If your dream is to travel the world or live in a different country, you don’t have to be rich to be able to do that, nor do you have to save $30,000 (or any other amount) before you can start your journey.
Obviously you need enough money (or enough miles) to travel to your first destination in order to travel as well as some money for food, accommodation (if you are planning on staying in paid accommodation), and some other basic necessities, and this amount will vary based on where you are planning on traveling to, where you want to be staying, whether you already have work/a way to earn extra money lined up, what your lifestyle is, and many more factors.
Wandering Earl is a successful and well-known travel blogger who left home and flew to Bangkok in 1999 with $1500 in his bank account and has been traveling off and on ever since. Read more about his story, his finances, and his timeline here.
Once you plan, budget, and save up for this first part of your journey, there are ways to earn extra money while traveling to sustain your lifestyle and your travels. Surely you will find some opportunities more suiting to your own skill set preferences than others, but the bottom line is, where there is a will, there is a way and if you want to be able to earn money while traveling, there are opportunities to do so 🙂
Here are 5 things you can do to make extra money while traveling:
If you are planning to travel and you have a home that you are leaving behind, why not use it to make some money and become a host on Airbnb and rent it our while you’re gone. There is no charge to list your poperty with Airbnb, you only pay a 3% fee when you receive a successful booking and Airbnb handles all payments ensuring you get paid and on time. You can get paid via direct deposit, Paypal, or check.
If you know for example that you will be gone for 3 months next summer, you can set the availability in your calendar only to those days and easily manage your availability & reservations and you can connect with people who are interested in staying at your place before you rent it out to them as well as check out profiles, reviews and recommendations to determine who your next guest will be.
Some key benefits of renting your property out through Airbnb versus listing it as a private rental (through sites like Craigslist, etc.):
- Airbnb has a host guarantee covers for you up to $1,000,000 in property damage for eligible bookings – at no additional cost to you
- You get lots of exposure through Airbnb search results to a worldwide audience
- There is an option to have a photographer sent out to take nice photos – at no charge
- Airbnb reviews help you build a real reputation
- Your listing automatically gets translated in 25 languages
- You can set seasonal pricing & fees from within your account for each property and pricing will automatically be calculated based on the dates someone enters to possibly rent your place
To see how much you could potentially earn by listing your property, head over to Airbnb and check out other similar listings in your area.
Let’s look at an example: You currently live in a 1-bedroom apartment in Miami, Florida and you are planning a 5-month trip to Southeast Asia. However you have a mortgage to pay (or you are in a lease and have to continue to pay the rent), so you are going to list your apartment with Airbnb to rent it out.
You look at comps and decide to list it for $85 per night or $550 per week for long-term rentals. Out of the 22 weeks that you will be gone, you rented out 13 weekly rentals at $550 and 35 nightly rentals at $85, totaling $10,125. From this revenue, 3% Airbnb fees would total $303.75, leaving you with $9.891.25. You could have one of your neighbors or friends manage the tidying up and key delivery for a small fee and make a decent income while you are traveling.
I have a few friends who have had great success with Airbnb and have now made it their primary source of income even when they are not traveling. You cannot only be a host if you have an entire place to rent out, but you can also rent out a room even if you are home but you have some extra space that you could convert into a stream of income. In fact, you can get very creative with Airbnb: People list their homes, apartments, tiny houses, boats, castles, islands, cabins, tents in their backyard, and more with Airbnb.
Teaching English abroad is a very popular way to work and earn extra money while traveling. There is a lot of demand for English teachers around the world for any age group from teaching English in elementary schools to University students. To be eligible for a work visa, most countries require you to have a Bachelor’s degree and be a native English speaker. But the exact requirements vary by country and even from school to school.
One thing that is highly recommend and required by many countries and schools is a TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign language)/TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certification, which you can earn by taking an accredited TEFL/TESOL certification class. During the class, you will learn how to effectively communicate and teach English as a second/foreign language and even get some practice if you decide to participate in an on-site course (versus online). Be sure to look out for a program that is internationally accredited by one of these organizations: NCFE, ALTE, English Profile, QuiTE, British Council, ACCET, ODLQC,ACTDEC, the College of Teachers, or the University of Cambridge.
Depending on where you teach English, you can earn a great income in comparison to the cost of living, allowing you not only to cover your expenses of living and traveling around a foreign country, but also give you the opportunity to save money each month. Some schools even provide housing as part of your employment benefit as well as reimburse you for your flight, giving you an even greater incentive to teach English abroad. Here is a fantastic World Comparison Chart for Teaching English Abroad that shows you a breakdown of an average monthly salary for ESL teachers, average monthly living expenses, free housing and other benefits, peak hiring season, sorted by country.
When you choose your destination, keep your travel plans in mind and try to find a country that is one of your top spots to visit and spend time in or is at least close by some other countries you would like to visit.
Here are some great sites where you may find a teaching job overseas:
To get the most out of your Teaching Abroad experience, be open-minded and flexible. If you are completely new to this idea and don’t know where to get started, read Top 5 Countries to Make the Most Money Teaching English Overseas.
There are some key benefits to freelance work that are even more beneficial when you want to earn money while you travel as it allows you to work from anywhere and you can make your own hours and have a flexible work schedule.
Depending on your skills, you may be able to make a significant income with freelance work:
Elance is the world’s leading platform for online employment. While it helps businesses hire, manage and pay professionals, it is an opportunity for you to find freelance work for a wide variety of projects.. Over 100,000 businesses use Elance to find Web Developers, Graphic Designers, Writers, Marketers and more, so determine which skills you have that may be useful to others and look on the site for some potential work.
You can sign up on 99designs and submit designs on projects that business owners have posted from logos, to marketing collateral design, web app design, and much more. The project creator then reviews the different designs and can rate them and provide feedback until submissions reach the deadline. Each project has its own set budget and payment amount that will be paid to the designer who submitted the final design chosen.
Need some inspiration of some skills you may have that you aren’t thinking of?
- Teach a foreign language or teach English as a foreign language
- Write articles for a publication on a topic you are passionate about
- Be a brand ambassador and help companies spread the word
- Know a second language? Translate articles and other documents
- Proofread and edit books, magazine articles, and posts before they go into publication
- Research specific information and data online per client’s request
- Be an administrative assistant and work remotely to help manage an online start-up
- Provide customer service either over the phone or through live chat
Here is a great guide on getting started with Elance and start earning an income within a couple of weeks.
If you do earn money with freelancing, keep in mind that this is considered as self-employment and you are obligated to pay U.S. self-employment tax, which is currently at 15.3% (a Social Security tax of 12.4% and a Medicare tax of 2.9%) and must be paid in addition to regular U.S. income tax. If you don’t budget properly and/or pay estimated tax payments throughout the year, this may quickly add up to a high and unexpected tax bill when you file your income taxes.
Sell your creations
Create items, such as jewelry, art, decorations, and other handmade items and sell these locally (wherever you are in the world) or on Etsy.
Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods. The heart and soul of Etsy is our global community: the creative entrepreneurs who use Etsy to sell what they make or curate, the shoppers looking for things they can’t find anywhere else, the manufacturers who partner with Etsy sellers to help them grow, and the Etsy employees who maintain and nurture our marketplace.
The benefits of selling on Etsy include the reputation it has as a portal of handmade and unique items; your items will be exposed to a targeted audience that is already familiar and trusts Etsy versus starting out with your own personal website that people may be hesitant to buy from. In addition, Etsy has a high Alexa rank and has great SEO, so listings on Etsy show up higher in Google search results.
Travel blogging is certainly not a way to make money fast, but it is a fun and very rewarding way to generate an additional stream of income over time by sharing your experiences and helping to inspire others to travel, provide tips on destinations, share great things to do in certain areas, and provide resources for successful travel planning.
Here are some simple steps to start your own travel blog (some people would argue on the order of these steps, but I recommend putting the foundation in place right from the beginning, so you don’t miss any opportunities once you get some content on your site):
- Godaddy: If you would like to start a travel blog on a WordPress based content management system, head over to Godaddy (that is my favorite hosting provider) and sign up for one of their WordPress hosting plans (the Business Hosting Plan is recommended). You will also need a domain – if you sign up for one of Godaddy’s annual plans, you will receive a free domain with your annual hosting plan. Think of a domain name that represents you in your travels and is memorable and available.
- SeedProd: Find a coming soon plugin, which allows you to work on your site while visitors see a coming soon or maintenance page. My personal favorite that I use for all my new sites (and the one I used while working on TravelNerdNici.com) is SeedProd. You can use images, videos or slideshow to create a capitvating background. It allows you to include a countdown and progress bar to keep your visitors in the loop while under construction and let them know when to expect the site launch. And you can easily configure the plugin to allow your visitors to share your site on social media and display your social profiles as well as integrate your Coming Soon page with popular e-Mail Marketing platforms, including MailChimp.
- ThemeForest: Next you will need a WordPress theme, which will make up the design and layout of your site. There are thousands of free themes on the internet, some of which are pretty great. I still recommend to make the investment of $30 to $60 and get a professional, purchased theme instead as it is generally more reliable and you have a greater level of support available for any customizations you want to make or for potential issues you want to address.
- PhotoDune: Once you have hosting and a theme that you like, find some great, high-quality photos to add to your site/blog, add some images to your homepage and your blog posts. PhotoDune has a fantastic variety of stock photos for very reasonable prices. Statistically, site visitors decide within 15 to 20 seconds whether they will stay on your site or exit. You only have a few seconds to capture their attention and great images can give your blog that attention-grabbing touch you need to keep visitors on your site.
- Social Media Sign-up: Sign up up for these most popular social networks and create your profile around your brand and travel style. I recommend using your domain name as your username on each network. Start following your favorite travel bloggers and engage with their content. Be sure to add all of your social networks to your SeedProd coming soon page, so people coming to your site can easily connect with you via social media.
- Hootsuite: Now that you have your social profiles set up, sign up for Hootsuite and schedule some content. At this point, all you can schedule is some updates on your upcoming blog, your current travel plans, some basic travel tips, and some of your favorite quotes. But it will allow you to slowly build some content on each social network, which will help you establish your brand and start to gain some followers who will look forward to your blog launch.
- MailChimp: E-mail marketing is a great way to engage readers and remind them of your blog while sharing new content and interesting updates. Start by signing up for a free MailChimp account and integrating it with your SeedProd plugin within WordPress, so you can start building your e-Mail list right away.
- Write, write, write: Now that you have lots of channels set up that you can share and expose your content on and that will allow you to get your content shared to generate some site visitors and loyal readers, get to work and write some valuable content to share with your readers. Once you have several blog posts, you can launch your blog (be sure to announce a launch date and generate some buzz on social media) and have your content exposed to the world wide web. 😉
Over time, you will generate a reader base that will benefit from your blog and start following either via e-Mail or social media. Once you establish a reputation, you may be able to score some speaking gigs, sponsored travel opportunities, and make some money by sharing referral and affiliate links on your blog of products and companies that you love and use.
You can travel and write from anywhere where you have an internet connection and in addition to making some extra money (eventually), it also gives you an opportunity to experience your travels on a deeper level by rethinking them while you share them with others and answer questions and comments on things you may have otherwise not even thought of. It also creates great memories that you can reflect on yourself in the future!
Have you worked abroad before? Or do you have some ideas of other ways (let’s keep it legal) to earn extra money while traveling?
Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you, will earn me a small commission and help me cover the expenses of running this site. I have had a great experience with each of these companies and genuinely recommend them. If you have any questions about any of these companies or products, let me know and I would be more than happy to answer them.