What? You can get paid to travel? Yes. You can travel the world and get paid! We are living proof that you can make money traveling.
We have been traveling around the world for the past 11 years. Working in travel is our full-time job and we get a lot of questions about how we make money. In this post, we want to peel back the curtain so you can benefit from our knowledge and start on the path to making money while traveling. The first half starts with how we make money traveling and then we branch out to different ways to make money in travel.
Get Paid to Travel the World
Table of Contents
Over the years of being professional travel bloggers, we have learned what works and what does not. What I know for sure is that working in travel is not a “get rich quick” kind of career. There is a lot that goes into building a business and brand that allows you to get paid to travel.
- If you want to get right into it becoming a travel blogger we have provided this quick reference for you: learn How to Start a Travel Blog
How we fund our travels
When we first started out by cycling the continent of Africa, we had no idea of how we were going to make money. We had a travel fund saved of $20,000 from working in the film industry and this is what we used for the first year to pay for our travels.
We made a base in India where we could stretch our dollar while building our expertise in travel. It was easier to grow our social media channels and blog views by constantly traveling to new and exotic destinations that didn’t break the bank.
Once our flights were bought to Asia, we travelled on a very cheap budget. For example 4 months into our travels, I remember sitting at a cheap guesthouse in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. We only had 2 months left in our travel budget and were worried about having to go home.
But since we had been updating on social media and writing blog posts every day, we had a small audience and a few days later we sold our first ad. They bought 4 ads at $40 a month for 12 months. We suddenly had nearly $2000 to fund our travels for another 2 months! After that, we sold more ads and as we travelled, we paid for them through our blog.
Today, most of our travels are funded through tourism boards, tour companies, and brands or destinations that want us to promote their regions or products. They will take care of our travel expenses including things like our hotel room, meals, flights, and activities.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed by money, read a few of our articles and guests post on budget travel below.
- How to find free accomodation around the world – Think you don’t have the means to travel? Be inspired by Thailand blogger, Petz who shows that even with a limited budget, you can travel the world.
- Tips for getting started as a house sitter – Professional The Travelling House Sitters Brit and Jay share their top reasons why you should start house sitting right now!
Ways We Make Money Traveling
Our income in 2020 took a nosedive in the travel space, but we still made a six-figure income. That is because we have multiple sources of income. Even though travel bookings ended, we had several ways to continue earning a comfortable living. In this post, we share pre-2020 numbers and posts. We feel confident that in time, we will be back to where we ended.
Note: Some blogging income streams are only available to you once you reach a certain traffic threshold on your website but most of them you can apply early on. The takeaway here is to focus on building your brand and expertise and do what you love. As you grow organically, the money you make grows with you.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliates marketing has become a larger part of our income in the past couple of years. You can start this at any time, but its success is dependent on a loyal audience and search traffic.
What is affiliate marketing?
Basically, when you click on the link to a product or service that we recommend and then make a purchase, we receive a small commission. This is at no cost to you and we always only recommend products and services that we believe in. This can range from booking websites for hotels like Booking.com or TripAdvisor to products that we like on Amazon or renting a car at Rentalcars.com.
Income: Monthly affiliate pre-2020 income ranges from $15,000 to $20,000 depending on the time of year.
(travel was hit hard obviously, we’ll update when we are back traveling again but we have still been making around 1500 to 3k per month on sales)
2. Display Advertising
If you are just starting out, Google Adsense is a great place to get your feet wet with display advertising. But there are many Ad Networks that bloggers work with.
What is Display advertising?
Display advertising is where a product or service is advertised on our website through visual images like banner ads and videos on our website. Display ads are easy to implement and you get paid a small amount of money each time someone clicks on the ad. It may not be a ton of money at first, but as you build your website it can be quite lucrative.
Once you have built your readership you can apply to work with an ad network where you can get a better price for your ad space Currently, we work with AdThrive who pays us out by the number of visitors that come to our website and see their banner ads. We make a fixed dollar amount per 1000 impressions.
Income: With display advertising, we make between $10,000 to $15,000 per month (We now make 2k – 3k per month)
3. Destination Campaigns
Destinations campaigns used to be the main way we made money traveling when we were on the road full time. But we still do many destination campaigns each year.
What is a destination campaign?
A destination will invite us to visit their region and cover all of our expenses. They also pay us a fee to help them promote their destination through social media, creating videos, writing blog posts, and creating photography content.
If you are just starting out you may be able to get your part of your trip subsidized or even all of it paid for. But, to charge a fee for the services you need to have built an audience and offer tangible value to the destination.
Income: Destination Campaigns can range anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000per campaign. One-off social projects and smaller destination packages range from $500 – $5000. (These fees have remained similar and we still continued to work with destinations in 2020)
4. Brand Partnerships
We work with brands and tourism companies that we believe in and feel confident recommending.
What is a brand partnership?
These are usually year-long contracts where we discuss what the client’s needs are and what type of coverage we will give them. It can include social media coverage, blog posts, videos, T.V. appearances, speaking at conferences, or participating in ad campaigns. You are only limited by your imagination.
These are great if you have a brand or company that you already use and want to work with them. We have worked with brands like Allianz Global Insurance, UnCruise, American Express, Intrepid Travel, and British Airways, to name a few.
Income: Brand Partnerships can range anywhere from $5000 to $50,000per campaign depending on length and deliverables. (We kept some brand partnerships for a few months into 2020 but they eventually stopped, we have been in talks for future campaigns when travel opens up again)
5. Photography Sales
We license our photos for advertising and editorial use to Destination Marketing Organizations, (DMOs) magazines, books, and brands. This is always part of our larger packages with brands and when we do destination campaigns. We also sell prints to the general public through gallery shows and online.
Income: Print Sales can account for up to $10,000 per year. Photo and video licensing can range from $300 to $10,000 depending on the terms (this has remained similar in 2020/2021)
6. Public Speaking
Once you build up your authority you can apply to speak at different conferences. We have traveled the world doing speaking engagements which usually offer free trips before or after a conference.
You don’t have to speak about travel to speak at conferences, think about what your expertise is, and create a session about it. Be it inspirational, informational, or about a particular subject, conferences are always looking for experts.
Public Speaking can account for up to $10,000 per year. This can range from $300 to $3,000 depending on the terms (This has become a larger part of our income and has actually gone up in the amount for the year)
7. Digital Products
Another way we monetize our travel blog is to make and sell your own digital products. Since we get a lot of traffic to different destination pages we decided to make downloadable travel guides. The creation of these can take a bit of time but it is one of those things that I look at as “passive income”. Once you make it once, it just needs to be updated once a year and it provides income all year long.
- We know people that strictly make money selling through Amazon and their store. They don’t use a blog and instead leverage Amazon for sales.
Income: From our City Guides we make $300 to $500 per month. (This disappeared in 2020/2021)
8. YouTube and Travel Videos
While making travel videos is always a part of our package when working with brands and destinations, we also make an income from YouTube and Roku advertising.
It takes a while to see money come in from YouTube, but once we built a solid base and subscribers list, we now make a decent monthly income off of videos. And, now companies find us on YouTube and offer to purchase video licensing and offer sponsorship which can add up quickly.
- YouTube: $700 – $1000 per month – Video revenue went up in 2020
- ROKU – $200 – $400 per month – Roku went down to $100
9. Freelance Writing and Photography
We accept freelance writing contracts a couple of times a year. And you can still pitch travel writing to many publications around the world.
The prices can really fluctuate. When working on a branded campaign for a publication we can make thousands of dollars for one project. But when writing an article for a publication, it can be just a couple of hundred dollars. As you gain expertise, you’ll be able to approach publications with confidence, and soon, editors will be approaching you.
- Freelance Writing: 10k per year (We didn’t pursue or get offered a lot of freelance writing in 2020
- Freelance Photography: 10k per year – photography has been going strong and still makes a good income
The Planet D travel blog Revenue
Pre Pandemic we earned a very high 6 figure income. In 2020 with travel plummeting, we still made 6 figures and hope for things to bounce back in the near future. Having our hand in many revenue streams has helped us through these times. We never just focused on SEO, Social Media, or partnerships. By having several income streams, we have been able to weather the storm. We never put our eggs in one basket and that has worked well for 10 years. We suggest if you want to make money as a travel blogger or influencer, you focus on having several streams of income.
You have to remember this didn’t happen overnight and it is a ton of work.
I think if you are prepared for the monthly fluctuation in income, love traveling, writing, being creative, and are dedicated enough to be your own boss you too can get paid to travel.
Other Travel Jobs to Pay You to Travel
The ways we make money above is certainly not the only ways that you can make money traveling. We know plenty of other bloggers who do other things that we don’t. These are all great ways to add diversity to your income stream.
10. Teach English Online
We have met many full-time travelers that were doing just that. They make an hourly wage from $15-$20 per hour just by letting people practice their English over Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet.
If you are living abroad in a country that is cheap to travel to, this is an excellent way to supplement your travels and even live if you are staying in the right place where it is cheap to travel. Check out QKids and VIPKID to get started. Read Our full guide on How to Teach English Online
11. Teach English Overseas
If our travel blogging career didn’t work out, we were going to teach English overseas. If you have a college degree, you can make huge money teaching English. I know many travel bloggers started out teaching English overseas. When they had days off, they would go out and explore, write about and share their experiences and grow their audience. TEFL is a good place to start. read more: Fancy Teaching English Abroad in 2021? – Consider TEFL
12. Work on a Cruise Ship
I (Deb) have actually done this. I was a singer on a cruise ship and it was an amazing way to get paid to travel. There are many opportunities on a cruise ship from being a bartender, a waitress in the bars and restaurants blackjack dealer (I have done that as well and it’s a fun job) chef, barista, fitness coach, event coordinator. The possibilities are endless! The pay isn’t huge, but your room and board are covered and you will get to travel long term without breaking your wallet.
13. Work at a Resort or International Hotel
Looking to find a job in travel? Check out resorts where you can bring in your expertise. Get an education and you can work as hotel staff and management around the world! Whenever we visit high-end hotels, the staff is always international and constantly moving around. From teaching snowboarding (our Prime Minister of Canada did this for a season) to working in restaurants, being a part of the entertainment staff or fitness.
14. Spa Staff
Dave and I love to go to the spa and whenever we do, we notice that the staff is very international. Become a massage therapist and the sky is the limit. Resorts, cruise ships, and private spas are always looking for reliable staff.
15. Creating and Running your own Tours
We have many friends in the travel blogging and photography world who have designed and run their own tours for their readers. This can be quite labour intensive at the beginning but it can also be quite lucrative. The key to making this successful is to be an expert in the area that you want to focus on.
Once upon a time, only National Geographic Photographers and Lonely Planet or Travel and Leisure writers could get paid to travel the world. Now, the possibilities of getting paid to travel are endless.
16. Yoga Instructor
Many people are offering Yoga Instruction online. Use your time in isolation to become a certified yoga instructor and then look for schools around the world to apply. People go on yoga retreats all the time and this is an excellent opportunity to travel and get paid while doing it.
Unique Ways to Get Paid to Travel
17. Travel Nurse
Do you have a medical, or a nursing background – take your business abroad.
18. Social Media Assistant
Do you have Social Media skills? – become a social media assistant, virtual assistant or consultant. We have a Pinterest manager and we used to have someone help schedule our tweets and Facebook updates.
19. Website Developer and Maintenance
Know web development? – offer your expertise to help businesses and bloggers with their website maintenance.
20. Deliver Cars or Boats
Many people hire others to drive their car home from a vacation in the south or when moving across the country. If you have a licence, be a car delivery person and take a road trip!
Repositioning of boats is also popular. If you have sailing experience, you can captain a sailboat to its next port of call.
21. Work on a private yacht
I’ll never forget meeting Bobby in Nepal. He was an American working as a first mate on a private yacht in the Middle East. For his vacation, he decided to trek to Everest Base Camp. He said he made a lot of money as staff.
Do you know of another way to make money from traveling?
We’d love you to share your ideas in the comments.
Read Next More Ideas on how to live your dream
- How to Travel the World – The Ultimate Travel Resource
- Our best travel tips from years on the road
- How to Start a Travel Blog in 11 Easy Steps
- How to Be a Professional Travel Blogger – 12 Steps to Financial Freedom
- Discover Your Passion – How to Find Your Path to Success
- Travel Resources
- How to Make Money Blogging
- 7 Common Travel Mistakes First Time Travelers Make
We make money traveling through our ads and affiliates on our travel blog, as influencers on Instagram & YouTube, and as brand ambassadors. But there are many other ways to make money traveling.
We make a comfortable 6 figure income annually through these income sources.
Disclaimer: We do receive an affiliate commission from the books and courses mentioned. If you click through there is no extra cost to you.