Something I get asked about all the time is how on earth I ran a travel blog when I was studying full-time and working 30+ hours a week. How did I afford to travel that much? How did I continue the blog when I returned home and back to my full-on schedule? Because, in order to be a travel blogger, you have to be travelling full time, right?!
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The answer is, no. You don’t actually have to be a full-time traveller. You don’t really even have to travel at all if you want to run a travel blog. Sure, I’d say it helps, but truthfully, you just need to know how to make good quality travel content that can fill your travel blog, and make it seem like you’re an expert in your niche.
A lot of people may disagree with me here, and that’s fine. But I am a first-hand example of someone who runs a travel blog and doesn’t travel (that) much. Sure, I have travelled to over 30 countries while running this blog, but throughout that time, I also finished my full-time Creative Writing degree and worked a hell of a lot in order to pay for my trips, most of which were on a serious budget. That’s why I want to help you by teaching you all the best secrets to running a travel blog when you aren’t travelling. I by no means have all the secrets, but I do know what has worked for me, and I hope the same happens for you.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I might get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info 🙂
First, You Must Choose Your Niche
Travel is a saturated blogging field. You probably know that though, from the number of posts that show up whenever you google something related to travel. That doesn’t mean you cannot break into the field. It just means that you may need to niche down a little bit.
So, what does niche down mean? Well, basically, it means choosing one or two specific topics within travel you want to write about. Trust me when I say that it isn’t entirely necessary to choose one particular topic and stick to it, but if you want to be a travel blogger it’s a good idea to at least have one or two main things you can write a lot of content on. An example of a niche topic is ‘budget travel.’ Now, some would still say this is still too broad- but for me, choosing something like budget travel means I can also discuss money-saving tips, money-making tips, etc. Do you get the idea?
Don’t worry too much about what you choose- you can always change it later.
For instance, One World Wanderer started off talking about solo female tips. From time to time I will still talk about that, but recently, I decided to switch to more money-related tips!
Have an idea of a niche or two you might be interested in. This will come in handy later when I talk about travel blog post ideas and the types of posts you can write.
Second, You Must Look Like A Travel Blogger
One of the cool things about travel blogging is getting to tell people you’re a travel blogger. I love the look in people’s eyes when they learn I am one of the mysterious people out there who can earn money online through blogging.
But being a travel blogger (and any blogger for that matter) means you need to look the part. Especially if you are planning on being a travel blogger without travelling.
I don’t mean owning a tonne of fancy hats or the need to walk around with a laptop in your hand every day, I mean your blog. If you want to be a travel blogger, your blog needs to look like a travel blog. It’s as simple as that!
Some of the things I highly recommend you use to utilise your blog space and ultimately create a beautiful, successful travel blog include:
Hosting is really the only thing a blogger needs to pay to start and run a blog. It essentially means you own the domain name and can customise the site as you want! If you’re looking for a reliable hosting company, I highly recommend Bluehost!
A good, customisable theme.
SEO and great content creation.
Knowing how to write great content for your blog that is both engaging and Search Engine Optimised (SEO) is the keys to great success as a blogger. I use Debbie Gartner’s (affordable) Beginners Easy On-Page SEO Ebook as the number one resource to learn about SEO. You can get a copy here or sign up for her free SEO course to get you started. Trust me when I say she is a total boss and has transformed my blog traffic (and SEO knowledge)!!
Include great photos in your posts.
If these aren’t yours (because you may not be travelling), use the free stock website Unsplash for awesome stock photos!
1. Blog About Your Local Area
It’s not hard to be a travel blogger without having to travel. Honestly, the secret lies in what content you post on your blog.
If you are on a budget, strapped for time, or just can’t travel as much as you’d like to, exploring your city really is the most valuable thing you can do to find content for your travel blog! Most of us probably need that weekend escape to fuel our wanderlust and curb those itchy feet anyway.
I mean, why else would we be travel bloggers if we didn’t enjoy the notion of travelling?
The thing about this is, it can be really easy. You don’t have to go scaling waterfalls and attending every event possible.
It can be as simple as a ‘how-to’ guide.
Or perhaps a ‘top 10.’
Or just a story from somewhere beautiful you have been.
Travelling around North Queensland whenever I am unable to travel overseas has given me some of my most memorable experiences (along with some amazing content for my blog!). Check out the below post to see how I have turned local travel and simple day trips into content for my travel blog! My Townsville post is one of my top-performing posts on my blog, and in it, I literally drew on my 10+ years of exploring home! It took me less than an hour to write and has driven a large chunk of traffic to my blog for the last two years!
Blogging about your city will force you to get to know more of your town than just the best nightclubs and kebab shops. If your budget allows it you could review local restaurants, drive to the nearest waterfalls, go on hikes, explore some of the street art, go snorkelling, or discuss the best parks to visit for a run or a picnic. The possibilities really are endless- you just need to know how to look for those beautiful locations.
For inspiration, I suggest researching the hashtag for your town on Instagram and seeing what comes up. You could also search for other bloggers on Google, read the local newspaper, or explore Pinterest for ideas.
2. Plan Ahead Before You Travel!
As travel bloggers, we tend to lead busy lives. Therefore, one of the most important things we can do is to be organised!
A great idea before any travel blogger jets off on a trip or day-cation is to create a list of the blog posts you want to write. I’m talking, an extensive list of all the possible articles you could write on all the locations you are visiting as a way to gather information. I guess you could call this research for your blog- except it’s kind of fun!
Throughout your trip and when you get home, draft as many new posts as you can. You can utilise this content for future posts so you don’t have to stress each week to pump out a new post, or you can utilise the posts for those weeks you know you won’t have much free time.
For instance, when I was studying, I would always have posts scheduled for the weeks I would be in exams. Even now I still have posts scheduled at least two weeks in advance. That way, if I am busy or in a rut with writing, travelling, and blogging, I don’t have to stress about trying to pump out content.
The key to travel blogging is always thinking outside the box and being organised. If you can do these two things, you will have no trouble creating enough content to sustain your travel blog while you aren’t travelling.
3. Utilise Content From ALL Of Your Travels!
If you are a travel lover (and I assume you are because you are reading this post), you’re probably going to be jetting off on at least one vacation a year if your budget permits. If this is a struggle for you, why not check out some of my saving money or budget travel posts to help you travel more?
One of the best ways to make the most out of this trip is to utilise all your old travels.
What I mean by this is that if I have somewhere in the past I have yet to published on, I could draw on that content. For instance, I published this post on Bosnia two years after I visited the location. I have been to over 30 countries and have probably only published on about 15 of those, so I could draw on all my old travel for years to come!
Similar examples to this could involve blogging about childhood travels, or even a day trip you went on a year ago that you never got around to writing about. If you create a list of all the things you have done and think of unique ways to tell these stories, you’ll never run out of content to share!
4. Get Creative With Your Blog Content Ideas!
When I’m strapped for post ideas (and I very rarely am), one of the things I like to do is to read other travel bloggers blog posts. Chances are, there are other travel bloggers out there who have written something inspiring that you can gain ideas off (just remember not to copy it).
Remember that niche we talked about earlier? Try typing that into google and see what comes up? Those other posts can be used as inspiration for some new topics to write about. Again, be creative with this and don’t copy!
I recommend having a good understanding of SEO to help with this research step. One of the keys to a successful blog is to write awesome SEO content, and this requires knowing how to research what to write, and write better content than your competitors.
Again, I really recommend learning this through Debbie’s Beginner On-Page SEO Ebook. It’s affordable and teaches you everything you need to know!
Another thing I like to do is go back through my blog and see what other spins on the content I could take. How could I add to a previous blog post? What day trip did I take from *location* that I briefly mentioned in my last post but never expanded on? Have I provided any advice on things to do in this city? How about an advice post to help someone understand an aspect of travel they might find confusing?
The list of travel blog post ideas is honestly endless. Here are some of my ideas to get you started!
- How To Survive a Long Haul Flight
- How To Dress Like a Local in ______
- How To Overcome Homesickness
- 20 Most Under/Overrated Cities in the World
- 10 Ways To Spot an American Abroad
Example: 19 things to do in Tokyo
- My First Time Abroad
- What’s in My Bag?
- What Kind of Traveller Are You?
- How to know if Hostels are right for you
- Visiting ______ On a Budget
- 9 of the best ___ in ____
- 11 things to know before visiting ____
Example: A city guide to Kotor, Montenegro
Travel Inspiration & Tips:
- Hostels vs Airbnb
- If You Had One Week To Live, Where Would You Go?
Example: Your ultimate Canadian Bucketlist
5. You Don’t Actually Have To Travel At All To Be A Successful Travel Blogger
Wait, you’re telling me you don’t actually have to travel to be a travel blogger? Yep. You’d be surprised by the number of travel bloggers who write about places they’ve never been to. People write blog posts about the “Coolest AirBnb Apartments” and “50 Inspiring Travel Quotes” all the freakin’ time, and these don’t actually require leaving your comfy bed!
I wouldn’t really recommend doing this for all of your posts, but if you need something to write about or they fit into your niche, why not?
Do some research on your fav bloggers to find inspiration for content that does not require you to travel. I find that many of the above-mentioned post ideas are great for this.
If you do want to be able to travel more, but budgeting is an issue, read these posts to help you earn more, save more, and make the most of your travels!
6. Expand Your Niche
Ahh that word again. Here’s some advice you probably won’t find often on the internet. Expand the niche. Perhaps even create a dual niche website.
There are SO many bloggers out there who cover everything from food to fashion to blogging, all whilst starting out as a travel blogger! I even recently saw a page that was both dedicated to book blogging and travel blogging- and it looked awesome. Most of these topics will tend to tie into travel anyway, because hey, we all need to eat and wear clothes whilst travelling, and if they are done well, I don’t see why you can’t do that.
Whilst I find myself sticking to money tips, travel tips, and advice that will help you save and earn money for more travelling, for the first two years of blogging, I was all over the shop.
And that’s okay. If that’s your thing, roll with it. Own your niches, whatever they are.
As long as you are being true to you and providing valuable, reliable content to your readers, it doesn’t have to all be about travel.
7. Study Or Work Abroad
8. Guest Posts
Guest posting is a great idea when you’re struggling to create content for your blog because you aren’t travelling. Not sure what guest blogging is? Basically you can find other bloggers or freelance writers who will submit a post that is relevant in your niche to your blog. You post that blog and give all rights to the original owner. You can check out an example on my post about Madrid.
New content and no work. It’s also a great way to connect with other bloggers and to expand both of your blogs! Bonus: They’ll probably share their blog post on social media, which results in more people finding you and potential new readers. Win, win!
Of course, if you really care about your blog’s brand you’re going to want the guest poster to write about very similar topics and in a very similar fashion to you. But if you establish that from the get-go and know the person will do a decent job, it shouldn’t really be a problem!
I have just opened up One World Wanderer to guest blogging. You can read my guidelines here or submit a pitch to email@example.com!
BONUS TIP: How to Monetise Your Travel Blog
If blogging full time is a dream of yours, than something you are going to need to do is earn money!
Sounds amazing, right?
Although it can be time-consuming and confusing at first, earning money online with your blog is the best chance you have at taking your travel blog full time and being able to live out those dreams of joining the digital nomad blogging lifestyle.
But how do bloggers earn money?
One of the main ways bloggers earn an income online is through affiliate marketing.
This means, linking on your blog to companies you highly recommend and think will benefit your audience.
And the best thing about this is, you can do it to any blog even if you aren’t travelling!
If you are really interested in making your travel blogger dreams a reality, monetising it with affiliate links is the way to go. This is because you earn passive income through providing valuable resources to your audience. For travel bloggers, this could be advice on the best tours to take, the best travel insurance, or the best place to book accommodation.
By building a loyal audience, your readers will eventually trust your advice, and if they choose to use one of those recommended companies- you’ll receive a small commission on their purchase at no extra cost to your audience!
If you aren’t really sure how to go about affiliate marketing, I recommend checking out Michelle’s Making Sense of Affiliate MarketingCourse as it will teach you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing and help you earn money from your blog!
Some of the things covered in the course are:
- What affiliate marketing is and how it works
- Why affiliate marketing is great
- The exact steps bloggers have taken to earn over $300,000 from a single blog post
- How to pick the right affiliate products to promote
- How to increase conversions
- How to build trust and not lose followers
- Required disclosures that you need to know about
- The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing
- Different strategies to use to promote your affiliate products
- How to use Pinterest to succeed at affiliate marketing (yes, this includes the newest Pinterest affiliate rules!)
I earned back my payment for the course (and more) in under two months, so I promise you there’s so much value to her course!
Another way to earn money through your blog is through Ads. By placing an ad on your website you can earn money per click or view. Truthfully, this isn’t something I have dived into much as I have focused more on growing my readers and updating old content, but it is on my list of things to do in the near future.
Another way travel bloggers earn money through their blogs is through sponsored posts. Now, this may be something you MIGHT need to actually travel for, but if you are starting to get sponsored posts, I would say you’re probably already killing it in the blogging world and are ready to take your travel blog to the next level.
Sponsored posts can be through paid sponsorships or gifted sponsorships where you can either receive free products, or free trips. In my time as a blogger I have received several free or paid hotel stays, a sponsored trip through Central Australia, many sponsored travel activities, and many gifted products to promote! Most bloggers also use their Social Media networks to earn money in a similar way to sponsored blog posts!
Check out some of the sponsored work I have done here!
If earning money online or working for yourself is a dream of yours, I wrote this post ’17 ways to earn money online so you can travel more’ to help guide other travellers on their journey to being able to quit their day job and travel more.
I hope this post has helped. If you are trying to make it as a travel blogger without having to travel, you absolutely can!
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, email me, or DM me on Instagram! I would love to help 🙂