Are you looking for ways to get paid to travel?
Today I want to share with you my top 11 ways to make money travelling or make money while traveling.
The ideas in this article are focused on the best ways to earn continual income as you travel the world.
Some of the ideas are business based travel ideas that you build and grow yourself, and other ideas are job based where work for an employer and make money as you travel.
This article focuses on getting paid to travel.
So whether you’re just looking to travel short term while making some money, or looking for a long term strategy to fund your travels for years to come, this list has got ideas for you!
1. Start A Travel Blog
The best way to travel and make money is by running some sort of online business you can build and manage while you’re traveling the world.
In my opinion, the best online business you can create is your very own blog. Since we’re talking about traveling here, a travel blog is the perfect way to earn money for travels.
How does travel blogging work?
A travel blogger roams around the world writing about his/her experiences, sharing advice & tips, and makes money from that.
How does a travel blogger make money?
The 4 most common ways travel bloggers make money are below:
- Ads – placing ads on their blogs
- Affiliate marketing – promoting travel related products and services (e.g. recommending hotels or travel gadgets)
- Product creation – Creating courses or information products (e.g. creating a city guide for purchase)
- Sponsorships – Cities, travel agencies, and various companies pay you to promote their products/services
So imagine this…..
You fly to Italy and spend 2 weeks roaming around the Amalfi Coast…
You create several blog posts about your experiences, including topics like:
- What hotels you stayed at and your experience in them
- What tours you went on and how you rated them
- What mistakes you made and what you would do differently
- A 2 week itinerary of the best things to do in the Amalfi Coast
(all the blog posts above can be monetized (you can make money from them)
In your blog posts, you can mention the following products/services —> Hotels, tours, travel gadgets, phone apps, car rental companies, city guides, etc.
All the above can earn you a commission/referral fee when you promote them… which makes you money to cover the costs of your travels.
Travel blogging and making from traveling go hand in hand.
Your very own travel blog is a must have asset if traveling is your main goal.
2. Become a travel influencer on Instagram
Travel influencing is an increasing popular way people are making money while traveling and using Instagram’s platform.
What is travel influencing?
Travel influencing is when you make money off of the people who follow you on Instagram.
It works like this:
You build up your follower count on Instagram by posting engaging stories and posts people like. You’ll begin building your follower count. The more followers the merrier!
As your follower count grows, you have more “influence”, which is a fancy way of saying you can reach more people. This is important, because the more people you can reach, the more money you can make.
How does an Instagram travel influencer make money?
Travel influencers on Instagram make money in a similar fashion as bloggers.
A travel influencer can make money by:
- Promoting a product/service in their stories or feed by mentioning it or taking a photo with it
- Referring followers to a blog post where they can be promoted something
- Refer followers straight to a website where they can purchase something
The most popular way travel influencers make money is through partnerships with brands.
For example, a female travel influencer can partner with a hotel brand.
The hotel will give her a free stay at a luxury hotel (and sometimes pay her on top of the free stay) in exchange for posts and stories.
The travel influencer gets a few free nights at a luxury hotel and the hotel gets promoted to new audiences. It’s a win/win.
Can you really make money as a travel influencer?
The question you really want to ask is, can you build a large enough following in order to get paid to travel? Because at the end of the day, the amount of money you can make depends largely on how many (engaged) followers you have.
For example, Kim Kardashian (who has tens of millions of followers) can charge $100,000+ just by mentioning a sunglass brand in an Instagram post. Her reach is MASSIVE (in the millions!)
You on the other hand may only have 3 000, 10 000, or even 50 000 (which is amazing numbers btw!)
How many followers do you need in order to make money?
Generally, with just 3k-5k followers, you can expect to partner with brands by mentioning their product/services, and receive free merchandise or experiences in exchange.
To be paid cold hard cash for promoting a brand/service, you typically want to have around 10k followers (or more).
There are many travellers who travel the world while using Instagram as their main platform to fund their adventures. They typically have a following count of 25,000+.
Many of us use social media as a hobby, playing around on various platforms for entertainment. But being strategic on it by building an audience and then making money from it is big business we can all benefit from.
3. Start a travel Youtube channel
If you enjoy being in front of the camera and would enjoy making visual content, Youtube is likely the best platform for you to build a travel business around.
Youtube is great because it is one of the oldest social media platforms.
This means it has worked out most of its social network kinks which makes building a business on it predictable. In fact, you can even Youtube videos on how to get paid to travel as well!
Is Youtube a good place to make money?
Youtube is an excellent place to make money. Travel Youtubers of all kinds are on the platform making full time incomes creating videos and monetizing them.
Travel and Youtube go hand in hand because travel is such a visually stimulating experience you can share through video!
How do Youtubers make money?
The most popular way Youtubers make money is through advertisements. The ads that are placed in the beginning of videos and in between videos make Youtubers a lot of money when their videos gets views.
Two other very popular ways Youtubers make money is through affiliate marketing (reviewing and promoting travel gear for example) and sponsorships where you get paid to talk about a brand (for example, talking about a specific tour company).
Starting a Youtube channel is a real business!
Youtube is a crowded place to make money online, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t jump in.
If visual content is what you enjoy creating, Youtube should be at the top of your list.
A video that gets 1 million views generates roughly $10,000.
Not bad, right!
4. Build a travel niche site
A “niche” site is a micro site of a larger topic.
For example, A travel blog about “Traveling in England” is a large topic. A niche site would be a website that focuses its content solely on “budget travel in London” or “foodie destinations in the UK”.
Why niche sites over a regular blog?
A niche site benefits from being smaller – which is a lot easier to create, build content for, and promote.
You also benefit from less competition as there are fewer websites similar to yours, and you will also been seen as more of an “expert” on your topic because you are specifically knowledgeable about it rather than blogging about all sorts of topics on an “overview” type of scale.
The biggest benefit of niche sites is that they are (generally) easier to make money from.
(again, it’s easier to create, get people to see your content, and make money from your content).
In fact, many people start off with a niche site and expand it to include other topics as they outgrow their niche.
How does a niche website make money?
In the same fashion as a regular blog (as mentioned above).
The two most popular way niche websites make money is through:
- Affiliate marketing
Many people combine both monetization strategies together (have ads and affiliate links on their site).
If you are very knowledgeable about a certain subject matter, creating a niche website around that topic could be a great way to make money traveling.
Your niche site would generate income for you while you travel. You’d maintain your site as needed. It’s not uncommon for people to have several niche websites at once.
5. Become an “online brand”
An online brand is a person or business who is recognizable over several online platforms.
For example, someone who makes money traveling professionally may have a blog, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest account – all promoting the traveler.
By having several online platforms where people can discover you, you build your following faster and will therefore be able to make more money.
Being an online brand is the ultimate goal for full time travellers and anybody who is serious about making money online.
This will likely take a few years (at least) to achieve for most people.
I recommend starting with a blog and one social media network in the beginning. After you’ve mastered them, you can add additional social networks to build your brand on!
6. Become a travel photographer
If you enjoy taking photos and creating visual material, what better way to be paid to travel the world than by photographing it!
Travel photography is an incredibly fun way to sustain your travels anywhere in the world.
The challenge for most people is that they don’t know how to turn their skill into a business that earns income long term.
Let me highlight the 5 most common ways photographers gets paid:
- Shooting for businesses & brands
- Shooting events (example: destination weddings)
- Creating your own photography courses
- Social media influencing (example: travel photography or model)
- A website about photography
All the above have the potential to make you enough money to travel full time.
Pick one main way to make money with travel photography
I would pick one of the ideas above that you would enjoy most and begin learning about how to make money with it.
For example, if you want to do #1 (travel the world and take photos for business and brands), here are a few ways you can get stared…
- Connect with people already doing this for a living. Social media is a fantastic place to find them. Network with them and study what they do. Mary Quincy is one of my favourite travel photographers
- Create a website and social media account where you can display your work
- START traveling and taking great travel photos and product photos. SHOW brands what they can expect from you
- Network with as many people as you can who you can potentially work for. This is incredibly important because word of mouth will get you very far in this industry
Your relationships will matter a lot
A lot of photographers talk about getting repeat jobs and referrals from people and tourism boards they’ve worked with. Always do a great job and deliver.
The hardest part is landing your first few jobs. Once you do, you’ll have experience and can rinse & repeat your process to get more opportunities.
The travel industry is absolutely enormous and there will always be a huge demand for visual content. It’s absolutely a place where photographers can make full time income and I highly recommend pursuing this dream if you’re passionate about it!
7. Start any business that’s based online
Your goal may be to be paid to travel full time, however you don’t necessarily need a travel job or a business related to travel in order to do so.
ANY business you can manage with a laptop and internet connection will work!
For example, if you want to make money with a website, you can build a website on a topic that isn’t about travel! As you generate money from this site, you will now have the freedom to work and travel abroad.
For example, you could have a website about food, fashion, pets, or technology.
Social media business
You can also build a full business on a social media network that isn’t related to travel.
- For example, you could build an instagram account that shares info on the latest tech in the world. You can make money by promoting brands on your feed, refer followers to buy things and earn affiliate commissions, etc.
- You could also start a Youtube channel and create content for it wherever you are in the world. For example, a channel focused on vegan living can be successful no matter where you are in the world – or as you travel around!
Another popular type of online business is called drop shipping, where you sell physical goods online without ever needing to buy inventory or handle products (this is all done through a 3rd party supplier!).
Any online business can work. I feel it’s great to combine a business idea that relates to travel because that’s your fun passionate thing to do – however it’s not necessary.
8. Become a Digital Nomad
A digital nomad is someone who travels and works from their laptop abroad.
Two types of digital nomads:
- traveling and working abroad for yourself
- traveling and working abroad for a company
The best part about being a digital nomad is the luxury of being abroad while earning income.
Imagine waking up beside a beach every morning, popping your laptop open, and working from a hammock! Though travel and work isn’t necessarily going to always be glamorous, this is certainly a reality.
Working for a company
Working for a company has it’s pro’s and con’s.
The best benefit is that you will earn a consistent income that’s guaranteed. You are an employee and your employer pays you. It’s the same as a regular 9-5 back home.
The big drawback is that you are required to work certain hours of the day – which will impact your ability to enjoy the country you are currently traveling in. For example, you may be required to work from 10am – 6pm every day – which could mean you miss out on many local activities while you work.
Working for yourself
I don’t necessarily think you need to call yourself a digital nomad if you work abroad for yourself. But the general consensus is that if you work from your laptop abroad, you are a digital nomad.
What’s the best way to become a digital nomad?
It’s my belief that the best way to earn income online is by working for yourself.
There are more risks involved and most of all, your income is not guaranteed. However, the monetary rewards are astronomically higher than working for a company – which is why I recommend it for most people.
To be a digital nomad that works for him/herself, just pick any online job (many great ones are featured on this list).
For example, if you want to be a travel blogger with a strong Instagram social media presence, start working on that right now! Start living the “digital nomad” lifestyle. You’ll need content and then promotion before you earn income from it. So the time to start is now.
9. Teach English abroad or online
One of the most popular ways to earn income abroad is to teach English.
Asian countries, especially China, are exceptionally popular places people earn a living abroad.
Two ways to teach English and travel:
Travel to the country
The traditional way to teach English is to travel to the destination and teach students in a face to face setting. You’re often required to teach on a contractual basis, with 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years being common contract lengths.
You can teach English in several parts of the world on short term contracts, which helps you see as much of the world as possible.
Teach English online
Teaching English online is a new phenomena that’s gaining popularity in recent years.
As long as you can get reliable internet wherever you are, you can teach English from anywhere in the world.
That means you can be traveling in South America and teach a student English who is living in China.
Getting hired as an online English teacher is pretty easy as well. You’ll need certain credentials and be a native English speaker in most cases. Here’s a guide that shows 7 places online you can teach English online.
10. Become a Flight Attendant
Two of the best jobs that most people can get that pay decently well and lets you travel a lot is:
- Flight attendant
- Cruise ship worker
I’ll address a cruise ship worker below.
A flight attendant is one of the best jobs to get if you don’t mind spending long hours in the air.
Flight attendants often fly from one city to the next city and receive a break before they need to work again (especially for longer flights).
During your time off, you can explore the new city you are in. It’s as amazing as that!
How do you become a flight attendant?
The requirements to get hired as a flight attendant are similar to entry level jobs in North America. You’ll need at least a GED (high school diploma). Most airlines will want to hire people with additional schooling, like College or University.
You’ll want to submit your resume to airlines. Once you’re hired, you’ll go through training that typically lasts 3-6 weeks – and then you’re off serving customers on airlines!
As long as you enjoy customer service and don’t mind being in the sky, the life of a flight attendant can be an extremely rewarding way to earn income while traveling.
11. Work on a cruise ship
Working on a cruise ship is my second recommendation for a travel job.
I recommend this job because it’s one of the easiest travel jobs to get.
A cruise ship employs all types of employees of all backgrounds and education levels.
For example, you can work on a cruise ship as a:
- front desk clerk
- a server/bartender
- on the entertainment team
- a ship mechanic
- a stateroom attendant
- or even the captain!
Cruise ship jobs are super diverse and require all sorts of skillsets.
How do you experience travel while working on a cruise ship?
Cruise ship workers work long hours for days in a row. You’re typically hired on a contractual basis which can last a few months and up to a year typically.
While you work extremely hard and long hours, you do get time off when the ship ports.
For example, if you work on a cruise ship that tours around the Mediterranean sea, you get the opportunity to visit Europes beautiful coastline on your days off. That’s not bad at all – since it comes completely free with your job.
How To Get Paid To Travel In 2020
Your ability to make money while traveling will largely depend on how you approach it.
Do you want to work a travel job or self employ yourself?
Both have their pro’s and con’s!
If you’re wanting to make money in a sustained way long term for traveling, I recommend starting a business based around travel. Pick any of the above that makes sense.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get started traveling for money, then perhaps a travel job is best suited for you.
With that said, are there any other ways to get paid to travel that you think would benefit this list? Let me know in the comment section below!