How to Make Money while Traveling the World

24 April 2013

So as I've mentioned I've made the decision to go off and travel the world this autumn. My plans are indefinite and I plan to travel at my leisure. I know I have strength and the commonsense to get about but everything always comes back to one issue: money.

While I'll be trying to live as frugally as possible (couchsurfing, eating cheap, looking for free attractions) there's no denying that travel has a negative effect on one's wallet. Especially considering the fact that I'll be starting my trip with only a couple thousand dollars and have student loans on my back most would think I'm insane to start such a trip at this time. But I'm not crazy, I swear!

I don't intend to be constantly moving. Travel does not mean being in a different city everyday. Quite the contrary, I plan to travel slowly, dedicating up to several weeks per country and stopping every two or three months for an extended time.  And what will I be doing in this  extended stop? Working!

I've been working ever since I hit the legal age to work and I've never been adverse to hard work if it means earning something I want. In this case, I'll be using my extended stops to earn more travel. So, as a traveler, what kind of jobs can one work to gain some cash and continue one's travels?

The Classy Options

Tour Guide
This would be a great option for me when I end up in Europe since I've studied the culture and history so much. It wouldn't be too hard to find a company who's looking to hire on new tour guides. Just take a quick jaunt around the city, get oriented, and pitch yourself to a company. Considering the fact that I speak several languages, I think it would be an easy pitch.

Also there's always the option to set up your own tours and work freelance. Put up signs in hostels and wait for people to show up. If prices are reasonable, people won't pass you up. Or use sites like Vayable to organize tours and look more reputable.

English Teacher
I definitely plan to be doing a bit of this to fund my travels. Some may say you need to find a company to work with but all the contracts and time constraints can get messy, especially for someone who intends to get up and move to another country in a couple months. That's why when I get to South East Asia I intend to do some freelance English teaching. Throw up a couple signs around a college campus that say "native English speaker", "experienced teacher", and "first lesson free" and I should be getting some clients in no time. The possibilities for this career are great because you completely dictate your hours.

The Not-So-Classy Options

Hostel Worker
This job requires a little more work and has less free time but it's a job. Hostels are constantly hiring people as they come and go to help run the front desk and keep things tidy. Again, I think they fact that I speak four languages could be a great selling point and help me get the job. While this option doesn't provide the most mobility, it would definitely be fun to meet people from all over the world.

I can't say I have any experience with either of these jobs but that doesn't really matter. Bars and restaurants along the tourist path love hiring foreigners. One, I speak English which, from the bar owner's point of view, is great for drawing in other English speakers and making them drop money. Two, especially in Asia, having a foreigner makes your bar look cool to the natives. Why was I always given free beer when I went to bars in China?  Because the owner knew if I was having a good time, I would keep coming back and that would attract other people to come to this "fun" and "happening" bar, too.

The Trashy Options

"Come to my club!"
Is there an actual job title for these people? You know, the ones that come up and bother you while you're relaxing on the beach and start shoving papers in your face. "Come to my club! It's so fun! Discount for you!" Harassing tourists as they try to enjoy their time off is not glamorous work but it is a paycheck! Once again, being a native English speaker is a plus for this job since it makes other English speakers feel less creeped out when you approach them. Lacking an accent makes you seem more trustworthy when in reality, you have no idea what kind of shady club I'm sending you to.

Floor Whore
Again, a title that I coined since I don't know what else you would call a girl paid to be at a club. You've probably seen them before if you've been to any of the party cities in Europe; those unbelievably hot girls that seem to be there alone and just dance and dance all night. These ladies serve the purpose of making the club look happening and also getting men to drop money on drinks. Not sure I actually have the courage to attempt this job, however. Besides, I'll be living out of a backpack so I don't think anyone would be tempted to buy a drink for my sweaty, travel-worn self.

Anyways, these are just a couple job ideas that I came up with while researching jobs that allow constant travel. I love the flexibility that they allow and the fact that there are so many jobs that facilitate foreigners with out work visas (yay for under the table jobs!) 

What job would you work to earn money while traveling?

Image Sources: 1, 2 & 3

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  1. I know this isn't for everyone but I thought I'd put it out there anyways: Missionary stations - they'll often let you live and eat for free if you help out with the cooking, cleaning, and various other little jobs.

    1. Yeah, I was going to add volunteering to the list but technically that's not making money. It is a great option though and I'd really love to take a month and volunteer somewhere in South East Asia either at an animal rescue center or an orphanage.

  2. I have found that hostel jobs aren't so bad. Although they usually aren't paid, they can still be fun and give you an opportunity to live for free while exploring cities.

    1. Oh, didn't know they weren't paid. Since you mentioned that you worked a hostel job I had to go and dig through your blog to find a post about it, haha. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on hostel jobs!