How to Make Money While Travelling

How to Make Money While Travelling

One of the least-discussed topics around travelling is money.  However, if you’re going to travel for a gap year or are taking up the nomad lifestyle, making money is a must.

So what’s the best way to do it?  Some people find temp jobs (like tree planting or fruit picking), but that kind of work isn’t sustainable for long-term travel.  You could get a job as a barista or serving tables, but that only works if you’re staying in a single place for an extended period, not if you’re only there for a few weeks or months.

In fact, a casual survey of most long-term travellers reveals that the vast majority work freelance jobs.  If you’re planning on travelling over the long haul, you might consider freelancing as well.

Another option: sell products online.  E-commerce is so varied, no matter what your skills, you can sell something online.  Could be something digital, something you make by hand, or something from the local area that you’re in.


What is freelancing?  In general, you’re selling your time and skills.  This means that you need to find clients that will pay you for your marketable skills.

Marketable skills?!  I don’t have any!

That is completely bogus – EVERYONE has marketable skills, especially if you’ve grown up using a computer and the internet.

At the moment, on (formerly Odesk and Elance), the following jobs are available:

  • Pinterest Manager – someone to help mange and promote a Pinterest page
  • Blog Author – various blogs such as technology, eco fashion, personality
  • Internet Researcher – someone who takes a specific topic and finds popular blogs/forums that relate to that topic
  • Business Plan Author – take a bunch of research and vision, and turn it into a business plan that the client can pitch to investors

What are you good at?  What are you GREAT at?  Focus on showing people how you can help them, and they WILL pay you.

Selling Products Online

Think you have the chops to sell something online?  It’s easier than you think!  Just choose something you think you could make (or re-sell), do some research on what people want, make it or get it, and post it on a well-established marketplace.

Here are some of the bigger marketplaces you can use to sell your wares.

Still the grand poobah of online marketplaces, many people make their entire living on Ebay.  This is a good choice if you are planning on selling items from your destination or if you want to do some drop shipping.

example: While I was in Japan, I met a traveller who sold Japan-only exclusives online to people in the states.

Are you artsy?  What about craftsy?  If so, you should check out Etsy.  The customization economy is booming!  Consumers prefer hand-crafted wares over mass-market, and Etsy is the new mall.

example: A good friend of mine sells pop culture greeting cards, magnets and buttons to people all over North America.

Are you a former desk-jockey?  Did you perfect the art of creating WordPress themes, PowerPoint presentations, resumes or any other digital asset?  You can make a bundle on ThemeForest.

example:  A former resident of a WordPress-developer sweatshop makes use of his abilities to create beautiful responsive themes for fun and profit.

Is It Really THAT Easy?

I’d be lying if I said ALL you have to do is put something online and people will buy it.  You still have to do some work: you have to research your market and you have to convince them to buy your stuff.

That being said, it is 100% possible – millions of people just like you are making money online right now.  If you’ve ever wanted to start an online business, an extended travel is an ideal time to start one.  A single hour of work a day and you could be making enough to continue travelling indefinitely in months or even weeks.  START NOW!