Many people find the vacation and travel niche oversaturated, but the way I see it, there’s more opportunity now because more vendors are taking their products/services online. This enables affiliates to target different market segments on a wider scale.
In today’s diverse compilation, we’ll be discovering some of the best affiliate programs for travel blogs to multiply your commissions. Let the fun begins!
*Most of these programs are advertisers with the CJ Affiliate network unless stated otherwise.
(1) Vacation Rentals by Owner
Shortly known as VRBO, this booking site has been connecting homeowners and travelers since 1995. One can find all sorts of unique property listings ranging from beach houses, holiday resorts, cabins and modern condos in 190 countries worldwide.
It works very much like AirBnb, allowing travelers to customize their stay according to a specific location, time and budget. Each listing is supported with customer reviews and photos so customers will know what to expect before booking.
VRBO is one of the highest performing advertisers on CJ Affiliate and it lets you earn by referring new owners to list their vacation homes and/or guests who completed successful bookings through the site. Each pays $20 per lead and 2% – 3% commission per sale respectively.
For the vacation rental niche, VRBO makes a good alternative in comparison to AirBnb because the latter only allows referrals to promote to friends through emails and social media – not through a blog. If you want to make money with AirBnb’s affiliate program, you need at least 1 million monthly visitors to be qualified.
That figure is kind of steep so it’s not really a beginner-friendly company to start with.
(2) Boat Bookings
For those who have a passion for water vacation, this one may be up your alley. Boat Bookings is a chartered company that connects travelers to yachting experts in finding the right bareboat, crewed yacht, catamarans, and gulet for vacation, adventures and corporate events.
Offering top-rated yatches from the Carribean to New Zealand, the site is packed with boat information, guided itinerary and travel activities to keep you occupied. Even if you’re new to booking boats, the team can assist online in customizing the vacation according to your needs.
The Boat Bookings affiliate program pays you based on the commission received by the broker, whenever the net charter value hits $3K and above. Your base rate starts at 20% and will increase as you refer more clients to the site.
And if the clients become repeated customers, you’ll also be rewarded with an additional 10% of their commission. To sign up, you need to fill out the online form on the site.
(3) Cruise Direct
As the name suggests, Cruise Direct is a dedicated network for cruise-related travels that offer special rates and savings. The booking site partners with some big names like the Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess Cruises.
As cruise holidays tend to be fairly pricey, this type of offer may not be suitable for every travel blog. However, if you’re a frequent cruise traveler (lucky you), then the Cruise Direct affiliate program should be up your alley seeing that there are so many deals and destinations to take advantage of.
The cookie duration for the program lasts 45 days and pays 3% from each booking. So if an average order is $2,200, you make about $66 per sale.
(4) Briggs and Riley
Everyone needs a proper bag while traveling – it just makes life a lot easier. At Briggs and Riley, there are all kinds of bag sizes to meet your travel needs AND style. Backed with many positive reviews, their trunks, smart backpacks, cabin duffles, and working bags are all guaranteed to last. If you’re looking to promote good quality travelware on your blog, this is a company worth checking out.
The Briggs and Riley affiliate program offers 9% per sale and comes with a tracking period of 30 days. It’s better than becoming an Amazon Associate where the cookie duration only lasts 24 hours and pays only 4% for the luggage department.
(5) World Nomads
World Nomads is a reputable company that specializes in customizing travel insurance for the last 20 years. It provides for independant travelers in 140 countries, making it a pretty universal product to include in a travel blog.
There are two types of plans – Standard, and Explorer – which cover a variety of situations such as emergency medical expenses overseas, personal accidents, natural catastrophes and etc. Customers can get quotations based on their traveling needs and make payments easily online.
The program pays 10% per referral based on the policy premium and requires a minimum threshold of $250 AUD for withdrawal. You can find the private application on the main website itself.
Booking is basically a search aggregator that offers a variety of travel deals worldwide. It partners with property listings, airlines, and car companies to offer valuable stays, flights, car rentals, and airport taxi bookings for holidaymakers.
The site is very intuitive to use and filled with lots of useful information to help one with travel planning. As a Booking affiliate, you get to earn 4% from every successful hotel booking (upon checkout) and $25 per lead for every property referred.
This is way more lucrative than making money with Skyscanner, another travel search site that also offers similar services but doesn’t pay as much. Some established bloggers have reported to make up to $7K per year with just this program alone.
(7) Get Your Guide
No vacation is complete without some fun activities and that’s where Get Your Guide comes in handy. From Barcelona to Bali, the site offers all sorts of local packages worldwide such as day tours, entrance tickets, food tours, shuttle services, and even short cruises.
The convenience allows travelers to skip the physical line and purchase e-tickets, oftentimes, at discounted rates. For those who’re looking to plan ahead of time and budget, this form of immediate confirmation booking is a great feature for travelers to use.
Get Your Guide’s affiliate program is private and you can sign up via an online form available through the main website. The base commission starts at 8% for every successful booking with the potential of increment with more referrals.
(8) City Pass
City Pass is a highly rated gateway for popular attractions in Northern America. Travelers get to save between 30% to 40% when they combined ticket purchases and it’s great for local as well as international tourists. The cities that are being offered so far are;
- New York
- San Francisco
- Southern California
- Tampa Bay
This is a great site to partner with if you’re a local in any of the cities because there’s no shortage of places to write about. For those who are into the Harry Potter niche or interested to make money with Disney stuff, this site should definitely be on your blog.
The City Pass affiliate program pays 6% commission per sale with a cookie tracking of 90 days.
(9) Lonely Planet
The Lonely Planet resources have been around for a very long time – way before the internet-of-things – and it’s still one of the best travel guides out there. Today, the books are much easier to carry and even come in digital format which appeals to tech-savvy customers.
All the things that travelers love are still there – fully colored images, travel highlights, honest reviews, and even pull-out maps – can be found inside the ever-expanding selection of guidebooks featuring beautiful destinations around the world. The Lonely Planet affiliate program pays 15% commission on print and digital book sales and comes with a cookie period of 30 days.
(10) Superstar Blogging
When I checked my favorite keyword tool, the phrase “how to start a travel blog” has close to 300 searches per month. The number goes to show the volume of interest people have in starting a travel blog and making money with it.
Wouldn’t it be great if there’s a dedicated course to teach aspiring bloggers the building blocks of creating a successful online travel business? Well actually, there is one and it’s called Superstar Blogging.
Created by blogging expert Nomadic Matt, these comprehensive video courses have two sections – The A to Z guide to travel writing (17 lessons for $99) and The business of blogging course (73 lessons for $149) – all of which you can learn at your own pace.
Many topics are covered in these courses such as website hosting, SEO, affiliate marketing training, creating your own digital products and partnering with brands. So there’s a lot of serious learning going on here. As an affiliate of the program, you can earn a whopping commission of 40% per sale – the only downside is that it doesn’t come with free trials for students and there’s a 60-days waiting period for the payout.
If you’re interested in affiliating with a blogging program that lets people try for free, check out this comprehensive training + hosting platform here.
(11) Travel Credit Card Affiliate Programs
This is basically an umbrella term that encompasses any credit cards that rewards in travel points. That means, every time the customers spend on purchases, they can accumulate points to be redeemed in the form of air flight tickets, hotel bookings, airport lounges, vacation packages and etc.
It’s a great way to help your readers ‘finance their travel’ as this is a huge component during the research phase among buyers. Some top travel credit cards to look out for in the US market are;
- Capital One Venture
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Hilton Honors AMEX
- Bank of America Premium Rewards
- United Explorer Card
- IHG Rewards Club Traveler
- Delta Skymiles Gold AMEX
- Wells Fargo AMEX
To attract new customers, highlighting the sign-up benefits is important. These include bonus points rewards (usually translates to hundreds of dollars in travel value) for a minimum purchase, on-going spending rewards and discounted travel purchases.
Affiliating with these credit card companies can be done by joining specific networks such as FlexOffers, Bankrate and Credit.com. However, most have strict requirements in terms of the number of web visitors and the location of the affiliates before you’re deemed qualified. Obviously, these programs are worth considering when your travel blog is more established in terms of content and traffic.
The Abundance of Travel Opportunities
From luggage, tickets, and education, I’ve got you covered with some of the best affiliate programs for travel blogs here. This is not a conclusive list but it is sufficient to show the diversity of travel opportunities online.
Any of these programs should be able to give you a good headstart in this fun and lucrative niche. Always remember to find something that is relevant to the travelers’ needs and beneficial for their savings. That way, your blog will always attract a growing audience.
I hope you’ve discovered some new monetizing ideas and if you like to include any that’s not in the list, just mention them in the comment area below. Meanwhile, find out how to make your online business more successful using this robust training platform.
Happy travel blogging!