No ‘researched’ guides
Unlike some other sites, I don’t post destination guides based merely on researched information. I write about places I have actually been (I know, crazy!). When I work with external contributors, I select them based on their expert and first-hand knowledge.
No press trips
Press trips are free trips that are typically funded by tourism boards, hotel chains, or tour operators. While I think they do have their place, I’ve chosen not to accept such trips as their pre-determined itineraries and PR involvement go against the Indie Traveller ethos of traveling independently. On rare occasions, I do accept smaller forms of sponsorship that still let me travel the normal way – if so, it’ll be clearly stated within the article.
I worry a lot about climate change — and it pains me that air travel is still totally unsustainable. You just can’t fly without leaving an enormous carbon footprint. I hope there will be a technological solution one day (or we may have to give up flying altogether), but in the meantime here’s what I try to do to compensate:
- I try to avoid flying when I can
- I offset the CO2 emissions of my flights (through Atmosfair).
- I support Cool Earth, an NGO that’s saving rainforests by helping villages develop sustainable income.
- My business uses a green bank (Triodos) and I invest surplus revenues from Indie Traveller into clean energy stocks in the hopes of helping to accelerate change.
How does Indie Traveller make money?
As an independent blogger I believe it’s important to be transparent about any revenue-generating elements on my site. While all content on Indie Traveller is free, the site makes money in a couple of ways.
I derive income mainly in two ways: sales of my book, and affiliate commissions. These sources currently account for around 75% of the income generated.
The remaining revenue comes from banner advertisements. I believe banner ads should be fast-loading and respectful of the user (so no pop-ups, auto-playing videos, etc.) which is why I work with a single advertising network that has high standards for ad quality and loading speed. If you see a bad ad, you can report it using the link below the ad.
I don’t sell hidden links and don’t do sponsored posts or other types of “native advertising”. That stuff is dumb and deceptive and I’m massively against it. If anything is ever paid-for, you will know.
What are affiliate links?
Affiliate links let me earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase at a 3rd party website. For example, when I link to the Hostelworld booking site, this is usually an affiliate link. If you follow such a link and then make a booking, Hostelworld gives me a small kick-back (usually a few dollars). This comes at no extra cost to you.
I only link to product or services that I have used myself and/or am totally comfortable recommending. Currently, I use the following affiliate programs: Hostelworld, Amazon, Booking.com, Agoda, World Nomads travel insurance, Columbus travel insurance, Tortuga backpacks, Bluehost, GetYourGuide, Momondo, and Skyscanner.
I like affiliate links as a revenue source as they’re relevant, can help people out directly, and I’m totally in control of these links (no one is telling me what to write or where to link to). Since the affiliate systems are automatic I pretty much never have any contact with anyone at these companies, and I can recommend (or un-recommend) any product or service at any time.
Amazon legally requires me to put a particular disclosure phrase on my blog, so here goes: “I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.” Just so you know.