What Does It Cost To Make a Travel Video?

The first thing that comes to mind for many people when they hear the word Travel Video, is cost. Travelling is expensive, and so is video production.

The truth is a straight up Travel Video, the way you see them on YouTube all the time, can cost you a small fortune. But this is only looking at it from one side. The pay through your ass approach.

There are ways to reduce the cost of both travelling and making cinematic travel videos without breaking the bank. 

  • If you want to know How to make a Travel Video on a Budget, keep reading. 
  • If you just want to see the Cost of Travel Videos, go to the bottom of this post.

In this article I want to show you what you can do to control the price of travelling and making a great travel video. I will also share some of the costs on travel videos we have made. 

Travel Videos: Paying vs Paid

When it comes to tightening up a budget for travelling, I’m not going to claim I know too much. As a videographer I have traveled all over the world and hardly ever paid anything. I was invited to come make videos. So in my case it was easy, instead of paying to travel, I was paid to jump on a plane and see the world. 

The same can be said for influences with an existing following. They get invited to the most spectacular places and all they have to do is make a video in return. 

But for the sake of this article, I’m going to assume you are neither a videographer, nor an influencer. You are going to be paying for your experience, but you want to look at minimizing those costs and making the best cinematic travel video possible.

First Minimize Your Travel Expenses

Before we look at reducing the cost of making a Travel Video, here are some options to reduce the cost of travelling. These are tips we’ve collected from our travel community as well as made use of ourselves. There are plenty more ways to reduce the cost that you can read about on Travel Blogs, but these 4 tips are handpicked to support the idea of making better travel videos on a budget.

Something to note is that you are going to need to avoid holiday packages. Although the price on these packages is appealing, they come with a few downsides. Technically you are paying a commission for the convenience of having the research work done for you. If you plan your own trip from beginning to end you can save quite a bit of money, although it will cost you in time. 

Package deals will take you to typical tourist places where prices are inflated. Additionally you will be locked into an itinerary that wont allow for making your perfect Travel Video. If you want to both travel cheap and make great videos you need to do some of the planning yourself. Here is some advice.   

Booking: Far ahead or last minute

Your flights are often going to be the largest expense on a vacation. Flight prices are a strange thing, because they fluctuate like the stock market, depending on so many factors it’s frightening.

What’s the current price of oil? Airline options? Is the plane full? Are there empty middle seats? Is it in season? How far are you flying? How many connections are you willing to make? The list goes on.

There are two ways you can “sort-of” control your chances when it comes to selecting well priced flights. One is a book far ahead. Most airlines will only let you book a year ahead, so start looking now for then. When you are lucky enough to spot a price gap so far ahead you can really score. 

I know you don’t want to wait that long, but honestly it will be worth it. 

Plan some local vacations in the meantime and start practicing your video making skills. We will come back to this point later in this article. 

The other way to find cheap flights is to be extremely flexible. Can you pack up and leave in a moment's notice? Keep an eye out for last minute openings. The crazy part is flights will be at their most expensive just before the departure date. But if the conditions are right you can get lucky in the gap just before tickets close. I’ll admit it is a gamble and you do need to be very flexible, but it can lead to great savings.

Accommodation Hopping

As with the flights booking far ahead or last minute will give you opportunities to get better prices. More importantly however, is if you can figure your sleeping arrangements out as you go. 

The likes of Booking.com and AirBnB have made accommodation hopping possible. Many people nowadays will only book accommodation for their first night or two. Then from that point on they will look for local deals online.

This may sound a bit tedious, but from our experience it can actually be quite fun and it saves you quite a bit of cash. 

Just be careful that seasonal availability is open before you do this. If you time this wrong and there is high demand, it can end up costing you more. Speaking of which...

Travel During Off Season

It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it works. Prices are low and places are less crowded. Off season travelling has unfortunately become more and more popular pushing everything up to “it’s always season”, but there are still deals to be had. 

Some of our best Travel Videos have been filmed in the off season. We even filmed a documentary in Kenya in the off season. The accommodation for our lodge cost us the same for a week as it would normally cost a single night in peak season. Additionally the National Parks were empty, making for some spectacular Safari Footage for our Travel Videos.  

Find Non-Tourist things to do

It feels counterintuitive to arrive at a destination and not visit the famous landmarks. It is important to get over this notion, because it is costing you big time. FOMO is in your head. 

Some of our best experiences have come from off the beaten track adventures. Finding a waterfall that few people know about, versus standing in queues that lead to a snapshot of the temple and moving on. Being herded like cattle for high prices is not going to get you the travel videos you imagine. You need to find space and time to do your thing. Making Travel videos will open your eyes to all the other beautiful stuff in the world. 


One example we can give you about Cape Town, is that over a million international travellers come to the beautiful Cape Winelands each year. 90% of these people will visit Stellenbosh and Franschhoek. Both spectacular destinations. And yet just a hop skip and a jump to the north west are places like Paarl and Wellington. Equally spectacular and rich in activities and sights. We spent a week here making hours of Travel Video content to our hearts content, not being bothered by crowds or exorbitant prices. Do your research and find the things to visit and film that others don’t have.    

Cheaper Travel Videos: Get started now

Making a Travel Video should not cost you a thing. Don’t look at it as an additional expense like a photographer at your wedding. See it as an opportunity to enhance your travel experience and the memory thereof. Learning the skill to quickly capture a moment and turning it into a sharable video is not supposed to be a laborious task, but rather a fun one. 

The best thing you can do is start to practice to get good at it now. Imagine it like getting into shape for being on the beach in Thailand next year. You are not going to wait till you get there, and suddenly start doing pushups and situps in your hotel room before you go out to the beach. No, you are going to get in shape before you go. 

Lucky for you, making a video is far easier than losing weight. Learning to make a travel video is something you can learn in a single day. Granted then you have to practice a little to get them looking good, but it’s actually an easy skill to learn.

Start to know what goes into a good travel video now. While you are at home begin to understand what shots you need to capture a visual story. Having this skill ahead of time will make looking for new sights a memorable adventure.

Don’t Buy New Camera Gear 

You do not need an expensive camera to make a great Travel Video. Nor do you need a gimbal, lenses, a drone and all the other goodies. Yes they are a great thing to have, and they will push the quality to an extremely high standard, but it’s not required to make a good video. 

A good cinematic video is all about the right shots. The right shots will tell a story that people will engage with. It will be the things that you experienced and felt that make the video emotive, not the shots of the landmarks. You can download those from a website. Your story is the most important part of the Travel Video, and you can capture a great story with a smartphone.  

You might want to consider a solution for extra storage and battery power. Only as you get better at making videos should you begin to upgrade bit by bit to get the best out of your gear. For example you can get a small gorilla pod for better stabilisation.  

The point is don’t start by buying gear you don’t need. A smartphone is enough.

Check out some of our other articles on our blog like: How to make a cinematic Travel Video with your iPhone with no extra gear. You can also leave your questions in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

The cost of a Travel Video

At Travelvid.tv we have made travel videos that have cost nothing but our time, and we have made videos that cost more than $11 000. It all depends on who, what, where and when. Sometimes we made them just to capture our own experience, and other times we were hired to make them for other people and businesses. 

When you begin to practice making travel videos you can try in your home environment. Go for a walk on the beach, rent a bike and cycle the promenade, go to the city centre and be a tourist in your own home. This is what we did to hone our video making skills. 

So to help give you an overview we have picked out a series of our Travel Videos from cheapest to most expensive with a short description of the cost implication.

The Cheapest Travel Videos are on your Smartphone

In the beginning using our phones was the best way to get started. The following is a video captured with an old iPhone. The purpose was to capture our own experience.

Cost to make: Free
Tools used: iPhone SE

Next we added just one extra tool to the gear list: a small tripod. A Gorilla Pod with a phone clamp allows us to place the phone down and walk towards it. It also gives you leverage when talking, which makes for a better shot and it’s more stable. You can do time-lapses too. Here is a short vlog created with only this simple setup.

Cost to make: Free
Tools used: iPhone SE + iPhone 7 + Gorilla Pod ($40)

Building up to better gear

Once we knew we wanted to keep making travel videos we invested in some extra gear. A GoPro Hero 4 and a small DJI Spark drone were added to the iPhone. 

Cost to make: Free
Tools used: iPhone 7 + Gopro Hero 4 ($200) + DJI Spark ($560)

What these three videos all have in common is that they were filmed in Cape Town, our home town. We spoke to local businesses and asked if we could get reduced rates for their experience in order to practice our filmmaking skills with minimal gear in exchange for a video. They, as did many other companies obliged.

At the time we didn't not have a large following,  we were not influencers, but still local companies were happy to exchange. This provided a win win for everyone. They got promotion and we got to practice making our videos. Over time, as our videos improved and our audience grew more and more people begun inviting us to experience things. 

You have this opportunity too. Look at your home environment. Book a local experience and make a video with your phone. Show it to the company and see how they react. After two or three of these you will be well on your way to reducing your travel expenses. Take the skill with you when you travel, don't wait till you there to practice, you will be disappointed by your results.

Making Travel Videos for Travellers

Some travellers already make their own content, but hire people like us to help get the shots they couldn't get. We spent a bit of time with Mischa Janiec while he was in Cape Town to helped him with footage & his edit. As this was a collaboration we were able to charge him less than standard rates to make this content.

Cost: $350

Collaboration is great way to improve your videos, grow your audience and ultimately ride the wave to reducing your travel video content creation.

Making Travel Content For Travel Businesses 

All travel businesses need content to market their service and offering. There are so many way to go about this. The first is to learn the basics and do it yourself. That way, like all these example before the cost is reduced only to your time and a few accessories.

Or you can hire professionals, such as ourselves, to come in to make your videos end to end. This is where the price starts to shoot upwards. For example making these videos in Kenya for Amboseli's Tortillis Safari Camp was a lot not a simple task. We needed footage of the camp, and the wildlife which took a few days. 

Cost to make:  $6000 (Including travel expenses)

For many travel companies $6000 is an outrages sum of money for a video. But there is a way to minimise this cost exponentially. As we have done with our clients, we encourage you to begin capturing your own footage right away. Build up a stock library that you can tap into at any given point to produce videos on demand. 

This allows you to reduce the cost to  a simple day's worth of editing by a professional. It can bring the cost down to 10% of the original amount. Also you will get a series of videos out of a single filming session rather than just one. 

Cost to make: >$300

When you have your stock library built up, short videos like this are able to be made on short notice.

This process is part of the Travel Video Content Machine Module in our Travelvids insider courses.
 You can find out more here.

Travel Video Cost: In Conclusion

There will alway be a huge price difference between "Do-It-Yourself" and hiring a professional. Aside from the gear and your time, DIY will always be free. It takes a bit of knowledge, which you can learn very quickly, and then a bit of practice. It is possible to make a great travel video by yourself.

However you might want to look for that in between space where you do the fun part and then a professional slips in right at the end to clean it up. This is where the magic can happen. Instead of 100's of dollars you are looking at a tenth of that to get the quality you are looking for. 

My advice is look for a creative in your city that is willing to do the edits for you. Just make sure you are giving them exactly the footage they need to make the edit fast and easy otherwise it will begin to cost you. 

You can learn how to film better travel videos with our free tutorials on our blog or fast track the process with our 90min basic course.

Check out our
Travel Video Course

Learn all about making Travel Videos using nothing but your Smart Phone. Perfect for beginners. On Special now. Click through for details.

Let us know in the comments below if you are looking for an editor for your Travel videos? Also tell us which part of the video creation  process do you struggle with most?

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