Digital Nomad Desires: Travel Blogging For Free Stuff

Oh hello! Welcome to part six of our Digital Nomad Desires series. The series where we put travel guides, reviews, tips and stories aside to fill you in on our journey to become fully independent digital nomads! The last post, where we revealed how we made our first $150, was a positive one. We’re pleased to say that this post is too, as we’re starting to get some other rewards for our hard work on the blog!

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In this 6th part of our Digital Nomad Desires series, we discuss how as travel bloggers, we're lucky enough to get rewarded with awesome free stuff.

We’ll tell you what and how, but for those of you who have just joined us, let’s do a quick catch up.

Digital Nomad Desires Catch Up Links

The previous 5 posts in our Digital Nomad Desires series discussed why we want to start earning money online while we travel, ways in which we could potentially make money with our travel blog and sharing other online business ideas we considered such as Dropshipping and Amazon FBA Private Label. The last post was about making our first $150 online!

Travel Blogging For Free Stuff

Digital Nomad Desires - Travel Blogging for Free Stuff

Blogging from our Kuala Lumpur hotel terrace over looking Chinatown.

For those of you who don’t understand how travel bloggers, or any other genre of bloggers, earn an income from their blogs, we recommend you read this post where we explain some of the ways in which bloggers can earn money. With enough readers and social media followers, it’s possible to earn a decent income this way. Some bloggers do it on the side, to make a bit of extra cash, while others are living the dream by earning 6 figure salaries, or more!

But it’s not all about the cash. As travel bloggers, it’s possible to get rewarded with free stuff as we explore the world.

What Free Stuff?

Free stuff for travel bloggers could be:

  • stays at hotels/guesthouses
  • tours
  • entrance fees
  • meals
  • travel gear
  • and lots more

Again, you need a certain amount of readers and social media followers in order for companies to offer you these kinds of rewards, but not as many as you need to make a serious income.

How We Went About Getting Free Stuff

Digital Nomad Desires - Travel Blogging for Free Stuff

On one of our free Philippine island hopping tours

Before going to the Philippines, we hadn’t tried to receive any free stuff. This wasn’t at all a reason for launching the blog, and we were too busy working hard to grow our reader numbers and social media followers. But after months of continuous hard work, we thought we deserved something. We’d be happy with anything! Why not give it a go.

Once we had booked our flights to Manila, we both decided that we may as well get in touch with some Filipino companies. To let them know we’re coming to the Philippines and we would love to work with them. We were 100% honest about our monthly website users/social media followers and clear on what we could do for them. After waiting for a few days, we were surprised to see some offers come in!

These offers were a real motivator for us and the kind replies were so complimentary about our blog. Since then, when we have enough time, we’ve been emailing a few companies with proposals. Our success rate seems to be around 50%, which isn’t bad.

Our List Of Free Stuff So Far

Digital Nomad Desires - Travel Blogging for Free Stuff

Our discounted room in Coron, Philippines

Since leaving Chiang Mai, Thailand, on January 18th, we have received the following.

Philippines
50% off accommodation for 3 nights in Coron – Value = £75
2 days worth of island hopping tours in Coron – Value = £80
50% off 2 day/1 night island hopping tour in El Nido – Value = £55
Free tour of Peurto Princesa Underground River – Value = £65
Free private tour of Bohol Island – Value = £50
Free paddle boarding tour – Value = £25

Malaysia
2 nights accommodation in Georgetown, Penang – Value = £80
3 nights accommodation in Ipoh – Value = £200
2 nights accommodation in Ipoh – Value = £80

TOTAL VALUE = £710

When travelling the world as travel bloggers, getting free stuff like the above is as good as getting paid cash. As you can see, it’s saved us a lot of money, and often, the accommodations offering free nights are more luxury than what we could usually afford. So it’s fantastic to travel in style now and then to give us a break from budget accommodation.

We Do Have To Work For It

Digital Nomad Desires - Travel Blogging for Free Stuff

On another free island hopping tour in the Philippines

Don’t get us wrong, we’re extremely grateful to these companies for offering us these complimentary rewards, but we do have to work for it. In exchange for a free night or tour, we need to write an article which includes a mention/recommendation and website links. These articles can be full reviews or wider content about their location where we slip them a mention in the content.

We have to take lots of photos, spend time with managers/owners, take notes of details and be more professional than we would if travelling without these sponsorships. Clients want us to mention them to our social media followers which could be in the form of photo sharing, facebook live videos, tweets and Instagram stories. It all takes time and effort when sometimes you’d rather relax by the pool or go exploring.

Then there’s the insane amount of hard work we’ve put into the blog to get to this stage. Time has flown by but we’ve been working super hard since we left London in August. When on the road, of course, we get to do awesome things too, but when we based ourselves in Chiang Mai for 4 months, we were pretty much working full-time hours and not getting paid a penny! We’re so pleased that things are starting to change.

Moving Forward With The Blog

Digital Nomad Desires - Travel Blogging for Free Stuff

Bathtub blogging in our free hotel room in Ipoh, Malaysia

It’s news like this that keeps us going with the blog. We enjoy what we do but at times it can be difficult when we get nothing back from it. The blog is moving in the right direction. Reader numbers are slowly growing, social media followers are gradually going up and more email enquiries are coming in.

We’re way off the amount of readers we need to earn a decent income from Finding Beyond, and at this stage, we’re unsure whether full-time blogging is something that we want to do. As we’ve mentioned before, we’re always keeping our options open. Ideas come and go but there isn’t enough time to work on anything else for now. We’re happy travelling while blogging about our adventures.

The next time we stop in another exciting location like we did for a few months in Chiang Mai, we’ll then make some big decisions and changes. All the while, we’ll be keeping you up to date on here 🙂

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In this 6th part of our Digital Nomad Desires series, we discuss how as travel bloggers, we're lucky enough to get rewarded with awesome free stuff.

10 thoughts on "Digital Nomad Desires: Travel Blogging For Free Stuff"

  • Joanne says:

    Thank you for sharing how your began to do all these in such details and congratulations!

  • Amy says:

    This is great news guys, well done for landing those promotional tours and stays. The Ipoh £200 hotel looked amazing! Although we occasionally contact companies for discounts in expensive countries like New Zealand, we always feel a bit awkward about it. However, I know that’s just us being ultra-British and we need to give it a go. You story has inspired us to see what we can do in Sri Lanka 🙂

    • FindingBeyond says:

      We know exactly what you mean about feeling awkward Amy. It does take some getting used to. Especially the stays where you have to meet the managers/owners and you get treated extra special etc. We’ve stayed in some wonderful places due to our hard work on the blog. We know you guys deserve it too so good luck!

  • Chloe says:

    Fascinating read, well done guys! The bathtub looks amazing – I’d blog there too 😀

    Brits and awkwardness go hand in hand, just think you are an American and go for it! We recently stayed in a hotel in London, and as I aim to get this kind of free stuff one day, I decided to do a test run. They must have been wondering what we were doing running around with Amy’s massive DSLR camera!

    Good luck building the blog up. I look forward to the day I reach your level, let alone being larger!

    • FindingBeyond says:

      Thanks for the comment Chloe. We noticed your London hotel post. It looks great and doing a test run was a good idea! We did a couple of test runs too in Thailand last year. Good with yours as well! 🙂

  • Laura says:

    Thank you so much for your in-depth explanations of your experiences. It really gives you an understanding of what it takes to get to where you actually start reaping the benefits of your hard work. I’m just starting a travel blog and so I’m trying to learn and do everything at once. Before reading your post the rewards seemed far off, but now I see that it’s about the little things that add up. What begins as just a plane ticket ends up being a full experience with lots of things to do.

    Is there ever a time where you regretted getting something free from a company?

    • Hi Laura. Thanks for the message. It’s great to hear you’re starting a new travel blog. Is that Jet Pack Suitcase? It can be daunting and there’s so much to learn but you’ll get there and hopefully start reaping those benefits soon 🙂 Make sure to join some Travel Blogging Facebook groups and they can be a great source of information and support.

      Nope, we haven’t regretted getting anything for free. We’ve loved all the hotels we’ve stayed at and tours we’ve taken. It’s not technically free though since we have to work for them in exchange 🙂 It’s all worth it. Let us know if you ever have any questions about blogging.

  • Thanks for sharing that! People often think that blogger are so lucky because they get everything for free just like that. But you have to do something in return, too. Plus all the background work on the blog itself, like getting traffic, social media etc. These insights help a lot! Looking forward to reading more of your adventures 🙂


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