Think You Can Make Money from Travel Blogging?: Why It’s Not Easy

money travel blogging

When I tell people that I’m a travel writer, a lot of people tend to assume I make a lot of money. While I’m in a very stable place right now as a freelance writer (which was definitely not the case a few years ago), I’m tired of this lie being perpetuated that you can make a ton of money off blogging. A ton is a very large exaggeration for most bloggers, and it tends to take a long time for them to reach a point where they have a steady income.

For me, blogging has provided a lifestyle of free travel and the chance to connect with some truly incredible people. It’s also allowed me a voice for what I love to talk about—sustainable, ethical travel. I might get contacted for work from my blog page, but as of yet, I’ve made a total of $108.62 from having it. This has been over the course of two years.

So what about the travel bloggers who say they are making $10k, $50k, $100k a month from travel blogging? I don’t doubt that they are. But the truth is that they aren’t getting paid for their writing, they’re getting paid for their ability to market themselves. Some are better than others, and some understand the marketing game a lot more than others, as well (cough, me). Knowing how to market yourself as a brand has become an essential skill if you want to end up making it into a business over the long run.

How much does that sacrifice the quality of the writing? If you are just planning on making money from your blogging, then I don’t see a moral quandary. However, for me this blog is much more than a way for me to make extra cash (okay, $54 a year). It’s a way for me to connect with people who share my interest in making the world a better place.

I would love for the blog to make more money, and I think it will at some point. (I talked to one prominent blogger recently who said that she had just managed to make a salary from her site and it had been around ten years.) But for me, the most important part of blogging is knowing that people are reading what I have to say and that they find new ways to get more out of their travels. It’s also imperative to me that the writing is high-quality since I was trained as a writer, after all. I’ve definitely read some successful travel blogs where the writing seems to take a back seat to making some cash.

This post is not to discourage those who hope to make an income from travel blogging, nor am I really one to ask about it. But I do want other bloggers to know that there is value in what they are doing without receiving a paycheck at the end of the month. I know plenty of bloggers who have to do other things in order to make a living, and in some ways, I think it adds to our experiences. Blogging can be seen as a creative outlet rather than something that has to be regimented. It can be enjoyable rather than just another way to make money.

Travel blogging has taught me a lot, and it has increased my understanding that good things tend to take time. But no, making money from your blog is not easy. And I admire those who have achieved that goal and also those who aren’t interested in monetization. We need all of these voices!

What are your goals for your blog/business?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

Comments

  1. Zac

    An interesting piece for sure. I only wish I’d read this before I’d started as, like many, I thought the path would be laid out and straight forward. Alas, blogging is very difficult. And even more difficult to make real cash in. Happily you can find solace in the writing itself ✍️ what’s your biggest blogging challenge right now?

  2. Joy Generoso

    Well said, Alex. I blog because it is my passion. It also my way of documenting my travels, to be able to help other travelers like me and to inspire as well. But I never expect to earn from it because if I do, I’ll only get nothing but frustrations. Hahaha. I love what I do so I don’t mind spending time, money and effort to keep my blog running. The only reward I get is when my readers appreciate what I do. It would be nice to earn from it but I just don’t know how. 🙂

  3. Surply

    I’m a newbie to blogging, since I have embarked on this beautiful adventure less than a month ago. Even though only a bunch of people are following me, I am crazily loving it.

    When I decided to open my blog I simply wanted to put onto ‘web’ paper what surprised me during a travel, whether it was a place, a food I particularly enjoyed or the impression I had about a different culture.
    I loved to talk about my encounters around the world with friends and relatives, share fun stories or weird cultural habits, and the idea of reaching a wider audience through blog writing allured me. It indeed sounded like the perfect chance to let people know about uncommon places which I consider worth to visit, offer them a suggestion on typical food or possibly make them laugh of my misadventures.
    Some people may say it’s more like a travel diary and they objectively have a point, since I tend to be very personal and informal when I write my articles, but I feel it can’t be considered an actual flaw, as soon as I can be helpful to someone. In this regard, I tend to avoid impersonal travel blogs which flaunt to reveil on their posts the truths of traveling, such as ‘TOP 10 places to visit’, or ‘TOP 5 activities’. Their titles might be appealing, but their contents lack of expressing the beauty of discovering a new place.

    At this stage, I am happy with what I am building, brick by brick. I love the extreme joy I feel whenever inspiration takes over and my fingers tirelessly type on the keyboard. I also love the excitement caused by a single view or a like I receive: I simply enjoy the thought of someone reading and appreciating what I write.

  4. Restless Heart Blog

    So nice to read something like this! Sometimes you get the feeling that blogging is only about the money … doing something from your heart is still the best prize 🙂 although earning money from something you love doing also isn’t bad if you don’t sell yourself out 🙂

  5. mexploring

    It is curious how blogging became so fast considered “a money machine” and a business. When I was blogging about my life 10 years ago, no one would see this as possible career. Now when you say that you blog, the next question is often about what you sell. I don’t sell anything, and blog is not bringing me money. I would like if it could, but I don’t want to fight in the marketing department for that. If I have to fight and work hard for that, then I can just go on doing a regular job.
    All in all, I love the idea of E. Gilbert in “Big magic”, one of my favorites: “if you want to be creative, you have to support yourself and your muse, and not make your muse support you. Don’t hang the responsibility of finances on your art’s shoulders”. This is how I see it now. Selling would be nice – but creating comes first.

  6. Stuart Forster

    Well put. There are so many ‘digital nomads’ that convey a myth that it’s easy to start blogging and soon be earning a fortune. If only it was! To safe travels and good writing.

  7. Pingback: Travel Blogger News: January 2018

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