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Travel Affiliate Marketing: A How-To for Travel Content Creators

The featured image for a Travel Creators Club article titled “Travel Affiliate Marketing: A How-To for Travel Content Creators.” It displays two travel content creator working on their laptops sharing affiliate links with their audience online.

In the world of travel content creation, finding sustainable income streams is the only way that you can ever make a success of turning your passion for travel into a profession. While there are always more ways of making money online, one method has proven itself time and again as a good option, namely affiliate marketing. This is not something that is often thought of or integrated into travel content, but joining an affiliate program can be one of the easiest things to do, and if you are working with a good company that adds value to your brand, it can be very lucrative.

As things stand today, the affiliate marketing industry is worth upwards of $14 Billion, with this number is growing each year. more and more big corporations realize the value of cutting people into the deal if that person helped them to make the deal. So let’s start by just looking at what affiliate marketing is and why it is profitable, then we will jump into some specific programs that might be worthwhile for travel content creators to get involved in.

Understanding Travel Affiliate Marketing Programs

It is really a simple concept. Basically, affiliate marketing is nothing more than a performance-based referral program. Content creators earn a commission for promoting products or services. This is done through unique affiliate links or codes that can be used by people to show that you were the one to recommend the product. There are no limits to the amount of programs you can become a representative of, but, in the travel niche, companies focused on getting hotel bookings, selling travel gear, tour packages, travel insurance, or whatever, can all be a good choice. You just want to always make sure that the products and services you are promoting are good quality and can fit in with your content in a relevant way.

Currently, this number growing each year. These affiliate programs have proven to be a whole new way of marketing and it is working well. So, where can you find these opportunities?

Finding and Choosing the Best Travel Affiliate Programs

This used to be a pain back in the day, but now finding and joining affiliate marketing programs has become a breeze. Sure, not all opportunities will resonate well with travel creators, but you will find a few that might work well for you and your niche. We will break this down into 2 parts, finding programs and choosing the right ones.

1. Finding Reputable Travel Affiliate Programs

It all starts with a bit of research. Luckily we have Google, ChatGPT, and a few other tools to help us out. The easiest way to start is to head over to either ChatGPT or Bing’s integrated version of this tool (the Bing one is way better as it is connected to the live internet) and then simply ask it to, “make a list of affiliate programs that might be relevant to travel content creators.” This should give you a nice list of companies to start from.

Just doing a simple Google search for “travel affiliate programs” or something along those lines will also be a good starting point. It should also be mentioned that there are these affiliate databases that put hundreds of affiliate programs in one spot for you to be able to choose from. Many of them do work, offering different levels of returns, but you should be extra careful when dealing with these travel affiliate websites as there can be a lot of fine print to consider.

2. Choosing the Right Travel Affiliate Website

Now that you have a list of possible programs that you might be interested in partnering with, it is time to decide on which of them you will approach and which ones to avoid. First, you will need to sort them and make sure that you have only the most relevant ones for your niche. There is no point in punting beauty products if you are running a blog about wild camping in Arabia. Pick things that your readers would find of value. For example, if you are a wild camper showing and telling people how to survive for a night or two in the desert, then a good partner might be one who makes camping or survival gear.

Once you have made a shortlist of those companies that you want to do promotion for, the next step is to make sure that the affiliate opportunity is legit. There is plenty of scammy stuff online, and getting suckered into a fake program or one with plenty of fine print can lead to disaster. You have to make sure that these things are not fake, and then go read all the Ts&Cs twice to make sure you understand how everything works. Things like payouts might take 3+ months before they reach you, or that you have to have a certain number of monthly views to qualify for joining, whatever it is, make sure you understand everything properly.

3. Sign Up and Start Your Travel Affiliate Journey

This is the easiest part. You found affiliate programs, sorted through them to find the best ones, and now you simply need to sign up. Not much to be said for this step as each program has a different sign-up and most are very clear in explaining all the steps for getting started. What you will end up with is a special code or link that people can use to identify that you are the one who referred them.


  • Affiliate Links: If you are given an affiliate link, then anyone clicking on that link and making a purchase will earn you some of the amount that is spent.
  • Affiliate Codes: If the program offers you a sort of promo code instead of a link, then you will have to direct people to the offering and convince them to enter your code in order for you to get paid.

Whether it is a link or code, a special offer is often attached to it, giving your audience a discount or free trial when going through you as an affiliate. This helps everyone to get something out of the transaction.

Affiliate Integration for Travel Content

Now that you have a link or code, it is time to start putting it out there for people to use. This is something that requires a little bit of finesse as you don’t want to come across as a salesperson. So, the best way to integrate it is in a natural way that fits in and blends well with your content. Don’t change your style to be more like an advert!

Let us use an example. Say that you are a travel vlogger making a video about the best noodle shops in Hong Kong. You might have an affiliate partnership with a travel clothing brand, but how can you make these two fit? Well, during the video, you might be wearing a rain jacket made by this affiliate brand, and as it is always rainy in Hong Kong, you could make mention of how much you love this jacket as it keeps you warm in this cold city, telling your audience that they can grab one of these jacket by following the link in the description and using your referral code. If you are writing a blog, then you could integrate the affiliate links in relevant positions in the article and so on.

Disclose Your Affiliation

Make sure to always employ transparency when using affiliate marketing as a strategy. If you just try to put these links and codes into your content without ever telling anyone that you are earning something through them, it can quickly cause your audience to lose trust in you. Be open, be honest. Most people will understand that you need to make money out of your travel content, so telling them that you have a few affiliates won’t scare anyone off, but not telling them might.

Picking the Best Travel Affiliate Programs

Now that we have covered all the main facets of what goes into travel affiliate marketing, let’s just look at a quick example of an excellent travel affiliate site that would work well for travel content creators.

Workaway.info For those not familiar with this site, it allows people to volunteer around the world, with volunteers giving a few hours of their time and efforts each day in return for a place to stay and sometimes a meal or two. Using Workaway to travel the world on a budget and meet amazing people is great, but there is a yearly subscription. Luckily they offer a nice little referral program that is perfect for travel creators. Each account has an “invite a friend” link to add extra time to your membership for free if someone signs up through your link. The amount of time you get has changed over the years, but this can serve as a great way to keep.

There are plenty of other sites that can also fit nicely into the travel content niche, just Google it and you will find plenty of sites with good lists. From the Booking.com affiliate program where you can make small commissions to TripAdvisor’s affiliate program where you get a huge chunk of the money you help to generate; there are plenty of great options to choose from.

Rather than just list a bunch of affiliate programs, we are going to look at some categories that might work well for travel content.

Good Travel Affiliate Categories

Flights: If you are a content creator on the go then telling your audience about flights is an easy fit. Sites like Skyscanner offer a really good affiliate program with decent returns on traffic that you send them.

Cars: Think cars, scooters, tuk-tuks, or whatever else has wheels that people might rent to get around in. A site you might want to check out in this category is DiscoverCars.com, but in the car rental field, you can find plenty of affiliate programs.

Tours and Activities: This is another category that should be fairly easy for you to integrate into your content, especially if you have used the service. TripAdvisor is a good one for this in this line and for those looking to make some money directly, TripitEasy allows you to monetize your guides and recommendations, a great choice for travel content creators.

Merch: Sure, you can sell your own stuff, but it is often much easier to sell someone else’s stuff and just get paid a little bit for sending people to the seller. But, there is definitely a space in travel content for talking about your gear. So, here is a list of affiliate programs for travel accessories.

Ground Transport: Flights are one thing, but what about buses and trains (maybe we can throw boats in here as well)? This is another great tie-in for travel content. For those who want to check out a few immediately, here is a list of ground transportation affiliate programs.

Other: From festival tickets to restaurant referrals, you can find an affiliate program for pretty much anything and everything; just be creative.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing presents a lucrative opportunity for travel content creators looking to add another level of monetization to their travel content. It does not require too much effort to get started or to implement this strategy and the rewards could prove to be one of your main income streams. We must stress caution when dealing with these programs. There are plenty of good ones, a few shady ones, but the thing to be most careful of is the fine print. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of what you are signing up for before getting started.