Would you like to monetize your next vacation? These content creators are here to show you how you can get paid to travel.
As travel restrictions ease and spring transitions to summer, many of us will inevitably get the travel bug. But, between plane rides, food, and clothes, vacations are expensive.
What if there was a way to cut down on costs by using your skills as a creative?
Though there are many travel influencers out there, you may not want to become a full-time content creator. Still, it’s possible to monetize your vacation travels as a side hustle.
Whether it’s visiting an antiquated neighborhood in a European city or a white sand beach in the Caribbean, there’s a natural impulse to take photos so you can savor the memories later on.
In addition to being great mementos, these photos can actually be your path to monetizing your travels.
There are a myriad of websites where you can sell your photos. As a Shutterstock contributor, you can submit your favorite pictures from your vacation and, if they get approved, you earn a fee.
Granted, there’s more to getting photos approved than snapping your typical vacation picture.
For instance, content that’s approved must ensure that it doesn’t infringe on copyrights and abides by Shutterstock’s standards of technical execution. You’ll find out if your photo was approved within 72 hours or within seven days, depending on how many submissions there are.
If you’re not a seasoned photographer, you can read up on tips on how to improve your skillset so you can compete with the pros.
Gabby Beckford, a content creator who’s been working as a travel influencer for over two years, says she’s traveled all over: Dubai, Mexico, Poland, France, and Italy. Beckford says that companies reach out to her to use her content for a specific period of time (they don’t technically own it) and since she’s in the photos, she charges more because they’re using her likeness.
She suggests that people start off with a standard rate such as $500 for six months, and then increase or decrease the rate according to whether there’s interest and depending on the type of company that’s approaching you.
For instance, if a film studio approaches you for your content, it likely means that they really need it for their project.
“If you know the brand, it probably is well known enough to pay you well,” Beckford said.
Reaching Out to Companies in Advance for Endorsements
“There’s no right or wrong way to do it. But I think the wider you cast your net, the higher chance of success you have,” Beckford said.
She says that prior to going to your destination, you should reach out to corporations or DMOs (Destination Management Organization) to inform them and ask if there are any content opportunities.
Beckford suggests that landscape photos are more aligned with the marketing needs of DMOs and hotels. To save you time, the travel influencer says that people should think strategically about what entities would partner with you for your content.
Beckford uses a photo of a woman wearing a red dress standing in front of Paris’s Eiffel Tower as an example. That photo has marketing potential for the dress company, tourism board, and solo female traveling groups.
Through research, you can narrow your focus.
Regardless of which route you choose, to monetize your photography, you should have a portfolio on hand to send to prospective clients.
Sarah Boyd, president of Socialyte, a digital influencer and talent agency, says that people who want to start monetizing their vacation should be both “proactive” and “flexible.” They should reach out to companies prior to their vacation by “contact mining” on LinkedIn and Clearbit.
“Another great way to find companies that are interested in this sort of partnership is to go on Instagram and search location geotags to see which brands are sponsoring influencer travel and also going to travel influencers’ feeds to see which brands are sponsoring their trips,” Boyd wrote.
Boyd says that since a hotel or travel destination may want “influencer content to align with a holiday, sale, or specific promotion,” you should be flexible with when you’d like to visit.
Lola Méndez, a freelance journalist, used to run a travel blog called Miss Filatelista. She started the blog in 2015 and began regularly contributing to it a year later when she was living in India.
At her blog’s height of popularity around 2017, she says that it was racking up 82,000 page views per month. While she chose not to monetize it, she’s familiar with the dynamics of influencer marketing.
She suggests that the best thing aspiring travel influencers can do is calculate a ROI (Return Of Investment) for brands. With affiliate links included in your blogs or social media posts, you can easily track the success of your content and then subsequently present it to companies you want to partner with.
“I don’t think anyone should start writing a travel blog with the goal of making money or the goal of traveling for free,” she said. “The best way to grow is to have genuine content showcasing what you experienced and loved.”
Eric Stoen runs the blog Travel Babbo in which he documents his and his family’s travels around the globe. They have racked up over 800,000 miles of travel and have visited destinations like Easter Island, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Antarctica.
He suggests that aspiring travel bloggers should start off by accruing followers, interacting with the social media accounts of potential clients, and then reaching out to companies with “a realistic proposal” that’s “mutually beneficial.”
“If I’m traveling somewhere, either because it’s a paid campaign or just an amazing hosted stay, and I can integrate a paid luggage or clothing campaign, it’s ideal,” he wrote.
He also suggests that instead of reaching out to a lot of companies, you should stick to the ones you feel really passionate about and, eventually, if it’s meant to be, a partnership will manifest.
Enjoy Your Travels
Though monetizing your travel can potentially be lucrative, you shouldn’t forget that a vacation is, well, supposed to be a vacation.
Marianne Yip, a travel blogger who has been monetizing vacations since 2018, believes that people should find a healthy balance between making the content they agreed upon and “being present.”
“Personally, I still travel even if I am not able to monetize my vacation because it goes back to my true love for traveling,” she wrote.
License this cover image via Jacob Lund.