I Make Money as a Full-Time Travel Blogger

u/xioal

I would really like to know who in here has 'made it' by blogging.

And please, if you have a blog that teaches about blogging, do not reply. I would rather get data on people who blog about anything but and are successful at it. Thank you.

Edit: 'made it' definition = making a living off of their blog
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hikekorea
I DON'T make a living off my blog. In a good month I'll make a few hundred on affiliate sales + sponsored posts.

I DO work with brands to get free stuff (which I might otherwise buy). I have received complimentary services from tour companies, hotels, air bnb, etc.

It's a travel blog so it makes traveling much more affordable. The way I look at it is any niche blog at the level my blog is at will make the hobbies associated with that niche more affordable.

Edit: my blog is LiveTravelTeach.com

thelildragon
I'd love to hear more about your story. Also, could I get a link to your site?

hikekorea
Added a link to my site in the comment. I started blogging because I was moving to Korea and gradually honed my photography/writing by chronicling my adventures. About a year after starting blogging I got my first free trips from "helping" on hiking trips with Seoul Hiking Group. Helping meant being an experienced hiker who the guests could ask for help but usually my response was "Do you want me to ask insert organizer's name here." if I could solve the problem myself I would regardless of whether or not I was a helper but because that's just my personality so being a helper didn't change much about the trips from my perspective.

I probably went on about 30 weekend trips with them and another tour group in Korea for free. I blogged about the trips and put photos on social media too.

From there I started sending out email pitches whenever I traveled. I'd offer to trade a blog post + photos/video /social media shutouts for free tours, hotels and air bnb.

Most of the time the answer is no or no response. Occasionally they'd get back to me and were interested. Then I'd negotiate exactly what they want and give a monetary value to each item and ask for something comparable in return.

Sometimes a hotel or tour might just give a 20-50% discount (i usually didn't take that) and every once in a while they would invite me to stay for a few nights all inclusive.

xioal ✍️
It seems many travel blogs are confined to what you've described. You won't make a living off of it, but the trade off is you're presented with many perks. Of course, this doesn't apply to every blog in your niche. I have heard a blog AND YouTube channel combination work particularly well, though the efforts you must put in to produce quality videos are quite exhaustive. Nevertheless, thank you for the information you provided us.

omglia
I'm currently living entirely off of my blog :) I'm a full time travel blogger and I live in the Bay Area. This year I'm on track to earn back the same amount from my blog as I did at the corporate job I quit! If you're curious, I have income reports which explain the ways I earn my money on my blog – you can read them here!

https://practicalwanderlust.com/tag/income-reports

xioal ✍️
Thanks for that information, and your report. I posed this question because I was looking to see if there were any users here who were actually successful at blogging, as the vast majority of the posts on this sub seemed to be from individuals new to the venture. Because of that I couldn't get a reading on whether or not blogging was a worthy (and profitable) pursuit. Thanks again.

omglia
Frankly, I would not describe it as profitable. It won't make you rich. It may not make you anything at all. And it will take years of hard work to see the tiniest bit of profit. But if you love it with a passion, like I do, you're happy to wait. I wake up every day amazed and grateful that this hobby I love so much is actually my job and actually earns me a living wage! I have no idea how long it will last but I'm savoring every moment of it and I'm more satisfied professionally than I've ever been in my life.
xioal ✍️
I'm certainly not looking to get rich from this, but I'd like to make a bit of return for my efforts. I have a specific blog I'd like to create in the future and I'm researching the best ways to monetize it. So far I've come to grasp that I'll never reach the level you have, and I'm fine with it, as my blog will cater to a particularly small audience. But I have this drive within me that compels me to express it so I can certainly spare the years it will take for it to garner the slightest of success. I'm very happy you've been able to reach this kind of fulfillment as it is a rarity nowadays and hope you will continue to experience it. Thank you for all the information you've provided. I hope it will help, or (further) motivate, some of us that lurk in this sub.

Ibshutupnoob
My wife and I live full time off of blogging. We don't make a killing, but we make a solid living. She's been full time for about 3 years now, and I'm finishing up law school and joining her officially, but I've been working full time on it along with school since the start.

We blog about organization, productivity, and art. We currently make about 30% of our income off of courses, 30% ad revenue, 30% affiliate, and 10% sponsored work. We are going to be expanding in to merch soon and starting a subscription box.

We still feel like there is a lot we can do to grow though and it's really fulfilling work. We currently work from home and have 4 staff writers and 1 virtual assistant, but we are looking for office space since working from home gets old.

To give an idea on numbers, we have 35k email subscribers, about 120k social media followers, and traffic ranges from 400k pv in the slow months to 1mill in the peak months.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have. This just started as a hobby for us, and I'm always happy to help new people get started.

P.s. this is not self promo, we don't currently sell any how to blog products or anything like that.

unusedwings
I've been looking into blogging as of late, especially after being recommended to start because I basically blog on my Facebook page. I love to pick apart and review movies, TV shows, etc… Is that something that would be worth it, and where would someone get started?

Ibshutupnoob
It's really almost impossible to say if it's worth it. If you're reviewing shows that most people don't watch, than you may be able to carve out a niche, but if they're hugely popular shows, you may really struggle.

My biggest piece of advice is to pick something you're passionate about and than narrow it down to as specific of a topic as possible.

Our site is very broad now, but it was super specific when we started.

Doofangoodle
how did you build the e-mail subscribers? What sort of places did you go to to promote the blog?

Ibshutupnoob
A strong lead magnet is really important. We didn't have a lead magnet for our first year and were only getting maybe 10 new subscribers a day, but now we get about 100-150.

We have used several lead magnets, but the most successful have been a resource library, webinars, and free video courses.

When we started we got most of our traffic from pinterest and other social, but now we get about half of our traffic from Google. Don't ignore Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It's a slow process, but it is crazy important.

rbrussell
I definitely haven't "made it". I've had a website for over 15 years now, but it has changed names, addresses, and target audiences over the years. Between the couple of ad companies I use (AdSense, Media.net, etc), I'll make $200-$500/month with over 70,000 sessions per month on average.

I would love to hear about other ad companies people have ad success with. AdSense has been the best out of the ones I've tried so far, but I feel like I could make more.

I've tried Amazon Affiliates and never really made anything with it. I have VigLink setup and I'll make about $50/month with it.

My site is TeckLyfe.com

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