In this post, I’ll cover some essential travel blogging tips that will set you up for success and help you monetize your website quickly!
Travel blogging is an exciting way to travel the world, share your experiences with others, and make passive income. I have been a full-time travel blogger for 6 years now and love what I do, but this journey can be challenging, especially when you’re just starting out.
From learning about SEO strategies and affiliate marketing to building an email list and social media presence – there is a lot that goes into travel blogging.
These 15 tips and tools will guide you in the right direction and help take your travel blog to the next level of success!
Some of the links used in this blog may be affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you book through these links which helps support this blog. Thank you!
15 Essential Travel Blogging Tips For Beginners:
1. Master SEO
If there is one thing that can help your travel blog succeed, it’s mastering Search Engine Optimization (also known as SEO). SEO can help your blog posts rank on Google’s Page 1 and bring in FREE organic search traffic.
So why is it important for new travel bloggers to learn the best SEO practices? Because without understanding SEO you can end up doing a lot of hard work for years without seeing any results.
When starting out in blogging, nobody gets SEO 100% right off the bat. This is a complex skill that will take some time to develop.
If you’re a beginner blogger, and not sure where to start, there are many amazing tools designed to make SEO simple and easy:
I have been using the AIOSEO WordPress plugin ever since I started my travel blog 6 years ago. This plug-in shows SEO fields that you will need to fill in for each blog post including the post title, meta description, and keyword phrase.
I also love the AIOSEO Table of Contents and FAQ box options that can help your blog posts rank even higher on search engines.
AIOSEO has a free plug-in version or a paid one. I used the free one for years but recently upgraded to the paid version that has additional helpful features.
Rank IQ is a tool that I recently started using and has made a huge difference in my SEO strategy! With this tool, you can browse through a keyword library that lists the top keywords for each blogging niche.
You can also download a detailed SEO report for each keyword that shows how many words your blog post should be, and which keywords you should include in the title & body of text to outrank your competition.
Once you’ve written the blog post, you can upload it into the ‘Content Optimizer‘ and it will tell you what keywords should be included and if the text is long enough to rank on Google.
This tool is so awesome and I highly recommend it for any blogger to step up their SEO game – whether you are just starting or have been blogging for a while! Rank IQ costs $49/month but is well worth the investment.
This is a very powerful blogging tool that compares to Surfer, Ahrefs, and SEMRush, but is much more user-friendly and easy to use!
2. Research Ways To Make Money
So you may have a blog that brings in traffic. But having traffic means little if your blog is not making money.
If you’re still in your ‘startup’ phase (aka putting in a lot of work without earning decent money), I recommend coming up with a plan on how you can monetize your travel blog in the long term.
After blogging for a couple of years and not making much money from my website, I came to a crossroads. I either had to figure out how to monetize my website or let it go and return to a 9-5 accounting job. That motivation gave me the push I needed to finally step it up!
If you’re not sure how to monetize your blog, I highly recommend reading income reports from professional bloggers such as Practical Wanderlust, Travel Mexico Solo, and Living The Dream. You can also check out my income report on how I made 10K in blogging salary in one month!
There is a lot of great FREE information out there on how to monetize a blog, but you do have to actively search for it and put what you have learned into practice.
If you treat your blog like a hobby, it will stay a hobby. If you treat your blog like a serious business, you’re more likely to succeed and start making income from it!
There are many different ways to make money from a travel blog such as:
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored posts
- Selling products
- Books, e-books, or printables
- Editing presets
- Teaching courses
- Hosting workshops
- Image Licensing
I make most of my income from website ads and affiliate marketing along with sponsored posts and image licensing.
To place ads on my website I work with Mediavine which is a full-service ad management company. They take care of anything ad-related and have outstanding customer service!
I have been with Mediavine for 4 years now and only have the best things to say about their company and management style. Plus, they reward loyalty by paying an additional 1% bonus for every year that you’re with them.
When I started out in blogging, Mediavine accepted websites with 25K monthly sessions, but in recent years they have increased that requirement to 50K monthly sessions. This may seem a lot, but you can get there within a year or two by posting consistently and cross-promoting your blog posts on social media.
Monumetric does have a couple of months’ wait time and requires a $99 setup fee. With this fee, you will get a personalized onboarding experience that includes a Zoom call with their ad manager on how to set up ads and get started.
You only need 10,000 monthly Page Views to be considered for the Monumetric ad network so it’s a great option for smaller websites!
Affiliate marketing is another great passive income stream option for travel bloggers. With affiliate marking you can insert links into your website that lead to travel products. If someone purchases through that link, you may earn a commission.
A few of my top-earning affiliate partnerships include:
- Booking.com – for hotels
- VRBO – for vacation rentals
- Viator & Get Your Guide – for guided tours
- REI – for outdoor hiking, camping, and backpacking gear
- Amazon for all other travel & van life products.
Instead of applying to affiliate programs directly, I recommend using affiliate marketing networks like Skimlinks, CJ, and Avantlink. These networks work with hundreds of companies and make affiliate link creation so easy. For some affiliate programs like Amazon, you will need to apply directly.
With affiliate marketing, it’s best to promote products that your audience is already looking for and that will make their travel experience better. If they’re traveling to Maui, suggest the best hotels and tours in the area. If they’re looking for travel gear, recommend your favorite backpack and camera. If they’re flying overseas, recommend flights and car rentals.
Affiliate marketing is an income stream that you can implement from day 1 (which I highly recommend you do) otherwise, you’ll need to go back and insert links later. I’m currently updating my old posts and it can be a huge undertaking!
It’s such a great feeling to finally start making money from your blog, even if it’s a few hundred dollars a month. It’s enough to give you that boost of confidence to keep going and work on building a successful travel blog!
3. Invest In Photography Gear
Before launching my travel website, I had never owned a professional camera. I spent the first few years of my blogging career learning about photography and slowly upgrading my camera gear.
Photography is one of the best visual ways to convey what you’re describing in a blog post to your readers, increase read times, and even up your ad revenue!
Best Beginner Camera
When I first started out, I got a basic Sony a5100 Camera to bring with me on trips and rugged outdoor adventures.
This camera is a great choice for photography beginners because it won’t cost you an arm & a leg and can take significantly better photos than your phone. The Sony a5100 camera is very small and lightweight, yet it’s packed with many features similar to professional cameras.
Best Mid-Level Camera
The Sony a6000 is a popular choice that’s a step up from the Sony a5100 camera. The Sony a6000 will do the job well and capture high-quality photos for a quarter of the price of full-frame cameras!
Best Professional Camera
If you plan to take travel blogging seriously, I recommend investing in good camera gear so later you can sell your photos to companies, magazines, and books or make prints out of the images.
Over the years, as my skills improved I’ve upgraded to the full-frame Sony a7c Mirrorless Camera. Sony a7c is the smallest and lightest full-frame camera available on the market – perfect for traveling, hiking, and outdoor trips – while still maintaining the same incredible image quality as Sony’s full-frame cameras.
Here is the camera gear that I use to create amazing travel photos for my blogs, social media accounts, sponsored posts, and commercial work:
- Polarizer Filter: Hoya 40.5 mm Filter. Polarizing filters reduce glare in water, protect the lens from getting scratched, and bring out the best colors when it’s bright outside. Having a polarizing filter is a must-have if you plan to photograph lakes, oceans, rivers, and waterfalls.
- Wide Lens: Sony 16-35 mm F4. Great for capturing wide panoramas, nature landscapes, and cramped city streets. Mounts to any Sony mirrorless camera and features autofocus, image stabilization, and incredibly sharp images.
- Lightweight Travel Tripod: Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Tripod. A good tripod is essential for capturing images in low light conditions, such as during sunset and sunrise, or creating smooth water effects when shooting waterfalls. The Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is very sturdy, light, and folds small so you can take it on all of your adventures!
- Memory Cards: SanDisk Extreme 256 GB. It’s always good to bring a few extra memory cards on trips. SanDisk Extreme is ultra-fast for capturing high-quality images, bursts, long exposure night shots, and 4k videos. This memory card is also durable and reliable yet very affordable.
- Camera Batteries: Wasabi Power Battery Set. I’ve made the mistake of getting to a location to realize my camera is out of battery. Always keep your batteries charged with this camera charger set!
- Camera Bag: Lowepro adventure shoulder bag. A camera bag is something you should definitely invest in! Without having a proper place to store it I would get my camera scratched, sandy, or even occasionally drop it.
4. Build Your Email List
We always hear established bloggers say ‘Build your email list from day 1’ but why is it so important to do so? Many bloggers never start an email newsletter because it seems difficult to implement and maybe not worth the time. But starting an email list is easier than you may think and so worth it in the long haul!
Relying on other platforms for readers is always risky. Google can do another update that tanks your rankings, or a social media platform can change its algorithm cutting your audience in half… things are always changing (and not always for the better).
An email list will consist of your most loyal readers and is something that YOU are in charge of!
Even when all else fails, an email list is yours forever and can drive a significant amount of traffic to your website.
Email marketing is also one of the most effective ways to promote affiliate links and products because these are readers who love your content and trust your advice!
MailerLite Email Marketing Service
I use Mediavine’s Grow.me Tool to collect email addresses and MailerLite email marketing service to create and send out newsletters.
MailerLite is free for up to 1,000 subscribers and has beautiful templates. They have an easy user interface that walks you step by step through how to set up a newsletter, add subscribers, and send out emails.
As your business and email list grow, MailerLite offers pricing that is much cheaper than other competitors. Even if you had 10K email subscribers, you would pay less than $50 a month!
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5. Make Sure Your Website Is Fast
Website speed is such an important factor that can affect your page loading time, user experience, and Google ranking. If you have a slow site, readers can get impatient and exit before the blog post even loads. This will send a bad signal to Google which will eventually stop sending traffic your way.
You can use tools like PageSpeed Insights to check the speed of your website and see what areas you can improve on.
There are several ways on how to improve your website speed:
- Use a fast theme like Trellis or Astra. I use Astra since it’s easy to customize and it is ultra-fast.
- Don’t add too many plug-ins. Plug-ins can be helpful but they can also slow down your website and take up memory (just like apps do on your iPhone).
- Optimize your images. Adding large images looks great on a website, but it can also affect your site speed. You can export images in a smaller size from Lightroom, compress them using a tool like TinyJPG or use a plug-in for compression.
- Get a fast hosting service. We use SiteGround for our web hosting and have been since the beginning. With virtually zero downtime SiteGround has built a setup that has led to extremely quick website loading times. And their customer service has always been there to help us with any questions 24 hours a day!
6. Create an Editorial Calendar
If you want to become one of the top travel bloggers, you will need to publish a lot of content on your site. It’s common for professional bloggers to have 500+ posts on their websites, so how can you get there too?
I recommend creating an editorial calendar that will help you stay on track with what posts and content you want to publish that week, month, year, etc. It’s so easy to come up with excuses and push off content creation, but an editorial calendar can keep you accountable.
At the beginning of every month, I write out my editorial calendar for that month and I try to follow this schedule as close as I can. This has helped me immensely to be more productive, stick to my deadlines, and publish content consistently.
I aim to publish 2 new blog posts a week, plus update 1 to 2 older blog posts that are starting to lose rankings. I focus on creating long-format posts with 2000 to 4000 words each. Other bloggers produce shorter posts with around 500-1000 words and publish 3-4 times a week.
How often you publish will be determined by your availability, what keywords you’re targeting, your niche, and your writing style. Once you figure out what works best for you – be sure to stick to a schedule and post consistently!
Blogging Tip: If you’re not sure how long your articles should be, I recommend using Rank IQ to find that out. This tool can tell you how many words a blog post should have for each keyword to rank on Google’s Page 1.
7. Increase Your Website’s Domain Authority
DA (Domain Authority) is a number that shows how trustworthy your website is (kind of like a credit score). The higher your score is, the more likely you’re to rank on 1st page of Google!
This score is based on inbound links to your blog and is graded on a scale of 100. Personal blogs typically score in the 20-70 range because we’re not going to get as many inbound links as, for example, CNN (DA 95), or The Wall Street Journal (DA 94).
When your blog is new, you can expect your DA score to be around 10-20. If your blog has been around for a bit, your score might be around 30-40. Top travel blogs typically have a score in the 50-70 range but it can take years to get there.
These are the DA scores of some of the top travel bloggers:
- Nomadic Matt – DA 74
- Be My Travel Muse – 65
- The Planet D – DA 63
- The Blonde Abroad – DA 60
- Y Travel Blog – DA 60
If you want to check your website’s Domain Authority score, you can use tools like Moz to find that out:
So how can you improve this score and gain ‘more trust’ with Google?
I recommend using the HARO (Help A Reporter Out) email service, guest posting for other bloggers (with a link back to your site), doing interviews, guest podcasts, working with other bloggers on roundup posts, and posting on social media channels that link back to your blog (such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter).
The higher your Domain Authority score is, the higher Google will rank you – which means more traffic and income!
8. Write For Niche Topics
One of the fastest ways to grow a blog is to write content for niche topics. You want your website to become the go-to place for a certain topic (but you don’t want to niche down so far that you exclude a lot of the audience).
When starting in travel blogging, it’s helpful to write content for keywords that have low competition on Google. This is the best strategy to grow your travel blog quickly and start bringing in traffic!
When your website is new, you won’t be able to compete for popular keywords like ‘Things To Do In United States‘ that everyone is trying to rank for. But you might be able to rank on Google for keywords such as ‘Fun Things To Do In USA For Couples‘ or ‘Low Budget Vacation Ideas For Families‘ that have lower volume but also lower competition.
My second website California Wanderland is a niche site that focuses on outdoor adventures in Central California. It’s specialized enough that there is little competition out there, yet it’s not so specific that I run out of topics to write about.
Now sure which keywords you should focus on? Rank IQ tool has a ‘Keyword Library’ that you can browse for keyword ideas by various topics. You can filter the results by ‘Competition’ and ‘Time To Rank’ to find keywords that you can rank for quickly!
9. Create a Social Media Presence
If you have a brand new blog, it’s a good idea to start posting on social media to establish a name presence. Social media can also add extra streams of income through client work, sponsored posts, or bonus programs like Instagram Reels.
Links from social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter can also help establish a higher Domain Authority and drive traffic to your newbie website.
Social media is a free platform that doesn’t require much setup except for a good username and some photos or videos.
While it’s good to be active on social media and it can certainly drive a lot of traffic to your blog, I don’t recommend relying completely on social media.
Social media can be a very lucrative income stream, but there are certain risks that come with it. When my Instagram account was hacked and deleted, I lost 140K followers and all of my brand deals overnight. Now I use social media as a supplement stream of income, but not my MAIN income platform.
Blogs can also be attacked by hackers, but premium hosting services like SiteGround keep backups of your website and are very helpful if there are ever any issues.
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10. Improve Your Writing Skills
English is not my first language. I didn’t even understand, speak, or read English until I moved to the United States at the age of 16. Yet now I write content for and manage two travel blogs that bring in over 200,000 readers a month.
No matter if English is your first language, or if it’s your second language, writing is a skill that takes time and practice. You don’t need to be an English major to be a blogger but you do need to write a LOT of content. Now I can easily write and publish 5000+ words a week but it took me a while to get there.
Some of my first blog posts were formatted like diary entries, but now I focus on creating informative guides centering around the needs of the reader. While you want to be informative and helpful, it’s good to add stories from your personal experience so your posts are not so ‘dry’ and don’t sound like they were written by a bot or AI.
Best Time To Write
My favorite time to write is in the mornings between 9 am to 12 pm when my mind feels fresh and I have the least amount of distractions. By the time afternoon comes around, I start feeling more tired so I designate this time to mundane tasks like uploading blog posts or editing photos.
I also read multiple books every month on various subjects from fiction to biographies, and romance – whatever has a good storyline and is entertaining. I just LOVE to read and it helps me become a better storyteller and writer myself.
You don’t have to be perfect at writing to get started. Believe me, writing will get easier as you practice more and start seeing what works and doesn’t work.
11. Hire VAs For Busy Work
Most people who start a travel blog do everything themselves for the first couple of years before having the funds to hire assistants. But as time goes on and you start making income from your websites, don’t be afraid to branch out and outsource tasks to take some of the busy work off your plate.
Why Hire Assistants
Doing all the work by yourself is not sustainable in the long run and will make you feel super burned out. We only have 8-10 hours of ‘productive work time’ in our day, so how can you make the best of that time?
After reading The E-Myth Revisited book, I realized that I was doing too many ‘little tasks’ and not focusing enough on the business aspect of my website. What I had built was a leveraged job, not a business.
Ask yourself ‘Can my time be better spent doing something else?’ and ‘What are some of the tasks that I should be doing but have no interest in?’.
For me, the answers included social media, Google Web Stories, writing certain content, and technical SEO tasks like site speed and Google Search Console issues.
Focus On The Big Picture
Hiring your first writer, VA or assistant can feel like an intimidating task but is an important aspect of growing your business.
Hiring VAs opened my time to learn more about the ‘big picture’ aspects of blogging like SEO, affiliate marketing, backlinking, email marketing, and improving ad income on my blog. It has also given me the time to start my second niche website.
I was resistant to hiring outside help for years because I thought ‘nobody could do it as well as me’. After hiring VAs, I realized there is a LOT that I can learn from them and my skillset has increased dramatically.
Before I hired help, I was averaging $2300 in travel blogging income a month. After hiring assistants and writers, I have scaled to earning $10,000 a month. Freeing up my time from busy work has allowed me to focus on growing my business instead of being occupied with mundane tasks.
12. Always Put Your Readers First
When most people start a travel blog, it’s usually to share personal experiences with family and friends while traveling or in hopes to start making money to cover travel expenses.
But while these are good reasons to start a travel blog, for your blog to scale and grow, you should always be thinking of your audience and put their needs first.
Create High-Quality Content
My focus has always been to provide high-quality information to my readers to make travel planning easier. When I first started blogging, I covered subjects that had never been covered in detail before like van life and Pan-American travel.
When someone lands on my blog, I want to provide all the information they need for trip planning so the reader leaves confident and without any further questions. That’s why I focus on long-format high-quality itineraries instead of churning out diary-style posts every day.
Improve Older Content
If your first blog posts were more ‘diary style’ at first, that’s ok too! I’m still going back and updating some of my older blog posts with relevant information to make them more useful to my readers.
As I’m updating my older posts, I can see my rankings and website average time on page increase along with affiliate sales and ad income.
As Pat Flynn has said, ‘Income is a reflection of how well you serve your audience’. If you’re making a good income, it means you’re serving your audience well and they trust what you recommend!
13. Be Committed
While your friends and family might think ‘That sounds so fun to travel for a living’, the reality is that travel blogging is a lot of work. There are weeks when I work from 8 am to 8 pm every day creating new content, editing photos, writing newsletters, posting on social media, and updating older posts. I love what I do, but I won’t sugarcoat it and say that it’s always fun or easy.
When you manage your own business, you won’t have anyone else holding you accountable (since YOU ARE the boss!). It will be up to you and only you to do the work and make sure things keep moving upward.
Blogging is not a quick ‘get rich’ scheme and can take a couple of years to see real results.
If you want to have a successful blog, you will need to be committed to posting a lot of articles for a long time. Many of the top bloggers are known for being workaholics and put in many hours week after week. It is a business after all!
14. Stop Doing Things That Don’t Make You Money
The reality is that most of us spend a lot of time during our days doing unproductive stuff. If you’re been doing something for a while and it’s not creating income for your business, it might be time to move on to try something else.
Take an Inventory Of Your Daily Tasks
For a couple of days, I recommend writing down what you do every hour of the day and how important this task is for your business next to it.
When I did this, I realized that I spent most of my day doing unproductive things like interacting on social media or creating Pinterest pins that do very little for my business in the long run. I should have been focusing my time on creating more blog posts and learning how to better monetize existing posts through ads and affiliate marketing.
We don’t always see what’s in front of us until we write it down on paper and look at it from a different perspective.
So in summary, do more of what works and stop wasting time on things that don’t!
15. Always Keep Learning Something New
For years I let my ego get in the way of my business. I was afraid to make changes and did the same thing over and over again while wondering why my business wasn’t growing.
To scale your travel blog, your skillset and knowledge will need to grow along with it. Things are always changing and what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow.
In the online world, you have to adapt to succeed. It’s important to stay on top of the latest updates and trends to stay relevant.
Thankfully there is so much material out there that is shared by other successful travel bloggers. There are also lots of helpful online courses, free tools, podcasts, and Facebook groups where you can connect with other bloggers and learn from each other.
A few of my favorite Facebook blogging groups are:
- Mediavine Publisher Group (for those who are part of Mediavine) – in this group you can learn how to improve ad revenue.
- Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers – my favorite group for learning affiliate marketing tips.
- SEO for Travel Bloggers – my favorite group for learning SEO tips.
- DNW – Making Money From Blogging – a great group for asking general blogging questions.
- Travel Blogging Success – a group for bloggers interested in taking an SEO course.
For podcast listeners, my favorite blogging podcast is The Blogging Millionaire by Brandon Gaille. In this podcast, Brandon shares great traffic growing and income-boosting tips in short 10-minute bite-size episodes so you can learn new information and not feel overwhelmed.
The learning process is HARD and takes a lot of time and effort. But investing time in learning new skills will always pay off in the long run!
No matter where you are in your travel blogging journey, know that you are doing amazing!
There is no perfect ‘roadmap’ to travel blogging and we all make plenty of mistakes along the way. Embrace the failures because when things are hard, it means you’re growing and learning!
Looking for more tips & inspiration? Here are a few of our other popular blog posts that you may like:
- How To Make Money While Living In a Van
- 10 Things You Should Know Before Living In a Van
- 15 Helpful Tips For a Traveling Van Life Couple
- The Ultimate Solo Female Van Life Guide
- 30 Must-Have Travel Necessities For Your Next Adventure
Recommended Travel Blogging Tools
- SiteGround. We use SiteGround to store all of our website data and have been since the early days of our blogging journey. SiteGround has cheap prices, a great user interface, and the best customer service in the industry with 24-hour day service and quick response time.
- NameCheap. At Namecheap, you can register new domain names. I recommend getting a domain that has a “.com” at the end and avoiding “.net”, “.org” or any other variations.
- Rank IQ. If there is one blogging tool that you should invest in, it’s Rank IQ. This tool makes keyword research so easy by giving you all the top-ranking keywords for every niche on a silver platter. I also love the Rank IQ content grader feature that shows how to improve your blog posts to rank on Google’s Page 1.
- Tailwind. Tailwind is a social media management tool where I schedule all of my Pinterest pins for the week and re-share content from other travel bloggers.
- MailerLite. MailerLite is a budget-friendly email marketing service that is free for up to 1,000 subscribers and comes with beautiful preset email templates. As your email list grows, MailerLite offers tier pricing which is much cheaper than its competitors.
- AIOSEO Plugin. All in One SEO plugin has a handy section in WordPress where you can fill in the Post Title, Meta Description, Focus Keyphrase, and see what ‘SEO score’ the plugin assigns you.
- Canva. Canva is great for creating eye-catching visuals for social media. Canva has a free version that is easy to use and comes with excellent templates.
- Grammarly. This software checks for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors – a must-have for bloggers!
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