Why Are Influencers Always Traveling

Have you ever wondered why some of the people you follow on social media always seem to be traveling? You’re probably questioning how they can get time off work, how they can afford to be globe-trotting, and why you’re still stuck at home. Well, the truth may surprise you.

Influencer Travel Agents

Whether or not an influencer focuses solely on travel for their niche, chances are they’re eventually going to have some content that promotes it. The tourism industry has a long-standing tradition of using travel agents to help book travel. In the age of social media, the types of people working as so-called travel agents have expanded.

Travel agents have always taken a cut of the fees when vacations are booked through them, and for influencers promoting travel, it’s a similar setup. However, there’s probably a bit more hustle going on behind the scenes for the travel influencer. So, in short, influencers always seem like they’re traveling because it’s actually how they’re earning a living. 

But how do they do it?

Becoming a Travel Influencer

There’s no one path to becoming an online micro-celebrity. However, if you want to work with brands that will pay you to travel, or offer free trips in exchange for online promotion, here are some tips for becoming a travel influencer.

Define your Niche

Are you a road-tripping influencer? Will you focus on family-friendly travel? What about sharing budget-friendly vacations? Find what resonates with you, and capitalize on it. This may mean that you turn down travel opportunities when they don’t fit with your brand, but that’s okay. You won’t build a loyal following that trusts your authenticity by promoting seemingly random trips just because they were free for you.

Post Regularly

As for anyone who hopes to be successful as an influencer, consistency is key. If you’re just starting out, you may have to get creative when it comes to sharing content related to travel.

Regularly Engage on Your Platform

Connect with other travel influencers on your platform, as well as your followers. Be present in your comment sections, your Instagram stories or FB Lives. Show your followers behind the scenes of traveling so they can be better prepared to take the trip you’re promoting. Make it clear that you’re not just using your followers or network to get free trips; no one wants to book a vacation and send a commission to someone they can’t stand.

Stick to an Aesthetic

In addition to sticking with your travel niche, curate an aesthetic on your grid. You want to sell experiences to your followers, and show brands that you can effectively represent them. 

Research Hashtags to Promote Content

You can foster the organic growth of your brand by strategically using hashtags that are popular on your platform. Once you see success with certain hashtags, rotate them regularly in your content.

How to Get Paid to Travel

At first, you may foot the bill for your trips. But over time, as you show companies how you can boost their reach and promote their accommodations or offerings, you may be able to collaborate with brands for discounted or free travel perks.

Who Makes a Good Travel Influencer?

Someone who already works in the business has the potential to capitalize on the trend of influencer marketing. Pilots, flight attendants, travel agents, or those in hospitality can give an insider’s point of view regarding travel.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to be in the industry to make an impact. According to a 2021 article published by MorningConsult.com:

  • 38% of adults surveyed said they’d be using social media to help them plan their summer 2021 trip.

  • 49% of Gen Z adults and 50% of millennial adults follow at least one travel influencer on social media.

So, who makes a good travel influencer?

Based on Morning Consult’s research, everyone from Gen Z to Baby Boomers can be a travel influencer. At the time of publication in 2021, Alaska Air Group was looking to embark on an influencer marketing campaign using Baby Boomers. In general, some qualities that are important for a travel influencer to thrive include:

  • Flexible schedule

  • Incredible photography skills

  • Knowledgeable about destinations

  • Knowledgeable about travel prep

  • Offers a unique perspective on travel (budget travel, family travel, solo travel, international vs domestic, etc…)

Instead of just posting envy-inducing photography, a good travel influencer should also provide guides for their trips. Whether it’s a suggested itinerary, packing lists, or budget breakdowns, audiences want more than just a pretty picture to entice them to book a vacation.

Monetization of Your Social Media

Besides collecting a paycheck for traveling, here are some other ways influencers can monetize their social media.

Incorporate Ads

On your website or YouTube channel, you can allow advertisers to plug travel-related ads. You can solicit these ads by contacting brands with your media kit, or you can join networks in which you can apply for ads.

Brand Partnerships

In the beginning,  you may be reaching out to brands for partnerships. But as you develop your relationships with brands, they might start contacting you. This will require negotiating the fee you’d like for the type of content they want you to create, and going back and forth regarding copy, images, and overall aesthetic.

You may partner with brands within the travel industry, such as vacation rental companies, airlines, hotels, or excursions at the destination. Businesses may sponsor your trip, pay you to travel, and offer an incentive to your followers to book with your affiliate links or codes.

Some towns and cities have a tourism board that hires travel influencers to attend events, like the community festivals in Winter Park, Colorado, to promote them. In addition to advertising the event on their social media, the influencers themselves can be a draw for people who’d like to meet them.

Affiliate Links

An affiliate link tracks usage and pays the influencer a percentage based on the purchase of products or services within a specific window of time (before cookies expire). Influencers can use affiliate links for travel-related products, or specific links from travel partners for earning commissions on trips booked.

If you already love to travel, because you have your own pilot’s license, live in an RV, or just got bit by the travel bug long ago, look into ways you can earn supplemental or full-time income as a travel influencer.