Smitten by wanderlust? Want to see the world? Why not start a travel blog to share your experiences with others?
Beyond it just plain being fun to write about your adventures, creating a travel blog might even be able to help you make enough money to fund even more fun adventures.
The 5 things you’ll need to create an awesome travel blog
Beyond your awesome writing and pictures, these are the 5 things you’ll need to build your travel blog.
- Web hosting – this is the engine that will power your travel blog and make it available to visitors around the world.
- Domain name – your blog’s permanent address. For example, ours is
- The free WordPress software – we highly recommend you use self-hosted WordPress, located at wordpress.org. This is different than WordPress.com.
- A WordPress theme – once you install WordPress, your theme controls how your travel blog looks.
- WordPress plugins – plugins help you add functionality to your site without requiring any technical knowledge. You’ll use them to add maps of where you’ve traveled, travel galleries, and more.
Once we show you how to get those basics set up, we’ll also share some tips for how you can create content, promote it, and maybe even make money from your blog.
How to start a travel blog: step-by-step
Here’s your step-by-step guide to start a travel blog:
Step 1: Pick a niche
There’s a wide choice of travel blog niches to pick from – specific country or area, backpacking, targeted audiences, luxury travel, traveling with kids or pets, and more. Your chances of building a high traffic blog improve if you keep your focus on a few specific areas.
Go with the one you’re most passionate about because you’re in this for the long haul!
Step 2: Select a domain name
Your domain name should be simple and easy to remember.
Using a brand name in the domain may not be an option for you when you’re just starting off. So, you should do the next best thing, select a name which you can build into a brand. Something that’s short, easy to recall, and maybe a bit quirky. Keyword-based names are good too, though you’ll find that most are already taken up.
You could even use your own name if you’re going to maintain a highly personal style throughout your blog. Or, you can use part of your name in a brand – e.g. nomadicmatt.com.
Step 3: Purchase WordPress hosting and install WordPress
Your hosting is important because it ensures your site loads quickly and is always available to your visitors. There are a ton of quality WordPress hosting services, but a good starting point is SiteGround.
In addition to always scoring well in our annual WordPress hosting survey, SiteGround:
- Is affordable
- Gives you a setup wizard that installs WordPress for you
- Makes it easy purchase your domain name
- Has awesome support if you ever need help
You can choose the cheapest StartUp plan to get started. Then, you just need to follow the simple signup process.
Once you sign up, SiteGround will configure your domain name and install WordPress for you…which means you officially have a working travel blog!
Step 4: Choose a travel blog theme
Your blog’s theme determines how it looks. Luckily, you’ll find a number of free and premium themes, many designed specifically for travel blogs.
When you pick an existing travel blog theme, you’ll instantly get set up with a great-looking travel blog. To help you find such a theme, you can check out lists of the:
Beyond those lists, here are three specific options to get you started:
For example, the Soledad theme has:
- A travel template
- 32 pre-made featured slider styles
- Stylish image galleries with lightbox
- Pinterest and Twitter slider widget
All these built-in features make it super simple to start a travel blog.
To install your chosen theme, visit your WordPress dashboard and click Appearance → Themes → Add New.
Step 5: Install helpful plugins for travel blogs
WordPress plugins help you add new functionality to your travel blog without requiring any technical knowledge on your part. They’re one of the things that makes WordPress so awesome. And pretty much every WordPress site makes good use of plugins.
There are some must-have plugins for all sites, including travel blogs:
Beyond those must-haves, you’ll also want some specific travel plugins. While this can vary depending on your focus area, here are some good ideas:
- A good photo gallery plugin such as NextGEN Gallery to share your travel pictures in a gallery
- Plugins to help integrate with Instagram and Facebook
- Slider plugins such as Nivo Slider to display amazing full-width photos
- A lightbox plugin such as Simple Lightbox to allow readers to view your photos in a customizable lightbox
- A map plugin to plot places and routes is a must-have when you want to start a travel blog. It helps to keep your readers stay engaged with you as you move from one place to another. Intergeo Maps plugin is available for free (and as a premium plugin). Interactive World Maps plugin is another fine option
- Plugins like TravelPayouts help you add a travel booking capability to your blog. It helps your visitors find deals on flights and hotels to different locations while you earn a commission
Step 6: Create and add content
Once you’ve set up your travel blog’s foundation, you’re ready to start adding content. To write blog posts in WordPress, go to Posts –> Add New in your WordPress dashboard.
From there, you can use the Add Media button to insert images and the text editor to write and format your content:
Step 7: Build your blog’s audience
There are a few channels you can use to grow your blog’s traffic.
With millions of active users, social media can help your content reach the right audience. Adding Social media share buttons makes it easy for readers to share your content. Instagram and Pinterest are suitable platforms to promote your blog, and should form part of your social media strategy.
Building an email list is another great way to grow a long-term audience.
Step 8: How to make money from your travel blog
Once your starts to get some traffic, here are some ways that you can make money from your blog:
- Affiliate marketing: You can have affiliates for almost everything – accommodation, insurance, travel gear, web hosting. Every time someone clicks on a link resulting in the purchase of an affiliate’s product, you earn a (small) commission.
- Google Adsense: Google generates ads relevant to travel on your blog. When visitors click on the offered ads, you earn revenue
- Premium content: You can sell digital guides for the places that you’ve visited to save other travelers time.
- Add a donation button: Obviously, this can work only when you’ve built up a dedicated readership
- Offer personalized advice: Offer travel related advice for payment of a fee, or offer personalized or guided tours of specific places, or curate travel plans
- Sponsored posts: Travel related businesses may pay you to write about them on your blog. Just make sure to be transparent.
- Sponsored trips: Tourism boards, private companies or brands can ask you to visit their places and write about it.
- Workshops: Accept offers to conduct travel-related workshops
That wraps up our guide. If you made it this far, congratulations on creating your own travel blog!