Ways to Earn Money Traveling

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A traveling nomadic lifestyle can seem glamorous from the outside. However, with no funds to sustain the travel, such a life is not sustainable in the long run. Sooner or later, the traveler must return to a full-time job. However, technology and the internet has made traveling a viable financial option. You can work out of the most remote locations in the world or find work on a traveling cruise ship.

This article provides the numerous ways of earning money for short-term and long-term travel. Some methods can be combined together to earn maximum financial benefits.

Short-Term Travel

Earning money while traveling depends on the duration of your travel. Some people may take frequent short trips to various locations, while others choose to constantly be on the move.

If you are looking to regain some of the cost of a short trip, consider renting your place while you are traveling. With platforms like AirBnb, it is now easy to rent your house or apartment while you are away on a trip. Renting your place can not only compensate your travel expenses but can also earn you some additional savings. You can offer your entire house, a room or a single couch for rent.

The amount of rent can vary depending on the place, its location, amenities and so on. Although, many people may be skeptical of hosting strangers in their house (without supervision) platforms like AirBnb can be trusted to thoroughly vet their hosts and guests. They also offer liability insurance up to $1 million. Other platforms also offer the option of listing your house as a “vacation rental”. When renting your place, it is always beneficial to have a friend, family member or neighbor deal with the guests and any possible issues that may arise.

Other options for earning money (for short-term travel) include:

  • Selling a “video tour” on certain platforms that give you the sale revenue after taking a commission.
  • Renting your car under trusted companies that offer payment when your car is rented by a customer, rental insurance and other benefits (free parking, free car wash, etc.).
  • Selling products that you found during your travels, which can be sold for a higher price in your home country.

Earn Money Traveling Long Term

Many people are choosing to give up their corporate 9-to-5 jobs in exchange for a life of travel. Traveling on a budget may work for a period of time but it is not sustainable without a source of income. Travelers who want to always be on the road must find ways to fund their travels. The following are some of the best ways to sustain your traveling lifestyle and experience the financial comfort of earning an income.

Freelancing on the Road

The internet is the earning traveler’s most useful tool. It allows people to work from remote locations and earn enough money to sustain themselves. If you have a skill or interest in a particular field, it may be worthwhile to explore the opportunity of freelancing as you travel. Freelance work is usually in high demand and easily found on certain websites and social media. Freelancer websites are particularly tailored for people to sell their skills at a certain amount and accept relevant projects. Small projects are always up for grabs and can earn an experienced freelancer quite a bit of money. The following are some of the most common freelancing jobs for travelers:

Travel Writing

As a passionate traveler, turning your travel experiences into monetary benefits is probably the best way to earn money while doing something you love. If you are a writer, freelance travel writing can be a quick and effective way to do this. Travel magazines and websites are almost always on the lookout for interesting articles and fascinating stories of travel. You can write for one or multiple sites and sustain yourself while turning your passion for travel into a profession.

As a travel writer, you must have basic writing skills and the ability to choose interesting topics to write about. An article of good quality and a sufficient number of words can earn you a good amount of money. Further, getting published in magazines and websites will add value to your experience and portfolio. Once you have built a certain standard and portfolio, you can also consider writing a novel or guide-book about your travels. If it does well, royalties and advance checks will allow you to comfortably continue your traveling lifestyle.

  • Skills: Good writing skills
  • Equipment: A laptop
  • Average pay: $0.01 – $1 (per word)

Web Developer

One of the online professions that is in demand is that of a web developer. Almost all companies, big or small, require websites. A web developer can create these websites or revamp them from remote locations. Most companies prefer to hire a freelance web developer for projects instead of having an in-house web developer on the payroll.

If you are already a full-time developer, the transition to freelancing will not be very difficult. However, as a beginner to web development, there may be some essential skills you must learn. Further, you can build a portfolio by taking up small projects and gradually increasing the scale. Building a personal brand is essential to obtaining a decent pay for your work.

An experienced freelance web developer will be able to find projects easily. This is because there is a high demand for web developers all over the world. As a result, the pay for projects is frequently higher than other online professions.

  • Skills: Basic programming languages (HTML, Java, Ruby on Rails, Swift, Node.js etc.)
  • Equipment: A laptop
  • Average pay: $2,000 – $20,000 (per website, depending on experience)

Graphic Designer

In today’s world, companies need designers to create an impressive representation of their business and attract clients and consumers. Therefore, graphic designers are highly sought after and are paid very well. A freelance graphic designer can take projects from multiple clients and end up earning much more than a graphic designer committed to one company. Further, since most of the work is done through email communication, they can work out of any place and at any time. This means you can divide your day between traveling and working.

This profession, however, requires a certain amount of skill and investment. As a graphic designer, you are expected to be comfortable with most of the major designing software. Your aesthetic sense is also crucial to building a unique voice and style of design. Experienced graphic designers with a substantial portfolio can conveniently sustain their travel through freelancing.

  • Skills: Designing skills, knowledge of designing software (such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.)
  • Equipment: A laptop and designing software
  • Average pay: $57,699 (per year)

Travel Photography/Videography

Most travelers have an innate tendency to capture moments from their travels. Photographs and videos of travel usually function as a record of memories. However, these can also serve a monetary benefit. A profession in travel photography/videography can take you all around the world and allow you to turn your experiences into earnings. These photographs and videos can be sold to travel websites and companies.

It is also useful to find employment in the travel destination itself. Offering your services for weddings, events, travel companies, resorts, etc. will ensure you are able to sustain yourself during your stay. Videography, in particular, is a great avenue for earning a sufficient income.

Another method of earning money is through a passive income. Uploading photos to stock websites can earn you money every time your photo is downloaded. However, due to the uncertainty of this method, it is better to combine this with another source of income.

  • Skills: Photography/videography, knowledge of photo and video editing software (such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, After Effects, Premiere Pro, etc.)
  • Equipment: Professional camera, a range of lenses, laptop and editing software
  • Average pay: $16,000 – $131,500 (per year, for a travel photographer) $19,000 – $123,500 (per year, for a travel videographer)

Teach English

If you are a native English speaker, you can travel to most foreign locations as an English tutor/teacher. Cities in Asia, Middle East, Latin America, etc. have abundant job openings for English teachers. In most cases, a certification is not required to teach. Any bachelor’s degree is sufficient for a native speaker to secure a high-paying teaching job. It is also not mandatory to know the native language of your destination.

An English language teaching qualification may be required in some cases. Taking up the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification will not only qualify you in these cases but also make you an overall desirable candidate. This certification can be obtained online through a TEFL course. There are also multiple programs and grants that can send you to specific locations for a wholesome travel and teaching experience for a short period of time.

The teaching profession can land you in a full-time long-term role. However, this can be desirable to those who wish to travel to a specific destination and explore the country. Further, short-term teaching roles are also offered by some schools. The pay usually varies depending on the location, the school and so on. Countries like the UAE and Japan may pay $5,000 (per month), while Vietnam and China may pay a maximum of $2000 (per month). The amount you earn as a teacher must not only sustain your cost of living but also ensure some savings. These savings can be used to travel within the country.

Run a Travel Blog

Many enthusiastic travelers tend to share their travel experiences with the world. Travel blogs may not be the quickest way to earn a steady income, but the job satisfaction is superior to any other profession. You can travel far and frequently to gain experience and stories for your blog. Once you have built a consistent audience base, you earn an adequate sum of money through sponsorship, ad revenue, affiliate and online sales, running tours, how-to courses, translation, freelance writing etc.

Due to so many variables, it is difficult to estimate an average monthly income. A travel blogger with an adequate audience base can earn $1,000 per month. However, this amount increases with popularity. Some popular bloggers may earn over $200,000 in a month. The unsteady monthly pay is, therefore, dependant on your skills and ability to find multiple avenues of income.

Running a travel blog is hard work and requires immense dedication. Many bloggers take a year or more to establish themselves and build a basic audience base. During these years, it may be useful to find other sources of income to sustain yourself (and your travels). Further, these blogs require a significant investment of money to get started. However, once your blog has been established and you’ve found sufficient ad partnerships, the job will let you manage your thriving business as you travel the world. You can also consider blogging about a specific non-travel topic. The trick is to find something you truly love blogging about and committing to it.


Work as a Tour Guide

Working as a tour guide gives you the benefit of immersing yourself in a specific travel destination or the opportunity to see new cultures. You can work as a tour guide in a specific foreign destination and lead tours in your native language for travelers from your country. Such a job may result in uneven paydays and a lack of a steady income. It may be better to combine it with another source of income.

You can also opt for longer tours that go through several destinations. Such jobs are a full-time commitment and involve a contract. This offers stability and steady pay along with the pleasure of traveling to various destinations. However, you must be able to take up the responsibilities that come with such a job. This includes planning and logistics, dealing with tourists for several weeks, and so on.

Tour guides may not be well paid. However, they enjoy the benefits of working in the travel and tourism industry. Tour guides are also required to be extroverted and friendly. If you can handle the challenge of the job, working as a tour guide is an excellent way to sustain your passion.

Run an Online Store

If there is a product you are interested in selling, consider setting up an online store. With the e-commerce industry on the rise, many people opt for online shopping instead of a brick-and-mortar store. Many travelers run an online store that can be managed on the move. Even if you cannot afford your own website, some digital platforms allow people to create a store and sell their products.

You can also consider affiliate sales on your website. This method involves promoting products that are sold by a third party. The commission earned for marketing may be a small amount, however, combined with your own sales this amount can add up to a significant income. The success of an online store depends on many factors. It is essential to have an adequate amount of popularity among customers. This way, you will be assured of a few sales a week.

Managing the stock storage and dispatch does not require you to be physically present in one location. A dropshipping company can ensure your products reach the customers safely. Reputable companies may even be trusted to handle international shipping. To verify the effectiveness of the company, you may have to carry out spot checks (or random checks) by ordering your product anonymously. Your only job thereafter is marketing your products and store, building your brand, handling customer feedback, orders and grievances. Fortunately, social media acts as a great channel to execute all of these responsibilities. With a laptop and a steady internet connection, you can work from any travel destination.


Work as an Au Pair

If you have experience as a babysitter or nanny, you can consider working as an “au pair” (extra pair of hands). An au pair is an international nanny who travels with a family with children for a variety of benefits and some pay. Most au pairs are recent graduates or students looking to travel without spending any money. This way you can not only earn a nominal amount of “pocket money”, but also have an all-expense paid travel experience to a foreign destination. You can also work as an au pair in a foreign destination with a local family. Most of the times, such families are looking for au pairs that can speak (and ideally teach) English.

Au pairs exchange their services for free travel, room, meals and so on. Being good with children is a major requirement for this job. It is ideal to have some experience with this (and even better to have certification). Females between 18-26 years old are usually hired as au pairs.

Au pair contracts usually require a year-long commitment, after which you can choose to renew it. You can expect two weeks of paid vacation, as well as, an entire month of travel after your contract ends. If you are considering this job, you will have to ensure you have a clean background (no criminal records), character references, around 200 hours of childcare experience, basic first aid training and so on.

Work for a Cruise Line or Airline

Working as an employee for an airline or cruise line comes with its own benefits. As a flight attendant, travel becomes your everyday job. While the pay may vary — depending on experience and the airline — flight attendants can expect an average salary of $44,860 per year. Along with this, employees of an airline can also enjoy “non-salary” benefits. These include discounted airfare for them and their family, free standby status on flights, paid travel expenses on the job and so on. A combination of the salary, benefits and lifestyle often draw many people towards this profession. Further, higher education is not necessary to be trained as a flight attendant. Many apply for this job right after high school.

Similarly, working on a cruise ship can send you to many exotic travel destinations. This job may come with long hours and a lower pay, but the benefits and lifestyle are attractive enough. All the employee’s expenses and travel are paid for. Further, the work environment is vibrant and fun. Activities, party events and the multiple amenities can make work a pleasant affair. The non-salary benefits (free lodging, meals, travel, etc.) add up to an annual value of $21,600. Combined with your income, this can be a comfortable amount to earn while you travel.

Work in Hospitality

The hospitality industry is crucial in many popular travel destinations. Hostels, bars, restaurants, etc. are always looking for employees, especially during high season. Finding hospitality jobs in foreign locations can be particularly easy if you are multilingual. Having specific skills (such as bartending) will let you earn a comfortable amount of income every month.

Working in resorts can have its own perks. These are usually located in scenic regions and have plenty of benefits and amenities. These jobs, however, may have limiting contracts. Employees may need to work long hours and may be prohibited from leaving the camp area. However, the savings and experience can allow you to travel during your months off.

The hospitality industry is a great place to earn experience and meet people. The work can be fun and reward you with some of the best days of your life. However, some locations will not allow you to work unless you have a seasonal work permit/working holiday visa. Obtaining this visa will make you a more desirable candidate as the employer is certain about the legality of your employment.

Volunteer Work

Although volunteer work does not pay, it promises an unforgettable experience in foreign locations. The accommodation and meals are usually covered by the organization. Volunteers are selected for a specific period of time and assigned to volunteer their services in many exciting industries. For instance, volunteers may be sent to work on organic farms during some seasons, in exchange for accommodation and meals.

Although this is not sustainable in the long run, volunteer work is a great opportunity for young travelers to experience other countries and cultures. Even though there is no pay, travelers usually do not spend too much. A basic sign up fee may be charged to cover room, food, insurance, etc. Compared to a usual tourist holiday, volunteer work is much more reasonable and rewarding. It offers a cultural experience like no other. Most tourists fail to engage with the local culture of the country. However, as a volunteer, you may discover an alternative immersive experience of travel.

Use Your Skills

Many travelers overlook their unique skills as a way to make money. For instance, you may be skilled at giving haircuts. Offer your services wherever you are, for a good sum of money. This is a great option as it does not require you to learn or invest in anything else. If you are skilled enough, it may be time to start turning it into an avenue of income.

Your skill may be massages, surfing, yoga, cooking, etc. Each of these can be practiced in any travel destination. Draw up an ad promoting your services and begin handing them out to a willing customer base. You can approach hostels and request them to pin up your advertisement on their notice board. This can attract other fellow travelers to avail your services.

What to Consider

Balancing an income and a traveling lifestyle is a difficult experience. Many travelers do not have the patience or passion to sustain themselves. Before you commit to a source of income to fund your travels, identify the following:

  1. The Purpose: The first aspect identifies the goal. A traveler may need funds to support their lifestyle, or save money while on the go. They may also want a more steady income in a job related to travel. Once you have identified your purpose of earning money, you can decide the next aspect, i.e. the method of earning.
  2. The Method of Earning: Although this article provides a wide range of professions to consider, the right method of earning is one that is most suited to your individual skills and interest. It must also satisfy your intention to earn. Find a way to earn money that you will most likely follow consistently. It is advisable to find something that will sustain your interest and allow you to follow your own personal dreams of travel.

You may also find many online resources that offer opportunities for people to provide their services online. However, there are also many fraud websites that ask for a large payment to sign up. Whether you are signing up for a freelance gig, volunteer work or any other type of work that promises a traveling lifestyle, verify the credibility of the platform. It is always advisable to ask for recommendations and trust those sites that have proved to be useful to a friend or relative. Use social media to gain insight into fraud websites.

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