I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about the realistic expectations of travel writing and blogging. For many travelers it is a dream to eventually get paid to traverse the globe. Some people manage that goal, and blogs everywhere claim that anyone can do it and have their trips covered entirely. But is this true?
Yes, and no. It is possible to get paid for an entire trip as a writer, but it is incredibly rare. Most people will be experienced journalists, or bloggers who have managed to score deals with companies that sponsor their traveling. The truth is, this isn’t a feasible expectation for the average writer, especially not in the beginning.
That doesn’t mean you can’t earn money with travel stories. Actually, there are plenty of places that are willing to pay for that. Plus, you can earn more cash by dipping into other niches in your freelancing, which can help to recoup costs or fund the smaller expenses of your travels.
I have done this myself, and have often worked while away traveling in order to pay for things along the way. A friend of mine traveled through Europe, relying on his travel stories for everything from food to hostel fees. Which should show you the more realistic side of travel writing: it can be a good way to make some money while you are traveling anyway.
Selling Your Travel Stories
How do you do this? There are quite a few options, such as finding individual clients who are looking for travel writers on their blogs on in their magazines. They usually pay per word, and are a good option for more steady work.
Marketing your photos through stock photos sites is another option: You can get very popular there quite easily but don’t expect too much from that.
You can also go to travel sites that pay per story. Most travel blogs have this option, but the more popular are established sites like the Matador Network or Lonely Planet. These will usually get you around $25 per story, which isn’t great but also not terrible for occasional work.
This Writer’s Opinion
If you want an opinion from someone who has been doing this kind of thing for a living for awhile now, branch out. Write your travel stories and sell them where you can, under your byline. Use those to help push you into other avenues, padding your resume and portfolio for higher paying positions in other industries. This blog has a huge lists of ways you can make money with your blog!
There is a ton of freelance work out there for every niche. If you can be adaptable and show your worth in various areas, you can get a lot more work. I wouldn’t suggest working while traveling in these areas, because you run the risk of not enjoying your trip. But before and after you go off on your adventure, it can provide a much more stable income or even fund your next escapade.
Have you been lucky enough to sell your travel stories? Let us know how, and where, in the comments.