Update! Our ultimate travel job guide - Get Paid To Travel: 101 Amazing Travel Jobs - is now live! If full time travel is your ultimate goal but you're not sure how to make it a reality just yet, don't leave without reading this first!
We all know what happens when you put your job on hold and go traveling for a while...
You become addicted to the adventure and simply cannot fathom going back to a typical 9-5 job at the end of it all.
So you sit and wonder, how can I turn this into a lifestyle? What do I need to do in order to make money while traveling?
Ideas run through your head but none of them seem to be realistic or achievable so instead, you become a budget budget traveler and do everything in your will to stretch your remaining cash as far as possible.
But it's still running out quickly and you don't know what to do...
Is it time to go home? Or should you start working random jobs for minimum wage and hoping you won't get caught?
I can tell you, I've met so many travelers who are in this position. They want nothing more than to travel the world but just can't seem to get their finances working for them on the road.
So to help you all out, I want to shed some light on the money making strategies that are holding you back from traveling with freedom and ease and what you can do instead.
Here are 7 things travelers do to make money while traveling that don't support their ideal lifestyle...
** Before I forget I also recommend checking out these 15 awesome travel job courses that’ll teach you the exact skills you need for many kinds of remote jobs you can do from anywhere.
Make Money While Traveling: 7 Things You're Doing Wrong
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1. Working For Free In Hostels
You see backpackers working in hostels for a free board all the time, perhaps you've even worked in a few yourself...
And truthfully, there's nothing wrong about wanting to do this! I mean, free board is great, and you get to meet tons of interesting people.
But the thing is, working for free in a hostel is not sustainable.
If you are attempting to travel full time, you will run out of money, there's no doubt about it.
Not only that, the constant party atmosphere and having no space for privacy can eventually take it's toll on you.
That said, a lot of the time I see hostel workers on duty but not really doing a lot...
If you are smart about it, you could take the opportunity to work for free board and then use the spare time you have to work on something that's actually profitable.
Seeming as you'll probably have access to a computer, developing a simple online business doing something like affiliate marketing, info product creation, freelancing or blogging would be the best option for you.
Working in hostels can be really fun and I know, as a backpacker you don't need that much money anyway, but if you want to travel long term, it's important to start thinking like an entrepreneur.
2. Only Selling Your Products On The Streets
Are you an artist, fashion designer or craftsman selling your products on the streets while traveling?
If that's a yes, great! But you know you're leaving money on the table right?
There's a whole online world of people who'd be interested in buying your products...
And there's also a whole lotta' competition on the streets when you're attempting to sell earrings next to 5 other earring vendors...
So instead of spending all day sat on the side of the road, invest half of the day into creating, maintaining and promoting your own online store.
Treat it like a successful business...
Set up a business account, make a website, create a brand, continuously add new products, learn the most effective marketing strategies, get people involved, and dedicate yourself to it.
Getting your products online and building an awesome brand that people love will allow you to grow a more profitable business and travel with more freedom and ease.
3. Engaging in local work
Depending on where you're traveling at the time, getting a local job can be a good or a bad way to make money while traveling.
In places like Australia, where the wages are good, there can be many benefits of getting a job for 6 months to a year...
What a lot of people do is work as much as possible, spend as little as possible and save all their money to go to traveling for a few months afterwards.
I like this idea but you could do one better...
Work as much as possible, spend as little as possible and save your money to invest in an online business or career that will allow you to travel anywhere for as long as you like...
Long term, idea two is the smarter option.
If, however, you are traveling in a country like Thailand and you decide to get a local job, it's going to be very difficult for you to move around as the wages are so low.
Although it's illegal to work as a tourist in Thailand (in a bar for example), I've seen many people do it and struggle for money the whole time. Not only that, purchasing flight tickets and insurance becomes almost impossible when you earn such low wages.
Instead, it's important to think long term and really question whether what you're about to do is going to help you get one step closer to traveling full time.
Think, "how would the person I would like to be, do the things that I'm about to do?"
4. Offering Services Without Marketing Knowledge
Offering services such as massage, haircuts and yoga lessons are all fantastic ways to make money while traveling...
But the truth is, it's difficult to make good money offering these services if you don't have a clue about how to market them.
It's all well and good pinning a few fliers around town and asking your travel friends to spread the word but if your marketing efforts only go that far, again, you're leaving money on the table.
These days, almost everyone has access to the internet while traveling, especially with most hostels, restaurants and cafés offering free WiFi. So take advantage of this.
How can you take your marketing efforts online and spread the word about your services to the wider community?
I highly recommend creating a website and if you have time, write a blog to share your journey offering services to travelers around the world.
On top of creating a website, having a strong presence on social media will put you one step ahead of your local competition...
I recommend creating and regularly updating your own Facebook page, Instagram and Youtube account (video is a strong way to connect with potential customers!).
Then take it a step further... Join all the local Facebook groups and get some conversations going. Perhaps you could organise a local event or partner with some other members to create a bigger impact in the community.
Think outside of the box and step out of your comfort zone... That's when you'll see noticeable improvements in your financial situation.
5. Joining get rich quick schemes
Because we're all online these days, it's far too easy for travelers to get sucked into "get rich quick schemes" that promise fast results from doing next to nothing.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm referring to some of the MLM business models, marketers thats sell you on ideas like clicking a button and making a dollar every time, getting paid to fill out surveys, etc.
For people who want to make money while traveling, these offers are tempting to say the least...
But all of these 'online jobs' require a significant investment of either money, time, or both, and truthfully, not too many people make it past the first few weeks.
Instead, if you want to develop a career online, it's important to really think about whether what you're about to do is realistic and sustainable.
If you want to travel full time, we do recommend working online because it ultimately gives you the freedom to earn an income from anywhere...
But there are better ways to develop your career online in a safe and sustainable way. Three of which are:
If an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
One hour work weeks and lazy money making are definitely not unheard of, but when you're just starting out, be prepared to work.
6. Attempting To Freelance Without Any Online Skills
Offering online services to clients without being hired as an employee is often known as 'freelancing'.
There are many different ways to freelance, some of the most popular areas being virtual assistance, writing, social media management, marketing, video editing, web development and design.
When searching for online jobs it's common to come across freelance websites like Freelancer and Upwork, where you can search for job postings and bid to get the gig.
These work opportunities are often contract or hourly based, so most freelancers work for numerous clients at once.
Freelancing is a fantastic way to make money while traveling and I highly recommend looking into it if you haven't already.
That said, freelance work isn't something you can just step into and do a mediocre job of.
Building up the necessary skills before actively going after clients will significantly increase your chances of receiving repeat and new work.
The quality of what you do determines how successful you'll be as a freelancer.
For tips and insights about developing your online freelance skills, Danielle from VA Lifestyle Design has you covered.
7. Blogging With No Business Plan
Many people get into blogging as a hobby and leave it at that...
Others get into blogging with the hope of 'maybe making a little bit of money one day'...
Others get into blogging with a goal to turn it into a profitable business and make money while traveling.
All of these blogging goals are perfectly fine, however, we're talking about making money here...
If you create a blog and then go traveling hoping that it will somehow generate money eventually, chances are, you'll end up broke.
Not only that, you'll despise the idea of blogging to earn an income.
Don't let yourself down.
If you want to get into blogging, that's awesome... There are many ways to monetise a blog but you need to have a plan and be taking the necessary steps to reach your end goal.
Without a goal or a plan, it's like shooting in the dark. You'll procrastinate, confuse yourself, and do a whole lot of unproductive things instead of taking action on turning the blog into a business.
A lot of people will tell you, "blog because you love it, not because you need money, and if the money comes it's an added bonus"...
But think about this... What successful entrepreneur ever invested their time into something without having a business mindset?
Of course, do what you're passionate about! But there's absolutely nothing wrong with actively working towards monetising your passion. 🙂
Over to you! Leave your thoughts in the comments section below...
Do you agree or disagree with the mistakes mentioned here? What would you do differently to make money while traveling?