This has been a fun article to write. As a guy with an entrepreneurial streak I am always interested to learn how people fund their travels long term. It also gave me an opportunity to learn from some travelers I have a lot of respect for. Often we look for some magic bullet or idea that makes a ton of easy money, but the solutions offered in this article are all based in good ole' fashioned hard work. Everybody in this world has something to offer and that something can be bartered for food, lodging, money, or anything you need to keep you rolling to your next adventure.
Before we get into the ideas, I wanted to share some thoughts from Sam Manicom, an author and world motorcycle traveler. He pointed out that finding odd jobs while traveling is more than just earning money. Its an opportunity to "get under the skin of a country. Work there with locals and cut beneath the surface. It's also a chance to give something back by sharing the things and the places you have traveled to that point with the people you are working with." Working while traveling doesn't have to be a burden, it will enhance your experience.
Here's some ideas for you to consider on your own travels.
You can sign up with a site like MoonLighting.com and start finding work for pretty much any skill you have. Don't underestimate yourself. There are things you are good at that many other people could use, and they are willing to pay for it. How does working from a beach view or a mountain lodge sound? As long as you can get a decent internet connection, you can make some travel money.
Content Creation and Art
I mentioned Sam Manicom earlier, he has earned money braiding hair at markets and hostels, painting t-shirts, and he has written several motorcycle travel books.
Simon and Lisa Thomas of 2RideTheWorld.com use their talents to produce great content for their website, but they also generate income by selling their photography, calendars, and they even have a 'Dirty Dining' cookbook in the works.
Another successful traveler, Meg Jerrard, started a great travel blog called Mapping Megan. It takes time and a lot of effort to build an audience and create income from a blog, but Meg has a great article on her site with some unique ideas to earn while traveling. Instead of repeating what she said, make sure to read her article HERE.
No matter what part of the world you are in, personal services will always be needed, and with some fore thought you may be able to learn a new skill before you start traveling. Think of services like:
- cutting hair
- teaching English
- shadetree mechanic
- fixing computers
- waiting tables
- unloading trucks
- be a DJ and get the party started!
- mow lawns
- handyman work
Sam told me, "The key is not to be shy. Ask and you'll find someone you can help."
For services, its a good idea to get one of the best credit card swipers you can afford or a wireless credit card reader. Depending on where you are traveling, cash is becoming less common, so being able to accept cards will make it easier to do business. Another solution for merchant accounts is an online portal. That would eliminate the need for any hardware.
If you would rather not deal with credit cards you also have bartering options. It may be just as easy to work for room and board, meals, fuel, or any necessities.
Sell your story
If you are good at writing and photography you can create package stories for magazines such as ADVMoto Magazine.
Paid presentations are also an option. If you are traveling, chances are you have some great advice to offer others and stories that make them interesting. Companies that work in the travel and adventure market often hire presenters to bring in customers. Events like Overland Expo also pay experienced travelers for presentations and teaching classes on specific subjects such as navigation, first aid, vehicle recovery, etc.
Its not my goal to create an exhaustive list of every possible way to make money to prolong travels. Hopefully, this will get you thinking creatively and noticing all the possibilities to keep you roaming and have a richer experience while doing it.
If you have some ideas of your own we would love to hear them in the comments section.