When I first started traveling I decided to document my journey via a travel blog. At the time I didn’t have any expectations about making money. All I wanted was a record of my travels and to help my fellow travelers.
It’s only recently that I’ve started thinking of myself as a writer. After all, I write, so I must be a writer.
But it wasn’t always like that. When I was in school, many moons ago, my English teacher constantly told me how my writing was average at best. I only managed to get a grade of “C” in my final English Language exam. That’s a pass, but pretty average.
This is partly why I never considered myself to be a writer. I thought of writers as great storytellers, like Stephen King. I was certainly not in that league.
Setting up the blog
But when I started my blog, I had to write. And take photos. But I was neither a writer nor a photographer in my eyes. But what does that matter?
To begin with, I set up a very basic blog using WordPress. It wasn’t great to look at, but it served its purpose.
So I set off on my travels, beginning in Southeast Asia. I documented almost everything. Like how to get a bus from A to B, what the hotel was like, what the food was like. It was fairly easy because I just reported what I did and saw.
South East Asia
For the first six months, I traveled through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Singapore.
In the first week, I got a handful of visitors to my site. I was amazed that people were interested in what I wrote. As time went by, more and more people started following my journey.
I had joined a few Facebook travel groups, mainly to get help, but also shared my posts with them. This helped grow my followers.
After a few months, I started thinking that I might be able to make some money from the site. At that point, I spent around $500 to get someone to install a better theme. My site then looked pretty good.
Adding affiliate links
Next, I added some affiliate links from Agoda. That meant that if someone booked a hotel after clicking the link on my website, I got a small commission.
And when I say small, I mean small. My first commission was for under $1 after someone booked a single night at a hostel in China Mai.
It wasn’t much, but I know if one person booked, then others would follow. I still wasn’t expecting to make much money. If I’d made $100 a month I would have been happy.
The website visitors started growing quickly. Within a year the site was getting around 30,000 visitors a month.
I gave the website another revamp, and added the Agoda link to a prominent position at the top of every page.
This is when my earnings took off. During years 2 and 3, the site was making an average of $1,000 a month.
After my initial travels around Southeast Asia, I traveled back to Thailand. I used that as a base to travel around other Asian countries. I visited Malaysia, Hong Kong, and South Korea These were multi-month visits.
In year three, I spent six months traveling around Europe. As my blog was fairly successful by then, I started getting offers to do hotel, product, and travel reviews.
In all, I got around $10,000 worth of freebies. One of the best was a free 3-night stay in a hotel in Oxford, England. The usual price of the room was $600 per night. I wouldn’t have been able to stay in such a place if I’d had to pay for it myself.
I also got a month’s free rail travel in Europe. That was one of the best freebies.
After three years, I wasn’t traveling so much and had got a bit tired of having to constantly update the blog. It was at that point that I decided to sell it.
I sold it through Empire Flippers and got $25,000 for it. It was a big payday.
All in all, I’d earned around $27,000 from affiliate income, $25,000 from the sale, and around $10,000 in freebies.
If I deducted the expenses, it means I made around $60,000 for writing around 400 articles. That works out at an average of around $150 per article. That is truly amazing.
It’s funny though that one of the best-performing articles was around 300 words long. It explained how to get by bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai in Thailand. It’s a very popular route, yet I couldn’t find out any info at all about the bus. I didn’t even know where the bus stop was.
That article averaged around 300–400 visits every single day for years. It just goes to show that you don’t have to write a masterpiece to get readers.
All this from someone that didn’t even think he was a writer. If I can do it, anyone can.
Did you know that you can set up a travel blog for just $33?
My wife and I will be traveling around Europe for 6–7 months from January, so I’m tempted to start another travel blog.
I’d be happy to make the same amount again.