How much money do travel bloggers make?

“How much money do you earn?” This is a question I get asked time and time again. Part of me feels weird when people ask me because I was always taught it’s impolite to ask people how much money they earn. But the other part of me understands why people ask; because it’s intriguing as all hell!

I mean, from the outside looking in, you’re seeing travel bloggers living this fairytale life where they get to travel all the time and, as we all know, travel ain’t cheap. Not only that, but it’s their job, so they must be getting paid to do it. It’s natural to wonder how much money they get paid to live the dream life! So, I get it. It’s a question people really want the answer to and I’m going to do my best to answer it and explain how I earn money as a full-time travel blogger.

How do you earn an income from your travel blog?

I earn my income a number of different ways. Sometimes I am paid to write a review of a hotel or resort, other times I may be paid to review a travel company or product, like a tour company or a new travel gadget. Sometimes I’m invited to attend a trip and the company pays me for my time attending the trip and coverage through my website, YouTube and social media channels. From time to time I work with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) companies and charge them to place a link on my site. I also make income through Blog Coaching Sessions I offer.

I have set packages I offer brands, which outline how we can work together and what I offer. These packages include things like creating a video of my trip, writing a blog post about it and social media coverage. Depending on the coverage they want and their budget, the brand chooses the package that suits them best.

While it’s possible for bloggers to earn an income through advertising and affiliate programs, I’ve made the decision not to place those things on LGB. I really don’t like ads on websites (because they are SO frustrating!) and I feel weird making an income through affiliate programs. It just doesn’t feel ‘right’.

I don’t earn my entire income from Little Grey Box, though. I also work as a freelance travel writer, writing pieces for Brisbane’s BMag, CoveraMore Travel Insurance Blog, Visit Gold Coast and other publications. I LOVE to write, it has always been my dream, so doing freelance work makes me really happy.

How much money do travel bloggers make?

Doesn’t that mean you’re paid by these brands to just say good stuff?

Nah! When a hotel or travel brand approaches me to work together, they’re paying me for my time and opinion. They’re actually the ones taking a big risk, because they’re saying they believe in what they have to offer and are inviting me to experience it to share with the world. You wouldn’t do that if you weren’t certain you were offering something great.

Before I agree to anything, I always let the brand know that what I write will be totally and completely honest. I’ve never had a hotel or brand disagree to these terms.

How much money do travel bloggers make?

Yeah, but what if you did have a bad experience?

If I did have a bad experience at a hotel I wouldn’t jump straight on social media and put them on blast, because that’s not how I’d like to be treated. If I’d done something wrong, as a professional, I’d like a chance to correct it. So, I’d work with the hotel, for example, to get the problem fixed. After all, the best customer service you can receive is when someone takes care of you after a mishap.

How much money do you make as a travel blogger?

My income varies day to day, month to month. I don’t have a set payday and I have absolutely no guaranteed income whatsoever. It’s a big risk! Some months I make a few hundred dollars and other months I make a few thousand. I don’t keep track of how much money I make, I just make sure all my invoices are paid and then I pay my bills with whatever money is in my bank account and push the rest into savings, for those months where I earn less.

22 Awesome things you absolutely must do in Ubud

How do you afford to travel then?

Let me put it this way; If I earned a regular income, I would spend all my money on travel. Being a travel blogger and travel writer, I’m very fortunate to have a lot of my travel paid for by brands, tourism boards and travel businesses who would like to work with me. So, the thing I would spend all my money on is now part of my job. All I need to do is earn enough money to pay my basic bills and fund the trips I pay for myself. I have no desire to be rich, I just want to be able to do all the things I want with my life, like TRAVEL and BUY CATS!

I think it’s also important to note I don’t spend money on expensive shoes and handbags, fancy meals out, get my hair done every 6 weeks, get regular beauty treatments or buy expensive clothes. I prioritise travel in my life, above pretty much everything else.

How much money do travel bloggers make?

Must. Buy. More. Cats.

So you travel for free?

No. Getting something for free usually means it’s given to you and you don’t have to give anything in return. In my case, I exchange my time and services for travel. I make a point of saying that because if I were to say, “Yeah, I get it free,” that immediately devalues what I do and all I’ve worked hard to achieve. Brands give me travel and I give them access to Little Grey Box through my writing, photography and videography. It’s a fair exchange.

Do you get paid for every trip you take?

Nope! I may have brands approach me with an offer to travel but they may not have the budget to pay me. In those instances, I have to weigh it all up. A brand may offer me an amazing trip overseas, paying for my flights, accommodation, food and activities, in exchange for coverage through LGB. If it feels like it’s a fair exchange, then I’ll usually say yes. But, if it feels like the brand is getting more from me than I am from them, I’d probably say no. It’s really important to value yourself appropriately and not undersell your services.

How much money do travel bloggers make?

Do you write to brands and ask them to work with you?

Yeah, sometimes I do. If I’m planning a trip I will reach out to local businesses and hotel groups to see if they’d like to work with me. If I were to write to a hotel, for instance, I would ask them if I could arrange a media stay with them and outline really clearly what it is they could expect to get from me and why it’s a benefit to them to work with me. I wouldn’t ask them to pay me, because they’re helping me out and I’d feel a bit rude writing to them and saying, “Hey, I’m coming to Mexico. You should pay me to stay at your hotel.” 

Phoebe Lee Travel Blogger Agnes Water Australia Queensland

Wow, travel blogging sounds so glamorous!

I love, love, LOVE what I do. It has been my dream for a long time and there isn’t a single thing I’d rather do with my life. It’s important to note that while life as a travel blogger may look perfect, it isn’t all cocktails and sunsets! You have to work really, really hard to be a travel blogger.

It’s a heavily saturated industry and a dream career for many, so to stand out you have to work your ass off. You have to keep everything up to date, take lots of trips to capture content and, while you’re there, not chill out and enjoy it, but work your ass off to get loads of photos, images and written content to put on your website and social media channels. You have to keep content rolling out, build your brand, chase overdue invoices, network with others, collaborate, keep your accountant happy, do your taxes, pay your bills, worry about strangers on the internet thinking you’re fat and ugly, all the while getting trolled and sent sexually explicit messages and images by men.

If you don’t love it, you’ll burn out and all the real work that goes into it will overwhelm you. Travel blogging isn’t solely about loving to travel, it’s also about having a very real passion for photography, videography and writing that consumes you, to the point you have to do it, no matter what. This isn’t a whinge, remember, I LOVE what I do and wouldn’t do anything else with my life. I just want to make it clear that becoming a travel blogger doesn’t magically mean your life is perfect, you just get a different set of challenges that teach you a LOT, which I’m really grateful for.

Want more answers to your travel blogging questions? Watch my Q&A Vlog, where I answer questions from you guys…


Phoebe Lee - Profile - Australian Travel Blogger Writer Photographer Little Grey BoxPhoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

15 Comments on How much money do travel bloggers make?

  1. Love the video! i like it when you say never doubt yourself because you can always do it.
    Give me more confident. Thanks! looking forward to read more of your blogs

    Like

  2. We all know that somehow the travel has to be funded. That’s alright. Happy to hear that you will maintain professionality and not just put up the good news alone.

    Like

  3. Another great article of blogging wisdom Phoebe as always! It’s true definitely lots of hard work and I agree I love it all too! Great you’re so honest about it all ! You’re doing so well and I love regularly checking into LGB too! Keep the good stuff coming! Xo

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  4. maybe this is a silly question, but do you usually travel with someone and have them take all the photos of you? or do you end up setting your camera on a timer and taking the photos yourself? and if so, how do you make sure no body is going to run by and grab your camera? how do you set up the shots? it seems really important to not only have photos of the destinations you’re visiting, but to also have photos of yourself in the destination. (or at least, the more successful travel blogs that i’ve seen seem to follow this assumption)

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    • Hi Jenn,

      I like to have someone with me on my trips, usually one of my best friends or my husband. If they’re with me, they take the photos for me. If they aren’t with me, it’s usually because I’m on a media trip, so I have other bloggers or PR/Media people there with me, who take the photos. I just frame them, set the camera, take a test shot and explain exactly what I want 🙂

      If I didn’t have people with me, I’d ask someone else nearby with a fancy camera to do it or use my tri-pod.

      Some bloggers don’t do this though, the incredibly successful Lauren Bath takes all the photos herself and is rarely in any of them! Pretty cool.

      Hope this helps 🙂 P xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Phoebe! Thank you so much for writing everything in details about the topics I always wanted to ask bloggers, but I am a little bit shy to do that! I really want my blog to become my part-time job, or full-time job even better! And this post really gave me an idea of how I should adjust my ways of blogging to achieve what I want.
    You really are my inspiration to travel around and my motivation to keep blogging 🙂 xo !!

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    • Wow! You’re so generous to write such a lovely comment 🙂 thank you so so much, it means the world to me. I’m so happy I could share some insight with you, I hope it helps. Keep blogging, beautiful 🙂 xxxxxx

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  6. This post is all sorts of wonderful. I’ve always known that blogging was way more work than it looks but having someone who’s really making it their full-time job lay everything out like this is not only a great opportunity for other people to see that things aren’t all sunsets and mixed drinks but also for us to appreciate how hard you work. It might feel like an uphill battle sometimes but my favorite thing about you is that you never compromise your integrity or your values to earn a bit more. Keep it up, there’s plenty of us rooting for you. 🙂

    Like

    • Wow… that means EVERYTHING to me, Lillian 🙂 Those things you mentioned are so important to me, I try really hard to keep my integrity and values, it’s hard to know if it comes across how I hope it does. Thank you so, so much. Your comment made my entire WEEK. 😀 P xxxx

      Like

    • P.S You’ve been reading and following LGB for a long time now and I just want you to know how dang much I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lilian MacDonald // March 15, 2016 at 1:10 am // Reply

    You’re doing a great job and doing what you love. Keep at it girl. Of course, I’m biased!

    Like

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