6 Ways Travel Bloggers Make Money While Travelling

 

Certainly, you don’t have to be rich to travel the world. Anyone can do it as you can make money when travelling full-time. How? In today’s post, 7 independent travel bloggers are sharing their ways and tips on how they have been supporting financially their voyages across the globe. If they can do it, you can do it as well unless you’re rich or your savings allow you to travel the world for less than $25 a day for the rest of your life!

We shared our expertise on the subject in our latest ebook titled Travel Blogging: Build Audience, Improve Rankings and Earn Money. Click on the book cover on the right to read more or add to bag to purchase now.

Working hard at Singapore airport
Cez working online at Singapore airport

 

Here are 6 ways to make money when on the road:

1. Teaching English.

Julio Moreno of World Heritage Sites.

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One of the best and highest paying jobs you can do abroad is teaching English in the wonderful country of South Korea. Not only will this more than pay for your wanderlust addiction, but you can actually save quite a bit. Teaching English in Korea requires a 4-year college degree from an English speaking country (US, Canada, UK, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand) in an English speaking university (French Canadian schools are not accepted). It also requires that you pass a federal background check, which in the US takes about 3 months to do.

Advantages:

Personally, I love teaching, especially kindergarten. The children are mostly eager to learn and will impress you with their level (unless you teach at public schools I’m told) at such a young age. Getting paid $2000 – $3000 a month in a relatively cheap country with a tax rate of 3.3% is pretty nice too! I saved up over 50 thousand over the last 3 years alone! Koreans are quite friendly towards foreigners and you even get special discounts and services for being different. Looking for a job is easy and can be done online through eTramping job board.

Disadvantages:

Quite honestly, there are very few things I would say are drawbacks. Workers in non-established schools have been known to be given late pay or fired for no reason,  but this is rare. Personally though, I would say the biggest thing you have to deal with is other foreigners. Many expats are just in it for the money and show absolutely no interest in the job, Korean people, and complain about every little thing. Given my passion for my job, the country, and a personal pet peeve against complainers, this is quite a challenge for me.

If you want to learn more about Korea, teaching abroad, funding your travels or World Heritage Sites, follow his blog.

Karisa of My Hot Pink Passport.

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I’m a huge fan of slow travel and really getting to know a location well. The perfect fit for me is teaching English abroad! It’s a great way to connect with locals and also put aside a nice savings for traveling. I spent last year in Bangkok, Thailand. During that year I learned so much about Thai culture through my students and by exploring Bangkok. On the weekends I took road trips to nearby beaches and small towns. On my breaks I made it to seven other countries in Southeast Asia!

2. Doing web design, Internet marketing, writing, transcribing.

Samantha Wei and Yeison Kim of My Tan Feet

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Yeison and I have both worked while on the road. He used to work for a volunteer organization that traveled around Central America leading groups providing medical care. When I moved to Costa Rica, I’ve done various things like teach English and work at a hotel but now both of us work online full time. Yeison does web design, Internet marketing and consulting and I do writing, copywriting and transcribing and we both manage a couple other websites and blogs. This allows us to be location independent, we just need our computer and Wi-Fi so we can work whenever we’re traveling around Costa Rica. The income always depends and isn’t consistent, sometimes it’s very busy and a lot of work, sometimes it’s not as much but it has been anywhere from $500 to $2000 a month.

The advantages are that we get to set our own schedule, we get to pick the projects we want to do and we still have plenty of time to work on our blog. The disadvantage is that it’s not as reliable as a steady job. There’s no bi-weekly paycheck, we have to work weird hours since sometimes we get contacted about a project that needs to be finished asap and clients message us at all hours of the day. It’s hard work and sometimes it keeps us busier beyond 40 hours a week (some weeks it’s like 60) but we love the freedom and the fact that we are our own bosses.

3. Using Craigslist.com and Elance.com. 

Sabrina of Just One Way Ticket.

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Everytime I was looking to make money I checked Craigslist.com and looked on the local site for job offers. Depending where you are there might be some interesting short term jobs for you. In Istanbul I ended up teaching German to students, meeting them in cafés or at the park. It was good fun and I made some new friends. I was surprised how easy it was to make some extra cash. Just be creative and try!

Marek of Indie Traveller.

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If you are travelling with a laptop and you have skills in areas such as writing, programming, graphic design or marketing, then working remotely on a freelance basis can be a viable option for financing (part of) your travels.

I have had some experience taking jobs through Elance.com (another popular site like this is Odesk). You create a profile specifying your available skills, and optionally take some interactive tests to demonstrate your proficiency in these areas. You can then be invited onto projects or you can submit proposals for open jobs in the hopes that they will be assigned to you.

To illustrate, I recently did four hours of writing and editing work which earned me $100. Taken as an hourly rate that’s not spectacular pay by Western standards, but money will go a lot further when you are backpacking.. For me, this writing gig covered 4 days of expenses in Bolivia. And I did the work from a hammock in a hostel garden.

I do occasional freelance work while I’m travelling, but admittedly a better way to make money is to take a break from your travels and just stay in one spot for a while. That’s because you can dial down your cost of living dramatically (even if based somewhere temporarily) and because having a consistent work environment and WiFi access lets you do more work more quickly.

I have a friend who is temporarily based in Thailand at the moment, and he’s there to top up his funds before travelling on. He teaches English during the day, and writes reviews for iPhone apps through Elance.com in the evening. His cost of living is about $400 a month, but his combined monthly income is a lot more than that. All the while he’s enjoying a good standard of living and gets to eat delicious Thai food every day.

Hunkering down and grinding through some work (before resuming your travels) is often a very efficient way of making money on the road. By using freelancing sites, you can take jobs from anywhere in the world and complete them from anywhere as well.

4. Freelance photography and social media services.

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Casey Siemasko and Daniel Moore of A Cruising Couple.

Before setting out to travel full-time, we knew we were going to need an income on the road if we were to keep our travels sustainable. I love writing and Dan loves photography, so it made sense to pursue these hobbies. Additionally, we already had our blog, we just had to make the commitment to put in the time and dedication required to take it to the next level. So with a lot of hard work (and no monetary gain) we started to grow our travel blog. Now it provides us with a steady part-time income, primarily from advertising and social media campaigns. However, we also offer freelance writing, photography, and social media services. This isn’t writing or photography that goes on our blog, but we still utilize our blog to find potential clients interested in these services. Blogs are becoming a really powerful way to funnel clients to your freelancing business, whether that’s jewelry making or website design or whatever it is you’re interested in. With so many blogs out there it is getting more and more difficult to compete, but with a lot of work, time and commitment, it’s possible to succeed. You can’t predict your income from month to month, but the rewards of being able to work from anywhere in the world are worth it for some.

Jonny of Don’t Stop Living

Broccoli Farming in Tasmania.

Broccoli farm

I spent about 3-4 months doing hardcore broccoli farming in Tasmania. It’s a very popular job for backpackers to Tasmania, I was there on a working holiday a few years back and loved this type of work. It is a really good way to met the locals, meet some fellow travellers, work hard and earn some serious cash. The job lasts as long or as short as you want it to. It’s a zero hours type of contract with wages starting at $18 AUD per hour. Just think on a 10 hour day that’s $180 AUD!! In one day you have made enough money to go backpacking in Iran for 3 weeks – amazing! The work depends on the season, the amount of other staff and the farmers. You must also be hard working and care about your job. Become an expert. After a week of cutting broccoli, I was able to get shifts all over Tasmania and work 7 days a week a lot of the time. Basically if there are broccoli fields ready to be harvested, then there is work for you. Most of the broccoli harvesting in Tasmania is done in late Summer and Autumn. I did most of my broccoli farming from February to May time. Working conditions are awesome. You start early at 7am and just keep working until your boss (or the farmer) decides you have cut enough for that day. This often meant doing long days 7am to 7pm which is great for the bank balance. Having your own transport gives you an advantage. You will always get a half hour for lunch and two fifteen minute breaks during the day. You get to meet locals as well as fellow backpackers and you have a great time. It was through my months of farming work, spending almost zero money that I managed to backpack my way to Antarctica. I have written about 10 posts on Broccoli Cutting, a good overview is from my time cutting broccoli in Walabadah.

5. Working on passive income.

 Deia of Nomad Wallet.

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Two words: passive income. My husband and I will never be able to travel full time on savings alone — seeing our bank account balance drop makes us too anxious. We did that anyway for 1 year; we relied on our savings and my freelance writing income. We already had some passive income then, but it wasn’t enough to fully cover all our expenses. We’re now working on a plan. Within the next 2 years, we’ll have enough passive income to travel full time without working. I’ll still continue to write and we’ll probably build a few side businesses, though!

6. Cruise Jobs: International Hostess.

Noelia of Noelimits.

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I worked as International Hostess in a 5 stars cruise line for 2 years. This position duties include to translate documents between 5 languages, and organize events, dinner and parties for guest that don’t speak English (usually Spanish, French, Italians, Portuguese, Germans or Dutch). Usually we work in contracts of 6 months, 7 days a week with 10 hours shift. Every port day, we have around 4-6 hours off to go ashore and enjoy. We are allowed to join some of the shore excursions for free or reduced rate. Most of the cruise ships sail around the world! The most common destinations when cruising are: Caribbean, Alaska or Mediterranean Sea.

Salaries vary from position, but expect to win around 2000US$ for a staff or two-stripe officer. Salary is tax free (as it is earn in International Water, you are not require to pay taxes to any country). After 6 months of contract, you can come home with around 12000$ to invest in further traveling!!

For me, working is a cruise ship is something that everyone should do once in their lifetime! You will make lifetime friends, get to know destinations (and even countries!) you had no idea they existed before.

As an inconvenient, if you are a familiar person, it could be hard to be away from friends or family for 6 months or more. Some cruises departments have severe discipline. Accommodation is usually shared cabin and they are quite small. Some positions will not allow you as much as free time or you will have to work when the ship is in port, so no time to go out. Depending of the positions you got different privileges and it can be a little bit discriminatory sometimes.

How do you support financially your travels?

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Share your tips with us in comment!

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115 Comments

    • It’s been my pleasure Karisa to feature you here. Yes, we all can be so creative when it comes to earning some money to travel the world!

  • Great tips! Totally agree with Noelia that everyone should work on a cruise ship once in their lifetime. We’ve done it, and absolutely loved it (OK, we worked as entertainment staff, and had lots of free time to explore every port of call). Made lifetime friends, and learnt so much.

    • I was thinking of cruises for a long time. As Noelia, I can speak some Spanish, Polish, English and some Chinese so I could be a translator or something :-D! Will think of that!

  • Thanks for the great suggestions Agness! I somehow like the idea of working on a cruise ship, simply because it is something that is completely foreign to me. But on the other hand, staying on the same ship for 6 months straight sounds like quite a commitment. Who knows, maybe it’s something to try out on a short cruise some day… :)

  • This is great guys, really wish we’d had more articles like this to read before we got started, though there’s certainly a few of these that we could look into doing now whilst we’re on the go.

  • Great article, but I’m sure we could all use a few more details. What is passive income, and how did the couple of #4 get started with their freelance photography and writing? I’m sure it could help many of us out there. Thanks for sharing, it truly is an inspirational article!

    • Hi Margherita. Thanks for your feedback. If you have some questions, you can always email us all and we can provide you with all the info :)!!

    • Hi Margherita, passive income is a type of income that you earn without having to do any active work. Basically, you set it and forget it. For me, I have rental properties with a property manager who handles the day-to-day operations. So every month on the 10th, I get rent income deposited into my bank account without me having to work for it. There’s a link above to my blog post that explains this in a lot more detail.

  • So far I’ve only managed long-term travel by teaching ESL (the demand still blows my mind) but I think the opportunities to earn money from a laptop, or even phone, can only increase significantly.

    • I’m doing some teaching right now in China, but I’m moving to Europe and it would not be enough to survive there :D!

  • Very informative. I Have been considering teaching english abroad for a while. So far I volunteered in a hostel, worked at a beach bar or for some organisations. For beginners I would also recommend being an au pair! It is a great way to get to know the country and the culture you are in by living with your host family. I have done in in the US and in Germany and couldn’t recommend it enough!

    • Thanks Marta! I was applying for Au Pair two years ago, but my application was declined as I did not have a driving licence. It’s compulsory in the States. Maybe next time :(!

  • Very inspiring post, soon I’ll be one of you guys and will do my best that it works too and I’ll be able to finance my travels by location independent jobs as well as jobs in the places I go to. Wish me luck :)

  • I earn passive income as an affiliate in the health niche :) Just goes to show you don’t necessarily need to be a ‘travel’ blogger… you just need a way to earn income with internet marketing being one viable option (in any niche!).

    • Hey Jacob,

      Can you expand more on this? I’m a nurse who is currently traveling Canada (I’m from Ontario) hoping to save up enough to do some traveling abroad for a few months (or years). I’m open to many types of jobs while away but know that I’ll need to work for sure. I’ve been a registered nurse for almost three years and a registered practical nurse for two years prior to that. I specialize in obstetrics, rural health and acute care. I also have experience in bartending and waitressing but I understand this is difficult to get in places such as Southeast Asia (hoping to be there in 2015 to begin my adventure) and South America.

      Any advice on where to start would be appreciated! :)

  • Fantastic post!! I work as a scuba diving instructor to fund my travels – it’s kind of like an English teacher, you get the certification then you can travel to all sorts of exotic places and work while exploring!

    • You’ve been doing fantastic. If I ever do round 2 for this post, I’ll ask you to include your story xxx

  • Nice list. The hardest part is waiting the four years until the teenager graduates to travel full time. Until then we do two of those (teach and photography) and take two week trips during the year.

  • What a fantastic article and collaboration! A lot of great ideas for those who want to pursue travel more often and quit their day jobs!

  • I have taught in South Korea and I agree it can be a great way to earn extra income. My first year I was able to SAVE over $12,000. I have never thought about looking at Craigslist as I travel to earn income but I think I will give it a go. Great post :D

  • Hi Agness, this gives great insight into how people finance their indefinite travels. Great tips for those who plan to pursue full time travel. My husband and I works full time and travel part time. We plan to retire early and travel most of the time.

    • Thanks Marisol. I’m planning on travelling part-time in 2 months when I’m back in Europe as I will a full-time student! :D!

  • These are awesome tips! It’s always interesting to hear how other people make money while they’re on the road. I tried teaching English for a while and found out it wasn’t a great fit for me. Instead, I like taking writing and translation jobs that are location independent. I recommend trying out lots of different paths and figuring out the one that works for you. :)

  • Great post – thank you! We love hearing all these stories and being inspired. Our blog is only 1 year old – and it’s only part time right now because we both work so much. But we enjoy it and are just now exploring ways to monetize.

    We appreciate seeing how others are able to do this, so we feel like we aren’t crazy for pursuing it ourselves.

    Thanks and happy travels!
    Liz & Josh
    http://www.peanutsorpretzels.com

  • My fiance and I are planning to support ourselves while travelling by doing transcription. There are lots of kinds (medical, legal) but essentially all you need is the ability to type, a set of headphones and an internet connection.

  • Each and everyone of these stories are impressive. However, as a regular reader of mytanfeet.com, I must admit that I love how Samantha and Yeison make their monthly income as well as stats public. It is very inspirational and proves that it can be done with a lot of hard work and dedication!!

  • Recently because a full-time freelancer and this is exactly the kind of thing I’m trying to do: travel while working online. Will be doing my first couple trips in a week :D

  • Yes, With these ways one can earn money during his travel. I love to do teaching and internet marketing jobs. By selecting these task you can tie your self to local culture of that place and can learn a lot.

  • Great tips! I love hearing from other people who have wanderlust.

    I mostly rely on freelancing to fund my travels (some weeks I do well, others I don’t) + the occasional English teaching gig.

    I always hoped to get famous enough to fund it through my blog, though…

  • I am not a “full-time traveller”, but since I caught the travel fever last year, every time i get the opportunity to travel, I take it! I’m financing all of my travels with student jobs. But, I have to admit,among those jobs, I’m writing for gossip and tourism magazines, so I indeed just need a computer and a Wi-Fi connexion, which is so convenient because I don’t have to be attached to one place :) !

    Hope life is treating you amazingly!

  • Great Post Agness! I think all of your suggestions sound great. Passive income is an interesting one and mainly the reason behind our site buggl.com – it’s a place to easily create your own travel guides and monetize them to your audiences and ours. We’ve seen several of the world’s leading travel bloggers use it to make a few bucks here and there. Keep writing great posts.

  • Passive income is gonna have to be my next goal. I am also going a Working Holiday starting September, which maybe you can add to the list on a follow up :).
    Thanks for adding my input to this post :).

  • Great post!! I’m working toward full time travel. It actually does seem daunting sometimes. Teaching english has been rolling around in my mind, but I wasn’t aware of needing a 4 year degree first. I think just having an entrepreneurial heart is a step in the right direction. Thanks for giving me some things to look into!

  • thats awesome. I’m loving the teaching in china thing right now. I’ve traveled so much in 3 months and still have saved money. I’m tempted to try south korea next but I’m not sure yet

    • Me too! I was thinking of going to South Korea after my master’s degree. Who knows, we might end up there together!! :-D

  • Well, blogging doesn’t pay the bills – but it does help if you can get some sponsorship or discounted accommodation for writing about it on your blog.

    I also think there’s nothing wrong with working in a country when you’re overseas and staying in one place for a time, because it’s a great way to meet people and learn a bit more about the local culture. Sure, it means you’re not as free to roam – but how free to roam will you be if you don’t have any income?

    There are some great tips and advice here.

    • It’s hard to pay for your bills from blogging, but it’s a great way to support your travels. Blogging pays for my flight tickets and my weekend trips across China!! Thanks Simon!

  • I survived a year in Australia earning money through websites as Elance (I’m a graphic designer / illustrator).

    I do have to say it wasn’t that easy. I took me hours and hours online finding jobs because they offer you crazy money :( one offered me a dollar an hour, even if I would work every single hour of the week, I wouldn’t earn enough to pay for rent (and I was sharing a room with another backpacker). I realize Australia is expensive but a lot of people on websites like that want cheap work to be done and they have no respect towards the designers :(

    I don’t want to sound negative :) I would TOTALLY recommend working as a freelancer while traveling. It is awesome and I just can not think of a better and fun job! Just try to find jobs in different ways.

    To my experience it works well to tell others about what you do, they know people that might need something to get done, and then their friends need something and HEY you just got started :)

    • Hey Tinne!
      Wow, it’s impressive. I’ll try Elance soon. I know it’s not easy as I am doing a lot of freelancing jobs at the moment, but you can still earn some money to support your travels and that’s so cool!

    • Great tip about telling others what you do. Don’t be shy! I have even resorted to the old-fashioned idea of business cards on paper. They are not expensive, yet they may help people to remember you if they ever need a designer/translator/cook/gardener.

  • Having been a teacher in the UK I have thought about Teaching abroad but would ideally like to explore other options first, not because I didn’t enjoy it but I like the idea of varying work so maybe elance is something to consider. We are considering working summer seasons in Europe and renting our house out in the UK so that we still have an income coming in and then taking the winter months to explore the world a bit more. This way we can still explore without the constraints of the glass offices we are in currently but still have the confidence that some money is coming in each month. Some great suggestions here though that I intend to look into. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Wow, lots of creative ideas! I was teaching English in Taiwan before, but having a full-time, stressful job wasn’t really for me… Now my income comes completely from freelance writing and online PR work. I started on oDesk (similar to Elance) but found an awesome employer who I now work for outside of it (so there’s no more 10% fee). I love it :)

    • Wow, Charlie. That’s fantastic. This is exactly what I want to do when I start my master’s degree in September!! You’re my inspiration!

  • Very inspiring post! Never thought of using craigslist for jobs when I travel. In the U.S. you really have to sift through the ads and not all of them pay well or are on-the-level. It used to be decent but it’s been going downhill in the U.S. Decent place to find free stuff and apartments though.

  • It’s mighty annoying that Indian passports are such a hindrance to travel. These short term job options are just not there for us. No working holidays, nothing!! I like the cruise ship option a lot though… I think I’m going to look for a loophole ;)

  • Lots of great ideas here! Wish I could fully commit to travelling full time.

    Another tip along the lines of working for a cruise line is to be a flight attendant. My girlfriend is a flight attendant and we’ve been able to fly all over the world using her standby privileges!

    • Thanks Will. To be honest, working as a flight attendant is not so great. Long working hours, not many days off and they don’t pay you enough to go sightseeing. I’ve heard many bad things about this kind of job. It’s not good for people whose passion is travel.

  • I agree with the advice of staying in one place for a while if you need to work: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/how-do-you-finance-your-travels/

    It cuts down on daily/monthly expenses if you rent an apartment or a room for a few months and you can set up your home office, so that you don’t need to run from one table at the airport to another desk at the library to a bench at the train station. Especially for jobs that require focused attention (I work as a translator and lawyer), I find it not very economical to work in environments where other people are around.

    So I usually work for a few weeks, and then I travel for a few weeks. But because I do the work in foreign places (for example I am in Italy now) it still feels like holiday.

    • Hi Andreas,

      Thank you for sharing. Your plan seems to be great. I like the idea of working for some time and then getting back on the road. Good luck and have fun!

    • You should definitely try it in the future! :-D That’s what I’ve been doing for the past 3 years… :)

  • Thanx for this post. I really want to get a job here in Thailand. I think I am a talented photographer. always been my dream to work as a freelancer photographer. but unfortunately I’m without contacts. So I might get into English teaching instead.

    • Thanks a lot for stopping buy! Never stop believing in your photography skills and keep going! Thailand’s an amazing place to live and travel.

  • planning to be a freelancer, to get my freedom again :D. A website like e lance or odesk might be good choice for travel blogger and a programmer like me. nice article :D

  • Great list! It’s always fun to see how people finance their travels! Last year I worked as an english teacher and this year since I’m doing my masters, I’ve been doing various freelance writing and editing jobs. And funny because I’ve never met Noelia, but I’ve met her brother while couch surfing in London!

  • Some great examples here and plenty of mentors for me to learn from. I particularly noted and have followed the meteoric rise of Mytanfeet. If anyone wants to know how it is done they are the people to check out.

  • If you can proofread translations for menus, signs, and newsletters and create other English-language marketing materials you can be an Editor. You can actually earn good money doing this working for a business or doing it yourself on the side.

  • Hey…your blog is the best in the online town. I have become an ardent fan of your writing. Good work, dude! I have just been `let go’ from my job. So, I think I will not go searching door to door for another opening. Now, you have made it clear to me that the world is at my fingertips. Tell me if you know of any freelance openings on the World Wide Web so that I can post my graphics work and earn some money. I too checked out some excellent and credible sites like http://www.gicree.com, http://www.zopgraphics.com, and a few such marketplaces. I will keep you posted if I know more, and you do the same for me please!

  • I just don’t agree with the “freelance” option, I’ve tried and it’s really complicated, it is too competitive, and it would be something that would need of our time (a lot of it) in order to generate income, when one travels want to know places, in conclusion: Or you go outside and know places or stay at the hotel “freelancing” until you have enough money to move to your next destination.

  • Really useful blog! Thank you for sharing!

    It takes time before everything start to work smoothly. I mean that you can travel and make money in the same time. But blogging is one of the best ways.

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