Welcome to the 26th edition of “Nomad Interviews” which features successful nomadic teams and interviews with travelling entrepreneurs.
Q1: What were your reasons for starting your travel blog?
Since my life (Ruben) has mostly been focused on travel, Rachel urged me to use my time to share it with people who aspire to do the same. At the end of the day, travel is something we are both passionate about.
That Travel Blog: Ruben and Rachel are smashing it on Instagram. With over 62k followers and thousands of likes on each post, they have scored multiple sponsorships already in 2017! You can find them @gamintraveler.
Q2: What is your niche? What makes your travel blog unique?
Our journey is the real journey of building and living a travel lifestyle. We travel in a budget, ride bikes across Europe, hitchhike various continents and step-by-step learn how to blog and share our story to earn online.
We share what a real everyday travel lifestyle is. It means you get to stay in luxury hotels and fine dine every now and then, but that’s not your daily situation. Sometimes we’re on the road working, we hitchhike and we still Couchsurf. Young travelers like us can learn that traveling continuous and long term is very possible and you don’t have to save for your whole lifetime to start doing it.
We show that traveling and living in the moment can mean enjoying a luxury dinner by the sea, or watching the sun set as you hunt for the cheapest street food in town. It’s varied, and colorful, just like the real life when nothing is completely stable. Everything changes but it’s the moments that make it worth your while.
Q3: Let’s talk about revenue streams! How do you make money as a travel blogger?
What works best for us is a healthy mix of sponsored tours and accommodations, and selling our consulting and management services. We are just starting our year 2 in blogging, and we haven’t broken properly in the affiliate income stream, or ad sponsorships yet. With our services, we earn for our everyday expenses, travel expenses and savings.
Our earnings for now, comes in two types. There is the cash earned, and that comes from the services we offer through our blog and Instagram and other social media channels. We manage Instagram business accounts, we have consulting services if you want to grow yourself, but need a road-map and check-ins. All the things we learn online; building traffic, managing the blog, growing a social media following – we pack them up to service packages and that’s what we do for work.
The other type of earning we have is the sponsored activities and products. In exchange for honest reviews, promotion on our social media and blog, and creating content with products so they can use them for their own sites and social media, we get products and hotel and food accommodations, and tours. This helps us lower our travel expenses a lot.
We pitch ourselves a lot when it comes to getting travel sponsorships. We get these things for free, however with a huge time and effort investment on our part. We also work with clients online, so we need to constantly be connected to the internet, but we can bring our work with us anywhere.
More or less, 70-80% of our income comes from our online services, and 20-30% comes from sponsored writing and affiliate income. The key is start with what works for you and your situation and be honest with yourself of the investments you can make. For example, some bloggers and Instagrammers start to think immediately with investing in heavy and expensive camera and photography gear. Now if you can, we say why not. But for us, that isn’t our route. Rachel is from the Philippines, and has very limited visa-free countries she can visit. This is why we explore in Asia and work hard to save and prepare for our European trip. Not a problem anyway, Southeast Asia is incredible. But we really plan many months ahead. Until now, we have grown our Instagram following while shooting everything with our iPhone 6s and sponsored camera lenses for mobile. Works incredibly well. We plan our expenses and we invest on our education online too.
Q4: Imagine you could give yourself advice when you just started your travel blog, what would you say?
It takes so much time to work online and to grow a blog at the same time, so be sure that you are ready. When you are not feeling inspired (which is a normal thing to feel every now and then), it is your job to inspire and energize yourself or find the community that will join you in your journey. Don’t wait til you’ve accomplished something before writing. Write your story now. There is someone who needs to hear about your experience. And lastly, from the most early days of your blogging, find a community. Join Facebook Groups, and other online community sites, and if you can do meetups. Energize yourself and surround yourself with the good peeps. Get advice but also give a lot in return or pay it forward by staying valuable in groups!