There’s been a lot of buzz lately around whether or not it’s worth it to start a travel blog in 2023, and whether or not it’s still possible to turn a travel blog into a business. It’s a lot different from the chatter surrounding the job just a few years ago.
As travel bloggers for over a decade, Dariece and I would be somewhat considered kind of “OGs” in the space. We lived through a time in this career when the buzz around travel bloggers was being picked up by huge media chains like CNN Money, Forbes, Time, and Business Insider.
The average person couldn’t believe that these crazy digital nomads were traveling the world and earning hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars from their blogs, and the news was eating it up.
Fast forward to today and people are starting to question the likelihood of success with a travel blog… and for good reason! We have the birth of AI, ad restraints, constant Google Algorithm updates, and a pandemic that halted the growth of pretty much every travel blog online.
In this post, I’m going to share with you exactly how these travel bloggers are earning a living through their travel blogs and how many of them have turned their blogs into 7-figure-per-year businesses.
Note: I have done independent research to find these figures and linked to sources wherever possible, but in some cases, I have access to statistics and data from my blogging circles and private blogging groups which I can’t link to or source directly here, so you’ll just have to trust me.
1. In Content Ads
You see the ads on this page? You see the ads on the pages of every website you love to read? You may find these annoying, but they can pay very well and they allow blogs like this one to continue offering free content, because there’s money to be made from ad networks like Mediavine.
How it works is, that once your blog gets to a certain level of traffic, you can basically “flick a switch” and turn these ads on across your entire website.
There are travel blogs online currently that are earning over $1 million / year from these ads alone. They literally earn this money while they’re sleeping. They could go on a 1 year holiday, not open their laptop a single time for the whole year, and this income would keep rolling in.
Pretty cool right?
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you recommend a product or service on your blog and you link to that product or service using a special tracking link. When your readers click that link, it’s automatically tracked into a system and, if they choose to make a purchase, you get a commission automatically.
There are travel blogs out there earning over $100,000 per month from affiliate marketing alone. Again, this is money that bloggers are earning in their sleep in 2023.
3. Coaching & Product Sales
This is a relatively new aspect of blogs earning money online, but it’s a very lucrative one. Blogs offer courses and coaching programs like the Goats On The Road Courses and they earn money by coaching others.
Travel blog courses range from “How To Start a Travel Blog“, to “Growing a Travel Blog to a Full-Time Business“, to things outside of blogging like travel consulting, finance, and money-saving courses.
We know of a few travel blogs out there that have done over $1 million per year from their courses alone.
Digital products are great, but what about physical product? We’ve all heard of selling “Merch” online.
It’s a cool way for your audience to feel a connection to you, by wearing your t-shirts, and hats, or donning the latest iPhone case with your logo on it.
We’ve sold a bit of merch in the past when we first started blogging, but we haven’t tried it since. However, there are plenty of bloggers out there who are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars from selling merch, particularly those who sell it through YouTube.
4. Press Trips
Press trips have long been one of the biggest draws for running a successful travel blog. Having tourism boards, airlines, hotels, and tour operators whisking you away to far away destinations for free, and even paying you tens of thousands of dollars to enjoy their destination, flight, room, or tour, almost seems too good to be true.
But for many travel bloggers, it’s not a dream… it’s a reality.
Through our own experiences and those of our blogging colleagues, we know all about these opportunities. Some companies are willing to pay upwards of $1,000 per day, PLUS free travel, for these types of partnerships.
In exchange, you promote their destination or company to your followers. It’s a win-win.
Go on a 10-day trip and earn $10,000 for writing about it and posting photos and videos on social media. Sounds like a pretty good deal I’d say!
YouTube is a tough nut to crack, but just as Mr.Beast earns hundreds of millions of dollars per year from his incredible YouTube Channel, there are travel YouTubers like Drew Binsky and Mark Weins who have earned millions from their travel YouTube Channels.
YouTubers earn income through ads that play during their videos, but also from sponsorships and partnerships with big brands.
With more and more people watching YouTube in 2023 than ever before, there are likely to be more and more travel vlogging millionaire channels coming up in the coming years.
Looking for more ways travel blogs earn money? Check out our guide on How To Make Money With a Travel Blog.
FAQs About Travel Blogging Income
If a new travel blog focuses on building a brand, writing lots of blog posts, and serving its audience the best content possible, it can expect to earn money within 8-12 months of starting out.
Travel blogs earn money primarily through in-content ads, affiliate marketing, product sales, selling coaching programs, and brand sponsorships.
Absolutely. There are more opportunities for travel blogs to earn money than ever before. Ad networks pay higher RPMs than ever, there are more affiliate programs being created every day, and more people travel than ever before.
All you have to do is purchase a domain name and hosting for around $50 for the first year and then start writing on your blog consistently. If you keep writing the best content possible that helps answer your reader’s questions and helps them solve their problems, your blog will grow over time, and one day, it can earn an income.
Basically, there is more opportunity in travel blogging than ever before. In our blogging courses, we have over 500 active students and we’ve seen many of them grow their blogs to 6-figure per year businesses in just a couple of years.
Not only that but there are blogs that are less than 3 years old that are doing multiple 6-figures per year. We know because we see them rise up and surpass us! We’re never disheartened by the new competition. We’re excited to see the incredible growth in this industry.
That’s why we help as many people as possible to start their own travel blogs and teach them how to easily design and build them, we also show existing bloggers how to grow their existing blog’s traffic through our free SEO training program.
Travel blogging is not dead. It’s more alive than ever and starting this blog was still the best decision we ever made. We look forward to maybe one day reaching that 7-figure mark that many travel bloggers are hitting these days.
Is it as easy to grow your traffic as it once was? No. These days bloggers are hit by algorithm updates, social media bans, and more. But is it still worth it to start a blog today? I think so. If someone told me 10 years ago that this blog would be where it is today, I would’ve jumped at the opportunity.