Got the Travel Bug? 11 Ways to Make Money on the Road and Abroad
Certain jobs are great for travelers, but your employer or the nature of the work often determines your destinations.
Maybe you have other ideas about where you want to go, and you may want flexibility with how long you stay in each place.
In other words, you may want more freedom in your traveling.
Of course, you can just save enough money and go. We’ve previously reported on how one couple saved $40,000 to travel the world.
But perhaps the best you can do is save a couple thousand dollars. And no matter how much you save for that big trip, the money will run out at some point.
Will you have to go home and get a job after a few weeks on the road?
Not if you use some of the following ways to make money while you travel.
1. Start a Travel Blog
Traveler Mark Wiens makes money by writing about the food he eats on his adventures.
He monetizes his travel blogs with links to affiliate products, and gets a commission when people purchase through his links. He recommends only products and services he trusts.
For example, he might have a link to a hotel booking site he uses and likes, and gets paid when his visitors sign up or use it.
Weins also writes and sells ebooks, freelances for various websites and magazines, and makes videos about traveling and eating.
“Right now I have the Bangkok 101 things to do guide, Eating Thai Food Guide, Vegetarian Thai Food Guide and the Delhi travel guide,” he says.
His first travel blog made all the other income sources possible, Weins says.
Because he and his wife put most of their money back into traveling, they don’t need a car. Instead, their money goes toward plane tickets and other travel expenses.
Want to start your own blog? Here’s our guide.
2. Be a Travel Photographer
It isn’t necessarily easy to get started as a travel photographer, but you also don’t have to be the most talented to succeed.
It helps to have a decent camera, and a good eye doesn’t hurt either. But anybody can learn the basic skills required.
Making sales is more difficult.
Brendan van Son makes $2,000 per month as a travel photographer and says, “the wealthiest travel photographers in the world these days are not necessarily the best photographers, but the ones who are the best at marketing themselves.”
3. Work on Organic Farms
If you like to work outdoors, connect with organic farms around the world through WWOOF.
Their membership roster includes hundreds of farms looking for volunteers. A quick search through sample listings for Ecuador, for example, turns up dozens of options.
These volunteer positions pay in meals and a place to stay.
“In most countries the exchange is based on 4-6 hours’ help — fair exchange for a full day’s food and accommodation,” the WWOOF FAQ page says.
Having all your meals and lodging covered also allows you to travel with very little income. Combine this with one of these other money-making strategies here and save up for the next leg of your journey.
4. Teach English
Teaching English overseas is a tried-and-true way to see the world while making money.
You can locate opportunities using websites like Dave’s ESL Cafe.
Most positions require a certificate (ESL, TEFL, TESOL etc.), and a bachelor’s degree. Some certification courses (like this one) cost less than $300. But if you have a specific job in mind, check to see what kind of certificate is expected.
If you don’t have a degree or certification, but have a firm grasp of the English language, there are several ways to teach abroad without certification.
For example, simply offer your services independently wherever you travel. You might even avoid the necessity of a work visa if you trade for room and board. Always check local laws to be sure.
5. Create Travel Videos
You may already be posting your experiences online when you travel, so why not monetize your videos on YouTube?
With a little practice you can easily shoot, edit and upload the videos while you travel. With some marketing and a little luck, you might soon have a nice income.
Consider David Hoffmann’s YouTube Channel, Davidsbeenhere. Hoffmann has more than 1,000 videos, some with more than 50,000 views.
6. Freelance on the Road
There are many ways to freelance as you travel.
Many ways to make money at home also work on the road — as long as you have a laptop and Internet connection.
7. Be a Guide
Being a local tour guide is easier than ever, thanks to websites that connect you with tourists.
Of course, you need to know an area well to be a good guide, so this only works after you’ve been settled in a new locale for a while.
Another alternative is leading tours through an operating company.
For example, Tariq El Kashef has been leading adventure tours for four years, and has been to fifteen countries so far. He says many tour operators have applications on their websites, and you’re trained in destination countries once you’re hired.
8. Work at Hostels
Hostels around the world provide cheap alternatives to hotels, but they also can be a source of employment.
The pay is most often in the form of a free room in exchange for a few hours of daily work, but some may offer more.
Search Hostels.com to see what’s available where you’ll be traveling. Call to see if any are in need of help, and what they can pay.
9. Become a Traveling Craft Vendor
My wife and I spent a summer as traveling flea market vendors, often sleeping in our van.
We sold various things, like walking sticks and other crafts we made. This can be a good way to travel in the U.S.
If you’re traveling in other countries, focus on making and selling something small, like jewelry. Your supplies won’t take up too much space and you can resupply locally as you go.
10. Become a Street Performer
If you can sing, juggle or just entertain people, you can make money performing in the street — also known as busking.
Even if your talents are limited, you can make money as a costume busker.
Spend some time in a busking forum to learn about opportunities and the ins and outs of local laws around the world.
11. Take Jobs as You Go
If you stay in your country of citizenship while traveling, you don’t need to worry about work visas.
Just look for jobs as you go, and stay for a few weeks or months when you find one.
This is more of a nomadic lifestyle than a trip, but you can choose where you go and take jobs only in areas you want to further explore.
Your Turn: Have you ever made money while traveling? What did you do?
Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).