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Getting paid while traveling sounds fancy but it’s a reality for some people like
Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt who quit his job to travel the world. He started his blog in 2008 and after more than a decade visiting the world’s best destinations, he’s now one of the highest-paid travel bloggers grossing $750,000. He’s considered among the best American travel experts, with a New York Times best-seller “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter.”
Want to live the dream like Matt? If you’re curious enough, here are some real ways to combine work and travel or even get paid a fortune as a digital nomad:
1. Start a blog.
Alesha Bradford and Jarryd Salem of NOMADasaurus make around $3500 to $6000 per month and they earn this big by offering a range of services through their website and social media channels. They create content for brands through photography, video, and storytelling. Then they write product reviews every now and then.
As an influencer in his niche, Jarryd already managed to be a public speaker who talks about travel, online business, social media, marketing, photography and blogging at conferences, expos, and webinars. As you can see, this couple has a lot of strategies to earn money through their blog, and like them, you can try these things if you’re eager to start a travel blog:
- Publish press releases. You can do them in exchange for a free travel, although some travel bloggers actually charge a per-day rate. Press release rates vary depending on a blogger’s years of experience. Lowballers charge as low as $20 per hour, but based on industry standards, the rate should be anywhere between $80-$180 per hour.
- Launch paid campaigns. You will get opportunities to partner with brands once you have built your audience and social channels. If you’re dreaming to work with your favorite brands, work on growing your blog first and focus on audience engagement.
- Write product reviews. You can partner with brands whose items are designed for travel and adventure. There are blogs that are focused on publishing reviews for travel-related products like insurance, hotels, and backpacks.
- Share affiliate links. Alesha and Jarryd are not huge fans of affiliate programs, because they apply a different strategy in promoting brands. But for beginners, I highly recommend using a blog to promote affiliate links. There are travel bloggers who found success as affiliates like Jeremy of Living the Dream RTW who make over $25,000 per year across travel affiliate programs.
To be a successful travel blogger, it helps to come up with a direction or style that will give people a reason to read your posts. In other words, you will need to have some sort of branding. Perhaps you would like to be known as the blogger who delves into different culture or maybe have the reputation of an ultimate foodie. You can start a blog focusing on must-try foods of every country you visit or a feature website highlighting cultures of the world.
In able to build a personal brand through blogging, you have to determine how you would like to be identified in the blogging world. Do you want to be known as the travel blogger who loves taking it slow? This applies if you’re the kind who loves spending long on your destinations to adapt to other country’s way of living and like sharing your experiences to the world. You can work around this idea in building your brand.
It also helps to include your personality in your posts. With so many travel blogs out there, it can be challenging to get ahead of the competition but you can attract more loyal readers through authenticity. And there’s no better way to do that than to show your personality through your brand voice! One of the easy ways to do it is to show your style through your design. For example, you can incorporate things like wave patterns or images of the beach if you are the type of person who loves the water. When you don’t know where to start, a moodboard can help you gather your ideas. Write down every single thing related to your personality or your type of travelling.
Ready to start a blog? Check out my post on How to Start and Grow Your Own Profitable Blog for tips on creating a WordPress website from scratch, choosing the best web host provider, and selecting a good domain name.
2. Be a YouTube vlogger.
YouTube is more than just a platform where you can upload and share your videos. You can monetize your channel and even make lots of money from it, like British backpacker Louis Cole, the vlogger behind FunForLouis who reportedly earns $1000 to $20,000 per month. As of writing, he already has 2 million subscribers, no wonder why Forbes named him as a top travel influencer in 2017.
To qualify for YouTube Partner Program, your content should meet Google’s guidelines like it should not display recent acts of terror and should not show real injury or death. YouTubers usually get a percentage when a viewer sees or clicks an ad, but here are a few more ways they make money:
- Join ‘channel memberships.’ You’ll be eligible to join this program once you reached more than 30,000 subscribers. It lets viewers join your channel through monthly recurring fees and receive member-exclusive perks like goods and badges.
- Become part of a YouTube Premium. This paid membership allows users to watch their favorite videos uninterrupted or watch a video without ads while still supporting creators. In here, your revenue will be based on how much members watch your content.
- Earn through ‘super chat.’ This new feature is available when you go live, but it’s only applicable for creators with more than 10,000 subscribers. Earnings can go from $1-$500 depending on how much your viewer wants to drop for every super chat message. It lets your viewers purchase chat messages, and in some cases, pin them to the top of a chat feed.
- Launch your Merchandise Shelf. You can earn a percentage when YouTube displays official branded merchandise on your watch page because your fans can browse and buy them. This feature is available for YouTubers with more than 10,000 subscribers.
Video blogging can be as rewarding as blogging but it is more expensive and it requires more creativity. In addition to having a reliable camera, you will also need to invest in other equipment like a good microphone, spare batteries, and editing software.
The number one rule in becoming a YouTuber is to come up with high-quality videos. It pays to invest in good lighting and sounds, because poor video and audio are the main reasons why viewers leave a channel, even if it has amazing content. Many experienced vloggers even invest in a softbox lighting kit to improve their video qualities.
Worried about the costs of your vlogging essentials? There are a few alternatives that will save you some bucks. For example, there are smartphones that already have the features of a DSLR camera. There are even budget phones with optical image stabilization, wide lenses, and long battery life, so you will not have to bring a bulky camera every time you produce content.
If you are interested in becoming a vlogger, here are the things that will help you dominate YouTube, and who knows, one of the highest-paid in your niche:
- Choose your niche. There’s one thing all successful YouTubers have in common: they stick to a specific topic. So far, the most popular niches include product reviews, tech videos, tutorials, food, and fashion. You can even think of a sub-niche when you’re interested to produce videos for a small segment of the market. For example, you can focus on underwater tourism or vlogging about marine life and the ocean.
- Be consistent. You might be wondering how often should you post a video. It actually depends on how fast you can edit your videos, include background music, and add some captions to it. For a travel channel, it’s easy to understand if you can only post once a week because let’s admit going places can be expensive.
- Keep SEO in mind. Just like in blogging, search engine optimization is one of the things to consider when vlogging on YouTube. Use keywords in your title and description because it increases your chances of appearing on the search results. To help you come up with traffic-generating keywords, use tools like Keyword Tool for YouTube and SEO Review Tools.
- Begin or end your videos with a call-to-action. If you want to earn more on this platform, you have to strategize how to urge your viewers to take further action. There are creative ways to do your CTAs more than just asking your viewers to subscribe. You can add things like “Book Now” if you are promoting flights or travel accommodations or even show links of other videos so your viewers can keep watching.
3. Be a social media influencer.
When you think becoming a YouTuber is not for you, why not go to other social media channels, like Facebook or Instagram? Since Instagram is image-centric, it is the perfect platform to share your wanderlust photos!
As an influencer, you get paid by a brand to promote their products or services. By sharing sponsored posts, you agree to receive payment based on what you agreed upon. While many Instagrammers, especially the new ones, are fine with free products, there are some who only accept money as payment.
Read also: How to Use Social Media to Boost SEO
Jack Morris and his girlfriend Lauren Bullen are among the most-followed travellers on Instagram, with more than 2 million followers each. Together, this couple visit many idyllic locations around the world and make a living from it. Jack recalled getting paid $9,000 for one post, adding that they will not share any image for less than $3,000.
Start by creating an Instagram account then work your way on reaching as many followers as you can. Once you have a large following, it will be easier to find sponsors and earn through affiliate marketing. Or you will not have to, because brands will start inviting you for a sponsored post once you reached the influencer status.
4. Become a professional photographer
You can make money selling your pictures and videos on stock images website. Stock photography is not as high-paying as blogging or vlogging but it’s a great way to start if you want to create a new stream of passive income.
To give you an idea how much you can earn, Shutterstock offers a 20% royalty for every image sold and 30% of every footage clip downloaded. If your image is downloaded by a customer under subscription packages, you will get around 25 cents per image. So for every 100 images downloaded, you will get $25 – not that bad if you love photography and you see it more as a hobby than a job.
5. Work with travel website and magazines.
If you are a wordsmith but find it intimidating to start a blog or maybe reach an influencer’s status, start a career as a freelance writer. There are plenty of companies looking for features, dispatches and travel guides. You have the opportunity to include your by-line on the article and add it on your portfolio. These websites encourage writers to submit their samples and work as a travel writer:
- The Expeditioner – offers $30 per article with 1,200 words and up.
- Matador Network – it’s actually a community where you can join forums and marketplaces. It’s where you can find hundreds of travel writing opportunities.
- Travel and Leisure Magazine – pays up to $1 per word, with topics ranging from planning a trip, lifestyle, and news.
- Smarter Travel- pays $500 for long-form articles and multi-page slideshows, and $100 to $250 for shorter posts
- Go World Travel Magazine – they accept articles from 850-1,600 words in length and payment is $30 to $40 per story/photo essay upon publication.
- AAA Midwest Traveler – pays around $400 for a feature with 1,200 words. If your article was published in their partner magazine, the AAA Southern Traveler, you will get another $150.
6. Deliver food.
Love road tripping? You can make a few bucks delivering takeaway meals. If you like the idea of setting your own hours, becoming a delivery partner might suit you well. The flexibility of choosing your preferred work hours is just one of the many perks of being a delivery partner. You will also have the chance to earn more and see new places, like the hidden gems in your city.
There’s no limit to how much you can make, but to give you an idea, many drivers earn around $10-$20 per hour doing UberEats. You’ll get to make money every time you pick up an order and when you drop it off. They also have this thing called a per mile rate in addition to a per-minute rate. It’s possible to earn big if you live in a big city where orders are easy to come by. You can make around 10-12 deliveries in a day since most of them can be done in short periods of time.
It’s believed you can earn more driving with Uber or other ride-sharing services, but maintaining a car is also more expensive since you’ll have to factor in repairs, cleaning costs, and insurance. What’s great with delivering food or packages is you can choose to deliver by motorbike, scooter, or even by bike.
7. Apply as a travel guide.
The last but not the least is for people who have a great sense of direction and those who love to keep on learning even if they are locals of a certain place. If you’re outgoing, engaging, and patient, you might just become a good tour guide.
Leading tours is fun, not to mention that they come with many perks. Many companies even provide all the meals and accommodation in addition to paying you for your expertise. It’s not just a job but a lifestyle, though, which means you have to br prepare for the drawbacks like being far from your loved ones for a long time because you’ll be living on the road.
Your income as a tour guide depends on your years of experience and the responsibilities involved. But if you’re in the United States, you can expect to see companies paying an average of $12 per hour. Depending on where you live, you may need to obtain a license before getting started.
At the end of the day, what truly matters is that you get the most of every trip. The experience is worth more than the monetary compensation you’ll get. Travel because you are truly fond of it, because it will show in your posts. Influencers went to a hundred places before making money from their blogs or social media channels.
If you liked our article, please check out more of our content:
- Blogging for Dummies: How to Start and Grow Your Own Profitable Blog
- How I Have Driven 650,000+ FREE Visitors To One Of My Blogs
- The Best Blogging Tools For Beginners And Bloggers Of All Levels