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March 21, 2017

The truth about monetizing a Travel Blog

As a part of documenting our journey to build a successful travel blog, I thought it will be helpful to share some of the situations I ran into when I started monetizing the blog. Many of these scenarios were new for me since they were never mentioned in any of my research of blog monetization.

When we began blogging, I always thought that the day I would be able to make over $10 000 a month will be the day that I will be lying on the beach drinking cold beers and maybe working 10 hours a week just like many bloggers advertise when they try to sell you their blogging courses.

The truth is that it’s completely different and not as easy as it sounds. Every day we face new challenges and we put a lot on line every time we make a decision. I’m not drinking beer on the beach every day, watching my bank account explode. I’m not working 2 hours every morning and then hanging out the rest of the day, I’m working every single day, sometimes more than 8 hours a day.

I am not complaining at all, I actually love it. I don’t see myself relaxing 24/7 and one of the things that I love about blogging is that the internet is always changing. You need to be on top of as many things you can in order to keep your blogging business going.

Becoming complacent with your online business is one of the worst things you can do since it is never a guarantee and Google can mess up your rankings any day.

Please keep in mind that every travel blog and every person works differently. All the scenarios you are about to read are the ones I have had to deal with, other bloggers might not but they sure as hell have had their own difficulties and obstacles.

Before I tell you my daily struggles, let’s mention some of the many great things about monetizing our travel blog.

Pros of monetizing your travel blog

- The most obvious benefit is that you will make money.

- The more sales you do, more opportunities arise.

- You will have access to more resources.

- We are our own bosses and it feels great!

I can keep going with dozens of pros but that is not the idea that I want to share. I want to talk about my reality and how much we have to work to make our blog successful.

Working long hours when we are at home

During a normal month, we spend 7 days on the road and 23 days at home processing our content. Samantha usually takes care of the content and media and I have to deal with the technical part of our sites.

On a regular day at home, we work from 8 to even 14 hours a day. Now that our own affiliate network is growing we spend a lot of time optimizing the blog for conversions and teaching our partners about our selling methods.

We try to take one day off a week but to be honest, sometimes we can’t. Our travel blogging business is growing every day and the only way to make things happen is by working.

Not everything you read is true or will work for you

I can’t stress this enough. Everyone’s techniques, strategies, audience and blogs are completely different and just because a particular blogger is doing well in something, that doesn’t mean that it will work for you or me too.

I learned this the hard way and after countless failures, I learned that first you need to understand the idea, check to see if you have all the variables to make this “idea” or “strategy” work, then adapt everything to your business and start testing from there.

What one blogger is good at, may not be your strong point and what you’re great at, other people suck at. It’s all about finding what works for you and it will take several experiments to find out. You may lose some money but you gain a lot of experience and firsthand knowledge.

Dealing with competitors

Competition is huge here in Costa Rica. It’s a popular tourist destination and we have to be making new deals for our readers in order to provide real value.

Something that I learned very well is that in order to make money online you have to sell something. It could be a tour, insurance, hotel nights, food, advertising, photos, services, travel consultation, etc.

Many bloggers sell services: social media marketing, content creation, etc. Some bloggers sell their own products: ebooks.

Whatever you do, the only way to make money is by selling something and once you are in this business you will see that the competition in the travel industry is huge.

Be ready to start dealing with competitors and even other bloggers in your same niche.

Another thing is that travel bloggers are very clicky, like high schoolers. It’s probably because there are millions of us so competition is fierce, some are competing to get the same press trips and get hired for the same campaigns, some compete because they’re in the same niche and want higher rank on Google, there is competition for everything in the travel blogging world.

Travel bloggers love to judge and criticize so even if you’re just starting out, don’t take it to heart. Keep working hard on your own goals, don’t compare yourself too much to others and try to find a couple of bloggers you really like and learn from them.


This are just a few of all the situation we have to deal every day, I always hear people saying that travel bloggers are just travelling and having fun all the time. Of course that is the image many bloggers want to project as a part of their business strategy and they sell that dream to make money.

If you are starting your travel blog and want to make a living from it, I am sorry to tell you but you will have to work and work hard. The number of travel bloggers are rising every day and the industry is always changing.

There are hundreds of thousands of blogs that talk about the same thing “sold my house and now on a RTW trip for 2 years” or “solo travelers trying to visit every country in the world” or “an adventure loving couple” so the market is very saturated. You’ll need to find a way to stand out, market yourself and your blog well and product excellent content to rise above the pack.

I hope everyone can achieve their goals and if somebody has something to share, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you have been through in order to make money travel blogging.

Yeison Kim

I am a Costa Rican travel blogger on a journey to create a digital nomad lifestyle through internet marketing and building my online business.

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