With travel affiliate programs, you get to make money online by writing about the topic you love.
And there’s certainly a lot of money to be made in the travel niche.
Granted, the travel industry has taken a beating at the hands of coronavirus. But you can bet it’ll bounce back. Our desire to travel hasn’t gone away — it’s just taken a short hiatus.
And because it takes time to build a travel blog or travel website from scratch, it makes sense to get started now so you’re ready to make money when we’re back to normality.
Take the first step by reading our round-up of the 18 best travel affiliate programs you can sign up for right now.
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Simply put, what we don’t know about affiliate marketing isn’t worth knowing.
We’ve been doing affiliate marketing for more than a decade across multiple niches, while helping thousands of affiliates earn money by sharing best practices and case studies.
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To help you get started as a travel blogger, we’ve picked the best affiliate programs in the travel niche by analyzing offers across dozens of travel websites.
We’re constantly monitoring changes in the travel industry, so we’ll update this article when new travel affiliate programs appear.
18 Best Travel Affiliate Programs
Ready to join thousands of other travel bloggers and start earning some serious passive income promoting your favorite travel sites?
Let’s get into it by looking at the top affiliate programs in the travel industry:
- Amazon Associates
- World Nomads
- Take Walks
- Trusted Housesitters
- Safety Wings
Expedia is one of the world’s biggest travel brands, offering access to over 140,000 properties worldwide, plus discounted flights, vacation packages, cruises, and car rentals.
Through its loyalty program, users earn points to spend on future travel experiences, providing an additional incentive to book through Expedia.
The Expedia affiliate program pays different commissions based on the type of successful referral you drive, ranging from 2% on rental cars to 6% on cruise bookings.
And while the seven-day cookie window is one of the worst among all the affiliate programs on this list, the seven-day EPC of more than $83 shows there’s plenty of affiliate income to be made here.
Commission: 2% – 6%
Cookie duration: 7 days
Booking.com is an online platform covering travel services like hotel bookings, airline tickets, and car rentals.
It’s one of the most popular travel comparison sites on the planet, with almost 30 million bookable rooms in more than 2.5 million properties.
The strength of Booking.com’s partner relationships means users never have to pay booking fees, which often helps it undercut the competition.
Given the strength of its brand and the scale of its offering, it’s no surprise that Booking.com runs one of the most popular travel affiliate programs, with more than 12,500 travel affiliates signed up.
Whether travel bloggers, influencers, or anyone else, they earn 4% on all bookings. The seven-day EPC of $160+ makes this one of the highest paying affiliate programs in the travel niche.
Affiliates can also access an offers search box, banner integration options, and deep linking.
However, it’s not all good news, because the cookie window is session-based — so you only earn money if someone clicks your referral link and converts right there.
So make absolutely sure to only send warm, pre-qualified traffic to Booking.com.
Cookie duration: Session-based
Agoda is one of the world’s largest online travel accommodation platforms, with a network of more than two million vacation rentals and hotel booking.
Rather than specializing in a single area of the travel niche, it offers deals on business, leisure, solo, and family travelers, from the biggest resorts to the smallest hidden gems. That means more audiences for travel bloggers to target.
And travel bloggers are very much the focus of Agoda’s travel affiliate program, because it’s only open to people who have their own website. In other words: no social influencers.
If you qualify, you can earn up to 7% commissions for each successful referral, which is more than the other big booking portals are offering.
You can also access hotel power ads, text links, and other tools to increase your affiliate marketing commissions.
Commission: Up to 7%
Cookie duration: 30 days
You probably know Tripadvisor as an online platform for reviews. That’s its main purpose, and it does it better than anyone, with the site boasting approximately 884 million reviews at the end of 2020.
However, it’s also a portal that lets you book hotels and activities.
Accommodation is the sole focus of the Tripadvisor affiliate program. Affiliate marketers earn a 50% split of the money Tripadvisor earns from hotels, whereas it pays no commission on flights, restaurants, vacation rentals, or tourist attractions.
That 50% commission is already pretty generous, but it rises as high as 80% during incentive campaigns.
Another interesting vagary of this affiliate program is that no booking is required for you to earn a commission. Instead, you earn money every time a user sent from your site clicks out from Tripadvisor to any of its booking partners.
With conversion rates of 30%+, the Tripadvisor program can be one of the highest paying affiliate programs in the travel niche (provided you can drive enough traffic).
Cookie duration: Two weeks
Travel isn’t just about booking flights and hotels. There are countless other things you need to buy ahead of a big trip, from luggage and travel adaptors to clothes and sunglasses.
And where do you buy all that stuff from in a hurry? Amazon.
As affiliate marketers in any niche will tell you, the terms of the Amazon Associates program aren’t exactly the most generous.
Commissions vary from one category to another — for instance, you can earn 4% on clothing sales, but just 3% on sports gear, and a measly 1% on health and personal care products.
What’s more, the cookie window runs to a mere 24 hours, so if your referrals aren’t highly qualified, you won’t earn a penny through the Amazon Associates affiliate program.
On the flip side, Amazon has a huge brand and is widely trusted, so it’s not a tough sell to persuade people to buy.
Plus you get a cut of any sales made by your referrals during the 24-hour window, so you might pick up some unexpected bonus commission.
Commission: 4% on Apparel
Cookie duration: 24 hours
As its name suggests, Hotels.com is a major provider of hotel accommodation, with a portfolio spanning more than one million properties in 200 countries.
Whether you’re looking for a glitzy resort or a tiny bed-and-breakfast, chances are you’ll find it here.
Hotels.com runs 85 localized websites that are available in more than 35 languages, so unlike some referral programs, you can tap into a truly global audience.
However, be aware that it runs multiple affiliate programs through the Commission Junction affiliate network, with each focusing on travelers in a specific market.
If you only sign up to the US & Canada affiliate program, you’ll only earn commission on bookings from customers in those locations.
To make life easier, Hotels.com allows affiliate marketers to promote exclusive voucher codes with competitive discounts.
Cookie duration: 7 days
G Adventures positions itself as the leader in small group adventure travel.
Rather than booking fly-and-flop trips to all-inclusive resorts, its customers want to live like a local in the Amazon, tour North Asia by rail, or go mountain trekking in Nepal.
So it’s in a relatively niche market — albeit one that’s still projected to be worth $1.6 trillion by 2026. That makes this one of the best affiliate programs for adventure travel blogs.
Another upside of the adventure travel niche is the premium prices. These are often once-in-a-lifetime trips, so people aren’t necessarily looking for the cheapest option.
So while the 6% commission rate doesn’t sound spectacular, it gets a lot more attractive when you learn G Adventures’ average order value is $2,600.
Commission: 6% per sale
Cookie duration: 60 days
Whereas the other travel sites on this list are all brands running individual affiliate programs, Travelpayouts is a pay-per-action affiliate network offering multiple referral programs that focus on everything from flights and hotel bookings to car rental services and insurance.
In total, Travelpayouts offers access to more than 90 travel affiliate programs from brands like Vrbo, Tripadvisor, and Hilton Honors, some of which are exclusive to the affiliate network.
Since 2011, it’s paid out over $28 million in commissions to approximately 300,000 affiliates.
The Travelpayouts affiliate network shares up to 70% of its earnings with referral partners.
In practice, that means affiliate marketers can earn 1.1% – 1.15% of the total booking value on flights, and 4% – 5% on hotels.
All of which makes this one a bit of a no-brainer.
Cookie duration: Varies
Talking of affiliate networks, let’s take a look at Kayak.
Because Kayak owns a bunch of brands — including HotelsCombined, Momondo, and, umm, Kayak — it effectively runs its own travel affiliate network.
Combined, those brands generate more than six billion travel searches every year, work with over two million properties, and pay out in excess of $76 million in annual affiliate earnings.
Getting access to multiple travel affiliate programs through a single signup sounds like a pretty good deal to us. And it gets even better when you see Kayak’s commission rate of 50%.
The only real downside here is the payment threshold — you won’t see any of your commissions until your earnings reach $500.
Cookie duration: 30 days
For many of us, travel is all about the experience. And Viator is basically a one-stop-shop for those experiences, with more than 395,000 attractions and things to do in 2,500 destinations.
Viator goes out of its way to smooth the path to conversion. It supports over 35 languages, has a catalog of more than one million reviews to help customers make the right booking, and offers cancellations up to 24 hours in advance on 85% of its affiliate products.
That makes it a lot easier for affiliate marketers to monetize the traffic they refer.
Travel bloggers and other content partners earn an 8% commission on each booking, while the 30-day cookie is more generous than a lot of the referral programs on this list.
Cookie duration: 30 days
World Nomads is the first travel insurance provider on this list.
As its name suggests, World Nomads focuses on what it calls the “intrepid” travel market, with its various travel insurance policies offering coverage for more than 200 activities, as well as protecting against things like trip cancellation and medical emergencies.
It comes recommended by a host of big-name travel brands, such as Lonely Planet, which is a major trust factor.
Another strong selling point is the company’s ethical credentials. More than 70% of its customers make a micro-donation when purchasing a travel insurance policy.
Over the years, World Nomads has used this approach to raise more than $3 million, which has helped support over 100 projects across the world.
As if that wasn’t enough reason for affiliate marketers to promote World Nomads, the brand’s affiliate program offers solid commissions of 10% per qualified sale with a generous 60-day cookie window.
Cookie duration: 60 days
A little local knowledge can often make a big difference to your holiday experience.
That’s where GetYourGuide — a Berlin-based online travel agency and marketplace for tour guides and excursions — comes in. The site boasts a catalog of more than 34,000 tours and activities across the world, including big hitters like the Sistine Chapel and the Louvre Museum.
Affiliate marketers earn 8% commissions through the GetYourGuide travel affiliate program, with an opportunity for higher rates on a per partner basis.
To help drive affiliate sales, the brand runs regular promotions, offers a lower price guarantee, and allows last-minute bookings.
Sign up for the Awin affiliate network.
Cookie duration: 30 days
Amazon might be the go-to destination for general last-minute travel purchases, but REI is the place to go for specialist outdoor gear.
It’s been a fixture of the outdoor industry for more than eight decades and operates 165 retail stores across the US, which means its brand is super strong.
If you need a new backpack, a pair of hiking boots, or a trekking pole, REI has exactly what you want.
So this isn’t a conventional travel affiliate program, but there are still lots of monetization opportunities for travel blogs.
While a 5% commission doesn’t sound like much, the site’s average order value of more than $120 makes it a whole lot better.
What’s more, it offers free pickups from REI stores and free shipping on orders of $50+, offering plenty of incentive for readers to click your text links.
Commission: 5% per sale
Cookie duration: 15 days
Take Walks is a tour booking service that works with up to 600 guides in 13 of the world’s most vibrant cities — from Paris and Rome to New Orleans and New York. Its guided tours have been booked by more than one million travelers.
Prices aren’t especially cheap — for instance, its Paris tours range from $44 – $252. But they exclusively cater to small groups and often include special access to major attractions, sometimes with skip-the-line access.
If anything, those premium prices make this affiliate program look more attractive. Which travel blogger wouldn’t want to earn a 15% commission on a $250 booking?
Commission: 15% per sale
Cookie duration: TBD
As you can probably guess, InsureMyTrip is another travel insurance site.
Unlike World Nomads, InsureMyTrip is a comparison site that works with multiple travel insurance providers, including AIG, AXA, and IMG.
To help international travelers make the right choice on their travel insurance purchase, it offers more than 100,000 ratings and reviews from previous customers.
The InsureMyTrips affiliate program offers a choice of affiliate models — referral-based and commission-based.
Terms appear to be decided on a per-case basis, so you’ll need to sign up via a simple online form and check with their affiliate manager to see how much you can earn.
Cookie duration: Undisclosed
No one likes to leave their furry friend behind when they go on holiday.
Fortunately, TrustHousesitters offers a solution — choose a sitter to move into your house and look after your pets while you’re away.
The site has property owners in 130 countries, from London townhouses to Hawaiian beachfront homes.
Users pay a membership fee, starting at $129 a year, that enables them to either:
- Bid for the right to become live-in pet sitters and stay in the owner’s house for free
- Access unlimited pet and home care from verified sitters
Either way, that’s a great deal!
As such, TrustedHousesitters effectively runs two separate travel affiliate programs. Just like how Airbnb used to run a host affiliate program and a guest affiliate program, affiliate marketers can earn a 20% commission for referring new sitters to TrustedHousesitters, or up to $100 for referring property owners.
Commission: 20% for sitters; $100 for property owners
Cookie duration: 30 – 90 days
Hostelworld is another of the big travel booking platforms. But whereas the likes of Booking.com and Expedia are generalists, Hostelworld focuses specifically on the hostel experience, offering more than 36,000 hostels in 179 countries.
To help travelers make the right choice, its listings are backed up by over 13 million verified guest reviews.
Hostelworld runs one of the most popular affiliate programs in this profitable niche, with members including Culture Trip, Lonely Planet, and Tripadvisor, plus high-profile travel bloggers like The Broke Backpacker.
That’s always a sign that a referral program is worth joining.
Commissions are earned on a CPA basis, calculated as up to 40% of the deposit earned by Hostelworld for each booking.
Commission: Up to 40% of the deposit
Cookie duration: 30 days
SafetyWing sells travel insurance catered to two specific audiences:
- Digital nomads
- Remote teams and entrepreneurs
Those are two markets that aren’t served by a lot of mainstream insurance providers, so there’s plenty of incentive for a qualified reader to click an affiliate link and buy a policy.
Whichever policy you promote, the SafetyWing affiliate program offers a 10% commission rate and an extremely generous 365-day cookie window — the longest of all the referral programs on this list.
As another sweetener, SafetyWing pays out once a month through PayPal when you reach a minimum earning threshold of just $10.
Commission: 10% per sale
Cookie duration: 365 days
As you can see, there’s no shortage of quality travel affiliate programs with high potential to generate income.
And that’s without even mentioning three huge travel sites — Airbnb, Hotels Combined, and Skyscanner — that had paused their affiliate programs at the time of writing.
But don’t think you can simply launch a travel blog and immediately start earning passive income.
For starters, you’ll need to build your travel website, carry out keyword research, and write high-quality content to compete with all the travel bloggers that are already doing it.
And that’s before you’ve even thought about the right affiliate programs for your target audience.
It’s hard work. But it’s not impossible. Lots of travel affiliate marketers have made it work, and so can you. Especially with us in your corner!
Learn the five simple steps needed to build a high-earning travel blog in 2021 by signing up for our free webinar.