digital nomad travel blogging

How To Start A Travel Blog In 2021 (Step By Step)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure

Have you ever wanted to start a travel blog? It’s not as difficult as it might seem! In this post, we will walk through the steps of how to start a travel blog. We will cover everything from what equipment you’ll need and what content you should create. You can even find out how much money bloggers make on average! So if you’re interested in starting your own travel blog, keep reading for all the things necessary to get started.

We will share with you the basics of getting started, setting up and how you can start making money with your travel blog!

how to start a travel blog

Why Start A Travel Blog?

Travel blogging sounds like a lot of fun, right? If you love to travel and love to share your experiences with others, there’s a good chance you are here right now thinking about how to start a travel blog so we wanted to kick off by sharing a little about our journey before we help you get started.

We started Four Around The World back in 2015. It was a second blog for me at the time, with my lifestyle and parenting website Simplify Create Inspire around 6 months old at the time. I kept wanting to write travel articles but they weren’t a good fit so I took the leap.

At the time we had just started travelling as a family of four, with our second child only a newborn at the time and I knew I wanted an outlet to share these family travel experience with others.

holly and simon connors

Fast forward many years and travel blogging is still a wonderful passion. We have also expanded into creating travel videos on YouTube as well but the travel blog is our main priority.

Blogging has allowed me to work from home instead of returning to my career in psychology following the birth of our second daughter and it feels more like a hobby than job.

Blogging has helped change our lives and allowed me to be more present as a parent, plus helped to fund many new adventures we may not have had otherwise.

It has also allowed our children to have experiences you can’t get in a classroom!

From massive free travel opportunities to exploring new places much deeper than we may have otherwise, we are so grateful for where this journey has already taken us!

A successful travel blogging doesn’t happen overnight, however, it is absolutely possible to start a travel blog and turn it into a profitable business!

Ready to get started?

Setting Up A Travel Blog

Setting up a travel blog is the first and most important step in this whole process. To get started, you will need to have a domain name (i.e., your website address) as well as web-hosting to host content on it. But the first thing… what’s in a name?

Step One: Choose The Right Name & Niche

how to start travel blogging

The best place to start is always with a blog niche and a name. This is often harder than it sounds since you need to ensure your travel blog name is original and available.

Determine what you want to write about. The question of whether you should focus on a particular niche or have a broader blog niche is one you will hear often once you kick off your travel blogging journey.

An example of a more general niche is family travel, like this blog.

For a more specific niche example, something like Queensland Travel or Camping In Australia are much more narrow topics. Or budget travel and luxury travel.

Tip: A narrow blog niche can often help you grow more quickly!

Deciding on your niche is an important part of getting started with travel blogging. Once you have your niche, start considering blog names.

The best rule of thumb for choosing a blog name is to keep it relatively short, catchy and avoid making it too specific.

For example, something like Hollys Travels In Europe is very specific if down the track you decide you want to share content on destinations outside of Europe. In the same way, having your name in the title can make things more limited, unless you are certain this will be a long term project you will continue with.

Four Around The World was a risk for us. What if we had another child? What if we got divorced? Dramatic… but you do need to consider these things! Thankfully we are still a happy family of four!

Once you do decide on a name, search Google to see what results come up and to make sure there are no other travel blogs or businesses using this name.

Keep It Simple!

Test your blog name on other people. If they ask how to spell the name? If they are confused or if it’s too cliche, consider exploring other names.

Step Two: Get a website domain

Once you’ve narrowed down a name, you also need to make sure the domain is available. You can check domain availability using the box below:

The type of domain you get is a personal preference. In most cases, .com is a popular option, however, you also have the option of .net or localised domains if you are writing about a particular region, such as .au for an Australian blog.

Tip: Before you buy your domain, check to see if your hosting plan (we are about to talk hosting) offers a free domain on sign up!

Step Three: Web Hosting

There are many different platforms you can use for blogging that are free or don’t require web hosting, however the most widely used option for successful travel blogs is wordpress.org.

To set up a WordPress blog, you will need website hosting. This can be done by using sites like Bluehost for an affordable option to get you started.

You can start hosting your travel blog from only $3.95 per month with Bluehost!

Step Four: Choosing A Theme

Once you’ve set up your web hosting with your domain, you are ready to set up your travel blog!

Your website will be a blank slate and you will need to install a theme to get you started. The theme is essentially the styling and appearance of your blog.

There are many free themes that are great for travel blogging. To start with, using a basic option is absolutely fine! Appearance is a small part of travel blogging and not anywhere as important as we often think it is.

We recommend starting with a free wordpress theme initially, until you become more familiar with the platform!

installing wordpress themes

To change your blog theme:

  1. Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Hover over “Appearance” in the sidebar and click on themes.
  3. Activate the WordPress Twenty Twenty One theme if it isn’t already, or choose a different theme instead.

From the WordPress themes tab, you can explore other free and premium themes. A good free option for a website theme is Astra.

For premium themes, the options are endless. Make sure you choose one that focuses on page speed and is very lightweight as these are essential ranking factors for websites. Premium themes come with an additional cost for use.

Don’t let your potential success be impacted by having a pretty blog!

These premium themes are highly rated for page speed:

  • Generate Press
  • Kadence

Four Around The World uses the premium Zine them from Themeforest.

Step Five: Plugins and Tools

You can start a travel blog on a very low budget and we recommend you do start out using as many free or low-cost tools as you can, until you start to gain some traction with your website and build out some content.

There are some WordPress plugins we recommend for beginners that are completely free:

  • Yoast SEO – This will help you write search engine optimised content and the free version is all you need.
  • Wordfence – This plugin will help protect your website from malware and online attacks.
  • Askimet Spam Filter – This helps prevent spam comments on your website.
google analytics dashboard

You will also want to set up Google Analytics straight away so you can start tracking the performance of your content and traffic sources. This is completely free and one of the best tools for bloggers.

Getting Your Blog Ready

Once you have the essential plugins, a theme and all the basics sorted, it’s time to add some personality and branding to your travel blog.

About Me Page – This will be your first page on your website and it should introduce you to the readers. The page is also where people can find information about you, such as who owns the blog and what their favourite travel destination is. This page should build trust so share a little about your travel experiences with an engaging about me bio.

Site Logo – When you are just starting out, consider creating your own simple blog logo in a program such as Canva or Photoshop. Or have someone create one for you. For a budget logo option, check out Fiverr for affordable outsourcing. You can always have a different logo created once your website is more established.

TIP: If creating a DIY logo, go for something very simple. Take a look at other travel blogs for inspiration, but make it original!

Brand Colours – Just like your logo, you can change your brand colours later. To start with, search brand colour palettes or check out the colour palette ideas on Canva to help you find complementary colours. Stick with no more than 2 to 3 colours.

Building Your Brand

start a travel blog and get paid

Beyond the logo and brand colours, social media is a powerful way to grow your brand and audience.

Create a social media account at all your preferred social media platforms using your domain name or an abridged version if your name is either too long or not available.

For us, Fouraroundtheworld is too long for Twitter so we use Fouraroundworld. This isn’t ideal as it means we have different usernames on different platforms. this is another great reason for short and memorable blog names!

The best social media platforms to start off with are:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

For video creation:

  • YouTube
  • Tiktok

Even if you don’t think you will be using a certain platform, grab the account just in case you change your mind later. This will minimise the chance of regret if someone else creates an account with your preferred username!

Content Creation

There is nothing more important than creating content for your travel blog. This is what your audience will come to visit for and this is why they will keep coming back. Always start with a basic plan to get you started.

Content Brainstorm

One of the best activities you can do before starting your blog, even before you set everything up in fact, is to do a massive content brainstorm.

My favourite way to do this when starting a new blog is to consider the main content areas you want to be covering.

Here is an example of what these might be:

  • Location guides (e.g.: Sydney city guide)
  • Itineraries (eg. 3 day Sydney itinerary)
  • Travel tips (eg. How to save money when travelling)
  • Road trips (eg. Sydney to Brisbane road trip)
  • Accommodation guides (e.g.: Where to Stay in Sydney)

Your content areas may include some of the above or be completely different, depending on your travel niche.

Once you have your content areas planned, write each of them at the top of a piece of paper or add them to a spreadsheet such as Google Sheets or Excel as headings.

Under each of the headings, write as many blog post ideas that you can think of.

For example, you may have an Australian travel blog and under your location guides heading you might add ideas such as:

  • Brisbane city guide
  • Melbourne city guide
  • Sydney city guide
  • Cairns city guide
  • And so on for as many that you can think of that you could write straight away, based on your current knowledge of the region/country.

Tip: Aim to have at least 50 blog post ideas before starting your blog. This is the beginning of your content plan!

It can take a few hours at first to come up with 50 ideas but after that, it will become easier and faster because you

Write Your First Blog Post

It’s time to start creating!

Start with one of the content ideas that you feel most confident you can write about. This is a great place to start with creating content for your new travel blog.

You can type directly into the WordPress editor or use an external document editing program such as Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Grammarly.

Create your first draft then go back in and edit it, doing any research you need to make your blog post most accurate.

Adding Media

child looking out to sea

Once your blog content is written and added to the WordPress editor, you can add in media to support your content and user experience. Images are essential for creating engaging travel content!

You need to make sure your images are optimised for web viewing and have the correct file type so that you don’t get errors in WordPress when uploading them.

Image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Canva can also help here!

It is also essential to size your images correctly. Most blog themes will have recommended sizes however a general rule of thumb is to have your images 1200px wide. You can resize them using an editing program or in your image library on Mac or PC.

Compressing images will also help ensure you aren’t uploading images that are too large. Extra-large images can impact your website page speed which makes Google unhappy.

We use Tinyjpeg to compress our images before uploaded but there are many other free options that work well for this. The Shortpixel plugin is another option for this. We use both.

For video content, the best option is to upload your videos to a platform such as YouTube first, rather than hosting these on your website.

Where To Find Images For Travel Blogs

Having your own high-quality images is always a great option for blogging, however, if you do not have images to suit the content you are creating or you need extra images to supplement the ones you do have, there are many free and paid options for website images.

For free stock images check out:

For quality paid stock images check out:

Optimising Your Content For Search Engines

To get your blog posts ranking high in search engines, you need to make sure it is optimised for the keywords that are relevant to your post.

This is called Search Engine Optimisation and it essentially means how well you are being found in Google search results. Social media traffic is great when you are getting started but organic search traffic is the ultimate goal!

Many new bloggers aren’t aware of this and tend to play catch up later. We were those bloggers! It’s a huge regret that we didn’t kick off with strong SEO right from the start.

There are many free and paid tools that will help you analyse and find the best keywords for your content. They will show you how competitive the keyword is and give you an idea on how easy they are to rank for.

For free keyword tools, you can use :

  • Answer the Public
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ubersuggest
  • Keyword surfer Chrome extension
  • Google search – One of the best ways to assess what people are searching for is to use the Google search bar. Type your keyword and see what Google suggests. These are terms people are regularly searching for!
google search

For paid keyword tools, you can use:

Longer phrases, or long-tail keywords, are usually easier to rank for.

Tip: For example, instead of ‘things to do in Sydney’, you might target ‘free things to do in Sydney’ or ‘things to do in Sydney with kids’.

I highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin which will analyse and provide feedback on how well your content matches these terms so you can improve them if needed.

Yoast also provides a handy bar at the top of your WordPress dashboard, telling you how well optimised each post is for SEO when you’re writing it. Although don’t feel like you need to have all green lights. Yoast is quite aggressive with its optimisation recommendations.

Other Simple Ways To Optimise Your Travel Blog Posts

Here are several more ways you can optimise your travel blog content to make it easy to consume so that readers fall in love with your writing and want to come back again and again!

  • Title: A catchy, relevant title will help you get more clicks. Check out Headline Analyzer from Coschedule to help write headlines with a big impact.
  • Meta Description and Headline: You should include a meta description and headline with your post which are brief but descriptive. This way people can decide whether they want to read the article or not before clicking through as this is what shows up in search engines.
  • SEO Friendly Images: Include images in your posts to make them more engaging. Search engines also love images so it helps with SEO too. Be sure to add in an alt text description for your photos to describe the image. i.e. family standing in front of Sydney Opera House rather than just Sydney.
  • Engaging Content: Add content that is valuable and accurate. This will help attract readers back for more of what they like!
  • Short Paragraphs: Most people read on mobile devices these days so create your content to make it easily digestible and skimmable on a mobile device. Limit paragraphs to 1-2 sentences rather than huge paragraphs of text.
  • Large Clear Text: Use an easy to read font in a large size. At least 16px is ideal for easy reading. Make sure you adjust the line spacing to match.

Our Favourite Blogging Tools

Once you get your travel blog established, there are so many options for tools to streamline your workflow and promote your content. There are a few tools that we use that save us loads of time and help us to create a better user experience for our readers.

Here are our favourite blogging tools:

  • Flodesk – Starting an email list right from the beginning is something we wish we had done and Flodesk creates the most visually stunning emails so easily with their drop and drag templates. Plus you can sign up right now for their lifetime deal of only $19 per month. This is a gazillion times cheaper than any other email marketing service!
  • Tailwind – Tailwind is a social media scheduling platform that we use for Pinterest since it allows us to schedule loads of pins within minutes, at times you would not typically be online. They also offer scheduling for other social media platforms as well.
  • Later – For Instagram, I prefer to use the Later app for scheduling and you get 30 free social media posts per month. On their paid plans you can also schedule Instagram stories.
  • Tube Buddy – For keyword research and topic ideas, we use Tube Buddy for youTube. They have a free plan that gives you some of the basic features but if you get in early before you get 1000 subscribers, you can get their pro plan for 50% off which gives some fantastic extra tools! It also means you get to use their App which is great for keeping track on the go.
  • RankIQ – This keyword tool finds low competition keywords and also helps you write content that will rank quicker by analysing top competitors for the search term and making it super easy to create outlines with all the essential information.

FAQ About Starting A Travel Blog

If you have more questions about how to start a travel blog, we are happy to answer them. Here are a few common questions we get about travel blogging:

How Do You Make Money With Travel Blogging?

You can monetise your blog in a number of ways. One of the most popular methods is through hosting ads on your website. For anyone just starting out, Google Adsense is an option, or wait until you have higher traffic to apply for a premium ad network such as Mediavine, Adthrive or Monumetric.

Affiliate programs are our other big income source, where we earn a small commission for the sale of products we refer. Check out Shareasale to find many great travel programs to join.

Other ways we make money with travel blogging is through sponsored content working with brands and through selling our digital products in our online store.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Travel Blog?

Starting a travel blog is affordable and can cost you less than $100 for your first year if choosing a low-cost hosting service such as Bluehost or Siteground. The only essential costs are your domain and web hosting.

Can I Still Start A Travel Blog If I’m Not Travelling?

Yes! Many successful travel bloggers, like us, are not full-time travellers. We travel as often as we can and create content around those adventures. In between travels, we explore our local area and share general travel tips (or catch up on articles from past trips).

There is no need to travel full time to have a successful travel blog!

Quick Tips For A Successful Travel Blog That Makes Money

We have learnt a lot over the last decade or more of blogging. Here are a few quick tips to help you to start a profitable travel blog the right way:

  • Decide on your niche and brainstorm topics before you start so you have at least 50 ideas to get you started
  • Start with a low-cost hosting plan like Blue Host and see if they include a free domain name
  • Get all your social media handles straight away so you don’t regret it later when they aren’t available!
  • Free themes and plugins are fine to get you started
  • Focus more on quality content and search engine optimisation over design and a pretty blog
  • Start collecting email addresses early because an email list is one of the best ways to monetise your blog audience
  • Practice your photography skills so you can take quality photographs
  • Add your personality to your writing!

Good luck!

Starting a travel blog was one of the best things we have ever done and it has lead to so many incredible opportunities that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

It has allowed us the freedom to earn an income from anywhere (even if we are mostly based at home at the moment) and it has given us a tool to allow future long term travel with our kids!

While starting a travel blog isn’t a get rich quick method, it has mammoth potential for earning money while having a creative outlet to share your adventures with people all around the world!

Are you ready to start your own travel blog? Tell us about it below!

how to start a travel blog