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Myth-busting: no one really gets paid to travel the world

There are thousands of bloggers out there who write articles to tell you how to “get paid to travel the world” and honestly this is something that has been bothering me ever since I started blogging. Why? Because I find the whole approach dishonest because this simply isn’t true. If you thought otherwise, I’m sorry to break it to you but one really gets paid to travel the world.

A wise man once said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” and he was right. Sure, a lot of people find ways to get paid while traveling but they earn that money in exchange for their services or expertise. Hence, people don’t get paid to travel the world but rather get paid while traveling the world. These people give some product or service that provides value and that product/service isn’t enjoying on the beach. Enjoying on the beach might be a consequence of the work they did but not the work itself.

Then, how does it work?

direct booking: luxury travel on a budget
You might come across a lot of bloggers, vloggers, or influencers trying to convince you that they can teach you how to get paid to travel the world. Most of the time, they will be trying to convince you to buy their e-book, course, etc. Influencers do get paid but they get paid for the advertising value of the audience they have built. They get paid because they can showcase a brand’s work to thousands of their followers.

But keep in mind that these followers didn’t come overnight. They probably worked their ass off in consistently creating content to attract such a large mass of followers. And when you put in so much hard work, you’ll inevitably develop some other skills, such as social media marketing, copywriting, photo editing, design skills, etc. When you think about it, influencers are kind of like freelance marketers and they get paid for their skills and their audience, not to travel the world. Traveling the world for them is not a job but rather a consequence.

Some people get paid to teach English, others are translators, some are virtual assistants, travel photographers, you name it. All these people create value with their work and don’t simply get paid to travel the world.
Personally, I get paid for freelance writing. I write blog posts, I write articles, I create email campaigns, promotion materials, press releases, ebooks, etc. I get paid to do this remotely and remote jobs or even travel jobs are a real thing but no one is really getting paid for traveling itself.

But what about travel bloggers?

Sure, there are some well-established travel bloggers that have significant earnings from their blogs but not even they get paid to travel the world. Someone paying someone to travel the world is a ridiculous idea, don’t you think? What would the people funding the trip get in return? Traveling itself doesn’t provide any value whatsoever for a company.

But the best travel bloggers are experts in their field and they have a huge following. Hence, they will be getting paid for providing their expert services in creating high-quality content about that brand that will be seen by thousands of people. I hope this makes it clearer. Brands don’t pay you to travel, they pay for the services you provide.

Why does it bother me?

no one gets paid to travel
Because the phrase is incredibly misleading and it makes this lifestyle seem a LOT easier than it actually is.
Imagine you decide to start a blog about cooking and share your knowledge and ideas with the world. You start writing detailed articles, striving to become a cooking expert. You use all the means you can to make more people see your content.

It’s really hard. You’re putting in a lot of work in your blog but you also have to pay the bills. You start earning some money by writing cooking-related articles for other websites, you start gaining more followers, and eventually start becoming more famous.
Restaurants start reaching out. They are all willing to pay you to try their food and write a review. You accept the invitation, visit their restaurant, try their food, take pictures of it, and create a detailed review in which you explain what you liked and disliked.

Taking in consideration all the work you did to get to that level to get paid for this review, and the work you still need to do to keep creating these reviews, would it be fair to say that you’re getting paid to eat in different restaurants? Technically, you don’t get paid for eating in the restaurant. You get paid for sharing that review with your large following base. My point here is…

Keep it real when it comes to your lifestyle

get paid to travel the world

yeah, traveling isn’t always fancy, even when you’re a blogger

I don’t want to mention any names here but a lot of bloggers use the quote “get paid to travel the world” as clickbait. However, once you start reading their articles, you’ll learn that they actually didn’t get paid to travel but they made their money from brand partnerships, sponsored posts, advertisements, affiliate links, freelance writing gigs, etc.

Bermuda Best places to go on a honeymoon

There’s nothing wrong with this. These are normal ways for bloggers (me included) to make money. But in the end, it all comes down to the clicks. Ask yourself, what would you rather click on:
• How to get paid to travel the world?
• How to work your ass off while traveling the world?
Personally, I would choose the latter but I know most people wouldn’t. That’s why you should always keep in mind that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And here’s the proof…

Some information from my last press trip

get paid to travel the world
During my last press trip to Nepal, I cooperated with 5 different hotels and a couple of tourist agencies. This meant my whole accommodation for the trip was covered. I stayed in all of these hotels for free, and my hiking trip to the Himalayas and the jungle safari were also free of cost. I also earned $800 combined for the two weeks I spent there. The flight ticket from Macedonia cost me around $550 and my net earnings from this sponsored trip were roughly $250, while I got to stay at some really nice places for free at the same time.

However, in order to get this, I had to write 12 sponsored posts (for two weeks!) and mention all of these hotels and tourist agencies on all of my social media channels 3 times. So, on average, each one of these brands got two high-quality sponsored posts and exposure on my social media channels (approximately 70,000 followers/readers). Additionally, the posts I wrote will bring them even more exposure without any extra cost. In exchange for this, they provided a free stay/tour + $100-$150 in cash. So, yes- if you’re blogging there are a lot of ways to get free accommodation but have in mind that you will need to give something in return.

Have that in mind next time you come across a dream job that will pay you $10,000 per month to travel and stay at fancy places. It will work in the way I described above, only with bigger numbers and a lot more work.
Basically, you’ll have to satisfy two conditions.
1) You have to work your but off
2) You need to have enough followers for that marketing team to be able to justify the cost of paying you 10,000 per month.

Myth-busting; Stop selling false promises

get paid to travel the world
I suppose this is the part that bothers me the most. Some people use this emotionally appealing phrase in attempts to try to sell you something. I know how much of hard work I had to put in Passport Symphony to get to this point and I don’t want people to start thinking things which aren’t true about travel blogging and the whole lifestyle.
Related: travel expectations vs reality

Finally, if you see courses/e-books/multi-level marketing schemes promising to teach you how to get paid to travel the world, take it with a big dose of skepticism. Instead, take a look around on that website. You’ll easily be able to see exactly what these people actually do that allows them to travel the world. And if you really want to change your lifestyle and be a full-time blogger/influencer, be prepared to put in your heart and soul into it because there’s no easy way out.
What do you think about this? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.

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get paid to travel the world

Layla Turner

Tuesday 22nd of January 2019

YES! Completely agree. I learnt a long time ago that most if not all Travel Bloggers sell a misleading dream. It's an incredible amount of work building a brand and audience as well as curating quality content and keeping the social media channels alive. To find time to do all of those (unpaid) tasks and still live your life, is very challenging. The IG vision is just the outer layer, the story inside is often very different. I try to show the real side of travel, the challenges and tough times in my blog, as well as the fun parts.

Passport Symphony

Saturday 26th of January 2019

Indeed, Layla. Blogging (at least if you want to be successful) takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and a lot of repetitive non-earning tasks in order to keep improving. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it and I'm so glad to hear you liked this post.

Olga Núñez Miret

Tuesday 18th of December 2018

You've reminded me of one of my teachers, talking about the importance of education. He told us that people complained they had to pay to go to the doctor's to get a certificate. "They get paid for a signature." Well, no, they get paid for studying, getting a degree, learning the skills, and having the qualifications and the information that allows them to write that signature and have the authority to do so. That teacher also would say that if it was only a signature, they could ask their next door neighbour to sign it. And yes, this would be akin to the said doctor writing a piece titled "get paid for signing a piece of paper." No, that's not what the job is truly about. Most people get wise to this overtime, but many people who have no experience of it (and we have all been there) will try and follow all the advice... Thanks so much.

Passport Symphony

Friday 21st of December 2018

Thank you, Olga your comment means so much :) I completely agree with you

Gezen Genç

Wednesday 5th of December 2018

Finally someone speaks the facts! I'm tired of seeing those "get paid to travel the world" articles!

Passport Symphony

Thursday 6th of December 2018

Thank you, I really appreciate it.

Renata -

Thursday 29th of November 2018

Actually, getting paid for promoting a product or a service is neither journalism nor blogging, it's good old advertisement. Nothing wrong with that, but in journalism, separating editorial content and advertisement - and even PR - is crucial. We should ask ourselves if we really want to read information that was financed by companies - no matter how big. Where is a line? Do we want to be informed on health subjects by companies like Monsanto? On healthy living by Coca Cola? It might not seem harmful if a tourist board pays a blogger for advertising - but how about the political background in that country? It's a very tricky subject - we should be aware of that.

Passport Symphony

Friday 30th of November 2018

Absolutely, Renata. That's a valid argument and exactly why I wrote this article.


Tuesday 27th of November 2018

Loved your candid sharing and totally agree to keep it real when it comes to sharing about your lifestyle. Yes, one needs to work hard and provide services (or products) that are valued. There is definitely no easy way out. Like the way you have busted some of the myths and are encouraging bloggers to keep minds, eyes and ears open :)

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 27th of November 2018

Thank you, Navita- I really appreciate it and I'm happy to hear you liked this article