Do you love to document your travel adventures? If so, a blog is a great way for you to combine your passion for travel with your knack for storytelling.
If you are an active (or aspiring) digital nomad, starting a travel blog could be the next logical step for you so you can have a reliable way to support your lifestyle.
A travel blog is an exciting business plan that will lead to tons of opportunities for free hotel stays, flights, and other products, as well as the chance to make a living doing what you love.
Although the past few years have not been great for travel, things are looking up, and now is the time to get started as a travel blogger. This way, you’ll see great results from your blog in the coming months as things slowly get back to normal.
If that sounds interesting to you, then read the rest of this review to discover the simple 10-step process for how to start a travel blog in 2021 – and make money from it.
How to Start a Travel Blog in 10 Steps:
People start travel blogs for a myriad of reasons. For instance, some just love to travel and want a blog to support their lifestyle. Others want to use a blog as a way to get into the tourism industry or become influencers – and there are dozens of reasons in between.
Here are some reasons why you should start a travel blog.
- Get Free Products: Travel bloggers typically get a ton of free stuff, including flights, hotel stays, sponsored trips, etc. For someone that loves to travel, this is a great incentive to start a travel blog.
- Make Money: If you follow the right strategy for building and growing your blog, you’ll soon be able to start making real money from your blog.
- Build a Following: For anyone who wants to build an audience in the travel industry, a blog is a great way to do so.
- Share Experiences: If you are someone that simply loves to document their travels, you can use your new blog as a way to share your experiences with the world and help others create their own.
- Grow a Community: You can use your blog as a way to build a community of engaged readers around the travel topics that you write about.
Step 1: Decide the Focus of Your Travel Blog
There are already a lot of travel blogs out there. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t start your own successful and profitable travel blog.
All you need is the right strategy and a simple step-by-step plan to follow – and that plan starts with deciding the focus or direction of your new blog.
This is simply how you intend to position your blog. For instance, you might decide you want to be collaborative or build a community for travelers.
Maybe your main focus is to make money from your blog. Whatever it is, that needs to be your first decision as it will guide the rest of your blog creation process moving forward.
Here are some ideas for how you can position your new travel blog:
- Instagram influencer
- Digital nomad
- Adventure junkie
- “I literally don’t have a home” travel blogger
- Travel the world on a shoestring budget
- Focus on things like travel points, insurance, travel gear, VPNs, etc.
Step 2: Choose Your Niche
2020 and 2021 have not been great years for the travel industry, but it’s important to keep in mind that the economy is an individual thing.
Some people can’t make it in the best of times and others build successful businesses in the worst of times.
If you are serious about starting a travel blog, this might just be the perfect time for you to do it so you can come out of the current global pandemic at the top.
Once you’ve decided the focus of your blog, your next step is to choose your travel niche. A niche is a smaller, specialized segment of the market that you will be focused on with your travel blog.
Having a travel blog that talks to everyone about everything will make it hard for you to rank on Google and other search engines as you’ll be competing with much larger sites. This, in turn, will make it hard for you to build an audience of engaged readers for your blog.
Instead, you need to specialize in a specific topic within the broader industry. In other words, pick a corner, and dominate it.
To help you jumpstart your brainstorming, here are a few ideas of travel blog niches to consider:
- Travel hacks
- Creating a travel diary of sorts
- Food / Reviewing restaurants while traveling
- Safety while traveling in various places
- Rating lodging accommodations while traveling
- Travel necessities, such as insurance, VPN, etc.
- Transportation in different countries/cities
The list goes on.
You can even combine travel with additional aspects such as cooking, musical festivals, ancient landmarks, family vacations, traditional cuisine, etc. Travel and Fashion, in particular, is a very popular niche.
If you find yourself having trouble coming up with a niche, simply think of the travel websites and blogs that you enjoy visiting.
Make a list of the types of topics they talk about, and this should help you narrow down what you might be interested in writing about.
Step 3: Choose Your Blogging Platform
The next few steps get a bit techy. But don’t worry, I go over the technicalities in a way that makes it simple for anyone to understand, even those with zero web design experience.
Your blogging platform is the system that enables you to publish articles or posts on your blog. There are many different options to choose from, including free ones like Blogger, Wix, and Squarespace, as well as paid blogging platforms.
Each option comes with its own set of pros and cons, and while most beginner bloggers tend to choose free ones, the fact is those platforms come with a ton of drawbacks.
Sure, they are fine for anyone who wants to get a feel for the blogging experience without actually investing any money into it. But, if you want to make an income from your travel blog, you won’t be able to do so when using a free blogging platform.
For one, those platforms have an unprofessional look (e.g. “MyTravelBlog.Squarespace.com” vs “MyTravelBlog.com”), which will make it hard for you to gain your audience’s trust – and people don’t buy from you unless they trust you.
Also, free platforms tend to display their own ads on your website and these may not even be aligned with the type of content on your blog, which many readers might find offputting. And, if the host website were to be out of commission, you would lose all your content, and all your hard work building a travel blog would’ve been for nothing.
So what is the alternative?
I recommend using self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org). Here’s why.
Reasons to Use Self Hosted WordPress Blogging Platform
- WordPress is free to download and use
- It’s easy to install with one click
- There are thousands of free and paid plugins to extend your site’s functionality
- There are affordable themes for no-code website customization
- You have the ability to monetize your travel blog in many different ways
- WordPress has an amazing customer support team
Now that we’ve established that a premium WordPress blogging platform is ideal for your new blog instead of free hosted platforms, let’s move on to the next step.
Step 4: Decide Your Domain Name
Your next step is to choose a name for your travel blog. The name you pick is going to serve as a foundation for your brand, so it’s important to take the step seriously.
Try to stay away from overused travel buzzwords like “Wandering”, “Wanderlust”, “Vagabond”, “Nomad”, “Roaming”, etc. Instead, find unique, non-cliché words that will set you apart from other travel bloggers.
When picking a blog name, you need to get creative while keeping some best practices in mind, and I’ve written an article with all the tips you need to help you pick the perfect name for your blog.
Here’s a quick look at the main points in the article:
1. Buy a .com Domain
There are a lot of different travel-focused domain name extensions, including .travel, .guide, .vacations, etc. But, the best thing to do, in my opinion, is to purchase a .com domain. It’s what the web is built on and it’s what your audience will most easily remember.
2. Choose a Broad Name
The travel industry is broad, and although you need to pick a specific niche within the industry, you still need to keep your travel blog name broad to give yourself the ability to expand in the future.
For instance, if you name your blog “Weekend Travels”, it’s too narrow and you’ll be limited as to the number of topics you can talk about since they’ll all be trips that can be taken over the weekend. But, a name like “World Travels” will give you greater freedom to write about a broader range of topics.
3. Keep It Short
Short and sweet is always best. Make sure your name is short and easy to remember. In an effort to come up with a unique blog name, people often end up including long, complicated, or even foreign words.
But that’s never a good idea. Keep it simple so it’s easy for your audience to remember and type your blog name in their browsers.
4. Use Alliteration
If you can, use alliteration for your travel blog name. Alliteration is when you have two or more words in a row with the same first letter or the same sound. For instance, your travel blog might be “Travel Tales”, or “Travel Marvel”.
5. Get Creative with Your Domain Name
Most domain names that you want will already be taken, especially the short one- or two-word names. This means you’ll have to get creative if you don’t want to end up with a super long blog name.
One way to do this is to use a thesaurus, type in each word in your blog name, and try to get the different words with the same meaning to find something that fits together.
6. Add Extra Words
If all else fails, simply add extra words like “the“, “club“, “hub“, “world”, etc. For example, if you wanted the blog name “Packable Life”, you could add “the” to make it “The Packable Life”.
7. Think of a Concept
Something else to consider when choosing a domain name for your travel blog is to think of a concept around your new website. Try to imagine what it could be in the future and how it could be branded. This will help you come up with relevant ideas for names.
8. Use Name Generation Tools
If you’re still stuck and can’t think of a name for your website, you can use domain name generation tools like Lean Domain Search, Name Mesh, and Instant Domain Search. All you have to do is enter a word and these tools will spit out dozens of ideas that you might not have thought of otherwise.
9. Don’t Purchase a Domain Name
This is one of the major mistakes people make when starting a travel blog. They see a name they like on offer for hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars and they go out and buy it.
That’s a bad idea. You don’t have a business yet, so why spend so much on a name? Rather, purchase a regular domain name for just $10 or $20/year and then spend the rest of your money on creating content for a new business.
Later, when you’re profitable, you can then consider purchasing any domain name you want.
10. Don’t Get Stuck at This Stage
A lot of people spend so much time trying to choose the perfect domain name for their new travel blog that they never make it past this stage. Don’t let this happen to you.
Use the tips outlined above to help you figure out a name you like and then move on to the next step.
Don’t spend more than a couple of hours on this, otherwise, you’ll fall prey to over-analysis which is super stressful and a waste of your mind space.
5 Examples of Travel Blog Names (and why they make sense)
Here are a few examples of popular travel blogs, as well as a short explanation of why each domain name makes sense.
1. Nomad Revelations: This name was chosen to appeal to travelers who want the nomadic experience. It covers a wide range of locations across all six continents.
2. Expert Vagabond: This blog has a unique and interesting name, which is fitting because the creator produces content of the same caliber.
3. The Poor Traveler: This domain name makes it clear that the blog is for people who want to travel the world on a shoestring budget
4. Alex in Wanderland: This is a clever play on words that makes for a memorable travel blog name.
5. The Points Guy: This blog is focused on financially conscious travelers, as is made clear by the name.
Step 5: Buy Your Domain Name and Hosting
Now that you’ve chosen your domain name, it’s time to purchase it, together with domain hosting.
A domain name is simply the online address that visitors will type into their browsers to get to your travel blog.
Domain hosting is an online service that hosts your website files on its servers to ensure that your site is always available online.
I’ve created a detailed walk-through of the entire process of purchasing your domain name and hosting.
First, click this link to visit Bluehost and follow along with the tutorial below:
Step 1: If you haven’t yet, click on this link and you’ll be brought to the WordPress Hosting page that you see below.
Step 2: Next, you’ll be brought to the hosting plan page. You could choose to get a “Plus” or “Choice Plus” plan, but honestly, that’s not a requirement.
The Startup plan is the cheapest at $3.95/month through my link vs. the normal $8.99/month. This plan has everything you need including 50GB of webspace (plenty of room for your files), a free domain for a year, plus other standard features like a free SSL and a secure WordPress install.
Feel free to browse a bit to decide the right plan for you, but rest assured that Basic will work just fine if you want to minimize your investment.
Step 3: After clicking into the plan, you’ll be brought to the next page where you will type in your new domain, or you can just choose “I’ll create my domain later” if you haven’t decided on one yet. The domain is the URL people will type into a browser to view your website in the future.
Step 4: Once you submit, the next page will ask for all of your information. That will start with your account information, which is self-explanatory.
Step 5: Next, you’ll have to input your Package Information. This is to choose how long you want the plan to go for. My advice is that you choose 24 months to get the discount and save some money, but you can go as low as 12 months if you want.
Step 6: Next you’ll have to choose what “Package Extras” you want. You can scroll over “More Information” to understand what each of these items is, but here is my own advice.
I would get the “Domain Privacy + Protection”, this makes it so that no one can tie your name to the domain name you create. To me, the only other one worth considering is “Codeguard Basic”. The other two I wouldn’t personally get. But choose what is best for you.
Step 7: The next step is Payment Information, which is self-explanatory.
Step 8: And the last step of signup is to confirm that you read and understand the Bluehost Terms of Service, Cancellation Policy, and Privacy Notice. Click the check button and then click “Submit”.
Step 9: Next you’ll be prompted to create an account and password. This is the information that you’ll use to log in to the Bluehost platform to manage your site and account info.
Step 10: At this point, Bluehost puts you through a short questionnaire to better understand your scenario. You can answer all of these questions, or click “Skip this Step” on the bottom. If you’re a newbie, I advise you to answer the questions as it’ll help your onboarding experience.
Step 11: After you’re done with that you’ll be advised to choose a theme. For now, you can just choose to use a free theme. You can always replace the theme later if you’d like.
Step 12: From there, you’ll be brought into the backend of WordPress in the admin panel. This is where you’ll manage your site from. You can add posts/pages as you see fit, but when you’re ready click on the blue button that says “Launch Your Site”.
Step 13 (Final): Your blog is LIVE. Just go to a browser and type in your domain name. Once you do this, you’ll be able to access your website!
Congrats! You officially have a website.
Step 6: Choose and Install a Theme For Your Travel Blog
Once your WordPress is installed, it’s time to choose a theme for your travel blog.
A theme is a design template that determines how your blog looks. It’s basically a pre-made design for your blog that allows you to create your travel blog exactly the way you want, with menus, layouts, a logo, featured images, and various other design elements.
This way, you can create a blog that is unique and appealing to your target audience.
You can choose from free themes and paid ones. I recommend choosing a premium WordPress theme as it comes with a ton of advantages that will help you build a successful blog.
Here are some things to look for in a good theme:
- Beautiful Designs
- Mobile Responsiveness
- Customization Features
- Well-known Brand
- Positive Reviews and Ratings
- Reliable Support
The good news is that all WordPress themes meet these criteria, and the best thing about them is that you don’t need any coding experience to build stunning websites. You can use a simple drag-and-drop editor to customize the different aspects of your theme.
To help you with your search for a new theme, below I’ve listed a few high-quality WordPress themes for building unique travel blogs.
Travel Blog Theme Options for WordPress
This is a premium travel blog theme for WordPress. It has a bold modern feel designed to attract eager travelers.
Among other features, it comes with Google Maps integration so you can showcase different map displays from across the globe.
It also comes with support for KML, a file format for displaying geographic data in mapping apps like Google Maps for mobile.
This SEO-optimized theme from Envato is perfect for all types of travel businesses. It comes with free plugins including Slider Revolution and WP Page Builder.
With one click, you can import a full Roam demo website and the powerful admin panel makes it extremely easy even for non-technical people to manage their website.
Trawell is a stunning travel theme with all the smart features for building a unique travel blog, including a wide range of carefully crafted page templates to match different personal tastes.
With this theme, you’ll be able to take your travel storytelling to a whole new level with flexible, highly customizable layouts that are fun to configure.
This is a professional theme designed for travel agencies, tour operators, and travel bloggers of any size.
It comes with a ton of flexibility for setting up tours, allowing you to include as many tour attributes as you want. You can then use this data for setting up a search form on your website.
The theme is responsive and has unlimited color schemes. It also comes with a ton of integrations with marketing tools like Mailchimp, WooCommerce, WP Page Builder, etc.
This theme is powerful and easy to customize. You can integrate Google Maps onto any of your blog pages with a single click and simply pin the destinations from your posts directly onto the map.
There’s a wide range of stunning post variations, including beautiful single post templates, as well as a variety of blog list styles. In the theme, you’ll also find eye-catching blog sliders and features for editing videos, audio recordings, and much more.
Step 7: Create Essential Pages and a Logo
Once you’re done installing a WordPress theme, the next step in building a blog is to create the essential pages and publish them so your audience can easily find the information they need on your site.
To add a new page, navigate to your WordPress dashboard and click Pages > Add New. You can then name your page, add content, and click “Publish”.
Here are some of the essential pages to include:
About Page: This page tells readers more about you. You don’t have to go into too much detail at the beginning, simply give them the basics, like who you are, why you started a travel blog, and what your goals are for your blog, and so on.
Contact Page: On this page, share information that will make it easier for your audience to get in touch with you, such as your email address, phone number, Skype, social media handles, etc. Add a contact form so readers can get in touch with you without leaving your website.
Create a Logo: Once your essential pages are created, it’s time to create a logo for your travel blog. A high-quality logo will make your blog instantly recognizable to your readers, and you can use this resource to create a free blog logo.
If you need high-resolution logo files, you have the option to pay a minimal amount to access them, together with a few other things that will help you build a stronger brand.
Step 8: Begin Blogging
When it comes to creating content for your travel blog, you might feel that with the number of travel blogs already out there, everything’s been said about all the interesting destinations one could visit.
But, that’s not true. While there aren’t that many destinations left undocumented, even the most popular ones have not been documented by YOU.
Your journey is unique, and if you can add your own unique personality and style, spice up your stories and adventures with your own brand of storytelling, then your travel blog will stand out from all the rest.
Here are a few suggestions for what you might write about:
- List Posts or Listicles: You might create lists of the best destinations to visit for readers in your niche
- Interview Posts: Conduct interviews with popular travel bloggers in your niche
- Image or Video Posts: Not every post requires text, and some of your blog posts can be comprised of images or videos from specific destinations.
When getting started writing articles for your blog, try to pick topics from different travel categories. Make sure you have travel-focused posts on the topics around your niche as well as informational content.
Keep in mind that people use the internet for answering questions and solving problems. So, share as many of your amazing adventures as you can, but also make sure that your posts help your audience in some way.
For instance, maybe you can help them create similar experiences for themselves by showing them how to get there, giving them all the information they need including:
- Which trains to take
- What stop to get off on
- How much tickets cost
- Where to buy tickets
… and any other thoughtful advice you can share to help them create their own exciting travel experience.
If you get stuck for topics or categories to write about, simply visit other successful travel blogs in your niche to get some inspiration. Check out their social media to see which posts are shared the most and which ones get the most engagement.
Write and publish at least 10 blog posts on your blog prior to promoting anything so that new visitors to your site won’t find a sparsely populated, unprofessional-looking blog. The more high-quality and diverse posts you have on your blog when you begin promoting it, the more eyes you’ll be able to bring to your content.
Pro Tip: As a travel blogger, you have to master the art of photography.
You need to take good photos and learn how to edit them because no matter how good a writer you are, your words will always fall short of describing a destination, and you will need to show your readers images of the place you’re talking about.
Step 9: Promoting Your Travel Blog
Publish and pray isn’t the best strategy for your travel blog. Fortunately, there are many different ways to promote a blog, and below I’ve listed some of the most effective ways that work particularly well for travel blogs.
Tell Friends and Family
The easiest way to begin promoting your blog after it’s live is to share it with your friends and family. This is a great way to get the word out about your new travel blog and start getting visitors to it. Ask everyone in your network to share it with their own circle of friends and family to give you even more exposure.
Social media continues to be one of the best ways to promote a new blog. If you already have profiles on different platforms, then leverage those to get the word out about your new travel blog.
If not, create profiles on the platforms where your target audience hangs out and start posting interesting snippets, images, etc. from your blog as a way to direct readers to it.
Pinterest, in particular, is a great site to use as a travel blogger. Your posts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook will soon be buried under newer, fresher posts, but your pins have a much longer lifespan, which makes this social media site essential for getting a travel blog in front of more eyes.
Groups and Forums
Social media groups and online forums are great ways for promoting your new blog. Simply conduct a search for [your niche] + [group/forum], and join relevant groups in your specific travel niche.
Interact with other users, and over time, you’ll be able to include a link in your bio or within posts in your discussions to get people to visit your blog.
Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog. However, it takes a while to start to see the results, particularly if you are a beginner.
To learn more about SEO, sign up for a free course early on to make your life a lot easier (and your blog a lot more successful) in the long run.
Guest blogging is where you write for other blogs in your niche to build your reputation and get more traffic to your own site.
Conduct a search online for “Guest Posting” + “Write for Us” or “Submit Guest Post“, etc. Make a list of a few popular blogs and travel sites in your niche that you will write for over the course of the next few weeks or months.
This puts your content in front of brand-new audiences and the more consistent you are with this method, the more traffic you’ll bring to your new blog.
Google is the main source of traffic for most beginner travel bloggers. But, if you have the budget for it, it’s always a good idea to invest in bringing a steady stream of traffic to your new blog.
This will help you to grow at a much faster rate. You can start with advertising on social media, including Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Twitter Ads, etc.
Step 10: Start Making Money
Once you’ve mastered the art of driving traffic to your travel blog, it’s time to monetize those visitors using some of the most effective blog monetization methods for travel blogs.
You can join Google AdSense or other ad networks like Ezoic, Media.net, or Adsterra, etc. to start earning ad revenue.
Once your account is approved, the ad network will begin showing ads to your blog visitors, and you’ll be paid for every ad view or click. Over time this will become a steady stream of passive income that grows as your blog and audience grow.
Affiliate marketing involves promoting other people’s products or services to your own blog audience, and each time a sale is generated, you are paid a commission.
As a travel blogger, you can join affiliate programs like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and Amazon Associates to sell everything from flights and hotel stays to travel gear, insurance, etc.
Sponsored posts are a great way to make money as a travel blogger. You can write posts or product reviews for other websites of businesses and charge a specific fee or accept free products, sponsored trips, etc. as payment.
Add a “Work with Me” page to your website to help you attract partners for sponsored posts/trips.
Just make sure that when you publish sponsored articles on your website, the topics are aligned with your chosen niche, otherwise, you risk confusing your readers.
As a travel blogger, you can monetize your blog by writing product reviews for different brands. Typically, travel bloggers get a ton of free products including hotel stays, flights, travel gear, etc., and you’ll find your opportunities for free things grow as your blog and audience expands.
Selling Travel-Related Products
Yet another effective way to profit from your travel blog is by selling travel-related items your readers will appreciate. This can be anything from e-books, courses, and paid webinars to travel photos, printables, virtual tours, travel apps, and more.
In addition to digital products, you can also sell physical products such as apparel, mugs, diaries/notebooks, and branded merchandise.
Another great way to monetize your travel blog is to create a membership portal where paying members can get access to special content and resources such as stock photography, videography, how-to guides, tips and tricks, etc. that you don’t publish to the rest of the blog.
This is an effective way to create a source of recurring revenue on your blog, but it does require that you create membership content on a regular basis.
A lot of travel bloggers supplement their blog income by writing for other publications. The travel industry often pays well, and you’ll find lots of work on websites like Matador Network, Lonely Planet, Go Nomad, Transitions Abroad, National Geographic Traveler, and many others.
In addition to freelance writing, there are many other services you can sell on your new blog.
For instance, as you work to build your travel blog, you will be developing a lot of marketable skills, such as social media management, web or graphic design, email marketing, SEO, and many others. Beyond that, you’ll be using additional tools such as SPF Authentication for emails, social media planners, etc.
There are plenty of people out there who are willing to pay for those skills, and this will help you earn money while your blog continues to grow.
Bottom Line About Starting a Travel Blog
Starting a travel blog can be scary, especially if you’re doing it now when the world is still dealing with the effects of the global pandemic.
But, with this strategy in hand, you have everything you need to build and grow a profitable blog.
And remember, blogging takes time, and the hard work you put in now will yield you phenomenal results in the coming months and years.