Back in the day, I had a successful travel blog that averaged around $1,000 a month profit in years 2 and 3. I also know other travel bloggers who earned much more than this.
But for every one who makes money, there seem to be a whole bunch of others who make nothing or close to nothing.
What separates these two groups of people?
I have noticed 3 main mistakes that unsuccessful travel bloggers make.
Mistake #1 — They aren’t travelers
This may sound obvious but it’s not. You’d be surprised how many travel blogs are written by people who don’t travel.
They may have been to a few places and written about them, but that’s usually a vacation not traveling long-term.
As they’re mostly not traveling they end up writing generic blog posts about places they’ve never visited. They’ll write posts like “6 Things To See in Paris”. It’s just generic crap that no one is interested in.
Because they’ve never visited the places they write about, they only have generic photos to show. It’s just a waste of time.
Meanwhile, genuine travelers write about their personal experiences. That makes their stories way more interesting and useful. They also have their own photos, so you can see what a place was really like. Generic travel images don’t give you much idea at all of what to expect in a city.
If you want to run a successful travel blog, you need to go traveling for a year or two (or more). You’ll build a following that is interested in your journey. You’ll have readers waiting for every post you publish.
Mistake #2 — They don’t get off the beaten track
Long-term travelers will visit popular destinations just like everyone does. But they’ll also get off the beaten track and visit lesser-known places. Also, in popular destinations, they’ll go out of their way to find interesting backstreet cafes, restaurants, and attractions that the masses miss.
This makes their travel adventures worth reading. It makes readers look forward to their next post to see what they’ll discover next.
They’ll also share detailed advice on how they traveled to these places and all the mishaps they had along the way.
Mistake #3 — They try to compete with big industry players
This is related to the above mistake. If you only write about what to do in popular cities such as Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Bangkok, you’ll be competing with companies that have vast resources.
If I do a Google search for “things to do in Bangkok”, there are 113 million results. There are ads from large corporations shown at the top of the search results. Below those, there are mainly articles from large media companies.
If that’s what you try to compete against, you don’t have any hope of succeeding.
If I search for “things to do in Ubon Ratchathani” there are only 172,000 results. There aren’t any ads. It’s not too difficult to rank well if you have a few in-depth articles about that city.
Spend a year or two traveling that includes visits to these smaller cities, and you can build a big following as well as rank well on Google search.
I eventually sold my travel blog.