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So you like to travel, but have you ever considered how to make money from your travel experiences? From funding more trips, to saving for a property, extra money can go a long way. If this is a topic that interests you, keep on reading this article.
In no particular order, here’s how to make money from your travel experiences:
1. Write your stories on Medium
As a seasoned traveller you have most definitely acquired a lot of interesting stories. Whether you’ve been in scary situations, lost in translation, or simply felt lonely on the road, these experiences would do very well on a platform like Medium.
Medium is a website where readers pay $5 per month to read unlimited articles. Writers earn a portion of that money, depending on how many articles readers click on. To monetize your Medium articles, you need to join the partner program. For information on how to join and requirements, see this link.
Writing on Medium, is similar to blogging. However, unlike blogging, you do not have to worry about traffic acquisition. Medium already has a high audience, which means that you could start earning money after writing just a few articles, which this is not possible with your own self-hosted blog.
2. Start a blog
And speaking of blogging, starting a blog can be another great way to make money from your travel experiences. It is more challenging and time-consuming compared to Medium, but in the long run it has potential to earn significantly more money.
If you wish to make money sharing your travel experiences on your own blog, you have to write consistently. Ideally, you should publish at least one article per week. Furthermore, you also have to learn how to build and manage a self-hosted website.
When it comes to earning money, there are a couple of ways to do so with a blog. The most common way is through placing ads in your articles. Additionally, you can also earn through sharing affiliate links, sponsored posts, and even selling your own products.
That being said, the biggest downside of blogging is getting traffic. Without readers coming to your site, you won’t make any money regardless of which monetization route you go. To generate substantial traffic takes time, sometimes years, and a large number of articles.
3. Sell travel pictures and/ or videos as stock
Like most seasoned travellers, you have probably taken a significant number of pictures and/ or videos on your trips. If you don’t mind others using them on their own websites and projects, why not sell your media for extra cash?
There are two ways you can go about this. The easiest and most passive option is to upload your pictures and/ or videos to stock websites. They already receive a lot of traffic and you don’t have to do much in terms of marketing. Just upload your images and they can sell anytime. However, the royalties you get can be very small. In fact, you may get as little as $0.01 per download. Which is very infuriating when the buyer pays $10 for your image and the platform keeps almost all of that money. That being said, videos will generate you a lot more money than pictures.
Some stock platforms you can try include:
- Adobe Stock
- Getty Images
The second way to sell stock images and/ or videos is to do it yourself. This may be quite challenging and time-consuming in the beginning as you have to actively find and communicate with potential buyers. But you keep most of the money. You can do this by creating a website and selling your pictures through it. Or you could use social media to build a portfolio. Then try to pitch or wait for potential buyers to contact you. Once someone pays you, you can send them the picture(s)/ video(s) via email. This way you can save money by not having a website.
The downside of selling stock is that you have no control over how your images/ videos get used. Unless you have a contract in place, buyers can use them for adult content and scammy purposes and anyone who recognizes your image(s) could fall victim.
4. Sell your travel pictures as prints and other goodies via POD platforms
If you’re willing to sell your images but want more control over how they get used, you could try POD. Print on demand (or POD for short) is a way of selling products passively and without carrying any inventory. There are two main ways you can approach POD.
Firstly, the easiest and most passive option is to choose an already established platform. You upload your pictures and scale them for each product. Once a customer buys a product with your picture on it (say a pillow, for example), the platform deals with everything from manufacturing of the product, shipping, returns and customer service. These platforms already receive a decent amount of traffic, so you don’t have to do much to promote your products (unless you want to). You just get paid while they handle the rest. But the downside is that you don’t get much money. For a product that sells for around $30 you can expect to earn around $3-5. This isn’t a lot but it’s a very passive income.
Some of these platforms include:
- Fine Art America
Secondly, the is another, more profitable option which requires more work. You either set up your own Shopify website, or an Etsy shop, then you connect with a POD company. When a customer purchases a product, you pay the POD company to manufacture and ship the item to the costumer.
Some of these companies include:
The benefit of integrating with Etsy is that they already have a lot of traffic, but you have to pay them quite a few fees and they could shut down your shop anytime for a variety of reasons. On the other hand, Shopify charges you monthly fees and you have to work really hard to generate traffic to your store. But you don’t really have to worry about your store getting shut down, and once you make a lot of sales you pay less in fees than you would on Etsy.
5. Sell picture books and/ or calendars
Selling picture books and/ or calendars is similar to the POD products mentioned above, however you cannot use the same platforms for this purpose. To sell books and calendars you will have to use a platform like Lulu, which you can integrate with Shopify and/ or Etsy. Once a customer buys a product, you pay Lulu then they create and ship the item to the customer.
The benefit of selling picture books and/ or calendars is that it is fairly easy to create these products. That being said, calendars are very seasonal and you have to update them every year.
6. Write a travel book
On the topic of books, you could write a book about your travel stories, lessons learnt, how to plan a specific type of trip, etc. You can publish it as an ebook and/ or paperback using platforms like Amazon KDP, Apple Books, Google Play, and Kobo. Additionally, if you build your own website, you could also sell the book there.
If you’re good at writing, it is quite easy to publish your book. However, there is also a lot of competition, so you have to work pretty hard to market your book. That being said, if your book is about stories and lessons, the information won’t become outdated. That means you can publish it and let it sell over and over again for many years to come.
7. Start a Youtube channel
If you dislike writing, starting a Youtube channel may be for you. However, just like blogging, there is a bit of a learning curve and a lot of dedication that are required in order to succeed. You will have to publish enough videos that get you at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time over that last 12 months before you can show any ads on your channel.
Aside from ads, there are a couple other ways to monetize a Youtube channel. Here are some options:
- adding affiliate links in the video descriptions
- adding links to your POD products
- sharing links to your own book(s)
- sending the audience over to your blog so you can increase your blogging income
And if you don’t wish to put yourself out there on the internet, you can run your Youtube channel anonymously. You don’t have to show your face or even speak if you don’t want to. You can just walk around town with a camera and offer the viewers a walking tour. Take a look at channels like Actionkid for inspiration.
Unlike blogging, the downside of a Youtube channel is that you don’t own the platform. Youtube can anytime decide to delete your channel for any reason, leaving you with zero income overnight.
8. Become a travel agent/ consultant
And finally, for the last and least passive option on this list, you may consider becoming a travel agent or consultant. What does this look like? Well you set up your own website and you can either plan and book trips for busy folks, or coach then on how to book their own trips. Use your experience to help them get the best deals and perks. Additionally, you could also advise people on where to go based on their budgets, preferences, or occasion.
The best thing is that you can earn a decent amount of money just by taking on a few clients a month. However, you have to work very hard to find and convert clients. You also have to create contracts and disclaimers to ensure you get paid for your work and don’t have major problems down the line.
To summarize how to make money from your travel experiences:
- Write your stories on Medium
- Start a blog
- Sell travel pictures and/ or videos as stock
- Sell your travel pictures as prints and other products via POD
- Sell picture books and/ or calendars
- Write a travel book
- Start a Youtube channel
- Become a travel agent/ consultant