How To Be A World Traveler While Making A Living
Many people dream of traveling the world while making money. Unfortunately, practical concerns often get in the way of chasing after that dream. But what if we told you that there are ways to make a good living while experiencing life in different places? In this article, you’ll learn how to be a world traveler and the many ways by which anyone can see the world and make a decent income at the same time. Whether you are a working mom, a retired couple, or a young adult, some of these suggestions might be your ticket to a rewarding life on the road!
Can I travel and make money at the same time?
Yes, it is possible make money as you travel by generating revenue from things you already own, getting paid for things your already do, and working while on the road. You could also live off passive income streams or work as a travel blogger.
There are also other creative and unorthodox ways to earn money while traveling, such as taking advantage of deals offered by cruise lines and renting out your home while you visit other countries.
How can I travel with my family and make enough money to support them?
Many of the suggestion in this article are just as feasible for single, couples, and families with children. Whether you choose to rely on income streams you’ve set up at home, work your way around the world, or earn money online, you can make enough to pay for your family’s food, accommodations, travel expenses, and even school and medical expenses.
Some quick stats about making money while traveling
(CAN BE USED FOR INFOGRAPHIC)
|Top 5 highest paying travel jobs|
|Position||Average annual salary|
|Cruise ship director||$136,000|
|Top 5 countries to work in|
|Country||Average annual salary|
|United Kingdom||$45,691 for service professionals,$230,721 for managers|
|Japan||$48,177 for service professionals,$238,248 for managers|
|China||$276,400 for expat middle managers|
|Hong Kong||$45,050 for service professionals,$265,336 for managers|
|Turkey||$266,298 for expat middle managers|
|Top 5 places that pay you to move there|
|Saskatchewan, Canada||Non-payable tax returns starting at C$20,000 for graduates of qualifiedpost-secondary schools|
|Korea, Thailand and Vietnam||Good pay and low cost of living for English teachers|
|Alaska, US||$2,080 annual per capita investment income from mining royalties|
|Dublin, Ireland||Thousands in funding and low tax rates for qualified startups|
|Albinen, Switzerland||5,000 francs (about $25,200) for adults,10,000 francs (about $10,000) for children|
How can I make a lot of money while traveling?
The reality is that it can be difficult‒but not impossible‒to make a lot of money while traveling. Apart from the impermanence of your work situation, traveling entails continuous expenses, which can add up considerably.
That being said, it is possible to make a decent income while spending most of your time on the road, and even have a comfortable life. Check out this table of the wealthiest travel bloggers to see what we mean:
|Kiersten Rich||The Blonde Abroad||$1.5 Million|
|Annette White||Bucket List Journey||$1.5 Million|
|Daniel James||Dan Flying Solo||$1 Million|
|Mathew Kepnes||Nomadic Matt||$1-3 Million|
|Melissa Giroux||A Broken Backpack||6-figure revenues from blogging|
|Dave Bouskill & Debra Corbeil||The Planet D||$20k per month|
And for another perspective, take a look at how much the top Instagram travel influencers get paid for commissioned posts:
|Name||Location||Followers||Cost Per Post|
|Caio Castro||South America||19,105,750||$151,000|
|Garret and Jessica Gee||USA||2,644,151||$20,900|
We have to emphasize that these bloggers and influencers have been in the business for a long time and have spent years and years building the sizable followings they have. This enables them to benefit from several income streams, which you may not have initially.
So while you probably won’t be approaching these income figures right out the starting gate, it is theoretically possible to make quite a good living doing what you love, which is traveling!
How do you travel to new and unfamiliar places and still make money?
Making money while moving from place to place can be challenging, but it can be done! The many travel bloggers, writers, and lesser-known/unknown lifelong travelers that have committed to a life on the road are testament to that fact.
Most of the ways to earn money while traveling involve one of four categories:
- Things you own
- Activities you already do
- Work you do on the road
- A location-independent job
1. Earning money from things you own
If you’ve worked a regular job for many years, you’ve probably amassed a sizable array of personal possessions. Why not use them to generate funds that will enable you to see the world? Generating income from things you already own is a great way to sustain yourself on the road! Here are some suggestions on how you could do that:
1. Rent out your car
Unless you’re planning a cross-country road trip, your car, pickup, or van will likely remain in your garage while you’re away. Why not rent it out and make money from it? Companies such as Turo lets you rent out your vehicle to people that need them, and you get to set a minimum price for rental. You even get theft and damage insurance of up to $1 million and get it back with a full tank of gas.
2. Rent out your house or apartment
If you have a house, apartment, or condo, you would be surprised at how many people would be willing to pay for the privilege of staying in it while you traipse the globe! This could be as simple as asking friends or family if they need a place to crash or listing it in your local classifieds or Facebook Marketplace. You could also list it on Airbnb and get the benefit of $1 million worth of insurance against damages.
3. Sell your photos or videos
If you’ve been traveling for a while, you probably have a good collection of photos and videos documenting your journey. You can generate revenue from these by selling them to stock image websites such as Adobe Stock, Foap, or Shutterstock.
Keep in mind though that competition on established sites is pretty fierce, so don’t count on getting paid top dollar for your contributions right away. But if you have decent equipment and a good eye for taking photos, you could eventually find yourself with a pretty respectable income stream.
4. Publish an eBook
If you’ve published an eBook, you can continue to earn revenue from it even while you’re on the road. It doesn’t even have to be about travel. Almost any subject that you have knowledge about can be used as raw material for your book. And if it involves an especially popular niche, you could have quite a lucrative source of passive income on your hands.
Of course, you do have to lay the groundwork to earn from your creation. After writing your eBook, you will have to publish and promote it, and ideally, get some positive reviews. After that, it’s only a matter of waiting for the money to come in.
Some sites where you can sell your eBook are:
2. Earning money from activities you already do
Whether you are a career professional or a passionate hobbyist, you probably do a lot of things that people will pay you good money for. You could even make a decent chunk of change from activities that you would typically do while traveling such as driving, moving from place to place, or even keeping yourself in shape. Here are some ideas to explore:
1. Work as a courier
Are you planning on traveling from place to place frequently? Why not offer your services as a courier? People always need to transport items from one city or country to another, and they may not want to rely on a commercial courier service for some reason. This is a simple and effective way to earn some gas money or reduce your transport costs.
Some options to consider are Briddgy, which is ideal for transporting merchandise from one place to another, and Roadie, which is better suited for personal items and even pets!
2. Work as a translator
If you already speak the language of the country where you will be going, many opportunities to earn money will open up for you. One of the most lucrative is translation work, which is always in demand.
As a translator, you can work face-to-face with your clients or translate documents from wherever you wish. Remote translation has the advantage of more freedom to travel, although you still have to take on work in your chosen language.
You can get translation work from dedicated translation sites such as Gengo, OneHourTranslation, Unbabel, and TextMaster, and from general job sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com. You could also offer your services independently from your website or social media channel.
3. Become a brand ambassador
Do you have an active blog or social media channel, with tens of thousands of followers? You can leverage that popularity into a lucrative career as a brand ambassador! Companies are always looking for active, engaging, and charismatic people to help them promote their products and services, and you have a distinct edge if you already have a built-in following.
Being a brand ambassador comes with numerous perks, including the opportunity to try out new products and services before the general public. And in most cases, you get to keep the items you review. If you specialize in travel-related merchandise, you could have a sizable selection of travel gear without spending a cent, and get paid as well!
3. Working on the road
The simplest and most straightforward way to earn while traveling is by working a job wherever you are at any given time. Whether you are staying in a resort town for a few weeks or you decide to settle down in a new and unfamiliar city for half a year, getting a job is a great way to replenish your travel fund. Try these tips on for size!
1. Work outdoors
Working outdoor jobs is a time-honored way to make money on the road. If you love gardening, landscaping, farming, and picking crops, these jobs are perfect for you.
Keep in mind that most outdoor jobs require long hours of hard work, often under tough conditions. But if you are up to the challenge, the pay is usually pretty good.
2. Work in a bar or restaurant
Working as a bartender or a busser/wait staff has its perks. The hours are usually short, meals are free, and you could get generous tips. Of course, experience is always a plus, as is fluency in the local language.
3. Work in a resort or summer camp
Resorts and summer camps often need extra help during peak tourist season. Find out what’s available from local listings or approach the management personally. You will have an advantage if you have experience in a similar line of work, but this isn’t always necessary.
4. Do carpentry, electrical or plumbing work, or construction
One thing about learning carpentry or construction is that you almost always have job opportunities wherever you go. There is always some new structure being built in developing countries and they might have need for short-term hires if there is a shortage of local workers available.
5. Join a work exchange program
Work exchange programs don’t usually pay much, but they often offer job-related perks that might be attractive to travelers. Farm work may offer a share of the harvest, for example, while working at a hostel may guarantee you free food and accommodations.
HelpX is a good site to check out for a wide variety of farm, homestay, and backpacker work opportunities. You could also browse through the listings at WWOOF for work exchange offers on organic farms.
A quick word on working on the road: This is a bit of a grey area, because so much is dependent on the local job market, demand, and availability of qualified workers. There are also permits and licensing factors to consider. Make sure to check with local job boards and government offices to find out the requirements for working locally.
Foreigners are often at a disadvantage when going after jobs because employers are more likely to locals with a thorough grasp of the culture and language. You can generally increase your chances of getting selected if you know the language, have a special skill, or are willing to do jobs that few people will accept.
4. Earning from a location-independent job
This section is a grab-bag of tips ideally suited for digital nomads. It encompasses a wide variety of income-generating opportunities that require only your skills, a smartphone or laptop, and a decent internet connection. With these jobs, you can make money from anywhere in the world!
1. Become a travel blogger
For anyone who wants to earn while traveling, being a travel blogger might seem like a dream job. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy getting paid to do what they love to do? But as rewarding as running a travel blog is, it also entails a lot of hard work, fierce competition, and dry periods.
There are two keys to a successful travel blog: 1) a sizeable following and 2) several ways to monetize it. Anyone can put together a website and post pictures and copy about their journeys, but unless they have a good-sized audience base and different income streams, it won’t really pay off.
The good news is that there are many ways to monetize a blog. From affiliate marketing to PPC ads, selling merchandise and promoting products, locations, and services, there are literally dozens of ways to generate revenue from a travel blog.
2. Design and build websites
The immense popularity of the internet has resulted in a virtual explosion of online jobs. Designing and building websites is and will continue to be a high-demand field well into the future. If you have the necessary skills to create and improve the usability of a website, you will always be able to find a job from anywhere in the world.
Even one-off design and site building work can get you a good chunk of change that you can add to your travel budget. But the big bucks lie in working extended period contracts, which may involve building a website from scratch and maintaining and updating it as needed.
If you would like to learn the basics of web design, check out Skillshare for valuable courses that will help you get the ball rolling. And if you find that you want to get deeper into programming, Codecademy offers courses that teach you highly-marketable skills.
3. Do graphic design and illustration work
There was a time when graphic design and illustration required a huge desk, a trunkful of pens, brushes, and art materials, and a studio to contain them all. Not anymore. Nowadays, digital artists can produce stunningly beautiful art work from anywhere with their laptops and graphic tablets.
Graphic design and illustration work are ideally suited to the digital nomad lifestyle. You can always find remote work from jobsites such as Freelancer, Upwork, and LinkedIn, and even local clients in practically any travel destination.
4. Write for a living
The demand for websites also drives the demand for writers, translators, and transcriptionists. If you have excellent writing skills and a flair for language, you could easily leverage your skills into a profitable career that you can work on while traveling.
Again, jobsites such as Freelancer, Upwork, and LinkedIn are great places to find one-off work and even long-term contracts, but check out what’s available in the local market as well. Some clients prefer to work with their contractors face-to-face, so you might have an edge if the local talent pool is lacking.
5. Become a virtual assistant
If you don’t have any skills in writing or the arts, you could still get a job as a virtual assistant. Business owners and employers all over the world often need someone to field calls, answer emails, send out promotional materials, and coordinate with clients and providers. If you have excellent organizational skills, are results oriented, and have a “go-for-it” attitude, you could have a lucrative income source on your hands.
Many listings for virtual assistants are one-offs or short-term contracts. These might be better suited to your needs as a traveler, although it is probably best to work for several clients to earn more. The good news is that most jobs take up very little time, so you can take on many clients and still have enough free time to enjoy your travels while making good money.
Finally, consider teaching. If you have a special skill such as playing an instrument, dancing, or yoga, you will probably always have a few clients willing to pay you to teach them.
Some expertise in your chosen field is expected, but you don’t necessarily have to be the best dancer or guitarist online. Even if you are only marginally better than your students, you could get paid remote gigs if you have a pleasing personality and a knack for showing them how it’s done.
Some practical tips on traveling and working
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make money while traveling. Whether you have a money-generating skill or asset, a passion that you could continue to profit from, or a willingness to work on the road, you should be able to support yourself while moving from place to place.
But one thing we should emphasize is that it isn’t a good idea to hit the road without a clear idea of how you will be making money. Even with the possibility of finding work remotely or in any place you end up, there is far too much risk involved in traveling without having definitive revenue-generating plans lined up.
If you plan on being a digital nomad, you will have a much better chance of making money if you already have extensive experience, a well-established reputation, and a broad network of clients and industry contacts to fall back upon. Even so, it is best to have at least a couple of jobs lined up to hold you over for the next several weeks while you explore other options.
“What about travel blogging?”, you might ask. Again, this is something you should begin laying the groundwork for long before you pack your bags. The travel niche is extremely competitive, as you may have guessed, and there are hundreds of bloggers that have been at it for much longer than you have.
This isn’t meant to dissuade you from being a travel blogger if that is where your true passion lies. But it is important to have a realistic expectation of what life will be like when you commit yourself fully to living on the road. And a large part of that is laying a solid foundation that you can count on when things get rough and you’re miles away from home.
Finally, always leave yourself an out. At the very least, you should have reliable medical and travel insurance so that you are covered in case anything bad happens to you when you’re far away from your support networks. It is also a good idea to always leave an emergency fund in your bank account so that you could at least purchase a one-way ticket home in case your savings or work prospects dry up.
1. What are some unexpected expenses on the road?
Apart from food, lodging, and travel costs, you need to be able to cover medical expenses and any emergencies that may arise. And if you depend on the internet for work, you need to set aside some funds every month for your data plan.
It would also be nice to be able to afford the occasional restaurant meals, drinks, and entertainment. A lot of the allure of traveling is being able to enjoy the local culture, which can be difficult to do if you can only afford the most basic necessities.
2. How long can I support myself on (X) amount of money?
Many travelers tend to have an overly optimistic idea of how long their savings will last. It might be a good idea to figure out how much you need to cover only the absolute essentials every day and then figure out how much you will need with some extra perks added in.
For example, your “basics only” budget might include only meals, accommodations, and transport, while your “living large” budget may include restaurant meals, upscale hotel accommodations, and the like.
Your daily budget will probably come in somewhere in the middle, but don’t forget to allot some funds for emergencies and unforeseen expenses. Doing so should help you determine how long your savings will sustain you on your travels.
3. Could I just pack my bags and hope to get work locally?
As romantic as this plan may seem, it is generally a bad idea for many reasons. If you are traveling to a foreign country, chances are it will take several months before you get a working visa. This means you would have to work menial jobs for very low pay (often under the table), and there is an ever-present risk of getting caught and being deported.
Even if you can get work legally, think of all the other travelers that have similar plans. Unless you have a friend or family member who has a job waiting for you, you will be competing against all the other travelers. And if you are inexperienced, unfamiliar with the language or local culture, your chances of being accepted for the post are exceedingly slim.
4. How can I improve my chances of getting work locally?
Besides having a definitive contract for a job that you can start in as soon as you arrive, the best ways to get work locally are to:
- Know the local language
- Be familiar with the local culture
- Have a marketable skill
The first two will give you a definite advantage over other foreign job hunters. Even if you want to work as an English language teacher, knowing how to speak the local language fluently will give you an edge in a crowded and highly competitive market.
Familiarity with the local customs and culture is also beneficial. All factors being equal, a foreign job hunter who is well-versed in the intricacies of local tradition and customs will always be chosen over a candidate who only knows the local language and not much else.
Finally, make sure you have a marketable skill that employers are willing to pay for. This could be experience or specialization in a flourishing local trade, but it could also be something unique to your nationality or culture. For instance, you may be able to get work as a model if there is a strong demand for Caucasians or as a chef if you are an expert in your native cuisine.
5. Can I travel indefinitely?
Depending on your employability and your income generating prospects, you may be able to travel for as long as you are willing. But you need to always have some means to earn to sustain yourself, instead of merely relying on your savings. Unless you have unlimited credit or a huge inheritance, you aren’t likely to last very long without having some means to support yourself.
6. Do I need travel insurance?
Insurance is always good to have, and it can be just as beneficial whether you are traveling to another part of the country or the world. These can cover emergency medical expenses and even evacuation if necessary.
If you have personal health insurance and you aren’t traveling to another country, you might be sufficiently covered for any injury or illness that occurs during your trip. It is best to discuss the extent of your coverage with your insurance agent before leaving.
Regardless of what type of insurance you have, it might still be a good idea to get insurance specific to travelers’ needs. Most travel insurance fits into one of two categories:
- Vacation insurance
- Travel medical plans
Vacation insurance is virtually synonymous with travel insurance. It provides the most comprehensive coverage for travelers, covering medical emergencies, lost luggage, delayed flights, assistance, travel cancelation, and even emergency evacuations.
Travel medical plans provide even more specific medical coverage for overseas travel. It is a useful complement to your regular health insurance plan, most of which don’t cover‒or only partially cover‒medical costs during trips to other countries.
Travel medical plans primarily cover medical emergencies, emergency evacuations, and, in some cases, life insurance. Some even cover pre-existing conditions and allow for multi-trips and renewals. It is a good option if you aren’t interested in insurance protection for trip cancellations, delays, and luggage losses.
Some insurers also offer specialty insurance that covers specific risks such as evacuations, travel-related accidents, and rental car damage. Depending on your travel plans, you may want to get one or more of these policies to augment your travel insurance.
If there is one lesson that you can learn from all this it’s this: don’t rely on a single income-generating plan. No matter how much money you are making from it right now, there are just too many variables to ensure that you will be able to sustain yourself from a single revenue stream.
As most experienced travelers will tell you, diversity is the name of the game. Having more than one income stream will reduce your chances of going broke. It will keep you on the road longer and give you more opportunities to enjoy yourself.
Make sure to check out the rest of the site for more valuable travel tips and advice! Happy trails!