We want to share with you how we make money travelling the world. This list will give you some ideas on how you can start earning money online to fund your travels right now.
‘How do you travel and make money online?’ is one of the most common questions we get via emails, social media and article comments. So, in this post we will share the top 5 methods we have used to make money travelling.
It’s a question we always asked other travel bloggers when we were starting out and one we would like to now answer honestly. We’ve even shared our earnings alongside each method to show what’s possible.
This is how we have actually done it – made real money out on the road – tried and tested methods – not just an endless list of things we haven’t ever done.
It’s always best to speak from experience right?
For the record, we are not millionaires (yet), but these various online income streams have certainly paid for a few nights accommodation or tasty local meals along the way.
In no particular order, here are our top 5 methods we’ve used to make money travelling the world:
1. Virtual Assistant (VA) Work
Virtual assistant work involves completing assistant tasks remotely, or, well… virtually. The type and style of the tasks can vary wildly but it’s usually stuff that you would just need a laptop to complete.
Kristina has previously worked as virtual assistant for one of the top 50 travel bloggers. The tasks were mainly focused on running a couple of travel-related Pinterest accounts. She created pins, scheduled them and then used a few Facebook groups to help get them shared around.
Social media tasks are an ideal type of VA work as much of it can be repetitive and worked on from pretty much anywhere with decent wifi and a good laptop.
In this case we hooked up directly with our clients and they paid us via PayPal. You could start by contacting people directly to see if they need any help.
Or to make things simpler, take a look at sites like UpWork. You can build up a profile and then find VA work to suit your availability and skills.
Money Earned: $300 per month
Time Spent: 50 to 60 hours per month
One word of caution here: we sometimes found it tricky to complete the time dependant VA tasks when we were travelling around. Many of the Pins needed sharing on a specific day so it could be a pain to fit that around our travel plans.
2. Affiliate and Paid Links
If you have a travel blog up and running then it’s easy to start monetising it using links. One quick look around this site and you’ll see that we are linking to transport booking sites, web hosting providers, places we’ve stayed, travel gear we use and much more.
These are really a win-win as you get paid to promote things you would be recommending anyway and your readers don’t have to search around to find the good stuff.
To get started, you’ll need to search around for the right affiliate programmes for you and your site. If you usually use Agoda or Booking.com to book your accommodation when you travel then it’s easy to join their affiliate programmes and start linking up the places you recommend staying.
Each provider will have different tiers, rates and rules but the idea is always the same – someone clicks a link from your site to a provider – when they buy that product or service and you get a percentage of the sale. Nice.
Money Earned: Around $100 in the past 6 months
Put very simply – you are getting paid to add a link to your site.
So far we have sold just 1 link which we agreed to be active for 1 year. We negotiated $100 for that 1 link but had our site been a bigger deal at the time we could have asked for even more.
We think it’s always important to be sure that the links are relevant to your site. It’s pretty easy to spot blogs that are stuffed full of spammy links and it really lowers the overall quality.
Money Earned: 1 Paid link = $100
3. Paid Travel Writing
Paid travel writing has been a great way for us to earn some money and develop our travel blogging skills too. As you might have guessed, we’ve been paid to write travel articles for various publications.
This can be a tough one to get into but we would suggest sending links to your best 4 or 5 articles from your blog when applying for jobs. This is why it’s important to build up your personal travel blog first and use it as a portfolio to showcase your best travel writing skills.
We have always tried to pitch articles ideas about places that we have visited and already have solid content for, such as Vietnam. This helps to show that we know our stuff and have then approached a destination from a different angle.
As a bonus you can get links back to your blog posts and social media channels whilst getting paid for the content. It’s a proper win-win.
It’s also worth mentioning paid articles and sponsored posts. This is when a brand will pay you for producing a post about their products or services on your own blog. This can work well as long as the brand fits with your audience and it sounds natural.
We’ve not yet used this specific type of online income generation but may look into it in the future.
Money Earned: $50 per article
Ghost Travel Writing
Very similar to the above but the ghost part means that your name and links will not usually appear in the article. It could be other travel bloggers, brands or startup websites that just need ‘white label ‘ travel content which you can get paid for writing.
We’ve been paid to write a few of these articles which were then posted under the name of another travel blogger on a major travel site. However, we were lucky enough to get 1 of our links in each post so that was a bonus.
Being totally honest, it can be a little heartbreaking seeing some of your work go up online without any credit. We always tried to detach ourselves from this type of writing and adopt a more neutral style and voice.
Money Earned: $25 to $40 per article
4. Freelance Work
Another source of income that has been easy to set up run is our freelance listing. It only took a few minutes to create profile on fiverr.com to offer the world our services as Pinterest pin creators.
Kristina was getting a lot of compliments about the eye-catching pins on this blog so it was a logical step to create them for other travel bloggers.
Freelance sites like fiverr.com and upwork.com allow you to list service that you can provide and then you can schedule that work around your travels. This can be anything from basic admin tasks to very technical ones and everything in between.
For some ideas check out our listing on Fiverr.
Money Earned: €5 to €15 per gig minus a 20% site fee.
5. Teaching English Online
Anytime we have seen an article about how to make money travelling, good old teaching a language always gets included.
Before we set off travelling we dismissed this one as we believed it was a type of income that required you to be there in person. We didn’t want to stay in one spot for 6 months or a year because we were tied to the local classroom.
So, during our time in Vietnam we were surprised to discover Topica Native who are helping the local population to learn English online. I (Charlie) soon signed up and began to host virtual classes online with up to 6 students at a time.
Topica provides all the lesson resources and manage the platform so you just log in a few minutes before each lesson to prepare. Once I got up to speed I was averaging 10 to 15 lessons per week.
If you don’t want to be tied to one provider then look into establishing yourself as a freelance remote language teacher. You can use sites like Gumtree or Craigslist to find clients and run the sessions via Skype. It’s higher risk but with some regular students, it could work well.
You’ll need a good solid internet connection to make this work and the scheduling of lessons could be problematic if you’re not sure where you will be the following week!
Money Earned: With Topica Native $10 to $14 per hour
Bonus Ways to Make Money Travelling: Freebies!
Okay, so you’ve read this far. We think you deserve a little make money travelling bonus item…
Over the past year we’ve managed to line up a few ‘freebies’ along the way.
However, these things are not really ‘free’ as there’s always work involved to earn them.
Think of them more as saving money that you would have spent anyway as opposed to ways to make money travelling.
We teamed up with a boat trip provider in Malta who provided us with 4 spots on an all-day sailing trip in exchange for a blog article and some social media promotion. At €55 per person that was a trip worth €220 which we would have written about anyway as it was something we wanted to do.
Always have a look at the things to see and do in your next destination and contact a few places. The worst thing you’ll get is a no!
We were sent these very nifty Pro Packing Cubes to review in exchange for a link to their product page on Amazon. The crazy thing is that we will also benefit from our affiliate links to Amazon when someone makes a purchase.
The 2 sets we received are worth $80 in total plus shipping.
When travelling back to the UK from Thailand we organised a stopover in Cologne, Germany. After booking the flights we started the search for somewhere funky and a little different to stay which we could share with our readers.
We found the wonderful Die Wohngemeinschaft hostel and contacted them directly before booking. A few emails later and we had negotiated a 2-night stay including breakfast in exchange for a review and social shares. The total stay was worth €150.
So hopefully you can see that even though these ‘freebies’ are not directly cash in your pocket the potential value is massive.
Do you make money travelling? Are you looking to get started? Let us know your tips and questions in the comments below…
Always good to read how paid bloggers/writers earn their realistic incomes… Looking forward to reading an ebook from you one day, another useful stream!
Thanks Emma, we look forward to exploring even more online income streams, stay tuned 🙂
I’m in a similar boat as you. Been making most of my money from travel writing, though I’ve fired a couple of lower paying clients and been able to replace them with more lucrative ones. Hoping that through SEO (as you mentioned) and continual growth of social media, that the bucks can keep rolling in. Thanks for opening up and sharing this. I do appreciate it and wish you all the best as you keep trying to make money while traveling.
Thanks for your comment, Duke, good to read similar experiences. For us good SEO is the main focus area at the moment. Good luck to you too! 🙂
Great to read about this and I am pretty much in the same boat. I make some money from affiliate links such as Amazon+Adsense which provides income from impressions too, not just clicks.
I also have some luck working with hotels and tourism agencies and this definitely gets easier once your social media accounts get fairly big ie around 10k+ on Instagram with good engagement.
I’ve also had a bit of paid writing but if low paid it was with credit/back links which makes it more ok. I’m not sure I would ghost write an article for $25 though unless it was really short.
Thanks for sharing your suggestions. Great post!
Thanks Mike, working with hotels and tourism agencies sounds fun.
We are working on our social media numbers, but our main focus is on SEO and quality content.
The ghost writing helped us build and strengthen our relationship with the client, so it wasn’t all about the money 🙂 Sometimes you’ve got to give to get, right? 🙂