How To Make Money By Travel Writing (12 Ways to Profit)

If you’re reading this, chances are that you already have the travel bug. The thrill of traveling will entice you to return to the road again and again. Those of us who choose to write about our experiences find joy in recounting our adventures. Often, we pair those accounts with treasured photographs to make an awesome travel recap.

But, after a while, you lose the motivation to recount these stories in written format. Or, maybe your looking to expand your writing platform and you want to receive some compensation for your efforts.

Here are 12 ways that you can profit from your travel writing:

1. Start a Travel Blog
With little startup cost, this option provides a free way for you to profit and publish your travel writing and photography with complete control. Purchase your blog’s domain name (on Google for around $15) and set up Google AdSense, where you’ll get paid per click. Pay-per-click can be immensely profitable once you build a strong blog following. If you utilize some of the options below, you can advertise your own products on your website. Also, you can acquire affiliated marketing from related companies once you develop a significant audience.

2. Write a Novel
Try your hand at long-form fiction and self-publish. Take a travel experience and add some spice to it in order to create a compelling fictional story. Then, format it and submit it to a Print-On-Demand service, like CreateSpace, Lulu, or Lightning Source. Or, submit a novel query to an independent publishing company, like The Adventure Tribune Media, and publish it through an established imprint.

3. Submit Freelance Articles to Travel Magazines
Since you’re already writing articles, travel advice, and adventure recaps in your spare time, why not submit them to an established travel magazine or blog? First, ensure that your article is well-edited. Then, find the editor’s information (usually at the bottom of the website with a label that reads Editor or Submissions). Each magazine has its own submission guidelines, most of which are simple enough. For example, The Adventure Tribune asks that you submit articles in Microsoft Word, 12-point font size, and a short personal biography to Submit your written piece and see what happens!

4. Submit Travel Photos with Captions to Travel Magazines
Magazines that specialize in photography accept freelance photographs regularly. As with a written submission, these magazines and websites have specific submission guidelines, but usually they’re simple. Make sure that you submit your best photos in high quality resolution. This will entice these magazines to return to you again and again if your photos take off.

5. Submit Articles to Travel Guidebooks
Travel guidebooks, like Frommer’s, accept written travel recommendations from experts of the area. If you spent significant time in a particular city (or you’re from that city), write a major piece about a particular sub-section of travel (restaurants, nightlife, tourist attractions, etc.). Check with the individual guidebook editor to ensure that you’re submitting your piece in the proper format.

6. Create Calendars with Your Travel Photography and Captions
If you’re passionate about travel and adventure, odds are that you have a collection of pretty cool photos to compile. Create a calendar in InDesign (or a similar program) and use your photographs for each backstock image. Write a small caption for each month’s photo to satisfy your writing fix. Sell your calendars on your website, at craft fairs, or to your friends for a small profit.

7. Create a Coffee Table Photo Book with Captions and Self-Publish
Much like publishing your own novel, use a Print-On-Demand service, like CreateSpace, to compile, submit, and print a large-format photography book filled with your coolest travel photos. To make your coffee table book readable, input captions or long-form articles attached to each photograph. Sell your book on Amazon, in bookstore through a consignment program, or on your personal website. Again, make sure that your photos are high quality.

8. Submit Travel Photos with Captions to Travel Agencies
Travel agencies make big bucks by booking vacations for people. In order to attract a customer base, they need epic photos for their websites and travel brochures. Odds are, travel agents haven’t been to the cool places that you’ve explored. So, sell your photos and written articles to travel agencies. They’ll benefit from your art, and so will you.

9. Create Your Own Travel Guide and Self-Publish
Study the format of your favorite travel guidebook and create your own based on your own travel experiences. If you don’t see a guidebook about your favorite area of the world, then other adventurers can benefit from from your knowledge. Format your guidebook in an easily-readable way, include photos, and self-publish (or use submit it to an independent publisher). Sell your guidebooks to bookstores, travel companies, or on your website.

10. Become a Tour Guide in Your Favorite City and Write Brochures
Every semi-major city has multiple tour companies that need tour guides and writers for brochures and websites. Be that person! Offer your services as a writer and a charismatic expert to a local tour guide group and you’re off to the races.

11. Write and Self-Publish a Nonfiction Account of Your Travels
Typically, nonfiction books sell better than fiction. Tap into that nonfiction audience and recount your unique travel stories through long-format writing. To market your book as nonfiction, make sure that your writing is 100 percent accurate for ethical purposes. Self-publish or publish through an independent publisher, and then sell your books on your website, book stores, public speaking events, or at trade events.

12. Write Scripts for Your Own YouTube Travel Show
YouTube is an incredible resource if you’re looking to create video stories. Compile your travel photos and videos, film yourself giving travel advice, and do this all through a script that you wrote. Film everything with a high quality camera, edit it using YouTube’s editing software (or any software you have on your own computer), and publish it to YouTube. Market your videos through your website and social media. After your YouTube channel or individual videos get enough views, you can establish a Google AdSense profile and profit from your work.

Bonus: Sell Photo Prints
Use a print source like Kinko’s, Minuteman Press, or Shutterfly to print your high quality travel photos. Set up a booth at local trade shows or community events and sell your cheaply-printed photos for a solid profit margin. Frame them in cheap frames to increase your professional appeal. Or, sell them on your website.

There are all kinds of ways to profit from your travel writing, photography, and videography. Be creative and be patient. Keep traveling and keep compiling your material. Eventually, it’ll pay off!


Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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