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How do travel bloggers make money?

Have you ever wondered how travel bloggers make money?

Especially when there are so many bloggers out there already – I always get asked questions like: how do you successfully generate some form of income every day?

The answer, of course, is… passive income.

Seeing how exciting and adventurous the lifestyles of some travel bloggers are, you could say being a successful travel blogger is a dream come true, especially if the explorer life aligns with your values.

But in reality, whilst passive income is definitely possible, it takes hard graft and time to learn how to make money as a travel blogger. The good news is: passive income can be yours with some work and patience!

Why is creating passive income so important for travel bloggers?

As a travel blogger and micro-influencer (@illumelation) I’ve been focused on earning money outside of my day-to-day work (passive income) over recent years.

It means that I can take more of a step back and plan strategically for the long-term, rather than exchanging all my time for money (active income).

Passive income is the #1 income-generating method that travel bloggers aspire to because it gives you the freedom to spend your days exploring, and you’re not always worried about your next job!

Brunette woman in blue jeans and red top with apple macbook laptop and sony camera

Hey… it’s me! Just hanging out with my laptop and camera – my most prized possessions, since they enable me to create passive income and live the lifestyle that I want.

Why is passive income just as important as having a job, projects or partnerships?

Passive income lets you continually earn money with minimal input, which is perfect for travel bloggers – or any blogger, really.

It allows you to travel and do what you love while earning an income at the same time. You can “earn money while you sleep” and get rewarded for the content you post online, to your website or monetisable platforms like YouTube.

Best of all, the passive income you earn won’t be a once-off, but rather continually grow as you add more products and services as I describe below. The only thing it requires is patience.

So now I’m going to go ahead and share my 7 favourite ways for travel bloggers to create passive income.

Please note that the following post contains affiliate links (which contribute to my passive income) at no extra cost to you!

Enjoying a coconut in El Nido, Palawan

The good life! Chilling in a kubo in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.

What are the best 5 ways to create passive income as a travel blogger?

Passive income has been a very successful model for many bloggers and creatives around the world. And with so many wonderful platforms and online tools available, you can now make money from virtually anywhere.

After thorough research from analysing some of the most successful travel bloggers out there – as well as my own trial and error – I’ll share seven great ways that you can make money as a travel blogger through passive income.

With patience and dedication, these can be a great way to boost your passive income and make money while you enjoy doing what you do: travelling! So… let’s dive into the top 5 ways to start making passive income on your travel blog.

travel blogger Mel Legarda walks in a yellow dress holding a camera in Primrose Hill Chalcot Square London

1. Use Affiliate Links On Your Travel Blog

What’s affiliate marketing, you ask?

Let me clarify: affiliate marketing is quite simply the process of earning money (or making a commission) every time you promote a brand’s products or services and earn them a sale. With affiliate marketing, you only get paid when you’ve helped drive a sale — just like a sales rep who works on a commission basis.

Even in this very blog post I’ve used affiliate links — and although it can be a slow burn getting started with affiliate marketing, every little helps!

Some of the most popular affiliate links include Amazon – where you make a teeny tiny commission (I’m talking maybe 0.01p per purchase) every time someone buys something you recommend. The good news is, this can compound over time!

That’s why content is key. The more content you put out, the likelier the chances of your affiliate links being clicked, and the more money you can make.

Here’s an example of my Amazon influencer storefront:

An example of how I edit my RAW travel photos using my homemade Lightroom presets

An example of how I edit my RAW travel photos using my homemade Lightroom presets

2. Sell Presets Made on Adobe Lightroom (or any popular editing platform)

A great way to supplement your travel blogger income is by selling photo presets made on Adobe Lightroom. It can be a form of passive income that allows you to earn money by using your photo editing skills and creativity. Score!

As a travel blogger or content creator, you’re always taking photos. If you’re using software like Adobe Lightroom I’m sure you’ve put together a number of shortcuts and presets to help you speed things along. And guess what? Other people want to buy into those shortcuts and presets too!

So, what is a preset? It is essentially a set of edits that you can save and easily apply to another image. This means you don’t have to manually edit a bunch of photos as you can simply use the preset on multiple images.

Apart from saving photographers and marketers a lot of time, presets on Adobe Lightroom allow them to stylise their images in a very specific way. Beginner photographers can use presets to learn more about photo editing from someone they admire or an experienced photographer.

If you have a creative flair and a unique style, chances are you can sell presets on Adobe Lightroom easily and effectively. I’ve personally used Adobe products since I was a young teenager and to me they make the best creative software on earth.

If you’re a video editor, you could also sell LUTs for Final Cut Pro (essentially video filters or presets), or if you are a graphic designer, Photoshop templates!

3. Sell Your Services On Platforms Like Fiverr

As a travel blogger, you can turn to freelance platforms like Fiverr or Upwork to offer your services to buyers around the world.

Personally, my main source of income is Fiverr.

You can do this in many ways; you can sign up as a blogger who specialises in travel articles as you have a ton of experience already, or you can double as an image editor, too. You can even offer TikTok dance videos. You can do anything!

Brands, businesses and marketers don’t always have the time – or the skillset – to churn out quality content for their niche company blogs and websites. This is where your writing services come in quite handy.

It’s also a great way to build up a portfolio that you can use to strengthen your skillset and get higher-paying jobs over time.

Check out the kind of freelancers you can hire or work as on Fiverr!

You can even sign up to Fiverr Affiliates and earn for recommending them – just like I am 🙂

4. Teach an Online/Digital Course on a platform like Skillshare, Udemy or Teachable

As a travel blogger, you can turn your expertise into an additional income stream, by putting your knowledge and experience into an actionable course on platforms such as Skillshare and Udemy.

Industries increasingly recognise travel bloggers and influencers as valuable members of a huge global online society and niche. People invite them to speak at conferences and host workshops, to name a few.

Brands and companies realise how valuable travel bloggers’ experiences and expertise are, and they are being invited to share their knowledge in a way that can help others. Each blogger also draws in their own unique audience.

More travel bloggers are creating case studies and ebooks to support their online courses and webinars. This also leads to more social followers and a growing audience, which is an added bonus for experienced travel bloggers.

Example: My Lightroom Mobile Editing Course on Skillshare!

Example: My Lightroom Mobile Editing Course on Skillshare!

If you fancy trying Skillshare, check out my Transform Your Travel Photos: Editing On Lightroom Mobile course and get 1 free month of premium!

5. Sell Your Unique Travel Photos As Prints

Apart from selling photo presets, you can consider selling your travel photos as prints. I’ve been selling my own prints since the start of 2022!

As an experienced traveller and content creator, you likely have plenty of beautiful and unique images, which you can easily sell as prints on platforms that offer fulfilment centres and basically everything you need to manage the process.

Your photo prints can be used in many forms, including beautiful canvases. You simply upload your high-quality images and the platform will do the rest – people can download prints to use as decoration, marketing collateral, or more.

Best of all – your prints might just end up in a popular coffee shop or restaurant!

If you’re planning to go this route, I definitely recommend brushing up on photography print knowledge and making sure you always shoot in RAW, as JPEG images are compressed and can get pixellated when printed.

Shooting travel content at sunset in Cornwall with my trusty Sony A7iii - my favourite travel camera of all time!

Shooting travel content at sunset in Cornwall with my trusty Sony A7iii – my favourite travel camera of all time!


6. Sell Your Travel or Lifestyle Photos As Stock Images

Travel blogging is very focused on photography. Similar to selling your travel photos as prints, selling them as stock images is a great way for travel bloggers to make money.

As a travel content creator, you’re bound to have a backlog photos that can actually make you money by selling them as stock photos on popular platforms. Even casual iPhone snaps of you holding a gelato in front of the Sagrada Familia or a little flatlay of your coffee somewhere in Paris are very likely to be used by a blog or website who need ‘authentic’ looking content.

You can easily cash in on your photographs by selling them on platforms like Deposit Photos, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, and more. The amount you earn per photo might not seem that much, but they can quickly add up once your photos get downloaded multiple times.

Selling your photos as stock images is an ideal passive income stream for travel bloggers, especially since you’ll continually be creating new photos as you continue your travels and add to your collection!

Just bear in mind that selling as stock photos might be slow going, and the pennies will trickle in quite slowly unless you have epic drone footage or unique moments captured. But still, every penny counts!

This photo was snapped at Skogafoss in Iceland as part of a blog post collaboration with an Icelandic car rental company. Check out the blog post here.

This photo was snapped at Skogafoss in Iceland as part of a collaboration with an Icelandic car rental company.


7. Creating Content for Brand Collaborations

Once you’ve started blogging, it’s likely that you’ll have started building up a following of some sort – even if it’s only a bunch of best friends and your mother reading your blog, you’re still providing some form of influence or word-of-mouth marketing if they decide to take your advice.

This sort of direct influence and loyalty is exactly what brands look to capitalise on when working with bloggers and content creators. You can sign up to collaboration platforms that offer ways for you to get paid for writing a blog post, review or creating a social media post. I’ve found that even cold pitching companies or brands that feel like a good fit for your niche or website can be very successful, especially if you state your rates up front.

Writing a blog post with embedded affiliate links to a brand’s products or services is a great way to keep earning passive income, since you not only got paid to create the content, but you’ll keep getting paid whenever someone reads your blog post and decides to make a purchase!

Admiring Taal Volcano Crater Lake in Luzon, Philippines after a sweaty 3-hour hike on foot.

Admiring Taal Volcano Crater Lake in Luzon, Philippines after a sweaty 3-hour hike on foot.

Making Money as a Travel Blogger in 2022

These are just a few ways in which travel bloggers make passive income in 2022.

As you develop your skills and travel the globe, you can use them to be a social media influencer, professional blogger, online course creator, photo editor and more – the options are endless.

We’re incredibly lucky to live in a day and age where the entirety of our income can be generated online. It’s something I’m passionate about and I hope you take advantage of it too.

Although getting started on your passive income is a hard mountain to climb, even the tiniest step forward will set your passive income journey into motion. Just go and get started.

Good luck — and remember to share this post with travellers you know on a passive income journey!

Quick links:

Mel Legarda

Melissa Legarda is the founder of illumelation. She has worked as a travel blogger, creator and writer since 2015, and has collaborated with well-known brands worldwide. She has helped over 1,100+ students improve their travel photography skills since launching her creative courses. Her mission is to encourage and empower others to travel and create more. Find her on Instagram.

One Comment

  • Phillis says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and the rest of the site is also really good.

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