Looking for a simple, step-by-step guide on how to start a travel blog in 2020 and making money from it? Then look no further, my (future) fellow travel blogger!
We’ve put together this tutorial to help you start a beautifully designed and easy to use travel blog right away without having any technical skills!
You might be asking yourself should I start a travel blog? If you want to blog about travel, have financial freedom, be your own boss, and be location independent, then the answer is overwhelmingly YES!
You don’t need to have fancy coding skills or be an experienced writer to start a blog. All you need to know is how to start a travel blog (and that’s why you’re here!) and learn to set goals and commit to reaching them.
If you’re ready to get started, you can set up your blog with Bluehost and get a free domain right now.
If you’re short on time, make sure to pin or bookmark this page for later.
Let’s get started on your new travel blog!
Disclosure: This tutorial contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, we’ll receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support our work so many thanks to those of you that decide to use our links!
How to Start a Travel Blog in 2020 in 7 Steps:
- Choose a Niche and Name
- Set Up Blog Hosting
- Install WordPress
- Select a Theme
- Add Essential Pages and Plugins
- Write Blog Posts
- How to Make Money from Your Blog
1. Choose a Niche and Name
What is a niche and why do I need one?
If you want to start a travel blog and make money in 2020, then you need a niche.
Selecting a specific type or style of travel to blog about will help your blog be recognized as an expert in that field by both readers and search engines. And that, my friends, helps bring in the money.
For example, some travel bloggers write about luxury or budget travel, while others stick to blogging about a specific country. We focus on adventure travel and off the beaten path destinations.
Think about what you’re most passionate and knowledgeable about when traveling and focus on writing about that. What topic do people ask you the most questions about or look to you for advice on?
How to Choose a Name for Your Travel Blog
The name you select for your blog is really important and it will help you choose a domain name. The domain name is your blog’s address and what people will type in to find your site.
For example, our blog’s name is Off Path Travels and our domain is www.offpathtravels.com.
TIP: Don’t worry if you don’t have a name yet! Bluehost’s special feature lets you set up your blog today without one. And get a free domain name!
Make sure the name describes your niche, makes sense, and doesn’t limit your blog’s growth. Choosing a name like “Exploring At 23” or “Single Lady Travels” will have you scrambling for a new name and domain when you turn 24 years old or find a partner.
Choose a name that is easy to spell (avoid punctuation marks) and remember so that people can find your blog quickly.
Use the search box below to check if your domain name is available.
Don’t forget that you can still set up a blog with Bluehost today even if you don’t have a name yet. And you’ll still get a free domain!
Remember to check if the name is available across social media networks. Ideally, people should be able to find you across all social media with the same name. For example, all of ours (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) are @offpathtravels.
2. Set Up Your Travel Blog Hosting
To start a blog, you need a blogging platform and blog hosting.
To put it very simply, the blogging platform is where you write your blog posts and the hosting is where those blog posts are stored.
It’s kind of like you have a stack of papers you need filed (aka your blog posts) and someone rents out a filing cabinet to you (aka the hosting provider).
Yes, it is possible to start a blog for free, but you can’t choose your own domain name, use ads, add plugins, or control the design much. The free option is great for people that just want to keep a travel diary, but it’s definitely not for professional travel blogging.
If you want your travel blog to look professional and make money, you need to pay for hosting. Period.
But don’t worry, it’s incredibly cheap to get started! Like less-than-the-cost-of-one-coffee-per-month cheap.
How to Start a Travel Blog with Bluehost
Hosting your blog with Bluehost is the best option for starting up a new blog without investing too much time or money into it. They have a low entry cost and it connects effortlessly with WordPress. It’s what we used to set up this blog!
To set up your new blog, go to Bluehost (link will open in a new tab so you can keep following this tutorial) and click the Get Started button.
This will take you to a page with pricing options. Selecting the Basic plan will work perfectly for your beginner blog. That’s the one we used to start our blog. Note that Bluehost sometimes has special offers so the price may be less!
Next, you’ll set up your domain name!
Create a new domain by entering your blog’s name in the left-hand box. Bluehost gives you a free domain for the first year so be sure to take advantage of this discount!
If you haven’t decided on a domain name, click the link at the bottom to skip this step and create the domain later (it’ll still be free!).
Now you need to create your Bluehost account.
Fill in your details in the Account Information section. Your name, address, email, etc.
The Package Information section below is where you need to double-check you selected the right plan and choose the length of the plan.
There are three timeframe options in the drop down menu and the longer the plan, the cheaper it is. We recommend starting with the 36-month plan because it’s the best value and locks in this super cheap sign up price for longer. But choose what works best for you!
Look at this step like some people look at signing up for a gym membership. If you’ve already paid for it, you might as well go! So make the commitment to yourself and your blog’s success by choosing a longer term plan.
The good thing is that Bluehost offers a money-back guarantee on the hosting service for the first 30 days. So if you wake up tomorrow and change your mind, you can contact them to get a full refund of the hosting plan cost. Just note that you will be charged for the free domain if over 3 days have passed since the purchase date.
After that, you’ll see the Package Extras section.
These are some services you can add on for an extra fee. We recommend unchecking everything in this section except for Domain Privacy + Protection.
You definitely want this extra option because it hides your name and email from public website directories. This helps prevent spammers and marketers from contacting you. Definitely worth it!
You won’t see the Domain Privacy option yet if you’re waiting until later to choose your domain name, so just uncheck everything in this section. It’ll show up when you choose your domain later on.
Almost there! Enter your credit card or Paypal payment details in the next section, read and agree to the fine print, and click on the green Submit button.
Next up, create an account with a secure password and login to your new account.
YAY! You’re officially a blog owner! Stop and give yourself a round of applause.
3. Install and Set Up WordPress
WordPress is the best blogging platform out there and other options, like Wix and Blogger, just don’t compare. That’s why over 75 million sites (not just bloggers) worldwide use WordPress to build their websites. That’s over 30% of all the websites in the world!
Bluehost makes it super easy to install WordPress on your site: it does it automatically!
Once you login to your new Bluehost account, you’ll see the screen below with prompts to start creating your blog.
Here’s a quick run through of the next 2 pages:
- Enter your blog’s name (ours is Off Path Travels)
- Enter a short description for your site as the tagline (ours is Adventure Travel Blog)
- Switch the Do you want a blog? option on and leave the online store option off
- Click the Continue button
- On the next page, check the “Share my ideas, photos, stories, or videos” box
- Select your level of comfort with creating a website
- Click the Continue button
Next, you’ll see a page with some theme options. A theme is basically the design and layout of your site, but we’ll get into that later in this guide.
Click on Skip This Step at the bottom for now.
You’re all done setting up the blog hosting side of things!
Next, you’ll see your Bluehost account’s main page. This is like the control panel for your blog’s hosting settings.
Click on the blue WordPress button in the top right corner of this page to go to your blog.
Welcome to WordPress! This is where you’ll do everything from writing posts to customizing your blog.
Click on the home icon next to your domain name in the upper left-hand corner and then Visit Site to see your brand new travel blog! Remember that you haven’t added a theme yet so it’s going to look a bit boring.
Congrats! You’re all done with the set up!
And now it’s time to work on your blog’s design and content.
4. Select a Theme
A theme is what decides your blog’s layout and design. It’s what us non-developers use to set up a good-looking, yet functioning site.
With a theme, the coding has already been done for you. All you have to do is adjust a few things to customize your site. This means you should choose a theme that you like straight out of the box. Otherwise, you’re stuck trying to edit code to make things look right.
At this point in your blog, you need to use your time for writing blog posts, not focusing on design. So take some time to find a theme that works best for you, but not too much time!
Free vs Paid WordPress Themes
Yes, you can get a free WordPress theme for your site, but if you want a highly functional, beautiful theme, with customer support, you’ll have to pay.
When looking for a theme, make sure it’s kept up to date, works with the latest version of WordPress, and is easy to customize for beginners.
You also need to make sure it’s fast and doesn’t slow down your site. Nobody likes waiting around for sites to load!
Divi WordPress Theme
Divi Theme is the ultimate beginner-friendly theme! It’s a complete package with everything you need
It comes with a drag-and-drop visual page builder that makes it super easy to build a website and allows you to tweak basically anything on your blog just by clicking on it. We love that you can preview the edits as you make them.
We’ve used Divi on multiple blogs, including the first version of Off Path Travels. We have the Lifetime Access option that gives us all of the updates, lifetime customer support, pre-designed page templates (called Website Packs), and access to their awesome email opt-in and social sharing plugins.
It’s absolutely perfect for beginners who want a theme that comes with everything and want to control the look of their without knowing a bit of code.
Divi also has great customer service and lots of forums and Facebook groups available to answer any questions you may have. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so there’s no risk in trying it out!
Astra Pro WordPress Theme
Astra is another excellent theme for beginners. And they offer a free version of Astra! The free version does allow for some customization, but it doesn’t come with nearly as many features as Astra Pro or one-on-one support.
Astra Pro is the upgraded version and it’s the WordPress theme we use on this travel blog. The Pro version comes with the Astra Theme, an Astra Child Theme (you need this!), and a plugin that gives you tons of design flexibility.
It’s a great option if you want to get your blog up and running quickly so you can start writing blog posts instead of designing.
The easy-to-install plugin allows you to edit and customize your new blog all over the place without knowing any code. You get more options for changing fonts, more color customization options, additional blog and footer layouts, an author bio box, and tons more.
It also gives you access to one-on-one customer support, extensive training, 20+ starter templates, unlimited website usage, and has a 14-day risk-free money-back guarantee.
Installing a Theme
To install a theme, go to your WordPress Dashboard. Click on Appearance in the left-hand column and select Themes. Next, click on Add a New Theme to upload your theme and activate it.
5. Add Essential Pages and Plugins
Before you start writing blog posts, you’ll need to make a few additions to your site like adding essentials pages and plugins.
Important Pages for Blogs
At minimum, these are the pages that you need to start your travel blog…
Home – This is your site’s “welcome mat”
Blog – This is where your blog posts will live and show up in chronological order
About – This is where you tell people who you are, what you write about, and how to contact you (here’s ours)
To add a page: Go to the Pages tab and then click on Add New.
Essential Plugins for Blogs
Plugins are sort of like the equivalent of smartphone apps but for WordPress. They’re another way to customize and add features to your site.
TIP: Don’t go crazy adding plugins. Too many plugins can slow down your site!
These are some of our favorite plugins for travel blogging:
- Askimet Anti-Spam
- Yoast SEO
- WP Rocket
- Wordfence Security
To install a plugin: go to the Plugins tab in WordPress, click on Add New, and then search for the plugin you need.
6. Write Blog Posts
And finally we get to the good stuff! Now that your blog is ready to go, you can start writing and publishing blog posts on your site.
We recommend having a least of 15 to 20 published blog posts on your site before you start promoting and sharing. That way people that visit your site can get a better idea of what to expect from you and will keep coming back for more.
Make your posts informative, yet engaging and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through!
7. How to Make Money Travel Blogging
There are a variety of different ways to make money blogging! And every blogger has a unique mix of what they do and don’t do to earn an income. Some also supplement their blogging income with YouTube revenue and others teach English on the side.
Here are just some of the ways travel bloggers can earn an income through their website:
- Display Advertising
- Affiliate Sales
- Sponsored Posts
- Product Sales
- Sponsored Trips
The key to making money travel blogging is patience and persistence. Hate to break it to you, but this (most likely) isn’t going to be an overnight success story.
How to Start a Travel Blog
We hope this answered all of your questions on how to start a travel blog.
Just like any job, you need to work hard to succeed. But with travel blogging, if you’re willing to put in the hours, the benefits of getting paid to travel are well worth the initial sacrifice.
Do you have any questions on starting a travel blog? Let us know in the comments below.