be a fully responsive design that can scale the layout to fit any device from smartphone to TV screen.
The best themes will make your job as a professional blogger much easier. It will have lots of built-in features such as sliders, custom image galleries, page templates, and much more. Each theme is slightly different, and will come with it's own documentation in the form of user manuals or video.
SetSail – Travel Agency Theme:
SetSail is a traveler-friendly premium theme designed for any travel agency to showcase and sell tours and destinations. This theme comes with a powerful online booking engine that allows users to book tours online, easily add optional services to their tours, select between different beds per room, and pay through secure payment gateways.
SetSail comes with an extensive collection of gorgeous predesigned pages that you can modify to fit your travel business needs.
The premium theme comes with a collection of predefined homepages that give you many options to design your website. It also comes with a booking system so your visitors can book tours and attractions online.View SetSail Theme on ThemeForest
Divi Travel Template:
Divi WordPress Travel layout is one of the most popular travel WordPress themes. It's made by Elegant Themes, which is known for its top-quality Divi WordPress theme.
This fantastic travel WordPress theme will help you improve your business even if you're a beginner blogger. You don't have to be an expert to learn this travel WordPress theme as Divi is all drag and drop template builder.
Divi isn't free, but it's a great tool that many use.Divi Theme
Elementor Travel Template:
Elementor is a drag and drop page builder plugin. It lets anyone create beautiful websites without touching a line of code. To get the most out of your travel website, you could use this Elementor WordPress theme with Travel-specific plugins and SEO practices that are tailor-made for travel businesses.
The Elementor Travel template is a clean and elegant single-page WordPress template that works with the drag & drop page builder.
This free theme template is a complete Elementor child theme and is the perfect starting point for a travel website. It includes all the features and functionalities essential for this industry, not to mention it looks nice.
You can use it as a powerful marketing tool by promoting your services or selling airfares, hotel bookings, and all types of e-commerce products. Most of all, its simplicity allows you to make changes according to your needs – with no limitations.Elementor Theme
WordPress Travel Plugins
A WordPress plugin is an additional feature or module added on to a WordPress website. At first glance, they provide similar services to the theme. A WordPress theme is the design of a website, while the plugin will add more functionality.
Using plugins to display travel trends or airfare information can be a great way to help people travel. Yes, it takes more work than just uploading photos to a site, but the more value you provide to your reader, the easier it will be to monetize your travel blog.
There are plenty of WordPress travel plug-ins to take advantage of to keep your travel blog up-to-date or engage with the rest of your social media sites with minimal input from you.
Some plugins will automatically post your new travel blog posts onto other sites, while others can be used to schedule and organize future blog content.
WordPress Travel Booking Plugin – WP Travel Engine
WP Travel Engine is a free travel booking WordPress plugin to create travel and tour packages for tour operators and travel agencies. It is a complete travel management system and includes plenty of useful features.
You can create your travel booking website using WP Travel Engine in less than 5 minutes. Booking from the front-end allows customers to submit new bookings directly to your database. Bookings are created and stored in your WordPress database (also known as the MySql database).
The plugin has a simple interface and an ad banner system, making it easy to setup. You can turn your blog into a useful resource site for your tour operators by providing them with travel booking capability in a simple way.
You can even sell packages from different suppliers with different rules depending on the type of package selected. This feature will help you create the most flexible travel website and attract more customers. Eventually, as your traffic to your blog increases, it will increase your sales and income.
TravelMap is a straightforward plugin that allows you to create, trace, and manage your travel itinerary right from your WordPress admin. The plugin is 100% free to use without having to create an account. Just install the plugin and start building your travel itinerary. It's free.
The plugin uses OpenStreetMaps (OSM) data and has free access. A great feature to help your site get noticed by the Google search engine.
Anyone can use it, from individuals to business travelers who want to maintain a list of their trips and provide details about them. The detailed map of your travel itinerary can be used by yourself to know exactly where you are at any point during your trip.
WordPress Photo Gallery – Image Gallery
The WordPress Photo Gallery plugin comes with all the necessary features you need to demonstrate your images and videos powerfully. Your travel blog visitor can like and dislike the content you have on your gallery. Hence, this can be a great way to demonstrate to your audience your best works of art and projects that you have ever completed.
Photo Gallery is an easy to use WordPress plugin that allows you to create beautiful photo and video galleries for your travel blog. Whether you're a seasoned blogger or just starting, it makes it easy to display your content in an organized and attractive way. It features touch navigation, slide shows, video embedding, and custom font styling.
Create beautiful photo galleries using your uploaded photos and videos from any travel niche (e.g., hotel, vacation rentals, hiking, backpacking, camping, sailing, etc.).
How to Monetize a Travel Blog
Many people find themselves with a passion for travel. Unfortunately, not everyone gets to travel for a full-time with a successful travel blog, sometimes the world isn't kind and you have to do 9-5 type jobs. Luckily, if you truly put in the effort there are many opportunities to make full-time income from your own travel blog.
Starting a travel blog is a journey in itself. You'll have moments of doubt. Can you really make a living from a travel blog? Will people believe you when you say that you do? How can people actually make money from their blogs?
You can, plenty of people are making money from their travel blogs! Here are some of the best ways:
Affiliate marketing is the process through which online sellers market their products and services via other peoples' sites instead of using the seller's site.
For travel blogging affiliate marketing can be a goldmine. You can review and refer to other travel products and services from companies like Amazon, Hotels.com, Expedia. Each time someone clicks your link and purchases, you will earn a percentage of commission.
When starting your travel blog, here are a few great affiliate programs to get you started:
Travelpayouts is a dedicated affiliate network for travel where you can browse and promote over 5,500 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries worldwide. With so many options you will always have content to promote throughout your Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, or other social media channels.
If anyone books a trip through your site using TravelPayouts hotel partners, they pay up to 20% commissions!
Amazon Associates is one of the largest affiliate networks in the world to monetize your blog. You can earn a commission on travel products you refer your readers to. For example, you could review a post on your favorite travel accessories such as luggage, clothing, or even TSA approved travel shampoos.
Getting setup with Amazon Associates is available for just about any beginner blogger, but commission rates are relatively low.
Tripadvisor is a site created in 2000. The founders of trip advisor developed this site based on the idea of helping people find travel information.
By referring users to Tripadvisor, you can earn at least 50% of the commission they receive from hotel booking partners when purchase using your trackable affiliate link.
Monetize Your Travel Blog With Advertising
Display ads are the most cost-effective way to monetize a website. Ads can be added throughout your site using our easy-to-use design tools. Within minutes you can be monetizing by showing visitors relevant advertising on every page of your website.
Advertisers are always looking for travel blogs to help promote their offerings on as many pages. The process is simple, and all you need is a little website space to show ads on. To get started you simply sign up to monetize your website with display ad networks there are a few out there. Getting started you'll likely need to opt for Ezoic or Google Adsense depending on how much traffic your site is generating.
Ezoic Ads for Travel Blog
Ezoic is a proven ad serving technology that allows advertisers to serve display, video and native ads directly on your travel blog.
Visitors get ads that are contextually relevant to your audience, and you'll earn more with your travel blogging as Ezoic ads are not as distracting to your users and provide more value.
Monetize Travel Blog with Sponsored Posts
As you create a successful travel blog you'll be able to sell advertising in the form of a sponsored post to advertisers directly. With Travel blogs, this often means free experiences. While not the preferred way to monetize your travel blogging as you need to earn money to pay your bills. However, getting comped a free cruise or upgraded airfare is always fun, and a nice perk of the job.
Depending on how large an audience or your particular niche, you can earn anywhere from $10-$10,000 per sponsor post. For Larger payouts, create a package that includes your social channels such as YouTube and Facebook. If you have an email list this can increase your sponsored post-earnings even more! The greater value you provide to your advertisers, the more you will earn!
Now Get Started Blogging!
If you have any questions about creating full time income blogging, feel free to post your questions on the Niche Pursuits private Facebook Group. The community is always helping other bloggers and it's a great place to bounce ideas off.
Another great resource when building your travel blog will be our email newsletter. Subscribe to the Niche Pursuits newsletter for more insights and inspiration for your blog.
Finally, If you are looking for step by step instructions on how to start a travel blog and get your Bluehost setup don't forget to check out our article on starting your blog here.
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