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14 Real Ways to Make Money While Traveling (and Tips to Get Started)

By Shane Dayton |

Hard to believe that “digital nomad” is a term that has become extremely popular for over a decade now. One of the amazing things that technology, particularly the growth of the internet, has done is open up the ability to travel frequently. This is because making money while traveling has never been easier.

Whether taking advantage of online work options or looking for traditional ways of making money while you are traveling abroad, there are plenty of options available.

If you feel the travel bug giving you the itch, then read on to see just how many options there are for earning some extra scratch. After all, there’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. If other people can figure out how to make money while they are traveling then so can you!

#1: Teach English

Teaching English is consistently one of the first options mentioned when it comes to how to make money while traveling. There’s a very good reason for that. English is a language that is in high demand.

While traveling there are plenty of opportunities to pick up more travelling money by teaching or tutoring others. In fact, this is an option that is often available both online as well as off-line.

In-Person Options

College or university towns are a great place to look for in-person jobs teaching English while traveling. There is a high demand for tutors for both short-term and long-term work.

While you will also need to check on local employment laws, in many places teaching at a private school, at a university, or as private tutor for a well-off family are all common in-demand options.

Teaching English is a great way to make money while traveling and if you intend to have your world travels last months or even years, this opens up options like a 3 or 6 month teaching job.

This allows you to really explore a city or area you love while making enough money to survive. Some of these jobs pay quite well for the area, which means you may even be able to save up some extra before you begin traveling again.

Consider taking the Let’s Tefl course that teaches you everything you need to know about traveling and teaching.

Get Start Learning with Let’s Tefl

Teaching English Online Options

The more common option for many people looking to get paid as they travel the world is to go the teaching English online route. Having a college degree in general, and a TEFL-TESOL (Teach English as a Foreign Language – Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a huge help in opening doors but they’re not necessary to earn money teaching English online.

A simple Google search shows just how many options there are, though some companies have very established reputations like Lets Tefl or TeachAway. This article shows eight of the best current options.

This can be a surprisingly lucrative way to earn money as most start around $14 and hour and go up to $25 an hour. If you want even more options and are interested in picking up a TEFL certification course before traveling check out this program. It is consistently rated one of the best options out there.

how to make money traveling

#2: Online Tutoring

Maybe you’re not comfortable teaching English. That doesn’t mean that some form of online teaching or tutoring isn’t still in demand. If you know any foreign language, there will be someone willing to pay you to learn it. Are you great at math, science, or some other subject?

As long as there’s a demand somewhere you can make money online while traveling around the world. Travelling and working like this can lead to fun moments where you are teaching Math/Spanish/French online to someone in the United States while hanging out in Thailand.

Online consulting falls into that category. As long as the coaching or teaching can take place via a video phone call you’re good to go.

#3: Remote Work Skills

There are plenty of skills that can be done from remote work positions. Any of these are things you can likely do to get paid while you are traveling. People who know programming, graphic design, video editing, or website design should have no problem finding someone willing to hire them for these particular skills.

This is work that can be done anywhere you have a good internet connection which is why having these skills makes it much easier for many people to make money while traveling around the world.

This just scratches the surface of what’s out there. Get paid to do work that can be done anywhere and if you don’t have any of these skills, look at training up! There are plenty of great online courses for about every type of skill imaginable.

Add in the sheer number of self-taught YouTubers, writers, photographers, and programmers and it is easy to see how many options people who want to travel really do have.

Spend a year picking up the types of skills that can help you get paid while you are actually traveling around the world.

#4: Freelance Writing

Speaking of jobs that you can do from anywhere, freelance writer is a job that is always available. This is also a skill that is always in demand. If you want to make money writing and travelling you would be following in the footsteps of many other digital nomads by becoming a freelance writer.

Find a few steady clients, build a freelance writing career as a side hustle, or even turn to content mills as an option. There are many different options when it comes to making a living as a writer. Because it’s a job that has been outsourced so often from offices it is an ideal job for travel.

Very few businesses or companies are nervous about hiring a freelance writer online. Most writing jobs aren’t done in person, in fact.

While writing for money full-time means needing to make sure you are earning a living wage, the definition of living wage changes depending where you go. This is where content mills can come in.

They might not be worth the time for the money as a full-time gig, but if you’re being rained out while staying in a place like Costa Rica, Thailand, or The Philippines during the rainy season, the cost of living is much lower, meaning even those writing sites can be a good way to earn a little bit extra while you are on walkabout.

Freelancing can be a great way to supplement your savings while traveling. It’s not the only option when it comes to writing for money.

Want a full course that teaches you how to make a living as a freelance writer?  Consider taking the Earn More Writing Course here.

Take the Earn More Writing Course

#5: Travel Photography

You’re traveling, so why not sell some of those awesome pictures you’re sure to be taking? Travel photography can be a great side hustle for earning money, though it’s important to keep expectations in check.

Professional photography is extremely competitive, and chances are you’re not going to cold pitch a winning set of pictures to National Geographic. Though if you ever find yourself in the right place, right time you mine as well try.

However there are hundreds of other outlets that want travel pictures. You can pitch travel magazines, both print and online.

Another way to go, and one that that many world travelers have figured out along the way, is providing photos for sites like Shutterstock or Adobe. These are some of the biggest sites always looking for new photos. They rely on freelance providers for more content to sell.

Do a little research before traveling. Look at photos that get a lot of attention and sales and think about all the photography opportunities you will have. Everything from famous sites to local wildlife and nature, or just keep your eyes open for the opportunities that show up every single day.

Good photos from around the world are always in demand and that provides you with yet another opportunity for earning money.

Take the time to combine this with a travel blog and YouTube to get the most out of every piece of content. You might be surprised just how many streams of income the digital nomad lifestyle can open up for you.

Sell Your Photos on Adobe Here and Sell Your Photos of Shutterstock Here

#6: Travel Writing & Blogging

how to make money while travelling

Since you’re going to travel the world already it only makes sense to look at travel writing and blogging, right? Well yes and no. There are tons of opportunities for making money with a travel blog or doing some travel-based writing , though the idea of a traditional travel blog is much harder to pull off then you might think.

Conventional travel writing is extremely competitive, but if you’re an excellent writer this can still be a good way to make money off of your adventures. Most travel bloggers find they need to be resourceful and look at multiple ways of monetizing that travel blog in order to earn enough cash to keep scratching that travel itch.

Creating a blog monetized via affiliate marketing (more on that in the next section), tied to a good YouTube channel, and a solid SEO game can can pay off in big ways. Going niche is a strategy that tends to be especially powerful. If you have a particular area you’ve fallen in love with or you feel like you know really well then make travel guides.

There are hundreds of thousands of people who want to visit places like Thailand, Japan, The Philippines, Europe, and they don’t know anything about the actual practical aspects of it. If you fall in love with a smaller more out of the way location that can be even better sometimes.

What do you think the competition is for a guide on the castles of Liechtenstein? How about traveling through Estonia? Or Morroco?

All of these are places with some really incredible sites and much less information on them. The demand might not be as high but if your $40 e-book or local travel guide is on the top of Google, chances are really high those people looking for that information will buy.

Don’t be afraid to pitch smaller local resorts or attractions to see if they would be willing to pay to commission a review or a series of blog posts about their resort or the location. Every little bit helps!

Combine your travel blogging with affiliate income, YouTube videos, and photography for the best results – not to mention a set of useful skills that can be used anywhere.

Learn How to Start a Travel Blog Here

#7: Affiliate Income

Affiliate income is often a major part of how frequent world travelers make bank while traveling. This provides not only a steady monthly income but when affiliate marketing is combined with a good website, social media following, or YouTube following it can create a long-term stream of money or safety net.

Building a solid steady affiliate income needs to start well before any globe-trotting adventures begin. Building a high traffic website takes a lot of time and effort. If all those hours results in thousands of dollars a month going straight to the bank account every month whether you work or travel, that makes it worth it, doesn’t it?

The problem is trying to figure it out yourself. While possible, you can shave years off the process by going to experts who have built giant affiliate sites or nailed the process over hundreds of moderate earning sites.

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There are two paid classes/systems that really stick out as being systems that are head and shoulders above the rest right now.

There’s the Income School system run by the guys at Income School (shocking, I know) which has a pretty incredible step by step program along with a private community where they frequently update with the newest tactics and adjustments to what they teach.

The famed Authority Site System from the guys over at Authority Hacker is the other program that will help you become a superstar when it comes to building profitable websites and solid SEO that will boost you up in the world of Google.

Both of these courses comes from people who have proven many, many times that they know how to make websites that will earn money online. Join one, or both, and put the teachings into action and you will quickly join the ranks of people who actually don’t have to worry about money while traveling.

Check Out Income School Here or Try Authority Site System Here

#8: Don’t Underestimate YouTube

youtube while traveling

YouTube is an interesting way to look at making money while traveling because it can be very hit/miss. While it’s easy to dream of a travel channel like Lost LeBlanc with over a million subscribers, that’s going to be a tough act to imitate despite all his helpful videos teaching you how to do what he does.

However, YouTube can become a side income source that helps you get paid in conjunction with other things you’re doing. There’s no reason not to have a YouTube channel if you’re going to be blogging and writing anyway.

YouTube does offer direct advertising once you meet their minimum standards (1,000 subscribers and 4,000+ hours of watch time per year). There are plenty of travel vloggers who make enough to travel just on that.

You can add in affiliate marketing, use smart YouTube SEO in conjunction with your travel blog to share traffic between both sources, and sometime even get a free meal, campsite, or other reimbursement for mentioning a local business or place.

While parts of YouTube are very competitive, it’s amazing how much space still exists for travel content on YouTube. Especially if you love going off the beaten path. Ranking #1 for any term involving Australia, Thailand, or Paris – that’s going to be near impossible for a new channel.

Think Niche Locations

However there are many interesting places that get decent search traffic and have no competition. Three of my favorites: Isla Mujeres Mexico, The Cowboy Trail (Nebraska), & Isle Royal National Park.

These show that lesser known locations that still have a strong fan base can still get views without a lot of effort. On all those terms you will find a lot of videos from tiny channels. We’re talking less than 200 subscribers and over 1,000 views in a few months.

Yes, those aren’t great numbers, but the videos are on channels that don’t do marketing, don’t optimize for YouTube at all, and don’t practice SEO at all. In other words no effort for a few thousand views and top of YouTube’s algorithm for terms related to those locations.

These numbers are as of the time the article was published:

This video of Isle Royal National Park had 2,200 views despite being a channel of 127 subscribers.

Then there’s this video of Isla Mujeres with a stunning 55,000 views from a subscriber base of only 1,000. And it’s the middle video of a series. Think those other videos brought in even more views and advertising dollars? I’m guessing most people did what I did and watched most of the series, as well.

If even 100 subscribers seems unrealistic, then how about this Cowboy Trail Video? A dead channel with only three videos, 8 subscribers, no optimization, and almost 4,200 views.

Many mediocre travel and outdoor channels still get lots of views based on the keyword of the location alone. Even a small amount of knowledge about optimizing your videos and practicing good YouTube SEO and your videos would almost certainly dominate these niches. It’s also worth noting outdoors/travel is a pretty good CPM meaning you don’t need as high a traffic number as other niches to make payout.

This Is a Numbers Game

There are going to be videos that are losers with this strategy. No matter how much I talk up how amazing Grewing Glacier in Alaska is, good luck finding even a 10 year old YouTube video with 300 views.

But there will also be winners like some of those Isla Mujeres videos that blow away expectations. Even if you kept making videos that “only” received 1,000 new unique views every year and a handful of subscribers, what does that look like at 50 or 100 videos? How about 500?

How could you not be happy earning serious money at 1,000 videos at that point?

The point here is when it comes to ways to make money, YouTube is an amazing option when you do it the right way. Seeing this strategy, this should encourage you as to how accessible it is. This will also get you in the habit of wandering off the beaten path when you travel the world. That’s where many of the best stories and experiences happen.

Remember when we talked about travel photography and selling stock photos? You can do the same with video clips, as well on Shutterstock right here. Even many of the biggest travel channels on YouTube will purchase stock footage of a jungle, a waterfall, a desert, a tourist attraction on a nice day. This is another way to make that video income pay for you.

#9: Dropshipping

Dropshipping can be a really good way to build up a serious business that can keep working for you when you travel around the globe. Once a dropshipping business is setup and the systems are in place, it can be relatively low maintenance to run.

For a strong dropshipping business you will need to find a way to drive traffic. The good news is that there are many ways to do that (organic traffic through SEO, YouTube, social media, even smart ad use). While affiliate income is great, many times 4% or 6% is the cut off the retail price.

On the other hand by getting a product made cheaply and then shipped directly to the customer, you get a much larger cut of the retail price. For the right in-demand product that can lead to massive monthly profits.

The NichePursuits Podcast #148 Spencer talked to Joe and Mike Brusca about their $30K/month net profit dropshipping business. It’s one of the best podcasts on dropshipping around and you should give it a listen!

If that gets you excited enough to see the possibilities, then take a look at the Instant Ecommerce course to make sure you get off on the right foot. Mistakes can be very costly when it comes to creating a dropshipping business.

Learning how to do this from professionals who know their stuff will help reduce the chances of you losing your shirt in the process. You might not hear about dropshipping as much any more but the opportunities there are still amazing.

Try this Step by Step Guide to Build a Dropship Store

#10: Niche Social Media Influencer

There are many people out there with little website presence or YouTube presence but have a giant following on social media. This can be a major asset to someone interested in long-term travel.

There are several ways to earn from a large online following, and the influencer route is a great one for the right travelers. Many brands are looking for social media influencers to review their products, to use them naturally in pictures or posts, and to otherwise expose the products to their following.

You don’t need a million followers to make this work. Many companies and brands have seen amazing results from smaller or niche Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram channels. Sponsored posts can create an impressive side income.

Not to mention the obvious benefit to share blog posts, videos, or point out other online properties that are funding your travel.

#11: Seasonal Work at Location

Many options depending on where you are visiting. This is a classic option for ways travelers make money. Even better, it often doesn’t come with the potential headaches or lengthy background checks for work visas. There are many places in the world around orchards, farm fields, or plantations where seasonal hires are a necessity.

Take a look at places you want to visit, what the local agriculture scene is like, and when harvest time comes around. Picking Jobs is a great website dedicated to this solely with plenty of international options and this only begins to scratch the surface.

A few weeks of helping out the local economy and often you’ll be surprisingly well paid so you can keep on traveling the world.

If hard labor isn’t your thing, take a look at touristy areas. Many of them need temporary staff during the busy season. In many of these areas hiring travelers to help with housekeeping, reception, or guest services is part of the culture and often the fastest way to get legal international work if even just for a season.

#12: Bartending for Cash

This is an option that works well in popular tourist areas during the high season. Good bartenders are hard to find. If you’re fluent in common tourist languages and are good at serving drinks with a smile on your face then this is a great way to earn straight cash while visiting the local sites.

While this won’t be available everywhere, it is worth looking into. Like seasonal work, bartending has long been a popular side hustle for digital nomads drifting through.

Tips can vary immensely based on location, tradition, and culture. However, a good mix of people internationally during the high tourist season means this isn’t out of the question when it comes to earning some extra cash.

#13: Teach Physical or Outdoor Skills

Play on your hobbies, passions, & experience. Are you into martial arts? Are you a long-time hiker, backpacker, surfer, sailor, or have another specialty that others find interesting? Were you ever employed as a personal trainer or fitness instructor?

These skills can be in high demand. They can save you money by exchanging teaching that skill for learning another local one. There are also plenty of travelers always interested in trying new things while on vacation or taking a more extended world tour.

These are opportunities for you to use your long-practiced hobbies and skills in order to earn some side income.

#14: Rent Out Property

Okay, so admittedly this one is going to be limited to people who actually own property. That being said, why pay a house sitter when you can use your property to help you earn income while you are out globe-trotting and enjoying your world travels?

If you own property this can be a great way to get it to pay you even as you travel. Even if it’s not a full-time rental while you’re gone, a trusted friend could help run your property as an AirBNB property for a fair cut. They’re happy, and you’re happy. That’s a win-win situation right there.

In Conclusion

While there are always going to be challenges, the good news is that there are many jobs for travelers out there. This should be encouraging. More options means you have more opportunities to get paid while seeing the world. This won’t always be easy but for those of us who feel like heaven is a permanent walkabout then this is a great option.

Never be afraid to get creative. This just scratches the surface of how to make money while traveling. Don’t let fear stop you. Start with this list and look at all the possibilities that are out there when it comes to getting paid while you get to travel. 




Niche Business Ideas

By Shane Dayton

Shane has been a full-time writer since 2005. Shane has a degree in English & Creative Writing from Coe College (2002) and an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction Emphasis) from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (2007).

Shane spent years using his online writing skills to earn a living online and live the life of a digital nomad. After learning about affiliate marketing and SEO he has since created several niche sites to further increase his business income.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

Yes! I Love to Learn

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