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Travel Blogger Salary; How Much Money Can A Travel Blog Make? 

Checking Instagram and seeing people always on the road. Calling themselves bloggers. Too good to be true? How much must a travel blogger salary be to do that?! How Much Money Can A Travel Blog Make? Well, when I first started blogging back in 2010 I had read about a couple of people making money from their travel blogs. “No way, that can be true”. I thought it was another example of dudes making money on the internet by telling people how to make money on the internet. Making money from a blog just seemed to be too good to be true. So I did a little more digging about how much money CAN travel blog make, like, really?

And so I started my travel blog, and it truly changed my life. It allowed me to make $1m from my travel blog in 3 years, I visited every country in the world, I started a non-profit adventure company and donated over $200,000USD, I bought properties in London and Bangkok, ran a marathon at the North Pole, ran the 6 Marathons in 6 days through the Sahara on the Marathon Des Sables, and climbed some of the highest mountains in the world. How? All from my blog. Let me explain a little bit more how I did it:

How Much Money Can A Travel Blog Make
How Much Money Can A Travel Blog Make? ‘Working’ in Malawi

Starting my blog

Firstly, I’m awful with computers. You probably don’t believe that, but it’s true. I was working in Australia, saving money to travel, and I learned the super basic, easy way HOW TO START A TRAVEL BLOG and I started a hideous version of this blog onestep4ward.com. I had no idea what my travel blogger salary would become in the future, but right now it was $0. However, I knew that I had enough awesome travel experiences under my belt to warrant a site, I knew that I had traveled a lot further, to a lot more interesting destinations with a lot more crazy stories to share than a lot of the big names in the community so I thought I’d start sharing them with the world, who knows what it could lead to.

With my blog now up and running, I still knew nothing about how much money a blog can make. And I had no idea how blogs even made money! I remember getting 2 visitors a day but I persevered. After a month or so it was 20 people, suddenly you start getting doubts about whether it’s worth your time. A measly 100 people a month or so is all you have to show for all your hard work and investment. Maybe I should just quit, I’m not cut out for this at all.

At this junction I knew nothing about computers, I wouldn’t even begin to know about programming or graphics, I had never come across the terms SEO, google page rank or backlinks, marketing was simply a course people took at uni. But I continued nonetheless.

johnny ward travel
Blogging has brought me all across the world thanks to my travel blogger salary

How I started making money from a blog

I quit my job in Australia with some savings and flew one-way to Zimbabwe.

There I spent the best part of a year on an epic Cape Town to Cairo Africa overland trip, all by public bus. Soon my blog traffic was 250 visitors per month, wow – 250 strangers reading about my stories on the net, pretty cool. I still didn’t know what it was growing, but it was, albeit slowly. Then I got an email out of the blue, by an advertiser who wanted to advertise on my site, he offered me $60, to be paid via PayPal, and I almost bit his arm off. I was thinking this was the easiest $60 I ever made, I was in Ethiopia at the time and $60 would pay for my travels for the next 3 or 4 days. Another couple of weeks of silence, but I kept blogging. I was up to 500 people per month after 6 months or so, another advertiser contacted me, $100 for the year. Yes, please. Awesome.

Anyway, I continued through Africa and the Middle East for the next few months, then about a year ago I flew to Bangkok, and moved there semi-permanently. It was early 2011. I was determined to try to make something more of my site, as well as pursue some more online ventures. A year went in a heartbeat, and although I was based in Bangkok, Thailand I still traveled a fair bit in those 12 months – Malaysia (twice), Myanmar, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea, China, South Korea, all over Thailand, I even filmed a TV show for a Thai Travel Programme complete with an all-expense-paid trip to Taiwan for a month!

Travel blog income
Travel blog income

Growing my traffic and audience

By this point, I didn’t have to work in a ‘real job’ anymore. English teachers in Thailand get paid roughly $1000 per month (although when I taught there, it was more like $700). They can get $1500 if they have some experience and they choose to live in Bangkok. About 10 months after taking travel blogging seriously I was making around $1000 per month from OneStep4Ward.com and it was increasing fast, I started to build new sites, AspiringBackpacker.com (since sold) was the second site I built, I registered a company called Teach Dot Travel (EDIT 2020 -YET ANOTHER OF MY MANY FAILURES) offering TEFL courses in Thailand and recruiting teachers to English camps in Korea.

I now have 4 more sites in development (2020 EDIT: Make that 50 sites!), 2 ebooks I’m in the process of writing, and 2 very interesting companies that I’ll be trying to get off the ground next year. I’ve started to look for interns or employees from English-speaking countries to work with me, where I can show them how to do this too. (EDIT 2020: Ebook is done and available for free if you sign up to my blog, the companies are up and running – onestep4ward tours, and Mudita Adventures).

And all the while I kept blogging. Slowly but surely the traffic increased. Then the advertising revenue increased. Next, the social media followers increased. And my belief that this was a viable way of life increase. And my travel blogger salary, also, increased!

My plans (written back in 2012!)

OneStep4Ward had allowed me to not work, travel the world, maintain a great lifestyle in Thailand throughout and it gave me the free time to concentrate on other projects, which I’m continuing to do now. Last week was the most I ever made from one site in 12 days, OneStep4Ward.com alone generated more than $5000 in less than two weeks (EDIT 2020 – I first wrote this in 2012, I find it so motivating to see how much more travel blogs can make now!).

My other sites are generating money, my businesses (all education and travel orientated) are slowly progressing to a point where they’ll work, my other projects have got me excited and motivated and I’m currently riding the Trans Siberian train across Russia, with a plan to break my 100 country mark by the end of the year. (EDIT 2020: I finished the trans-Siberian trip, and finally finished every country!)

travel blogger salary
What’s my travel blogger salary?

How Do Travel Bloggers Make Money?

That’s the $1m question, right? I answer that question in more details in my ebook (sign up to the blog and get it for free). But in short, travel bloggers make money by:

Blog advertising

It’s annoying (sorry!), but even in this article, you see lots of automatic ads, right? Yup, that’s the bulk of most travel blogger income. You much do ads in blogs make? It varies on which country your traffic comes from, but very, very roughly speaking, let’s see 100,000 page views in a month could generate $1k to $5kUSD. 

Affiliate Marketing

That’s when you sign up for products after clicking on a link. For example, I only ever use Safety Wing for my travel insurance. It’s $9 a week, you can switch it off and on in 2 seconds, it covers me for weird countries like when I go to Yemen, Libya or Syria for example. And it’s awesome as insurance for digital nomads because it allows us to be in one place for a while. Anyway, if anyone reads that I use Safetywing, and they trust me. They may too sign up for Safetywing. If they use my link to get to the website. I get a small commission. Literally a couple of dollars. But it adds up. That’s affiliate marketing.

Sponsored Content

Brands pay you to publish blog posts, either for brand awareness or for an SEO boost.

Courses & Products

Lots of bloggers sell courses, travel guides, even travel products. The most lucrative is online courses. Lots of work once, But then 100% profit after. Some courses will change your life, most of them are lazy rubbish designed to make money, not to help people. Be careful.

Brand Deals

I’ve worked with Hugo Boss, Amazon Prime, The North Face,  Qatar Air, Fitbit etc etc. Sometimes they pay you for a blog post, or Instagram post, but the best is a longer term ambassadorship where they pay you monthly to represent them.

Public Speaking

Lucrative but you have to stand out. I get offers for this due to my journey to every country. It can pay $1k to $20k per speech. Wild. 

Tours

I run some epic OneStep4Ward tours to places most people won’t go. Not so lucrative but fun, you get to travel, and meet cool people who are interested in going to wild places too. I’ve met so many friends through this!

Speaking at InFlow
Keynote speaking in Istanbul, Turkey

Do you get paid to travel?

Actually, no. Not quite. Normally, travel bloggers travel at their own expense. They then blog about it and make money from adverts on the content they create. Sometimes, tourism boards/hotels/tour companies will pay for you to join, so on those occasions, yes you do get paid to travel. But generally speaking, no. It’s a myth that travel bloggers get ‘paid to travel’. Having said that, I travel because I love adventure. I do see a lot of new bloggers, and especially Instagrammers, who care more about style than substance. And they only go on trips when they’re invited/paid. They travel for a job, not for the love. So they may answer this question differently.

Iraq tours
Who would pay me to go to Baghdad, Iraq?!

Travel blogger income; What’s my travel blogger salary?

My goal back in 2010 was to make $33 a day, $1000USD per month. I had lived on about $700 teaching English in Chiang Mai, so I knew I could easily keep traveling the world on $1k a month. And in your 20s, that’s epic. As I got to my late 20s, I started t think about a roof over my head, some security, flights home to Ireland to visit family etc. $1K wouldn’t cut it as I moved into my 30s. So I expanded my blog, wrote more, started more sites, sold more advertising. By 2012, I was making more than $30k a month. Crazy times.

For the next 4 years or so, it was like that. It allowed me to invest in my future. I lived humbly, and the only stuff I spent money on was travel and investments. No Rolex, no sports car, no fancy apartment for rent. 

When I finished my goal of visiting every country, I found myself in an emotional slump. The anticlimax of reaching a life goal, a 12-year goal. It took me 6 months to snap out of it. I struggled to focus on work, I ate shit, drank too much, and achieved very little. My monthly revenue plummeted, over the course of 2017, to about $2k a month. And with my costs, I was in the red each month, losing money. I snapped out of it through exercise, early nights, and cutting out excessive drinking. And then pre-Covid, I was back to $20k months again.

But then COVID hit, and the travel industry was decimated. But that’s ok, it’s on its way back.

$2,000,000?

So my travel blog income? I’ve made over $2,000,000USD in the 10 years I’ve been blogging. I’m officially a millionaire in my Net Worth because I invested, saved, and never got flash even when the money was good. And now I’m building my dream home in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Finally, I’m going to enjoy some of that ‘travel blogger salary’.

building a house in thailand
My Chiang Mai house plans

Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use SafetyWing at $9 a week, and it's amazing. Also, it has great digital nomad insurance for people who are constantly travelling too! You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here

Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!

Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on johnny@onestep4ward.com. In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.

Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $300 - email johnny@onestep4ward.com to get started.

How about $55 free AirBnB credit?

Oh, one last thing! If you've never used AirBnB before, here's a $50 voucher for you! Enjoy!

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teach-blog

So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!

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Got a question? Wanna comment? I'd love to hear from you

60 thoughts on “Travel Blogger Salary; How Much Money Can A Travel Blog Make?

  1. Pingback: 旅游博主的工资;旅游博客能赚多少钱?-数字游民指南
  2. Pingback: How Do Bloggers Make Money (and how much do bloggers make?!)
  3. Pingback: How Many Page Views Do You Need to Make Money from Your Blog?
  4. I am appreciated with your informative blog, and I am glad to your honesty and integrity within your travel making content.
    Thank you.
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  5. Pingback: How to Find Freedom With a Location Independent Business — George Tampakas
  6. Hi Johny,
    Very Inspirational post. I just started with my blog called lubuzine It’s about fashion,food, activities and travel. Basically a lifestyle blog. I love travelling and food. Within a month I am getting 20-30 unique visitors a day. Just want to know if I can live my life just travelling and making money online. Is that possible? What you think expert?

    1. it’s possible, but you have to write more content, more sharable content and focus on your social media 🙂

  7. A nice read man, surely gave me motivation!
    I have a small travel blog that i am writing my personal storiew in, and even wrote my first guide:)
    All of you are welcome to take a look!
    http://Www.bangliftravel.com
    The thing is, i am struggling with traffic, i do get positive feedback from friends and fellow travelers, but i guess i just need to get more active on forums and such, anyway, thanks!

  8. To make travel blog is very easy. If you search in Google there is all tutorials about blogs. But if you take hosting company it will be more good.

  9. I remember following your blog few years ago and was inspired by your story. I resigned almost 2 years ago now from my demanding executive job to travel the world and with no definite back up plan. Even before I completed my 30 days notice, I received tons of offers from my former clients and former colleagues for a location independent job. I loved what I was doing and I needed the money but then to travel the world is more enticing. Now Im working with a less demanding and a location independent job while travelling the world for almost 2 years now. I also just started my blog last Dec, stopped after 2 weeks because I got discouraged lol. Im impatient I know! Then picked it up again more than a week ago, moved my domain to another hosting site, redesigned everything, put ads etc. I only have around 400 visitors (less than 2 weeks since i put it back again). Im not discouraged anymore especially after I got 3 sales from my affiliate marketing ad. I’ve got a long way to go still but reading this post keeps me inspired to keep going. Keep inspiring man!

  10. Wow. I’m sure you know what an amazing story your life is right now.
    I started a rebel blog over a year ago, but I was very lazy with it and mostly use it to tell my friends stories of my travels. Now I have gotten more into it and I’m trying hard to improve my writing and figure out the kin of content people want to see.
    I hit a point awhile ago where I just thought “what’s the point?!” When I was getting like 30 visitors here, maybe 10 there. It is so great to here a success story where someone else hit those depressing moments too.
    My life is all about travel and I really just want to share my stories and keep going.

    You are a real inspiration. Thanks you so much for posting this. It has given me some oomph to keep going with mine. I will persevere! Yesterday I hit over 130 likes in one day, a new record for me. So hopefully that means I’m headed in the right direction.

    Congrats on all your success. I love your blog and I wish you well in all your future endeavours.

  11. Hi Johnny! I was wondering how you went about offering TEFL courses in Thailand. I am interested in doing something of the same nature, but it seems I keep running into dead ends. It’s very hard to find information on the internet about the processes that go into it. If that’s something you don’t wish to share, I understand! Thanks in advance!

      1. Thanks for responding, Sarah! I already have my TEFL certification, just would like to be in the business of training other teachers. Are you saying my best luck would be to apply to TEFL schools as an instructor? Is there anyway to do it independently? Thanks!

  12. Hi Johnny! I was wondering how you went about offering TEFL courses in Thailand. I am interested in doing something of the same nature, but it seems I keep running into dead ends. It’s very hard to find information on the internet about the processes that go into it. If that’s something you don’t wish to share, I understand! Thanks in advance!

    Blessings,

    Julia

  13. What i like about you is everyone can relate to your story. I have followed your blog for a while and have seen it develop into what it is today. When i first set up my blog i had the same feelings of ‘is it really worth it’, and i remember reading this. Today i have read it again, and you are so right.. Readers multiple and advertisers come knocking. You are very inspiring and help people realize there dreams. Keep Travelling and helping all us other Travel bloggers living our dreams.

  14. Hi Johnny,
    That’s such an inspiring post. I’ve just started my blog (at http://www.inspiringwomenwhotravel.com) and am already loving the connections and anticipation of growing it to really help and inspire my readers too. Your blog is fabulous and you definitely inspire me to keep sharing my stories. Thanks so much for all the information. Jane

  15. This was very inspirational.

    How long did it take you from the moment you started your blog to the point of making $1,000 per month?

  16. Hey great post Johny, just loved going through your other links as well. Am also passionate about writing, but just wonder, if I can earn enuf money through blogging to sustain. So your post gives me a sense of hope. Will be really glad if you help me get started…

  17. Hi Johnny, As you know I came across your blog last year and posts like this have no doubt inspired a lot of people to follow in your footsteps myself included. My story is slightly different from most in that, I already had over 1000 blog stories on my travel blog, I already had all the travelling to last a lifetime, but I neglected the PR potential I had from my stories. Bit ironic considering I have a degree in PR! All I needed was a push and to know that others were actually using their blog to fund their travels, like you proved. I’m pretty glad I’ve come across your motivational Mondays and got in touch – when you started them I bet you had no idea how much readers like myself would love them. Do us a favour and keep them coming 😉 Safe travels from a fellow Northern Irishman, Jonny

  18. Really interesting.
    Where did the hockey-puck-upward spike occur, and how long did it take?
    Do you post about how to actually approach advertisers?

    Great post, thanks for sharing!

  19. Its nice to know my stats are at the same level as others around the couple of months mark. I’m not sure if I want to monetise, I really just want to have a lot of memories written down from my upcoming trip but I may change my mind in the future. Congrats on the success of your site, 50000 is a lot of visitors 🙂

  20. Hey Johnny,

    Thanks for the great post. I’ve really been enjoying your blog; you seem very genuine and down-to-earth, which is extremely refreshing 🙂

    A few questions: did you do ANY sort of marketing for your blog in the beginning, or was it really just the consistent publishing of posts that gained you notoriety? Right now, the only place I post my blog is on my Facebook, which is really just to let friends and family know I’ve published something new, but is there another place I should be posting?

    Also, how did you learn how to build websites when starting with so little prior knowledge? Trial and error?

    Cheers!

    Kara

  21. This post really kicks ass Johnny! Great inspiration and written in a way that I can really relate to. Starting out not knowing what page rank, SEO an code are! 6 months ago I didn’t even know what WordPress was! It was actually one of your posts on Motivational Mondays that I read whilst travelling in India that got me started with Goats On The Road, a travel website for budget backpackers. We are still in the beginning stages (only 1600 uniques/month) but we’re loving every minute of it and your motivation still drives us.
    Quick question: After content, what is the biggest step that helped get you to where you are. Guest posting, on site SEO, backlink building….? Any advice would be great.
    Again, thanks for the post and i’ll be looking forward to future motivation.
    Nick.

    1. hey nick, to be honest mate i think it’s my story that draws readers more than any SEO tips. 90+ countries, not from a rich family etc. With that i’ve been interviewed by lots of magazines etc so that always helps exposure too 🙂 Just keep posting regulary bro, google loves that, within 12 months or so, you’ll be flying 🙂

  22. This is just what I needed. I have 7 years of travelling experience and my friends had been asking me to start my own travel blog which I did about a year ago. (http://wander2nowhere.com) But I haven’t been putting a lot of effort into it thinking that I couldn’t possibly make enough money. But this article just inspires me so much to persevere. Thank you.

  23. Did you really traveled to North Korea? It would be great to see pics, just curious to see how that country looks 🙂

    Good post BTW!

  24. Sorry… me again. But I want to know if your blog was always ‘how to do this’ as it is now? I have a travel blog which is pretty diary like which is getting about 70 hits a month (I assume most are my family .. but that’s another story) how did your blog start?

  25. Very inspiring post ! Thanks for sharing this.
    My blog (http://debbzie.blogspot.com) is 10 months old and I’m still learning to maintain it. Because I know nothing about computer and the terms also :p
    Hopefully one day I could make money from my blog, just like you.
    I’m happy I found your blog today, it’s indeed awesome!
    Best wishes for you John 🙂

    1. hey debzz,

      i have no doubt u can do it – just stick with it, post regularly and really travel, that’s 90% of it 🙂

  26. It’s nice to know what to expect and to see that patience does pay off. I’ve been blogging seriously for about three months now and the stats are nowhere near yours, but they’re rising at a steady rate each month so I’m happy about the consistency. Having wordpress feature my site was a nice boost to the stats as well 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. hey edna, just keep plugging away and ul get there eventually 🙂 How did u get wordpress to feature ur site?!

  27. It’s always good to hear the blogs can make enough money for the bloggers to do what they want … many people just don’t believe it’s true 🙂

  28. I’m glad you made the TV show trip to Taiwan, because otherwise I’d never have met you! And I would never have been inspired to try it too! 🙂
    Cheers, Charles

    1. hey charles, thanks mate =) we’ll share a beer in bangkok soon! (when we both make it back!)

  29. Really appreciate the honesty of this post! Glad to see someone who is willing to talk about the business side of blogging, very inspirational! We started our blog in January 2012 (www.worldlynomads.com) and its great to see visitors slowly increasing and your website appearing in search engine results! Still only small fry for now, but at least progress is being made and you can see the fruits of your labour now!

    Again, thanks and good luck!

  30. Great post! Good on you for following your dreams, it sounds like your hard work is paying off. Starting my blog has been the best thing I’ve ever done, and though I’m only making ‘pocket money’ at the moment, I’ve made so many wonderful connections with people, and enjoyed the creative process, as well as learning about the technical side, so much. Cheers

    1. thanks sarah =) it’s been cool and now i can really travel indefinitely (or for a while at least :P)

  31. Great post – very encouraging and inspiring. My boyfriend and I are just now getting into travel blogging (with our site http://acoupletravelers.com/) in preparation for our backpacking trip to start in the fall. We have already realized that it’s going to be hard work but hopefully it will all be worth it! At the end of the day it will be great to document our travel experiences and have the opportunities to be creatives with photography, site design, writing, etc.

    1. thanks for readin vicky! it’s cool to blog, u can have it as a dairy AND it can make u cash, pretty good gig 🙂 good luck with ur new site, looking great so far!

  32. Thanks for the awesome post! My blog is about 5 months old, and I am approaching the 400 hit per month mark. It is good to get confirmation that my blog is expanding at a normal rate. No advertising offers yet on my end, but I am just going to stick with it. Blogging is a lot of work, but I am also having a lot of fun and it gives me a sense of pride. The rest will come in time. Again, thanks for bolstering my motivation!

    1. hey shanna,

      cool – keep pluggin away and suddenly it just clicks 🙂 its great fun and supports my cool lifestyle. Good luck! 🙂

  33. Yes, imagine if you’d known how this worked right from the start – I was the same (well, worse!) I blogged for years without knowing much about the money making side – not that I’m in it to make a squillion but it is nice to have reward for effort at least.

    1. Hey Amanda, absolutely, right?! How many sites do u run now? now i know it im determined to break the 6 figure mark from 10 hour work weeks 🙂

  34. inspiring stuff man. 100 country mark sounds like a big milestone and congrats on the growth in revenue! How many visitors are you currently at, out of curiosity?

  35. Very inspiring story! Well done and great to hear some positivity on the monetising side of things 🙂

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