Curious about the financial side of travel blogging? Wondering if it’s possible to turn your passion for travel into a lucrative career?
In this blog post, we dive into the numbers and explore just how much I earned during my first five years of travel blogging. Spoiler alert: it’s not all palm trees and Mai Tais, but the journey might surprise you. So, grab your virtual passport and join me as we uncover the ups and downs, the triumphs and challenges, of monetizing a travel blog.
Let’s get started!
Year 1: Earning My First Dollar, Building an Audience, Monetizing Opportunities
Earning My First Dollar
(Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah)
When I started Practical Wanderlust in June 2016, little did I know that it would become a source of income. In those early days, I was focused on creating a travel diary for our year-long honeymoon adventure. It was a way to share our experiences with friends and family, and perhaps connect with fellow travelers. I didn’t expect to earn any money from it.
But then, by the end of 2016, after just six months of blogging, guess what? I had earned my very first dollar online! It may sound insignificant to some, but trust me, the feeling was ecstatic. I made a grand total of $65.07, along with a complimentary $80 tour in exchange for a blog post. That small sum of money showed me the potential lurking within my little travel blog.
Building an Audience
Woman sitting at table and searching images on laptop (Photo by Teona Swift)
With my first dollar in hand, I started to see the possibilities. What if I could actually turn Practical Wanderlust into a money-making venture? The dream was to earn $1,000 per month. I couldn’t help but imagine how that would help support our annual travel budget.
In 2017, my first full year of travel blogging, I saw tremendous growth. I made over $22,000, nearly double the goal I had set for myself. Surprisingly, it wasn’t just about the money. Along the way, I had connected with a growing audience of fellow travel enthusiasts who enjoyed reading about my adventures and tips. The sense of community and the joy of sharing experiences became an unexpected reward.
From above closeup of plastic calculator with number symbols on buttons near roll of American paper money tied with rubber band (Photo by Karolina Grabowska)
As Practical Wanderlust continued to gain traction, I explored different ways to monetize the blog. Here are some of the opportunities I discovered:
I started generating income through ads on my blog. By strategically placing advertisements, I was able to earn money every time a visitor clicked on an ad or viewed it. In 2017, ad revenue played a significant role in my overall income, and I’m constantly exploring ways to grow this revenue stream.
I tapped into the world of affiliate marketing, where I promote products, services, or experiences and earn a commission when someone makes a purchase through my affiliate links. This allowed me to partner with brands I believe in, recommend products I genuinely love, and earn a commission for every successful referral.
Paid Press/Fam Trips
As my blog gained credibility and visibility, I started receiving invitations to press trips and fam tours. These opportunities allowed me to experience destinations, accommodations, and activities firsthand in exchange for coverage on my blog. While I enjoyed these experiences, I made a conscious decision to decrease the number of paid press trips in the coming years to maintain the authenticity of my content.
I also ventured into sponsored posts, where brands pay me to create content that promotes their products or services. These collaborations allowed me to share valuable information with my audience while also generating income.
Social Media Consulting & Courses
With my growing expertise in the world of travel blogging, I began offering social media consulting services and creating online courses. This additional revenue stream not only helped me diversify my income but also allowed me to share my knowledge and help aspiring travel bloggers.
In Year 1 of my travel blogging journey, I experienced the joy of earning my first dollar, building a loyal audience, and exploring various monetizing opportunities. Little did I know back then that these humble beginnings would pave the way for a successful career as a full-time travel blogger. Stay tuned as I share more about my journey in the years to come.
Be sure to check out the next section of this article where I dive into Year 2 and the exciting milestones and challenges I encountered along the way. Stay inspired and follow me on this incredible journey of five years of travel blogging!
Year 2: Increasing My Earnings
In my second year of travel blogging, I was determined to push the boundaries and increase my earnings even further. I knew that by diversifying my income streams and seeking collaborations and sponsored content opportunities, I could continue to grow my blog’s revenue. Let’s dive into how I achieved this.
Collaborations and Sponsored Content
One of the key strategies I implemented in my second year was to actively seek collaborations and sponsored content opportunities. These partnerships allowed me to work with brands and tourism boards, creating engaging and informative content while also earning an income.
Through collaborations, I was able to tap into a wider audience and showcase destinations, products, and services that aligned with my blog’s niche and values. Whether it was reviewing a luxury hotel, trying out an adventure tour, or promoting sustainable travel products, these collaborations not only provided financial compensation but also added value to my content.
Diversifying Income Streams
To further boost my earnings, I focused on diversifying my income streams. Relying solely on ad revenue was not a sustainable approach, so I explored other avenues to monetize my blog.
Affiliate marketing became a valuable source of income for me. By strategically recommending products, services, and accommodations through affiliate links, I earned a commission for every purchase made through those links. This allowed me to earn passive income while providing helpful recommendations to my audience.
Additionally, I ventured into social media consulting and courses. Drawing on my experience in building and growing my own blog, I began offering personalized consultations and creating online courses to help aspiring travel bloggers and influencers. This not only generated additional income but also allowed me to share my knowledge and expertise with others in the community.
Image: Collaboration with a Tourism Board
Drone view of amazing illuminated streets with buildings surrounded by mountains against bright pink sundown (Photo by Osvaldo Castillo)
Wonderful scenery of illuminated with lights city build on highlands against mountain range and light pink cloudy evening sky (Photo by Tiana)
In summary, by actively seeking collaborations and sponsored content opportunities, and diversifying my income streams through affiliate marketing and consulting, I was able to significantly increase my earnings during my second year of travel blogging. These strategies not only boosted my revenue but also enriched the content I provided to my audience, allowing me to continue pursuing my passion for travel while making a living from it.
Stay tuned for the next section, where I’ll share my experiences and strategies for Year 3 of travel blogging as I continued on my journey of monetizing my blog.
Year 3: Taking My Travel Blog to the Next Level
In my third year of travel blogging, I was determined to take my online presence to new heights. I focused on monetizing my blog through various channels, including launching e-books and online courses, achieving affiliate marketing successes, and boosting ad revenue. This section will dive into the exciting developments that occurred during this transformative year.
Launching E-Books and Online Courses
One of the key strategies I implemented in my third year was creating and launching e-books and online courses. These digital products allowed me to share my expertise and provide valuable content to my readers while generating passive income. I carefully crafted comprehensive travel guides and engaging courses that covered a range of topics, from destination-specific itineraries to travel photography tips.
By leveraging my unique experiences and knowledge, I was able to captivate my audience and establish myself as a trusted authority in the travel niche. The success of my e-books and online courses not only boosted my income but also solidified my brand as a go-to resource for fellow travelers seeking practical and insightful advice.
Affiliate Marketing Successes
Another major milestone in my third year was achieving remarkable success in affiliate marketing. I strategically partnered with travel-related companies, hotels, and online booking platforms to earn commission by promoting their products or services on my blog. As a trusted influencer in the travel community, my recommendations were well-received and resulted in numerous conversions.
Whether it was showcasing the best travel gear, recommending accommodations, or highlighting exclusive deals, my audience appreciated the value I provided and readily clicked on my affiliate links. This generated a steady stream of income, allowing me to continue exploring new destinations and sharing my adventures with the world.
Boosting Ad Revenue
In addition to e-books, online courses, and affiliate marketing, I dedicated considerable effort to boost my ad revenue during my third year of travel blogging. I strategically placed display ads throughout my blog, optimizing their positioning for maximum visibility and engagement. This allowed me to monetize my website traffic even further.
Through a combination of targeted ad campaigns and optimizing my blog’s SEO, I was able to attract more advertisers and secure higher-paying partnerships. This resulted in a significant increase in ad revenue, providing me with the financial freedom to invest more in my travels and create even better content for my readers.
While the third year of my travel blogging journey was filled with exciting milestones such as launching e-books and online courses, achieving affiliate marketing successes, and boosting ad revenue, my journey was far from over. Stay tuned for the next section, where I reveal the adventures and accomplishments of my fourth year on the road.
Side view of crop concentrated female photographer looking at screen of photo camera while sitting at table with netbook and graphic tablet (Photo by George Milton)
Year 4: Securing Brand Partnerships, Speaking Engagements and Events, Branding and Merchandise
In my fourth year of travel blogging, I experienced significant growth in several key areas. One of the most exciting developments was securing brand partnerships. Collaborating with brands allowed me to not only monetize my blog but also to share valuable products and services with my audience.
Securing Brand Partnerships
Through careful networking and relationship-building, I was able to secure partnerships with a variety of travel-related brands. These collaborations ranged from sponsored blog posts and social media campaigns to product reviews and giveaways. Working with brands not only provided me with financial compensation but also gave me the opportunity to try out new products and share my honest opinions with my readers.
Speaking Engagements and Events
As my online presence grew, I started receiving invitations to speak at travel conferences and events. This was an excellent opportunity for me to share my knowledge and experiences with a wider audience. Speaking engagements helped me establish myself as an authority in the travel blogging industry and gave me valuable exposure to potential readers and collaborators. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to engage with fellow travel enthusiasts in person and answer their questions.
Branding and Merchandise
To further expand my brand, I ventured into merchandise creation. I designed and produced branded products that resonated with my audience. These included travel-themed apparel, accessories, and even digital products like travel guides and e-books. Creating merchandise not only provided an additional stream of income but also helped me strengthen my brand identity and connect with my readers on a deeper level.
Unrecognizable woman demonstrating clothes in store (Photo by Liza Summer)
Overall, year four of my travel blogging journey was marked by fruitful collaborations with brands, exciting speaking engagements, and the successful launch of branded merchandise. These milestones not only brought financial rewards but also allowed me to establish myself as a trusted authority in the travel industry and foster deeper connections with my audience. Stay tuned for more updates on my journey in the coming years!
The Power of Passive Income
Young woman in casual clothes helping senior man in formal shirt with paying credit card in Internet using laptop while sitting at table (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)
Passive income is like having a money-making machine that works for you while you sleep. In my fifth year of travel blogging, I experienced the true power of passive income streams. By investing time and effort upfront, I was able to generate a steady income without constantly trading my time for money. This allowed me to focus more on creating valuable content and engaging with my audience.
One of the main sources of passive income for travel bloggers is through display ads on their websites. These ads are placed strategically within the content and generate revenue based on the number of impressions or clicks they receive. Over the course of the year, my ad income continued to grow as my website gained more traffic and popularity. It was a satisfying feeling to see money coming in even when I wasn’t actively promoting or working on my blog.
Travel Sponsorships and Freebies
Focus woman packing suitcase on bed (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto)
Another exciting aspect of my fifth year as a travel blogger was the increased opportunities for travel sponsorships and freebies. As my blog gained recognition and a larger audience, travel brands reached out to collaborate with me. I received invitations to stay at luxurious hotels, participate in thrilling activities, and even explore exotic destinations — all in exchange for coverage on my blog and social media channels.
These sponsorships not only provided incredible experiences but also helped me save on travel expenses. By collaborating with brands, I was able to explore new destinations and share my adventures with my readers without breaking the bank. It was a win-win situation that allowed me to create valuable content while also enjoying unique travel experiences.
Reflecting on My Journey
Woman Wearing Yellow Hoodie (Photo by sobhan joodi)
As I reached the milestone of five years of travel blogging, I took some time to reflect on my journey so far. It was a moment of gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities and growth I had experienced. From earning my first few dollars in the early days to exceeding my income goals, I realized the power of persistence, dedication, and adaptability.
Travel blogging had not only opened doors to incredible adventures but also provided me with a platform to connect with like-minded individuals from around the world. The ability to inspire and share my knowledge with others was immensely fulfilling. It reminded me why I started this journey in the first place and reinforced my passion for travel and storytelling.
As I looked back on my achievements, I also set new goals for the future. I aimed to diversify my income streams, explore new destinations, and continue honing my writing and photography skills. With each passing year, I knew that there were more exciting adventures and opportunities waiting for me in the world of travel blogging.
Stay tuned for the upcoming sections of my “5 Years of Travel Blogging” series, where I’ll share more insights and stories from my journey as a travel blogger.
In this blog post, we delved into my journey as a travel blogger over the past five years and explored how much I have earned until 2024. Starting out with humble beginnings, earning just $65.07 in my first six months, I never could have imagined the growth and success that awaited me.
Surpassing my initial goal of earning $1,000 per month in 2017, I made over $22,000, almost double what I had set out to achieve. This unexpected success led me to make the life-changing decision of pursuing travel blogging as my full-time job.
Throughout the years, I have diversified my income streams, including ad revenue, affiliate income, paid press trips, sponsored posts, and social media consulting. This diversified approach has not only helped me increase my earnings but also provided me with exciting opportunities to collaborate with brands and share valuable content with my readers.
As I reflect on my journey, I am filled with gratitude for the support of my readers, the opportunities that have come my way, and the personal growth I have experienced. While it is essential to set goals and work towards them, it is equally important to adapt and evolve along the way.
Looking ahead, I am excited to continue growing my blog and expanding my income streams. Through strategic planning and continued dedication, I aim to further increase my earnings and provide even more valuable content to my readers.
Thank you for joining me on this incredible journey, and I look forward to sharing more adventures and insights with you in the years to come.