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  5. How To Start a Travel Blog in 2024: It’s Easier Than You Think

How To Start a Travel Blog in 2024: It’s Easier Than You Think

Suzanne Stewart Suzanne StewartWeb Hosting Expert May 29, 2024
May 29, 2024
In today’s world, where everyone longs to travel and connecting online is huge, you might wonder how your own travel-related content could stand out. Luckily, this abundance of travel content means there’s a large audience of fellow travelers eager to hear about your journeys!

But where do you begin? From choosing the right platform to crafting compelling content, navigating the world of travel blogging can seem daunting at first. Our step-by-step guide will show you how to build the foundation for a successful blog and make money on a small budget.

We’ll walk you through the essential steps to kickstart your travel blog, from defining your niche and setting up your blog to promoting your new endeavor. Whether you dream of documenting exotic landscapes or delving into local cultural experiences, this guide will equip you with the tools and knowledge to transform your wanderlust into a captivating website.

So pack your bags, sharpen your writing and photography skills, and let’s embark on this exhilarating adventure together.

Before You Begin

Just as you carefully pack your bags before each trip to ensure you have everything you’ll need for your travels, doing some research on travel blogging before you start can save a lot of headaches down the road.

Choosing a Sub-Niche

The Blonde Abroad home page
The Blonde Abroad travel blog is run by Kiki, a solo woman traveler
This may sound simple but it’s a good starting place: the kind of traveler you are and the kind of travel you do will define the type of travel blog you create. You may already know what type of traveler you currently are. But perhaps you’ve never realized just how many types of travel blogs are possible. In either case, finding your sub-niche should be a priority. Some possibilities include:
  • Solo travelers
  • Women travelers
  • Empty nester/couples-only trips
  • Region-specific trips
  • Activity-specific adventures like road trips or backpacking
  • Van life
  • Luxury travel
  • Work/business traveling
  • Family adventures
  • Accessible travel for those with disabilities
  • “Off the beaten path” adventures
  • Retirement traveling
And of course, you can get even more specific by combining any number of these. For example, The Blonde Abroad is a female solo traveler who indulges in all kinds of adventures, including luxury travels and off-the-beaten path destinations. The task right now is to establish who you’ll be so you start your travel blog off in the right direction.

Who Do You Read?

Research into your competition is never a bad idea. There’s no use starting a travel blog similar to the ones you currently read because it will be too difficult to carve out an audience. You’ll want to study what makes them successful and appealing. For example, The Blonde Abroad not only documents her travels but also provides tips on how you can book similar experiences by using travel reward points.

Who Will Be Your Reader?

You’ll want to decide who your target audience is so that you can create the kind of travel content that attracts them. Most likely, your target audience will be travelers just like you, which is why understanding your sub-niche is so vital.

Do You Have a Budget and a Plan?

Whether you’re starting a blog as a hobby or plan to earn money from your content, you’ll need an initial investment to get your website up and running.

Consider listing your blogging objectives: how often you’ll post (you’ll want a set schedule), how many readers you hope to gain in your first year, whether you’ll launch a newsletter or create video content to go with your blog, and so on. Setting a mission statement or value proposition for your website can also keep you on track. You don’t have to meet every objective but you should have some in mind.

To start, your budget should include a good digital camera (unless you already own one) and the cost of a web host or website builder. Fear not – that’s why you found your way here. We have some really affordable hosting recommendations so you won’t have to spend too much to get started.

Choose a Good Domain Name

Your domain name serves as your website’s “address” – it’s the name that ends in a .com or .org. Your domain name should be unique, short, and easy to spell. That way, visitors won’t have trouble remembering your brand and finding you. For example, our domain name tells you we love helping readers with website-related topics.

You may want to make a list of possible names for your travel blog and then check to see if they’re available. You can do this by searching the potential name in any domain registrar’s site. Remember, you want something unique.

Domain names typically come at an additional cost. However, many website hosting providers like Hostinger offer a free domain with the purchase of your first year of hosting. Some even have name generators to help you choose the right name for your travel blog.

Choose a Reliable Web Hosting Service

If you think of your domain name as your travel blog’s address, your web hosting provider is your blog’s landlord. You’ll need to “rent” your space on a server in order to store all your data, files, and photos and make it accessible online. Like many landlords, web hosts also provide maintenance – to varying degrees.

Important hosting features you’ll want to look for include speed and reliability so your readers can load your site quickly with no downtime. Some hosts provide managed WordPress hosting, which means you don’t have to worry about the technical stuff and can concentrate on creating your travel content.

Hostinger Mananged WordPress features
Hostinger’s cheap managed WordPress plans take the hassle and stress out of managing your travel blog
Hostinger is an ideal host for starting a travel blog – and I’m not only saying that because it’s extremely affordable and often offers several months free when you choose its longest-term hosting plan.

With its managed WordPress plans, you can install WordPress with one click from the beginner-friendly control panel. Hostinger offers LiteSpeed caching software, specially made to help speed up your WordPress site. You’ll also get a free domain and 24/7 customer support starting at just $2.99/month.

Install WordPress and Set Up Your Travel Blog

It’s a fairly straightforward, easy process to set up a WordPress blog site with Hostinger because Hostinger does most of the work. Although we’re using Hostinger in this example, the process is pretty similar with other web hosts, especially if they offer managed WordPress hosting.

First, you’ll need to provide some basic information about your new website. It’s pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll leave that to you. In addition to WordPress, Hostinger also offers its own website builder, but I suggest you stick with WordPress.

Hostinger WordPress installation with pre-selected plugins
Hostinger will suggest some WordPress plugins to improve your website’s performance
You can then choose your travel blog’s theme. Whatever you choose here isn’t important, as you can (and probably should) change your theme later. Then, Hostinger will offer its recommended WordPress plugins. Install them! They’re extremely useful and will make your travel blog perform better. (More on plugins later.)

The next step is creating or linking your domain name to your site. (If you leave this option blank Hostinger will assign you a temporary subdomain.) You’ll also have to choose a data center location. Data centers house a web host’s servers. The closer your server is to your site visitors, the faster it will load for them.

Hostinger account dashboard
Finally! All that hard mouse-clicking work pays off
Once you’ve picked a data center location, you’ll come across the Hostinger account dashboard called hPanel. This is where you’ll manage your hosting account and where you’ll be able to access your separate WordPress dashboard.

Choose a WordPress Builder and Theme

When you first start your travel blog, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your theme to make it truly your blog. WordPress has its own built-in theme editor and page builder, but I’m going to show you a better way to work using the Elementor plugin. And yes, it comes with its own themes.

I prefer to use Elementor because you get both an easy-to-use post editor and a drag-and-drop page builder. It offers better customization than WordPress’ default tools, and in my opinion it’s easier to use too.

WordPress plugins section
Install the Elementor builder and editor with one click
Open the link for plugins on your WordPress dashboard and search for Elementor.

Elementor doesn’t have travel blog-specific themes, but it has other relevant ones, like “Food Blog” or “Nature Photography.” These cost extra, but you can always install Hello Elementor, which is essentially a blank template that’s great for image-heavy blogs.

Consider These Useful Plugins

Plugins are one main reasons to use WordPress to build a blog. Plugins enhance both the front end (what the reader sees) and the back end (the part only you see from your dashboard).

AIOSEO plugin
AIOSEO is useful if you aren’t very SEO-savvy
Hostinger pre-installed some pretty useful plugins for me, including All in One SEO and LiteSpeed Cache. All in One SEO analyzes your blog content and settings to ensure that your website is search engine-friendly so your blog ranks highly on search result pages. LiteSpeed Cache speeds up your site’s loading time.

Another plugin that came with my Hostinger WordPress installation was Google Analytics for WordPress. Google Analytics for WordPress gives you insights on your visitors and what they’re doing when they visit your blog. All of this helps you know what type of content is popular with your readers and what they’re searching to find your blog.

The last really nice plugin that came with my Hostinger hosting package was WPFormsLite. You use WPFormsLite to create forms for your travel blog. You can easily set up anything, from a simple email signup to an entire contact form with custom fields.

Set Up and Customize the Most Relevant Pages

What content is most essential to a travel blog? What do you really need? You’ll want to have 3 to 5 blog posts ready for your first visitors to read, but what else would you have on hand? The following are pretty standard to all travel blogs, regardless of the type of traveler they appeal to.
  • An About Me page. Give the reader some insight into who you are, why you do what you do, and what kind of personality you have.
  • Contact page. This can be as simple as displaying your email address to setting up a detailed contact form. Make sure to be specific about what types of inquiries you’ll respond to, though.
  • Privacy and Disclosure pages. Privacy pages notify your readers about the use of cookies and if you collect any other personal data (such as emails). You’ll also want to add a Disclosure page if you work with certain brands or earn a commission from any sales made through your blog.
Sample travel blog page with embedded map and image carousel
In lieu of a photo gallery page, I opted for an image carousel widget at the bottom of my blog posts
  • Photo and Video Gallery. You’ll probably want an attractive gallery page of your best travel photos. Or, if you don’t have enough content to create a gallery right away, do what I did and include an image carousel widget at the bottom of each blog post.
Let me walk you through some of the ways you can customize your pages and blog posts using Elementor.

Elementor website builder customization menu
The Elementor editor on the right is where you can really start customizing your site
On your WordPress dashboard, you can edit your selected theme – in my case, Hello Elementor – through the Appearance menu. Under Appearance, select Customize, then click the Header and footer option to open the Elementor settings (pictured on the right in the above image).

Elementor site settings global colors menu
In Elementor, “Global” means site-wide, as opposed to a specific page or page section
Under Site Settings, your first stop should be Global Colors. If you don’t like the pre-selected default color scheme, you can view and change it here. Make your choice by clicking on the little colored box. It will open up the color selector and you can pick the exact hue you want. Using Global Fonts, you can decide on a font style and color for your text and links, as well.

Make sure to select the Style Guide Preview so you can preview your choices, make changes, change your mind, and revert to the original choice. (Or am I the only one that does that sort of thing at least a dozen times?) Hit the Update button on the bottom of the menu when you’re done and the look of your blog is set.

Below the Site Settings menu is the Site Identity submenu. Using this, you can name your blog, give it a tagline, and upload a favicon. You can also change the background colors or add a background image (which I don’t recommend) in the Background submenu. Unless you are very familiar with blog design, I’d suggest leaving the rest of the settings as defaults.

Google maps widget editor
I used the Google map widget to show the location of a hostel I mentioned in a post
A good idea for travel bloggers is to add a Google Maps widget to your blog posts. Elementor breaks your blog pages up into “containers” and you can simply drag and drop various widgets onto the page’s containers. I dropped the Google Maps widget at the bottom of the page so I could show my readers just where in the world I was.

Revise, Test, and Publish Your Travel Blog

Don’t hit the “Publish” button too soon. Just as you should always double-check your flight information before purchasing tickets so you don’t end up in Baltimore instead of Bora Bora, you’ll want to double-check your travel blog.

test blog front page
It wasn’t until I previewed my travel blog’s front page that I realized I hadn’t formatted my subtitles consistently
The first thing you’ll want to do is to preview your travel blog on both a desktop and a mobile device. On mobile, you’ll want to check that readers can easily click links and that text size is legible. Also make sure all your content is free of spelling and grammatical errors.

Do a run-down of all the “moving parts” too. Do all your buttons and drop-down menus work? Are your links active and going where they should be? Do all your images have alt tags for readers with visual impairments?

Once you have everything in ship shape, you may want to do a performance test on your site. We use GTmetrix here at Website Planet to monitor all our test sites. It has a free option that will show you an overall performance grade and your fastest and slowest loading speeds.

An Easier Way To Get a Travel Blog Online

There’s an even easier way to build a travel blog than using WordPress and Elementor. You can choose to use a standalone website builder. Although site builders are often pricier than purchasing hosting for WordPress and may lack some powerful blogging features that WordPress offers, you may want to consider this option if you want to get your site up and running quickly.

Site builders come with hosting and built-in features so you don’t need to install plugins. Some also include domain names.

Squarespace Souto travel blog template
Souto is just one of several travel blog site templates Squarespace has to offer
If you’re looking to start a visually stunning travel blog, Squarespace is definitely worth considering. Its templates are simply gorgeous, with sleek designs and beautiful image layouts that really let your travel photos shine. Whether you want a minimal and modern look or something with a bit more flair, Squarespace has options that nail that wanderlust aesthetic.

One of the biggest appeals of Squarespace is how easy it is to use. The platform is super intuitive, with drag-and-drop functionality that makes it easy to arrange content exactly how you want it. Plus, thanks to Squarespace’s mobile app, keeping your blog updated while you’re on the road is a breeze.

If your goal is to turn your travel blog into a business, Squarespace can give you that professional edge. The polished look and e-commerce capabilities make it ideal for selling branded products or working with sponsors and affiliates. Plus, Squarespace lets you sell memberships for exclusive content, like premium travel newsletters or vlogs.

While Squarespace costs a bit more than the typical web host, it’s an investment that pays off with powerful features and incredible support. You get way more than just a blog – you get marketing and SEO tools, an online store, and more. So if your wanderlust extends beyond just documenting your travels, Squarespace can grow with your ambitions.

If you’d like to consider alternatives to Squarespace, check out our list of the top 10 website builders in 2024.

You’re All Set To Start Your Travel Blog Journey Today

Getting started on your travel blog journey may seem like a lot of work. With either a WordPress site hosted on Hostinger or a blog built with one of Squarespace’s gorgeous templates, however, the trip will be a breeze.

No matter the method you choose, there are three things you’ll need to do consistently after you’ve started your travel blog.

The first is to monitor your site’s performance and use any optimization tools at your disposal to keep it running smoothly. Number two on that list is to publish new content regularly. Your readers will come to depend on you for tips, guides, and info for their own travels. And the third thing? Why, travel, of course! What’s a travel blog without a traveler?

FAQ

Can I host a travel blog for free?

I don’t recommend free web hosting for your travel blog. Free hosting options are usually poor quality and come with severe limitations – like traffic and storage space caps – that can negatively impact your blog’s performance and growth potential. Instead, I suggest using a reputable paid hosting provider like Hostinger, which offers really affordable plans with reliable servers and good customer support.

Why is choosing a niche for my travel blog so important?

Choosing a niche for your travel blog is crucial because it helps your blog appeal to a specific audience and stand out in a crowded field. By focusing on a particular niche, such as solo female travel, family travel, or budget backpacking, you can create more targeted and valuable content for your readers, establish yourself as an authority in that area, and attract a loyal following.

Why use WordPress if a website builder is easier?

Both options have pros and cons. While website builders are generally easier to use, choosing WordPress for your travel blog can be more cost-effective in the long run. Many WordPress hosting plans are more affordable than website builder plans. Also, WordPress provides a vast selection of free themes and plugins to customize your blog’s design and functionality, further setting your blog apart from the rest.

Why is Squarespace the best website builder for starting a travel blog?

For travel blogging, Squarespace offers several features over other website builders. It has a selection of professionally designed travel blog templates available. Its drag-and-drop builder also strikes a great balance between ease of use and creative freedom. Lastly, if e-commerce is in your travel blog’s future, Squarespace lets you easily sell products or services online.

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