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25 Ways to Make Money While You Travel

One of the biggest obstacles that stands in the way of most people’s dreams to travel the world is money. You can only save up so much and as soon as you hit the road, your travel fund starts to quickly disappear. The solution is to find a way to make money while you travel. This means that you can keep your adventures going for months or even years and have the freedom to see everything you want to see.

There are so many ways to make money while you travel and the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Here are 25 ideas to get you started:

25 Ways to Make Money While you Travel

1. Be a Web Designer

In this day and age, a business doesn’t really exist until it has a website and there is a huge demand for people who know the basics of WordPress, HTML and Web Publishing. If you have the ability to put together a decent website, you can make money while you travel by offering your services as a freelance web designer.

You will probably have to start small, working for cheap in the beginning to build up your portfolio and improve your reputation online. However, once you create an established name for yourself and refine your skills, you will be able to spend your days designing websites for your clients from a beach hut in Thailand or an internet cafe in Amsterdam and make money while you travel.

9 Steps to Starting Your Freelance Web Design Business

Simon and Erin at Never Ending Voyage travel the world with their web design business, check out their great blog for some insight into the lifestyle.

2. Be a Freelance Writer

This is the chosen path for yours truly and the best way for me to earn money while travelling the world. There are many different types of freelance writing you can do, from writing sales copy for websites to writing travel guides to writing newsletters and blogs for various companies. I like to do a little bit of everything, as it keeps the money flowing in and keeps things interesting.

digital nomad
Doing some writing work in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Just like freelance web design, this is another source of income that won’t happen overnight and needs to be built up over time before you can make money while you travel. It took me about a year to build my freelance writing income from side gig to full time, by writing in my evenings and weekends outside of my “day job” while working abroad in England.

How to Become a Freelance Travel Writer

How Working Abroad Helped My Start My Dream Business

2. Teach English

English is becoming the global language and there is a very big demand for people around the world to learn it so that they can improve their education and career prospects.

teach english abroad
Teaching English in Armenia – photo by G0h4r via Wikimedia Creative Commons

Many of the people who we meet on the road are English teachers who have been working abroad for many months or years. Most have seemed very happy with their jobs, as they get to work with people in a fun and challenging way and have the option to live abroad anywhere in the world. English teaching jobs are available in many countries throughout Asia, South America, Europe, Central America and elsewhere.

Some jobs require a Bachelors Degree, others simply require an English teaching certificate such as a TEFL. You could end up living in a hut in a village in Ecuador or in a modern apartment in Seoul, Korea, the possibilities are endless.

Dave’s ESL Cafe – A great resource for English teachers

A collection of Rockin’ Resources to Teach English Abroad

water village school
In Halong Bay, Vietnam there is a job available as an English teacher at this small floating school. No qualifications are required, although there is no salary. (But you get unlimited free fish!)

4. Work in Bars

Do you know that bar on the beach in Thailand or Tenerife that you absolutely loved during your last holiday? What if you could spend every night hanging out there, listening to the music and chatting to other travellers?

In a lot of popular backpacker destinations, bars and nightclubs will hire Western staff for short term stints. The only requirement is being able to speak English and handle a drink. Being friendly and outgoing certainly gives you an advantage, as well as having bartending experience.

This might not be the best way to experience the local culture, as most of your interactions will be with drunk tourists, but you will get days off for that and it can be a lot of fun as well as a great way to make money while you travel.

Life Behind Bars – Keep the Party Going by Bar Tending Abroad

How to Get a Bartending Job Overseas

5. Work as a Tour Guide

Are you comfortable speaking in front of crowds? Do you have a passion for history and culture? You could find yourself sharing stories about the ghosts of a haunted prison in New Zealand or the house where Vincent Van Gogh used to live in the Montmartre district of Paris.

There are many tour guide jobs all over the world, including walking tours at historical sites and in city centres as well as bus tours, bike tours, outdoor adventure tours and much more. You could find a job taking visitors on a 45 minute walk around an old castle in Scotland or taking them for a two week camping trip through the Rocky Mountains of Canada, all depending on your preference and your area of expertise.

halong bay vietnam money
Our tour guide showing us that the rock in Halong Bay we kayaked through is pictured on the Vietnamese 200,000 Dong note.

The downsides of the job might be the stupid questions you get asked and having to deal with lazy travellers who expect you to figure everything out for them. However, the upside is getting to make money while you travel and spend your time in a location that is fascinating to you, sharing its wonders with others.

Tour Guide Jobs – Working Abroad Magazine

Life Working Abroad as a Tour Guide

6. Work in Hotels or Hostels

There are millions of hotels and hostels around the world and each one needs anywhere from a few staff to dozens to keep it running smoothly. If you have customer service and hospitality training and experience, you could find yourself working at reception or as a concierge, or there are also jobs as cleaners, bellhops, kitchen staff, wait staff, event hosts and much more.

It’s up to you whether you would prefer to work in a laid back youth hostel or a five star resort, as each will have its advantages or disadvantages and will offer a different experience.

So You Want to Work in Hotels

7. Work as Crew on a Boat

Imagine living on a yacht or a sailboat, going wherever the wind takes you and spending weeks, months or even years exploring tropical islands and sun-soaked shores.

Boats at Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada
Boats at Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

There are many boat owners who love to take large voyages and will hire you on to work on the boat in exchange for accommodation, food and the chance to sail the seven seas. Some might ask for a basic amount of sea-faring knowledge, but others will likely be willing to train you in the art of swabbing the deck and hoisting the main sails. As long as you don’t suffer from sea sickness and can get along with people in a confined space for long periods of time, this can be an exhilarating way to see the world.

There are many websites out there that help you find crew positions on boats, such as Find a Crew, Crewfile and Crewbay.

8. Become a Diving Instructor

Gaining a diving instructor qualification will give you a great opportunity to work in many gorgeous beach locations all over the world and it pays decent money too. Your daily routine will consist of taking travellers on underwater expeditions and hanging out on the beach, with no doubt some partying mixed in there.

Whether diving becomes a lifelong passion or just a way to stay on that idyllic Thai island for a little bit longer, this is a great job that will enable you to make money while you travel.

How to Become a Certified Scuba Diver

PADI Scuba Diving Instructor Courses

9. Work as a Translator

Do you speak a second language? Or two or three? There is quite a demand for translation jobs online and also offline as well. Just take a look at the translation section of any freelance website and you will see many companies willing to pay you to translate their web copy or other materials into another language.

This job requires quite a bit of skill, because you need to be very fluent and have strong writing skills in the language you are translating into. However, if this comes naturally to you it can be a sweet way to work remotely and travel the world.

Translation jobs are often posted on freelance websites such as Odesk, Peopleperhour and Elance.

10. Work for a Charity

Charities operate around the world and they need staff, whether it is for fundraising, administration or hands-on-labour. No matter what cause you are interested in, whether it is rehabilitating orphaned baby elephants, providing clean water for a village or delivering medical supplies to remote hill tribes, there is likely a charity out there that you can team up with to make a difference in the world.

african ladies
Work abroad for a charity to help people in developing countries. – photo of refugee women in Chad by Mark Knobil via Wikimedia Creative Commons

If you already have a set of skills or a trade, you will be able to put them to good use to help a charity. For example, if you have a medical degree Doctors without Borders provides medical aid to warn-torn regions and developing countries. If you have carpentry skills, Habitat for Humanity helps to build affordable housing in impoverished regions.

How Can I Do Charity Work Abroad?

11. Pick Fruit

If you can handle a bit of physical labour and don’t mind working outside in the sunshine all day, a great way to make money while you travel is to pick fruit. When harvest time comes around in orchards all over the world, extra workers are needed to pick the huge amount of produce.

The nature of this work is impermanent and as soon as the last strawberry, apple or kiwifruit has been picked you will be essentially out of a job. However, if you time it well you will be able to make your way around season by season, staying wherever the picking is good and then moving on to the next crop.

Pickingjobs.com

Fruit Picking Jobs on AnyworkAnywhere

12. Pick up Seasonal Retail Work

Lee has retail experience as he has put it to good use on our travels on two occasions. In Christchurch, New Zealand and in St. John’s Newfoundland he got a temporary job over the busy Christmas season in an electronics shop, thanks to his passion for gadgets and his outgoing personality. Many retail stores will hire extra temporary staff in the weeks leading up to Christmas to handle the busy crowds of shoppers and since the position is short-term they won’t usually mind that you are a traveller.

bond and bond staff new zealand
Lee looking very enthusiastic about his seasonal retail job at Bond & Bond in Christchurch, New Zealand

If you do a great job over the season, they might even offer to keep you on afterward as a member of staff, which is what happened to Lee both times.

Get Hired for the Holidays – How to Get a Seasonal Retail Job

How to Turn a Seasonal Retail Job into a Permanent Position

13. Become an Au Pair

If you have experience working with kids, being an au pair or nanny can be a fantastic way to make money while you travel. You will be a live-in childcare provider for your host family, in exchange for room, board and a small salary.

Native English speakers are very sought-after as au pairs all over the world, as many host families want their children to speak some English. It will also give you a chance to improve your language skills. Your job will usually consist of taking care of the children, picking them up from school, helping them with homework, cooking light meals and performing other household duties. You will also have plenty of free time to study, socialise and explore the area where you are working.

There are many websites that will help you find au pair jobs, such as GreatAuPair.com, Aupair.com, and Aupairworld.net.

14. Work on a Farm

In farms all over the world there is a never ending daily array of things to do, from milking the cows to feeding the chickens to chopping wood. If you can work hard and don’t mind getting your hands a little bit dirty, then you can make money while you travel by working on farms.

goat in new zealand
I’m not trying to goat you into anything, but working on a farm might not be a bhaaad idea

It is also a great way to escape beyond the cities and the tourist track and to experience what the rural side of life is in the country you are visiting. It might help to have experience on a farm, but it is really not necessary as most of the tasks you will be doing will be simple manual labour.

Farm Work Abroad – Gap360.com

NeedaFarmer.com

15. Become a Travel Photographer

It’s a big and beautiful world out there and there is an infinite number of amazing travel photographs to be taken. Someone has to capture the beauty of a sunrise on a remote alpine peak or a fisherman asleep on his boat on a slow-moving river, maybe it can be you.

travel photographer on a beach
Lee on the beach with his camera, in search of the perfect shot

Being a successful travel photographer doesn’t happen overnight, but if you can develop your skills (no pun intended), build up a portfolio and sell your pictures, it is a great career that will allow you to make money while you travel.

How to Become a Freelance Photographer

How to Make Money as a Freelance Photographer

16. Do Your Job… Abroad

If you already have an awesome career and a great set of skills you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when figuring out how to make money while you travel. You can simply see if you can find a job in your field in another country. Whether you are a chef, a carpenter, a fire fighter or a nurse, you can probably make it happen.

One of your biggest obstacles will be obtaining working permits, so check out our list of what countries offer working holiday visas so that you can start planning.

17. Start Your Own Business

Starting up your own business gives you a lot of freedom, as it allows you to set your own goals and make your own hours. If you can start a business that you can manage online, this will allow you to work from anywhere in the world and lead a digital nomad lifestyle.

Some great resources for digital nomad entrepreneurs are the Digital Nomad Academy and Thrilling Heroics.

18. Become a Successful Blogger

You have a unique voice, so share it with the world online. If you can create a blog that captures the attention of readers and generates plenty of traffic, it is possible to generate an income from it so that you can make money while you travel.

make money while you travel as a digital nomad
Working on Global Goose by the Mekong River in Luang Prabang, Laos

It takes a while to build up your blog to the point when you can earn significant revenue from ads or sponsored posts, so be patient and stick with it. The most successful blogs are honest and passionate, so make sure you write about something that is important to you and really let your opinion shine.

Here are some words from the legendary Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Non-Conformity about Success as a Travel Blogger.

How to Create a Successful Travel Blog in Your First Year of Blogging by Nomadic Samuel

19. Dropship

Dropshipping is a method of retail in which the merchandise is shipped to the customer directly from the supplier or the warehouse rather than from the retailer. Essentially, it means that the retailer never comes in contact with the goods themselves. When the product is sold, the retailer passes along the order to the supplier who then ships the product to the customer.

This method has a lot less risk, because as the retailer you don’t have to buy the product at all until it has sold. The supplier will be responsible for the packaging and shipping of the goods, so you will save a lot of money.

Your job as the retailer is to design a website for the product and promote it, as well as coordinating with the supplier. If done well, this can be a very profitable way to make money while you travel.

How to Start a Dropshipping Business

20. Find Freelance Work that You Can Do

I’ve already mentioned freelance webdesign, photography, translation and writing, but these are not the only types of freelance jobs that you can do remotely to make money while you travel. There are a lot of different freelance jobs out there, including software development, marketing and PR, SEO consulting, business support and much more.

Take a look at some of these freelancing websites and if there is something out there that you can apply your skills to, you can turn it into your opportunity to make money while you travel.

Check out freelance jobs on Odesk, Elance, Peopleperhour and more.

21. Busking

make money while you travel by busking
Two young buskers I met on my first day in Auckland, New Zealand

Do you have an entertaining talent, such as playing the guitar, singing or juggling? Do you have the confidence to perform your heart out on in a public square or on a street corner and attempt to charm passersby into dropping a few coins into your hat? Busking can be a fun way to make a bit of money while you travel.

In some places, you might need to be approved for a busking licence, but in other parts of the world you can simply find a good spot and start playing. Remember, your friendly smile has as much influence as your music in encouraging people to donate to you.

How to Make Money Busking

22. Do Event Work

When a big event comes to town, such as an arts festival, sporting event, cultural fair or concert, dozens of helpers are usually required to prepare the area, set up the stages, sell tickets, manage crowds and perform other tasks. This is often a short term gig which begins with festival preparations and ends when the festival has been cleaned up and packed away until next year.

If you time it well, working at an event can be a great way to make money while you travel and you could even keep your trip going by working at many different events throughout the season or by following around a show or a festival that travels to several locations.

Overseas Job Centre Guide to Music Festivals (Scroll down for paid work)

Job Monkey – Festival Jobs

23. Work on a Cruise Ship

A cruise ship is pretty much like a giant floating city that is designed for entertainment and pleasure, with spas, restaurants, nightclubs, coffee shops, shopping areas and much more. There is such a huge array of different types of jobs on a cruise ship, from Children’s Activity Leader to Banquet Manager to Bartender to Tour Coordinator, that you are sure to find something that matches your skills and interests.

work on a cruise ship
Working on a cruise ship is a great way to make money while you travel

Working on a cruise ship is a pretty sweet gig. You get all your food and accommodation provided for and you will be able to sail around the world to some amazing locations. Cruise ship work contracts are usually for three to six months, depending on the cruise company and since your expenses are paid for you will save a lot of cash (unless you spend it all when the ship stops in port).

Work On a Cruise Ship

CruiseLinesJobs.com

AllCruiseJobs.com

24. Do Construction Work

If you have construction skills, this might be a great option for earning a little money while you travel. The construction industry usually hires people for short term work and will pay them under the table, which means that there are many opportunities for travellers to earn some quick cash.

Craig, one half of the amazing Australian work and travel duo Caz and Craig from yTravelblog, worked in the construction industry for 4 years which gave him the portability to travel and work abroad.

 How to Find Overseas Construction Jobs

And if all else fails…

25. Read Backpacker Palms

When we were in Ho Chi Minh City, we saw an interesting scam (I mean business plan) to make money while you travel. We were sitting around drinking beer on the plastic tables in the street and a middle aged woman was walking around asking people if they wanted to have their palm read.

Apparently she was a psychic back in the UK and has “the gift”. One of the young backpackers that we were drinking with paid the woman $10 to read her palm! If you have psychic powers, or you are just really good at telling semi-drunk backpackers vague truths that they can apply to their own lives, perhaps this could be the way you make your travel fortune.

What ways have you found to make money while you travel? Share your stories and ideas with us in the comments!

featured photo credit: jcoterhals via photopin cc

About Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.

24 comments

  1. As a writer, my favorite option is, of course, freelance writing 🙂 I would also suggest looking beyond places like Odesk and Elance, and using sites like Manta.com and Google to research prospective customers, so that you could earn even more – though it could take longer, of course. Carol Tice of MakeALivingWriting.com talks a lot about finding your clients without looking at ads. Besides that, I like that you explained here that it takes a long time, that making a full time living when you set off on your own doesn’t happen overnight. People who want to travel long-term and rely on income from many of the suggestions here will probably be better off taking time to prepare in advance. Great list!

    • Great stuff Ayelet. Between us we have done a few of these ourselves on the side of the freelance writing while we built up the business. So you can even do one, while you build up the other.

  2. Freelance writing and web design are on the rise for sure, a very thorough list of making money abroad. Actually I can’t think of many more!

  3. Woah this site is wonderful i prefer reading through your content regularly. Keep up to date the favorable do the job! You recognize, lots of people want all over because of this facts, you can make them tremendously.

  4. Most people new to the dropshipping business don’t think much about shipping costs and how it can cut into their profits. Remember your shipping charges and be sure to pass them on the your customer. Some use a flat rate shipping charge that can cover most and provide a small profit when more shipping charges are collected and not used.`’

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  5. Great Job List. I love the Photography part of it as I did at one time make so much whilst in Canada photo taking and making extra bucks.

  6. Kelly, This is excellent. I’ll definitely be referring others to this post as they ask me how to make the finances work while traveling.

    Only one other to add…don’t work while you travel, get after it before you go. Two jobs and only a few nights out during the 6 months leading up to your extended trip abroad.

    Whatever you do, it is worth it…plan, save, and go!

    Jeff

  7. Thanks for the great advice!

    I’m currently trying the travel blog way, but would totally do most of the ones sugested for the experience (like the sail boat – when am I going to own one? Having the expeience and freedom of sailing without the financial commitment sounds awesome!)

  8. Thanks for the tips. I’m always looking for ways to make more money online. I enjoy writing, so I do freelance writing jobs on oDesk and also write SEO texts on Trivago.

  9. Make money online
    Its true 90-95% of people who try to make money online fail. That’s OK- there is a way around it Here’s How You Do It: http://www.hypertracker.com/go/aaronandshara/pimsg/

  10. Freelance reporting, day trading and importing/exporting are also good options.

  11. And just to add up to the list, one best way to make money every after travel is to make a post about your travel adventure. Travel blogs that contain tips and great photos really capture the people’s attention, and if you’re lucky, all the resorts or establishments you’ve been to that were mentioned or featured in your blog might even give you great deals or free stuffs in exchange for the feature.

    This happened to us one time in Thailand, and we were given an extra day free for our next return. Great deal as well.

  12. I just don’t agree with the “freelance” option, I’ve tried and it’s really complicated, it is too competitive, and it would be something that would need of our time (a lot of it) in order to generate income, when one travels want to know places, in conclusion: Or you go outside and know places or stay at the hotel “freelancing” until you have enough money to move to your next destination.

    • Hi Pato,

      You are right, there are challenges to freelancing and travelling at the same time. However, it’s not impossible. It’s what I have been doing successfully for the last 4 years. The trick is to travel slowly, so you have enough time to get the work done as well as see the sights in your destination. We never leave a destination until we feel we have seen all of the things we want to see… if we get busy with work we just stay longer.

      -Kelly

  13. This was really fun to read. I love to travel and I just returned from living in Taiwan for two years. If I can do more traveling I will. The problem is I would have to find some type of freelance work to do. I don’t want to teach English but, I am interested in software development. Maybe that is something I could look into. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Kelly (in reference to your reply to Pato 4/15/15), that’s awesome that you’re able to do that! I’m wondering if you have suggestions on where to stay (in general) as you’re traveling and writing? Are you able to find good, inexpensive accommodation wherever you visit? Thanks for any suggestions!

  15. This is the most helpful post that I have ever found! I love it! I have passion for traveling and moving as a general. I sport a lot, I like hiking, sailing and many other activities! I love to take photographs and I have already many that I need to share with the world! I really want to move to another country for longer but I am afraid that I will not be able to earn enough money and as a general this is stopping me from moving abroad. Reading your post made me think how many wonderful opportunities there are for working abroad. Being a traveling photographer… may be a traveling blogging photographer and freelance writer will be possible for me! Thanks for sharing! ! really appreciate your post! 🙂 Greets!

    • Why would you say that? I did the same thing while I was I. France and loved the experience and I actually made decent money. If you don’t like manual labor then it’s not for you but now I can say to people that I picked the grapes in that wi e you are drinking

  16. Pick fruit? I think you’d have to be pretty hard up for money to consider that one!

  17. I took a job abroad in China in my normal day job as a way of combining travel and work. Another idea is to have some online idea which continues to function even when you’re off doing stuff. I personally make commission from several sites selling art, and just leave them to run by themselves.

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