Which items do you need to become a travel blogger?
Travel blogging is often perceived as a glamorous gig where the only thing people seem to do all day is post photos of themselves in exotic locations around the world. But like any profession, it can have its ups and downs.
On the one hand, you get to explore new places and have experiences that many people in the world don’t have in their lifetime. On the other hand, you have to live out of a suitcase, move from one accommodation to another and adjust to different environments.
There are also the additional tasks that come with being a travel writer, including creating and updating your content, marketing activities, lugging around gear and equipment.
If you have a passion for traveling and sharing your experiences with others, you will find that the pros outweigh the cons. In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on what you need to do to become a professional travel blogger — from building a niche audience to the different ways you can monetize your content.
How to set up your travel blog
1. Use a paid blogging platform: Choosing a blogging platform you’re comfortable with is the first step to becoming a writer. If you want to control your content and domain, avoid writing on public platforms such as Medium.com. Free platforms such as Wix have limited features that make it hard to expand the functionalities of your blog using themes and plug-ins and monetize your content. The most popular site for bloggers is WordPress because it has features specifically tailored for content creators and allows you to have your own server space.
2. Sign up for a hosting plan: There are different hosting companies that serve your pages to visitors. The most well-known ones are GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator. The benefit of having your own hosted space is that you have the freedom to do whatever you want on it — host ads, customize with plug-ins and host a forum or message board.
3. Install WordPress (or your preferred blog platform): You are now ready to install your blogging platform with a hosting account. Whatever software you use to manage your blog, ensure that they have tutorials, visual themes and resources that you can use. The setup process is simple and easy to follow and usually takes a few minutes. Set up your site name, tagline and download the extra plug-ins you’ll need. It’s also a good idea to add digital marketing tools like Google Analytics to track the performance of your blog.
4. Choose a name for your blog and create a domain name: Choosing a blog name and domain that’s catchy and memorable is crucial to your branding. Avoid cliché travel blog names that include words like “nomadic,” “wandering,” “adventurous,” as those have been overused. Instead, choose one that sticks and stands out. If you don’t include your name in the blog, you’ll have the option to share the blog with other writers and sell it one day.
Accessories you need to become a travel blogger
A high-quality camera: Having a powerful yet lightweight camera is a must-have in your travel gear. In an image-focused society where platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook dominate, you need compelling, eye-catching images to document and share your travels. Readers will also be more responsive when you have images that accompany your writings. Many cameras have hefty price tags, but there are lesser-priced options that allow you to take crisp photos, take sharp videos and are easy to set up. You can find some great options in our roundup of the best digital cameras in the market.
Light and portable laptop: When you’re changing hotels or hostels every other day and moving around in all kinds of transportation, you’ll want to keep the weight of what you carry as light as possible. That concept applies to your laptop as well. It’s sensible to carry one that’s both easy to take along with you, but it also has all the functionalities you’re looking for. Fortunately, there are many affordable options with decent specs like the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 2-In-1 Laptop that won’t cost you a fortune.
A high-capacity power bank: If you’re constantly on the move and using your equipment, sooner or later, they will need to be recharged — and when you’re on the road, the chances of finding a power socket to charge your electronic devices are small. For this reason, a power bank is an essential part of your kit as a travel blogger. Before leaving for any trip, make sure that you have a reliable portable power bank that can charge your equipment whenever it needs to be refilled. The Anker Portable Charger PowerCore Slim 10000 Power Bank is an ideal option because it’s slim, light and charges devices quickly.
5 ways to grow your audience as a travel blogger
Whether your goal is to create impact or make money from your blog, you’ll only be able to achieve it by building a robust audience. There’s a couple of techniques and strategies that you can use to build an engaged audience and get yourself noticed by businesses looking to work with travel bloggers.
1. Create useful content: If you want people to read your travel blog, you’ll have to come up with valuable and interesting content. Think of common questions your target audience might have around travel — food recommendations, budgeting tips and ideas on where to stay, etc. Doing some research on online forums will give you a sense of what information people seek.
2. Be different: In the sea of travel bloggers, you have to find a way to make yourself stand out. One way to do this is by doing unique activities that people perceive as fascinating, exotic and sensational. These are more likely to get shared and even go viral. Another way to be different is by having a clearly defined niche. Knowing your area of expertise and who your audience is will help you tailor content that speaks directly to their interest while also giving you some room to put your own spin on it.
3. Stay active on social media: It’s important to utilize the power of social media to share your content. Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok can skyrocket your readers if you do it right. Since it can be a huge time suck, creating systems and using tools can boost efficiency and save time.
4. Guest post on other blogs: An effective way to gain more readers is by contributing to other blogs, especially when you’re just starting. Writing for popular blogs with large audiences interested in what cover will get you noticed and get traffic to your blog.
5. Use the power of SEO: Optimize all your content for search engines like Google is an essential skill to learn if you want people to find your blog. Learn the basics about keywords, backlinks and study materials from free resources on sites like NeilPatel.com and Moz.com. If it’s something you prefer not to spend too much time on, hire a professional to help out but don’t miss out on this huge opportunity to build your readership.
6. Get some press: Being featured in major media outlets will give you tremendous exposure. While not easy to secure, it’s possible to get on the radar of those who work for these institutions, through effective networking and using the right pitching techniques.
7. Build an email list: When it comes to blogging, email lists reign supreme because the people who subscribe to your list are your real fans and dedicated readers. They’re also more likely to buy any products or services that you would like to sell. Get readers to subscribe to your newsletter by offering something of value, such as a free e-book or training or doing giveaways.
8. Engage in professional networking: Networking at conferences and other travel events effectively makes a name for yourself. While it may require time and money, it’s a good investment considering the number of useful contacts that you’ll be able to make in person. Online networking also has its benefits. Look for Facebook groups, Reddit conversations, and other forums where you can find a group of people you can collaborate with.
How to monetize your travel blog
While blogs are not money trees, especially in the early stages, it is good to know the potential ways of making cash for your efforts. Once you have a decent following and a steady flow of traffic, you can consider a few options. Different bloggers use one or more of these strategies to monetize and even create a lucrative business.
1. Banner ads: These are one of the most common ways to make money blogging. There are now a plethora of platforms that you can use to find advertisers, including Google AdSense, Ezoic and Mediavine. You have full control of how many ads to show on your platform.
2. Offering products and services: Selling products that your customers would be interested in buying can be another viable revenue stream. This may include custom merchandise, online courses, e-books and books. Your travel blog can also be a place where you can sell services, whether content creation or offering travel tours.
3. Sponsorship opportunities: When your blog grows large enough, you’ll get approached by people to write posts for them on your blog and publish them for cash. Most of the time, these posts include a link that leads back to their website. If you go down this route, it’s important to write relevant and high-quality content to avoid ruining your blog’s brand. Some blogs even collaborate with tour companies to write about certain destinations or experiences in exchange for money or free travel opportunities.
4. Affiliate marketing: These include links, banners or ads from a third party that earn you a commission every time someone makes a purchase. In the world of travel blogging, your clients will usually include any entity in the travel industry, including hotels, travel agencies, restaurants, tour operators, and any other relevant product or service that will draw the attention of a number of your readers.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Seline Shenoy writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.