Ways to Make Money While Traveling
- Typical suggestions
2.1 Regular employment
2.2 Penny picking jobs
2.3 Unreliable jobs
- Starting a business
- Rethink your job
- Online business
B Sell things from your travels
C Create things to sell
D Sell merchandise
E Provide services
B Affiliate marketing
C Banner ads
5.6 TV show/documentary
5.13 Community site/forums
6.1 Become a tour guide
6.2 Arrange tours
6.3 Affiliate with a travel agency
6.4 Walk ‘n Talk
- Rental service
- Public speaking
- Therapy/group therapy
- Mastermind groups
- Teach teachers
- Create websites
- Create games
- Create apps
- Other sources of income
- Educate yourself
- In closing
- List of creative skills
- List of subjects
- List of formats
Most blogs suggest the same ideas for making money while traveling. I was never really satisfied with many of the suggestions I read, because they either weren’t very viable, didn’t pay very well or were simply just a regular job somewhere else. I wish to go further exploring ideas and options available so hopefully you’ll find something you’d love to do or something that inspires you to come up with ways to make your passion a profitable business.
2 Typical suggestions
Here are some of the typical ideas I see all the time.
2.1 Regular employment
- Teach English.
- Work at a hostel/cruise ship/airline or any other travel based business.
- Fruit picking
- Do your regular job abroad
It’s all good advice, but I’d like to focus on some ideas that bring you more money and more freedom to travel. Working as a flight attendant for instance isn’t really practical if you want to travel. Simply working 9-5 in another country or while moving (such as on an airplane) is not the kind of solutions I’m interested in. Although it might provide a change of scenery it’s still “a job”.
2.2 Penny picking jobs
Then there is another category of jobs where it’s more free, but you still have to put in a lot of hours for (generally) very little money. Unless you love doing it I wouldn’t consider this worth the effort.
- Sell pictures/videos/sound samples
- Busking/street performance
- Help locals with daily tasks
- Review guest houses and hostels
- Collect bottles (possible in Denmark, and you can survive that way, but you won’t get to travel much when you have to spend all day looking for plastic and aluminum.)
2.3 Unreliable jobs
Then there are some creative solutions that could be profitable and maybe even fun, but generally not very reliable or practical long term.
- Online Poker (This one can actually work)
- Blood donation
- Sperm donation (kinda difficult if you are a girl, unless you are creative ;-))
- Guinea pig for scientific research (you can sometimes make decent money, but it’s highly unreliable)
- Stock trade (you really need to know what you are doing to profit)
3 Starting a business
I want to focus on ways where you will remain free to travel as much as you want, go anywhere at any time, be in total control of your own time and how it’s spend and still make a substantial amount of money. All of it will initially, admittedly, take way more effort than the previously mentioned options. But if it can bring you the life you dream of, then why not do it? Simply out of fear of failing? Isn’t the dream worth achieving? All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.
Another thing I had to keep in mind was that I didn’t have much money to invest, so most of these ideas cost little to nothing to start up.
Once I really started looking into ways where I could make money while traveling, remaining free to go and do as I please whenever I want and eventually make enough to not worry about my financial situation I realized that there are an abundance of options.
The amount of options actually confused me for a long time because I couldn’t decide and wanted to do a thousand things at once. In the end I went back to the first idea and inspiration I had; blogging.
These suggestions are meant as inspiration to hopefully help you find something that would work for you and get you started. It clearly is possible, because there are so many people out there who are doing it already.
What I realized was holding me back from making money while traveling has always been myself! My failures in the past, my “lack of luck” and difficulties were never actually the problem. They were just symptoms. The problem was that I quit before I got there. When I started having doubts, when I started telling myself, you can’t, it’s not possible, etc, I would listen and believe it. Then I would quit and be sad that I failed yet again.
I would then think about something else that would work, flesh it out in my mind, and then decide it wouldn’t work for me. I failed before even trying. Until everything has been done in order to succeed or reach a goal you haven’t failed, you’ve just not reached the goal yet or decided to give up before getting there. That is really all there is to it.
I’m not going to do that anymore. I will have to continue learning whenever I hit a wall. Whenever I tell myself it’s not possible, I’m not good enough or it won’t work, I now recognize that it’s just my old pattern and I will simply continue.
So, this is not to prove that it is possible (other’s have done that) this is to show you how many options are actually available to those who wants to be free of the 9-5 but still wants to make a decent income while traveling full time. I hope you can use the inspiration and find something that you’d love to do and then go do it. When there are so many people who can make money while traveling doing something they love then why should you not be able to?
Another thing to keep in mind is that you probably don’t need to make as much money when traveling as you do back home. If you sell everything then traveling is generally cheaper than living an ordinary life with house, car, dozens of electronic devices, multiple services and insurances etc etc.
Your expenses are much lower when traveling full time than they would be with a big house, car and everything that comes with it. When traveling all you need is a phone, tablet/computer, travel gear and travel insurance.
That’s a massive chunk of expenses spend on maintenance you can cut away. You can literally go from monthly expenses of $3000+ to $1000 almost overnight and at the same time be traveling.
So, let’s get on with some of the many things you can do to eventually make money while traveling. All the ideas require initial effort before any money will come. It might also require educating yourself and learning and improving on the way. But if that is all it takes it really isn’t a big obstacle.
The big fight is with ourselves and our limiting beliefs. Personally I don’t see the alternative as a viable option for me. Spending years getting a “proper and approved” education just to get a job where I’m under the rule of someone else, is not something I want. (I mean no disrespect to anyone who does that or wants that.)
4 Rethink your job
Do whatever you already do and find a way to make it a course/retreat/class/podcast/etc. (See a full list of all the formats below.) Find a way to deliver your expertise in a format where you are not restricted to a specific location (except perhaps for a short while).
If you already have a job you like and it’s possible to do online then talk to your boss about working remotely. As long as you are reliable and provide what is expected then it really doesn’t make a difference if you are sitting in a cubicle or on a beach on the other side of the world. If your boss doesn’t agree to this perhaps there are other companies who do?
When I did my Tantra Teacher Training Course I heard a few of the other students, who had been teaching for years, say that teaching yoga just became like any other job eventually. And I was thinking, well yes, when you treat it like a job. If you think the same way as you did before it will of course end up like before. Think outside the box. Who says you have to work 9-5? There are so many other ways you can do it. This does not only apply to teaching yoga, it applies to basically anything.
When traveling you have so much more flexibility than you do under traditional circumstances where you are bound to a specific location, house and job.
Convert you profession, skill, knowledge into a course, retreat or create a Youtube channel about it. Start a blog, write a book, make a podcast about it.
Combine it with other things you like to do. Hiking, traveling, going to the beach etc.
Combine it with massage, dance, meditation and so on.
If you have been doing it long enough and know a lot about yoga (or whatever subject) start counseling, teach teachers or start a community (online, physical or both).
The goal is to get out of the box, out of the 9-5 thinking and get to travel freely. Being stuck in a place or situation, mentally or in life, never brought happiness to anyone.
Combine it all or pick and choose. Do it in a way that feels right to you so it can bring you the life circumstances and freedom you wish.
No matter the subject there’s going to be someone writing about it and if people are interested then business opportunities might be possible.
Let’s get on with the list!
5 Online business
If you already are good at something or if you have a profession you like then freelancing might be a good option for you. You choose when, where and how much you want to work. While traveling you can probably even go for a lower rate than the competitors and still have more money in the pocket because your living expenses are so much lower than back home with an “established life” and everything that includes.
There are many ways people make money from a website. Below are just a few options.
If you can find something while you are abroad that is either a lot cheaper or hard to find in your home country then try to find a good reliable contact person for arranging an import/export business deal. (Electronics, Ayurvedic medicine, spices, clothes etc.)
B Selling things you find on your travels
If you like to go to markets and find special and unique arts and crafts you can make a deal with the artist/craftsman. (African art, Indonesian crafts, special instruments from all over the world are just a few examples.)
C Creating your own products
If you are an artist or craftsman yourself you can sell your own products on your website. (Such as paintings, drawings, jewelry etc.) You can make it special by using unique material from special places in the world.
D Selling merchandise
Souvenirs, funny/clever/cool T-shirts, bags etc.
E Providing services
(More on services below.)
It doesn’t have to be about traveling, it can be anything. Whatever you are good at or whatever your passion is, a blog is a way to get it out there.
A few ways to make a passive income from a blog or website
Adds on your site where you will be paid when people click on them.
B Affiliate marketing
Review products and if someone buys a product via the link you provide you get a percentage without the customer (your reader) paying more.
C Banner ads
Have a specific add from a company related to your blogs subject for a specific price per month, year or whatever deal you make.
The more readers you have the more money you are likely to make.
However creating your own products to sell is probably a better choice than relying too much on advertisement.
There are so many things you can do with a vlog. Interview people, review gear, places, experiences etc, travel guides, documentaries, instructions, a personal diary etc.
Furthermore, your blog/website/vlog can also serve as a “shop window” where you can provide a bunch of other paid services and offers, just like a blog.
A YouTube channel can help you make money from number of views and adds. Vimeo pays for everyone you get to sign up and you can charge money for your videos. It is also a way to drive traffic to your site, shop or whatever personal brand/business you have.
5.6 TV Show/documentary
If you have a good idea for a TV show or a documentary for your travels and you can pitch it there are an abundance of TV networks to choose from. Eventually one of them might say yes. Until you have contacted every single one of them you don’t know if it’s possible or not.
If you don’t like to be in front of a camera you can make a podcast instead. Bring the gear you need and you can make a podcast about any subject anywhere, as long as you have a decent internet connection to upload it from.
If you are a good communicator you can start interviewing people on any subject. You don’t have to be an expert on anything if you are a good listener, curious and ask the right questions to the right people.
If you like writing there are many ways to create products you can sell. You can write fiction, how to guides and personal stories. Even if you don’t know anything about anything you can still research a topic and put it all in a report or compilation.
A few different formats for your writing
- Case Study
- Tip Sheet
- Reference Manual
With a webinar you can remain location independent and still reach people all over the world.
You can make a short class on a specific subject, a course that consists of multiple classes or an in depth program where the students are hand held all the way and guided step by step, day by day or week by week.
A hands on class where you would normally all be physically present in the same location. However this could also possibly be taken online so everyone interacts with each other over Skype.
5.13 Community site/forums
A community site might be difficult to get started. But once you do there are a lot of potential customers. The site can be for free or membership based. If you can provide exclusive content in your area of expertise there are suddenly a lot of new possibilities.
6.1 Become a tour guide
Get to know a place you love and arrange group tours.
Make deals with hosts, local drivers, local guides in the area(s).
Different guided tour concepts you can do
- City (culture, architecture, religion, history, science, law etc)
- City (sightseeing, local cuisine, cooking classes, off the beaten path, fun activities and exhibitions etc)
- Trek/hike (in mountains, jungles, arctics, deserts, cross country, etc)
- Action (Skydiving, bungy jumping, paintball, diving, climbing, surfing, shark cage diving, shooting guns etc)
- Adventure (Safari, mountain biking, canoeing, river cruising, mountain climbing,
- Exploration (Old temples, ruins, castles, dungeons, caves etc)
- Wilderness (Survival, tracking, off the beaten path, build igloos, living off the land etc)
Is there a place you really, really love or somewhere you have a burning desire to go to? Do the ground work and establish yourself as an expert/guide and you can enjoy the place as much as you’d like.
6.2 Become a tour operator
There are many independent tour guides who operate without any agency, website or anything else but mouth to mouth and local connections. You can make a deal with one or more of them and setup a website for your home country and arrange guided tours. Maybe you even have friends who are tour guides or would like to become a tour guide. It might be possible to work something out.
6.3 Affiliate with a travel agency
Another option is to get involved with an established tour operator and arrange tours through them. You would have to contact them and ask what they want and then figure out how to approach it from there to deliver a product that can make you and the travel agency happy as well as the customers.
There are a lot of mediocre and bad tour guides/trips/classes/courses out there, in my opinion. There is an overwhelming amount of tour agencies, but there isn’t a lot of quality. Strive for the best and give people something amazing so they will be happy and you can be satisfied. Good online reviews (such as on TripAdvisor) might be one of the best ways to get customers.
6.4 Walk ’n’ talk
Walk ’n’ talk is a more personal approach where there is more focus on the communication between you and the customers. This would be excellent for anything related to coaching and therapy, but not limited to just that. It can be one on one or small groups.
You can setup retreats around the world for whatever duration you like and teach people whatever you are good at. Find a nice, suitable place, make a deal with the owner, book the place (a deposit might be required at some point), write a description of the retreat and get it out there. Depending on how many people are attending you might be able to travel for months for the money you make off of it. (As with anything else, check any rules and regulations you have to follow.)
This is suitable for things like
Or any other spiritual practice. (List of subjects and activities below.)
If you don’t have any experience but are interested in something like this it might be a good time to take a course yourself so you eventually can make a living off of it. (More on that below.)
Another option is to find a small cheap place in a great location and run a season based school teaching something you love to do.
Or any other physical activity you like. (List of subjects and activities below.)
9 Rental service
Even if you don’t have the required skill to teach you can still rent surf boards, bikes, climbing gear etc in high season and go traveling for the rest of the year.
10 Public speaking
If you are a good speaker and have a lot of things to talk about public speaking can be done all over the world.
Offer personal help to individuals, groups or companies on your subject of expertise.
12 Therapy/group therapy
If you are a therapist you can still help people via Skype while traveling.
13 Mastermind groups
There are different variations on this concept. A mastermind group is a small group of people who meet every week to help each other reach a goal or deal with specific problems. Every person has a set amount of time where they tell about their situation to which the rest of the group provide help and feedback. When the time is up it switches to the next person and continues until everyone has had their turn. It’s a great way to keep motivated and focused on things you want to achieve.
A variation would be to offer a service where you setup the meetings and moderate it without participating with your own challenges.
I highly recommend doing this on your own with like minded people as well.
14 Teach teachers
If you are really good at your craft you can do teacher training courses. Usually these courses cost substantially more than ordinary courses, which means more money for you.
15 Create websites
Creating websites for yourself or for others can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. If you can find local restaurants/hotels/tour agencies/etc who still don’t have a website (there are still plenty) you can offer to make one for them. They take care of their business as usual you simply provide the portal for people in other countries to find them and then charge a percentage.
I met one guy who did this in Myanmar. He spend a month contacting tour agencies and when he found one who wanted a website, he hired a guy in Bangkok to set up the website so all communication went directly to the travel agency and the guy who arranged it all doubled the price and took half of the profit. The travel agency will eventually get more customers without losing anything, the Thai web designer made his share and the guy I met have a steady, passive income.
People outside Myanmar have a chance to find a local agency they otherwise couldn’t. And there’s no need to stop after you’ve done it once. Keep looking for more places you can offer this opportunity to. If they already have a website and you speak another language you can instead offer to create a website in your language to open up a new market.
The more languages you speak the more markets you open up and that traffic you can drive to the hotel, tour agent or restaurant etc. Even if you don’t speak other languages you can still hire someone to translate the text you already wrote in your own language.
16. Create games
If you like playing games you can create your own. Either online on a website, as an app or a physical board game.
17. Create apps
If you know how to make apps you can sell your products this way.
18 Other sources of funding
If you are up for out of the ordinary crazy adventures or if you are really creative and have a great idea you might be able to pitch it to a company and get a sponsorship.
Pretty straightforward. Give people a chance to donate money. Someone might think what you are doing is great or learned something valuable from you and feel like giving back.
Similar to sponsorships. If you have a good idea or product you can try pitching it and maybe you’ll get enough money for whatever you need it for.
19 Educate yourself
If you feel like you don’t have anything to offer or teach (you are probably wrong, but) then there are still some things you can do.
You can study subjects you are interested in. Depending on where you are from it might actually be cheaper to go to other countries to take courses and classes. You can also find a wealth of information online or from books.
Interview people who knows something about the subjects you want to learn about.
Make reports, surveys, case studies etc on the things you learn. You will strengthen your own knowledge and at the same time create products that will drive traffic to your site or you can sell them.
Finally, like I mentioned earlier. You can make money off of anything!
If you have the money to outsource then do so for things you don’t know enough about. Such as creating a website (even though that’s a great skill to have and certainly worth learning), have someone design your ebook cover, get the exposure you need through existing means already established for that purpose.
21 In closing
By now I hope you see that you can really make a good living while traveling, doing what you like, if you are willing to put in the initial effort to get it off the ground.
Don’t limit yourself to one thing or one way.
Look at what other people are doing and learn from it.
I believe that you really can make a living off of anything. When you can make a career out of eating chili and filming it (and making hilarious videos in the process) anything is possible. We are our own worst enemy and biggest obstacle.
But choose to do something you have a passion about, otherwise the motivation, heart and love won’t be there. Do your best, keep improving and learning and you will be doing great no matter what!
Finally, procrastination is simply an ego strategy. The ego will tell you whatever has the most power over you to make you stop. It is simply based on fear of failure, exposure, success, rejection, ridicule, humiliation etc. Look at the feeling behind the procrastination. What fear lies at the core? Once you know, acknowledge it, don’t fight it (!!) and see what happens if you simply continue despite the feelings you have.
22 Creative skills
What creative skills do you have that you’d like spending time on?
- Film making
- Playing an instrument
- Creative Design
- Digital Design
Or any other creative skill you like.
What subjects are you passionate about?
- The Universe
- Digital design
Which format(s) do you prefer?
- A combination
Personal, group or both
Physical, online or both
- Travel Guides
- TV Show
- Community Site
- Tour Guide
- Tour Operator
- Affiliate with Travel Agencies
- Walk ’n’ Talk
- Rental Service
- Public Speaking
- Mastermind Groups
- Therapy/Group Therapy
- Creating Websites
- Digital Design
Download this cheatsheet with checkboxes so you can mark all the subjects and formats you are interested in as well as adding your own and see what comes out of it. Good luck finding ways to make money while traveling.