This Is How I Get Paid To Travel The World (Yes, Really)

Get paid to travel the world
Travel is Awesome, but How do I Make Money?
Paid To Travel

After 9 years 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 detailed 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 around the world so much?

From the outside it must look like I’m just always on vacation, going on wild adventures to places like Costa Rica, Morocco, Iceland, and Afghanistan — but there’s a lot more to it 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?

I know it doesn’t seem possible, but it is. And I’m about to show you how.

Getting Paid To Travel In 2019

Want To Get Paid To Travel The World?
Click here to learn how to start a travel blog like this one.
Making Money Traveling
Full Disclosure: This Is Not My Car!

How Do I Fund My Adventures?

There are many different ways to get paid to travel the world. For me, I make money from this travel blog you’re reading now, which I started 9 years ago.

However, I’ll share other travel-friendly jobs at the end of this article too.

My own income sources can change from year to year, 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.

But because this is the big question everyone wants an answer to, I’ll finally try to clarify the details for you today.

You’ll learn exactly how I’ve funded my travels for the past 9 years — and how I’m able to use my blog to get paid for traveling around the world.

How I make money travel blogging
Full Disclosure: This Is Not My Helicopter!

Paid To Travel The World

It was 2009 when I first began planning to quit my job and travel. 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. They had me reading inspiring books and quotes about travel, and I was hooked!

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 friend Katie was working on private yachts as a chef, island hopping around the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

I thought if they could make money traveling like this, so could I!

How I Afford to Travel
Saving Money to Travel

Saving Money To Travel

My family isn’t wealthy (by American standards), and I’ve never had a trust fund. According to US statistics I was lower-middle class, a single dude living in South Florida working 2 jobs earning about $30k per year.

How could I possibly save money to travel the world for a 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: 40 Best Travel Jobs To Make Money

Getting Paid to Travel in Norway
Just Another Day at the Office!

Making Money While 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 side-hustle to make extra money 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… only working on my side business.

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 side-income business slowed down, 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. And have continued to ever since.

How I Make Money Online
Ok, Most Days Actually Look Like This…

Current Blog Income Sources

1. Influencer Marketing

Companies pay me to travel by advertising on this blog and my social media accounts. It takes many forms, like sponsored blog posts, Instagram features, brand ambassadorship programs, 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 if I’m partnering with a brand and only work with companies that I admire and trust.

How Much? With brand partnerships and influencer marketing I earn between $4000 – $20,000 per deal, depending on what’s involved.

2. Affiliate Marketing

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 Amazon.com, Booking.com, WorldNomads.com, BlueHost.com, Discover Cars, 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 500,000+ pageviews per month. Many people are clicking on those links, and it allows me to get paid to travel.

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

3. Freelance Travel Photography

I earn money licensing my travel 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 travel photography to National Geographic!

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

Learn How To Become A Travel Photographer

How Much? For travel photography I charge between $250 – $4000 for an image license depending on use.

4. 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 paid to travel on 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.

5. Display Advertising

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 earn income each time a reader clicks on one of these ads. They can also integrate into your YouTube videos, which is how vloggers make money.

If your blog receives enough traffic, premium advertising networks like MediaVine (the one I use) & AdThrive pay more than Adsense. Rates vary between $2 – $40 per 1000 views depending on your topic.

How Much? Display ads on my site bring in $7000 – $11,000 per month.

6. Paid Public Speaking

As a blogger, you can also get paid to travel by speaking at conferences and events around the world related to your topic. So in my case, I’ve spoken about traveling the world for photography.

Teaching others through a practical and inspirational speech is a skill that many companies will pay for. If you can build up your online brand, companies will start to seek you out for these kinds of speaking jobs.

How Much? Public speaking gigs can pay between $500 – $3000 per event.
Traveling in Thailand
Boat Hopping in Thailand

Other Ways To Earn Money Traveling

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 articles for other websites. They needed content, and I had stories and experiences 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.

Learn How To Become A Travel Writer

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 earn between $50 – $500 per link.

Leading Tours Or Workshops

Some travel bloggers and photographers run their own group tours or photography workshops to exotic destinations around the world.

Some focus on budget travel, others focus on food, writing retreats, or improving photography techniques. Basically, you’re showing strangers around an area you know well, and hopefully teaching them something in the process.

Organizing a tour is a lot of work, but it can pay well too. I’m running my first one soon and can let you know how it goes!

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

Selling Ebooks Or Courses

Selling digital products is another way some travel bloggers earn income traveling. 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 tips to share after doing this for 9 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. How much do I get paid to travel?

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.

This travel blog earns a healthy 6-figures of income each year.

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

While I started with 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 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 each month because it can fluctuate from month to month. 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 9 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: Tips For A Successful Travel Blog

Resources To Get Paid For Travel

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 9 long years to get to this point.

Also keep in mind that I run one of the top 20 travel blogs according to readership. So my results are not average, I’m a bit of an outlier. But I also started at zero like everyone else.

I know these big numbers can be shocking for people who don’t understand how to blog for a living. 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 more resources I highly recommend:

  • How To Start A Travel Blog: My step-by-step guide to starting your first travel blog. Or any blog for that matter (food, hiking, fashion, etc.)
  • The Best Travel Jobs: Blogging not for you? Luckily there are many different ways to earn income while traveling.
  • Ways To Make Extra Money: Not ready to quit your day job? Here are some ideas to earn extra money on the side.
  • Vagabonding: This book by Rolf Potts convinced me to save money and travel the world as a budget backpacker.
  • The 4-Hour Workweek: This book by Tim Ferriss is full of useful tips for building a location independent business.

I hope my article answered your questions about how I can afford to travel so much (it’s because I’m also getting paid to travel!).

It’s been a long and wild journey so far, and I’m thankful every day for the incredible life I’m living. ★

READ MORE DIGITAL NOMAD TIPS

I hope you enjoyed my guide on how I get paid to travel! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

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!

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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Comments (328)

  1. Hi Mathew! When you decide to come to South America, specifically, Perú, let me know. I could be of many help here. We have stunning places to visit, Cusco and sacred valley, The Amazon river, Iquitos, Kuelap, etc ,etc. It will be nice to talk to you and learn from your experience and also help you out. See you my friend.

  2. Hi Matthew!
    I’m writing from Italy… Congrats for your blog, for this useful post and for sharing your income, yes indeed it is a personal matter and it is not common to find such a clear and detailed description of how much one can make with a travel blog.

    I actually tried in the past to start a small travel blog focused on city travel (my passion) and it was a great experience… unfortunately, I didn’t have the strenght and determination to keep it going and I gave up.
    It was a pity even if – and I fully agree with You – nowadays people do think that travel blogging is the best job you can do in your like, but it’s rather a result of dedication, frustration and as you said hard work.
    I got the impression that the blogging market – and especially travel blogs – is by now saturated and it is really difficult to start and to find something new.

    Yes, because I think that the most difficult thing is to find something new to say and something useful, like you said, to offer to your readers.

    As to this last point, it would be very interesting to hear from You what topic about travelling can be in these days considered as “new”, interesting and useful…
    Furthermore, after all these years you’ve been so successfully running this blog, how and where do you find the inspiration (besides the sponsors!) to do a new trip and to write new posts…

    It was a pleasure to read your article and to comment is… thank you!

  3. Hi Matthew,
    I am very interested in traveling more than I have been lucky to so far. I am a college student with one semester left until I graduate. I would love to travel but I struggle a bit financially. If you find the time could we talk personally about how I could make some money to travel? It would be nice to get paid for blogging and other such things but I don’t know where to begin. Thank you for your time.

  4. Hi Matthew,
    The only thing I can say is WOW! As a new travel blogger I have to say that I admire you! You are such an inspiration especially for travelers like me who try to follow their dream, thank you!

  5. Matthew great post & thanks for being open about your income & income methods. I like that the other methods mentioned aren’t just a bunch of side hustles that aren’t really related to travel blogging.
    I would suggest adding selling Lightroom presets as another way of making an income with your travel blog. This could be more of an Instagrammer thing though. 😉

    • Hey David! I’ve been thinking about organizing my own Lightroom presets and selling them as a package for a while now. Maybe this year!

  6. Hi Matthew, wow!! Really enjoyed reading your story and advice. We are a hard working family, I work full time in the NHS, husband is a co-ordinator at a bus company and we have a two amazing daughters (9&12).We travel a lot..as much as we can. But really considering escaping the rat race and travelling the world 🗺 Do you think its possible with children?? Obviously we have MANY concerns like education, health care and finance. We own our home but still have a mortgage. We are in our late 30s.Just want to find a way to be FREE… Hope this makes sense. Look forward to hearing from you. Aniko

  7. Hi Mattew,
    I’m an international student from China, who just graduated from college and started my first job for 10 months now. For right now, I’m saving money from paycheck to paycheck and planning on quitting my job next May to go on a backpacking trip around Europe. Your stories and experiences are very inspiring. I’m seriously considering becoming a full-time travel blogger, thanks to you. One of my concerns is my passport status. I’m holding a Chinese passport which does not have much access to a lot of countries like a U.S. passport does. What would be your suggestions/tips on getting a visa for the destination country? The other concern is where to stay at night at the beginning of the travel blogger career? Hostel?
    I know your time is very valuable. I really appreciate you reading my common! Thank you very much:)
    Chino (Haoduo Yang)

    • Hey Chino! Unfortunately, you just have to work with what you’ve got, which means jumping through whatever hoops are necessary to visit the countries with tougher restrictions.

      I’m very lucky my US passport grants so much easy access to the world, but even I have issues sometimes. Like for Cuba, Iran, and Afghanistan. Do your research to learn if there are easier ways to obtain certain visas. Find other Chinese citizens who have visited the countries you want to see, ask them for advice.

      For example, to visit Afghanistan, I had to follow a particular route in order to make it easier to get a visa. Same for Cuba. Occasionally there are loopholes, you just need to dig a little to learn about them. And yes, hostels and cheap guesthouses are how I first started traveling too. Have fun on your future adventures!

      • Hi Matthew,
        Thank you so much for the replay. It really helps a lot. I’m considering taking a online course for travel blogging. Any recommendations?
        Thanks,
        Chino

  8. 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

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

  10. Thanks for sharing all these insights! I started my Travel Expat blog a year ago and it’s been a whole new experience!!!!

  11. 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 !

    • 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.

      cheers!

    • 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

    Matt

  17. WOW THANK YOU MATTHEW!!
    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 edwinmanzano.com and it is at its baby stage. Thank you for enlgihtning me and sharing this information that I have been looking for ALL over!

  18. 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.

    • 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.

  19. 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!!!

    • 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: https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ebooks-the-smart-way/

    • 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.

      Mariana,

      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.

    • It definitely wasn’t get-rich-quick for me! It took years of work, and living very cheaply as a budget backpacker in foreign countries to save money.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    • I took my ebooks offline years ago. There are plenty of good online articles & courses about how to create ebooks though!

  22. 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.

  23. Hey Matthew,

    Great article! We already add a couples of ideas in mind but this puts more perspective for us! Thank you for taking the time to write a complete overview! :)

  24. 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!

    • 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!

  25. 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.
    Cheers,
    Lawrence

    • 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. “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 :)

    • 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!

  33. 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

    • 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…

  34. 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!

  35. 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?

  36. 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…

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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

    • 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. 😒

    • 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.

  40. 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.

    • Hey Tazz! Thanks for the comment, glad you’re enjoying the site so much. Thanks for following along on Instagram too!

  41. 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!

    • Ha! While it certainly feels like a badge of honor, I prefer working for myself over a big corporate magazine any day. Even one as prestigious as NatGeo.

      • I am sorry My name is Brent wrong my name is marvat sometime I use Mary for anybody can’t pronounce my name marvat thank you

    • Woohoo! Well thanks. Who could turn down delicious cookies? I had such a great time hitchhiking across the United States on that trip.

  42. I have really enjoyed reading this article, lots of great advice. Thank you for the insights, I have learned much from them.
    Carolle

  43. 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!

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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 travel.lifestyle 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 ; )

    Well

    • 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!

  49. Awesome post. Do you have any suggestions for those us that don’t have such awesome blogs and still want to make (legit) money online?

  50. 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?;)
    Thanks!

  51. 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 wordpress.com) 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!

    • Yes! So great to hear Liliia, glad you’ve taken those first steps to get started. Good luck with the site!

  52. Thanks for sharing your honest stats, we’re just starting out and finding it a long hard slug but we have ten months to get everything right before we head on our RTW part 2.

    • That’s plenty of time to get a feel for how everything works, and start finding your voice. That’s what I did too, started my travel blog before I left on my trip.

  53. 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!

  54. 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?

  55. 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.

    • 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!

  56. 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

  57. 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!

    • 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!

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

    • Most of us saved money to start traveling, then figured out the rest as we went. Some people save for years before taking 6 months to a year off to travel. Have you read my blog post about different travel jobs that can help you make money as you travel?

  60. 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.

  61. 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!

    • Hey Justin, good to hear you’re working towards that goal. The digital nomad lifestyle is still pretty new, so we’re all trying to figure it out as we go.

  62. 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!!

  63. 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.

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

  65. 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?

    • I think TBEX is a good one for new bloggers, and The Social Travel Summit is good if you have a bit more experience under your belt.

  66. 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.

    Hugo

    • 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.

  67. 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 :)

  68. 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 !!

  69. 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!

    • Haha. Glad you liked that part! I can’t stand all those get-rich-quick sites that show flashy cars as proof that you should listen to them. I don’t even own a car…

  70. 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!

  71. 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

    • 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. :)

  72. 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 !

  73. We’ve just started blogging, it’s hard but it’s a great way to share all that travel experiences. Impressive to see how you’ve build up you blogging career!

  74. 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.

    • 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.

  75. 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.

  76. 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?

  77. 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.

    • 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

  78. 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….

    • It’s a scary leap to take, with no guarantees it will work out, but I’ve learned that taking risks (and actual failure for that matter) are necessary steps to success.

      • 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

  79. 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!