Ways to Earn Money When You Travel

people walking on city street while traveling and earning money

Caught the travel bug? If wanderlust is calling, sometimes the only solution is to answer it. Many people move overseas with no long-term plan, figuring out how to make money as they travel. Others leave to find new opportunities for supporting their families. No matter what drives you to leave home, there are plenty of options for earning money while on the road. 

A word of caution: make sure to research what you are legally permitted to do under your visa restrictions. Some countries will revoke your tourist visa if they find that you’re working without permission. Whether you’re traveling to work, or working to travel, here’s how to earn a little extra cash while exploring the world. 

Get a remote job

So-called “digital nomads” are taking the world by storm. Digital nomads, those who can work from anywhere and choose to take their office on the road, are on the rise. In 2018, research revealed that 4.8 million US citizens identify with digital nomads. At least 43% of Americans spend some amount of time working outside the traditional office environment. 

Becoming a digital nomad or working on a remote job often means freelancing. Digital nomadism offers flexibility to make your own schedule and take on work at a rate that suits your lifestyle. Use a site like Upwork, Fiverr, or TakeLessons.com to list your freelance skills, qualifications, and portfolio of work. Find jobs that are remote only on WeWorkRemotely or Remote.co. If you know you’ll be moving frequently and on the road for a long time, digital nomadism might be the lifestyle you’re seeking.

Au pair for a family

A great way to travel and also get deeper into the culture of a new country is to au pair while you’re traveling. Au pairs are hired to take care of small children as live-in babysitters. In the US, one au pair reports, “You get a private room in [the host family’s] house, eat their food and often receive a mobile phone and even a car to use in your free time. On top of all these things, you get a weekly salary of $195.75.” Au pair-ing can be a good way to make some money, cover your accommodation expenses, and get to know what real life is like in the country you’re visiting. Stick with a trusted agency like Go AuPair to make sure you’re working for a family that’s been vetted.

Work in a hostel

Working in a hostel is another good way to get your accommodation paid for (usually) and make some money on the side. “All the staff become like your family, the hostel starts to feel like your home and you are forever meeting awesome travelers!” writes one nomad who worked in hostels while traveling. There are many types of positions on offer at hostels, from working in reception to bar-tending to tour guiding. It’s a great way to meet fellow travelers and get to know the city in which you’re staying. To get started, look for jobs on Hosteljobs.net or read Hostelworld’s guide on “How to find a job in a hostel”

Tutor or teach a skill

English is one of the more popular languages, but if you don’t have that in your arsenal, don’t let that discourage you. Look for an expat community in your hometown with young kids. Some families want tutors for their children to help them retain their traditions, language, and culture. Others like having English from someone who speaks their native language and can explain what words mean more clearly. One of the highest paying teaching jobs available in Vietnam is teaching swim lessons in expat communities. Be creative and think about some other topics you can teach beyond language skills: tutors are always in demand all over the world. 

Become a tour guide 

Putting together a tour can be a lot of work, but it’s also quite lucrative. If you have a certain background or skill set, use that to your advantage. Think outside the traditional walking tours: are you a runner or cyclist? Plan a running tour of the city that takes you around the top sites while getting your guests in shape. If you know a lot about architecture or street art, plan a route that shows off a new side to your city. There are plenty of established companies to work with, but sites like Airbnb Experiences also make it easy to start up on your own. 

Work as a translator

Translators are always in demand. “If you’re in a foreign country where native English-language speakers are needed, offer translation services. You can work with companies, contractors or individuals alike to translate for them,” writes career advisor FairyGodBoss. To get started as a translator you may need a certification, but also start posting your availability in Facebook groups. Word gets around quickly!