5 Ways to Make Money While You Travel

As much as I’d love to report that money grows on trees here in South Africa and I am rolling in dough, I’m afraid I must give a (small) reality check….

Travel blogging and Digital Nomad living is not as easy as it looks.  There are many hidden (or just not photographed and shared) challenges and concerns that come along with being a Digital Nomad- first and foremost being, “How am I going to keep funding this lifestyle I’ve found myself in?  Or is it time to go back to the old 9-5?  PLEASE NO!”

Luckily, where there’s a will there’s a way, as they say.

While money does come in from blogging and social media-ing, it’s far from consistent.  Multiple streams are necessary to stay afloat.  It takes a lot of self-motivation and creativity to keep on going.

I have found that there are many ways to make money to travel WHILE you travel, and I intend to find them all!  But for now, here are five!

1.  Freelance Writing typewriter-801921_1920

Sometimes I write paid articles for my blog, and sometimes other publications.  It pays off big time to write daily and reach out to publications that feature content for which you are an expert.  Also, when your following is big enough, advertisers will start pitching you article ideas in hopes you will include a paid link for them.

2.  Volunteering

Sometimes this isn’t exactly a paid situation, but it can cover major expenses like food and accommodation.  I had a friend who spent an entire month in Vietnam for free by volunteering at a children’s school, teaching English.  They covered her meals and a private room to sleep in.  Not a bad gig if you ask me!

3.  Under The Table

This is a risky one, so take this advice with a grain of salt.  Working without a proper visa (if you’re caught) can get you into trouble, but depending on where you are, it may be completely common and unofficially accepted.  One of my best girlfriends got a job selling paddleboard rentals on the beach of Koh Tao, Thailand in order to support her travels, and guess what?  It paid enough to cover her meals and accommodation!  Plus, she basically just chilled on the beach all day.

4.  Selling Travel Photos SOLD.png

My favorite!!! If only I could do this daily.  Taking photos of my travels has been one of the best parts of the entire experience.  I love to try different angles and lighting, exercising my amateur photography skills.  Recently I sold a photo of the South African Namaqualand Daisies to the New York Times, making $200!

5.  Use Your Skillsbeach-1853902_1920.jpg

Staying at hostels around the world has given me the opportunity to meet so many different people with varied hobbies and skills.  When I was in Vienna a couple months ago, I met a musician who funded his travels by playing guitar and piano.  He entertained people at the hostel in exchange for accommodation, then went off and played gigs to make some cash. Incredible, right?

Another example was the yoga instructor I met in Thailand– traveling for years, doing what she loves…yoga on the beach, while making money.  Ever since then I’ve thought repeatedly, I reeeeally need to get yoga instructor certified ASAP…and then get back to Thailand.  

What do you guys think?  What are your favorite and most effective ways to set up multiple streams of income for your travels?

The beautiful thing about today’s day and age is the endless open doors online.  Let’s go knock on them all, shall we?

15 thoughts on “5 Ways to Make Money While You Travel

  1. Thank’s for sharing this!
    Would you have any tips for selling pictures? How did you do to be contacted by the NY Times 🙂


  2. Ah this is such an inspiring post and it absolutely is the dream to make money and travel together. Freelance writing is something I’m working on but I’d never considered selling pictures. I just read your other post and I can’t believe someone contacted you via instagram, that is amazing!!


  3. Earning and at the same time indulging in your passion for traveling is definitely something which is very desirable. These are great pointers in that direction. I would love to try selling my photos, that is something i have not tried.


  4. Everything is illegal and under the table unless you have a working visa. In some countries, it even includes writing blog posts you get paid for in your home currency AND volunteering because a tourist visa is supposed to be simply that – a visa for tourists. Obviously, it’s harder to get caught as a blogger or for selling photos while you’re abroad, but trust me, it can happen. I know people who have gotten in trouble with UKBA for even doing something simple like babysitting (for free!) their friend’s kids for a single night while they were here as a tourist. It earned them a 10 year ban from entering the UK when UKBA found this note in their calendar when they came for a future event. There’s also recently been a story about a band from Italy being denied entry to the US because they were going to be playing free gigs, and authors promoting their books being denied entry to some European countries. So my advice is to really think hard about working while travelling and if it’s really worth risking being caught (even countries that “turn a blind eye” don’t always!). And never tell an immigration advisor that you intend on writing, working, volunteering, whatever whilst in their country.


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