We have all wanted to travel the world at some point. All of us lust after scenic photos of happy people swimming in waterfalls in Bali or zip lining in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as the Internet makes it sound.
Flashy click baits like “New Zealand will give you a free trip, you just have to agree to a job interview” constantly circulate the web. If you read the fine print, though, you’ll see that New Zealand is only interested in tech geniuses.
I’ve been traveling for eight years now and living in different countries while working continuously because my family isn’t rich and I’ve got a student loan to pay off. Here are my suggestions for 10 things you can do to get traveling now, no sugarcoating.
1. Start Monetizing Your Skills. UpWork
Upwork is a great job portal for freelancers who want to travel long-term. A ton of new projects pop up on a daily basis. Those are usually posted by people who need writers, videographers, editors or virtual assistants. Marketing and blogging positions are available as well.
You can narrow the search down to full-time positions if you’d like to commit to one project. You’ll find hundreds of temporary assignments as well. This is perfect as a side job or if you don’t like to work only in one industry.
It may be a bit overwhelming to navigate Upwork at first, so this is what you should do.
Create a killer profile for yourself with a professional photo and description (tailored to your industry). Upload you résumé and projects you’ve completed. Add all languages you speak, because Upwork is a very international platform. There’s a demand for pretty much any language.
Once you’re done, start reaching out to clients. You get a certain number of “connects” per month which allow you to message jobs. Once you finish them, you can buy some more.
Is there a downside to Upwork?
The downside to Upwork is that since it’s international, there will be professionals offering a cheaper price for their work if they live in a cheaper country. For example, I was able to offer cheaper prices before when I was in Indonesia than now when I’m in Spain.
Don’t let that intimidate you. Instead sell yourself on the quality of your work, not on the cheap price. Upwork is absolutely worth the effort since it gives you the freedom to work from virtually anywhere, like the Slovenian Alps, for example.
2. If you have decent social media, start selling yourself
To be honest, this technique requires lots of time and perseverance but it can pay off big time.
I’ve been writing freelance for 2 years, but it wasn’t until three months ago that I started scouting out Instagram for cool hotels in beautiful locations and messaging them to offer writing services. I got to travel on two press trips in the last 60 days in exchange for creating content for hotels and startups, helping them grow their social media.
You can offer to do a media coverage for a free stay or for money. Reach out to the 5-star hotels first, they have a bigger budget.
If you’ve got a good Instagram (I started using mine after reaching 20K), make use of it, don’t be shy. When you pitch hotels, for example, it helps to add a chart or graph and photos in order to showcase your talent more visually.
3. Find a gig on ProBlogger
I check about 5 job boards daily, but this one has got to be my favorite.
If you’re a writer, videographer or good at marketing, check out the opportunities on ProBlogger. Most will have you fill out a short app, so make sure to include links to your work. I’ve gotten good projects from this site as well as job interviews.
4. Volunteer in exchange for accommodation
One of the biggest expenses in continuous travel is rent/ hotel. A friend of mine who’s been on the go for the past 10 years told me that she’s had some amazing vacations in South America without having to pay anything for accommodation. She was able to do so through gigs she found on Workaway.
You can find hundreds of businesses looking for volunteers in exchange for a free stay. Working as a receptionist at a hotel is a pretty sweet deal, as you get a nice clean room and only have to put in 4-5 hours a day. Additional benefits such as free tours and food are also a part of some offers, plus you get lots of interaction with the locals, so you’ll get an insight into their culture.
The only charge here is the $29 Workaway charges to put you in contact with the host, but it’s pretty cheap in comparison to the money you save on rent. This is an excellent way to travel, especially in beautiful places like Mexico and Guatemala.
Another similar service is Worldpackers, where you can browse through working opportunities like teaching English, yoga or applying your social media skills for free accommodation.
Now that you’ve got accommodation taken care of, go find projects on Upwork and make some cash.
5. Teach English in Asia
This is an incredibly popular gig and still very much in demand. If you’re looking to teach, put your resume up on Dave’s ESL Cafe and I promise you, you’ll be getting e-mails with job offers within the next 24 hours.
What does the fine print say?
In order to teach English, you have to be a Native speaker, meaning they ideally want someone with a U.S., U.K., Canada or Australia passport. That being said, I’m a Bulgarian citizen but I graduated from an American college and speak natively, which is why I still stand a chance. I may get a few bucks less than the native passport holder, but I can still secure a gig.
These positions normally have you teach children, but you can work with adults as well. I’ve got friends who did it in China and South Korea and they loved it.
6. Teach English online
This opportunity is similar to Teaching in China, but you can do it online, which gives you more freedom of travel. Simply make a registration on VIP Kid and make sure to list all relevant experience. They will get back to you in about a day or two letting you know whether you qualify.
7. Do Some Physical Work
If teaching or writing isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are lots of physical opportunities. A great way to get your exercise while you travel!
Have you ever thought of volunteering on a farm?
If you’re outdoorsy and don’t mind picking fruit for a few hours a day with fellow travelers (there’s lots of them volunteering), you can head to Australia and do exactly that. This service has a small fee, varying between free and $72 to subscribe to your location of interest.
Since each trip and host is different, find the one you like best and get in contact.
8. Work on a cruise ship
This option is more labor intensive but will have you traveling continuously.
Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are good cruise lines who hire a big crew of chefs, servers, stewards, entertainers and people to look after guests’ children. Norwegian ships are like a microcosm of most jobs you find on land, but on a giant boat which is pretty fun. As opposed to taking a receptionist job at a hotel in Jamaica, for example. Apply to work on a ship and keep traveling.
You get to work a couple of days a week and have free time. The good thing about this opportunity is that you’re adequately compensated for the hours you put in and travel is a great bonus.
9. Deliver items internationally while you travel
This one is brand new. Grabr is a service that promotes personal delivery. For example, if I bought a dress in Barcelona and am currently in Bangkok, someone who’s flying that route can agree to bring it to me for a fee.
Now, before you go and say, “hey, isn’t this sketchy,” I’ve looked into it and it’s totally legitimate. Prominent travel bloggers have tried it and shared their experience. Plus, the company makes sure to check every item to ensure that there are no illegal objects crossing the border in your luggage.
Grabr can pay for your entire trip if you’re flying from the US to South America, as Brazil is one of their most lucrative routes. It’s worth checking it out. After all, you’re just lending some space in your bag and a few minutes of your time. I’d say it’s worth it if it keeps you traveling longer.
10. Get a remote job
This is a great option if you’d like to have a steady source of income as opposed to looking for different projects every month. I’ve been researching it for a while, both on my own and with advice from successful digital nomads. These are my top sites for finding remote work:
Checking frequently is key here since jobs are posted from various time zones. You’ve got to be quick and brief with your application and emphasize your ability to work independently without missing deadlines.
These sites have all sorts of gigs, from marketing and copywriting to sales, customer service, and coding.
So there you have it. These are the methods I apply to make money on the go and to be able to live in different countries when I get the travel bug. Give it a shot, I guarantee you that at least one of these 10 ways will work for you. Happy travels!
Have you made money while traveling? If you have a tip that you would like to add to this list, please share it in the comment section. Happy travels!