This Is How I Get Paid To Travel The World

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Paid to travel the world?

Travel is Awesome, but How do I Make Money?

Travel Tips

After 7 years of traveling the world, the most common question I get is: “how do you make money traveling?” or “how do you get paid to travel?” Well here’s my answer.

Working as a professional travel blogger has been a dream come true after many years of hard work. But I completely understand your curiosity. How am I getting paid to travel so much?

From the outside it must look like I’m just always on vacation traveling around, having a blast — but there’s a lot more to it than that behind the scenes. Somehow I need to make a living!

How exactly do I make money? How do I fund my travels? Do I have sponsors? Who is paying me to travel the world?

To fund my long-term travel lifestyle, I make money different ways.

But it all became possible after I started a travel blog.

My income sources are always changing, and some are more complicated than others. Attempting to explain how I get paid to travel in casual conversation usually takes a while.

Often times I’ll just throw out “travel writer” or “photographer” to avoid a lengthy discussion.

However because this is the big question everyone wants an answer to, I’ll try to clarify this burning query for you today.

You’ll learn exactly how I’ve funded my travels for the past 7 years — and how I’m able to get paid for traveling around the world.

Getting paid to travel

Full Disclosure: This Is Not My Car!

How I make money travel blogging

Full Disclosure: This Is Not My Helicopter!

Get Paid To Travel The World?

It was 2009 when I first began planning to quit my job and travel the world. I was inspired by two friends. Both were traveling very cheaply, on a backpacker’s budget, living on less than it takes to live in the United States.

I was completely enthralled with their photos and stories from exotic destinations around the world.

At the time, I didn’t realize you could travel long-term for less than $1000 a month! Budget travel was an entirely new concept for me.

My buddy Ferenc was backpacking through Southeast Asia, making money advertising with Google Adsense on his photography website.

My ex-girlfriend Katie was working on private yachts as a chef, island hopping around the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

I thought if they could travel like this, so could I!

Who needs a car?

Saving Money to Travel

Saving Money To Travel

My family isn’t wealthy, and I’ve never had a trust fund. According to US statistics I was considered lower-middle class, a single male living in South Florida working 2 jobs that earned about $30k per year.

How could I possibly save money to travel the world for a whole year living on that?

The answer is I downsized my lifestyle to live on even less.

I’d just finished paying off my car, so I decided to sell it. I canceled my car insurance, gym membership, and Netflix subscription. I purchased a used commuter bicycle, a rain poncho, and a bus pass to get around.

I sold off almost everything of any value that I owned. Goodbye DJ turntables, goodbye stereo, goodbye sports equipment.

I stopped going out to bars, restaurants, and nightclubs too. I cooked a lot of pasta & rice at home. Made my own cheap sandwiches for lunch.

I rented a small room for $400 in a small 2 bedroom house I shared with 2 other people in the suburbs.

These simple (but boring) actions allowed me to save about $7000 over the course of a year. It required discipline, and it wasn’t exactly “fun”.

READ MORE: 33 Best Travel Jobs To Make Money

Lofoten Islands Winter

Just Another Day at the Office!

Making Money Traveling

While I spent a year saving money for (what would initially be) a 12-month journey through Central America, I was also dedicating my free time to developing a 2nd source of income that would help pay the bills as I traveled.

I worked countless coffee-fueled nights and weekends doing hundreds of hours of research to learn about and build a small online business writing and selling digital guides (aka ebooks). My social life kind of fell apart, because I wasn’t going out much.

But chasing my travel dreams was more important to me at the time.

When I finally left for Guatemala in November of 2010, in addition to my savings, I was also earning $1000-$2000 a month selling three different how-to guides on various topics related to the nightlife industry.

After a few years my ebook business slowed down though, as much of my success was from advertising with Google Adwords, a platform that shows ads in your search results. Google made changes that hurt my business a lot.

Luckily by then I’d begun to diversify my income streams, and was earning money from my travel blog.

How I Make Money Online

Ok, Most Days Actually Look Like This…

Current Blog Income Sources

Brand Partnerships

Companies pay me to advertise on this blog and/or social media accounts. It takes many forms, like sponsored blog posts, Instagram features, or newsletter mentions.

I’ve built up a large loyal audience of people who are interested in travel, and these companies want access to that audience.

Examples include deals with respected companies like American Express and Momondo.

I always include a disclaimer at the bottom if I’m partnering with a brand and only work with companies that I admire and trust.

How Much? With brand partnerships I earn between $4000 – $15,000 per deal, depending on what’s involved.

Long-Term Ambassadorships

Slightly different than traditional advertising, longer term partnerships (or ambassadorships) are longer projects with companies that can last from 3 months up to a year.

They usually involve multiple blog posts, regular social media coverage, licensing of images, maybe writing articles for the company’s blog, promoting giveaways, and more.

Examples include my past partnerships with LifeProof & Cayman Jack.

How Much? With long-term ambassadorships I earn between $10,000 – $20,000 per project.

Affiliate Links

Whenever I share my favorite travel gear, photography equipment, books, or online courses with you, I include special affiliate tracking links to those products.

This means if you decide to click through and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission. The price remains the same whether you use my special link or not.

Examples include,,,, and many more.

There are also dedicated affiliate networks like Affiliate Window and Commission Junction who represent all kinds of different products.

To see my affiliate links in action, check out my Travel Gear Guide.

While individual commissions might be pretty small, this site receives 700,000+ pageviews per month. Many people are clicking on those links, and it can add up quickly.

How Much? With affiliate marketing I earn between $10,000 – $15,000 per month.

Photography Sales

I earn money licensing my photography for use in commercial marketing campaigns, or for editorial use by media outlets. Tour companies, national tourism boards, outdoor brands, magazines, book publishers and others buy my images from time to time.

I’ve even sold images to National Geographic!

Selling individual photography prints to readers is not a great income source. Most of my photography income comes from working with brands/destinations/media outlets who find me through the blog or on social media.

Here’s a great guide for improving & earning money with photography.

How Much? For travel photography I charge between $250 – $3000 for an image license depending on use.

Destination Marketing

Occasionally a country’s tourism board will invite me to visit and write about my experiences traveling through their country.

In the past these were unpaid; but flights, accommodation, and activities were covered like a traditional media press trip.

Well now I’m getting compensated for these destination marketing projects. Usually, they reach out to me, but sometimes I’ll pitch a project to them too.

A campaign usually produces a mix of blog posts, social media content, photography, and video footage.

How Much? For destination marketing I charge between $10,000 – $15,000 per project.

Display Ads

Google has an advertising platform called Adsense. By placing some special code on your blog, they display relevant ads within the content of your site.

You then earn some money each time a reader clicks on one of these ads. You can also integrate these ads into your YouTube videos, which is what a lot of vloggers do.

If you receive enough traffic, premium advertising networks like MediaVine (the one I use) & AdThrive pay more than Adsense. The rate varies between $2 – $25 per 1000 views depending on your topic.

How Much? Display ads on my site bring in about $5000 per month.
Traveling in Thailand

Boat Hopping in Thailand

Other Ways To Earn

There are other ways to make money from a travel blog which I currently don’t take advantage of. Here are some additional examples.

Freelance Travel Writing

I used to write travel-related articles for other websites. They needed content, and I had travel stories to share. The Travel Channel was once one of my clients.

It can be a decent source of income for some people, for me it was sporadic. These days I’m able to earn more working on my own site rather than writing for others, so I generally don’t chase this type of income anymore.

Here’s a great course on improving your travel writing.

How Much? Travel writing can pay between $0.10 – $1 per word, depending on the outlet.

Link Building

In the past, I also engaged in something called text-link advertising. Companies would pay just for a backlink to their website in my older posts, or provide a full pre-written “guest post” full of links for me to publish.

Why? Because it helps those companies increase their search engine results, sending more people to their website and growing their business.

The practice is frowned upon though, because it’s against Google’s guidelines.

If you’re caught by Google, it can backfire, so I don’t recommend it. Yet many bloggers still make money this way — so I thought I’d mention it.

How Much? Link building used to bring in between $50 – $500 per link.

Public Speaking

Some of my travel blogger friends have been earning income for speaking at conferences and events around the world related to travel or business.

Teaching others what you’ve learned, through an inspirational speech, is a skill that some companies will pay for. I suck at public speaking, so it’s not an income stream I make use of. Who knows, maybe in the future!

How Much? Public speaking gigs can command $500 – $3000+ per event.

Organizing Tours

I know of other travel bloggers and photographers who run their own tours to destinations around the world.

Some focus on budget travel, others focus on food, writing retreats, or photography workshops to teach clients how to create better images.

Organizing your own tour isn’t a simple process. I’m running my first one in March 2018 and can let you know how it goes!

How Much? Group tours can earn the organizer between $2000 – $15,000 per tour.

Selling Ebooks/Courses

Selling digital products is another way some travel bloggers earn income. Either travel guides about a particular destination, or books about how to travel on a budget, how to make money from a travel blog, improving your photography, becoming a better travel writer, etc.

I find it kind of funny that I was able to fund my first year of traveling in part by selling ebooks, yet don’t sell any now.

That may change in the future, as I have a lot of useful information to share after doing this for 7 years!

How Much? Selling digital products can earn between $500 – $10,000 per month for some people.
Cave in Spain

How Much do I Make from Travel Blogging?

How Much Do I Make Overall?

I know, I know. You want details. Asking someone exactly how much money they make is a very personal question, and it’s not something I’m entirely comfortable posting, but I’ll give you an idea.

These days I earn a decent six figures a year from this blog.

I’m not a millionaire, but I’m not living in a cardboard box either.

While I started from humble roots, and still prefer to travel the world on a budget, I’m also able to save money these days. Or splurge on some expensive experiences/trips from time to time.

Of course there are also many expenses with running my business. Website hosting, photography equipment, travel expenses, etc. No one paid me to travel to Greenland for example, but independent travel like this is also part of running my travel blog.

And the reality is that even now, I actually have no idea how much I’ll make next month. Or the month after that. It’s one downside to working for yourself. In exchange for freedom, you often lose some security.

But I’ll choose freedom over security any day.

There have been a few occasions over the past 7 years, earlier in my travel blogging journey, when my bank account was drained to its last $300…

Embracing uncertainty and risk on a quest to do what you love can be scary sometimes. Really scary!

Hey, I know what it’s like to live in a cave if it ever came down to that. :-)

I love what I do, and continue to learn new skills and work towards making this travel lifestyle sustainable, or at least until I no longer enjoy it.

I strongly believe that anything is possible with hard work, patience, and dedication.

You also can’t be afraid to take some risks or fail along the way.

READ MORE: Professional Travel Blogger Tips

Useful Resources

I’m not going to sugar-coat this and tell you that making money while traveling has been easy. Quite the opposite actually. I work a lot more now than I did when I first started.

This income didn’t just appear overnight either, it’s taken me 7 long years to get to this point.

Also keep in mind that I run one of the top 10 travel blogs according to readership. So my results are not average, I’m a bit of an outlier. But I also started at the bottom like everyone else.

I know these big numbers can be shocking for people who don’t understand blogging. Yes, blogging can be more than a hobby. It can be a viable business if you treat it like one.

Like all businesses though, it takes time to grow.

For the first 2 years, there’s no way I could’ve survived on my travel blog income alone.

However if you’re determined to get paid to travel, here are some resources I highly recommend:

I hope my article answered your questions about how I can afford to travel so much. It’s been a long and wild journey! ★

READ NEXT: How To Start A Travel Blog

Have any questions about how I get paid to travel? What else would you like to know? Drop me a message in the comments below!


  1. your journey is very inspiring. I am very interested in your story, it is true what you said about getting out of the comfort zone and do the things we like very scary. afraid of the risks we’ll get when we get started. after reading your story I got to thinking again to start things that I love.
    thank you

  2. Hi Matthew,
    I enjoyed reading your article. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us.
    Greetings from New York.

  3. I’m very interested in learning more about how you started your ebooks and building a good name for myself. I’m a single mom and my daughter has a very rare condition and my dream is to show her the world one day ! I would love learn all about how you downsized and started building upon those ebooks. I currently work full time and rent at an outrageous amount and in Milwaukee… You pay for the area you live in. I am very excited to have found your blog and feel it inspired me to take that step.
    I would love to hear from you !

    1. Hi Abi! There’s plenty of resources for starting a blog/online business. I took the long road so it took me about 6 months of research just to get started. But that’s me, and honestly I can’t say it was the right way to get started jajaja!

      I’d say step number 1: What brings you joy? Do you see yourself starting your own project doing that? (start thinking beyond money. Don’t bring that just yet into the table). For me, it was travel and sharing what I’ve learnt as an expat.

      Apart from that you can always get a side job at the online platforms like Upwork.


    2. With ebooks, the key is just sharing your knowledge about a certain topic, one that has a market of people willing to buy it. It’s a less complicated version of publishing your own real book, cutting out the publisher middle-man.

      However it’s still too complicated to explain in a blog comment, but there are many online resources out there that will do a better job explaining it than I can.

      Step 1 – Write something people will want to buy
      Step 2 – Create a webpage/landing page to sell your ebook
      Step 3 – Drive targeted traffic to your webpage with paid advertising, content marketing, SEO, etc.

      It’s not that simple of course, but that’s the basic idea. One of my ebooks was about how to become a nightclub photographer. But there are a million possible ideas. Write about something you know!

  4. Thank you for all your information. I too am a travel blog writer and I love to share with you my link but in the interest of not bombing your readers with it I would think it would be best to send it privately. I am already implementing some of your idea’s and am currently working towards my first ebook. As many starting Bloggers I am always looking for great ideas and good mentors. You can be sure I will be fallowing your blog thank you again for all the great information.

  5. I love this blog suddenly!! add to my bookmark!! I hope you always in great healthy so you can inspired others a lot over and over again.

  6. Great article, Matthew! I like how you also shared specific dollar amounts. Congratulations on building a huge audience!

    It’s indeed all about diversifying income. People should start by playing to their skill set, and then growing that skill set. This industry changes and evolves quickly but quality work doesn’t go out of style.

  7. Really Insightful Stuff!!

    I always learn something new from your blog.
    I have been an avid reader of your blog.
    Also, your travel stories set travel goals for us.

    My aim is to inspire people in India to travel solo.
    I would definitely implement these tips on my travel blog.

  8. Matthew,

    This is inspirational stuff! I am contemplating starting a road trip blog myself, which I hope will be as successful as yours one day. What would you say is the most critical step one can take when creating an audience for a blog? Thanks and cheers!


    I have been looking all over the web for the knowledge, insight, and information that you provided. That is a very generous act that I wish to pay forward one day. I am currently doing what you are doing and living on a budget trying to save every penny I can-In hopes of traveling the world while making a living! I recently had the idea of starting my own website, one in which I can share my experiences and sell products that I feel would transcend borders to newly found people/cultures. I Just created my website and it is at its baby stage. Thank you for enlgihtning me and sharing this information that I have been looking for ALL over!

  10. I love your story starting with making the hard choices to minimize and free yourself! We are a family with 3 kids who left Canada for Europe after lots of self-denial to build real estate income: now we’re travelling and showing others how to spend a year away with kids. So much still to learn: your site is a great resource, thank you.

    1. Real estate income is actually very similar to affiliate income. It takes an investment in time & money up front, but then you get passive income out of it, and the investment (house, website) also grows in value over time.

  11. Hello, Matt! First of all, this post is great – it really gives a great global perspective about earning money traveling.
    Anyway, I really want to do something different… I’m not working in the present moment, I really want to travel and have my own job, but I don’t know how to do it and also have something different from all the other travel bloggers. I’m not that a professional photographer and I don’t even have a camera. I’ll check your “step by step” post.. but I wanted you to tell me (if you can) more about the way you started traveling and earning money at the same time.

    Thank you, and have a great year!!!

    1. Basically, I wrote a PDF book about a topic that other people wanted to learn about. They key is to choose a topic you’re knowledgeable in, and doesn’t have too much competition (or if you think you can do better).

      Then set up a website/landing page to sell the “ebook”. Use advertising or other online marketing tactics to drive targeted traffic to that webpage, and people will hopefully buy your book, because you’re offering a solution to their problem, or teaching them your specialty. A bit over-simplified, but that’s the gist.

      Pat Flynn has a good free guide:

    2. I love the transparency & personality of this article. I wish more travel bloggers would make this effort. Especially since this is the number one concern of every traveler including yourself when you first start out. Thank you for taking the time & effort it took to put this together, and continuously updating it for our benefit.


      Making money while traveling warrants a massive amount of dedication, creativity & effort. You might have to learn a new skill, industry or even technology. But there is more power at our fingertips today then any other generation in the world. I suggest looking at facebook groups for digital marketing, nomad life or van life to get an idea of methods you can use to fund your travels, and have a support group as well while learning your new craft.

      There are millions of ways of ways to make money to fund your travels. Just follow your passions, and you’ll find your group. Show your passion, and your group will support your passion. Whatever that may be.

  12. Hey,
    Thanks.. Your blog is very informative. Guidelines provided by you are great and I hope I can utilize them in real. Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. I really like this article. It’s actually inspired me to start writing my own ebooks about my travels and lessons of being an aspiring entrepreneur. Where can I find your ebooks? And also do you have any tips for writing ebooks? Like length, format, etc? Thanks again.

  14. Hi Matt, this is a great summary post, very informative! Thank you for sharing, it gives me an idea of a starting point for my travels.

  15. Hi Matthew,

    This post is awesome! Thanks for providing a wealth of info. I am a traveler and a part-time nomad with every intention to go full-time. Up till now I have been saving every few years to go travel the globe several months at a time but only to end up back home and broke :)

    Thanks again for sharing your journey from start till now on how you are killing it one country at a time!

    1. That’s a common cycle for many people. Save up, travel for a while, come back home and start the process all over again.

      Location independence is the ultimate freedom, but it takes a lot of time, hard work, sacrifice, and a little luck to get there. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Wishing you luck Rita!

  16. Hi Matthew,
    I’m seventeen and I started travelling on my own two years ago during the summer. I go off on solo walks for a month or three week trips by bus touring a specific country. I’ve been writing for a while and I’ve got lots of stories to share. Is there a way I could make some money with these stories? What would the right outlet be? I’ve still got a year of school left, so at the moment the financial aspect isn’t too important. But once I finish school I’ll definetely be travelling 24/7, so it would be good to have some source of income.

    1. Hi Lawrence! The reality is that you don’t make money with stories, you make money with an audience that businesses want access to.

      Building that audience up takes time. So use your stories to start building an audience, and once it’s large enough, there are opportunities for income.

      You can try to do some freelance travel writing, but unless you are a professionally trained writer, you probably won’t make much money from it at first. These days $0.10 – $0.20 a word is typical, and there’s a lot of competition too.

      I also wrote a post with travel job ideas here.

  17. Oh My Gosh! I can’t stop reading your blog! I am your fan now. You’re such an icon when it comes to travel blogging. You are a very down-to-earth person, the way of your writing is simple and attractive to read.

    As my experience by reading other travel bloggers, most of their writings are boastful… If I read something that I felt that they are very proud of lifting up themselves, I immediately click the “X” button and never go back to their blog page again… I would like to follow you! Your photos are impressive! Your writings are attractive to read. You are such an Icon!

  18. Thanks a lot. I’m excited by the content of your blog and look forward to a brighter tomorrow! Learning new things daily i am passionate about is awesome. I am not afraid to work hard neither. Gotta put in the work!
    All the best in your life’s new chapter!

  19. Great article. The most informative one i’ve read thus far (although i dont typically read other bloggers posts) that has such helpful information on starting out. Thanks!

  20. Hey Matt, thanks for being so open about this income-topic!
    I am happy to read that hard work can pay off and have the biggest respect for how you have achieved everything you can call your own empire now.

  21. Matt! You are absolutely incredible! A total inspiration! And I am soooo looking forward to following you in your adventures! My boyfriend, Isaac, and I (Kim) are in love with traveling and have absolutely previously discovered that we will choose freedom over security anyday! Although, financial security is always something to work towards :) We just spent the last month driving across the US from AZ to NY exploring and hiking as many National Parks, Forests, and Monuments as we could! We’re taking another 2 week or so travel here soon and are SO looking forward to it! I’m having travel withdrawls already! Can’t wait to start up our travel blog! We’ve already got our plugins, website hosting, logo, and had already started reading 4-hour work week before you had recommended it. Isaac has read it though! Cannot wait! Thank you so sincerely from the bottom of my heart for all of your thorough badass information and help!! <3

  22. Was very informative. I just discovered your website now and I am definitely going to subscribe. I am an 18-year-old traveler and trying to discover the opportunities I can get through travel blogging and this helped me a lot

  23. “Well now I’m getting compensated for these destination marketing projects. Usually, they reach out to me, but sometimes I’ll pitch a project to them too.” .. Can you please provide some details on “pitch a project to them” ? Kindly email me if possible :)

    1. Track down contact details for the right people (usually in marketing/PR for the company you want to work with), and send a partnership proposal pitch.

      Unfortunately there is far too much information to share in an email. Travel Blog Success has a whole section dedicated to teaching how to pitch companies. Good luck!

  24. Hello.
    How can I travel the world and enjoy my self
    We you draw monhly it doesn’t go far…

    But I have always wanted to travel visit hawaii and China and so is how can I be a part of this travel I love the travel I think I will be great to travel I love to travel I love to travel I was going to travel to make money on it but I need to know how to do this when you drop off and it’s kind of hard to make things work or make plans be because when you draw monthly you pay bills you ain’t got nothing left
    email me back thank you for your time.michael

  25. Hi I’m from Sri lanka and I’m dream is traveling around the world before I die. But I don’t know how to start.

    1. I’m on the same boat :) i’m 20 and my dream is to travel the world but even if I downsized like he did I still wouldn’t have enough money. Got to finish college first and get a career I suppose…

  26. Hi! I am Liisa 17year old girl from Finland, and i’m still thinking about what to study. I’m interested in travelling and making money on the road, and i’ve heard about travel nursing. But it seems it is only a thing to do inside united states or Britain. So i ask you have you ever met travelling nurse that is working in the foreign country and do you know how easy it is for english speaking nurses to find a job abroad? Thank you!

  27. How do you take picture when you’re solo-traveling? Are there tips on what equipment you use to take those photos?

  28. I’m 62, a newly retired RN of 30 years. My dream is to see several places, sort of my bucket list. I’m single, have traveled some over the years and lived outside the U.S. for a short time 40 yrs ago. Contemplating an around-the-world adventure, alone, and at my age is now an intimidating consideration; however, after reading some of your blog, I find I still have the courage to go, and am encouraged. Thank you, Matthew. Perhaps you accomplish more than you think?

  29. Hi I’m Sudharsan , I am 22, from India, I started asking myself what to do while I completely lost motivation to do anything I get bored if it doesn’t change continuously, I for one thing definitely know that I am not suited for sitting in offices, while writing exams I used to sleep half hour to 45min so I know I’m not suited for office ,that’s when once our family planned to go somewhere out in our city Bangalore in India that’s when I saw many things and decided just 2 days before to go out around the world but even though I read many blogs about travel i couldn’t understand how am i supposed to survive out there is there any advice can you give me please…

  30. Hi there! My name is Bella, I’m a college student in my senior year about to graduate in the Fall of 2018. Photography is my passion. I’ve been taking pictures since High School. I’m interesting in how to get started. I love seeing the world and showing it from a different perspective by taking photographs. I am taking a trip this coming January to Costa Rica with my boyfriend Jose. We’ve been wanting to travel and finally booked our first trip by ourselves. I am building my own website to start blogging from. How do I get my work recognized? Should I just take pictures wherever I go and post on Instagram to build my fan base and use hashtags? If I could I would drop everything and go but as of right now I don’t have the ability for that.

  31. this insanely insightful and helpful. thank you for sharing your secrets to a practical way to approach a) travelling and b) getting paid while doing it.

  32. You were pretty lucky. I wish i would do this, i am from Africa and earn about 701.058USD (on the current exchange rate) a month, before deductions. I than pay rent and have life cover, transport and student loans which leaves me with 77.9262USD. Enjoy every moment of this

    1. Dear Sheugnei, You have more than I do at the end of a month!! If I’m lucky; after for paying rent & food I have maybe 10/15 dollars. True story. 😒

    2. I agree Sheugnei, it’s easy to forget that as a white American male, my life has been pretty good/easy compared to many other parts of the world. Luckily travel helps me stay grounded, as I get to see some of the challenges & struggles other nationalities have to overcome firsthand.

  33. Just wanted to leave a quick comment after spending over an hour on your incredible site! I wish you well on this exceptional journey of life. You are doing it so right!!!

    I wanted to say thank you for all the extremely informative and entertaining posts. you are only going up on the cool scale! I am now following you on Instagram and look forward to spending some time on your site again very soon!!! God bless and stay safe.

  34. awesome post. i am carrying on with my theme of doing /starting things way after everyone else. but where theres a will theres a way. fab pics on insta!

  35. Greetings! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know
    how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when browsing from my iphone.
    I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share. Thanks!

  36. This is absolutely nice! Imagine can earn this huge amount. I also have a newly created blog and hope I can also monetize it soon. Thanks for this article. I learned a lot.

  37. Your writing and travel inspired me very much. Sir I have a question while travelling can we seek a help from national or regional tourism board for budget travel.

  38. Here exactly I found a great piece of information which I wanted to find on the internet. Many Many Thanks for sharing this great & evergreen article. I am also trying hard in this direction with patience as you did.

  39. Thanks for giving us a real and honest look at what it’s like to run a travel blog! I just started mine last week and I’m really enjoying it, as a hobby. I would love for traffic to pick up and be able to generate income or travel out of it but, for now, I am just enjoying the process.

  40. Hi there Well done to pursuing your dream and making it a reality through hard work and determination….I’m reading up on as many as I can…I’ll be keep a kean eye in yours…..I have plans to do a blog too but with a difference ! Beside the basic setup..wordpress/blue host what is the financial outlay? ..I have a basic Asus laptop…but I’m pretty dire at anything techy….will I be able to manage by myself with little computer cop on?..Also what about accounts and taxes….What’s the best way to attract visitors to your site ? And finally if your desperate to attract a particular brand to the site..when and how is it best to approach them ?…I’d rather hold off then not secure them at all…I have to have this brand onside..

    I know it’s a long winded one…but appreciate any help you can offer me…

    If I could have my life all over again I’d do what your doing….

    Thanks a mill

    Jean ; )


    1. Hi Jean, the financial outlay really just depends on what your plans are. In the begining, for me, I backpacked around Central America for 12 months living on about $800-$1000 per month. That was how I built my site, writing about those stories. Everyone is different though, with different goals, different reasons for traveling, etc.

      Taxes is a huge topic I can’t cover in a comment, maybe a future blog post. However I highly recommend reading this book.

      There are whole books, websites, and courses dedicated to how to attract visitors. Again, no simple answer. However I wrote a blog post with some of my own advice. Good luck!

  41. Hi Matt, very interesting read! I’m just starting with blogging and I can see that it’s hard work ;) The biggest problem for me seem to be how to get more traffic to the website – do you have any tips for that?;)

  42. Brilliant as always! Just keep on coming back here. 1 year ago i first stumbled across your post about running a blog ( self-host vs and then I thought to try a free one to see if I even like it…this blogging. Now almost a year later, building my own self-host website :)))) And i still remembered your article from a year ago…so thanks so much!

  43. Awesome insight, Matthew!!! Partnerships and ads always come to mind when it comes to supporting a blogging lifestyle, but you gave some excellent additional examples that people don’t always think about. Thanks for the info and a very engaging article!

  44. I am so in love with your posts! they inspire me a lot to continue working on my own. I am currently doing a PhD but I am also writing a travel blog, because PhD can also be fun (when we get some free time…if we do). I would like to have more contact with you and why not meet somewhere at some point?

  45. Hi Matthew, Lucky to stumble onto your blog and really appreciate your steadfastness in resolving your goals. Trying to implement your blogging experience as I feel my present plain true and mix-in-fiction writing submitted through a middle-man seems not that rewarding. I am 70 now and trying to get back after a herniated disk misadventure. I had actively been seeking adventure since my childhood which led me to seek adventure in military life. Outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and trekking were a passion. Writing and posting a perfect blog is what matters. Your advise is needed on the subject.

    1. Hi Arif, the great thing about blogging is that it’s a wonderful outlet for sharing your passions. However that’s the easy part. The harder part is building an audience beyond your friends and family who will read your articles.

      I share some tips for growing an audience in this post about professional travel blogging. Hope it helps get you started!

  46. I share on Linkedin your last article i founf on the web. This is my comment: “Doing what you like, driven by passion, hard work. This guy is amazing and is doing quite a good job. Well done Matthew Karsten.” I think you’re a positive example about not being afraid to change, and real in your writting. Get going. Ciao

  47. Wow! Love your lifestyle and the way you chose your freedom. This article clearly shows that for such an endeavour, planning is always required. Most of the articles on the internet just say ‘Go travel and love your life’ but do not show the ‘behind the scenes’ effort that goes into it. I would love to have a travelling life, but this post tells me how realistically should I be prepared for anything like this.

    Thanks for the wonderful insight!

    1. Glad it helped Vishnu! It’s definitely been a long-term process. But that’s going to be the case with any business endeavor. The couple who started Lonely Planet didn’t see overnight success either!

  48. I would love to quit my dead-end job and travel the world, especially if I could get paid for it. I’m also an Airbnb host so I make some income, but it’s not a whole lot. I recently started a travel blog and hoping to make money on it, but seeing how long it took you, I can’t get my hopes up so soon.

  49. Hello! I’m going to get straight to the point. I have a lot of passions in life but traveling, especially in Asia, is my utmost dream. I’ve studied the languages to a degree. Thing is, I’m only 20. I don’t think age necessarily matter for wanting to travel, but considering finances and jobs, I have a hard time figuring out how to support myself with little “world” and “work” experience. I have been saving up for a long time, but I could really use advice on how to start out. I wouldn’t mind starting a blog, but I doubt I’d make income on it. Anything you could mention would help tremendously, I’m sure.

  50. I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell
    you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that tooo few folks are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.

  51. Currently I am working on a similar goal! At 25 my wife and two kids(soon to be three) sold everything to move into a fifth wheel camper. I currently work about 4 months out of the year. I am looking into remote jobs(but I am construction worker so acquiring new skills is time consuming) I love the ideas you posted here!

  52. First congrats to you for doing such a really adventurous hobbies as also including your profession with bulk of passions. I was really impressed by you a lot. I wanna be also entrepreneur so that’s what I started my blogging at 2.5 years ago but still I think that it isn’t as good compared to you. hopefully i also trying to build some new things in my own blog.

    So I need your guide with low travelling costs to make good pocket money through blog or even in any way.. I hope you got it!!

  53. Very educational AND entertaining – all of it. I only looked at your site cos I’m interested in setting up a blog for family and friends when we travel to India but it gives food for thought. :) Anything worth doing is hard work but you tell it in a way that’s clear, open, honest and reeks of your enthusiasm for what you do – properly inspiring. Thanks.

  54. Do you have any tips about cheap traveling or traveling with bare minimum with expensive equipment like a camera and laptop

  55. Thanks for sharing this! I want to take the luxury travel route so I’ll be working hard to build my platforms and find brands to feature and attract! I have one question, I saw you mentioned travel conferences. What is a conference that you have liked or frequented that you would recommend?

  56. Hello

    First of all thank you for sharing. I’ve been reading lately some bloggers and articles of people who lives traveling the world and I’ve got a question.
    As this is your job. Do you need any kind of visa for going to any destination? For instance if you go to the UK do you enter as a tourist? What is the longest you have stayed in a country? If you need to stay longer than what they stamp on your passport as a tourist? What do you do?

    Thank you in advance.


    1. Ah, good question Hugo! It’s a bit of a grey area. I usually visit a country on a tourist visa. Let’s take Greenland for example. I’m not earning money in Greenland, I may earn money months later after writing about Greenland and inserting some affiliate links to the gear I used — but it’s also quite possible I’ll earn zero money.

      But technically, if an immigration agent wanted to be picky about it, they could decide that I’m “working” and deny entry. It hasn’t happened so far. I usually tell immigration officials I run a photography website, and am traveling for tourism.

  57. Hey there :)

    Amazing information. My partner and I have just quite our jobs, selling everything up and have decided that rather then buying a house and getting married (something neither of us really ever wanted to do…but thought was sensible to do) we are going to roam Australia instead and then once that’s done roam South East Asia….and then India and who knows whats next…..your information was highly valuable. Happy travelling :)

  58. Very interesting article ! I know exactly how much it takes to get an online business going. There is a lot of PERSONAL investment, long hours and passion to be considered. But it is just so enriching, you continue to learn new things and when it hits off, oh my !!

  59. Informative and funny (at the beginning where you added Full Disclosure: This is Not My Car. Most people would have just lied about that but if you’re honest lol). Great insight to see all the money-making endeavors you’re been involved in over the years – and now you’re getting paid to travel. That’s a dream to many people! Keep up the great work, will bookmark and share your site!

  60. You are one of my inspirations for starting up my own travel blog! I regularly go to your web site to read about tips, tricks and hacks on how to travel! I love how organized you are with your information and how clear your writing is. Continue traveling the world!

  61. Great post Matt.I have a few questions running on the back of my mind that still remain unanswered. (1) the right to approach an advertiser or for partnership or affiliate marketing – should we wait till we grow a considerable audiance foothold? Should we start right away? Should we wait for them to approach us or should we go ahead and approach them? Well, I am completely naive to this whole thing and would appreciate an insight here. (2) about working long term with travel boards and selling photographs – again how and when exactly to kick it off? If you could shade some light on it, it would help me tremendously

    1. The answer to both is that it’s better to wait until you’ve built up an audience. That’s really what these organizations want. If a company has to choose between two photographers with similar experience & image style, they’ll choose the one who’s built up a larger personal audience. Or maybe someone they have a past relationship with.

      However you can start building relationships with these companies now. Reach out and ask them how you can help. Find out what they’re looking for. Maybe they’ll hook you up with some free gear, or give your shots some social media love on their much larger channels. Eventually you’ll be at the top of their list when they have paid projects.

      Networking! It’s a long, slow process. :)

  62. You are my favorite traveler ! I really like your blog, please go on !

    I am also traveling the world since 1 year, but I just started to write a blog in Turkish. So you gave many good ideas what i can do about it. Thank you !

  63. Im an Indian girl… born nd brought up in west bengal. I love to travel the whole world… actualy i dnt like to travel like normaly everyone did… i like to work in that country nd travel nd experperience.

    1. hi Dibyashree,
      i live in India in Bangalore, i love to travel in the countries and all places like you do but for that i need a partner to trevel with, so we can share our experiences. so i just want to know that if you want to do this and travel places, do let me know.

  64. This is really inspiring! I’m an amateur blogger, and currently employed; but I wanna travel and keep make my career in blogging. These tips will surely be used.

  65. Hey Matthew, I have been reading your blog and I’m loving it. You have a fantastic blog. Besides your car insurance, gym membership and Netflix, what about life insurance – did you keep paying it as you travel around the world or did you cancel/pause it?

  66. Recently had my life basically destroyed again.born in Zimbabwe we grew up on a farm and went through some terrible times losing friends and family and farms, moved to South Africa didn’t get along with the whole rascism ethics forced upon white people by others so I moved to guernsey, a small island in hope of starting a fresh for the last time. Got a decent job met a the girl of my dreams got married 2 hrs ago and in process of starting a family, buying a house, I had to go to England for a day and got back and found out the worst. The woman had played me badly. Absolutely destroyed me, ( only caught her last Tuesday) worst pain ever. I am thinking about going for a self finding journey and hopefully travel the world while I’m at it. I can’t stay here anymore. I have no savings as of yet. I am looking at the old “throw a dart at a map” method ad going there. What advice do you have. If obviously save up a few thousand and go.

    1. Dear Andre, sounds like you may be ready for a real spiritual journey. Take a look at the full spiritual path of Yoga, to do this you will need to visit a Yoga Ashram and it is possible to volunteer as a karma yogi, or in some countries as a WOOFER at the Ashram. In return for a little work you will learn how to see life entirely differently. It is often said that when life shows its sharp edges we are inspired to look beyond what we know. I did this about 6 years ago and have never looked back since. I began my experience in Australia at the stunning Satyananda Ashram in Mangrove, near Sydney. Suggest you do some research into the subject first, then embrace a shift of consciousness and go for it. Good luck

  67. Matt, I have to say that I feel as though I am so much like you. I have had similar experiences where I am in a different country (Mexico, Phillipines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia , Beijing) to name a few and didn’t know what the next day would bring, but, at the same time felt a certain freedom that could only be described by fairy tales. Your life and sense of LIVING, regardless of what anyone may think, or, regardless of how tomorrow looks like, is exactly how I feel. I know one day I will just grab my backpack, get some cash out, bring some food and good luck charm and just get on that plane and never look back!!! Maybe one day I might even run into you somewhere and we can have some beers. Keep on living Matt….

      1. Hy Mathhew,i hope you are doing well
        i am 21 (india) and just like you i want to travel the world.
        Everytime i see off my loved ones from the airport,it breaks my heart a little.
        I want to see what’s out there for me,but only thing holding me back is money.
        well,i can arrange for 1 or 2 trips but that would mean exhausting all my resources.
        I totally got your point of saving every penny.I just want some advise from you.How can i make my dream come true.
        Thank you

  68. Hi Matt! I just signed up with TBS, so I’m on my way to creating my travel blog. Enjoyed reading your advice and browsing through your website–lots of info here! The time and effort you put into it really shows!

  69. I love this post! Very inspiring, I’ve actually stated a travel agency and wanted to figure out how I could make more money while traveling and get people to visit my website. This really gave me a lot of great ideas.


  70. New fan here. Thanks for sharing your success! I am an aspiring travel blogger and photographer. Glad to come across your blog. Keep writing awesomeness! x

  71. Hey Matt,

    Really, you are so generous to share this valuable blog post. I am sure this the key to success for you. Knowledge is to share with others.

    This will definitely help fellow bloggers. Keep writing :) I am following your blog.

  72. Hey Matt, really nice to see someone be so transparent — and helpful — about a question many just waft over–as if it’s actually possible to travel for free. I’m curious how growth in social media as a destination has helped or hurt your blogging business? Also, thanks for the tips re Costa Rica white water rafting; I’m headed there in a week and will plan to follow in your footsteps!

  73. Hey Matthew,

    Just a quick question. Were you experienced in photography before traveling? I’m looking into capturing my travels with a decent camera, but I have absolutely no experience with DSLRs. In fact, maybe you could tell me if its even worth bringing one on my first trip? (Mexico and Cuba ~4months)

    Thanks! :)

      1. Hey I also want to start travelblogging and get to paid to see the world travel is my passion .Doi need a camera man for shooting videos

  74. I completely agree with all the ‘work more than ever’ points you’ve put here! A lot of ‘bloggers’ assume, it’s all rosy and all you do is get paid to have a perpetual vacation! If only more people planning to do that would realize the efforts that went into it all!

      1. I have read that! And I consider it as a great resource :)
        Although I am an analyst in the IT domain, I still have to get better at a lot of things you’ve put in there…
        In 6 months I’m now a self proclaimed WordPress ninja(being an analyst helps :) ), pretty good at design and getting a hang of SEO…Maybe If I hustle long enough the press features and hiring can then follow :)

        Cheers Matt!

  75. Amazing tips. Thank you very much. We also travelled for a longer time without doing any work. Mainly Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. We didn’t book with any agency, just the first flight out of here. Being flexible is one of the greatest advantages.

  76. Thank you Natasha mam. I really loved receiving a reply from you. I live in India, where now a days theme restaurants are doing good. I know its not easy opening up a restaurant. I really need guidance. Having up a good team of workers which can look after instead.. will not workout according to you? Mam, please let me join you through facebook if you dont mind. Thank you.

  77. Great work Matt,
    Am a flight attendant and plan to start exploring dis year! I wish I cud meet a group of like minded individuals to travel the world with.Like pick a place and explore for a couple weeks and on a pocket friendly budget. It wud be really cool,as u can plan ahead and save up. Not forgetting it’ll be a beautiful way to travel,spend holidays and meet new people.
    Wish u cud help with that Matt, it’ll mean a lot.
    Thanx and good luck on ur travels.

  78. Really loved the article.. I’m 17 and want to travel the world. Will opening a small theme restaurant or a bar help me make money by doing nothing much? Please guide me..

    1. In my experience successful people work the hardest. Take travel blogging for example. It may seem like we’re living a perpetual vacation, but that’s not reality. The travel bloggers I know who make over 100k per year are total workaholics behind the scenes.

      I have no personal experience with opening a restaurant, but don’t expect it to be easy.

    2. Mukul, for the love of all things fluffy and beautiful, don’t open a restaurant to save money. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry most of my life and it’s a drain for at minimum the first five years. If you’re in the US, zoning, licenses, rent, special equipment, loans, labor costs will be the death of you. If you plan on making any money it may be easier to become a vendor for markets. Perhaps a few easy dishes (like five dishes, no more). Even if you end up doing all the work it’s still expensive. I would suggest, if you haven’t done it yet, work on the back end of a restaurant for a few years before you try to open one. If you don’t want to do that read Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw. It’s the most realistic look as to the life of a chef and restaurant owner I’ve ever read.

  79. If you ever need a photography assistant, I would love to help. I am just about to give up my 8 year studio photography business to go travelling. I have absolutely no idea where to start. I love volunteering in 3rd world countries, so may go back to this but it won’t fund me to keep travelling around the world. I would one day love a mentor like yourself. Thank you for your inspiration.

  80. It’s so easy for you people in the West to travel. I am from India and I need a visa to travel to a lot of countries. It isn’t as easy as it is for you :(

      1. Sorry to buzz in here, but I am always glad when someone influential admits that it is a privilege and it isn’t easy for everyone (at-least monetarily) to take up full-time travel. The initial investments are pretty huge for some!

        Cheers again! :)

    1. so true JWALI! i am from Pakistan and I agree its a lot more difficult for us to follow the dream of world travel as compared to people living in the west…

  81. Hi…you are a man after my own heart. I want nothing more than to travel the world freely and without the constraints of normal daily tasks. Is there any chance you would privately share your agent?

  82. thanks for sharing guys,i have longed to be the first african to go around the world but many litations trapping me,finances and means,i wishd to ride on a motorbike around africa first then the world i m from kenya aged 45 any company and how we can start is welcomed

  83. Great post! I’m trying to figure out exactly how I’m going to travel the world, be it a nomadic existence, or something more structured, like teaching abroad. Your blog really gets me motivated!

    If you’re ever in the South Florida area, I’d love to buy you a beer and pick your brain.

  84. Hi Matt! I just found your blog and I am quite intrigued. I am 17 right now, and I am starting to save up for my travels. My dream is to spend the next several years of my life traveling the world and writing (I want to be an author-of all sorts of books). However, a major dilemma for me is how to make money while traveling. I have a blog, but I’ve barely done anything with it. Do you have any tips that you could share for getting my blog off the ground? Anything is much appreciated!!
    Thanks so much!

  85. The was an amazing and very informative article! Thanks for sharing! It is definitely help me continue to push through the beginning phases of my travel blog as well!

  86. I lost my faith studying my religion in academia, but I want to say that it was by fate that I found your blog because I did not plan on living much longer. It has given me a sense of wonder and if I decide to give it but another chance, I can not see what I have to lose taking a leap of faith and doing what you have decided to do with your time here. Your bravery is admirable and it brings me peace knowing that you have unlocked a part of life that not many have experienced.


  87. Hey Matthew,
    I really enjoyed reading through this post. You are doing something I hope to be able to do in the future. I currently am just taking short breaks from work to travel but would love to turn it into a full time effort. Very inspiring read.

  88. This was an interesting and inspirational article! I hope someday I can have a lifestyle like this. I’m also traveling on a budget but soon I may be at the end of my rope with coming up with money for future trips (unless I get can a legitimate work at home job) as I already work full time. Any get-paid-to blog sites are welcome, as I have many travel stories to share!

  89. Fantastico! I love your clear and simple writing style. I can’t travel around yet because I’m trying to put all 4 kids through college, but, my dream is to go to Argentina and Antarctica for 1 year and see what’s over there. I love to see the sky full of stars at night when there’s no light pollution. Stay safe Matt!

  90. Hello Matt,
    My family and I would love to buy a mobile home and travel the U.S. We have no clue how to do so. Any tips on how to raise a family on the road?

  91. Once again, thank you SO MUCH for posting your experiences and expertise. I am looking to, and will over time, make my travel blog something awesome. People like you are an inspiration. Thanks again!

  92. great blog! big help for me being new in this blogging journey. I hope it will show improvement for my site taking some of your advises and your experiences as an example.

  93. Wow, great inspirational post. My girlfriend and I are about to start traveling the world in 5 months time, and I am getting our travel blog ready in the meantime. We have been practicing by documenting and photographing our travels and places we have been to in our home town of Cape Town, and our holiday to Namibia. You are a great inspiration! Maybe we will run into each other while traveling one day!

  94. Great series of posts! I devoured every little advice and even made a sort of blueprint for the next few months, complete with goals! :) Thank you so much for generously sharing your expert advice.

  95. Hi Matt,

    This is amazing. Though i knew about a few, but haven’t really started implementing any. Who am i kidding, i have just started a month back. :P
    But like you said, i too lost my job, broke up and was bankrupt when travelling to the Himalayas gave a new direction in my life. I don’t earn much. But i have to keep this job just to make my parents believe that i haven’t failed. Coming from a slightly orthodox family (India), it takes a lot of guts and patience to explain my parents, my love and passion for travelling and sharing it among the others so they can see what i see.
    However i have taken my first step and promised myself to travel somewhere, in and around in India only (Once in a month).

    Once again thanks. Will start working on it soon

  96. Thank you so much Matthew to share all this! I am sure I will be using a few of them.
    Two questions: would you care to share
    1) how are you licensing your images? Through stock photo sites or other licensing sites, like PicFair, or you do it manually via email?
    2) agents? How do you work with an agent as a travel blogger? I would be soooo happy to give the tasks of sales talk and such to somebody else…
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Andrea! I don’t submit images to stock photo sites, but I know some people who do. My photography is usually sold when companies come to me with a project in mind, or find my images of specific places when searching online. So it’s done via email.

      There aren’t many agents who deal with travel bloggers yet, and understandably they don’t want two thousand bloggers pitching them via email. They’ll find you when they think you’re ready. But if you want to meet an agent, travel conferences are a good place to start.

  97. Hey Matthew, I just wanted to say thanks for providing continual inspiration to get out there and see the world. I follow this blog as well as your stuff on Instagram and it’s one of the things that keeps me believing that living the dream of constant travel, beautiful scenery, and new life experiences every day is possible if you work hard enough and stay positive. After reading this post I realized I am in a similar starting out kind of situation that you were in and with similar goals as well. I recently quit my job as a plumber in the states and am currently exploring Central America (based in Antigua) with my girlfriend for hopefully about the next 6 months until she finishes a thesis. All I left with is a duffel bag full of clothes/toiletries, 2 cameras, and a laptop. Fingers crossed that all goes well. Anyways… like I said I’m a big fan of your Instagram and was wondering if you had any expert tips on a good way to drive more traffic mine while I figure this whole “how to build a successful travel blog” stuff out??? ANY advice would be greatly appreciated for that matter :) And THANKS again man and keep it coming.
    P.S. my Instagram is @ermagoditsmike in case you wanna check it out or follow….

  98. Hey.. m sharmi… I dream of traveling d whole world every day, every second. but I don’t know where to start, what to start. please lead me a way .. what r d courses, what to do. m stuck. sometimes I feel to finish my life. bcoz if I give up on my dreams. there will b no reason to live. plz help me.

    1. Hey Sharmi, a good place to start is the book Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. That’s what helped me get started. Plus the other links featured in this post.

      There’s always a reason to live my friend. Everyone has dreams that may never come true, even myself. That’s no reason to leave the world. Here’s a link that might help if you want to talk to someone who’s more qualified than me.

  99. Loved your post, Matthew! Thanks for putting it together.

    i started a site last year for travel with kids – I call it a site as in addition to some travel stories of my own, I spend most of my time getting other parents to share their travel stories of journeys taken with the little ones.

    I have a question – how do you find your agent? If I am honest with myself, it’s been a blogger’s agent that I am most interested in… especially as I have always been a business / sales kinda person, then a creative / editorial one… much as I do enjoy writing my own stories, my own style.

    Would love to hear back from you!

    Best, Ling Tan

    1. Hi Ling, most agents (at least for blogging) don’t want people pitching them. They’ll find you! I’ve met agents at travel conferences though, those are good places to network for all sorts of reasons.

  100. Hey Matthew, I’m just a young 19 year old kid from Chicago trying to make it into photography. I’ve always loved photography ever since high school. Taking every photography class as i can, it was an awesome experience and i learned a TON! After high school, i decided it’s time to get a job so i can start paying for my college tuition. I’m currently studying Business but my lifetime goal is to travel the world and take photos. After my first year of college i bought a Canon camera, GoPro Hero 4, DJI Phantom vision 2 Drone & a Macbook air. I tried going on as many adventures as possible with friends and just take pictures. All my friends and family think my photos and video edits are amazing which really helps me keep pushing to my goal, to travel the world. I recently have been emailing my photography teacher from high school and she is amazed at my photography and wants me to pursue a career. I love taking scenic photos more than anything, but my problem is i’m kind of in a slump on what to do next. I see many people get to travel the world, expenses paid and everything and that’s all i want to do. I just love sharing my photography with everyone, their positive comments is what keeps me striving. After reading this article i believe you can help me reach my goal. Is there any way i can personally contact you ? I hope you took the time to read my story & hope to hear from you! Thanks Matt, you truly inspired me!
    -David Stacy, Chicago Illinois.

    1. Hey David, making a living specifically as a travel photographer is very tough. Most of them have been building a following (and portfolio) for many years. Check out this post from my friend Brendan if you want a little dose of the reality for travel photographers these days.

  101. This is such an insightful/helpful read! So, what would be your advice for someone who is still in college and is dying to be out there experiencing the world/adventurous situations it has to offer? I’m very limited regarding what I can and cannot afford and have classes which (obviously) take place in one city. It’s bothered me for years and I’m itching to get started on something besides an all-inclusive family vacation.

  102. Hi Matthew,
    Your journey is inspirational! Have you ever considered selling a high-ticket product online that is for travel? Just a thought.

    Happy Travels!

    1. I have Laurie, maybe not high-ticket, but selling an information product like I used to for the nightlife industry. In fact it seems a bit ridiculous that I haven’t done it yet.

      1. Agreed Matthew! You have quite an opportunity to help your readers travel more often. And high-ticket is just a term I use, it really implies value, not crazy high prices. You have my email and my website if you’re curious to know more. There’s more than one way to travel and get paid :) it’s great that you get your message out here. Thanks

  103. Awesome stuff! You’re living the dream! I may follow in your foot steps one day… for now it’s just part time and its hard work.

    1. Cool Will, glad you found it useful. Good luck on your journey! The life of a digital nomad is often challenging, but the freedom to do what you love from anywhere is a powerful motivator.

  104. Very interesting article, thank you. I’ve just started my blog not long ago.. and I still have a lot to learn…. but your story is very inspiring!

  105. Great article and advice! I’m a lifelong traveller but fairly new to the blogging world, so much of this will be very useful. Happy travels!

  106. Thank you for the article. I know that there are many of us who wishes to travel but with little information and the fear of letting go is what makes us stuck or stagnant with our daily lives.
    But my partner and I are ever so willing to live life beyond what we have been thought, and this has given us insight that it is possible tho live our dreams of travelling and crossing paths with people with the same mindset.
    This is just the begining for the two of us and we hope to share our knowledge and experience to others.
    Thank you!
    Namaste <3

  107. Really, really helpful posts. I’ve just written my first book about earning money whilst traveling – specifically for people wanting to do it via the yachting industry. I thought writing it was difficult but marketing it is proving just as hard! Any tips for a newbie as to how to break in. I’ve gone the road well travelled with Amazon Kindle for e-book and CreateSpace for the paperback. Doing local flyers and have a bit of a presence online. I’ve only just started so I’m not expecting great shakes yet, but would LOVE any words of wisdom you can throw my way JP

  108. wow you divulge so much great personal info. Thanks so much, i really appreciate how honest and open you are it is inspiring. Most try to hide and not allow others to know their “secrets” and it is refreshing to see how you want everyone to enjoy the splendors you do. Rad.

  109. Pretty soon I’m going to be traveling the world (or as much as i can before i hit Australia where i plan on working for a while) Originally i wanted to start a youtube channel and log my way around the world! But now I’m thinking of doing both, Vlogging and Blogging! How would you guys think that will go down? And any tips will be greatly appreciated.

  110. This is a great article. I have just begun travel blogging, but have other projects on the side that allow me to travel. I also teach English, which provides my housing currently as well as income on the side. We travel with our one year old, so our lifestyle is quite a bit different than most travelers. With that said, travel is our passion and I learned quite a bit from this entry. Thank you very much for sharing.

  111. Very authentically written article. Thanks for being so straight and not for not going in circles. I am following your blog now.
    Your photos of Iceland are also very beautiful. Lots to learn from you.

    Greetings from India.

  112. hello. I am shruti. I am a 12 year old, Indian. though I am very young for this, but i have been interested in travel a lot. And i believe that it’s hard work, but it’s not impossible. I can obviously not travel right now, but I have started planning. I have a doubt and I think you can help. Do you know about couchsurfing? ( Though it’s free, but at places I found that “couchsurfing is free” is a myth. I am unable to find what’s true. Please respond whenever you are free. May be you can help me. Thank you!

    1. Hey Shruti

      Couchsurfing is safe only if you follow Dos and Dont. I am an Indian in Malaysia and an active Couchsurfer.


    2. Hey Shruti,

      Couchsurfing is free and its safety depends on your host. You’ve got reviews on people and you basically choose people based on their profile. You can open your house to couch surfers as well, for people who visit India. That way you will meet a lot of travelers way before you can grown up enough to start traveling. :)

      Again the kind of people you accept depends on you, so let an adult in your family help you choose. Its a cheap option of travel and the best option to meet locals, travelers and learn about cultures.
      I was couchsurfing in France last month and I had both good and bad experiences. so you’ve got to choose carefully. Good luck hun! xoxo

  113. hi.
    i am looking for tips and tricks for making money on the road.
    but so far the only “globetrotters with a blog“ sustain there lifestyle with their blog.
    do you know some blogs of people who sustain their travels mainly from working in the country that there traveling through, or do you know of ways to make money on the road.

    but anyway you are a great inspiration and many thanks for all your great tips and tricks, i now am saving up for a world trip, the plan is to leave Holland in the next year to travel the world!
    greetings rob

  114. HI matt! I love to travel, I have the luck to have a pilot as a dad, so so far i have been traveling at his expenses. I am 18, starting to work and save up money. I was wondering, do you think I should wait to I am a bit older, or I should embark on the adventure of traveling the world as soon as possible?

    1. Hey Ines!

      Since we’re in a similar position I think my advice would be helpful.
      I’m 20 years-old and have been traveling for the past 3-4 months. Not planning on stopping anytime soon :-)

      I would not recommend you to postpone your travel plans. If you have the time and money, I don’t see why you shouldnt go.
      Most people you meet on your way, will probably be a few years older than you though, but on the road, age difference doesnt seem to be that important.

      Long story short; Embark on your adventures as soon as possible – you wont regret it!

      Happy travels

  115. Very usefull post, indeed! Thanks for telling your story it inspires to search some ways to become independent traveller as well! And you have done a great job and proved it is achievable.

  116. This is great information– thank you for sharing! How did you find advertisers for your blog when you were just starting out? What advice would you give a beginner blogger?? Can’t wait to read more of your posts!

  117. Hey Matt, thanks for sharing all this private info.

    You’ve gotten me hooked on your blog lately, it’s getting me all excited for my adventure in January! Just another question if you don’t mind me asking, when you first embarked on your journey how much did you take with you and what was your original budget/ did you find it hard to stick to it?

  118. Thanks Matthew,
    I like your honesty. Most people I know, never share, their source of income from/while they travel.
    You are inspirational.
    Happy traveling.

  119. Thank you for your inspiring, helpful and succinct blog! I have been getting goosebumps reading it and getting so excited for my big trip to SouthEast Asia and beyond. For travel blogging, what kind of photography/video equipment do you recommend for someone just starting out? I was thinking a GoPro & an unlocked iPhone5 or new Galaxy phone. I want to do some V-blogging and photography with easy uploading & posting. Thank you!

  120. Hi Matt,
    Great website and I am glad I found it! I have a quirky question… What type of BUG protection do you use? I am planning some Mexico, Belize and possibly further South travel soon and would love to know what you find works best. I am a BUG MAGNET!

  121. This is inspiring, really fantastic stuff here. This is a plan that I have for myself in the next few years and this is a wonderful jump off point. Thank you for sharing this information.

  122. I have travelled the world for 5 years and i don’t think its any issue at all to have money. I actually disagree with the belief that you need teach english, write a blog earn money. In general “Travel Jobs” or international business or expat work will pay more then back home in any professional job. And the benefit that accommodation is provided when you take these jobs, as well as a car, and sometimes food and return flights home regularly. So in-fact you can save lots of money by working and travelling. I traveled 25 countries this year alone (paid as my job requires me too travel looking after Olympic Teams as a coach), and in a general year i travel 40. I have mates in international business all earn maybe 100-150,000/yr where they would only get around 80,000 or so back home. People need to realise there is More money if you travel, not less. It’s good you let people know this. The opportunities are there, but first you have to make sure you have the specialist skills and experiences that other countries lack.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Shane! Yes, I agree. There are so many more opportunities out there when you look at the world as a whole, rather than limiting yourself to one country.

      1. Hi Mattew, thanks for your tips! :)…

        What do you recommend me for copyright for illustrations? What do you usually do for your pics? Sorry if I ask too much, but I was thinking about save creative or Flickr, or publishing them under a trademark (I have registered one )… Do you think one of these could be useful?

        I would like to do what you do (travelling ) but in other kind of interests. I think I am too old and also I woman, so I really think I can t do it, but it is really nice to see you doing it! :)


    2. Hey Shane!

      I’ve got expat friends who travel a lot and get paid well for it. I don’t think the motive of this blog is to travel for work. Its to have the freedom to travel where your heart wants to go and how to sustain yourself while doing so without having a real job.
      In your case you go where your work demands you to go just like a crew member of an airplane, that’s working abroad. :)

      Its great you travel for work, not everyone can has the same opportunity :)

  123. Thankyou so much for this. I’ve only just graduated, so I’m about to make the first few steps that will rock the money : happiness ratio. I’ve always wanted to travel and experience different ways of living outside the system I’ve grown up in, but it’s been quite a daydream. A student loan has so far paid for trips to Iceland and Chernobyl, but obviously that’s just a debt. It’s really inspiring and comforting to hear from someone who’s actually living it. Thankyou!

  124. I have been living in my 1998 Ford Escort Wagon. Shower at gym.. Savings add up quick. No rent, eat at church dinners, dumpster dive KFC etc. Question is/ do you think it’s safe to drive down to Panama and back to States 6 months trip ? or am I going to be be-headed and tortured and money stolen by cops ?

    1. I say go for it Ben, but stay smart and research your trip a bit to stay away from rough areas. The world is a safe place for the most part. However you will probably have to bribe a few cops. Don’t worry, they won’t take too much. :-)

  125. How amazing to share your success stories with the public! I am thankful of travel bloggers like you that share those little inside tips for when I travel to new places! Believe it or not they are actually hard to find the useful tidbits that make all the difference in a mediocre vacation and a great vacation! Merci beaucoup~!

  126. Planning to start my journey in July. Hoping it becomes the last “job” I ever have. Reading every word you write as time allows. Hope to run into you in person someday Matt!

  127. Inspiring post, and website for that matter—

    I found you via one of your videos on the epic water fights of sankran. Looks like you were having the time of your life. I’ve got my blog going, and am in the preparation stage of my entrepreneurial journey, believing to travel soon myself//.

    Thanks for your kick of inspiration!

    Maui, HI

  128. GREAT tips! Thanks for being so candid about how you make money with your blog. Diversifying is definitely key, as is finding a way to work from anywhere with an Internet connection. For people who see $2-$5k and don’t think they could live on that and travel, you TOTALLY CAN, especially in low-cost countries in Asia and South America. $5k/month would mean living like a king in somewhere like Nepal or India.

  129. Hey Matt! Met you at breakfast this morning – sat to your right. Really impressed with your blog, it’s re-inspiring me to continue traveling!

    I’m on a 6-month excursion, 1 month into it so far – and certainly a bit stressful as I’m funding everything through remote software work. You’ve gained a new reader, looking forward to future posts!

  130. I hope that doing this, in this time of your life is worth it. I spent years in the military and now years working as a nurse to eventually, at 55, be able to retire and travel. I don’t make a great pension, but enough to not have to worry about the $1000-1500/month to live on. Because of my military experience I can live comfortably on half that (or less). I just hope that as you get older, you will have some kind of security to fall back on. With your experience and writing ability, you will be able to earn a living writing when youthful body runs down. For now, keep going young man, your writings and journey’s are inspiring me to retire early and enjoy life. Thank you… don’t stop.

    1. Thanks for sharing Jon. That’s a question I get a lot from family & friends back home. “How long can you do this for?” or “What’s next?”

      I’m not too worried about the future. As you mentioned, travel writing is something that can be done at any age. Who knows? Maybe I’ll run tours, become a travel agent, teach photography, open up a little surf shop on some quiet beach in Mexico, etc. There are all kinds of options.

      I’ve been contacted by quite a few TV producers lately too — Rick Steves makes a decent living. ;-)

    2. Hey Jon –
      Age is irrelevant. I’m turning 60 this year and fund my river expeditions all over the world ( by freelance writing – sometimes from home in Brisbane, Australia, and sometimes while I’m on the road (I got my best ever writing client by email while sitting on the shores of Lake Bled, Slovenia.

      ‘Security to fall back on’ is mostly an illusion, in my experience.

  131. Thanks for sharing! Although I doubt we’ll ever tear up our roots and travel the world as a lifestyle, we do fund our travels by careful budgeting. “Live within your means so you can travel beyond your dreams” is one of my mottoes.

  132. Glad to know the insights. I have also started with full time blogging and freelancing, so I have made a difficult decision – I also chose freedom over security.

  133. Hmm.. that photo at the beginning was rather misleading. ;)

    Thanks for the info! Always interested in how other bloggers make money. You’re one of the few travelers who started online by building websites. Many others start out by working abroad or freelancing. I featured quite a few bloggers in my travel/personal finance blog.

  134. Funny, I just did a search here because I saw you recommended Travel Blog Success on their website, and now you’ve included them here:)
    Still pondering over joining…

    1. I’m a fan. Many of the questions people are asking here, or in general on other FB groups, have already been answered there. In detail. Yes it costs money, but it will also save a lot of time & frustration. As it has for me.

      Pitching companies/destinations for example. There are email templates there, as well as practical advice from the best, like Dave & Deb, and Gary. SEO tips direct from Nomadic Matt.

      1. I don’t mind that it costs money, I just want to be sure that it’s worth it. There are so many courses for travel bloggers out there nowadays, and I suck at decision making:)

  135. Ha-ha good old days of e-books, AdWords, and AdSense when you could plaster your DUY web site with banners, sit back and collect the money :) … Affiliate marketing is probably the best choice for beginner bloggers, especially Amazon ( as long as you know how to do it, and NOT greedy/sketchy ). But yeah, free sponsored trips and free gear ( SWAG -shit we all get :)) were the first things I was getting when I started.

    Freelance travel writing is something I’m working on right now. I know it doesn’t pay much, but there is just something awesome about your post/article being published in a “real magazine”. Any advice on how to pitch your stories to major publications ?

    Also, I get tons of emails every day from PR/advertising agencies with requests to promote their stuff ( mostly for free, as you know :)) How do you handle these emails ? Don’t want to make this comment long, but have a few other questions about paid links/promoted posts…. Do you mind if I send you an email ? Thanks in advance !

    1. This has been some great general advice: (although I’ve yet to try pitching Outside).

      As for the free-promotion stuff, I send them my own email template response:

      “If you’d like to partner together in a professional business relationship, let me know. It’s obvious you know the value of good storytelling & photography. I’d be happy to share some possible ideas about how we can work together in that respect. But if you’re just looking for free press/content, that’s not what I do, nor do I have the time.”

      And sure, you can email me.

  136. ive been following your lifestyle for such a long time.. i still have to achieve the $2000 a month income though but i hope to be close ^_^.. keep on inspiring~

    1. Hi Grasya! It can take a long time, and to be honest my background in photography and web design/seo has helped a lot too. But these were self-taught, so there’s no reason why other people can’t do the same. One of the reasons I love the internet so much is access to information! You can learn anything you want to if you put the time in.

    1. I send them a pitch email, something I learned a lot about in Travel Blog Success. But most of the time companies come to me actually. Building up your online presence leads to more & more opportunities. Conferences & networking help with this too. Meet the people who have the power to make decisions in person. They will remember you when they have a project.

      Build an audience first, and the money will come later.

  137. Thanks for sharing. I like that you mentioned “freedom over security.” It’s important to make that choice intentionally, otherwise security will close a lot of doors. My husband and I are attempting some similar strategies to yours over the next year, after we finish our Peace Corps service.

    1. I agree. If it all falls apart, I’ll just move on to the next thing. It’s not the end of the world.

      “Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: Is this the condition that I feared?” ~ SENECA

  138. Thanks for sharing this. My boyfriend and I are just at the start of hopefully an equally successful journey – saving to travel next year. I just finished the Four Hour Work Week and can recommend it to everyone who wants to live a location-independent lifestyle.

    1. Awesome Brigid. Buckling down and saving is not easy at first. But once you get in the “groove”, it gets better. Having to tell friends I couldn’t go out and party with them anymore sucked. But I got pretty good at making salad and pasta!

  139. Magic stuff. Those are good figures! Impressive how you’ve managed to diversify and change your business model …

  140. This is a great post!!! I’m inspired and only hope I could be as successful as you’re on this whole travel online business!

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