What is Affiliate Marketing? How to Earn Money From Your Travel Blog with Affiliate Marketing

Working out how bloggers make money is tough. I blogged about it HERE. But the long story short? There are many ways. One of which is affiliate marketing.

So if you want to learn how to monetize your travel blog effectively? This guide to affiliate marketing for travel bloggers should help you learn how to earn commission on sales of hotels, car rentals, airline tickets, and other travel services featured on your blog.

how to earn money from your travel blog with affiliate marketing

What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work?

You make money by recommending someone to buy something. Imagine you recommend someone to buy a new $200 rucksack for their travels, and they go and buy it. You get 10%, so $20.

If you want a more formal definition it is “performance-based marketing based on revenue sharing”. Where affiliate marketing is a way to earn money without having any specific product or service to sell. It is passive income earned as a percentage of proceeds of sales from third-party products and services advertised on your blog site.

Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers

As a travel writer, you will know how popular travel blogging is. It is highly competitive but it is also one of the most attractive and lucrative affiliate markets. Did you know that tourism and travel made up more than 10 percent of the global GDP in 2019, contributing $9.3 trillion to the global economy. Madness.

Do you want a piece of that action? Diverse affiliate programs and countless number of products exist and you can earn commission on every sale made through your blog.

How Do Travel Bloggers Get Started with Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a proven way to earn money from a travel blog but it doesn’t just happen. You have to put in the effort upfront to earn future success. It needs a planned approach, a plan that you should follow step by step.

Here’s a tried and tested plan to use as a checklist:

  • Read guides online to learn and understand the basics principles of affiliate marketing
  • Research affiliate programs that will appeal to your blog’s audience
  • Sign up to the best affiliate networks and become a member of the best affiliate programs
  • Find appropriate affiliate tools. These will help you monetize faster. (There are free tools and paid-for tools)
  • Embed your chosen tools into your website
  • Identify the best options through experimentation and analysis. 

There is no guarantee of success nor a high income, but by following those outlined steps, there is no reason why your travel blog should not reward you.

How to Learn About Affiliate Marketing

You can learn via various online courses, but combine your learning with your own practice. It will be a case of trial and error at first but the following courses are excellent for beginners and provide an introduction to and general information about affiliate marketing, They will help you avoid the most common mistakes and save time. Be aware of snakeoil salesmen though, they’re everywhere in this field!

Also read Affiliate Valley. It is a digital magazine covering all aspects of making money online and affiliate marketing. It provides guides and manuals (and case studies) as well as reviews of marketing programs and marketing news and trends.

How to Find the Best Affiliate Program for Your Travel Blog

There is no definitive answer to this. You’ll need to solve the puzzle by finding the programs which suit your needs and benefit you. Explore the available affiliate programs and try them out so see if they work for you.

You will find that in some cases pay-per-click affiliate programs will generate a higher income and in other cases, pay-per-action programs provide the best results for your travel blog. You will find plenty of ready made lists of the best affiliate programs on the internet. They generally list the leading programs within specific niches so you’ll need to find those that best fit your personal traffic and target audience.

To help you get started, here is a list of affiliate programs and offers to add to your portfolio and give you a diverse revenue stream:

Travel Affiliate Networks

An affiliate network is an intermediary – or interface – between publishers (blogs and websites) and advertisers. Global networks contain hundreds of affiliate programs covering many niches (examples are Awin and Commission Junction). There are also specialized networks, focusing on one niche (or few related niches), such as travel – the niche you’re interested in!

The largest travel affiliate network is Travelpayouts. There are 220,000 registered affiliates, 20+ programs and 60+ companies within the network including industry leaders such as:

When you join, you gain access to a range of affiliate tools including API. Mobile SDK, White Label Solutions and others. You also join a well -developed travel community who all enjoy access to quality travel affiliate programs, detailed analysis and statistics of marketing performance, and a large knowledge base which is invaluable to beginners.

The Best Travel Affiliate Programs for Beginners

There is a great deal of competition in the hotel and airline ticket niches and it may take a beginner some time to get a foothold which can be discouraging. It is a sensible idea to dip your toe in the pool of affiliate marketing in resorts and/or car rentals. They are less competitive than hotels and airline tickets but they still offer attractive rates.

Let’s first look at resorts in a bit more detail.

Resorts Affiliate Marketing

Although the audience that a travel blogger can most easily reach makes resorts a good option, you have to bear in mind that a reader will be suspicious if you promote too many resorts. They like to think you are promoting them because of your own personal experience. This limits the number of resorts you can reach out to in your affiliate program portfolio.

This will not be a problem if your blog content is easily matched to resorts and their locations.

Some examples of resorts participating in affiliate marketing are:

Anantara Hotels & Resorts

This company is a great choice for the members of your audience with an interest in traveling in Asia. Anantara Hotels & Resorts offers hotel and resort services for leisure and business travelers in a number of regions across Asia.

MGM Resorts International

MGM is one of the world’s biggest names in global hospitality, leisure, and entertainment with a number of high profile and instantly recognizable brands. The MGM Resorts International includes The Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, Luxor, and Circus Circus, some of the most luxurious entertainment resorts in Las Vegas.

Atlantis, Paradise Island

Although just one property, Atlantis, Paradise Island is a unique oceanside Caribbean resort in The Bahamas. The company runs regular affiliate promotions to draw attention to their facilities which include white sand beaches, the largest casino in the Caribbean, the largest open-air marine habitat in the world, fun water sports, a luxurious spa, and plenty more.

Now let’s take a look at car rentals as an affiliate marketing niche

Car Rental Affiliate Marketing

Car rental is one of the most popular travel services and this applies all around the world. Holidaymakers like to visit new places and go off the beaten track and to do this, they need a car.

Some examples of car rental resorts participating in affiliate marketing are:

International Drivers Association Affiliate Program

  • Commission: 20% per sale
  • Cookie lifetime: 30 days


One of the longest-standing names in the business, Hertz has been providing rental cars for more than 90 years. They offer the best rental car price guarantee and vehicles range from family saloons and hybrids to sports and luxury vehicles.

Budget Rental Car

In operation since 1958, Budget is an industry-leading car rental company that delivers budget-friendly prices, great value, and a friendly service. Budget Car Rental has the aim of being the best value car rental band in the world.

Now let’s get back to some basics of affiliate marketing.

How to Place Affiliate Tools on Your Blog

Affiliate tools help you implement and manage your affiliate associations. There are some fantastic tools that make life easier when you become a fully-fledged successful affiliate but there are some basics you need to know as a beginner.

  • Affiliate links need to be clearly visible in your text. The reader must recognize the presence of a link without difficulty.
  • Links and other affiliate tools should be organic. They should appear naturally and where it makes sense.
  • The reader must have a reason to click. Your reader should be warmed up to the idea they want to click on your link as it provides what they are looking for.
  • Buttons should always have a call to action.

Other points to note:

  • Experiment with your links and tools. Try different ways to find the option that gives you the best number of conversions. This might be changing the text color or font or a different way of placing them.
  • Do not limit your affiliate links to articles. If you have a comments page or a forum, post links here too.

How Much Will My Travel Blog Make From Affiliate Marketing?

As was mentioned earlier, travel is a hugely popular affiliate niche so there is huge potential for money-making. Some travel blogs regularly make thousands of dollars monthly. There is no ceiling – quite simply, the greater the number of sales, the higher your income.

Income, however, is your payback for the investment you make into affiliate marketing. If you want high returns, you need to put the work in. You can, however, earn a decent passive income just by dedicating a few hours a week to affiliate marketing on your travel blog.

To be a really successful affiliate marketer in travel, you need to pick the right opportunities for your audience and manage them with the right tools.

Good Luck!

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