How to Become a Travel Influencer: Tips from a 6-Figure Influencer

Becoming a successful travel influencer requires more than just picturesque posts and jet-setting adventures nowadays; it involves building a brand, engaging with followers, and collaborating with travel brands.

From finding your niche to creating high-quality, consistent content, audience engagement, and connecting with brands, I’m so excited to be sharing how to become a travel influencer on Instagram and get paid to travel.

When I was working in Corporate America in New York City, I remember scrolling through Instagram in my cubicle seeing influencers travel the world and thinking “That is exactly what I want to do.”

And it became my mission to figure out how. I spent all my free time (sometimes on work hours… shhh) taking action and trying to learn how I can make it a sustainable business.

I’m happy to say that it has been 7 whole years as a full-time influencer and world traveler! If you are maybe reading this from a cubicle wondering what I was wondering just a few years ago, then this is for you.

And don’t worry, if you’re thinking:

  • Is it even possible to make it nowadays in the influencer industry?
  • Is the market too saturated?
  • Can I do this if I have a full time job?

I’ve been there, and I’m here to tell you that it IS possible, and now is the best time to start.

As a travel influencer that has survived the pandemic, I want to teach you how to become a travel influencer in a way that aligns with your brand and values, helping you create incredible and soul-aligned opportunities for yourself.

Let’s get started!

What is a Travel Influencer?

Before we get into it the ‘how to’ part, let’s just clarify what a travel influencer is.

A travel influencer is someone who has established credibility in the travel niche, with the ability to affect travel decisions of others due to their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience.

This role extends beyond sharing travel experiences.

It involves creating content that inspires and informs others, whether that’s showcasing new destinations, offering travel tips, or sharing personal travel stories.

A successful travel influencer does not just have a large number of followers but also a community that is engaged, trusts their recommendations, and looks to them for travel inspiration and guidance.

In essence, a travel influencer is a content creator, a storyteller, a community leader, and often a trendsetter in the travel industry.

How has the role of a Travel Influencer evolved?

The role of travel influencers has evolved significantly with the rise of social media platforms.

Initially, travel influencing was about sharing captivating images and stories from exotic locations.

Today, it’s a professional endeavor that blends entertainment, education, and digital marketing. Influencers are now content creators who must be skilled in photography, videography, storytelling, and social media strategy.

They’re also brand ambassadors who work with tourism boards and travel brands to promote destinations and products.

As the digital landscape changes, so too does the work of travel influencers.

They’re adopting new technologies like drones for aerial footage and virtual reality to create immersive experiences.

Travel influencers have transformed from casual hobbyists into entrepreneurs, building personal brands and businesses with their ability to inspire wanderlust and shape the travel industry.

Why You Should Become a Travel Influencer

If you are reading this article, you have most likely already answered this for yourself, but let’s discuss it anyway!

It offers the freedom to explore the world and make money while sharing your experiences and inspiring others to do the same.

As a travel influencer, you have the potential to turn your love for adventure into a source of income by partnering with travel brands, tourism boards, and hospitality businesses.

Beyond income benefits, you get the opportunity to connect with a community of like-minded individuals, create a flexible lifestyle that suits your personal goals, and develop your creativity and skills in content creation.

Additionally, travel influencers often enjoy the perks of travel-related discounts, complimentary stays, and exclusive experiences that aren’t typically available to the average traveler.

Sounds pretty good, right?!

So the big question you are all here for…

How can YOU become a travel influencer?

There is no denying that there are a lot more travel infleucners than there were a few years ago. But this absolutely does not mean that you cannot start now! In fact with an uptrend in successful micro-influencers, it’s a great time.

From here on, we are are going to get into the actionable steps, sharing hints, tips and tricks on becoming a travel influencer.

I also cover this step by step in The Travel Influencer Handbook, the pandemic-proof guide for aspiring influencers.

It teaches you everything from growing your account to landing collaborations with brands so you can get paid for doing what you love.

✈️ Download The Travel Influencer Handbook

Find Your Travel Niche

Finding your niche is a crucial first step to becoming a successful travel influencer.

Your niche is the specific area of the travel world that you are most passionate about and knowledgeable in.

It should reflect your unique perspective and experiences.

To discover your niche, consider what aspects of travel excite you the most. Are you drawn to luxury travel, adventure sports, culinary experiences, or perhaps sustainable tourism?

Think about the type of content you enjoy creating and what sets you apart from others in the travel space.

It’s also important to research and understand your potential audience; identify what they are interested in and what gaps you could fill with your content.

Having a clear niche will help you to create more targeted and engaging content, attract a dedicated following, and work with brands that align with your travel style and values.

Pick a Platform and Get REALLY Good at Creating Content

Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. DO NOT try to start all three at once.

Choose one platform and make it your job to get very good at creating videos that people will want to follow.

This means studying what tricks and strategies are working, learning what types of content and editing each platform favors, and also following along successful influencers who are doing what you want to do.

The popularity of video is no longer a secret. With every social media platform introducing video feeds, your brand needs to be visible in video form to stay relevant on the social media platform you choose.

Consistently posting high-quality content is key to growth.

Share your travel stories, tips, and insights regularly to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more. You’ll want to stick to a consistent posting schedule to practice getting yourself in front of the camera and sharing your work with the world.

If you are starting from scratch, I recommend starting with a 14-day challenge where you post something on the platform of your choice every day for 14 days.

The worst-case scenario is you get that much more familiar with social media strategy!

Create scroll stopping videos:

  1. Start with a hook that gets viewers attention. This can be an interesting piece of footage, attention grabbing text, or both.
  2. Provide value to your audience. Whether that be to entertain, educate or inspire, your video needs to provide some sort of value to the viewer.
  3. Keep it simple. Most of us aren’t professional video editors and especially if you’re new to creating video, the easier the video is, the more enjoyable it is to create content, ultimately helping you to stay more consistent. Keeping it simple also helps the video be authentic and we are seeing a huge upwards trend in raw and ‘real’ content on social media.

In The Travel Influencer Handbook, I teach and recommend using a Reels Strategy on Instagram because it is the main format of content that is displayed to people not already following you. In contrast, your stories, posts, and carousels are only shown to your existing followers, so focusing your time on creating short-form videos will yield the highest chances of you gaining followers!

Create a cohesive, on-brand feed:

You will want everything you post to be cohesive when new accounts first land on your page. This requires coming up with a posting strategy that aligns with your overall brand, and choosing your colors, fonts, and aesthetic.

If you would like a brand guide template that you can customize, you’ll get one from free when you join the Digital Nomad Society!

Build Your Portfolio

As you get better and better at creating content, you will want to start creating a portfolio of your work. Think of this as a showcase of your work for potential clients that you want to work with. Your portfolio will showcase what you are capable of creating for potential clients, and what value you bring to the table.

Usually, your portfolio is displayed on a website, and you can simply have it alongside your blog. If starting a website is too much tech for you right now, you can also create an easy portfolio on a Canva site. This is easier to get started with, but ultimately we will want to drive all traffic to your *own* website!

✈️ Download The Travel Influencer Handbook

Create Your Media Kit and Rate Card

Next, you’ll want to create a media kit and rate card. Think of a media kit as a resumé for influencers. A media kit is where you will share one page with all your links, credentials, your brand, and all your numbers like your audience size and reach.

This will be accompanied by a rate card, which is what you will be charging for your services. You can start with photography and videography services, as well as feed posts or videos. You can also eventually expand into blog posts, podcast advertisements, and UGC videos as well!

You can purchase my exact media kit and rate card template here to use as your own! I share all my current rates for all the services I offer as an influencer.

Partnering with Travel Brands

Partnering with travel brands is a primary way for influencers to monetize their online presence.

To begin, identify brands that align with your niche and values. A successful partnership is based on mutual benefit, where the influencer can provide exposure and a genuine endorsement, while the brand offers compensation or complimentary services.

When reaching out to potential partners, present your professional media kit that showcases your audience demographics, engagement rates, and past collaborations. Be clear about what you can offer, such as content creation, social media promotion, or product reviews.

It’s important to maintain authenticity and transparency with your followers by only endorsing products or services you truly believe in and would use yourself.

Remember, long-term relationships with brands are more valuable than one-off deals, so strive to deliver high-quality content and results that can lead to ongoing partnerships.

✈️ Download The Travel Influencer Handbook

Pitch to Hotels and Travel Brands

In the end, landing your first few jobs will all be a numbers game. To give you an idea of what it takes, I used to email and DM at least 20 businesses a day, getting my name out there and offering my services. There will be a lot of no’s and even more no-responses. But in the end, your first yes will be so worth it.

The key to pitching is focusing on the value you bring to the table, and making an offer so good they would be silly saying no to. In the beginning, it really helps to overdeliver and undercharge. Of course, you don’t want to make undercharging a habit, but getting your foot in the door and having the experience in your portfolio will help you out as well.

If you’re looking for some direction on how to reach out to tourism boards and brands, I include the exact email and pitch template that I use in The Travel Influencer Handbook. I also include contract samples and how to pitch in your own unique brand voice!

Tune in or read How to Land Paid Brand Deals as an Influencer.

Treat It Like a Business

Ultimately, being a travel influencer is a full-time job and you are running your own business.

So really get into that mindset that you have the power to grow and scale it to infinity and beyond. You CAN work with whatever hotel, expand to any digital product or service suite and get collaborations with your dream clients.

I love my job and the life that I personally designed for myself through my business. I also love helping other people do the same.

The Travel Influencer Handbook includes everything that got me to where I am today and everything that I think would help you create a business as a travel influencer. It is really comprehensive and includes lists of all the apps I use, monetizing, best affiliate networks, resources, marketing and optimizing. Whether you’re starting as a travel influencer or you’re a seasoned influencer in need of the latest trends, the handbook has it all and is updated regularly.

If you have any questions, feel free to DM me on Instagram!

✈️ Download The Travel Influencer Handbook

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Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu is a multiple 6-figure travel influencer, business coach, and Founder of The Wanderlover. She has traveled to over 65+ countries running her online business and surfing in remote tropical destinations. Her mission is to help creatives and coaches achieve time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom through online entrepreneurship.

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Hi, I’m Danielle

My mission is to help you design a location-independent lifestyle through online entrepreneurship, to achieve time freedom, location freedom, financial freedom.

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