I have a friend who is a flight attendant, and every time I see her amazing destination Facebook posts, I’m in awe that she is being paid to travel the world! Now, while being a flight attendant is a fascinating way to earn money while traveling, this will not be what we will talk about today. Today is about an untapped and underutilized market – travel blogging.
Wait! Before you start thinking of a million and one reasons why you could never be a travel blogger, take five minutes to read what I’m about to share with you.
Allow me to be presumptuous for a moment and say that I already know two things about you.
1) You like to travel
2) You want to make more money
How do I know this about you? If these two things weren’t important, you would have stopped reading.
So why is the career of travel blogging virtually untouched? Simply stated, people wrongly assume it is too complicated and don’t fully understand how business expenses and tax write-offs work.
Talk on taxes
As a travel blogger, you can write off your travel expenses such as hotels, transportation, food, excursions, and more, but only if they are genuinely business expenses and directly tied to your travel blog.
Please note, I am not an accountant, and cannot and will not be giving you tax advice, but I will tell you that a qualified accountant can easily explain what you can and cannot deduct. Let me give you a quick rundown though to help give you a better understanding of travel blogging and taxes.
The primary determinant of whether you can deduct travel expenses is whether your endeavor is currently operating as a business or a hobby — regardless of how you hope it will function in the coming years.
Business vs. Hobby
Do you conduct your travel blog in a professional manner and keep complete and precise books and records?
Do the time and effort you put into your travel blog indicate you intend to make it profitable?
Do you depend on income from your travel blog for your livelihood
Are your losses due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the startup phase of your type of business)
Is your travel blog profitable now?
Another factor to think about when it comes to travel blogging is the IRS requirement that business expenses be "ordinary and necessary."
Ordinary expense – “common and accepted in your trade or business”
Necessary expense – “one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business”
For instance, it may be ordinary and necessary to book a flight from New York to Paris to blog about the Eiffel Tower for your travel article, but is flying first class necessary for a trip to write about money-saving travel tips? Most likely not.
If you have met the requirements that make your blog a "business" rather than a "hobby," you should be able to deduct portions of your business-related travel expenses. If you spent 60% of your trip on business-related activities and 40% on personal activities, you could expect to deduct a prorated 60% of your costs.
However, things become even more complicated when it comes to deducting business materials and equipment from your taxes as a travel blogger. Undoubtedly, you will need to pay for certain items, such as luggage or camera equipment, to carry out your work, but will those items be used solely for professional purposes?
If you use something for both personal and business purposes, such as your camera or phone, you must only deduct a portion of the cost as a business expense.
Another common travel expense that is frequently misclassified as a business expense is food. You must eat, but not all the food you consume is directly related to your travels — even if you are on a business trip.
Simply mentioning a location as a point of interest does not qualify your meal as a business expense. You can deduct a portion of your bill as a prorated travel expense, but you must be truthful and reasonable when doing so.
Clothing and accessories, on the other hand, are rarely deductible as a business expenses.
It all comes down to one question: Are you prepared to defend and substantiate all your expenses against your income (assuming you have any) in the event of an audit? Find an accountant that you trust and go through the expenses that you would like to deduct together and determine which are reasonable and which are reaching.
Now that we’ve gotten through the tax stuff, let’s get to the FUN part of why you are here! TRAVEL & MONEY!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link found on this site.
7 Steps on how to make money traveling
Step 1: Get to know your competitors
Earlier I mentioned that the travel blogging space, as a career, is virtually untapped. This doesn’t mean that it’s empty though. A large percentage of travel bloggers are hobbyists and not blogging to earn an income, they prefer to just share their experiences and not go any further. Then some want to take their travel, share, and take it to the next level.
Google search: Travel Bloggers
Then try to find out…
The who, what, where when, and why of your competitors
Who are they?
What are they writing about?
Where are they advertising and promoting on social media?
When are they posting (frequency)?
How are they earning their money? (Affiliate links, course sales, mentorships, ads, sponsorships)
Step 2: Find your area of focus
While you may feel like you want to travel everywhere and do everything, this is going to be too broad and will not allow you to target a specific audience.
Decide whom you want to target with your travel blog. Some ideas are families, couples, solo travelers, and people traveling with pets.
No matter what you choose, make sure that you are passionate about it and that it fits the way that you travel. If you are a single woman, choosing to write a travel blog about families traveling together is not going to be the right fit.
Step 3: Start your Travel Blog website
Select your niche
Chose a domain name
Sign up for hosting
Pick a theme or template to structure your website
Install your theme
Step 4: Find your keywords (SEO)
Want to get traffic to your website? Of course, you do! The best way that I have found to do this is to find out what people are already searching for on Google. What do people want to know? Once you know this, you can tailor your writing to give them the answers to the questions that they are already wondering about.
There are SEVERAL paid tools to assist you in your keyword research. One free tool that I like is MOZ, which allows you 10 free queries per month.
Say, for example, I wanted to go to Paris, France.
I need to be purposeful about this trip to write this off on my taxes, so I used Moz to see what I could write about when I go to Paris.
Using the keyword tool, I put in, “things to do in Paris” and I quickly found out that with a score of 56/100, it is going to be difficult for me to rank on the first page of Google. The search volume was decent, 11.5k-30.3k per month, so not surprising it is a bit more challenging to rank.
Ideally, I’m looking for something easy to rank on, that isn’t oversaturated by other bloggers on Google. Trying to find a score of 30/100 or lower. Keep searching for different variations of your keywords. To do this go to the main page of the Google search. When you type in “things to do in Paris,” Google will populate other terms that people are searching for.
Now plug these in and see how they rank on difficulty until you find a score of 30 or lower, with an acceptable monthly search volume of 1000 or more.
After keyword research, I set out to plan a trip to Paris with a focus being – Things to do in Paris with teenagers.
Step 5: Making money from your blog article
The easiest way for you to earn money from your writing is going to be through something called affiliate marketing. What is affiliate marketing? This is a system in which you refer/recommend a product or service using an affiliate (referral) link. If someone clicks your link, makes a purchase, or signs up for a service, you earn a commission.
Step 6: Affiliate-friendly programs to get you started
1) To get started on your first affiliate link, you are going to want to sign-up for TravelPayouts. I'm going to link where to sign up here for you.
Travelpayouts is a virtual partnership system devoted to everything related to travel. Over 100 well-known trusted brands, including Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Kiwi.com, collaborate with over 300,000 bloggers and content creators worldwide to provide travelers with the best offers.
After you sign up, you will be able to apply to all the affiliate programs in the Travelpayouts network. You will then receive a unique affiliate link for each program that you join. You will get a commission if someone clicks on one of these links and books a tour or activity.
So, if someone is searching for things to do in Paris with teenagers, and they click on your affiliate link, chances are high that they will book a tour or activity and you will earn a commission for referring them to the company providing the service.
2) FLIGHTS - WayAway
WayAway is a flight information source that offers travelers the best airline ticket prices. Users can also buy the WayAway Plus membership plan, which provides cashback on flights, hotels, car rentals, tours, and other services.
You will be rewarded as a partner for sales of flight tickets via the WayAway metasearch and purchases of the WayAway Plus membership plan, which is also accessible to users via the WayAway app and website.
3) CAR RENTALS – EconomyBookings
Car rentals in 150 countries with both international brands and local providers.
You earn commissions from all purchases users make on the desktop and mobile versions of the website.
The goal is to write creative and interesting articles that can rank high on Google and then monetize them through affiliate marketing.
See how easy that is?
So, before I take my trip, I would use the programs in Travelpayouts to book everything so I could write about it from my own experience. The best way to be successful in affiliate marketing is to promote things you KNOW have worked for you.
We live in a world where people want things easy and done for them. They like to copycat. Have you seen all the millions of tutorials there are on YouTube and TikTok? In essence, you would be planning all the flights, hotels, and tours, then trying them all and reviewing them individually for your readers. You are taking the grunt and guesswork out of the equation. They can then use your affiliate links, to stay at the same places that you stayed, and do the same activities that you did without having all the effort of planning and researching on their own. It’s a win-win!
Step 7: After the article
You may have noticed ads popping up on blogs as you read, or maybe even as a sidebar. As your blog grows in reach, you can then put ads on your website and earn money on autopilot. You will still be earning money if a reader doesn’t click an affiliate link!
Please be aware that ad programs will not approve you if the traffic isn’t there first, so make sure to rank in Google on several articles before applying. Ranking on Google with a new website could take 6 months to a year, so consider this as a side business until you can get steady traffic from Google.
The more blog posts you write about travel, the more Google will recognize you as a travel resource, allowing your articles to rank more quickly and higher in results pages.
You can make money travel blogging in several ways, including:
Note: Building a successful travel blog takes time, effort, and a lot of hard work, so it's important to have a clear plan and strategy in place.
I know that I've shared a lot of information with you, but remember to join TravelPayouts, you can click here to join for FREE. This is going to be the cornerstone of your income potential with travel blogging and not a step you want to miss.
Bless Myself Blog
Certified Life Coach, Mother of Five, Wife, Christian, Homeowner & Friend