I wrote this article back in July 2017 honestly mentioning how blogging helped me travel around the world — while doing a fair comparison between how much I invested in starting a travel blog and running it so far with how much it helped in return (in terms of money I made so far and the number of free tours I scored and to where all). Moving ahead, and one year later, as I write this update (in December 2018) I’ve gained much more out of blogging than what is mentioned in the article here. I am currently working on that updated version to give you a better idea about how blogging has helped me travel to 20+ countries until now while spending almost nothing from my pocket, and astonishingly even making a bit of money in the process. I will provide the link of the updated article here as soon as I write it.
The ideal way of calculating the profitability of any business is by comparing the total effort and money you’ve invested in it with what you’ve gained out of it so far. It has been more than 1.5 years since I’ve been blogging now, and I think it’s about time I ask myself how profitable blogging has been for me, so far.
During all this time of full-time traveling and blogging, I’ve personally calculated the benefits almost every day, but it would be only unfair if I kept the secret to myself and not shared it with you. Though of course, it’s practically impossible to go back in time and share every tiny detail but I’ll still give you a fair idea.
Different Ways I Make Money Right Now
Direct Earning: Since the last six months or so, I’ve been earning somewhere upto 50 thousand Indian Rupees a month, from my blog. And to do so, I use a mix of different revenue sources — ranging from writing sponsored posts on my blog to running Google Adsense to placing affiliate links. All this is the direct money this blog generates for me. Some indirect ways it generates my money, include: giving blogging workshops and charging for it, organizing group tours, and writing freelance for a few prints/online travel magazines.
Sponsored Or (Free) Media Trips Because Of My Blog: There’s no denying the fact that if you’ve started travel blogging, and you’re doing it seriously, you’re eventually going to get (free) sponsored trips. I got my first free blogging trip after 3 or 4 months of my blogging stint. And as my blog gained more popularity, and my social media followers increased, free trips only became bigger and more frequent. [Read: Getting Your First Few Sponsored Trips]
For instance, during my recent trip to Europe (in March), I only had to spend between 70 thousand Rupees, including flight costs (READ HOW) because everything else was sponsored. I had free dinner coupons at many places, free public transport, prepaid hotels in most of the places — all because I was on media trips in 6 different countries. Tourism boards in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary were supporting my travel.
If I had paid money for each and every activity I tried in Europe, whether it was a 3-hour 150 Euro (or INR 10,000) VIP tour to Vatican City or a 7-hour 200 Euro Segway Tour in Rome, I would have ended up bleeding at least 10 lakh in Indian Rupees. But since my blog helped me score free tours (in return of writing a blog and promoting the companies on my social media channels) I only paid 60 or 70 thousand Rupees. Now tell me if you won’t count that as an income?
Then, later in June, I gained an all-paid-for (even flights from Delhi and visas) media trips to Malaysia and Germany.
How Much I Have Invested In This Blog So Far
Given that I know a bit of all — from minor WordPress coding to improving SEO, and photoshop-ing as a rookie computer designer — I handle all backend of my website myself. I’ve even built my website — right from its homepage to its coded sidebars — by myself. No outsiders involved, no companies hired (no I do not belong from IT or have studied coding, I was a journalism student. I learned a bit about watching youtube videos and reading articles about it on the internet. And you can do that too, it’s fairly easy).
But even if I had hired someone, it wouldn’t have cost much, because such a skill is cheaper in India. It’s possible to buy a website domain and hosting for 2 years in about 7,000 Rupees and get your website built from someone in about 3,000 Rupees.
Speaking of myself, I bought a single domain Linux Hosting from Bluehost for about 7000 Rupees for 2 years, I’ve invested in a 70k DSLR, a 30k notebook and a few other things to complete my blogging and other travel essentials — and I was technically equipped to compete with any other digital-nomad out there. And the equipment was just a one-time investment. If you will add the 70,000 and 30,000 Rupees investment and say I’ve paid more than 1Lakh in buying the equipment and 7,000 in buying the technology for the website, then it will be unfair, because as I said, the equipment was just one time investment and it’s going to stay with me for a long long time!
So yea, calculating the benefits of running a travel blog, in a nutshell, and putting them in three words, I would say… the benefits are countless. And if you want to travel the world without spending much money from your pocket, you can certainly consider Travel Blogging as a profession.
Got more questions? Write them in comments below!