When it comes to traveling, there is one question I always get, “How can you afford to do it so much?”. While this was my most pondered questioned as well a couple years back when I saw all these scurvy bastard travel bloggers living the dream, I have gotten creative in the way I earn an income, and now, I have joined their slimy ranks. The main takeaway from this post is that while it looks like us travel bloggers are just perpetually on vacation, we are in fact working part of the time as well, so if you can learn ways to earn an income location independently, then you can easily join in on the fun too. Here are five ways us nomads earn our keep and to keep on keepin’ on.
Any travel blogger worth their weight in passport stamps is usually, a decent writer. It’s how they became popular in the first place (that or by writing about completely ridiculous shit like sexcapdes in third world countries or near misses with the authorities while trying to smuggle drugs). I personally started a copy writing company before I even knew about this whole travel blogging world or its bountiful opportunities, so I was basically primed for it from the get go.
Many bloggers write copy for personal clients, other websites, publications and of course their own web sites which lets them have a lot of flexibility in where they actually are at any given time, i.e. sipping lattes in Marseilles…well, probably more like drinking a 50 cent beers in Thailand. The best way to go about getting started is read up on copy writing for the web, low ball yourself for a couple clients to build a portfolio and then blow it out from there.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization if you didn’t know. A lot of travel bloggers are involved in the world of search engine optimization for private clients because they learned it first hand by trying to promote their own blogs. Search engine optimization is the process of trying to show up on page one of Google (ok, ok, Bing and Yahoo too) for any given search term, i.e. “How do travel bloggers make money?”, like how this post will be shining bright like a dayyymonnnd on pagina numero uno after I’m done with it (Probably not).
While many bloggers try to stay purist, many of us utilize our sites to make a little extra cash through lining up paid press trips, advertising, etc. I won’t go too deep into sharing how I monetize my site but there is a lot of money in it. The key is just getting started and making a decent site from the get go. I paid a few hundred bucks to a web developer to set my site up right from the beginning which has saved me countless hours and even more money by not having to go back and fix everything now. Think of a catchy name (that’s not taken), start writing, and utilize social media and the people will come. The biggest barrier to entry for travel blogging is consistency. Keep at it.
This is one travel blogger revenue stream that I have no finger in. Why? Because my math capabilities rival that of a chimpanzee with Downes Syndrome. My logic when it comes to numbers is just downright embarrassing, and when I used to play a little Texas Hold ‘em back in my high school days, I was the worst one at the table, always. Let’s just say I had no problem being invited to a game!
Well, how real poker players do it has changed over the past few years. I’m sure you remember the height of the online poker era in the early 2000’s when every frat dude, card shark and get-rich-quick schemer was making money off of it. The US government outlawed everything rather quickly and it pretty much much vanished. One travel blogger I know made a dumb amount, and he is still traveling the world on his purse to this day, Will Wolf of Wills Blog of Travel and Life.com.
Another way of making money from playing poker while traveling is finding underground games. I had no idea about this until I met a rather interesting character on a ferry in The Philippines. He was 26, and would find out about poker games all over the world via word of mouth, most of them in the kitchens of restaurants, seedy bars, basements of whore houses, etc. He said he was supporting his traveling by playing…I guess that could be exhilarating, but I wouldn’t want to piss anybody off, that’s for sure.
This one is in the same realm as copy writing and SEO and many travel bloggers offer web design and development services to fellow bloggers and private clients as well. I do too, except I have no idea what the hell I’m doing development wise. I just find someone to do the work,manage the project, and take a cut. With the advent of open source web development platforms like WordPress, basically anyone can design a highly functional, optimized and aesthetically pleasing website in hours. No more scum bag Web Masters gouging you for adding a solitary period to a sentence on your site. Things these days are easy to edit with as much skill as being able to turn on your computer, so the cost for starting a website is basically just a one-time, upfront investment.
The above five ways of how to make money while traveling are all legitimate income sources (well maybe not poker), but when I say legitimate, I really just mean legit, as in you can actually make a lot of money and travel the right way. You could always bartend, clean hostels, etc. to be able to put food in your mouth on the road, but with the rise of the internet, why bother when you can make so much more money from a coffee shop instead of shoveling manure in The Balkans for a dollar an hour? Traveling is accessible to everyone; you just have to get creative.
Do you know of any other good ways to make money while traveling?