How to Make Money as a Travel Blogger

What if you could get paid to travel around the world and write about your experiences and adventures? Well, my friend…I’m here to tell you that travel bloggers do this every day, and you can do it too. If you’re interested in starting a travel blog and making money from it, this article is for YOU.

There are two primary ways that travel bloggers make their money, and we’re going to hit all of the best-kept secrets, tips, and tools that you need in this article today.

Here are the basics:

 

1. You can promote and sell products/services through sponsored posts.

2. You can promote and sell products/services through affiliate marketing.

Of course, there are other ways for travel bloggers to make money, like selling ad space on your blog. But these are the top two ways that travel bloggers monetize, so that will be our focus. We’re going to start with sponsored posts, because this is the most popular way that travel bloggers make their money.

Make money as a travel blogger Our blog posts contain affiliate links. These don’t cost you anything, but they allow us to keep this site running and keep providing free content for our readers. 

Let’s get to it.

HOW TO MAKE MONEY AS A TRAVEL BLOGGER (WITH SPONSORED POSTS)


My simple definition of a sponsored post:

A sponsored post is a piece of content that you create and share on your blog or social media channels, on behalf of a “sponsor,” or company that you partner with. By definition, the sponsor is the person or organization that provides the money for the project or activity that you’re doing.

Here’s how sponsored posts usually works:


A travel blogger reaches out to a company they’d like to work with. It might be a hotel, an attraction, a resort etc. If the company is interested in working with the travel blogger, the two parties arrange a sponsored post package for the feature. This package will likely be delivered via email communication, and it will include dates of travel, expectations of each party, payment agreement or comps, and any special instructions.

When the travel blogger visits the destination, they will usually take pictures, videos, notes, and possibly conduct interviews to prepare their sponsored post. Most of the time, the goal is not necessarily to “review” the location with basic pros and cons. The goal is to create authentic travel content that tells a story, shares an experience, and presents the company in a positive light.

How to get paid from your sponsored work:


Remember how we said that a sponsor is a person that provides the money for the project or activity you’re doing? In this case, the ‘project’ is the travel feature you’re creating.  

In other words, sponsored work should be paid work.

With that said, it isn’t always going to be cash compensation, especially for newer travel bloggers. During your first year or so of travel blogging, companies will usually offer comped goods and services in exchange for a feature. That is still considered a form of payment, and it will often be well worth it.

As an example, I did a sponsored feature for a beach resort earlier this year. I didn’t get cash payment for the feature, but my whole family was hosted for two full days and nights in this beautiful place, for free. What would’ve costed us over $600 ended up being a completely free weekend trip for my family.

And that’s the kind of math >> this blogger << likes to do!


We all know that free stuff doesn’t pay the bills though, so eventually, you’ll want to get monetary compensation for your sponsored posts. As you should!

Start with hosted stays and prove your worth through those. Create great content, take beautiful pictures, tell an amazing story, give your readers a real experience.

Once you have some experience and some samples under your belt, you can start pitching for comps + payment!

You can also join sponsored networks and apply for gigs through their platform. These networks act as a bridge between you and the sponsors you will work with. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

Activate (this is my favorite sponsored post network)!

Massive Sway (my second favorite)

Collectively, Inc.

Real Clever

Influence Central

HOW TO MAKE MONEY AS A TRAVEL BLOGGER (WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING)


Affiliate marketing is essentially promoting products and/or services for a business that you are associated with. More importantly, affiliate marketing is a great way to make money as travel blogger…even if you’re only getting comped meals and hosted stays through your sponsors. 

Here’s how it works:


You apply to join an affiliate program that fits in your niche (in this case it would be things like travel, adventure, attractions, family vacations etc).

When you get approved by that affiliate program, you gain access to a special trackable link for the products or services you want to promote. When someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.

So, let’s cover the best affiliate networks for travel bloggers to join. Keep in mind that the network is the platform that contains a pool of affiliate programs that you can join. You’ll need to join the affiliate network if you want to access the affiliate programs within that pool.

I’ll also be sharing a bunch of programs within the top affiliate networks and how much they pay you for each sale you make.

Let’s get to it: the best affiliate networks for travel bloggers…


AWIN AFFILIATE NETWORK


This is most definitely one of the best and highest paying affiliate networks for bloggers. You can join the AWIN affiliate network HERE. There is a $5.00 screening fee to join the network, but the fee is refunded to you after approval.

Here are just a few of the programs you can join and how much you can earn from each of them.

Goldstar // 50% revenue share on ticket service fees

Trusted House Sitters // 20% commission on membership plans

Lonely Planet // 15% commission per sale

Tours and Tickets // 10% commission per sale

RentSkis US // 10% commission per sale

Hotelopia // 8% standard commission

StubHub // 7% commission per sale

EatWith.com US // 7% commission per sale

Secret Escapes // 7% commission per sale

Diamond Resorts and Hotels // 7% commission per sale

Hard Rock Hotel // 6.5% commission per sale

Park Inn US // 6% commission per sale

Top Villas USA // 5-10% commission per booking

Trip.com // 5% default commission on hotel stays

Pacific Holidays // 5% commission per sale

Caesar’s Entertainment // 5% commission per sale

TripAdvisor US // 5% commission

Booking.com // 4.25% commission per approved stay

Hyatt Hotels // 3% commission on confirmed sales

Travel Zoo // 2-6% commission per sale

eDreams // 2-4% commission per booking

Etsy // 2-4% commission per sale

Apple Vacations // $72 per completed travel booking

Jet Airways // $1.80-$.80 per flight, based on location

Clear US // contact affiliate manager for details

Hotel Storm US // contact affiliate manager for details

Remember, you’ll join the AWIN network first, and then you’ll apply to the affiliate programs you want to join in the network.

You’ll search for programs to join in your AWIN dashboard here:

Awin Search | How to use Awin Affiliate Network to Make Money Blogging

And then you’ll click the button to “Join Program” here:

How to Join an Affiliate Program Using Awin

{ Actionable Tip }:


Choose 1-3 programs that fit your audience the best and apply to those programs. Then build a blog feature around the program(s). Maybe it will be a winter adventure blog article that features an affiliate hotel and ski rental shop. Maybe it will be a Las Vegas weekend article featuring an airline and a hotel in the Caesar’s entertainment program. Or maybe it will be a simple hotel review.

Either way, try not to overthink this part. Just choose a few programs and start applying!



SHAREASALE AFFILIATE NETWORK


Some of my favorite and highest paying affiliate programs are available in this free network. It has thousands of great programs to join, and some that are perfect for travel bloggers.  

Here is a big ol’ list of some great affiliate programs in the network. Again, focus on the ones that can bring the most value to your readers. 

Expert Flyer // 50% commission per sale

Hotel Travel Club // 20% commission per sale

Roam Right Travel Insurance // 15% commission per sale

Pakt Bags // 15% commission per sale

Beauty and the Beach Swim // 12% commission per sale

Arlo Gear Luggage // 10% commission per sale

J Pillow Travel Pillow // 10% commission per sale

Push Pin Travel Maps // 10% commission per sale

Dolphin Discovery // 10% commission per sale

Little Passports // 8% commission per sale

Sandos Hotels and Resorts // 7% commission per sale

Best Single Travel // 7% commission per sale

All Travel Sizes // 6% commission per sale

Vacations Made Easy // 5% commission per sale

Easy Click Travel // 4% commission per sale

Viator // 4% commission per sale

Tours4Fun // 3% commission per sale

Jet Airways // $4.80 per sale

Honeyfund // $3.00 per lead, 3.5% commission per sale

California Beach Resorts // $3.00 per lead

Destinations in Florida Travel // $2.00 per lead

Turn Key Vacation Rentals // $50.00 per lead, 5% per sale

Simply join the Share-a-Sale network, apply to the programs that you want to join, and then start promoting your affiliate products to your audience.

You’ll search for programs to join here:

Share a Sale Dashboard | Learn how to make money as a fashion blogger using the Shareasale affiliate network

And then you’ll click the button to “Join Program” here:

How to use Share a Sale for Affiliate Marketing

Similar to AWIN, you’ll have to agree to the terms of the program and explain how you’ll promote the products. Don’t stress over it too much, just introduce yourself and your promotion plan and hit submit.


RAKUTEN AFFILIATE NETWORK



I love Rakuten because they have such a huge range of affiliate programs for bloggers in every niche. If you want to make money as a travel blogger, this is a great network for you to join!

We are going to outline a few of the highest paying and most popular affiliate programs in this network.

If you have used any of these brands or think they could potentially benefit your readers, you should join that affiliate program and start promoting their stuff ASAP.


Lyft // $35.00 flat fee

CheapOAir // $8-10.00 flat fee

Holiday Cars // 30% commission per sale

Rush My Passport // 10% commission per sale

Pop Sockets // 10% commission per sale

Riviera Coco Beachwear // 6-10% commission per sale

Tastemade // 6% commission per sale

Groupon // 5-10% commission per sale

Booking.com // 4% commission per sale

Air Canada Vacations // 4% commission per sale

Hilton Hotel // 4% commission per sale

CarRentals.com // 3% commission per sale

Once you get approved by Rakuten, you can search for affiliate programs in your dashboard here:

Rakuten Affiliate Network Dashboard | Learn how to make money as a fashion blogger using Rakuten

Apply for the program you want to join here:

Rakuten Affiliate Network Dashboard | Learn how to make money as a fashion blogger using Rakuten

A box will pop up asking you to read and agree to terms. Read the terms, click the box to agree, and then hit “OKAY.” As a result, your application will be submitted to the company for review. And that’s it!

Please note: not every blogger will get approved for every program. Some affiliate programs accept everyone, others have strict standards. Regardless, you can still apply to the program! You will be notified if you do not qualify.

 

BEST-KEPT BLOGGING SECRET:


You can join a company affiliate program AND promote that company through a sponsored post (unless otherwise stated in their terms). This means that you can get paid to write a sponsored post AND use your own affiliate links in that post to promote that company’s products and/or services…. Most importantly, this can lead to extra income with very little effort – yeah baby!

If there is a brand or business that you’d like to work with, find out if they have an affiliate program. If they do, apply to that program right away. Then send a pitch email to the company and ask if they’d like to work together on a sponsored post.

Even if the deal is just a comped hotel stay, you can promote that hotel through your own affiliate links in your sponsored post. Then you’ll get paid anytime someone books a room through you. Shhh, don’t tell anyone….this is our little secret.

{ Actionable Tip }:

Apply to the Best Western affiliate program here. Then, reach out to the Best Western team by email here and pitch your idea for a hosted stay. If you land the gig, you can also promote the hotel using your own affiliate links. For each completed stay, you’ll earn 3% of the sale!

Here is a comprehensive article about working with brands on sponsored posts. It also includes a pitching guide to help you land those sponsored gigs and get paid!

Travel blogging is just one of the many ways you can make money online. For a comprehensive training program that will help you turn your blog into a money-making business, check out this course!

I hope this article has been helpful. If you enjoyed these tips, please take a minute to share this post on Pinterest!

Affiliate programs for travel bloggers

 

2 Comments

  1. Iryna

    December 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing the list of affiliate programs! I’ve joined CJ, but always on the lookout for other options.

    1. Cate

      December 21, 2018 at 8:52 am

      I love CJ too, it’s a great network. AWIN is my absolute favorite and Shareasale is a close second!

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