Is making money while traveling the world just fantasy or a well-kept secret?
Turning an Expense into a Profit
Traveling the world is a dream we all have, but some dream bigger than others. A week-long trip to Canada may be enough to satisfy the sense of adventure for some. However, it could take a backpacking trip through exotic locales for others to get the same level of satisfaction. In this guide, you’ll find out how to make money while traveling the world. Let’s get started.
The Cost of Travel
No matter your destination of choice, traveling is expensive. It can take you months, or even years, to save enough to make it to your paradise. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. While a week’s trip probably won’t require long-term funding, that backpacking trip will require a constant stream of income to get the most out of your trip.
Backpackers have been traveling the world for years, and it’s now easier than ever to make money while doing so. Most long-term travelers don’t have huge commitments at home to consider, so it’s easier for them to gather their savings and hit the road.
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For the Rest of Us
But what about the rest of us? Most will return when their savings are spent, with nothing left but the precious memories. However, there are a lucky few who have mastered the art of turning a trip into a career.
Some of these people have begun earning money by starting a travel blog, while others go from job to job earning cash in hand. However, many others are exploring the other options available. If this is something that interests you, our tips below can help teach you how to make money while traveling.
Common Travel Expenses
Before we take a deeper dive into how to turn a profit during vacation, let’s first take a look at some of the travel expenses you’ll need:
Though it may seem minor, foreign transaction fees on your credit/debit card can quickly add up. Exchanging cash can be costly for tourists. Be sure to stay informed on the current exchange rates if you want to get the best deal, or even save a bit extra. A trusted currency converter will come in handy such as XE.
Meals during your trip
We all have to eat. However, if you’re looking to travel for longer, it’s probably best to consider eating as you would at home. Avoid fancy restaurants and instead, buy ingredients from local supermarkets. Hopefully, you can eat at 5-star restaurants every evening with the help of our tips. But first, it’s essential to understand what the dream of traveling the world costs.
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Depending on your destination, you may require a visa. These fees can vary from destination to destination, as well as based on the length of your trip. If those application fees weren’t enough, consider the traveling cost to the local embassy, and you’ll begin to see how pricey it gets.
We already have a whole guide on travel insurance so we’ll keep this overview simple. If you are planning to travel, then you should consider the security travel insurance brings. This is especially true for solo adventurers, who may find themselves in need of medical attention. While it is yet another expense, it’s not something to overlook. You should consider Global International Medical Insurance or IMG class insurance for your travels. They cover most, if not all, hospitals and doctors, along with a 24-hour helpline.
You’ll need somewhere to stay so whether a posh hotel or a back-street hostel, accommodation is something that needs to be in your budget. Internet fees, room service, and the use of on-site facilities may all come at an additional cost, so always bear that in mind as well.
The idea of traveling is to have the time of your life and to live out your dream, which is unfortunately not free. Always have a bit of extra cash on hand to ensure you can snap up the opportunity of a unique experience. Some of your best memories will be made without a plan.
The Prep Work
Now that the depressing part of the process is complete, and you’ve adequately analyzed the costs, let’s turn your summer holiday into a business trip. It has never been easier to find work abroad, but don’t think that means it will be easy to make a living.
While we won’t tell you it’s effortless to make money while traveling the world, with the required drive and persistence, it’s now more possible than ever. There a few key things you need to prepare before jumping on that plane and heading for the horizon:
Before you head out on your journey, you should ensure you have savings ready. You’d be fortunate to show up in your chosen destination and land a job immediately, so be sure to have enough money saved to cover a couple of months living. With any luck, it all works out, and in two weeks you can be set up. However, it’s best in the long run to assume the worst. So, making sure to save money beforehand adequately is vital!
So you have money saved up, and now it’s time to consider your options. This is when you should start thinking about the opportunities open to you. Do you plan on teaching English, or are you happy to work somewhere like a bar? Perhaps you intend to work on a self-employed basis as a freelancer.
If you already have an idea about this, it can make things а bit easier. For example, giving yourself time to consider how your planned occupation will affect your visa. That typically means some form of registration (if you plan to keep it legal) will need to be filed in your country of destination. Some people don’t want to be boring, and instead, choose to live spontaneously. While this can work out well for some, you should always consider the alternatives. Ultimately though, the risk is yours to take.
Buying a Ticket
This is it. At this point, you are fully committing to your trip. You’ve picked your destination, and with a simple click (if booking online) you’ll be ready to start your travels.
Don’t stress, traveling is an adventure into the unknown, and that always comes with some stress. You may struggle to find work at first, but you can’t give up right away. Take each situation you encounter in your stride, as stress will only make the situation worse. Instead, try and approach any difficulties with a calm and collected head.
Take advantage of opportunities you would typically avoid. You took the big step by leaving home to travel, so now isn’t the time to start saying no to offers. Grab life by the reigns and say yes to new experiences and who knows where you could end up. That’s why you’re traveling anyway after all.
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The Possibilities are Endless
What jobs are available to the opportunistic traveler? We’ve gone through the expenses, and you have already done your planning, or at least most of it. With that out of the way, let’s explore the key ways to earn money while traveling. No matter your skill set, there is something out there for everyone.
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Teaching a Language
English is one of, if not the most, studied languages in the world, and many people wish to learn. If you are a native English speaker, or at least proficient in the language, you’re already halfway to getting a job abroad.
With an official certification (typically available in person or online) it’s not hard to find yourself hired by an accredited institution to teach. Even if you don’t have your certification, it’s still entirely possible to find a stable job teaching English abroad.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be English either, so check the demand for languages in your destination. The best part of this particular opportunity is that you can do it in person or online. Provided that you have the internet, you can be teaching English to a group in France while overlooking the Ganges in India.
Teaching Online Classes
Language teaching is not the only form of teaching that’s always in demand. Skills in marketing, photography, web design, etc. are all desired. A talented graphic designer, for example, can be quite successful while they travel.
Realistically, any skill you possess that people will pay for can make a profit if you know how to leverage it. There are online platforms such as skillshare.com which pay you to prepare lessons for subscribers to learn the skills you already possess.
Provided that you can bring your equipment, it’s possible to record your lessons from pretty much anywhere. You could even become a Yoga teacher using this method. Just imagine preparing your yoga lesson on a beach in the Maldives with the sun setting over the horizon. Skillshare is one of the most popular platforms, but there are plenty of others.
Other Forms of Teaching
It is possible to take your teaching skills away from the online space and bring them to people directly. Perhaps you have some of the skills mentioned above, and your destination requires them locally. Alternatively, you could have landed in a tourist destination with those tourists interested in learning new skills while on their vacation.
You could teach dance classes, maybe working out a deal with a local restaurant to use their space for lessons in return for bringing in extra customers. You could put those yoga skills to use and teach a class on the beach.
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Some people take this idea to the next level and become certified scuba diving instructors. Once you have your certification, it’s possible to teach other tourists all around the globe. Anything that could be interesting for people to learn is a candidate for teaching, so be sure to offer lessons out. People always want to try new things while on vacation, so if you can be the teacher and make a profit at the same time, everyone’s a winner.
Working in the Travel Industry
Working as a flight attendant or working on a cruise ship both come with the significant benefit of traveling and getting paid while doing so.
Being a flight attendant comes with the perk of multiple destinations and may be considered the best travel hacking profession, as you are getting paid to travel. You will get to travel around the world and have hours after work to explore the plane’s destination of the day. However, you should also consider the time you are working.
Walking up and down the aisles of a stuffy airplane while dealing with disgruntled customers who complain about insufficient legroom may not be what you had in mind. Combine that with hundreds of hours a month spent in the air, and the experience may become pretty draining on you. While this comes with the territory, the plus side is there are typically flight discounts for not only you but your family as well.
Working on a cruise ship comes with similar positives and negatives to working as a flight attendant. Again, traveling the world is in the job description, but how much you will see of that world can depend on your actual responsibilities on board. While guests are exploring the islands of the Mediterranean, you may clean up after them.
The cost of living is nearly non-existent, as food and board are in your work contract. If you’re happy to be a cleaner, you can enjoy the benefits and just watch the ocean go by. However, other opportunities can be found on board as well. There is almost always a need for talented musicians, skilled engineers, skillful chefs, yoga teachers, and much more to ensure the steady running of a cruise liner.
Something else very much like working for a cruise line is working on a private yacht. Boat owners require personnel to keep things running smoothly, just as cruise companies do. Pay can vary greatly, with some not paying anything (except the accommodation and travel to your next tropical destination). It might be a great way to travel with expenses paid, but if you want to be off the beaten path, then this line of work may not be for you.
Working at a Resort/Summer Camp
A picturesque location is often the key money-making factor when it comes to resorts and summer camps. Maybe you can’t visit as a guest due to the financial strain, but there is no reason not to seek employment there. You can enjoy the warm climate and environment while still making money.
The work you would do wouldn’t be dissimilar from a cruise ship: cooking, cleaning, or becoming an entertainer are all possible. The downside, as with the cruise ship, is the lack of spare time to explore your destination. Working seven days a week is very restricting and exhausting. Even worse, leaving the site could be forbidden during your contract, so be sure to read all the terms before signing anything.
Guiding the Tour
Every popular holiday destination needs outgoing, confident people who have a passion for travel to show the guests the critical locales of their vacation spot. If that sounds like the job for you then perhaps you should consider becoming a tour guide.
Each location requires different knowledge, so learning the local history of your area is fundamental to this particular role. Master that and you could soon be leading a group of backpackers through the jungles of Vietnam, or a group of pensioners wanting to learn the history of London. There are multiple types of tours available from week-long bus trips to 1-hour walking tours, so don’t be afraid to search for what suits you best.
One of the local hostels may even know of a position available, so always ask if you feel this kind of job is for you. Just don’t go expecting to get rich though. That said, the pay is usually enough to cover travel expenses and earn extra at the same time, which is the whole reason you’re here.
Making a Hostel a Home
We previously mentioned asking hostels if they knew of any tour guide work available. You can even go one step further and ask if they have any hostel work available. Hostels are popular for the location, the good vibes held by nearly all backpackers, but most of all the price. Working on the other side of the reception desk can net you free lodging and an income for exploring the place you were going to pay to see. You can also meet all the travelers just like you.
The work is varied from working on reception as mentioned, to operating the bar or cleaning rooms. It may be work for the whole season or only for a couple of hours. However, you won’t get this kind of work, or any in fact, if you don’t put yourself out there. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive it.
Your fellow backpackers all require personnel care on their trip. If you have a proficient skill to put in use such as hairdressing or the ability to provide a good quality spa (which is sure to appeal to those who have been wandering around all day), then ask your hostel if you can advertise your services. People have been known to travel just by offering hairdressing services so you should take advantage of your skills if you can.
Bars and Restaurants
Working in a bar or restaurant as a server may be one of, if not, the most popular seasonal jobs out there. You may have worked as a dishwasher or as a barback as one of your very first jobs, so why not do it abroad?
Every tourist destination needs English speakers (though it won’t hurt to learn the local language as well) to man the tables at peak season time, so you can usually find work without too much trouble. This type of work tends to be in the evening as well, which gives you a chance to explore your destination during the day. Some places may even opt to pay you in cash for your troubles.
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If restaurant work is not your forte, then perhaps working in a shop will be better suited. The stores located within the popular resorts require sales assistants who speak English, so this would be a convenient way to use your skills. A surf rental store, for example, is an ideal place for meeting like-minded travelers, not to mention the seafront right outside the shop door!
You will most probably need an understanding of the local language, and your exploring may be restricted to the evenings due to work. However, this is yet another way to earn some extra cash to fund your trip.
Not afraid of a bit of hard work? Then perhaps consider offering your services as a construction laborer for the day. Having experience will help, but in many cases, it’s not necessary. For the most part, you’ll probably be just be moving heavy materials from point A to point B.
It is hard work, but you can almost always count on a friendly atmosphere around the building site, as well as drinks at the end of it all. New friends and extra cash are what we need when traveling.
If construction isn’t your thing, then perhaps try your hand at flower, fruit, or vegetable picking. Again, physical work is required; but getting paid in cash, and on occasion, free lodging makes this a fantastic option for anyone traveling abroad. You can find this kind of work online, but there is no harm in approaching a farmer directly. It’s not unheard of for travelers to land a gardening job if they have the necessary skills.
This kind of work may not secure you a permanent position, but it is possible to fund a large portion of your travel by bouncing from job to job. Even better, you will get to spend plenty of days working on your tan in the sunshine.
Do you make products that others can benefit from using? Perhaps in your travels, you came across a handmade item that could appeal to a broader audience than it’s currently available. These situations offer a unique opportunity by using sites like Etsy or eBay as a way to make some extra money on the side.
If you have a natural gift and you enjoy making handmade jewelry, then, by all means, try to sell your masterpieces online. However, not everyone has products they make themselves to offer. If that sounds like you, but you are still interested in selling online, then you should strongly consider dropshipping.
You’ll order items directly from a vendor and then have the products delivered straight to your customers. You’ll need to do your research and build up a reputation as with any business, but the perks are tremendous. With no warehouse and no need to handle shipping, selling products online is easier than it ever has been. Throw in the fact it’s all online, and the whole thing sounds like an incredible deal.
Day trading is a form of investing in stocks that are not done over months or years but in one trading day. All you need is a laptop to get started, so you don’t need a lot of baggage. It is a risky business, but if done correctly can be very profitable.
While we’ve talked about finding a job during your travels, there is another option. Why quit your current job if you can do it from the comfort of a laptop, anywhere in the world?
There are many office jobs done from a desk which don’t need it. If this is the case for your job, remote work is certainly possible and something you should pursue. While sales typically require a phone to be on hand, you can do your graphic design with just a laptop. Similarly, accounting from the poolside is entirely possible, as long as Skype is available to make face-to-face calls with clients when necessary.
The extra baggage can sometimes be a pain, but the inconvenience is nothing compared with the opportunity to travel. Talk to your boss and discuss your options. Just think about how much better life could be if you could work from the beach.
Corporate Work on the Other Side of the World
We talked about you doing your current job remotely. However, if prefer the office environment and still want to see the world, then how about applying for a similar position abroad? China has a growing number of job opportunities for foreigners. If you prefer a country with English as the primary language then perhaps consider the U.K or Australia, both of which house multinational corporations. If the corporation you are interested in advertises in your country, then your national knowledge could also prove invaluable to them.
Influencing on Social Media
A social media influencer is a profession that became popular with the rise of social media. It takes a large amount of confidence and usually a loud personality to influence the mindset of millions of followers. People often become disgruntled with others who call themselves influencers, but this may stem from jealousy, led by the fact they didn’t think of it first.
Despite what people think, it is a profession that takes hard work and talent to be successful. More importantly, with a large social media follower base, your advertising possibilities are endless, and advertising is where the money is.
Whether you want to do it through uploads on Instagram or report on your experiences via Youtube, there are plenty of online resources to help you along the way. Just don’t expect to gain the traction you need to become famous overnight (unless you have something extraordinary). Your inspirational, creative, and unique content can lead to likes and followers, which will, in turn, lead to brands reaching out to your social media platforms.
You’ll need clothing, equipment, accommodation, and modes of transport to do things right in most cases. But bearing in mind companies will line up to offer all these things and more for an influencer with a large following, you can see why this job sounds so appealing.
We’ve discussed how brands can contribute to your trip, but there are other popular methods. One of the best is taking advantage of YouTube ads or Adsense to turn a profit using social media. The key is creating regular content that keeps viewers/readers engaged. The more traffic your channel/blog post receives, the more ads are seen, the more money you make. As an example, look at PewDiePie and Logan Paul, who made $15.5 Million and $14.5 Million from YouTube in 2018.
You probably intended to take photos while on your trip anyway. You may have even planned to post them to Instagram to help gain the followers mentioned above. However, if your photos are truly outstanding, then you may want to consider selling them as a travel photographer.
If this is your intention, then you should strongly consider investing in a professional camera. While phone cameras have come a long way, they still pale in comparison to professional equipment used for travel photography. You can then offer your photos to online stock photo sites such as Shuttershock or Adobe Stock.
However, be warned. The competition in this field is so harsh that if you aren’t prepared to put in the time and money, you barely have any chance. So be sure to learn professional photo skills and to invest in the proper equipment if this is your passion and you think you’ve got what it takes.
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We touched on Adsense and blog writing but let’s take a closer look.
You are traveling and want to make money by writing. Doesn’t becoming a travel writer seem like the obvious way to go? You can start a travel blog and write about your experiences, the people you have met and about the places you have seen. You can then offer your work to the blog sites we mentioned above. You’ll have to get a couple of articles established before seeing returns on your work, but who knows you may find yourself becoming the next prominent travel blogger.
Blogging about travel seems like the obvious choice due to your situation; however, you can write about anything. Blogging is done about almost any subject, with people continually searching for new and useful content. If you show a knack for this type of writing, it can be very lucrative.
Maybe a travel blog or money blogging or any other form of blogging is not your style, but you still like the idea of writing. If so, you could also use your time away from home to write a novel. If you can think of a unique story, put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and get to work. There are multiple platforms for publishing your work online. Amazon is the most popular, but you can also try and get your work published by a traditional publisher. You never know if you might be the next J.K Rowling. However, it’s hard work, with thousands of submissions every day to Amazons Kindle store. Meaning you’ll need something truly extraordinary to stand out.
If you enjoy writing but do not have inspiration for the next sci-fi thriller, then you can also offer your services via freelance work. If you have the skills to write engaging content, people will pay you to use those skills to help meet their goals.
Other Ways to Earn Through Writing
Finally, if you don’t have time or patience to be blogging or writing a novel, there are still ways to make money writing. If you’re just after some fast cash, perhaps take your skills to the street where local restaurants will pay you to rewrite their signage. Having well-written signs can make a world of difference for businesses looking to attract tourists.
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Content writing is not the only way to make money as a freelancer. If you have a skill that a company needs, you can sign up to a freelance site and work remotely. Set up a profile on one of the multiple sites available, describe your skillset, and then start looking for job offers. It may be best to establish a reputation before you start traveling to ensure you have plenty of incoming work. You can do a variety of jobs with this method to make a lot more money.
We have touched on a few possibilities below that you could do:
- Web Design – If you know how to build a website, then put it to use. That doesn’t even have to be freelance work, as the hotel you are staying at may need a new site built. Ask around and offer your services where you think it would make sense.
- Writing – We discussed writing above, but some people will also commission you to write a blog on their behalf with a topic of their choice.
- Illustration/Graphic Designer – Like writing articles, people need logos and other forms of illustration. So you can put your artistic skills to good use.
- Virtual Assistant – As a virtual assistant, you would be seeing a wide variety of tasks that are not dissimilar to those of an on-site assistant.
- 3D Modeler – Similar to an illustrator but in a 3D space. Special software is needed, but if you have the skills to meet a contractor’s specifications, then you can make some good money.
In truth, there are many more possibilities for a prospective freelancer. The best advice is to search and find what suits you best. You could even be a fortune cookie message writer if that’s what interests you.
Accommodation is just another expense that comes with traveling, but what if you could eliminate it? Becoming a house sitter will do just that. In exchange for providing security to someone’s property while they are away, you get to sleep in a fully furnished house. Agree on a price and the length of your contract and then go about your day, ensuring to keep an eye on the property like you would if it was your home.
Add pets to the mix, and you are now also a pet sitter, meaning you can charge more for the extra responsibilities. If you can manage your work correctly, then it is possible to go on your whole trip without having to pay for any accommodation. You could even combine house sitting with travel blog writing, working remotely, or freelance work. Anything done with a laptop can easily be added to help increase your income.
An au pair is a domestic assistant from a foreign country that lives with a family. As an au pair, you would take on a share of the responsibility for housework and childcare while receiving an allowance in exchange for your efforts.
Every situation will be different, so you’ll need to check the terms of your agreement with the family for things like time off and full responsibilities. However, it’s also essential to research the country you are heading to, as rules for au pair-ing can differ depending on the location.
There is also an age restriction, with your mid-twenties typically being the cutoff point for this type of employment. In return for caring for the children of the house and perhaps teaching them a new language, you will receive accommodation and food along with cash for spending.
Rent Your House
Backpackers tend to be younger individuals who have just finished school, but this might not be your case. What better way to make a passive income than to rent out your home while traveling the world?
You know that someone is watching your house, you have regular monthly payments coming in, and you can enjoy your trip to the fullest. You could use Airbnb to book a few weeks or if your trip is long term, an actual rental agency.
There will be strangers in your home, so make sure you have the proper insurance for this kind of business opportunity. Luckily, Airbnb has this included when you use their platform. It would be even better if you have a portfolio of properties as then the multiple incomes will mean more funds for you to enjoy while exploring.
We know you are here to make money while traveling but stick with us. Saving money is also important right? Volunteer work can be great for doing just that. It can provide food and a place to sleep, leaving you extra money to spend on other activities.
You could join a humanitarian effort and offer your services as a travel nurse, aid in a charitable construction effort, or even as a chef. All of these will provide you with great satisfaction, and it’s possible to gain contacts for your future endeavors.
It is similar to volunteer work but should not be confused as the same. You are exchanging your time in exchange for accommodation and food. A wage is not guaranteed; however, it usually is. The work could be anything from restaurant work to working on a farm. Even if they do pay, don’t expect to make much spending money from a work exchange program.
Life of the Party – DJing
The ability to show off your music skills will depend on your destination, but any hot clubbing spot will always be on the lookout for talent to cover the evening. Depending on the type of bar, a fresh Spotify playlist may prove sufficient for providing the entertainment.
Meanwhile, more popular clubs will have higher requirements and may even require a demo from you. One of the best parts of this work though is it’s usually only in the evening, meaning you’ll have the daytime to explore.
Unfortunately, modeling is not available to everyone. That said, what is considered normal in one country is exotic in another. While the idea of offering yourself to be photographed may be out of your comfort zone, when you’re traveling the world, always try to stay open to new experiences. This is especially true if you have the opportunity to make money through a local modeling agency.
Your exoticness could even appeal to local TV or movie producers. You won’t make millions as an extra. But you never know if being spotted by a talent scout in Mumbai could land you on the big screen in a Bollywood movie.
Where Will Your Journey Take You?
Do we think exploring the world and all its different sights and cultures while actively funding your trip is a good idea? We sure do!
You do need to consider the initial capital required to set up and it can be harder for some than others. In the long run, however, the experience will help you grow as a person.
It may not be for everyone, and that is OK. However, people say travel broadens the mind, and we couldn’t agree more in this case.
The Bottom Line
If you have a marketable skill or an established business that you can profit from then, you should take advantage of it. If you instead decide to go the direction of exploring while doing charity work, then the financial gain won’t be significant. But if you’re doing charity work for the monetary gain, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons anyway.
The bottom line is. No matter your choice of work, enjoy your experience!
Would you consider traveling abroad long-term? Do you have a skill that you think would be desirable in other countries?