15 Ways To Make Money While Travelling The World

I often experience a dash of scepticism whenever I mention that I’ve been living and travelling around the world for five years straight. People are always asking how I can afford it, and I’ve spoken before about how my saving grace has been the ability to find a job in the places I want to explore.

Five years of constant world travel; that’s a long time. Most people assume I have benefactors or a trust fund or a savings account that my great-grandmother started for me when I was a baby. But I didn’t really have anything when I first started traveling. I left with just under US$1000, and without much of a clue how to travel. I just worked, and made it work as I went along.

For the first few years of my travels, I was really broke all the time. Every penny that I made went back into travel. Basically I sacrificed a lot of comforts so that I could see the world more. It was worth it to me, this was the life I wanted. As a result, I’ve experimented with countless jobs and gigs all over the world. Some were way cooler than others, some I loved and some I couldn’t wait to leave.

You can make money anywhere if you put in enough effort

I’ve networked, emailed businesses and blasted out resumes to any job opportunities I could find in locations that have sparked my interest. Some overseas jobs even offered to reimburse my airfare coverage and provided benefits. Basically, I just put myself out there as much as possible. I got told “no” a lot, but I got told yes a lot too, and had countless life-changing, beautiful experiences along the way. It has been eye-opening to realise that I can make money anywhere if I try hard enough.

As well as jobs that are specific to the area you’re based in, you can teach yourself to be location independent. I started applying for jobs I could do right from my laptop from anywhere in the world. I rediscovered my love for writing, web design and embarking on entrepreneurial business ventures. You can learn a lot and make more money this way; the possibilities are pretty much endless in the ever-infinite depths of the internet.

Get started

Make a list of all your skills, passions, hobbies and all the things you have experience in. Then get creative, think deeply and brainstorm ways you could potentially monetise the items on your list. If you want to make money while travelling, you’ll need to think outside the box. Be creative, try new things (even if you’re scared to) and don’t be afraid to fail.

Check out the list of travel and work options I’ve put together. I’ve tried many of these myself, but not all of them firsthand. Don’t worry, I didn’t include any of the jobs that I didn’t enjoy.

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Start selling the things you create

If you’re feeling creative or already have a product that you like to make which you could start selling, there are numerous platforms and websites out there that make this possible. I used to make dreamcatchers, homemade body products, jewelry and herbal elixirs that I sold through Etsy. I’ve also created quite a few digital products which I’ve sold using gumroad, a great platform for selling things like ebooks, comics and digital graphic art you’ve created.

Two of my creations, a dreamcatcher and some art.

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Become an Au Pair

As an au pair, you could be hired by families all over the world to take care of their children. In most roles, you’ll receive a salary, free food and accommodation.

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Find a job on a cruise ship

Why not cruise around the world and get paid to do it? Cruise ships charter everywhere these days, from the Caribbean to the southern tip of South America, through the Mediterranean and around the Pacific islands. There are a multitude of positions offered on cruise ships, all pay varying monthly salaries, but generally range between $1000- $9000 per month. Lodging and food is provided, and since you’ll be on the ship most of the time, you won’t be spending your hard earned cash.

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Teach English

If you are a native English speaker, you could get paid big bucks to travel around the world teaching. The highest paying countries are South Korea, Japan, China and Vietnam, but there are dozens of other countries who pay great salaries and offer contracts that include airfare reimbursement, visa assistance, and benefits. In a lot of countries, you don’t even need to be certified, you just need to be a native speaker. Other countries might require a TEFL certification or a Bachelor’s degree. You’ll be surprise at how many interviews you land if you start sending out your resume to schools around the world.

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Work in a hostel

Its incredible how many hostels are constantly in need of work. I suspect it’s because they often employ short term travellers so the rate of staff turnover is quite high. I’ve worked in 3 or 4 hostels in the last 5 years, and it’s always been such a fun experience. You can ask around at hostels in the city you’re traveling in or check online.

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Teach yoga

Are you certified to teach yoga, or maybe just enjoy the practice? There are plenty of yoga teaching jobs around the world, particularly in tropical climates. A lot of hostels and resorts offer daily yoga classes, so ask around and see if anyone needs an extra teacher. Chances are that they do.

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Teach surfing

Another example of how a hobby can pay it’s way. If you have a passion for catching waves, why not share your skill with others who would love to learn how? I had a friend in the Caribbean who would take tourists into the sea on his extra surf boards for 1 or 2 hour lessons everyday and would make a killing doing it!

Photo: Surfing in Nicaragua, 2013

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Work on a yacht

Imagine spending your days breezing through the crystalline waters of the Caribbean or Mediterannean Sea. One of the best jobs for covering a lot of ground, and literally going wherever the wind takes you, is to work on a yacht. There are countless websites where boat owners are looking for crew members to help them sail around the world. I had no experience working on a yacht and I scored a job working on a yacht in the Caribbean as a deckhand and general helper, it was an absolute dream.

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Airbnb it

If you’re already living abroad, why not rent out your spare room or whatever extra space you’re not using? Airbnb is super easy to set up and you’ll start making money fast. I’ve got my spare room in Morocco listed on Airbnb and I make back more than what I pay for rent each month. I’ve even got another listing for bikers, backpackers and budget travellers to camp out on my terrace, the possibilities are pretty endless.

Photo: Our Air bnb listing in Chefchaouen, Morrocco.

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Graphic design

If you have a background in graphic design, or even if using Photoshop or Illustrator is a hobby of yours, you’re in luck. It’s one of the most lucrative skills out there and you should definitely be putting it to use while you’re traveling. Why not even brand a small online business out of it if you love it enough? There is a huge demand out there for people who need logos, banners, infographics or just simple designs made.

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Develop websites

Do you have experience with CSS and HTML coding? Can you comfortably navigate Squarespace, or have created a self-hosted WordPress website? Go around to hotels and hostels and offer to update or re-design their websites. Agree on a price before you start working, or propose to exchange your work for a free stay for the duration of the time it takes you to do the job. You could also find web development work freelancing.

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Sometimes housesitting gigs aren’t paid and it will be in exchange for a free place to stay. But sometimes you will get paid and the home-owner might even offer to stipend groceries or loan you their car to use. Either way, its a way to find a free place to sleep in various exotic locations all over the world.

Photo: Where I housesat in Hawaii.

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Become a translator

Do you know two or more languages? There are loads of people who are looking to have their books, websites and articles translated. I met a girl in Iceland who fully supported herself by translating Finnish and Danish languages. There are loads of freelance translating jobs in a whole range of languages. It’ll also help you hone your skills and learn a tonne.

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Create an online course

Do you have any useful skills that you can teach? All you need is a video camera and a mic. There are people out there making millions through Udemy simply just by sharing videos of themselves teaching valuable skills. This is a great way to make a passive income while you’re traveling.

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If writing is a passion of yours, there are infinite ways to monetise it and to get your talent exposed. The best thing to do is to start pitching article ideas to some of your favorite publications, or email them personally asking if they’d be interested in working with you, always include a portfolio of some of your best pieces.

Photo: This is my idea of location independence.

Lead image: Michael Libis. All images supplied.

Megan Abbott is originally from the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, but currently resides in the Atlas Mountains of Chefchaouen, Morocco. She is an avid tea drinker, a freelance writer, and a curious nomad with a perpetual case of wanderlust. Follow her journey on Instagram @megan_abbott_

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