You’ve probably used Google at least a hundred times while planning a vacation to find popular things to do, what to eat, what bars to go to, family friendly activities, and more before your upcoming vacation.
Google Search will return a list of various blogs you can click on to get insight. If you’re a big traveler, you may also wonder whether or not travel blogging is a viable side hustle, and how to get started with this awesome side gig.
While it may seem the industry is oversaturated, it’s interesting to note that only 21.8% of bloggers have been blogging for five years or more. This statistic counts for all bloggers, not just travel bloggers.
Additionally, the travel industry is booming. In fact, the total domestic international inbound traveler spending in the U.S. totalled $1.1 trillion in 2018, and the US travel and tourism as increased 170% over the past 20 years.
In short, the travel market is hot, blogging is still a popular type of side hustle, and if you’re interested in making some extra cash of your favorite past time, the time is now to start a travel blog.
This article will explore how to start a travel blog side hustle in more detail.
What Is a Travel Side Hustle, Exactly?
Before getting into too many details about how to start a travel blog, let’s define what a travel side hustle is in the first place.
The world of travel blogging is vast and there are several ways you can create valuable content and make money online. Let’s take a look into how some current travel bloggers have successfully entered the world of travel blogging.
1. Create a niche travel site
One popular approach is to create a niche site where you offer detailed information about a specific location or type of travel.
Alyse Grimm, the operator of “Things to do in Salem,” is a great example of a successful travel blogger with a highly niche website.
Grimm created a niche travel blog all centered around things to do in the popular area of Salem, MA. Grimm has this to say about her website:
“Things to do in Salem is a project ten years in the making. After wandering the gorgeous, uneven brick streets for as many years as I have, the recommendations, travel tips, event info and more began to accumulate. After surpassing the point of looking like a tourist, even with a camera in my hand, I decided it was time to try to help others see Salem the way I do, to help others plan a successful trip into a wonderful city. This website came from that desire. I started my blog to share my story and it has since taken on a life of its own, helping tourists and locals alike enjoy the witch city.”
Key Takeaway: If you have robust experience in one area of travel, you can create a seriously interesting, and helpful, website for tourists.
2. Document your travels & make extra money with affiliate links and ads
Another popular travel blogger, Kris Kuhn, runs the blog Coffee Cups & Wanderlust. Kuhn combines his love of living a free-spirited nomad life with offering tips on how to make money online.
Kuhn says, “We want to live a location-less lifestyle and to do that, we need to make our money online. We created our travel blog, Coffee Cups & Wanderlust, to give us a place to share and monetize our unique travels, our tips and tricks for making online.”
Key Takeaway: Create a travel blog about whatever you are most passionate about like the Kuhn Family. If you need to further monetize your website, consider affiliate marketing and advertising.
3. Offer travel recommendations and advice
If there is one thing traveling the globe will offer you, it’s first-hand insight into what to do, what not to do, and how to have the best experience at a specific destination.
GiNiele Reitzell runs the travel blog LoyallySpoiled, where she provides travel and food recommendations and advice.
Where does the name “LoyallySpoiled” come from? Reitzell explains:
“I created LoyallySpoiled because I believe everyone should spoil themselves by experiencing the best things in life. Living a spoiled life has nothing to do with material items and everting to do with the experiences you make, memories you share, and doing things that make you happy.
That’s how the title of my blog came to be. I wanted to change the negative connotation of being “spoiled” and let people know that living a spoiled life is a great thing and it is possible for anyone, as long as you simply do the things that make you happy, like traveling to places near and far and eating delicious food at new restaurants!”
Key Takeaway: You can run a travel side hustle based on your own experiences. People are searching for advice online. If you have insight, make a living providing recommendations to other travelers.
There are several other approaches to starting a travel log. The important thing is that you do what you love and create a plan for success.
What to Expect When Creating Your Travel Website
It goes without saying that if you’re going to be a travel blogger, you need your own website. But, what if you’ve never created a website before? Will you really be able to start your own website, even if you don’t have tech experience? Do you really have enough time to start a side hustle? Do you really have enough insight to keep a blog up and running for years and generate income?
All of these are valid questions and worries that other travel bloggers have faced in the past. Let’s look at some obstacles other travel bloggers have run into, how they overcome these obstacles, and how you can use their experiences to avoid potential problems while you build your new website.
Obstacle 1: Learning WordPress
Did you know that 75,000,000 websites currently use WordPress? According to Kris Kuhn of Coffee Cups and Wanderlust, “learning WordPress” was his main obstacle.
It’s true there is a learning curve to WordPress, but here is the good news. WordPress has improved leaps and bounds in terms of how intuitive it is to navigate. Not to mention, there are other travel blogging tools to help you quickly learn how to get your website up and running.
Kuhl says “HostGator and Elementor Pro made learning WordPress easy.” It’s true. When you sign up for your hosting account through HostGator, you can install WordPress in one click and access our entire resource library.
Key Takeaway: If you’ve never built a website before, don’t worry. HostGator will hold your hand through the process every step of the way.
Obstacle 2: Time Management
The nature of a side hustle is that you do it in your spare time. What spare time, right? With work, familial responsibilities, any hope at a social life, and hobbies, it’s difficult to imagine running a successful side hustle.
This is a problem Alyse Grimm had. She says:
“One of the biggest obstacles I face as a side hustler is time management. This is such a common roadblock for those of us who also work ‘regular’ jobs. I overcame this by using a paper planner to map out what I need to do and taking advantage of all of my resources.
I use free time any chance I get it through the day to get a little work done. This way when I get home from work in the evening, I know I have accomplished some of my own side hustle goals, too. I write content, plan newsletters, reply to emails and keep things running through the day.
I also use tools like Tailwind to keep things going for me while I am not at my laptop. Putting all of the tools available to me to use during the day helps keep it all going smoothly. This combo of resourcefulness and planning is what helps me get everything done.”
Key Takeaway: Being busy is a curse everyone experiences, but with proper planning and the right tools, it’s possible to carve out time to do what you love.
Obstacle 3: Self Doubt
GiNiele Reitzell perfectly explains a common obstacle any person undertaking a new project might experience—self doubt. She says:
“I faced many obstacles, starting from not knowing anything about creating a blog to having extreme self doubt. Once I started my blog, I did it just for fun and wrote about anything I wanted with no particular niche. Then, as I progressed I realized that I needed to have a specific niche to focus on and go from there.
My website went through many changes and I’m finally at a place TWO YEARS LATER where I have a clear direction, my site’s theme is perfect, and I have the necessary tools to increase my viewership and maximize subscribers. I had to research, read articles, join groups, and view other blogs to see what changes needed to be made. As for overcoming my self doubt, that will always be a work in progress but I always tell myself that I’m 100% capable of being successful and that the only thing that can stop me is myself.”
Starting a new project can be scary, but remember the famous Wayne Gretzky quote, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Couple that quote with some wise words by Dr. Seuss, and you have a formula to crush that self doubt. “Today you are YOU, that is truer than TRUE. There is no one alive who is YOUER than YOU.”
Key Takeaway: No one has the experience or expertise you have. It may be scary to put yourself out there, but imagine how many people you can help have great experiences because of the insight you have to offer via your blog.
How to Set Up a Travel Blog Website
Now that no obstacles stand in your way, let’s talk about how to get started with your travel blog. Here is a quick overview of how to use HostGator to get your website up and running.
Step 1: Pick a hosting plan for your travel website.
HostGator’s drag-and-drop website builder has three plans. The starter plan includes a free domain, 200+ templates, cloud hosting, and website analytics. It’s the perfect pick for someone looking to start a travel blog.
If you are nervous about building your own travel website and want priority support, you’ll need the premium plan. Once you’ve picked a plan, click “buy now” and you can set up your account.
Step 2: Pick a domain name.
Every GatorBuilder package includes a free domain. To pick your domain, all you have to do is type something in the “get domain” box. If your top choice isn’t available, select another.
Check out this article on how to choose a domain name for your business if you need help picking out the perfect name for your travel blog.
If you already have a domain name, that’s great! You can connect it to your HostGator account by clicking “connect it here.”
Step 3: Create your account.
Once you have a domain name, you can connect your account. All you need is an email address or Facebook account to connect. Then, enter your payment information, and you’re all set.
Step 4: Pick a template for your travel blog.
The best news about creating your website is you don’t have to do any coding. The Gator Website Builder comes with templates, and all you have to do is pick one.
Once you create your account, you’ll be directed to the “choose a template” page. You can scroll through over 200 professionally-designed templates, and select the template that best fits the goals for your travel website.
Step 5: Add content to your travel blog.
Once you have selected the perfect template, click “start editing.” This will send you to your dashboard where you can add, edit, and delete pages.
The Gator Website Builder includes a drag and drop builder to make it easy to design your website. However, if you have any questions, Gator Website Builder also includes a free and easy step-by-step guide for reference.
To access this guide, Click the “menu” icon next to the Gator by HostGator logo and select the “getting started tour.”
Step 6: Review your content and launch your travel website.
The last step is to review and launch your travel website. By clicking “preview,” you can see your travel website in full. This is when you can look at your website and make sure everything looks how you want it to look.
If everything looks great, then click the “finish preview” button at the top and then “publish website” at the top of the dashboard. The Gator Website Builder will present a series of quick steps to help you go live.
Starting Your Travel Blog
Not only is travel writing a dream job, but it’s a great side hustle. Several people are already doing it successful, and we are all jealous of them.
If building a travel blog is your dream, then get started today. HostGator offers affordable hosting, an intuitive website builder tool, and the key to starting on your travel website journey.
Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.