Work and Travel – The number one question that I receive across every T2T platform is “How do I make money?”
As you see from the My Story video, I do not come from a wealthy family, I do not live off an inheritance, and although I did sell a successful business at an early age, I still need to work for a living.
I actually bought that first one-way ticket to Buenos Aires before we inked a deal on selling the business. Nothing was guaranteed. Even today, 100% of my expenses are paid from income I’ve earned through travel.
To give you an exact idea how I started, I left the US with almost exactly $5,000 to my name. Total.
It took me the better part of a year to start earning enough money from this blog to make this my primary source of income.
In the meantime, I was bartending up to six nights a week, taking on marketing consulting projects, and writing 4-5 blog posts per week.
Most people think this is just fun and games (including my grandmother) and while I love doing it – it takes a lot to work and travel. When I’m not on camera running around the world, I’m writing, editing, planning, pitching and trying to generate income.
Here are the eight ways that I can work and travel, and make enough money to travel around world full time…
Work and Travel: 8 Ways I Make Money
1. Advertisements & Sponsors
It wasn’t my goal, or even within my knowledge, when I started Tourist2Townie.com in 2009 that I could turn this into a business. I was simply writing for friends and family, and trying to inspire others to travel differently.
My goal was to live in Argentina for one year and use that time to come up with a new business idea and then go home.
As traffic to the site grew, I was able to start monetizing the blog and selling advertisements to travel companies and local Buenos Aires businesses.
Remember: Money follows eye balls – if you have the audience you can monetize it.
With the ad income from T2T, I purchased a few other travel websites and sold ad space on those as well.
At the beginning I would sell banner ads, text links and sponsored articles, but that has declined recently due to changes in Google’s algorithm. Basically, now you have to be careful adding lots of external links to your site.
This method used to make up 80-90% of my income, now its more like 20-30%.
2. Guest Writing & Editorials
When I first started out I would write for other online publications where you get paid per article. It’s a grind, but if you work hard, there is a lot of blogs and websites that need good content.
If you’re a good photographer, you can reach out to publications and/or sell stock photos.
Friend and fellow traveler, Brendan van Son does this and he explains it all on his travel photography vlog.
I don’t write much anymore as I’ve shifted towards video, but it’s a great way to make money when you’re first starting out.
3. Affiliate Sales
Affiliate sales are when someone buys a product or service that I recommend, and I receive a percentage of that purchase.
At the beginning I went out and designed my own affiliate contracts by partnering with Buenos Aires tour companies. Every time I referred them a new customer they would pay me 10% of the sale.
After awhile, I learned about other affiliate programs on the internet, such as Amazon Affiliates where I can recommend the gear I use and they pay me between 4-6% of the sale.
For example, in the description of my “Top 10 Travel Essential for Men” video, you see the amazon affiliate links in the video description.
I only recommend places, services, and products that I have used myself or I believe in.
4. YouTube Ad Revenue
I make money off the revenue share from the ads you see on my YouTube videos. It’s not a ton of money, but when one video really takes off (like the Best Beaches in Rio de Janeiro video), I’ll make anywhere from $1000 to $2000 per month, but normally it’s less than that.
That’s why I’m always asking you to SUBSCRIBE, like, comment and all that good stuff – it really helps increase the views and engagement.
5. Social Media Campaigns
Sometimes I’ll get paid to promote a product or service through Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook, but I say no to this a lot more than I say yes, because I don’t want to pepper people with nonsense. I try to keep it as authentic as possible.
Some fun ones have included promotions with SoBe, Fruit of Loom and Marriott hotels.
6. Destination Campaigns
Destinations, travel companies and/or tour operators will run campaigns where they pay me to inform and promote their experiences. And yes, it is as awesome as it sounds. If you told me 5 years ago that Thailand would pay me to come visit, I would have said “I love you, but you’re crazy.”
Just like the social media campaigns, I could, and probably should, be doing more of these from a financial standpoint, but I really want to work with people and organizations that believe in my “travel deeper” mantra.
These are the bigger campaigns that involve multi-platform deliverables – writing, video and social media promotion.
These projects have included regional tourism boards in Australia, Tourism board of Brazil, Ireland Rental Cars, Walks of Turkey in Istanbul, etc…
7. Video Production
As I develop my video production skills, I have been working with organizations to create videos for them, from behind the camera as well.
For example, I shot a video for the Cairns Airport celebrating them hitting 5 million passengers for the year (2016), and it ended up winning first place at the Queensland Multimedia Awards in Australia for “Best Digital Video Clip.”
8. Marketing Consulting
I recently launched a digital marketing and video production agency in my hometown of Rochester, New York. My goal is to help individuals and businesses increase revenue by developing their online communities through unique content and true engagement.
Those are the eight ways that I have been able to earn a living online and live my dreams.
As I said at the beginning, to work and travel is all about hard work and patience. It’s about constant improvement and education. I didn’t know anything about writing, blogging or video when I started, but you learn, grow and adapt.
If you have any specific questions regarding how I do this, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Otherwise, what other travel questions do you have?
Helpful Work and Travel Resources:
Learn how to start a Travel Blog with Travel Blog Success
Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course
Brendan van Son’s How a Travel Photographer Makes Money
Expert Vagabond’s How a Travel Blogger Makes Money
yTravelBlog’s How to Make Money Travel Blogging
Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income