Travel is more expensive than ever. From flights to accommodation, prices are up. The idea of earning some money as you travel is pretty appealing.
But where do you start?
The first thing that needs to be said is, if you don't already have a travel blog, don't think that starting one is going to contribute much to your travel budget quickly. For a travel blog to make any money, or any online publishing venture such as YouTube, you need thousands of viewers. This doesn't happen overnight.
Fortunately, there are many other options.
Below you'll first find ideas for short-term travelers. All of these can be added to the list below that which has ideas more appropriate for long-term travelers.
I hope these tips help everyone to travel longer, farther, and more often.
Table of Contents
How to Earn Money As You Travel Short-term
Long-term travel is not open to everyone. Here are some options for those only going for a week or two.
- Rent your place while you're gone. Renting your apartment or house on Airbnb or VRBO can earn you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
- Make sure you have a reliable friend or family member ready to receive your guests, answer their questions, and deal with any issues in your absence.
- Be sure to stay up-to-date on policy changes made by these companies.
- Rent your car while you're out of town. Turo is a car-sharing site in the way that Airbnb and VRBO are home-sharing sites. Unless you're on a road trip, your car will be sitting idle while you're gone. Checking on the site for cars available in Toronto, it seems that people pay $300 – $400 per week for a car. As a host, you’re covered by their CAD$2 million insurance policy and you have one of two vehicle damage options to choose from. You'll earn 75% or 85% of what your renter pays depending on the insurance package you take.
- Rent your parking space while you're on a road trip. Neighbor works on the same principle as Airbnb. Use this platform to rent your parking space while you're gone or your extra storage space at any time. At this point it is active in the United States only.
- Get paid to drive to your destination. Cars and trucks are moved around North America by independent contractors, people like you and me, all the time. In some cases, your costs are covered; in others you actually make money. It's luck of the draw as to whether the destination of the car is of interest to you but it is a great way to save on travel and possibly make some money as well. In Canada, see Canada Driveaway. In the United States, see Auto Driveaway.
- Busk at your destination. In a safe public square show off your musical talent or perform an exquisite poem by heart. You don't need a large repertoire as people move along all the time. In a good location, it's possible to make some decent money to cover travel expenses and also meet some pretty interesting people. Just be sure to find out any local regulations that apply. You don't want a ticket eating into your profits.
- Sell cool stuff you find on your travels. Are you a shopper? Are you good at marketing things you love? Find products on your travels that are totally unique and/or inexpensive that you can bring home and sell. The money comes to you after your trip but it's still money earned from your trip!
Short-term Jobs for Those on the Road Long-term
Everyone has different skills and talents so not every option will be of interest to everyone. However, have a look. There are a variety of ways to earn money as you travel long-term. Interested in being a digital nomad? Read Digital Nomads Traveling Solo: Financial Tips for Saving & Security.
- Work remotely. With so many jobs being performed from home during the pandemic, some people have decided to move their home to a more exciting location. Here are 21 Countries with Digital Nomad Visas for Remote Workers.
- Work at a hostel. Hostels are often staffed by travelers. Consequently, they are often looking for staff. The pay won't be tops but you will get a room as well.
- Sell your talent online. Fiverr.com and Fiver.co.uk are sites where you can sell your services for $5, though usually more. It's amazing what people will sell. If you can edit video or do web design you'll do well. But even if you have only one talent–impersonating one celebrity, for instance–you'll likely get gigs recording a phone message in that voice. Or if, like one guy I've seen, you have a puppet, you could produce a video message with your puppet. The options are endless.
- Freelance from the road. Upwork helps you find freelance work–all kinds of freelance work. There's everything from acting as a virtual assistant to doing bookkeeping, customer support, web design, and writing. These are freelance jobs you can pick up along the way.
- Tutor or teach English as a second language. Tutoring can be a relatively short-term gig while teaching ESL tends to be more of a commitment. ESL Cafe is a great resource for prospective teachers. Also check out Teacher Traveler, an excellent blog for teachers who want to travel.
- Get a part-time or short-term job. Working retail or in a restaurant may be an option for you to make money as you travel. Make sure you know whether it's legal and what visa you require to do so. Google “travel and work in _____” to find reliable information. Working on a farm during harvest season may be another option. Check out Picking Jobs, a site that gives you basic information as well as a listing of picking jobs in 18 countries.
- Become an au pair. Are you good with children? Settle into a community and take care of a family's children for a year or more. Go Au Pair has been matching families with au pairs for 28 years. They have listings in 8 countries including the United States.
Donate to a Charity Simply by the Act of Traveling
As you travel, you can make money for a favorite charity just by walking around. Charity Miles is an app that taps into an activity monitor on your phone. Before you head out for the day (whether at home or traveling), use the app to choose your charity, indicate whether you’ll be walking, running, or cycling, and then just go. The money Charity Miles collects from their sponsors is distributed to charities based on their app users’ activity and charity choices. And why not earn money for a good cause as you walk the world?