Let’s face it: the idea of travelling the world for an extended period of time is pretty enticing. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking a sabbatical, are already retired or simply taking a break from the traditional 9-5 grind; travelling is truly one of the most fulfilling aspects of life.
However, travelling for extended periods can often mean your income takes a hit
So, if you’re looking for ways to make money while travelling in order to subsidise your income, while still being able to explore the world, these 9 ideas are the perfect way to get started.
SEE ALSO: Financing a Sabbatical. All my posts about sabbatical finances in one place. Simple, practical advice that will help you work out what you can afford and keep your finances in check – please click or tap here.
1) Find Work Using Online Job Marketplaces
While online job boards might be a dime a dozen these days, they still present a massive amount of opportunity for freelancers trying to find extra work.
Writing jobs, tech support, marketing/customer support, and graphic design are just a few common industries where online work is common. However, if you keep your resume and portfolio up to date, you may find plenty of opportunities in a variety of industries where you have a good chance of securing a job.
Some of my favorite online job boards include:
There are dozens of other options to choose from, and some job websites are also niche-specific, so don’t be afraid to be picky and to spend time looking for work that you will actually enjoy.
2) Embrace The Gig Economy
We’re living in an age where working side jobs is incredibly popular thanks to gig apps and the rise of the gig economy.
If you’re travelling near a major city, chances are, you can make some fast money by utilizing one of the hundreds of platforms out there that connect hustlers to customers. It doesn’t matter what skills you have or your background, there’s probably something out there for you.
A few ideas you can turn to if you want to make some quick pocket change while travelling include:
- Task Rabbit – common jobs include furniture assembly, yard work, cleaning.
- Rover – an easy way to get paid to walk dogs.
- Food delivery jobs – you can deliver food for extra cash via bike in many major cities around the world for companies like Uber Eats…no car or insurance required!
- Local classifieds – you can often find a variety of jobs on local classifieds that are seeking general laborers for some grunt work. Not fun, granted, but these jobs pay.
Just note, many popular gig platforms are not available in all parts of the world. Europe and North America are fairly saturated with them, but many parts of Asia are still catching up in this regard. Keep this in mind when looking for ways to make money when you’re abroad.
3) Or…Work Odd Jobs
If gigs aren’t quite your thing, you can always turn to
This practice is more common than you think. Plenty of backpackers and vagabonds have turned to bartending, restaurant work, or manual labor jobs to pay the bills while travelling for an extended period of time.
When I spent a summer in Florida back when I was in college, I did the same thing. Cutting grass in the complex where I was staying was an easy way to earn grocery money and to stay active, and it was a pretty easy job to get.
Many of my friends have worked as bartenders or line cooks when they travelled through Australia and South East Asia, often working for 2-3 weeks at a time before disappearing to a new part of the world for another month.
4) Rent Out Assets Back Home
If you plan on travelling for an extended period of time, you can monetise many of the assets you are leaving back home to make money while you’re abroad.
Renting your home through a platform like AirBnB is an obvious one, but there are plenty of other options when it comes to renting out assets for money.
Outside of home rentals, you can consider renting out your car for cash on platforms like Turo or GetAround. You would need a friend or family member to handle the transaction portion of the deal back home, of course, but this is a decent way to make extra income if you’re comfortable with strangers using your belongings.
You could also turn to general rental marketplaces like Fat Llama, where people make a killing renting out photography gear, recording equipment, and a variety of other items. Once again, you’ll have to rely on someone you trust back home to exchange goods with customers and to receive payments, but if you pay them for their time it could be a suitable arrangement.
5) Start An Online Business
Ideally, you may already have some form of online income to stay afloat before you depart on your journey.
However, regardless of what stage you are at with your online entrepreneurial endeavors, you can always turn to online work to help pay the bills (if you put in the effort, that is).
Personally, I blog alongside working a full-time remote job to support myself while travelling, but you don’t have to limit yourself to blogging.
What service or subject are you an expert at, and how can you provide value to the market? Proofreading/editing, virtual assistant work, marketing consulting, or starting a graphic design business are just a few options that come to mind. If you can leverage your network to find online clients, you can truly run an online business from anywhere on earth.
6) Tutor Students Online
If you are a native English speaker, you already possess an extremely valuable skill when you consider the global demand for English tutors.
You’ll have to pass a series of interviews to make it into most online tutoring platforms, and the hours you’ll be teaching are generally based on Shanghai time. However, if you’re looking to make money online with a low barrier to entry skill, tutoring might be the perfect option.
7) Work In Tourism
If you plan on staying in one location for an extended period of time, you may be able to make money while travelling by working in the tourism industry.
Once again, if you speak the same language as many of the tourists who are visiting the country where you are staying, you can probably find some sort of work to make extra cash. You’ll often find ex-pats or travelers working odd jobs at resorts or as tour guides in foreign cities, and this makes perfect sense. If you speak the same language as most of the guests in your city, you’d be the perfect candidate to show them around town as a tour guide.
This could also be a great way to meet other frequent travellers who speak the same language as you, so if you’re a social person, this option might be quite appealing.
8) House-Hack As An Au Pair
While this is more of a travel hack and less of a money making idea for travelling, working as an au pair is an effective way to secure room and board (and even a modest salary).
An au pair is essentially a housekeeper/servant, and au pairs generally help their host family with tasks around the house and childcare. Working as an au pair is a job, so it certainly restricts your ability to travel freely, but it can be a solid option to turn to if you need to catch your breath and regroup before travelling further.
Just note, working as an au pair is really only viable for single travellers, as it is unlikely a host family would take on two helpers.
If you want to look for work as an au pair, you can check out AuPair World.
9) Negotiate With Your Previous Employer
With increasing access to technology, it’s of little surprise that employers are becoming more comfortable with the idea of the ‘remote worker’ each year.
According to Owl Labs, 40% of global companies have a hybridized workforce, meaning some component of their office works remotely. If you don’t work directly with customers or some element of the supply chain, there’s a chance you could pitch the idea of working remotely.
A good way to accomplish this is to first make yourself invaluable and to then push for change. Employers want to keep their workforce happy and motivated, and if you’re a high performer, they are more likely to accommodate your requests to start working remotely.
Working remotely for your existing employer is by far the simplest way to make money while travelling, and you be able to make the transition without taking a pay cut.
See how Maire managed to do exactly this in one of our recent interviews.
Travelling can be one of the most fulfilling things in life. Between meeting new people and experiencing new cultures, there’s something that’s simply beautiful about taking the time to explore somewhere new.
However, we all need money to survive, and travelling for an extended period of time can definitely strain your wallet. Hopefully, if you ever find yourself abroad and in need of some extra cash, one of the ideas on this list can help subsidize your income.
Tom is a recent college graduate from Toronto, Canada, and is currently location independent and travelling the Southern United States. Tom also runs the blog This Online World, a website that is dedicated to helping others make money online and start their own side hustle.
Useful Tools for Booking Your Sabbatical
I always use Skyscanner or Agoda alongside Google Flights to make sure I’ve got the best price. I use Google Flights to save a route and monitor price changes and a combination of Skyscanner and Agoda to get the cheapest tickets.
If you are in the UK I would also highly recommend signing up for Jack’s Flight Club to get incredible flight deals sent to your email inbox every week.
When booking accommodation I always start with Booking.com as they generally have the best range and prices. I also regularly use Airbnb for longer stays and apartments in cities (use this link for £25 off your first stay). For a different experience try signing up to Housecarers for free house-sitting opportunities (get 10% off membership with this link).
Travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, but when a flight gets cancelled, injury occurs or you damage a piece of gear you’ll regret not paying in advance. I’ve used World Nomads for two sabbaticals and (after badly damaging a hire car in Laos!) found the claim process to be simple and transparent.
Getting from the airport to your destinations is an added stress after a tiring flight, so take the guesswork out and pre-book with JayRide.com. Their prices often beat the local taxis and I've found them to be reliable and easy to use.