18 Best Travel Affiliate Programs in 2021 Reviewed

best travel affiliate programs cover image

Travel is one of the most lucrative affiliate niches out there. If you help to sell a vacation package, a flight, or even just a hotel room, you can be part of a large transaction. Even a single-digit commission rate can be worth hundreds of dollars per sale.

The travel niche is as competitive as it is profitable. If you want to navigate this affiliate marketing niche, you need to know what practices and networks offer the best starting point.

In this guide, you’ll get an introduction to the niche. You’ll learn about some of the best affiliate networks and programs for a range of sub-niches, including general travel, airlines, hotels, and tours. You’ll also see some of the best programs for insurance and travel accessories.

Let’s start by breaking down the travel niche and how affiliates claim the awesome commissions that are possible.

Affiliate Marketing And The Travel Niche

The travel niche is a lot bigger than it might appear at first sight. It doesn’t only deal with travel itself (though we will cover some networks and programs that deal with that specifically), but also accommodations, activities, and accessories.

Affiliate Marketing for travel niche

The affiliate marketers that populate this niche include everyone from travel bloggers to extreme sports enthusiasts who write about their favorite destinations.

One of the great things about the travel niche is that you can layer many different offers into the same site or content.

For example, if someone wants to travel somewhere, they’ll need somewhere to stay when they get there. They’ll also want some things to do. If you’re clever, you can help them do all of these things from your site with a gentle sprinkling of affiliate links.

No matter what you choose to base your site around, you need to know where to start. Let’s look at how to find the best products for travel-based affiliate marketing.

 How To Find The Best Travel Affiliate Products

Find The Best Travel Affiliate Products

If you want to find the best products, start with the best merchants and networks. The resources offered by high-quality travel affiliate programs can help you get on your feet faster. You should ask yourself:

  • How many ways does the network/merchant offer to help you reach support staff?
  • What types of merchants are attracted to the network?
  • What are the payment and cookie policies?

Good support can take a significant amount of work out of your hands, including:

  • The development of images and banners
  • The development of consumer research
  • The cost of developing tracking tools to manage sales

Beyond that, succeeding in any niche requires a certain degree of knowledge and enthusiasm. Many travel bloggers succeed because their excitement is infectious. People want more than the sights—they want the joy and wonder the travel blogs are communicating.

Selling takes more than just communicating, though. That’s why you need to understand the buyer cycle if you want to work with travel affiliate programs.

Understanding The Customer Buying Cycle

Understanding the customer buying cycle is an important part of surviving and thriving in the travel niche. Travel is expensive, so buyers are warier of paying for bad deals or working with untrustworthy partners.

The customer buying cycle funnel

Part of how you overcome that hesitation is by making sure that you’re meeting the needs of your visitors at every stage.

We prefer the AIDA model. We covered this in detail in this helpful video.

It breaks down like this:
  • Attention: First, the targeted visitor learns about the possibility of the product. This is done through advertisement.
  • Interest: The visitor is presented with detailed information that clarifies what the product offers and what problems it solves. This can be done through general content.
  • Desire: The visitor learns the ways that the product can speak to their specific problems or needs. This can be done through content that is targeted at a specific segment.
  • Action: The visitor is compelled to purchase the product. This is done by making buying affiliate links attractive and accessible.

This model is decades old, but it translates well to online affiliate marketing. Using AIDA, you can target different keywords with different search intent to create a marketing funnel.

For example, commercial intent keywords (e.g. “best X for Y”, product comparisons, product reviews) usually target people in the desire/action stage. These terms might have less traffic, but they will convert more often. For that reason, you can expect them to be more competitive

On the other hand, “early research” type keywords (for the attention/interest stages) often have high traffic, but less buyer intent.

You can use content that capitalizes on keywords in different stages to funnel people through the buying cycle and towards your commercial content.

Keep this in mind as you’re building out your site, and your content strategy. For now, let’s explore the difference between programs and networks before jumping into the best ones.

Affiliate Programs vs. Affiliate Networks: What’s The Difference?

Affiliate programs and affiliate networks are closely related.

An affiliate program is an arrangement that exists between an affiliate and a merchant for a product or family of products. Merchants may operate one or several programs depending on their needs.

affiliate program arrangement between merchant and affiliates

An affiliate network is a type of platform that allows merchants and affiliates to coordinate on offers. It offers useful tools to both parties, such as dashboards, search engines, and ratings of other merchants and affiliate marketers on the network.

Affiliate Network offer tools dashboard and offers

Affiliate networks typically feature thousands of affiliate programs from hundreds of different merchants, though they may choose to focus on specific niches.

Merchants like working with networks because it gives them access to a large base of affiliates. They also like how they don’t have to manage the work of setting up contracts or handling the technical side of creating affiliate links.

Affiliate marketers like working with networks because they can choose from many different offers and manage them from one dashboard.

Networks often claim a small share of the payments that affiliates collect. This may seem like a downside, but many top-tier travel affiliate offers are exclusive to the best networks. If you want to sell certain products, you’ll need to be approved on a network first.

Now that you understand the difference let’s explore the big players in this niche. After that’s done, you’ll learn about some specific programs found in the sub-niches of the travel industry.

The Best Travel Affiliate Networks

General travel affiliate programs are a great starting point if your travel affiliate marketing site is focused on travel in a general way. You’ll be able to find many different programs to match the topics on your site. You can also network with other affiliate marketers.

The networks below are some of the best, and they cover a variety of different products that may appeal to readers of a travel blog or social media page.

Travelpayouts

Travel payouts homepage

Travelpayouts is a travel-exclusive affiliate network with nearly 100 different programs from brands like Expedia, Hilton, and Tripadvisor. It is a favorite of travel bloggers because it’s a one-stop shop for all kinds of travel-specific offers.

It has processed more than $20 million in payouts since it was first launched. Affiliates have access to tools, including widgets and WordPress plugins. Support services are available in more than 60 languages.

  • Commission: Variable depending on the product and program
  • Cookie Duration: 30 days
  • Payment Methods: Bank Transfer, Paypal, ePayments
  • Travel Category: Flights, Hotels, Car rental, Insurance, Tours and activities
  • Notes: Rapid support with most requests answered in under an hour

 

CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate Network (Commission Junction)

CJ Affiliate is one of the world’s largest affiliate networks. It hosts hundreds of travel affiliate programs, including major global brands like Expedia.

The network pays out more than $1.5 billion in commissions every year to travel bloggers, deals websites, and other major players.

Affiliates are supported by custom APIs and comprehensive analytics data. They also have access to thousands of other offers in related niches.

  • Commission: Variable. Partners set their own rates for each offer
  • Cookie Duration: Cookieless tracking based on profiles of users
  • Payment Methods: Direct deposit, Check, or Payoneer
  • Travel Category: Booking,
  • Notes: More offers than nearly all other networks

 

TripAdvisor Affiliate Program

TripAdvisor Homepage

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site with more than a million bookable destinations. The affiliate program allows you to promote their rooms and claim a 50% commission of the brokerage fee that TripAdvisor gets from their hotel partners.

You can even get a flat commission based on the number of clicks sent to TripAdvisor. Affiliate marketing publishers who send fewer than 1000 clicks per month are earning $550/mo. The program is available on both CJ Affiliate and AWIN.

  • Commission: 50% commission of the fee earned by TripAdvisor
  • Cookie Duration: 14-day referral window (works across channels even without cookies)
  • Payment Methods: Partner dependent (CJ Affiliate or AWIN)
  • Travel Category: Trips, Lodging, and Activity Booking
  • Notes: Collect payments even when the visitor doesn’t book.

 

Expedia Affiliate Program

Expedia Group Homepage

Expedia is a massive travel network that includes the brands Hotels.com, Vrbo, Orbitz, and Travelocity. As an affiliate marketing partner, you can collect commissions for each booking completed on these sites.

The program is currently hosted on the larger network Flexoffers. Affiliates who qualify can customizable each affiliate link, and use booking widgets, and custom search APIs.

  • Commission: 2-6% depending on the type of booking
  • Cookie Duration: 30 days
  • Payment Methods: Bank Transfer, Wire transfer, Check, PayPal
  • Travel Category: Car Rentals, Hotels, Airline Tickets
  • Notes: Over a million properties to promote

 

ShareASale

ShareASale-new-homepage

ShareASale is a network that has been around for more than 20 years. It’s one of the world’s largest. You can partner with more than 15,000 merchants, including travel brands like Viator, Cotopaxi, Eastern Mountain Sports, and RoamRight.

Affiliates are provided with access to a custom affiliate link tool, as well as automated reports to track performance.

  • Commission: Each merchant determines the commission rate for the offer
  • Cookie Duration: 12 months
  • Payment Methods: Direct deposit, Wire transfer, Payoneer
  • Travel Category: Vacation rentals, tours, attraction tickets
  • Notes: One of the oldest and most stable networks

 

Best Airline Affiliate Programs

Airline affiliate programs can be a great way to monetize a general travel blog or an affiliate marketing site that is focused on a specific remote destination. These travel affiliate programs can be easily combined with other programs based on activity booking or accessories.

Skyscanner Affiliate Program

skyscanner homepage

Skyscanner is a global travel site that allows users to compare prices for flights, car hire services, and hotels. As part of the travel affiliate program, you can collect a commission off of each booking that is made through the site.

Affiliates are provided with travel search widgets, banners, and customizable affiliate links to drive users to the Skyscanner site. Travel websites, blogs, social media groups, deals websites, and other types of sites are allowed to apply.

  • Commission: Starting at 20% of Skyscanners revenue for each transaction
  • Cookie Duration: 30 days
  • Payment Methods: PayPal, Bank Transfer
  • Travel Category: Flights, Car Hire, Hotels
  • Notes: Wide variety of permitted sites

 

Kayak Affiliate Program

kayak homepage

Kayak is a travel search engine that promises users the best prices on travel by showing them offers from hundreds of hotel, flight, and car rental sites in one place.

It’s a massive service with more than 200,000,000 searches per month. It also serves a global audience with support for more than 20 languages.

If you join this travel affiliate program, you’ll be supported with banners and affiliate links that can be targeted to specific destinations.

  • Commission: Up to 50% of booking revenue, and $.95 per click
  • Cookie Duration: 30-minute
  • Payment Methods: Bank transfer, PayPal, WebMoney
  • Travel Category: Flights, Hotels, Rental Cars
  • Notes: Only purchases from the Spain, Germany, France, UK, USA, and Brazil payout

 

Best Hotel Affiliate Programs

Hotel affiliate programs are a great way to monetize sites focused on specific destinations.

For example, you can focus on a particular area, such as the Florida Keys or the Mediterranean. You can even focus your site on a specific hotel or resort.

Booking.com Affiliate Program

booking.com homepage preview

Booking.com is a major travel booking site that manages more than 1.5 million room reservations per day. As part of this travel affiliate program, you can collect commissions by convincing users to book rooms, vacation rentals, and cabins for trains and ships.

Will Hatton of The Broke Backpacker travel blog had this to say about the program:

“For accommodation, booking.com is the best affiliate program to push; it just converts better than other platforms.”

If you join the Booking.com travel affiliate program, you get access to a partner portal that provides free tracking and performance analysis tools.

  • Commission: 25% of the revenue earned by Booking.com
  • Cookie Duration: Session only
  • Payment Methods: Direct Deposit, Paypal
  • Travel Category: Hotels, Rental Homes, Trains
  • Notes: Customizable widgets that allow you to show specific properties to your visitors

 

Agoda Affiliate Program

agoda.com homepage

Agoda is a vacation rental site that allows users to book anything from hotels to resort homes and private villas. Nearly a million properties are available for booking on the site. Everything from New York 5-star hotels to Cancun resorts is represented.

As part of this travel affiliate program, you can collect commissions for booking any of these rentals. Approved affiliates have access to insider data files for each hotel, as well as search box widgets and custom banners.

  • Commission: 5-25% commission based on bookings per month
  • Cookie Duration: 1-day
  • Payment Methods: E-Card, Bank Transfer
  • Travel Category: Hotels and Homes
  • Notes: Support for 38 languages

 

Best Travel Tours Affiliate Programs

Travel tour affiliate programs are some of the most lucrative travel affiliate programs. Booking tours usually involve multiple accommodations, services, or activities over several days. Large transactions can mean a substantial commission for you.

G Adventures

G-Adventures-homepage

G Adventures is a travel tour site that allows users to book adventures with small groups. Adventures with full itineraries are available in places from Istanbul to Iceland. Affiliates can collect commissions for directing users toward 2-4 day packages.

The program is managed by the Commission Junction network. If you join this travel affiliate program, you’ll be supported by all the tools available on that network, including tracking and real-time reporting apps.

  • Commission: 6%
  • Cookie Duration: 90 days
  • Payment Methods: Direct deposit, Check, Payoneer
  • Travel Category: Adventure tours
  • Notes: Package-focused program means larger transactions (average of $2400) for each booking

 

Viator

viator homepage

Viator is an activities-booking site for attractions all over the world. Users can sign up for full packages based on exploring world-class cities like New York or wonders like Chichen Itza.

Activities include sightseeing tours, tickets for cultural attractions, and activities like snorkeling and parasailing.

Affiliates are supported with a self-service dashboard where they can view reports, assess performance, and track incoming payments.

  • Commission: 8% commissions on tours and activities
  • Cookie Duration: 30-day cookie
  • Payment Methods: Bank Transfer, PayPal, or Payoneer
  • Travel Category: Tours, activities, food, and culture
  • Notes: Highly global with support for more than 30 languages

 

Best Travel Insurance Affiliate Programs

Travel insurance affiliate programs give you the chance to get paid for directing your users to sign up for insurance.

These programs can work effectively on any kind of travel blog. Due to the relatively low cost of the product, it can be easy to convince visitors to add insurance to other kinds of orders.

World Nomads

world nomads homepage

World Nomads is a travel insurance site that serves independent travelers in more than 130 countries. Users can get coverage for their gear, 24/7 emergency medical or dental assistance, and unplanned return flights.

Affiliates can promote insurance plans across the world. If you join this travel affiliate program, you’ll be supported by a global support team with bases in the UK, Australia, Brazil, and the US.

  • Commission: 10% for every sale that you refer
  • Cookie Duration: 60 days
  • Payment Methods: PayPal or Bank Account
  • Travel Category: Insurance
  • Notes: There is no cap on referral fees

 

SafetyWing

safety wing homepage

SafetyWing provides global medical insurance for digital nomads and other types of long-term travelers. Unlike many other types of travel insurance, it operates on a subscription model so that travelers can remain covered for months or even years at a time.

As a partner in this travel affiliate program, you can collect commissions for promoting nomad insurance or remote health subscriptions. In either case, you can collect 10% commissions and track sales with a personal dashboard.

  • Commission: 10%
  • Cookie Duration: 364 days
  • Payment Methods: Paypal
  • Travel Category: Nomad/Remote work insurance
  • Notes: A Facebook group for affiliate partners lets you learn and share strategies

 

Best Luxury Travel Affiliate Programs

Luxury travel affiliate programs are highly competitive, but they offer you the chance to fight for orders that have the highest average transactions in the travel industry. Booking premium accommodations or services can guarantee that any commission applies to a huge order.

Boatbookings

boatbookings homepage

Boatbookings is a luxury travel site that allows users to book some of the most luxurious boats in the world, including crewed yachts, catamarans, and even modern superyachts. Affiliates are rewarded with a commission for each successful booking that comes from their traffic.

Affiliates receive a starting 20% of brokerage fees paid to Boatbookings. Booking transactions can easily reach the tens of thousands of dollars (the cheapest crewed yachts start around $20,000 a week).

  • Commission: 20% of the brokerage fee received by Boatbookings
  • Cookie Duration: 30 days
  • Payment Methods: Bank Transfer
  • Travel Category: Yachts
  • Notes: 10% referrals from return customers

 

Sandals Resorts

sandals homepage

Sandals Resorts covers multiple 5-star resorts located throughout the Caribbean. The resorts are located in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua, Barbados, and other highly popular destination islands.

Affiliates can promote bookings at all of these locations, as well as extras like butler services, golf courses, and wedding amenities. The program is hosted on the large CJ Affiliate network.

  • Commission: 4% commission
  • Cookie Duration: 60 days
  • Payment Methods: Direct deposit, Check, Payoneer
  • Travel Category: Hotel bookings and amenities
  • Notes: Sandals is the owner of these services (rather than a broker), so the affiliate commission applies to the entire order.

 

Best Outdoor & Travel Accessory Affiliate Programs

Outdoor accessory affiliate programs are popular with affiliates because they can be matched with other types of travel affiliate programs already active on your travel blog.

For example, If you’re promoting flights, you can promote travel pillows. If you’re promoting hikes, you can promote hydration packs. It’s easy to slide the affiliate links into any related content.

REI

rei coop homepage

REI is a major retailer with a massive stock of outdoor gear and supplies for hiking, snowboarding, skiing, and other sports. Through the affiliate program, you can collect commissions on the sale of any of these goods.

Will Hatton of The Broke Backpacker is a fan of the high commissions. He says:

“For hiking and travel gear—a click to REI is worth three clicks to Amazon.”

The affiliate program is managed through AvantLink. Affiliates can use the tools of this network to manage their campaign and to track clicks and commissions.

  • Commission: 5% on purchases
  • Cookie Duration: 30 days
  • Payment Methods: Direct Deposit, PayPal, Check by Mail
  • Travel Category: Adventure gear
  • Notes: The brand has an excellent reputation and loyal buyers that can make converting easier

 

Osprey.com

osprey homepage

Osprey is an outdoor brand that specializes in performance backpacks. Affiliates can promote a wide variety of different daypacks, hydration accessories, wheeled travel luggage, ski packs, and organizational accessories.

The Osprey affiliate program is managed through AvantLink. This network provides a range of support services for affiliates, including tracking and reporting tools.

  • Commission: 8% base commission
  • Cookie Duration: 30 days
  • Payment Methods: Direct Deposit, PayPal, Check by Mail
  • Travel Category: Backpacks, Hydration Gear
  • Notes: Average order of $150+

 

Amazon Associates

Amazon Homepage Snapshot

Amazon Associates is the largest retail affiliate program in the world. While it’s not often listed among travel affiliate programs, it belongs here because it’s one of the world’s biggest sources for travel products.

As an associate, you can promote nearly every product Amazon carries, including an unmatched stock of travel accessories.

The site sells thousands of backpacks, secure wallets, travel comfort items, and more.

Affiliate marketers are supported with some customizable affiliate links, banners, and API tools that allow you to integrate product displays directly into your website.

  • Commission: 3% for outdoor products
  • Cookie Duration: 24 hours for standard cookies. Up to 90 days for in-cart items
  • Payment Methods: Bank transfer, Gift card, or Checks
  • Travel Category: Nearly all types of accessories, gadgets, and
  • Notes: Bank transfer, Gift card, or Checks

 

Top Recommended Affiliate Marketing Resources

What are the best travel affiliate programs? It really depends on your passion and the kind of content you host on your travel industry site. Now, you have a great idea of the kind of travel affiliate programs that are out there and what kind of products they offer.

Your next step is to build out travel blogs or travel-focused social media profiles that can help you reach an audience that will respond to your passion.

One of the great things about the travel industry is that—no matter what focus you choose—you can promote more than one program at a time. Your visitors may choose to book their flights, hotels, or insurance from your site. They may choose to book all of them in the same session!

If you want to learn more about how to rank travel sites, where to put an affiliate link, or what it takes to truly monetize a site, sign up for The Affiliate Lab. Here, you’ll find one of the best communities of affiliate marketers and advice you won’t find elsewhere on how to get paid.