How AikenAdventures Works

            When we first started vlogging, we kept it a secret, and if you look at our earliest videos, then you’ll know why. In fact, recently, we got a hateful comment on one of our earliest videos about how awful it is, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

            After we finally were generating decent views on our channel, and we had a few videos with which we were pleased, Alaina and I had a talk about sharing our channel on our personal Facebook pages. We were a little worried about what everyone would think, but honestly, there was some initial interest, and then it faded into the background for them, and we’re glad because we feared the potential ridicule and scrutiny.

            Aside from a few sarcastic comments we received in the early days, there has mostly been a positive feedback loop of interest and appreciation for our content from our friends and family. More than anything else, we find that people are pretty curious about how we “afford to go to all these places…”

            I recently published an article about some of our favorite Groupon passes for various cities and regions across Florida which helped us get started with visiting a large quantity of attractions in the early days of our channel, but actually there’s a little more to it than that, so here is how AikenAdventures works, and how we afford to travel as digital content creators and social media influencers.

  • YouTube Ad Revenue
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Hosted Visits and Stays
  • Brand Deals and Sponsorships
  • Credit Card Churning
  • Tax Write-Offs
  • Website Ad Revenue


            Do you watch a lot of YouTube? I do and did. If you do, then you probably have noticed that ads run at the beginning, middle, and end of the videos. Advertisers pay YouTube billions of dollars to run their ads in front of the content on the platform. Did you know that, then, YouTube gives a portion of that money to the person who posted the video? That is called the YouTube partner program.

            I actually thought this was common knowledge until we started our YouTube channel, and had some conversations with friends and family and realized that they didn’t know that content creators on the YouTube platform get paid for making that content. Some YouTubers even make millions of dollars.

            There are a few requirements before you start earning money, however. You must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours to be eligible to sign up for the partner program. Once you have met those requirements, you’ll begin earning.

            The amount of money that you earn is based upon the profitability of the niche which you have chosen (some, like the finance niche, make more than others, like entertainment niche), and you earn a certain amount per every video view on your channel. Typically, it is reported in RPM (revenue per mille), which is the amount that you are being paid per 1,000 views.

            Most people are not likely to get rich off of this income, but it’s one revenue stream and it is helpful.


            The next stream of income which helps content creators and influencers like us to be able to travel is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a partnership with a brand (Amazon for example) where the influencer is paid a commission from that company for recommending that company’s purchase of products and services. One of our favorites is Groupon primarily because it’s a brand which we have used for years, and we value their products and services.

            In fact, if you are interested in purchasing something—anything from Amazon, and you use this link, you’d be helping out our channel:

            Some of the other brands with which we have affiliate partnerships are:

At this point, we do receive regular offers for affiliate deals, but we do not accept everything that we are offered because we believe that we have a responsibility to our audience to recommend products and services which we either use or would use, and products and services which we think would benefit our audience.

We have also applied for affiliate programs for which we have been declined. This can happen for any number of reasons:

  • We do not have the reach that the company would like to see (number of views, followers, subscribers, etc.).
  • We do not reach the company’s target audience (our audience is primarily millennial-aged parents with young children).
  • The company already has a certain capacity of influencers on a certain platform (i.e. they’re not looking for more YouTubers, or they’re primarily looking for TikTokers, etc.)

While there are a lot of platforms for affiliate marketing, our favorite has been


Part of the way that we defray the cost of travel is that, prior to visiting locations, I write to the attractions in an area in advance of our arrival and ask for comped visits. While it is also fairly standard to charge for the work, at this time, based upon our followers and reach size, we are comfortable with simply receiving free entry to zoos, gardens, museums, and attractions in exchange for coverage on our channel and pages.

We have even had a few locations reach out to us and request coverage, and in most cases, we welcome those opportunities. We do, however, filter those opportunities based upon the way that we perceive the needs of our audience.

Another source of hosted visits and stays is travel boards. Most cities, states, and sometimes regions have travel boards, and some of these travel boards like to work with digital content creators and influencers. We have not yet worked with travel boards, but we have reached out, and in most cases of our communication, they offered to us free attraction tickets.


In addition to other streams of income, another common arrangement is brand deals and sponsorships. Basically, some businesses and companies will partner with a creator and pay them to create content or to promote their product or service.

If you are a content creator and are negotiating with brands, we found that is a great resource for knowing how much to charge a brand for their partnership. There is a lot of discussion as to how to use the information from—some say, “charge the Social Bluebook rate,” others say, “double it.”

My best advice is ask the brand what their budget is and go from there. You may be surprised by how much they are willing to pay. Be prepared to negotiate.

Also, determine what the partnership is worth to you and try to work something out. In one case, for our purposes, our only desire was to be able to afford to take our children to Disney World, so we negotiated with a brand to put together a package of content on an on-going basis for the amount we needed to get started with Disney Annual passes. It was a win for us (and frankly, a bargain for the brand) because we got what we wanted out of the deal for now.

I do recommend that you make sure to go over the details of the brand deal prior to signing any agreement. A couple of red flags for me would be if the brand wants to exert high levels of control on the content that I create, or if the brand insists on exclusivity in any way. I’m not interested in dating or marrying any company (I already have a wife, thank you very much!), so that level of commitment is a no-go for me.


If you’re not familiar with the practice of credit card churning, it is basically the process of signing up for credit cards, hitting the spending requirement for the initial bonus offering, and then moving on to another card to do the same thing. Along with that, of course, you can continue to earn points on an on-going basis if you choose to.

While we have done some credit card churning, I would admit that I’m not an expert on points. Although, I have dabbled here and there. Primarily, we have a couple of credit cards which we use for certain expenses which have served us well in the Florida travel niche:

First is the Disney Rewards Visa from Chase. You can earn up to a $300 Statement Credit after qualifying purchases. Learn more: The accumulation of points on this one, just for using it to pay for our family’s Disney annual passes and paying for food in the parks, resulted in enough rewards points to pay for our video ranking EPCOT counter service restaurants.

Another one which we use is the Choice Hotels Visa. We accumulate enough points from this card on a monthly basis to cover any of our hotel stays throughout the year. Unfortunately, this card does not have a good referral program. You have to provide the email address of your friends, so we will probably be looking for another hotel card soon—probably IHG.

Of course, you can do the same thing for airline miles and various other credit card offers.

Rent an RV from RVshare


            Nothing that I write in this blog post should be taken as financial advice. I am not a financial advisor, a CPA, or a tax professional—Therefore, you should definitely do your own due diligence and consult a professional, but since AikenAdventures is our personal business, and we do earn and income, we would be liable for taxes on that income, but what may look like discretionary spending to you is actually a business expense for us. We do save our travel receipts and report applicable travel expenses to the IRS when we file our taxes.


            We started a blog for dual purpose—to drive additional views to our channel, but also as another opportunity to earn money from affiliate links and ad revenue. As people click on the content and view our pages, we earn money for every page view, and every purchase through one of our affiliate links.


 We hope that you found this information helpful. This is just a rundown of various things which we have learned over the past several years. There is a little bit of a hustle involved, but it’s worth it to make memories together with our family. We hope you have a wonderful time traveling with your family!

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Be sure also to check out our BEST DEALS AND ATTRACTION TICKETS page for a full list of the best prices on all of the top Florida theme parks and attractions.

THE BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! Check out this fantastic list of Florida attraction passes to get the most out of your Florida trips for the least amount of money!

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