How to Afford Long-Term World Travel
pt 4 – How Travel Bloggers Do It
Nowadays there are literally hundreds and hundreds of travel bloggers out traveling the world and writing about / photographing their journeys on their own personal blogs.
Some of them, like Nomadic Matt, Gary Ardnt of Everything-Everywhere, the PlanetD and Wandering Earl have become veritable online celebrities in the travel industry. They’ve been blogging for many years, have won blog awards and have built up thousands of followers. Other travel bloggers have been at it a couple years, like me. Others are just getting started.
To hopeful world travelers and fans travel blogging seems like the ideal job and lifestyle. It seems exciting, glamorous and fun. Not surprisingly then, people are eager to find out just exactly how travel bloggers earn a living. It seems so mysterious. The truth is that there’s no single way to earn an income blogging. There are dozens and dozens of different ways that real travel bloggers are paying their way to travel around the world.
In this post, pt 4 of How To Afford Long-Term World Travels Series, I reveal how dozens of the top travel bloggers earn their way. Please note that almost all bloggers have several income sources that collectively create their total earnings. So as I mention each blogger and their income source, please keep in mind that in most cases they don’t rely entirely on that one revenue stream. Never the less, this extensive list will clearly illustrate that there are several dozen ways to earn a living while traveling the world.
Perhaps you can do some of these too?
How Travel Bloggers Earn a Living:
Long before Earl became Wandering Earl he worked for nearly 5 years on cruise ships. He earned a great salary, had no expenses, and thus saved most of his income. During his cruise ship life he visited dozens and dozens of countries around the world.
Earl has written an excellent guidebook: How to Work on a Cruise Ship to help others who would like to travel the world via cruise ship.
Wandering Earl and Nomadic Matt– Book Sales
After Earl became a successful travel blogger, he wrote a couple useful books which, consequently, sell very well. He recently commented that he generally sells 3-10 books per day. By my estimate, then, he makes a few thousand dollars per month purely on book sales.
[Btw- I highly recommend this book if you’re serious about traveling the world. Read my review of Earl’s book.]
Nomadic Matt is one of the most successful travel bloggers in the world. He’s written several books on how to travel the world and how to earn money while traveling, all of which sell well. He’s said that he makes a majority of his income from book sales.
Beth Whitman – Guided Tours
Wandering Earl has also recently started his own guided tours, by popular demand from his fans.
Shannon – SEO specialist
Shannon O’Donnell of A Little Adrift has been working as an SEO expert since she graduated from university. Because this is online work, Shannon is able to work anywhere in the world where she has internet access.
She’s also written an excellent book on SEO practices and The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook to guide hopeful international volunteers through the whole process. Income from book sales also supplement her work income.
Simon – website and phone apps designer
Simon Fairbairn of NeverEnding Voyage is a creative and successful website designer. Like Shannon, Simon’s work allows him to live / travel / work anywhere that he has good internet connection. More recently, he’s been designing phone apps useful for travelers. He and his partner, Erin, have been traveling the world nomadically for over three years already.
Marcello – Day Trader
Marcello Arrambide, aka Wandering Trader, earns a living trading stocks online. Once again, this online work allows Marcello to travel the world and work wherever there’s internet connection. He has written many posts on his site about day trading while traveling.
He also has his own course teaching others how to trade stocks: The Day Trading Academy
Beth Salvon and Erica Kuschel – Other Professional Photography Careers
Before beginning extensive world travels a few years ago, both Beth of Beers and Beans and Erica of Over Yonderlust had successful photography careers. Beth has her own wedding photography business in San Diego. Erica has been working professionally in Texas for many years.
Since starting their world travels, both have branched into travel photography as well.
Ken Keminsky, Trey Radcliffe – travel photography
A few travel bloggers are leaders in travel photography. Ken and Trey are two of the most well-known.
Abigail King, Lara Dunston, Bret Love – Freelance travel writing
Several travel bloggers earn their income from freelance travel writing for magazines, guidebooks and other online websites. These are three that I know of:
Abigail King – Inside the Travel Lab
Lara Dunston – Gran Tourismo!
Bret Love – Green Global Travel
Gary Arndt – Living off savings / personal funds – personally financed
Before starting to travel and blog, Gary owned a successful computer business. He sold his business and house then used the proceeds to set out on indefinite world travels. As far as I can make out, he was able to continue traveling for 2-3 years on money from his former life and/or investments before he began receiving corporate sponsors.
Nancy and Joseph – living off retirement income
I met Nancy & Joseph of World Globetrotters in KL, Malaysia over 10 years ago. At that time they’d been on their indefinite world trip for about two years. They worked short but hard careers, investing as they went, then retired early to travel the world living entirely off their retirement income. Nancy & Joseph are a perfect example of making a great long-term strategy that they persevered with until they reached their goals.
David Lee, Christine Gilbert, Abigail King – teaching courses on blogging and/or writing
A few successful travel bloggers who have several years of blogging under their belts offer popular courses for other people who would like to become travel bloggers. These courses create a good portion of their income. Here are three I know:
David Lee of Go Backpacking offers Travel Blog Success Online Course & Community
Christine Gilbert of Almost Fearless offers her Blog Brilliantly Workshop
Abigail King offers her own writing course: Social Media for Writers
The PlanetD – Corporate sponsors
Dave and Deb of The PlanetD, also known as ‘Canada’s Adventure Couple’, have worked hard to built up their brand and presence in the travel industry. Over several years of hard-core travel blogging and world adventures, they’ve gained thousands of excited fans. Because of that, big companies, particularly within the travel industry are eager to tap into The PlanetD’s audience and to link themselves to Canada’s Adventure Couple. Thus, Dave & Deb now fund their travels by corporate sponsorship, much like world-class athletes have big brand sponsors.
Jeff Jung – his own TV Show
In 2007, Jeff Jung of Career Break Secrets took a career break to travel through South America for 1-2 years. By the time he completed his journey, he decided to not return at all. Instead, he based himself in Colombia and set out to earn a living by helping other people take career breaks too. Within two years he miraculously was able to create his own TV Show on the topic, airing on a major US TV Network. He also supplements his income with book sales, freelance marketing consulting work and translation work in Colombia.
Michael Tieso, Mark Wiens, Connie Hum, Sherry Ott, Samuel Jeffries, myself – Teaching English Overseas
Like me, several other travel bloggers, prior to travel blogging, began their lives overseas by teaching English in foreign countries. I worked in Japan for 6 years. Samuel worked in Korea. Michael taught in China. Connie taught in Hong Kong. Sherry taught in Vietnam.
Heather Cowper, Matt Long, Jeremy Jones, Ordinary Travels – Work full time careers while blogging on the side
Not all travel bloggers are nomadic world travelers. Many of them have ‘normal’ lives with a house, partner or family, and career. They’re travel addicts who travel as much as possible and blog on the side. Others started their travel blogs while working a full time career and then quit to travel & blog full time when their blog was making enough income for them to do so.
Traveling Canucks, Two Backpackers, Living the Dream – took 1-3 year career breaks to travel the world then returned to their former lives
Many people, including both well-known travel bloggers and unknown world travelers, take a break from their careers for 1 year or more to go travel the world. Many are able to negotiate with their companies to take a sabbatical and return to their positions when they return. Others quit their jobs then find new ones when they finish their world trips.
Johnny Ward and Kirsty – created passive income from various types of websites
Most travel bloggers are entrepreneurs, which means they figure out ways to create income for themselves rather than working a job / working for a company. Several of them have achieved that by making websites that generate passive income. Johnny Ward of One Step 4 Ward and Kirsty of Nerdy Nomad are two of many travel bloggers who’ve been quite successful creating a group of websites that generate income.
There are many different ways to create passive income from websites. It takes a whole lot of learning, trial and error and hard work, and often a lot of creativity to learn how to do this successfully. It’s not an overnight income generator. But when done well, can make a lot of money.
Kirsty has published a list of her websites and also writes monthly earnings reports, so people can see clearly exactly what kind of websites she’s created and where her online income comes from.
David Lee and Kirsty – combination of income sources from travel blogging
Both David and Kirsty regularly report their monthly earnings, by income type, on their travel blogs. Both run several websites which collectively provide their incomes from several sources. Both bloggers also earn $4000 – 5000 US per month or more. Check out their reports to see exactly how they make their income.
David Lee – reports his earnings quarterly on Travel Blog Success
Kristy – Nerdy Nomad – earnings reports
* There are dozens of ways to earn a living while traveling the world
* Combining two, three or many income sources often works well
* Income sources and work might change over time and evolve
* Each long-term traveler has to find his own way to earn a living to continue traveling
* Some steady jobs & professions entail travel or involve living overseas
* Many long-term travelers are entrepreneurs
* Figure out what your own skills, talents and training are. Then figure out how to use them to earn your way.
If you want to see if you’re cut out for such a career and lifestyle, read books about entrepreneurship, running a small business, and success books to develop the correct attitude to succeed at such a life.
Be sure to check out the rest of this series:
pt 1 – The Threee Components
pt 2 – How I, Lash, Do It
pt 9 – Minimizing Costs on Food
Which of these careers could you do to allow you to travel the world?
When are you getting started and join us out here in the world?