Should you start a YouTube channel to earn an income while you are travelling?

Earn an income from Youtube while traveling

You have probably heard about some of the success stories of people earning an income from YouTube while travelling. If you are into video recording or vlogging, this might be your calling. Building a successful YouTube channel is a bit like building a successful business. You need to have the right audience and monetization strategy that will allow you to earn an income for every video that you upload. The perk is that the video will continue to earn you an income in the future.

How can you make money publishing videos on YouTube, while you are travelling?

There are a few different ways you can earn an income. These include the following.

Getting paid from an advertising network, such as Adsense.

The quickest way to earn an income from YouTube is by partnering with an advertising network. Google Adsense is the most credible network (since they also own YouTube) and can share up to 30% of the advertising revenue with the content creators. You can apply for Google Adsense, however it is best that you also have a website setup and a complete profile uploaded on your YouTube channel. If you need a simple website, you can quickly set one up in a day by using the WordPress 1-click function. You can register a domain and web hosting here, which should cost you around $50 or less a year.

Selling a product or a service on the back of the videos on your channel.

This is something that alot of successful YouTubers do well. They build an engaged audience that is happy to purchase products or services from the brand that they have created. You could sell merchandise such as shirts, or hats. Alternatively, you could sell products such as books.

Affiliate income

Affiliate marketing is a good way to start getting paid from your efforts on YouTube, but it is a bit more challenging. Affiliate income refers to getting paid a referral fee every time a person clicks a link from your platform. Referral fees can range from 1-70%.

In order to use this successfully, you will need to get exposure to a large buying audience.

Sponsorships or direct advertisements.

These can be lucrative and if you can secure these types of partnerships over the long-term, you could earn more than enough to sustain your travels over the long-term. The incentives don’t even have to be cash related. They could involve receiving discounts or even free travel, adventures or accommodation.


There are some cases where people will donate funds towards your cause. This could be directly via Paypal or Crowdfunding.

You’ve probably heard about some of the YouTube success stories like Pewdiepie, KSI and Zoella who have all become YouTube millionaires with legions of followers on their platform. The heart of their success comes from their audience and the content that they deliver to their audience.

A great example to follow is Fun For Louis. His YouTube model upload works well for him and he receives sponsorship for his travel adventures, as well as income from YouTube that helps him pay for his travels. You can see his channel video below.

Who should be your target audience?

This is really a question that you need to answer. There are so many variables, such as your personality, your interests and passion. But one thing that is for sure is you know that you are a traveller. So to start with, you can start doing a travel channel and then tailor it to a micro-niche. For example, travelling as a married digital nomad in Bali? The more specific you can be, the better. Perhaps you will focus on street food or landmarks. Or perhaps you will make it a travel surfing channel.

What should you record?

This depends on how your audience responds to the content that you produce. But what you should do is listen to their feedback and adjust your content so that you will continue to give them exactly what it is they want. For example, they might want to watch you react to certain street food during your travels. Or they might want to see you talk while visiting a new beach during your travels.

How often should you upload?

Your audience will want to consume content regularly. There’s been a growing trend with the most successful YouTubers uploading content everyday. If you plan to upload your content once a week, it is unlikely that you will be competitive enough to carve out your market on YouTube.

How can I get my YouTube videos seen by more people?

You will need to have a promotional strategy to maximise the amount of video views on your channel. This might involve promoting your videos on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as getting the video featured on blogs and web forums. Getting your video discovered on YouTube is incredibly important if you want to build an audience quickly. You can also follow this step-by-step guide that details exactly how to rank your video on YouTube and on Google.

Rule of 10,000.

There is a theory that suggests that you can be successful if you have a loyal audience of 10,000 people. For example, if you sell merchandise such as t-shirts on your channel for a price of $10 each, and you have 10,000 sales, you will earn $100,000. This is more than enough to support your solo travels for the year. The larger your engaged audience, the more success you will have with your efforts on YouTube.

Even if you plan to make an income from the advertising income alone, you need to have a large audience that advertisers can display their ads to and then you will get a percentage of that income.

What equipment do you need to get started?

I honestly wish that someone would have just told me exactly what I needed to do to get started a few years ago. But hey, you live and you learn right?

It isn’t worth jumping into this half-heartedly. If you want to succeed, you need to go all in. If you aren’t prepared to do it, then it is best that you just consider taking a holiday. Being a successful digital nomad means that you need to build a lifestyle. And just like building anything in life, you will need to build it from its foundation into something that you will be proud of.

There are a few successful travel bloggers on YouTube, who have learned how to earn an income while travelling.


iPhone 6, 6s or 7 cameras.

If you want to travel light, then you can use the cameras on these phones which record in 720p on the iPhone 6 and in 1080p and 4K on the iPhone 7. You want to capture the perfect image quality and dream about the experience that they are sharing with you.
Apple iPhone 6 Factory Unlocked Cellphone, 128GB, Space Gray

Apple iPhone 6S 128 GB Unlocked + GSM 4G LTE Smartphone w/12 MP Camera – Gold (Certified Refurbished)

Apple iPhone 7 Unlocked Phone 128 GB – US Version (Black)

Something to bear in mind is that the videos consume a lot of storage, so you will need to invest in a storage solution. Here are a couple of solutions that I’d recommend.

  • Purchasing an iPhone with the highest storage capability (256GB).
  • If you end up taking alot of videos, you will go through the storage quickly and you will need to download the videos onto external storage.  

If you need more storage in the future, you can invest in a cloud storage solution with Apple.  

Alternatively, I use a 1TB Seagate drive that I carry around with me as well for extra backup.
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Portable External Hard Drive with 200GB of Cloud Storage USB 3.0 Black (STDR4000100)

Sony G7x

If you want a superior camera that has an excellent image quality, then you need to get the Sony G7x. I like it because it is small, portable, has a decent battery life and captures the professional image quality that I want. I personally think it has a slight edge over the iPhone, but it depends how many cameras you want to take. The autofocus and auto light adjustment is great on this camera. The only thing is if you plan to do alot of recording with this camera, you will need to purchase a second battery. The battery life goes for approximately 2h. Try to have 2 or 3 with you while you are travelling. If you end up going somewhere quite remote, it will be challenging to capture alot of amazing footage and have enough battery life left over.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II (Black)
The other thing is you need to have a few memory cards to capture all of the footage. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing the cheapest memory card, but at the same time I wouldn’t say that you need to invest in the most expensive. You want an option that will capture the footage without delays or any glitches.


I wouldn’t call it an essential, but it is definitely a nice to have. It depends what kind of videos you want to produce. If you are a person that likes doing activities, then a GoPro will probably be the right filming gadget for you. If you like surfing, riding a motorbike, skydiving or even cycling. You can get alot of footage, but the camera angles and lens might not give you the exact shots that you want it to.
GoPro HERO5 Black

This probably isn’t the best camera to get started with if you are tight on funds, but it should be something that becomes a part of your toolkit in the future.

Having a good stand is also important. But you don’t want to carry one that will add too much weight to your luggage or backpack. There are small tripods that you can invest in which should allow you to record vlogs and various types of footage. 


Drones can get you some amazing camera shots that you can use in your footage. It’s something that will allow you to capture amazing footage. But the drawback has been the size of these drones while travelling.

Some of the main ones to consider include the following.

DJi Mavic Pro

I first saw the DJi Mavic Pro being reviewed by Casey Neistat. The thing that sold me on this drone was the video quality, control and it’s portability. It films up to 4K and can go up to a high altitude. Even though the Phantom drone is superior, its size makes it very inconvenient to carry.

DJI Mavic PRO Portable Collapsible Mini Racing Drone with 32GB Sandisk Extreme SD Card + 3.0 Card Reader, Koozam Cleaning Cloth

Phantom 4

Probably the leading drone on the market. The Phantom 4 is the drone for the filming professional. Capture aerial views of the city you are in or 360 degree views of landmarks and its surrounding areas.

The setback with  this technology is the size. It will take up at least half of your luggage. It depends what filming shots you want to have.

DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter Kit Bundle with 4K Camera Gimbal, 3 DJI Batteries and Accessories (11 Items)

Invest in a MacBook.

I was a PC loyal Microsoft Windows guy before. But it’s no lie that once you go Mac, you’ll never go back (for now anyway).

As a digital nomad, your two most important pieces of equipment will be your smartphone and your computer. Your computer will be your remote office and will allow you to thrive as a digital nomad.

MacBooks aren’t cheap. But buying a cheaper alternative will cost you more in the long-term. I will tell you why it is worth investing in a MacBook.

Apple MMGF2LL/A MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop (8GB RAM 128 GB SSD) MMGF2
If you can, invest in a Macbook Pro for video content.
Apple MacBook Pro MLH42LL/A 15.4-inch Laptop with Touch Bar (2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 512GB Retina Display), Space Gray

It is lightweight.

This is important as a traveller. Additional weight is a burden when travelling.The lighter, the better.  

The battery life is long.

Depending on the model that you have, the battery life can last for over 9h.This allows you to be productive for longer no matter where you are. You can literally work on the beach for hours without worrying about going back for a recharge in the nearest cafe or hotel room.

The computer charges quickly.

I can definitely say this about my Macbook Air. Within an hour, my laptop can be fully charged and then I can be on the go again.

It’s syncing ability with other Apple and bluetooth devices is convenient.

This is one of my favourite things about the MacBook. You can connect it to your phone with the firewire and USB cable, but you can also use Airdrop to transfer files via Bluetooth. You can also connect it to Apple TV, if you want to see things on the bigger screen.

The programs that you can use to produce your work are amazing.

Whether you want to publish videos, create images or develop websites, there are several software options that are ‘cutting edge’, allowing you to produce high-quality work.

Editing software.


This comes with the MacBook and allows you to edit videos that have a pretty good quality. You won’t publish studio level short films, but it does the job and it is simple enough to use. It is a great entry-level option considering that it comes with the Macbook.

Final Cut Pro X.

This is the bad boy that you want as a part of your video editing arsenal. Majority of the pros on YouTube and in the film industry use the software to create compelling stories, editorial cuts, transitions and effects that will wow the audience.

Final Cut Pro X

You must build an engaged audience!

Whether you want to build a website, a YouTube channel, a huge Instagram account or whatever it might be, you must remember that your core objective will centre around the growth of your audience.

The income that you will get from your lifestyle will come from business projects or opportunities that you can create. To create them, you must have an audience that is prepared to engage with you and your content in some way.

After you’ve embarked on your travels with your YouTube videos, I want you to share your story in the comments section below. Share your YouTube channel, your story and any income success that you have had. I want you to be a part of the winner’s circle.

Thanks for reading. I’m looking forward to hearing about your success soon.

*Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links. The recommendations are my own. 

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