When I started my travel blog a few years ago, I only used the little courage I had and some money I spent on a domain name to claim myself as an amateur travel blogger. I never really thought I'd make travel blogging for a living, and ever since, I've learned more about some must-have travel blogging tools and resources that I could use to help me monetize my digital platform.
I'm not exactly that blogger who would claim to earn 6 to 7 figures from blogging, no. But baby steps matter, and now that I've earned a little bit of money from The BeauTraveler, I want to share some tools and resources that I use to help me earn a few bucks from blogging. So, here we go!
The Best Tools and Resources for Travel Bloggers
There are so many trials and errors that I've experienced ever since I started blogging. Monetizing your digital platform like your blog isn't something that you should expect to see results overnight, and I've learned it the hard way as I think it took a few months for me to finally see the result. Now that I've been blogging on The BeauTraveler for over 5 years, I still haven't reached the result that other bigger bloggers claim to have either, so it's an ongoing work-in-progress.
When I just started, I only focused on the writing part, and nothing else. At the time, I didn't understand the technicalities that I needed to put into blogging, let alone spending money on blogging tools and resources. I mean, why would I spend a few bucks when I barely even earned a penny for my blog, right?!
As my blog grows, I start putting more effort as I've come to the mindset to treat my blog as a business. I've still got a lot to learn, but here are some effective travel blogging tools and resources that help me earn extra income from my blog!
1. Domain and Hosting Provider
If you read my other posts about blogging, you probably know that I made some rookie mistakes when I started, as I didn't know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org then. I purchased my first domain name (and hosting) through WordPress.com, until I bought a blog template, only to find out that I couldn't apply it on my website.
After months of contemplating whether I should migrate to self-hosted WordPress as I was quite self-aware that I'm not very technical in blogging, I finally found a local Indonesian hosting provider that offers free migration service: Dewaweb.
I still had to do some things on my part, as Dewaweb needed some files from my old WordPress.com website. But apart from exporting those files, everything else was super straightforward. It's been years since I did the migration, and I'm still using Dewaweb as my domain and hosting provider.
If you're new to travel blogging, my advice is to go straight and find a proper domain and hosting provider instead of experimenting with WordPress.com. Trust me on this, some of these companies offer much better deals, and the flexibility you want to do for your website is impeccable!
2. WordPress Plugins
Using plugins on your WordPress website is often frowned upon, because of the issues that may affect your website from using too many plugins. It makes your website load slower, or the possibility of it crashing as it's not compatible to combine with other plugins.
However, WordPress plugins can be super helpful if you're not exactly tech-savvy like me as it offers you functionalities you need for your travel blog without knowing how to code or anything technical to make it more intuitive for your audience.
While I use the combination of plugins and additional codes, here are some WordPress plugins I'm using for my travel blog so far!
- RankMath, I'm now using RankMath after years of having Yoast as my SEO plugin on The BeauTraveler. A web developer that I worked with suggested the plugin, but I find Yoast more intuitive for me even though RankMath has a better interface. I'm keeping RankMath simply because I don't want to mess with anything after getting my website fixed the other day.
- Akismet is an anti-spam plugin that is super helpful in blocking all spammy comments to minimize unnecessary notifications as it can filter genuine comments from spam.
- Ad Inserter. The plugin is great if you start monetizing your blog through ads and affiliate links, since you can put the codes automatically across blog posts without having to get through each post one by one.
- Broken Link Checker saves me time from tracking the links on my website, especially since I occasionally host collaborations through guest posts, link swaps, and collab posts. It notifies me whenever there's a broken link on my website so I can fix it before hurting my website.
- Easy Table of Contents as I want to offer a nice experience for my readers. I know sometimes I'm too lazy to read the whole article on the website, so the table of contents on my posts will also help the audience who's pretty much like me and who have a short attention span.
3. SEO tools
Search engine optimization is pivotal in anything blogging, including travel blogging. When I started blogging, I couldn't really understand what it meant since a lot of SEO resources tend to use buzzwords when it comes to this part of blogging.
Over time, based on my experience SEO means only two things: how your website functions and how your content is. The first one has more to do with the back end of your website, so having an SEO tool like RankMath or Yoast can help to get started. You can also sign up for Google Search Console to double-check whether your content is indexed for search engines. If not, you can request for indexing there too.
As for content, you can sign up for Google Analytics to monitor your content metrics and understand your website data a little better. On top of its function to create better content that actually performs on search engines, these metrics and data can also be helpful when you start pitching for collaboration or sponsorship with travel brands.
There are so many SEO tools out there in the market, and I find the hard way that most of them are super expensive! When I started, and some professional bloggers mentioned Ahrefs and Semrush, I was shocked when I found out that their monthly subscription starts from $100!
While I know that Ahrefs and Semrush are probably the leading markets for SEO tools, I never really use them ever since my trial account expired. In my earlier days of blogging, I once bought access to Ahrefs from some Indonesian blogger who bought it in bulk and sell it for a cheaper price, but I personally don't see the value of spending too much for a tool that I only use when I start building content.
Typically, I only use SEO tools for competitive research when I start building my content, so the main function of me using SEO tools is for keyword research on top of everything else. Right now, I use a combination of Google Keyword Planner, Moz, and Ubersuggest for it.
While Google Keyword Planner is free, Moz has a limitation for its free account since it only caters to 10 queries per month. However, given the idea I barely even publish 4 posts a month, it works okay for me.
I also found out about Ubersuggest a few years ago, and I initially subscribed it on a monthly basis for $12. At one point when I got a bit too busy, I decided to stop the subscription only for them to offer me $40 for lifetime access. It was a great deal, so I bought it!
4. Writing tools
I hate to state the obvious but blogging is all about writing, which makes it different from video-based content. Unless you're living under a rock, you probably know the increasing popularity of ChatGPT to help you write content. While I admit I was quite impressed by how it performed, there's more to it than just doing some copy-and-paste things from ChatGPT into your blog.
To be fair, the idea of writing this blog post also came from ChatGPT when writer's block hit after working on blog content for my clients in the past couple of weeks. I personally find ChatGPT super useful for creating a blog outline instead of the sole content creation tool for blogging. Especially if you want to create a travel blog, it's always better to create content based on your personal travel experience instead of re-writing some information you can find on ChatGPT.
Since English is not my first language, tools like Grammarly help me double-check all spelling and grammar when I have a new draft. I usually write the draft directly on Grammarly so that I can see how I can improve the structure of my writing.
While it's good to some extent, don't blatantly rely on Grammarly for writing, though. Just like almost all the AI writing tools available in the market, their suggestions tend to be rigid and less human. I also use Quillbot for my other business, and while the flaws are pretty much generic for both writing tools, the latter costs much cheaper than Grammarly!
5. Photo Editing and Graphic Design
In a world where Instagram exists, photo editing tools seem crucial on top of everything else. As a travel blogger, it tremendously helps when you can provide appealing images to support your content through your digital platform as well.
By all means, I'm not exactly the best person to learn about photography or photo editing, but at least I make an effort to make all my photos look more appealing. I don't know how to use Photoshop, so it's a no-go. However, I figure another Adobe product, Lightroom, is a great platform for photo editing, especially if you know nothing about photo editing.
The monthly subscription costs around $10 USD, but I figure it's worth the price since they offer so many presets which can be adjusted to your pictures accordingly.
Another top-notch tool is Canva, especially if you know nothing about graphic design. Honestly, I don't know where I would be in my career if it weren't for Canva. I never thought I'd be into graphic designing, but as soon as I got introduced to Canva, I've had so much fun creating graphics!
I use Canva for all the graphics you can see on my website, including the featured images or Pin graphics. As much as I want to learn more about graphic design, I think my plate is full enough for now, so I'm quite happy with what Canva can bring to the table these days.
6. Image Sourcing
Are you going to use your own photos as supporting images on your travel blog post? Great! But if not, be mindful that using random photos you see on the internet for your blog posts can be illegal, and the last thing you want is to get sued for being ignorant about it.
The good news is that so many stock photo platforms provide images you can use for free in your blog posts. My personal favorite is Unsplash, as it provides so many great photos taken by professional photographers that are great to use for supporting images for my blog posts. While most of the photos are free to use, Unsplash also offers Unsplash+ membership that is quite affordable compared to other premium stock photo platforms like iStock or Depositphotos.
I also occasionally use Pexels, Burst, or PxHere for image sourcing when I don't have decent photos for my blog posts. Are you a travel blogger who has laser-focused on food content around the world? You can also use a platform like FoodiesFeed to make sure that your blog could look professional with good photos without spending any pennies!
7. Email Marketing Platform
I know I mentioned that email marketing doesn't really work for my blog so far, but I'm not giving up. I use Mailerlite to build my email list, and since I don't have a huge list for email marketing, I still use the free account of Mailerlite that will be valid for up to 500 subscribers.
I'm trying my best to grow my email list this year, so I created a freebie about “6 Essential Tips for Your First-Time Slow Travel.” If you're interested in joining the community, you can sign up below!
Apart from Mailerlite, I'm also familiar with some other email marketing platforms as some of my clients use them. For instance, Mailchimp is probably the most popular one. While Mailchimp can be a great tool to start your email marketing strategy for your travel blogger, the learning curve for Mailchimp can be quite steep if you're a beginner.
The other email marketing platform that I like is Flodesk, as they have so many beautiful email templates. Another plus point about Flodesk is that they offer a flat rate no matter how many subscribers you have. If I ever reach the threshold number of subscribers on Mailerlite, there's a chance that I may migrate to Flodesk instead.
8. Ad Networks and Affiliate
As a travel blogger, you can also claim yourself as a travel publisher. That means you can start applying for ad networks. Keep in mind if you don't have a large audience, don't expect to earn 3-4 figures overnight.
I initially applied for AdSense to start monetizing my blog through ads, and since I only have around 2,000 to 3,000 views per month, it took me literally 2 years to be able to withdraw my $100 threshold. It's peanuts, but it could be an alternative to earn passive income through your blog.
Recently, I got invited to join Ezoic, and so far I got a more satisfying result as with the same number of audience, I could take home around $20 per month. Not only that, I could also set the threshold from a minimum of $20 so I could expect to get $20 extra every month from them.
The only downside of using Ezoic so far is that I notice my website is often down for all the technical issues. In order for the ad networks to work on my website, I had to change the nameserver to Ezoic and this seems to be problematic with my web setup. Being not so tech-savvy myself, it often frustrates me.
I got so used to the service provided by Dewaweb where they could fix everything on my behalf, so now that I had to change the nameserver to Ezoic and their customer service is nowhere near Dewaweb, I feel like being with Ezoic has its pros and cons.
While I don't have any experience with other ad networks, I know that other ad networks like Mediavine or Monumetric seem popular among travel bloggers with a larger audience. They only accept bloggers with minimum traffic of at least 50,000 visits per month, but from what I heard, they seem to pay better than other ad networks.
Another way to monetize your travel blog is by using affiliate links for your content. A lot of travel-related platforms offer their very own affiliate programs, but I suppose that was also the main reason why I didn't prioritize affiliate links for my blogging strategy since I applied for a few affiliate programs when I started my blog, and everything is so scattered that I can't keep up.
The good news is that now we have affiliate networks like Travelpayouts that partner up with various travel-related platforms, so you can put all your affiliate income in one place. I find this more practical than having to create a different account for each platform and taking too long to finally be able to earn money. This is especially difficult since I don't have a massive audience to actually earn money through affiliates.
9. Travel Blogging Communities
All those tools wouldn't mean anything without participating in the travel blogging communities. The good news? There are so many communities for travel bloggers that you can join for free!
Among all social media platforms, I find Facebook being the best channel to join and participate actively in the travel bloggers' community. You could almost find a Facebook group for every function you need as a travel blogger, whether you want to connect with other fellow bloggers for link building or you want to drop your new blog post link to promote.
So, here are some of my favorite Facebook groups that I regularly use for all my blogging activities!
- Link Building for New Bloggers (with low DA). I understand how hard it was to swap links with bigger bloggers when I first started, and this group accommodates bloggers at all levels to help each other through link building without any discrimination over DA, which is a common practice for link swaps among bloggers.
- The indirect travel blog link swap party. While swapping links is a common practice among travel bloggers' communities, building links naturally is much more important. This Facebook group is a great way to gain natural links for your blog posts. How it works is that you can drop a link to your blog post, but you are required to link back to one of the other bloggers' posts. It's useful if you're looking into a long-term strategy to build links for your blog posts.
- DNW – Making Money From Blogging. This group is amazing, and the group owner, Sharon from Digital Nomad Wannabe, is super supportive of all the blogger community there. She provides everything from collaboration to promotion threads, and she even allowed me to promote my writing service in the group when I was in a bad situation financially. I got some leads and clients from that post alone, and I'm so grateful for this community!
- Women Travel Creators (formerly Female Travel Bloggers). They have a #BlogPostSaturday thread every week where you can drop a link to your blog posts and engage with other fellow bloggers.
- Pinterest Travel Bloggers Club. I'm biased since I'm the admin there, but this is a group where bloggers support each other by sharing their content on Pinterest.
- Email Marketing Collab for Travel Bloggers. Cristina from Honest Travel Stories initiated this group recently, as she wants to share some of her knowledge about email marketing for bloggers. She's also got a master plan about collaboration with fellow travel bloggers in the long term. It's great since the size of the group is still small, so we could brainstorm easily.
10. Invoicing and Payment Gateway
When you start monetizing your travel blog, it's time to make it professional. It's never too early to treat your travel blog as a business, and I like to streamline all the business systems early on so that I can offer a seamless workflow to my clients. It's also a great way to set boundaries with brands or sponsors to minimize the chance of getting paid late for your campaigns etc.
I use Zoho Invoice, as it's super easy to use and more importantly… It's free! I also connect it to my Paypal account, so clients can pay me directly via Paypal. However, since the rate on Paypal is terrible, I usually ask clients to pay me via Wise instead.
If they agree with Wise, I will request payment on my Wise account which will generate a payment link that I can share with clients. From my end, it only takes a minute to generate a dedicated payment link on Wise. On the client's side, they can pay through Wise or their bank card. It's great!
FAQ about Travel Blogging
In this section, I've listed some frequently asked questions about travel blogging, including the strategy, tools, and resources you can use to create a successful travel blog. I'll answer it in my capacity as a travel blog who's been running The BeauTraveler for years now, so here we go!
Do travel bloggers make money?
Yes, and no. While I know some big travel bloggers get paid 6 to 7 figures for a press trip or something, a lot of us don't have that much of a privilege, but we still make money on the side.
For context, I got some press trips a few times with the Indonesian bloggers' community, and one of them was when I stayed at Best Western Premier The Hive in East Jakarta. However, I didn't make money from that press trip, and that's okay as I enjoyed the experience anyway.
Most of my travel blogging revenue actually comes from my writing service. I use my blog as my portfolio, and I've landed some clients as a freelance content writer. Either that, or I generate quite a decent income (at least for Indonesian standards, which isn't a lot for European or the USA standard!) through working with PR or SEO companies too.
Is it too late to start a travel blog?
It's never too late to start something, but I have to say that travel blog industry is pretty saturated these days, which make it twice (or maybe multiple times) harder than if you started a few years ago. Not to mention that nowadays we also compete with video-based content like Youtube or TikTok.
However, if you can create a strategy that can convert into traffic, it's not impossible to create a decent amount of traffic even when you just get started. The truth is, you'll never know unless you try. So it's always worth trying to see if a career as a travel blogger is worth pursuing for you!
Can I start a travel blog without traveling?
Technically, you can. Blogging is all about writing content, so as long as you have some time to do proper research and write something about a particular destination, you can immediately start a travel blog.
However, keep in mind that these days your content is only considered good for search engines like Google if they have E-E-A-T elements: Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The audience get smarter these days that they could immediately tell whether you write based on your experience or just scrapping some information you get from ChatGPT, so you may want to build an engaging audience for your travel blog later.
This is also the reason why I decided to have a general blog instead of niching down to travel content only. I mean, I still try to focus heavily on traveling content, but I can still write about other things too when I'm not traveling. It's a win-win!
It's never too early to start treating your travel blog professionally. While investing in more advanced tools for travel blogging may not be in your budget right now, getting a domain for your travel blog is essential if you want to start monetizing it.
While you can start blogging with a free version of WordPress or Wix, having a domain that establishes your travel blog as a business comes with a lot of benefits. From the chance of monetizing it through ads and affiliates, as well as increasing your online credibility.
So, among all these blogging tools and resources, which one of these is your favorite? Share in the comment below, and happy blogging!
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.
This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link.