How To Make Money Traveling

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Shorter Version


Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute

Remote work and online freelancing have changed the very nature of what it means to have a job. Whether you want to travel frequently, full-time, or even relocate completely, you can fund your travel lifestyle through online work and make money traveling.

Job boards for you

Your current company may be willing to offer a remote work opportunity, either part-time or full-time. If your current job doesn’t suit your desired lifestyle, look for remote work opportunities online or through personal networking.

Job boards like weworkremotely and Remote.io frequently update their listings.

Freelance it

You can also supplement your income or go full-time as a freelancer. It may take some time to build a reputation and portfolio, however in a matter of months you can have several clients that will provide you a steady income stream entirely online. You can find gigs through sites like Upwork, although pitching new clients and networking in-person yield the best results.

Try volunteering!

The easiest way to make money traveling is still teaching English online. For a more immersive experience, WWOOFING or volunteering at hostels can give you the chance to stay abroad for a longer period. Just make sure you’re continuing to invest in the skills and opportunities you need to build a career path while you pursue your journey abroad.

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Longer Version


Est. Reading Time: 7 Minutes

It sounds too good to be true: Travel when and where you want, do all your work online, and get paid while you plan your next adventure. Almost 70% of the workforce is already working remotely at least once a week, with 58% working out of the office for most of their week. Chances are, you can set your own hours and work outside of the office with the skills you already have.

To make money traveling, there are two main long-term options: working remotely for a single employer, or freelancing for multiple clients. We’ll cover the pros and cons of both and how to get started.

Finally, there are some quicker short-term options to make money traveling. These may not turn into a career, but you can still live your life the way you want while you decide on a future and build a career path for the 21st century.

The Beauty of Working Remotely

The first Industrial Revolution created the modern workplace, bringing workers outside of their homes and into factories or offices. Now, in the second industrial revolution, technology and worldwide internet availability allow employees to work from virtually anywhere, as long as they’re online.

If you’ve ever had a job, you can probably already see the advantages of working remotely. Aside from unlimited travel potential, you’ll eliminate your commute, avoid office politics, and reduce your work hours to focusing on essential duties. The rest of the time is your own.

Remote work has great advantages for employers as well. Since telecommuting workers are happier and more productive, employers receive higher-quality work and reduce turnover. They spend less on office space and equipment while streamlining their collaboration through tools like Slack, Trello, and Google Docs.

Because of this, employers will typically be amenable to a remote work arrangement. You might start by coming into the office a few times a week, or once a week, before you can suggest telecommuting entirely. Other careers can offer a split, such as 6 months on/6 months off, or a custom arrangement that benefits both you and your company.

Of course, not all careers and companies offer remote work opportunities.

If this kind of work suits your lifestyle, it may be time to find a new job.

Finding a Remote Job to Make Money Traveling

While remote work may be the future, we’re still living in the present. Some companies just won’t budge on allowing workers to telecommute even when it’s practical or beneficial.

Quitting your job to travel is the kind of thing that makes career advisors cringe, but it’s possible to make an upward career move by seeking a remote work opportunity. If your current job isn’t meeting your expectations, it may be time to move on.

Websites like WeWorkRemotely, FlexJobs, and RemoteOk are a great place to start.

There are opportunities for all kinds of positions and qualifications, and the lists are updated frequently.

You can also search on general job boards like Indeed and Monster, as well as startup-specific sites like AngelList, by adding “remote” to your search term. Like any job hunt, you’ll be going up against a good number of qualified candidates – often into the dozens or hundreds – and since remote work is considered a perk, you’ll have to stand out from the crowd.

Make sure your resume is updated and your cover letter is tailored to the company. Try to figure out just how remote they’ll let you be. Should you be in the same time zone as the corporate office? Will you have to come in once a month or a few times a year?

Generally, people who’ve worked in-office before have better luck finding remote positions. Having a previous in-house job title is a bit like having a college degree. It shows you can do the work, play well with others, and are committed to your career.

While you can certainly find remote work for a first job, keep your expectations level and consider freelancing to build experience.

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Remote Work Vs. Freelancing

The word “freelancing” has its roots in the 19th century, when wandering soldiers would offer their services – and their lance – to any army needing temporary troops.

Today’s freelancers are the corporate mercenaries of the modern workforce. They do what’s needed for whoever hires them, complete their task successfully, and move on when the work is done or when they’re ready to seek a new adventure.

Compared to freelancers, remote workers are more like the full-time soldiers. They’re pledged to one company, receive full benefits in addition to a wage, and grow with the success of their team.

Full-time freelancers can make a substantial income working for various outlets. The most successful freelancers typically have a number of clients who provide them work regularly, although if one client disappears, it’s up to the freelancer to hustle for more work.

Freelancers typically don’t receive the benefits of a full-time employee, like healthcare, pensions, or regular paid vacation. They also have to handle their own expenses, and there are often additional taxes for the self-employed.

In short, freelancers sacrifice security for more freedom.

Quitting your job when work gets frustrating isn’t usually an option; for a freelancer, it just means replacing one client with another. You’ll have to spend time finding new clients, which can often take as long as your actual work.

You can pick up freelance projects even if you already have a full-time job, remote or otherwise. Building a portfolio of work and a relationship with clients will lead to better pay and more lucrative projects later on. Going full-time with freelancing is a serious step, but some people wouldn’t have it any other way.

Like regular jobs, finding freelance work is best done through networking. Ask your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances if they need someone with your skill set for an upcoming project.

For finding gigs online, Upwork remains a popular yet controversial platform. The service takes a 20% cut of your payments (until you’ve billed $500 with a client) and recently began charging for ‘connections,’ the points you use to send project proposals to prospective clients. Despite this, it remains extremely popular, and there are opportunities in every field.

You can find other opportunities online. Join Facebook groups with other freelancers in your field and keep an eye out for email lists, job boards, and even Twitter accounts that highlight particular gigs.

The most successful freelancers are experts in cold pitching. If there’s an outlet, company, or individual you think you can help with your work, don’t be afraid to send them an email and let them know you’re available. It works more often than you’d think.

As you work, build a portfolio showcasing your previous projects. In the freelance world, a good reputation built through word-of-mouth leads to steady work – perhaps even more than you can handle. Some freelancers become so in-demand that they hire their own team to help with the workload. You can essentially become the head of your own company this way.

Work In The Short-Term

Perhaps you’re not looking to start a career or build a freelance future. You may just want to travel for an extended period while spending a few hours a week working to fund your journey.

In recent years, teaching English online has become the predominant method for English speakers to make money traveling. With so many online companies hiring non-stop, all you need is a near-fluent ability in English and an internet-connected laptop with a webcam. If you have a degree, certifications, or previous experience in TEFL, you can often earn a higher hourly wage.

Keep in mind that this kind of online teaching work doesn’t offer much advancement.TEFL tops out at around $25 an hour when you do it online – enough to live and travel through many countries, but not a permanent career solution. If you enjoy the work, consider moving into TEFL full-time to live a longer-term expat lifestyle.

Our previous article on teaching abroad can get you started.

Other options for earning your room and board abroad include volunteering at local hostels and WWOOFING. Neither method pays more than a small stipend, but they’re both fantastic ways to meet interesting people, explore new countries, and keep up your adventure for as long as you’d like.

Live, Work, and Travel: Finding Your Balance

Remote work comes with its own challenges. You’ll have to be self-motivated to hit your deadlines, keep up on projects, and be available online when needed. You’ll encounter issues with everything from faulty internet and difficult clients to personal challenges like loneliness and indecision.

If the current job, location, or opportunity isn’t working for you, don’t stay in the situation just because you’re already there. You can always return home, or pursue a job in your new country. Also, don’t forget to take a few days or weeks off work from time to time.

Working remotely doesn’t mean you should give up vacation!

Take classes, try meetups, and enjoy your life abroad while maintaining your career. It’s a tough balance, but the more you find yourself abroad, the happier you’ll be wherever you go.

Actionable Steps


1

Assess your skill set

What can you do to make money traveling? Programmers are always in demand, but nearly any career has a remote opportunity. Teachers, writers, therapists, accountants, attorneys – no matter your profession, you can find an opportunity working remotely and make money traveling.

2

Find work that suits you

If you have a job that will let you go remote, pitch your boss or manager on the mutual benefits. You can search for a new remote job online or ask friends and colleagues for freelance opportunities. If you’re still building a remote skill set, try teaching English online while you pursue your favored path.

3

Budget your lifestyle

This isn’t just the money you need to accommodate, but time as well. Your clients and coworkers may be available in a certain time zone during specific hours. Can you make sure you are as well? Maintain a schedule as best you can, always making sure the work gets done before you head out for fun.

4

Stay sharp and keep going

Remote jobs typically pay a bit less than in-house roles, but that doesn’t mean they’re a bad choice. Keep up on the developments in your field by joining forums, meeting others for networking, and taking online classes in new skill sets. You can even make a career change as you’re working remotely, though it takes time and effort – just like anything else.

5

Enjoy yourself

Remote work comes with its own challenges, some of which are specific to your field. Remember to take advantage of the freedom and joy that comes with creating your own work-life balance. Make time to meet more people and create new opportunities for experiences and adventures. You may decide to return home someday or move onto a destination. No matter what happens, enjoying your time as much as you can now ensures you’ll create fond memories.

About the Author


Michael Power

Michael Power

World-Traveling Expatriate

Since 2012, Michael has been living abroad full-time as a world-traveling expatriate. He spent his early 20s as an international high school teacher in South Korea. After visiting over 20 countries he’s excited to share what he’s learned with other aspiring nomads. You can currently find him in South America, probably at the nearest salsa club.
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