traveltheworldforaliving

Travel the World for a Living! 14 Travel Bloggers share their secrets

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Do you love Travel?

Do you want to Travel the World for a Living? 

If you’re like me, then hell yes you do! Today is the day to stop daydreaming about a life of travel and start on a new path towards your goal. I’ve interviewed 14 top travel bloggers to get an idea of what it takes to travel the world for a living, and where it will take you.

It all started over a year ago for me.

I had been traveling for nearly three years when I met Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere, the #1 travel blogger in the world. Star struck, I asked him a few questions over lunch about how he affords his life of travel.

I wanted to know how I, too, could be a Travel Blogger and commit my life to my one true passion- traveling the world!

We had a nice, Thai-style spaghetti bolognese as I pestered him about every detail of his life. How did he afford this lifestyle of Travel? How many countries had he been to this year? The more I dug up, the more I wanted to know, and that’s when I discovered that there are others out there just like me, people who threw caution to the wind, quit their crappy jobs and set off instead for a life of adventure! Sick and tired of working 9-5, of listening to what others thought was best for them, these passionate individuals all have one thing in common, they travel the world for a living! I read their articles religiously, hungry for any detail on how to create a life of travel.

A year later, I’ve somehow managed to convince these Top Travel Bloggers to answer my questions, interviewing them about how they travel the world for a living. These are my heroes in the Travel Blog world, and I admire each and every one of them for their dedication and commitment to their passion in life- Travel. 

Here are their stories, and their answers to my questions of how they manage to pull off what the rest of us are only dreaming about. I hope you find their words as inspiring as I have, and make Today the beginning of a new chapter in your life; one where you stop listening to what everyone else thinks is right for you, and start living the life you were meant to.

Kate McCulley –  adventurouskate.com

kate-frog-hanoi“My name is Kate McCulley and I travel the world for a living.

I’ve been shipwrecked in Indonesia. I’ve taken a boob to the face in Istanbul.  I’ve hit on Jon Stewart in New York City, which got me subsequently mocked on The Daily Show, and I’ve been an extra in a really, really bad German movieIn September 2010, at the age of 26, I quit my job to travel Southeast Asia for six months. Six months turned into three years across more than 45 countries.”

How long have you been a Travel Blogger? I’ve been blogging for more than 11 years, and Adventurous Kate is almost 4 years old.

How many countries have you been to in the past year? I’ve been to 22 countries i the past year.

How do you afford a Life of Travel?

I’ve been making my entire income online since 2010. Over time, my earning methods have changed significantly. Today my income comes from several areas. On the blog, I make money through the following methods:

1) Advertising. Today this takes the form of A) branded content posts, meaning posts that advertise products; B) banner and video ads; and C) social media and newsletter promotion. I reject at least 98% of advertising offers I receive and only select ones that I think will be of value to my readers. Posts that contain branded content contain a disclosure stating so.

2) Sponsorship. While the vast majority of my travels are at my own expense, sometimes travel companies and DMOs (destination marketing organizations, like tourism boards) pay me to visit their destinations or take part in their activities. They cover my expenses and pay me for my time; they do not pay for coverage, as coverage is provided strictly at my editorial discretion. I reject the vast majority of sponsored travel offers and only accept the ones that genuinely interest me.While I receive monetary compensation for most of these trips, I occasionally take part in unpaid trips and activities. Posts that cover sponsored travel contain a disclosure stating so.

3) Affiliate marketing. I link to products I recommend and earn a small commission if people buy them. Most of my affiliate earnings come from Amazon. Off the blog, I make money through the following methods:

4) Freelance Writing. I write regularly for sites including Answers.com and Eurail.com, along with publications like The Boston Globe and TNT Magazine.

5) Consulting. I consult in three areas: blogging, travel, and social media. I help bloggers build better blogs, I help readers plan their travels, and I help small businesses manage their social media.

6) Public speaking. I take on a variety of speaking engagements, mostly at conferences. Sometimes I get paid for them; sometimes I speak in exchange for free entry, travel, and lodging.

What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you? I have days blocked out into different tasks, from writing blog posts to pitching publications to doing my regular writing gigs.

Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket? I pay for nearly everything out of pocket. I do press trips on occasion, but the vast majority of travel I do is planned, organized, and paid in full by myself.

Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels? I consult privately.

What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger? Spend the first year working like mad. Post prolifically. Comment everywhere. Guest post anywhere that will take you. Build connections on social media.

Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers? Remember that it’s not about you. It’s about your readers. Produce content for them, not for your own benefit.

Turner Barr – aroundtheworldin80jobs.com

“Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

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Fed up with filing TPS reports and refusing to do tedious and meaningless shit that no human being should ever care about, I set out abroad 6 years ago doing different jobs around the world with the goal of finding a way to work and live overseas full-time.  This website hopes to cut out the romanticized fantasies  about what it takes to live life overseas and aims to show you how to find meaningful experiences and gainful employment abroad. From doing feel good volunteer jobs with sick elephants to bizarre odd jobs in strange outfits that offer once in a lifetime unique cultural experiences, to getting your hustle on to find money making jobs abroad that keep the lights on, I hope that I can show you that it is possible to take the less traveled, unknown road and come out alive.”

How long have you been a Travel Blogger?

Well – this is a loaded question, as I don’t really consider myself a travel blogger. I am just a guy who travels, finds interesting works, smacks buttons on a keyboard or hits a record button – and occasionally something intelligible (I hope) comes out. But for brevity sake – I have been traveling for 7 years, and producing content on the inter-webs for 2 years.

How many countries have you been to in the past year? This year has been a light travel year in terms of countries, as I am almost knocking down 30s doorstep and my old bones don’t like to carry backpacks, but something like 12 countries. I lived in Bangkok the first 7 months of the year.

How do you afford a Life of Travel? Some of the jobs I find on the road pay the bills, while others are more for personal fulfillment. I used to dabble in trading equities (stocks and options) online, and also I edit academic papers for European business professors on occasion.

What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you? There is no such thing as a typical day for me really, as it depends on what job I am currently on. This past year a day could be walking tigers and corralling tourists (volunteering at the shady as fuck Tiger Temple), cleaning elephant excrement (volunteering at elephant nature park), or most recently, working like crazy to find internet, shooting video and fundraising for children in the Philippines for Christmas (Toy Drive Fundraiser: Executive Elf). But when I am not on a mission, I try to work online a few hours a day, read books, news, and spend entirely too much time on Facebook. I will also go out and about and explore wherever I am at. I like strolls. It seems like an adult thing to do.

Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket? I pretty much always pay for trips out of my own pocket. I like to write what I want to write and only work with people and projects that I believe in. Thus, I am a picky bastard. Probably to my detriment but that’s just how I roll.

Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels? Nope – I don’t really have anything to sell and do not really affiliate any products. If I don’t use it or believe in it, I don’t advocate it.

What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger? Good question. I think being interesting and having something unique to write about. I know that isn’t the magic pill people want to hear. People want to hear about SEO or social media tactics or link to other bloggers or whatever. But the reality is that everyday 100 more travel bloggers spring up, so do you want to be part of the pack or blaze your own path? So write, photograph, video – and make beautiful things that if you weren’t trying to be a “blogger” and self promote would actually want to share. Improve, evolve, get feedback and then improve some more. There are no rules and there is no formula – the true self always comes through in the end, so don’t be afraid to do things your way.

Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers? Be authentic. Be you. Be leery of anyone who talks about “living the dream” and how everyone should have a blog or whatever. Do what you like and are inspired by or you will lose interest and die broken hearted. Do it for you. Write meaningful, interesting stuff that doesn’t just fill up space on the Internet. Help people. Do big things not for page clicks but because they are awesome. Action speaks louder than words, so practice what you preach. And lastly, enjoy the process and have fun. Don’t miss out on enjoying the travel journey because you got too wrapped up in keeping up with the Joneses.

Caroline Makepeace - ytravelblog.com

Caz Makepeace is a serial traveller, blogger and sunset mojito drinker. She is the co-founder of Australia’s biggest travel blog with her husband Craig. They are currently road tripping around Australia with their two daughters.  They share their travel lifestyle and tips on their travel blog. You can also connect on Google+, Facebook and Pinterest.

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How long have you been a Travel Blogger? It will be four years this April.

How many countries have you been to in the past year? 
Three- Australia, Thailand, Dubai
How do you afford a Life of Travel?
For us it has always been to make it a working holiday. You have to work and earn an income anyway, so why not do it in another country and make every day an adventure. It’s how we have managed to travel for over 15 years. And it is how we are now travelling around one of the most expensive countries in the world. Except this time, it’s our own business so we set all the rules.
We earn an income off our blog in the following ways: freelance content creation, advertising, sponsored posts, social media campaigns, affiliate sales and our own product sales.
What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you?
We usually rise early before the girls awake, to do a few hours of work. Once they are up, our day revolves around work, homeschooling, exploring and playing. It involves a lot of walking, bike riding, outdoor adventure, sight seeing, beach and cafe bumming, and plays in the park. Once the girls are in bed of an evening, we open the computer for a few more hours of work.
 Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket? 
Yes. Of course. We try to mix it up as much as possible. We still want to have the authentic story of us travelling and paying our own way. But, we also do need to reduce our costs as this is our business and we do write a lot about our experience in order to help others do the same. For that reason we do also get sponsored experiences.
This has only been for the past 2 years with our blog. Before that we travelled for 13 years paying for everything ourselves.
Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels?
Yes. We sell our own ebook: How to create the travel life you love without spending a fortune. We have another ebook due to be released mid February and more planned for the coming year.
I’ll also be opening a mentoring group next month.
What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger?
You have to offer value. Don’t make it about you. How can you inspire your readers and then inform them. How can you make a difference in their lives? Show up for them, listen to their worries and offer them solutions. Care about them and talk their lingo. You have to let them connect with you
Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers? 
Know what your greater vision is. Where do you want blogging to take you in 5 years time? You have to be crystal clear on what that is and every decision you make needs to move you towards that.
You also have to have a purpose that is greater than yourself. How is your blog going to make a difference to others? How can you best serve?
 
If you know the answers to these questions and you commit to your success-and by that I mean total commitment through your daily actions and having the determination to keep overcoming the hurdles. Don’t make travel blogging about getting free travel. Honestly, it’s the worst way to travel and you don’t serve anyone if that is your purpose for having a blog. That’s a long and empty road with short term success.

Gary Arndt – everything-everywhere.com

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How long have you been a Travel Blogger?
I started my blog in October 2006, so just over 7 years.
How many countries have you been to in the past year?
I set foot in 44 different countries and territories last year, including layovers.
How do you afford a Life of Travel?
Initially I did it from my savings. Now I am able to travel from sponsorships gained through my website.
What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you?
Because I travel so often, it is hard to ever have anything typical. I suppose if I could somehow make an average day, it would be walking up, answering email, going out and exploring and taking photos, coming back to my hotel room at night to answer more emails and do some social media.
Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket?
Yes. Quite often. About 80% of my trip in the Lesser Antilles this year was paid for by myself. Most conferences I attend. I also take working breaks of many weeks which I’m on my own.
Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels? 
Other than an app in the iTunes store (which really doesn’t sell well) I don’t currently have any products.
What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger?
Travel. Go to interesting places and don’t stop doing it.
Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers?
Don’t expect any short term success. Be prepared to do this for years before you really start to get traction.

Johnny Ward – onestep4ward.com

Johnny-at-Macau-bungee“Hey guys, I’m Johnny Ward, Generation Y, Irish guy who just knew that there was more to life than a 40+ hour work week, a bland social calendar and a 2 week break in the sun each year.  Now I work 10 hour weeks from my laptop anywhere on the planet, traveling through more than 100 countries across the globe, ticking things off my evergrowing bucket list faster than I can add them. I’m a huge advocate of lifestyle design, I’ve redesigned my lifestyle to allow me to follow my dreams, now I’m hoping I can help you follow yours…”
How long have you been a Travel Blogger?
I started my blog in 2009 while living in Australia on a working-holiday visa. I didn’t really take it ‘seriously’ until the middle of 2010 though.
How many countries have you been to in the past year?
Oh wow, let me count…. 25 maybe?
How do you afford a Life of Travel?
I run a company step4wardmedia.com where I have a great team who work with me. I manage it from my laptop which means I’m free to travel!
What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you?
I spend 3 or 4 months in Thailand per year, and 8 or 9 on the road. When I’m in Thailand it’s normally wake up, then head to thai class for 3 or 4 hours followed by a session in the gym with my PT. Lunch with friends then in the evening do a few hours work before maybe the movies or party time. On the road it’s normally wake up around 8, do my work emails for an hour or two. Spend the day sight-seeing/hiking/bungee jumping whatever, then back for dinner – then a couple of hours emails/management on my laptop then an evening activity.
Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket?
Of course! 99.5% of the time!
Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels? 
Nope, not at the moment although I am thinking about it.
What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger?
To not be yet another generic blogger talking about South East Asia, western Europe and Australia. There’s one million and one of those already, and if i read another story about a middle-class girl/guy/couple who “sold it all” and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand I may have to stop using the internet!

Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers?

Only do it if you’re passionate about it. Don’t expect to make a fortune, those days have long gone – if you stick at it for a couple of years, you can make enough to budget travel if you’re lucky but only then if you create products etc. Google is evolving and owning one travel blog is not a recipe for success.

Derek Earl Baron -  wanderingearl.com 

“In 1999, I left home for a 3-month post-graduation trip to Southeast Asia and today, over 14 years later, that trip has still yet to end.

wanderingearl The non-stop adventure has involved over 80 countries, with a mix of backpacking, volunteering, danger travel, working on board cruise ships, teaching English and living in various destinations around the world. I created WanderingEarl.com in 2009 and ever since 2010, I’ve been a professional travel blogger, working full-time on my site as I continue to wander, lead my own small-group tours and ensure that travel continues to play a major role in my life.”

How long have you been a Travel Blogger? I began at the end of 2009, so just over 4 years.

How many countries have you been to in the past year? 15
How do you afford a Life of Travel? I’ve kept this lifestyle through many means – teaching English in Thailand, working as a Tour Manager on board cruise ships and now through my blog, where I receive income through eBooks, tours I lead, a few sponsors, blog consulting and travel coaching.
What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you? It all depends on where I am. Normally, I’ll travel for 2 months or so and then I’ll stay in one place for 1 month in order to catch up with work. And when I’m catching up with work, I’m normally on my laptop 8-10 hours per day, 6 days per week, writing posts, answering emails, replying to comments, updating my eBooks, organizing my tours and working on several other projects I’m a part of as well. When I’m out there traveling, I’ll generally work about 3 hours per day, just enough to cover the essentials, so that I can concentrate more on my actual travel experiences.
Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket? I have paid for all of my travels out of my own pocket except for two trips (South Africa and North Korea) that were offered to me free of charge. The reason I turn down the offers for free travel (press trips, accommodation, tours, etc.), and the reason I prefer to pay for my own travels, is so that my readers know they will always receive completely honest, balanced information about the destinations I visit and services I use. I find this difficult to achieve if you are not paying for your own travels.
Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels? I do have a couple of travel-related eBooks (How to Work on a Cruise Ship and How to Live a Life of Travel) that I do sell on my site and I also organize and lead small-group tours for my readers to various countries around the world every couple of months (Wandering Earl Tours).
What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger? Be honest, be yourself and always put your readers first. Forget about earning money, forget about advertising and all that stuff when you start out. Just focus on providing content that either entertains, challenges or solves problems for your readers. If you don’t accomplish one of those things, it will be very difficult to convince visitors to your site to become regular readers. And another key is to be unique and the best way to be unique is to open yourself up. For example, there are thousands of posts about India on the internet but there can only be one post about how you felt while in India, the challenges you faced, the lessons you learned specifically. Reveal yourself to your readers and it will give your site a true personality that they will want to follow.
Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers? I can only stress the importance of focusing on your audience and aiming to create a site that actually benefits your readers. Also, once you have an audience that is growing steadily, and you start to receive comments on your posts and emails as well, then you should look at those comments/emails in order to understand what kind of questions your readers are asking, what they hope to gain from your site and why they are following you in the first place. This is the perfect market research and you can use this information to then create even more beneficial posts based on what they say. And finally, don’t follow someone else’s blogging style because what works for one person when it comes to blogging, might not work for someone else. There are millions of ways to have a ‘successful’ travel blog and there are no set rules that you must follow. Just be yourself, pay attention to your audience and create your own unique path forward.

Lois Yasay - wearesolesisters.com

loisyasayHow long have you been a Travel Blogger? 3 years

How many countries have you been to in the past year? 5

How do you afford a Life of Travel? I live on as little as I possibly can. I don’t waste my money on cellphone bills, booze or clothing. I make a living from my blog, speaking at workshops and retreats, doing online campaigns and social media promotion for clients as well as an online shop that sells travel items. I tend to stay in places for longer intervals. I hardly make short term trips anymore unless they are for work on the blog. Most of the time, I pick a country, find a home base and integrate myself as a local as much as I can. I realize it’s the most cost effective way to travel.

What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you? I usually wake up late, around 11AM or noon. I have a full, healthy breakfast. I read a good book or spend a few hours surfing, depending on where I am. Or I take naps. My online work day doesn’t usually start until 4 or 5PM. I usually find a quiet space where I can still see the sky and start writing or sending emails. I know it sounds very leisurely. But there are days when I work until 3 in the morning and even on weekends. Every day is an opportunity to do what I love.

Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket? Only about 30% of my trips are sponsored, I pay for the rest myself.

Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels? I sell clothing and other travel items on our online shop.

What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger? Do good work and put it where people can see it. Make sure people also see your struggles as well as your wins. More often than not, they can relate to the former. Do something so extraordinary that others are inspired to do the same.

Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers? Don’t stop. Whether your audience is 2 or 2,000. Whether people applaud or criticize you. Whether you feel insecure or overconfident. Whether you are doing something noteworthy or mundane. Whether you feel lazy or enthused. Just keep on writing, documenting your travels and sharing your knowledge. One day, the world will take notice. And if it doesn’t, do it for yourself anyway.

Audrey Bergner -  thatbackpacker.com

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“I’m Audrey! I grew up travelling but started doing so seriously when I turned eighteen. Since then I have travelled through Europe on three occasions, backpacked through northern Argentina, gone to India to attend a wedding (where I coincidentally cheated death on a rickshaw thrice in one night and bribed a cop within hours of landing in Mumbai), lived and worked in Korea, and am currently backpacking around South East Asia and wherever the wind blows.”

How long have you been a Travel Blogger? 
 
I have been running ThatBackpacker.com for a little over 3 years now.
How many countries have you been to in the past year?
2013 was probably my busiest travel year yet and I made it to a whopping 15 countries! I spent most of my year in Southeast Asia with brief visits to Europe and the Middle East.
How do you afford a Life of Travel?
Oh, many ways… I have worked a lot of different jobs to fund my travels over the years. These included tutoring students, brewing coffee, working at a book shop, painting houses, and doing admin work. Not all of these positions came with great salaries, but that just goes to show that you can travel if you’re willing to be frugal and save.
 
Aside from the different jobs I had back home, I also spent a year working as an English teacher in Korea. This allowed me to experience a completely new country, travel around on the weekends, and save $17,000 from my teaching salary in one year
 
As for current streams of income, I earn a bit through advertising on my blog, writing for a few travel publications, and the videos my travel partner and I make on our YouTube travel channel. I’ve written more in depth about how I fund my travels here.
 
What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you?
 
Have a quick breakfast, see if I have any urgent emails, take part in some cool activity like zip-lining or a cooking class (I need something to write about!), either work on a post for my blog or write an article for another publication if I have a looming deadline, answer emails from readers who have questions about teaching in Korea or finding hostels in Malaysia, answer emails from travel companies who are interested in advertising, delete emails from spammers, grab a quick lunch at the veggie restaurant that specializes in salads and shakes, edit photos, share new articles on social media, reply to people’s comments, start planning my upcoming trip to some remote corner of Laos, go on PayPal to make sure I have been paid for last month’s work, reset plugins because my website keeps crashing, meet friends for dinner, check my emails again so that my inbox isn’t a disaster in the morning. Rinse and repeat. 
Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket?
 
Heck, YES!!!! I don’t have people knocking on my door offering me free flights to Fiji or Seychelles. While in the past year I was invited on a handful of press trips (some of which I took part in because I felt they were relevant to what I do), the rest of my travels are paid entirely out of pocket.
 
Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels?  
 
I don’t sell any of my own products, but like I mentioned earlier I do on occasion write for larger travel publications and that’s a paying gig.
 
What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger?
Chip away at it – it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re starting out as a blogger and looking to connect with other bloggers and like minded people, I would say turn to social media. Go on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and find people who are doing what you want to do; these people may inspire you, but they will also help you find your footing. Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers?
Experiment. It takes a while to find your voice and your own style, so try different things until you find something that works for you. There is no set model of what the ‘ideal travel blog’ should look like, so don’t feel like you need to emulate what others are doing. 

 

Sabrina Iovino -  justonewayticket.com

SabHow long have you been a Travel Blogger?
I became a blogger a bit more than year ago. My blog Just One Way Ticket went online in December 2012. It’s been a crazy journey since then, I learned so much in the past 12 months, it’s incredible. Starting a blog was one of my best decisions ever. After one year I live off from my blog and ditched almost all of my freelance jobs.
How many countries have you been to in the past year?
I actually didn’t travel that much last year, compare to the years before. I started building my travel blog and tried to focus on it as much as possible. So in total I traveled a bit over 3 months, which is very little for me ;). I went to the Philippines, Malaysia, Germany, Turkey, Netherlands, Ireland and Hungary. The rest of the year I spent in Istanbul, which has become my home for the past one and a half years.
How do you afford a Life of Travel?
First of all, I was always good in managing my money. I was never in dept. Always did several jobs at the same time. I was never a big spender. No matter how much I earned, I always spent little. So basically I was saving money since I had my first real job in 2005. In 2008 I traveled around the world for 14 months. When I came back I was amazed how little I had spent. I realized that traveling the world was even cheaper than living in Germany.
I worked again for some time, saved up more, sold everything I owned and left Germany for good in 2011. All this traveling taught me how to live a simple lifestyle, I really don’t need much. I can pack up in 15 min and all I own fits in a backpack and doesn’t weigh more than 10 kilos. It’s incredibly liberating.
After one year of blogging I started to earn more than enough from it and I don’t need to live from my savings anymore. I’m incredibly happy and thankful that I was able to turn my biggest passion – traveling – into a job. I do what I love and finally earn money with it
What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you?
My office is my room in Istanbul or wherever I am. I’m a night owl, that means I sleep at least until noon and often work until 4 AM. Time flies when I work on my blog, there is always something more to do. In summer I prefer to work outside or in a coffeeshop. I like the flexibility. All I need is my laptop and a decent WiFi connection. I can work from almost anywhere in the world. I don’t really have schedules, I just follow my to-do lists.
Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket?
Of course I do. Actually most of the time. I just started recently to accept press trips. It’s a lot of work though that actually I rather pay and enjoy the trip instead of getting a free trip and knowing I have to document the whole trip and write a story about it. I’m very lazy. Therefore I choose my press trips very carefully.
Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels?
Nope, until now I like to give all my information for free. I earn money mainly through advertising and affiliate sales.
What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger?
Write valuable posts. Help people. And add some stunning images, people are visual. Most people won’t read all your posts, so you better offer some great photography as well. Network like a boss, if you write epic stuff you’ll get noticed and shared.
Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers?
Be yourself. Don’t copy others. You have to stand out from the mass to make it as a travel blogger. It’s OK to get inspired by other travel bloggers, but even more important to find your own voice and your style.

Ayngelina Brogan baconismagic.ca

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Ayngelina writes the culinary travel blog Bacon is Magic. Four years ago she left a career in advertising, long-term boyfriend, apartment and friends to find inspiration in Latin America. Now she shares the people and places behind the meals she enjoys around the world.

How long have you been a Travel Blogger? I started blogging January 2010, four months later I left for a career break.

How many countries have you been to in the past year?

I actually have no idea how many countries I have been to and I never count. A lot of people see it as a badge of being an experienced traveler but I’d much rather stay in one country for a month than visit 8 countries in two weeks.

How do you afford a Life of Travel?

That’s a tough question. So when I originally left on my career break I funded most of it with 20K over two years. Since then I have also started working as the South America guide at About.com, freelance in marketing and have run some marketing programs on my site.

What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you?

There is no typical day really. If it’s a work day at home in Toronto I try to wake up early and start writing as it’s when I’m the most introspective and thoughtful. Sometimes I write at home but I find that I work best at a cafe with a big cup of coffee.

I try, usually unsuccessfully, not to be on social media too much, but I’ll take breaks and check in. The afternoon I’m usually editing photos or working on video and I try to end work by 8pm but I find even at night I’m scheduling Facebook or Twitter. Many people think the life of a travel blogger is really glamorous but the truth is we’re often chained to our laptop,

Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket? 

Absolutely. The first 2 years were nearly all out of my pocket. Now it’s probably a balance of 50-50. For example, Exodus Travels sent me to Ecuador to go to the Galapagos but then I stayed an additional two months in Canoa and rented an apartment. But whether I pay or not my opinion always remains unbiased, my first duty is to readers so I always share but the good and bad. I don’t work with destinations or companies that don’t share the same philosophy.

Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels? 

I’ve never sold any photos. Everyone now has a digital camera or smartphone and so it’s even difficult for professional photographers to make a living. The same goes for writing. I’ll work with About.com and occasionally contribute to other sites but it’s too difficult to make a living as a travel writer and truthfully, I don’t have the talent for it.

I think useful e-books are a smart revenue stream. It’s not something I’m looking to do but I think the Getting of Out Auto photography e-book was brilliant and one of the best I’ve seen.

What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger? 

The best way is to start early, even 12 months before you start traveling so that you can build an audience as you still have relevant things to share about the planning process. I started late and so no one really knows I spent my first six months in Mexico and Central America. A lot of people just assume I started in Colombia because that’s when I hit the tipping point.

There are lots of sites with the same advice on how to become successful quickly such as guest posting, being active on social media and commenting on other sites. This is all true but the truth is that when I started in 2010 it was a hobby, no one was making money or getting free trips so we did all of these things just to be in the community. Now bloggers are impatient and they want to be known immediately, but the community is saturated and so it’s much more difficult. My best advice is to be genuine, sincere and treat people as you would in person.  I have so many people I’ve never interacted with email me out of the blue and want me to promote them. You wouldn’t walk up to me on the street and ask that so why would you in person. Conversely I’ve had new bloggers comment on my site and tweet with me and when they ask for a link or if I can share a post I’m happy to help.

Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers? 

Don’t begin travel blogging because you want to be rich and famous as it’s likely neither is going to happen. Eat Pray Love has already been made a movie and she had the book deal before she started writing it.  I spent 40-80 hours a week on the business, it’s not about taking your laptop to the beach.

Travel blogging is amazing, I love interacting with readers and I’d do it even if I didn’t make a single dime from it. If you don’t have the same drive to share your story then just go travel and not worry about blogging.

Samuel Jeffery - nomadicsamuel.com

Samuel Jeffery is the wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings of Nomadic Samuel cultural travel blog. He’s also the lesser half of Backpacking Travel Blog which he runs with his girlfriend Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker. You can connect with Samuel on his YouTube travel channel and on .

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How long have you been a Travel Blogger?

It feels hard to believe (because it seems like I’ve been doing this forever) but I’ve only been traveling blogging for 2.5 years. I started my site NomadicSamuel.com on July 1st, 2011 after many years of living and traveling overseas. If I could somehow magically go back in a time machine I would have started my site even sooner. By the time I launched my site there were a plethora of other already established travel blogs. I wish I could have been a pioneer in the industry because I was living ‘the lifestyle’ when the very first travel blogs were popping up.
How many countries have you been to in the past year?
Wow! I’m going to have to put my thinking cap on for this one ;) In total I’ve been to 16: (in chronological order) Canada, South Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Finland, Estonia, China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria, Jordan, Scotland Last year was a special travel year for me in many ways. It was the first time I traveled with my girlfriend Audrey Bergner of ThatBackpacker.com giving up my fiercely solo backpacking days to join together as a blogging couple. Also, it was my first time to both Europe and the Middle East! In particular, I loved visiting Jordan and Scotland and my favorite city was Istanbul.
How do you afford a Life of Travel?
I’ve funded my travels a couple of different ways over the years. Initially, I was an English teacher in South Korea and I saved diligently during my one year contracts, so that I would have enough money to backpack for 1 to 1.5 years afterwards. Given that airfare and my apartment were provided for free, it was as though I was on a quest to perfect the art of frugality in order to spend as little Korean Won as possible in order to save up for the ‘next’ indefinite adventure. These days, I’ve transitioned from being a teacher to earning money online through travel blogging, online marketing and freelance assignments. Working and traveling is a new challenge that I’ve yet to master. I at times crave my old carefree backpacking days; however, I certainly appreciate now not having a dwindling bank account. I now travel slower than ever.
What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you?
Part of the thrill of being a travel blogger is that there aren’t too many typical days at the office ;) Sometimes I work too hard (online) and sometimes I play too hard (travel). I’ve yet to find the optimal balance. A normal day for me would be to get up early to travel with an emphasis on taking travel photos and recording video. After lunch, I’ll take a short siesta and then work the remainder of the afternoon. Depending on how much work needs to be done I’ll either take the evenings off or work late burning the midnight oil.
Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket?
Yes, most of the time I pay for my own trips, accommodations and meals. I do take press trips from time to time but they make up less than 15-20% of my travels; 75-80% of the time I’m paying out of pocket, which I prefer. Prior to being a travel blogger, I paid 100% out of pocket and I enjoy having the independence and freedom of my own schedule.
Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels? 
I do sell my travel photos and I’ve dabbled in stock photography. I also make money from ad sense on both of my travel YouTube channels and on my websites. Currently, I’m in the planning stages for several ebooks. The exciting thing about travel blogging is that there is no limit to what you can do in terms of monitization and/or business options. Other more senior travel bloggers have been running tours for their readers and/or offering mentoring courses for other travel bloggers. These are two areas I’m considering as options further down the road.
What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger?
I wrote a post a while back discussing how one can create a successful travel blog in their first year of blogging. The truth is that there is no real shortcut or deviation from the reality that successful travel blogs are paved with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Honestly, I think you almost have to be a little bit obsessed with trying to push the envelope in the initial stages of starting a blog in order to gain traction. Such actions include posting frequently on your own site, guest posting on other sites, commenting on other blogs, exchanging links, collaborating, learning SEO and rocking social media. It’s a lot to handle and it is why many travel blogs burn and fizzle out before they ever really become big. The best way to really grow your site is to hustle, avoid procrastination and continue putting forth a consistent effort over a prolonged period of time.
Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers?
Don’t give up! A couple of days ago I was going through my stumble upon account where I initially followed over 500 bloggers shorty after starting my own blog. I couldn’t believe the number of blogs that have either died or fizzled out over the years. One of the keys to success in this industry is to persevere and to keep going. It’s an endurance race not a sprint. If you feel as though you’re burning out take a short break and regroup. I think ‘burnout’ and ‘frustration’ over not achieving certain goals in a short period of time are what keeps a lot of travel bloggers from achieving their full potential.

Stephanie Dandan -  infinitesatori.org

Stephanie a.k.a. Satori is a nomadic photographer, writer, wanderer, adventurer, dreamer, storyteller. She was born with an insatiable wanderlust, a spirited passion for living and showing the world the beauty that lies within the seen and unseen.
satori1
How long have you been a Travel Blogger?
About a year or so.
How many countries have you been to in the past year?
Over the past year I have traveled to three countries: Thailand, China, and the Philippines.
How do you afford a Life of Travel?
Work, save, travel, repeat. But right now I am saving to go on my biggest journey yet where I will be vagabonding for as long as I want to. No more coming back to California for work, it’s time to go all the way. I’m going to live off whatever I save in the next few months, do freelance work, pick up jobs as I go and work on my photo book project.
What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you?
Sunrise walk or run. Sage clearing, yoga & meditation. “Work” for hours. Go to the beach or for a hike. Work at my day job. This is me at my “working and saving” stage while I’m living in California as I prepare for my long-term travel in the next few months. But when I’m on the road traveling I’m usually going on adventure somewhere, connecting and creating good times with new friends and exploring whichever place I’m in. I’ll work for a few hours in the evenings or early mornings but mostly I’m wandering around.
Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket?
Yes all major trips I’ve been on came out of my own pocket, with the exception of one sponsored trip that I was invited to.
Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels?
I make money as a photographer, doing client photo shoots, selling some photography prints, digital images and doing some freelance writing.
What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger?
Connect with other travel bloggers and write guest posts for them. Contact big websites and blogs with a massive influx of traffic and write guest posts for them, link to your website. Produce inspiring content that will inspire your readers through social media. Something that is emotionally stirring, something they could genuinely connect to, something that could resonate with them.
Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers?
Keep writing and work on your blog everyday. Even if it’s the little things, work towards it everyday. Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged even when you think nobody reads your blog. Building an audience and acquiring readers doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time but if you truly work hard at it, it’ll pay off. I remember when my friends were my only audience for my blog when it was born over a year ago and now my blog has reached readers in almost 190 countries. All the endless hours of hard work constantly on my laptop is worth it.
Also when you do build your audience show them your gratitude, interact and respond to them as much as you can. My readers/followers are such incredible people who have opened up their lives to me, even offered me to stay at their homes for my future travels, they shared their fears, their struggles, their dreams, their adventures. Amazing, they’re just amazing. I have so much love and respect for them. Don’t look at your audience as your “fans”, look at them as friends you just haven’t met yet. These people have touched my heart in so many ways, I’ve read so many messages from them where I burst into tears out of gratitude and happiness. Nothing makes me happier than inspiring other people, they inspire me in return.
Find a powerful voice within you that could translate through your stories. A certain energy that readers will recognize and know as you. There are heaps of travel bloggers out there, you have to be distinguishable from the rest on some way that could imprint your energy in their minds, in their spirits. Just keep producing work that is true to you and your purpose, aim to inspire people and help them. Always believe in the power of human connection and spread love wherever you go.
Travel. Imagine. Create. Inspire. Repeat.
Brenna Holeman –  thisbatteredsuitcase.com
Brenna Holeman
All I’ve ever wanted to do is travel. After 7 nomadic years and 80-something countries, I’m currently living in London and fulfilling my other dream of becoming a writer. If I’m not travelling, I’m writing about it, either for my blog, my job, or my Master’s degree. I firmly believe there is adventure everywhere, so long as you keep your eyes (and your mind, and your heart) open. Join me as I continue to look for these adventures. Hopefully you’ll find your own, too. You can also connect on Facebook,Twitter, or Google Plus.
How long have you been a Travel Blogger? 
I have blogged about travel for ten years, but my current blog has been up and running for over three. It was only last summer that I decided to step things up a notch and take it more seriously. I noticed a significant increase in readers after guest-posting a lot more, commenting frequently, and being a lot more active on social media.
How many countries have you been to in the past year? Last year I went to 11 countries.
How do you afford a Life of Travel? 
I work! I make travel my top priority; I’d rather save up for a holiday than for an expensive pair of shoes or the latest smartphone. I also invest money in the stock market, which has allowed me to grow my savings.
What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you?
I divide my days in three ways: blog stuff, work stuff, and school stuff. As they are all to do with travel writing my tasks often overlap, or I find myself jumping from a blog post to an article for work to a story for my Master’s. Thankfully I can do all of this from home, but I still try to finish up by 6pm so that I can enjoy evenings with friends. When travelling I try to fit it all in whenever I can!
Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket?
I pay for all of my trips out of my own pocket; I always have. As I currently don’t accept any form of advertising or sponsorship on my blog, all of my travels are funded by the money I make. I’m very fortunate to have a writing job with a salary that allows this. Coincidentally, it was my blog and networking at travel blogging events that landed me a permanent position writing for Expedia, as well as numerous freelance gigs. As much as blogging is my passion, I also see my blog as a portfolio that leads to so many other amazing opportunities.
Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels?
Not yet, though I am writing a book as part of my Master’s degree. If that doesn’t get published, I may try to self-publish.
What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger?
Create the kind of content that people will want to visit again and again. Think about how each piece might help or apply to readers; people want to relate, and people want to learn. I try to have a good mix of entertainment and information on my blog, and I noticed that putting in the extra effort and taking time to write the best posts I can really contributed to an increase in readers. I also try to stay fairly consistent with when I post, and never let my social media fall too far behind, even if I’m travelling! My blog certainly isn’t the most popular one out there, but I love that the readership has grown naturally and organically.
Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers?
It sounds so cheesy, but just be yourself. The internet is flooded with travel blogs, so you really need to have a clear and unique voice to stand out. Try to stay on top of the trends, but, at the end of the day, don’t compare your beginning to another person’s middle. Every blog will find its natural path. For me, part of that path was deciding not to advertise or accept sponsored links; it took me a while to realise that those things didn’t appeal to me or interest me. Write passionately and people will want to read. And stick with it! Practice makes perfect, and all of the best travel bloggers have proven to be extremely dedicated. Above all else, have fun!

Journeying James –  journeyingjames.com

Hello! I’m JourneyingJames, an adventurer, backpacker andrunner and newbie surfer.  I’ve been traveling the Philippines and Southeast Asia since 2003 mostly on a budget. This is my way of encouraging fellow Filipinos to discover the beauty of our own country even with minimal resources.

I also contribute travel articles for Mabuhay (Philippines Airlines in-flight magazine), SMILE (Cebu Pacific in-flight magazine) andCAB Urban Travel Magazine.

I just finished the most epic travel challenge in the Philippines 100 Days of Backpacking the Philippines the Cheapest Way Possible” which I started last February 1, 2012. Soon I will be publishing a book about it and a short documentary film, watch out for that!

598483_436262543072406_789248517_nHow long have you been a Travel Blogger? I started the travel blog late 2010 as a hobby and got really serious with it after a year (late 2011).

How many countries have you been to in the past year? Only a few- Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and India.

How do you afford a Life of Travel? I can’t afford it actually. So I used the blog to organize tours in the Philippines. That way, I can enjoy traveling around the country and then use some my savings to travel abroad.

What does a typical “day in the office” entail for you? Chill. When I’m in the Philippines I just stay at home or surf. When I wake up, I drink coffee or tea then maybe write a blog, watch a dvd. If I’m traveling, I might be seen getting lost in the city or waiting for the sunrise and sunset.

Do you ever pay for trips out of your own pocket? Yes, I do pay for my trips a lot of times.

Do you sell any of your own products to fund your travels?  I sell local tours in the Philippines. I also sell hammock and some souvenirs from other countries.

What’s the best way to build an audience as a travel blogger? Be you-nique and genuinely help your readers. Inspire them to travel and reach for their dreams. I don’t have a big audience but I have created a community of faithful readers and supporters of my blog.

Do you have any advice for up and coming travel bloggers? Reach out to your favorite travel bloggers. Combine your passion with your blog. Always surprise your readers.

_______________________________________________________
A big Thank You to all of the travel bloggers who’ve inspired me on my travels and participated in this blog post! Interviewing your heroes isn’t something you get to do everyday, and I feel very lucky to have gained such wonderful insights into their lives! This project has allowed me to see that they are normal people just like you and me, working hard to achieve that which they want most in Life. Their path is one that I am just getting started on, and their words of wisdom have been both a comfort and a warning; that perseverance is key. If you really want something in Life you have to work for it, savoring each victory to keep your dreams alive during adversity and never accept defeat.
If you want to travel the world, go for it! If you want to be a travel blogger, start right now! Life is too short to live someone else’s dreams, so start living your own!
Thank you for reading! If you liked this article, please share, like or comment below! 
xoxo
Orange
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  • http://www.heartofavagabond.com/ Yara

    What a cool post, I really loved reading, specially to see some of my favorite travelers like Sabrina Lovino in here. I just have to say that this sentence ” These are the celebrities of the Travel Blog world,” sounded very, very odd to me as I see them as fellow travelers and citizens of the world just like you or me. Some of them incredibly humble…: the celebrity thing spoils it a bit.

    • Lauren Metzler

      Haha yes, Yara, thank you for the constructive criticism! I second guessed myself while writing as I wanted to put instead “my heroes in the Travel Blog World”, but I have changed it back now! Just goes to show that you should always follow your gut instinct when it comes to writing! Or anything for that matter! ;)

      • http://www.heartofavagabond.com/ Yara

        Hehehe Lauren, happens to me too :) I think the success of some of these fellow travelers are the hard work and perseverance as well and they simplicity. People relate to them. Anyways, I loved this post and shared it around :) Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.seetheworldinmyeyes.com/ SeeTheWorldInMyEyes

    Hey Lauren,thanks for putting all these interesting interviews together. It’s quite compelling to read how everyone seemed to have experienced the same kind of struggle during the first year of travel blogging, not even talking about trying to make a living out of it.

    But while in reality, especially in the beginning, a life of full time travel and setting up a successful blog seems to be almost an impossible thing to do, it still sounds at least quite comforting that perseverance and not giving up easily has been the key for most of your “celebrities of the Travel Blog world”… :)

    • Lauren Metzler

      Yes Dennis, I completely agree! They all refused to take No for an answer and believed in their dreams whole-heartedly! No matter what bumps in the road they met along the way…also, this is only a small sample of all of their amazing travel advice found on their own personal blogs! :D

  • Milene – My Cup of Travel

    Wow, thanks Lauren for having this all together. It does inspire me to keep going and work towards what I want and how to get there. Perseverance is key!

    • Lauren Metzler

      Thanks Milene! Yes, they all have that common drive to do what they love no matter what! :D

  • WhereToGlads

    For someone like me who is just beginning to travel, these interviews remind me that it is possible to travel for a long time and to make the whole world your office. Thanks for this Lauren! Keep inspiring!

    • Lauren Metzler

      Thank you! I’m so happy you found it inspiring! :D

  • http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/ Lisa Niver Rajna

    Lauren, What a great post! What an incredible group of top travel bloggers you found. I agree with you: “If you want to travel the world, go for it! If you want to be a travel blogger, start right now!Life is too short to live someone else’s dreams, so start living your own!” Glad you are too!
    Lisa
    We Said Go Travel

    • Lauren Metzler

      Thank you Lisa! This was definitely a huge post to tackle…and a LOT of organizing and thought went into it. I am so thankful that everyone got involved as well! I’ve read some of their blogs for years now, so it was really incredible getting to interview them for my own! :D

  • http://www.tripmark.com/travel-guide Travel Guides

    Lovely post,thanks.

    • Lauren Metzler

      Thanks for reading! :D

  • JP

    Thanks for this – this advice is very useful and reassuring. Great, honest insights.

    • Lauren Metzler

      Thanks JP! :)

  • Gabriela Fernandez

    This is so inspiring! Thank you for posting this, this is very helpful for a starter like me. I don’t expect to make it big in this blogmosphere, I just want to travel the world. :) Thank you so much!

    • Lauren Metzler

      Me too! I just like writing and was looking for advice from some of my favorite travel bloggers when I pieced this together. Glad it was helpful for you and safe travels! :D

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  • Renuka Singh

    Valuable!

    • Lauren Metzler

      Thanks Renuka! :D

  • The Guy

    Lauren what a fabulous and very informative series of interviews. It has taken me ages to read this but I have sincerely read everyone. I recognise quite a few of the interviewees but not all. This just shows the wide ranging of travel bloggers out there and how there are new ones everyday.

    The insights are fantastic. Each blogger is different in their approach and advice apart for their advice to stay at it for the long haul. I’ve been travel blogging for just over 16 months and it is people like those you have interviewed who inspire me. They also reflect what a great community spirit there is between all travel bloggers.

    • Lauren Metzler

      Thanks Guy! It was really fun and informative to put together some of my favorite travel bloggers in one post! Originally, I was just looking for advice of whether or not I should stick with this whole travel writing thing. It’s definitely made me think twice about giving up too!

      I’m so happy that you enjoyed reading it…and read the Whole thing!!!

      Cheers,

      Lauren

  • Travel Blogger

    This is a crazy amazing post!!
    You are the inspiring one getting access to all these popular bloogers. Hats off to you, seriously great read!!
    You will go far…

    • Lauren Metzler

      Thank you so much! It was soooo inspiring getting to interview all of these amazing people for me. I am so grateful that they all agreed to be interviewed and got back to me so quickly as well! I hope one day I can be Location Independent as well ! Eeee! ^__^

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  • Jennie Dilworth

    I enjoyed reading about these courageous travelers They all look to be under age 35 . I am interested in travel bloggers over age 50. Are there some in this age group on your radar?

    • Lauren Metzler

      Hi Jennie! Thank you so much! Yes, I know quite a few people who travel over the age of 50. I will definitely be one of those travel bloggers someday! ;)

  • http://travelerlegacy.com/ Yassine Laaroussi

    this post has been so informative, especially about how to build an audience, Thank you so much :)

    • Lauren Metzler

      Thank you Yassine! Yes, interviewing all of my favorite bloggers definitely helped inspire me even more as a Travel Blogger! :D