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Posted on Feb 6, 2014 | 18 comments

Travel Finance: Travelers Share 20 Ways to Make Money While Traveling

Travel Finance: Travelers Share 20 Ways to Make Money While Traveling

Something we get asked over and over whenever our plans to travel the world come up is how we will afford to do it. “How will you make money while traveling?”, they ask. “How could you possibly afford to do this and keep going?” Well, the answer is actually simple. We will be making money while traveling.
You may be surprised by how many options there actually are for making money while traveling when you sit down and think about it. Many of the skills you have at home will translate to jobs anywhere in the world. Our top picks for ways to make money while traveling all provides you with cash in hand and some priceless stories to share on your travels.

Act in Movies and Television

Extras and small walk-on rolls are needed in movies and television worldwide. Most cities have agencies you can sign-up to do this kind of work for free. You just need a current picture and a way for them to contact you. In most cases, you will also need an address they can send your payment to.

Drew has been doing this for years and has gotten to be a part of some fun projects from music videos to advertisements to television shows to movies. Think of how fun it would be to do this to make money while traveling?

Make Money While Traveling

Jeremy of TravelFreak.net bartends around the world to fund his travels. Photo provided by Jeremy.

Bartend or Serve Drinks & Food

Have you ever spent any time in your life serving drinks, food, or tending bar? Those are skills you never forget and can take anywhere in the world. They can get you a job for an afternoon for some quick cash or help you stay put in a destination for a while to refund your travel account. Jeremy of TravelFreak has funded his worldwide travels through working in the best cocktail bars he can find. Bartenders are always in high demand and both of these jobs are a great way to meet locals while getting a discount on food and drinks.

I spent a few years in my twenties working at a Japanese restaurant serving sushi and sake. Drew did some bartending with a catering company in his twenties. We both plan on using these skills to serve food and drinks and bartend while on the road.

Become a Tour Guide

Many tours in foreign countries look to hire those who can speak other languages to meet the needs of their customers. Don’t want to get a job working for others? Become a self proclaimed tour guide and charge others to come along with you.

All you need is knowledge of the area you will be in. If you don’t have enough, pick up a tour book with the information you need. Park yourself in the area you will be touring that day and offer your services to others also seeking that destination. Take cash only and charge less than the commercial tours. You’ll get to spend the day out and about, meet new people, and walk away with cash in hand.

Build Websites

Have the skills to build websites for others? Kevin of Guess This City builds websites all year round while traveling. To do this he set up a web development company in his home town and stayed there for a year and half until it got off the ground. Once he started getting loyal clients he was able to hire a sales agent/PR/HR employee who now deals with the front end of the company. This has allowed him to run a profitable company and continue to make money while traveling throughout the year.

Construction Work

If you worked in construction back home or did all the handyman jobs successfully around your home, you can get hired to do construction while traveling, too. The great thing about being able to do construction work is many times you can work for just a day or two and get paid in cash at the end of the day.

Drew has been working in construction for years. He also does all of the work on our home. He’s replaced windows and doors, painted inside and out, helped me do landscaping, built furniture, installed insulation, and pretty much every other home task I’ve thrown at him. All of this experience will provide many possibilities to earn more cash while traveling.

Make Money While Traveling

Ron of Active Planet Travels worked on a cruise ship through the Hawaiian Islands. Photo provided by Ron. 

Cruise Ship Jobs

Want to see the world by ship while getting paid with your room and board covered?  Do you have a strong work ethic and good sea legs? Working on a cruise ship may be just the right job for you to have while traveling. It was for Ron of Active Planet Travels who worked on a cruise ship through the Hawaiian Islands for two contracts. Contracts are anywhere from 5-9 months with 7 days of work. Even though you will be working 7 days per week to make money while traveling, you will also have plenty of opportunities for fun, sun, and play.

English Editor

If you’ve got basic grammar and English skills you can work as an Editor for English  signs and menus. If you can proofread translations for menus, signs, and newsletters and create other English-language marketing materials you can be an Editor. You can actually earn good money doing this working for a business or doing it yourself on the side.

Drew loves editing. He catches mistakes like this all the time in signs and on menus. He said he’d be more than happy to be an English Editor while we travel through Asia for extra funds.

Flight Attendant/Pilot

For a more committed travel job, you could become a Flight Attendant or Pilot. Mary Jo of Traveling with MJ first got interested in travel blogging while working as a Flight Attendant. Her travels from her job were the start of her posts she shared with others. She continues to work as a flight attendant to this day while getting the opportunity to see the world. Being a Pilot could provide you with these same opportunities.

Make Money While Traveling

Working on a freelance article while at the airport. Photo by Drew Evensen.

Freelance Work

There’s a whole lot you can do freelancing from the comfort of your computer and wherever you happen to be on your travels. I do freelance writing while we travel for other websites and publications. You can do marketing, legal work, computer programing, virtual assistant, and pretty much anything else you can think of to do at your computer.

Tammy of Tammy & Chris on the Move does short term contracts for freelance consulting work with NGOs. Kristy of Kathmandu & Beyond works in the travel industry writing website copy, doing market research, and consultation. All of these jobs you can do freelancing and while traveling.

Odd Jobs

Have a pair of clippers in your backpack you use to buzz your own hair? Offer to buzz the hair of other travelers at the hostel you are staying at for $5 each. Are you really good at making large batches of food that’s incredibly tasty? Offer to make the other travelers in your hostel dinner for the night for a set price. Have some other skill you can offer up for a few extra bucks? Use it! We all have something we can do on the side to create some quick income.

Open an International Ebay or Etsy Store

Any time we travel any where, people always want us to bring stuff back to them. You know those aren’t the only people wanting products from that location. If you are going to be in an area for a while, open up an Ebay or Etsy store selling trinkets and bobbles from the destination you are visiting. You can pick up items for cheap in local market places made by locals to list in your international store and turn a nice profit.

Pick Produce on a Farm

Follow summer around the globe by picking produce on farms. There are many online sites that can help you find these kinds of jobs. Try PickingJobs for a huge list of jobs picking produce around the world.

Resort Jobs

Resorts require a lot of employees to keep them moving smoothly. Resorts routinely hire travelers from other countries all over the world. You could work the front desk, in their bar or restaurant, as a lifeguard, daycare, activities, entertainment, and so much more.

Sell Your Body

Bret Love of Green Global Travel suggests selling your body. You know, for science. You actually can sell your body for science to make some cash while being a nomad. You can sell your plasma for about $20-60 a donation, depending on where you are. Donate your eggs or sperm. Eggs go for $5,000 to $10,000, while sperm only goes for $30 to $200 per pop. You can sign up for paid clinical trials. How much you get depends on the trial.

Social Media

With Social Media work all being done on your computer you can do it from anywhere in the world, as long as you have your own computer and an internet connection.  That’s what Trisha from Are We There Yet? does to help fund her travels. You can get a regular job doing social media or set up your own business doing it for others. With Social Media being such a big driving force behind getting a business known these days, there is no shortage of possibilities that you can do to earn an income from Social Media while working remotely.

Make Money While Traveling

Anna taking pictures while traveling.

Take Photographs

Do you have a decent camera and have your photography skills improved while traveling? You’ve got two options to make money from photography. You can sell your photos on stock photography sites like Getty, iStock, or fotolia or you can offer your photography skills to businesses and individuals looking to have photos taken.

Anna of The Legendary Adventures of Anna does 30 minute sessions that include 6 photos for $150. If her client wants more than 6 photos, she charges $25 per additional photo. If you are just getting started and looking to build up a portfolio, you can tell potential clients to “pay what you wish”.

Teach English as a Second Language

A really popular work option for travelers is to teach English as a second language.  You will need to stay in one place for a while, but it will give you time to explore that area in depth while building your travel fund back up. The catch here is that English needs to be your first language. Having a TEFL/TSOL or ESL certificate can help you get hired for this job, but isn’t necessary. There are other ways to teach English without working at a school by doing private tutoring or offering conversational English skills at businesses, colleges, or any other place you can think of.

Translator

Know how to speak more than one language? Great! You can be a translator like Zofia of The Picktures.  You can get a job translating with a company in the area you are visiting or you can offer translation services to others as a way to earn some cash on the side.

Travel Consultant

Travelers contain certain skills on knowing how to travel that not everyone possesses. Use those skills to be a Travel Consultant and help others plan their best travel adventures. Mike and Anne of HoneyTrek use their knowledge and experience they gained during traveling for 675 consecutive days around the world. They now help other travelers get on the road and to make their trip as smooth and safe as possible, no matter their travel budget or where they want to travel in the world.

Vacation Nanny

Many families would like a little extra help when they travel with little ones. They’d also like a chance to truly relax and get some time with just the two adults. This is where a Vacation Nanny comes in handy.

In exchange for all of your travel expenses and a daily rate, a Vacation Nanny can drop into a family’s vacation like Mary Poppins, giving parents a chance to have a vacation, too. Offer up you expert travel adventure skills of snorkeling, swimming, snowboarding, or whatever activity that best suits the destination that the children would love to go on. Being flexible is key to being a Vacation Nanny. With on-location childcare literally available right next door, you can expect parents to take full advantage going out at night or running out for an impromptu massage.

You can start your own business providing Vacation Nanny services or get on board with one of the many agencies available for these services.

Surprised to not see become a Travel Blogger on the list? As any Travel Blogger would tell you, you have no idea how much work it is. Now that we know, we wouldn’t wish that amount of work on anyone. We also would never give up being Travel Bloggers.

What other ways do you know of to make money while traveling?

All photography by Kimmy Hayes © 2013, unless otherwise noted.
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About Kimmy Hayes


Kimmy Hayes is the founder and editor-in-chief of AfterGlobe; a site on becoming debt free and traveling the world as a married couple. In 2012, she planned and coordinated her own do-it-yourself destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui while serving as a moderator for the on-line community, The Knot. She is passionate about traveling to experience new cultures, snorkeling the waters of the world and reading with her toes in the sand.

18 Comments

  1. Hey Kimmy, some great suggestions here for earning money while traveling. Another one would be to try and arrange a remote working arrangement with your current job.

    I know it may not be suitable for everyone but if you like your current job it makes sense to try and arrange something.
    Jason recently posted…26,000 Air Miles and a Free Upgrade in 1 YearMy Profile

  2. Love this piece! I’m going to go ahead and check out those stock photo websites that you listed. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Rachel recently posted…Abraham Lake, Alberta RockiesMy Profile

  3. I’m a little bit obsessed with the idea of bringing clippers and doing hostel buzz cuts. When I was last in London I was desperate for a proper hair blow dry and of course my hostel didn’t have a hairdryer. I bet a girl with a hairdryer, a hair straighter,a curling iron, and a big bottle of TSA-defying hair glossing serum could make a fortune! I suck at drying my own hair anyway – I would totally pay for someone better than me to do it and I’d pay even more for someone to straighten it and make me look like I got my act together.

  4. A really useful compilation of the ways of earning money on the road. Most of them does not even require special talent. Thanks for sharing!
    Gabor Kovacs recently posted…An island so hard to leaveMy Profile

  5. For travellers wanting to come to Australia we are a nation of dreadful coffee snobs so doing a barista course and learning how to use those big Italian expresso machines is a great way to make money. Inner city cafés are always advertising baristas. If it’s hard to find a course in your hometown it’s easy to find weekend ones here – just factor the cost into your budget
    Jo recently posted…Three things that surprised me about IstanbulMy Profile

  6. Annndd… Jobs like this is exactly what I talk on my site! Traveling is amazing, but it’s even more amazing if you can make some cash as you bop around the world. Cheers to being a digital nomad / someone who works abroad.

    Peace, Love and Travel On! <3
    Where in the World is Nina? recently posted…Freelance Freak: Work Online to Travel LongerMy Profile

  7. While I love most of these ideas, some of them don’t seem appropriate in some countries. I don’t think you should take a construction worker or bartender job, for example, if it’s taking a job that a local person could do. Just my two cents…
    Rachel recently posted…A racism expiration date?My Profile

  8. What a great article. So many inspiring options and interesting people…

    Have a great day wherever you are and whatever you are up to.

    Christina
    Christina recently posted…Travel Ireland On A BudgetMy Profile

  9. Would love to travel this way with children. I think it would be a humbling experience for my kids. Are there any people doing this successfully?

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