Do you wonder how much money travel bloggers make? Are you considering a career move into travel writing full-time or wondering if you can make some money through the travel blog you created as a hobby? Maybe you’re just curious how your favorite travel bloggers sustain their glamorous lifestyles. Is it possible to make a living by just writing about travel?
Multiple Ways to Earn Income as a Travel Blogger
Travel blogging is not a one-size-fits-all career, nor is the compensation. In this piece, we’ll look at three different forms of travel blogging and provide income ranges for each. These are not the only ways to earn money as a travel blogger, but they help illustrate how compensation varies based on factors like who you’re writing for (yourself or someone else) and prior writing experience.
Our goal is to show that, while not everyone can expect free trips around the world in exchange for a few Instagram posts, there are ways to monetize a passion for exploration and high-quality writing. If you’re inspired to write by the time you finish reading, let this post be a starting point for continued research.
Path #1 – Blogging for other companies
Today, most companies recognize the value of having a blog and have invested resources to build authority on specific topics through this channel. Travel companies often use their blogs to offer customers a more authentic and personal perspective on their products or services.
Writing for a travel company blog provides a high level of financial stability and regularity of work because it is the most traditional of the three pathways we’ll discuss. A travel blogger is a company employee and receives the same benefits and job security as a worker in any other department.
In exchange for stability, writers usually have less control over their subject matter and the overall creative process. The blog is a marketing tool for the company, not a platform for a writer to express their opinions.
According to Glassdoor, the salary range for a Travel Writer* in the United States is $51,000 – $86,000, with an average salary of $66,000. This figure varies slightly from city to city. Below, we provide the breakdown for the top 5 metropolitan areas in the United States.
|New York, NY||$56K – $94K/yr||$72K|
|Los Angeles, CA||$53K – $88K/yr||$68K|
|Chicago, IL||$52K – $85K/yr||$67K|
|Houston, TX||$45K – $78K/yr||$59K|
|Phoenix, AZ||$49K – $78K/yr||$61K|
*Someone who writes full-time for a company’s blog usually has the title “Writer” or “Copywriter.” To provide the most accurate comparisons in this post, we collected Glassdoor data on “Travel Writers” as a proxy for “Travel Bloggers.”
Path #2 – Freelance travel blogging
Freelance travel bloggers are hired as needed to complete writing assignments for travel companies or publications. These bloggers often work for multiple companies and can choose which projects they will work on. In most cases, they can use their own writing style and voice and receive credit for writing in their piece’s byline. Freelancers create and manage their own schedules, and their workflow is constrained only by the requirements of the brief and submission deadlines.
Like other freelance professions, travel bloggers must proactively seek paid writing opportunities. Self-promotion and relationship-building are as important to a freelancer’s success as the writing itself. Freelancers use portfolios to showcase their writing ability and prove to companies that their writing will be a worthwhile investment.
For freelancers, there is no standard frequency of writing assignments. Their workload depends on how aggressively they seek out jobs, how many companies they have in their work rotation, and the companies’ editorial needs.
Freelancer travel writers can charge by project, hour, or word. The amount they can charge depends on their reputation and the quality of their published writing. The more skilled and experienced the writer, the higher the rate they can command. Writers can also charge a higher rate for more labor-intensive writing that requires original research or investigation.
The top freelance travel writers on Upwork charge rates from $10.00 to over $125 an hour, though most writers fall into the $20 to $60 range. Glassdoor provides similar figures with rates from $21 to $40 an hour when searching “Freelance Blog Writers.”
Path #3 – Blogging for Yourself
This is what most people think of when they hear “travel blogger.” A travel blog gives a travel enthusiast the most creative control of the three options and the most variability in earning potential.
Maintaining a travel blog requires considerable work in addition to writing. Bloggers must be webmasters, designers, copywriters, copyeditors, and marketers for their blogs. Technical tasks, such as updating WordPress plugins or SEO optimization, are all part of the job.
Three popular ways that travel bloggers monetize their blogs are through affiliate marketing, selling ad space, and creating sponsored content. The amount a travel blogger can earn from each revenue stream depends on factors like blog traffic, audience buying power, and content quality. We’ll briefly define those digital marketing terms below:
Affiliate Marketing: With Affiliate Marketing, writers promote a product or service on their blog and earn a commission when purchases are made through their link. Many travel bloggers have successfully monetized their blogs in this way through Viator’s Affiliate Marketing Program.
Advertising: Blogs that receive a certain amount of monthly traffic can sell advertising space on their page through display ad networks such as Mediavine or Google AdSense. Think of this ad space like a newspaper or billboard advertisement. The RPM, or revenue per mille (revenue per thousand impressions), determines the amount a blogger receives per advertisement on their blog.
Sponsored Content: Depending on a blog’s popularity and reach, bloggers may be paid or receive free products or experiences in exchange for creating original content. The lucky few bloggers who receive all-expenses-paid trips in exchange for a write-up or mention on their blogs fall under this category.
Monthly Income Reports from Travel Blogs
Below, we’ve compiled a list of high-performing travel blogs and broken out monthly earnings by source: Affiliate Marketing, Advertising, Sponsored Content, and Other. This data represents one month of self-reported earnings for each blogger at different points in time.
|Blog Name||Example Monthly Income||Affiliate Marketing||Advertising||Sponsored Content||Other|
|My Global Viewpoint||$24,758||$7,282||$13,876||$3,000||$600 (image licensing)|
|Two Wandering Soles||$18,065||$12,332||$5,733||Free travel valued at $5,181 (not included in monthly income report)|
|Living the Dream||$10,927||$1,975||$6,390||$2,000||$562 (Facebook Performance Bonus|
|By Leah Claire||$9,053.20||$7,567.06||$404.14||$1,082 (digital product sales)|
A few notes about these examples:
We compiled these monthly income reports as examples of how the highest performing travel bloggers monetize their blogs. Recognizing that these results are exceptional, though possible to replicate, is important.
Each blogger describes their growth timeline and career journey on their own blogs. For more information about their experiences, we encourage you to read about their personal experiences in their own words.
Tips for Choosing Your Career Path as a Travel Blogger
By now you should understand that the answer to the question “How much do travel bloggers make?” is a resounding “IT DEPENDS!”
If you’re seriously considering entering the world of travel writing, ask yourself the following questions to help you decide which pathway to take:
Am I a good writer?
Answer this question honestly. Though you might be passionate about travel, travel writing may not be for you if you cannot translate your feelings into compelling copy.
While this eliminates travel blogging for a company and freelance travel writing as viable professional pathways, this shouldn’t stop you from creating a blog. If you’re a skilled photographer, use your blog to showcase your travel photography. You could even earn extra income by licensing your images for commercial use.
How much creative control do I want to have?
Do you have a specific vision for blogging? If so, you might feel creatively stifled by a company’s work processes and brand guidelines. As mentioned earlier, a company blog is a marketing tool for the company first and foremost. It is not the place for a writer’s creative experimentation or self-expression.
How much time can I realistically dedicate to travel blogging?
When sharing their success stories, the above bloggers all stress the importance of a strong work ethic, self-discipline, and patience. They all mention that they only started earning after months of hustling- tweaking their website design, writing regularly, and developing unique perspectives. If you aspire to their level of success, you must give yourself ample time to get there.
The more time you spend working on your blog, the more likely you are to earn the traffic needed to monetize your blog, even in small ways.
Conclusion / Summary
The goal of this post was not to encourage or dissuade anyone from pursuing a dream of travel blogging. Rather, it was to provide actual numbers to help you make informed decisions about which career path best suits your interests and skillset.
We believe that if you have a story to tell, you should tell it. Your story may stay a part-time hobby that eventually grows to provide some supplemental income through affiliate partnerships. Or, that story may become the next My Global Viewpoint, subsidizing your worldwide travel.
As we hope you’ve learned, there are types of travel writing to fit every work style and risk tolerance. If you enjoy the security of an office, explore full time roles as a travel writer. If you have writing experience, build up your portfolio and start pitching ideas for freelance travel projects. And if you’re starting from scratch, use your own blog to tell your story. Just get writing and see where the journey takes you.