We all like to believe money doesn’t matter. The harsh reality is that you need at least a little bit of it to travel. Not into the traditional routes of acquiring cash? That’s ok, there’s no need to work a 9 to 5 at home. You can make money while traveling! Broaden your skill set and tap into your creativity with these 14 suggestions from the travel hacker team:
- Make a big meal in a hostel, sell for $5
Sometimes people are too poor, too lazy, or too tired of finding meals that fit their eating restrictions to go in search of food. Make life easier for everyone by cooking a big meal! We love that the hostel community also benefits from sharing meals together. Have a couple of simple, crowd-pleasing recipes on hand that are easy to cook large quantities of. Bonus points if you can satisfy vegetarians or gluten intolerant travelers who are struggling to find places to eat. Extra bonus points if you can cook the local cuisine.$5 is just a benchmark price.
The meal cost should be a little lower than going to a local restaurant. An exception to this guideline is if it’s something fancy! Cook us stuffed squid anytime 😉 Some common examples we’ve seen are curries, chicken and veg skewers, and various pastas.
- Offer to provide food for a party
Because good cooks are always needed… Partner with venues that throw parties, but don’t serve food. Drunk people need to be fed! Choose foods that can be prepared and portioned in advance. Not sure how to pitch this idea to the venue management? Here are two strong points. First of all, food in people’s bellies helps keep them from getting out-of-control wasted. This prevents fights and property damage. Secondly, having a food option on-site will also keep people at the party, instead of going in search of munchies elsewhere. Alcohol sales will increase the longer that people stay.
Not sure what to offer? If you have access to a grill, that’s the best! Grilled fresh fish and chicken or hamburgers draw crowds and can be sold for a decent price. Pre-wrapped burritos are simple to make and transport. If it’s a health-conscious crowd then have fun formulating fresh and tasty wraps. Pro-tip: carry small containers of hard-to-find spices, oils, and sauces to set your cooking apart.
- Pop-up coffee shop (or other drinks)
Coffee is serious business. The lack of good coffee is an oft-cited missed luxury among travelers. Weirdly, coffee beans are available in most countries despite the lack of (brewed) coffee drinking. Coffee making supplies are relatively inexpensive and don’t take up too much space. An Aeropress brews an outstanding cup of coffee and only cost approximately $30 USD! You can up your coffee cred by carrying a burr grinder. Hario Ceramic Coffee Mills don’t require electricity and can be found for around $25 USD. The only thing you’ll need in addition to your supplies is hot water – electricity not necessarily required! Extra ideas: shakes (with alcohol 😉 ), tea, and homemade coconut milk.
- Custom Painting and Drawing
This one is for the artists among us. Make a bit of cash while making our world more beautiful. Offer custom painted surfboards, fins, and other gear. People gain one-of-a-kind style and a memory of the place they met the artist. To scale this idea, you can partner with other artists and a local business to put on an art night. Monetize the event by creating a gallery to sell finished pieces, do live painting, and/or negotiate a percentage of alcohol sales. Money aside, pitch this idea by outlining the benefits a vibrant art scene brings to a community. Extra ideas: destination postcards, murals, or limited edition shirts and tanks.
- Graphic Design
Whether you design by hand or on a computer, graphic design skills are in constant need. Help businesses with their branding by logo design and placement. Take it a step further by guiding font and color choices to use throughout their materials. Signage is usually needed for multiple things, and is an inexpensive way to pull the aesthetics of a place together. A-frame roadside chalkboards and menu chalkboards are everywhere. Beautiful chalkboard design can garner a complimentary bar tab. Printed menus and event flyers are a couple of other ways that graphic design skills can be put to good use! Other ideas: look for remote jobs on upwork or freelancer. The is one of our favorite ways to make money while traveling, since it’s so easy to transition to work in your home country. If you are already traveling, it can be expensive to get the necessary technology (laptop, camera, drawing tablet etc), so we recommend trying to purchase this gear during Black Friday and deals week as there are often significant price reductions. Check here to take a look at a site which covers all the best deals so you can grab yourself a bargain!
- Street Performance
Put a random talent to good use. From music to mimery, people have been tossing coins to street performers for decades. Street performance can draw on a wide variety of talents. If you’re into costume making and make-up, dress up as a relevant historical figure. Do you like to be the center of attention? Learn some magic tricks and entertain passersby using the lessons taught at Scam School. One of our favorite street performances is a girl who makes dresses out of newspaper and performs as a paper doll! (Check local laws and regulations before performing.) What have your favorites been? Comment below!
- Teach Yoga
Many yoga instructors are struggling to piece together a living in western markets. Make money while traveling instead! Some resorts are happy to accommodate and feed yoga instructors in return for teaching classes on-site. If you don’t want to be tied to a resort, look into guest teaching at yoga studios. Another option is to hold classes in public spaces (as local laws and regulations allow). Most resorts will want, at minimum, a 200 hour course.
There’s no need to wait to start traveling until you’re certified. Wandering yoga instructor Kiki Lychee advises, “I studied in India which was 1,500 for my certification and six weeks of teaching training classes accommodation and food. I recommend it to everybody because you are already traveling and seeing another part of the world as well as getting an authentic education.” Kiki attended, and recommends, Rishikesh Yog Peeth located in the world capital of yoga; Rishikesh, India. Anandavan Yog Peeth is another strong choice and is beautifully situated in the Himalayas. Once you are certified, find your place(s) in the world through Yoga Trade.
- Hi Res Stock Photography
Turn a passion for photography into cash! Many businesses in developing countries can benefit from having a gallery of high quality, high-resolution photographs to promote themselves. As bookings move increasingly online, photographs that highlight the property are essential. Stock photographs are also useful for social media campaigns and promotional materials. Ask about doing a trade for food or accommodation, as market price for this service is probably out of reach for many small businesses. A happy side effect is that you will build a quality, diverse portfolio. When you return to your home country you can command above entry level compensation.
- Event Photography
Fantastic event photographers are few and far between. It is the travel hacker team opinion that good event photography can help make the difference in whether a repeat event will succeed or not. Even in the far flung corners of the world, people are tagging themselves and sharing photos. This translates to free advertising for the event for people currently located there. It also serves as advertising for the destination and venue for those who may be considering where their next adventure should be. How do you succeed as an event photographer? We’ve compiled a couple resources to help get you started. Get started with a beginner’s guide to shooting events. Here is a concise list of some things to consider in order to get exceptional shots. For a more comprehensive guide watch this full length how-to video.
Every party is a better party with a (good) DJ. Music can make or break the vibe. When you come to a new place figure out the party scene and introduce yourself to the venue owners or managers. Let them know that you would love to do a set for them, how to contact you, and how long you’ll be around. Event managers will love you because then they can stick “International DJs” on their event flyers. Everybody wins!
This is what we have learned, based on real life experience. DO: discuss what type of music they’re looking for ahead of time, make sure their equipment and your laptop work together, and discuss and agree upon terms of employment. DON’T: show up late, get slammed during your set, or play what you like instead of what is appropriate (i.e. no gangster rap during a chilled out, upscale gathering.) Dreaming of playing the sickest sets, in front of the hottest people, in exotic locales but have no idea how that could possibly be your life? This quick guide gives information and resources on where to start.
Travelers have a reputation as party animals. Someone has to be serving alcohol at all these parties. That someone could be you! Unless you’re in a very conservative country, this is an easy way to make money while traveling. Depending on which drinks are being served, experience isn’t always required. As long as you can open a beer, pour some rum, and make correct change, you may have yourself a job. When speaking to whomever handles the hiring highlight your abilities to remain patient and friendly under pressure, perform quick mental math, and engage well with a diverse clientele. Proper bartending can be one of the higher paid hospitality jobs. Check out bartending courses in your area. Another option is to find a company that promotes bartenders from their service staff and does in-house training.
- Web Design
A well designed website is essential to bringing in business. The ability to design an effective website is beyond the skill set of many business owners. Some owners may not even realize the market opportunity they are missing out on by not having a website, or having a poorly designed one. Part of being able to get a web design job is the ability to explain how good design can affect bookings. Practice teaching concepts such as call to action in easy English. Monitor website traffic and booking increases after the re-design to show the value you have provided and secure testimonials. If you’re looking to learn website design, then I recommend checking out codecacademy or treehouse. Both have excellent course structure for anyone looking to expand their skills or learn something new.A lot of the time, it is not necessary to build a website from scratch, using a template can drastically reduce the amount of time to build a site and in many cases a website built from a template will look and function better. Themeforest have thousands of high-quality multipurpose templates and although you have to pay for them, it will save you a lot of time in development. If you don’t want to spend money on buying a template, many blogs post collections of free WordPress templates.
- Social Media Manager
Developing and executing a successful social media strategy is no small task. Make use of your years of experience posting pics with perfect filters and a #wanderlust hashtag. Social media is as necessary in the modern market as good photography and web design. Contests can be a fun way to engage people online. Increase the audience reached by selecting the winner through number of likes, which encourages sharing of submissions. Offer the winner a complimentary service or tab on location to drive traffic on location. Connect with fellow travelers who are photographers or writers. Leverage their social media networks by asking them to do a post about the business, in return for promoting their work.
Don’t want to carry around a computer/camera/art supplies? To be a traveling massage therapist all you need is your hands and some oil! Massage is one of the most rewarding career paths as you can help relieve people’s pain and stress. Contact accommodations in your area to set up a partnership. Make sure to discuss ahead of time who will promote the services, book the appointments, and which materials each party will provide. Different types of massage therapy that can be explored are Ayurvedic, Thai, sports, and Swedish. Just like yoga training, massage training can be done while traveling for an authentic experience.
These ideas are only a launch point for the many ways that people can make money while traveling. The more that we travel, the more we see different plans people use to support their digital nomad lifestyle. Tell us how you make money while traveling in the comments!