Wondering how to get paid to travel the world?
We have received a lot of emails from people asking how to make money from traveling.
We spent so much time giving advice and offering ideas for jobs that pay you to travel, we thought it would be better for us to write a post about it.
Many people have also asked us how to be a travel blogger. While we do write about it in this article, we suggest reading our post on how to be a professional travel blogger, It gives step by step advice and information.
Get Paid to Travel the World
We earn a high six-figure income by running a travel blog, but we've also learned a lot from our friends and colleagues about other ways they make money.
We've had people share their stories in the past, and they have gone over really well. But people had several questions about how to get a travel job, how to make money traveling, and how to save money to travel.
That's a lot of factors.
So, it's time to share our first-hand experiences from people we know or have met during our nine years of full-time travel.
How to Get Paid to Travel was updated Jan 2019!
Table of Contents - How to Travel the World
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Getting Paid to Travel - The Ultimate Guide to Travel the World
How to Travel for a Living
If our inbox is any indication, many people are looking for ways to travel and make money, and we are here to show you how to make your dream a reality.
First of all, let me warn you that the first couple of years of your travel career are going to be difficult. You will have to learn to stretch your dollar.
You won't magically make a ton of money.
I've had people email me asking how we make money travel blogging when they haven't even started a blog yet.
You need to have an established travel blog and some authority on the Internet before you can make money as a travel blogger. But that is an entirely different post and luckily we've written about it several times on ThePlanetD.
But there are other ways to make money travelling. There are people out there who will pay you to travel and several different ways to travel the world and get paid.
Part 1: Saving Money for Travel
While you are building your brand and your blog or just looking into ways to start your travels, you may need to keep your current job for a while.
We worked for a year on our blog before starting our travels. Once we did, we had about $20,000 in the bank.
Before becoming full-time travelers, we had to save a lot of money in a short time.
We had just returned from cycling Africa and we spent a lot of our savings on that trip, so we were starting from scratch.
But, we had a plan and we made it work. Just 18 months after returning from Africa, we were back on the road traveling through India.
How did we do it?
We kept expenses to a minimum.
For six months we lived in a trailer park and that let us save money fast. My parents had an old trailer they never used, so they let us borrow it while we got back on our feet.
We stayed 40 minutes outside Toronto and commuted to work in town. With very little money going towards rent, we could put nearly our entire paycheck in the bank.
- No Car Payment: We had one car between us that was paid off two years earlier, so we didn't have a car payment.
- Minimal Insurance Payment: Because our car was old, it wasn't worth much to replace, so we only put liability insurance on our policy to keep insurance low.
- Lived Frugally: We never bought a Starbucks, we didn't eat out, and we bought our groceries at No Frills, (a no-name supermarket in Canada)
We saved our money by cutting our expenses to almost nothing. We sold our house a few years earlier and had zero debt.
When you don't have debt, it is easier to save money. So consider working really hard to pay off debt before you even think about traveling for a living.
We worked full time for an entire year at our jobs in the film industry (while building our travel blog at night).
We rarely slept and spent every free moment learning as much as we could about travel blogging.
Travel to Cheap Destinations
When we were ready to travel, we had $20k that we had to make last a long time. So staying at the Ritz was out of the question.
We looked for a place where our dollar would last the longest. India was a great option and we had never been there, so we bought a discount ticket to India.
- Southeast Asia, Central, and South America are other great options for saving money while traveling.
If you want to travel blog, you need to travel!
We feel that it is important for a travel blogger to have experience traveling. A lot of people are claiming to be travel bloggers when they've barely traveled anywhere. That may be fine for short term gain, but they won't last.
To stand out and have a lasting impact on Google and on social media, you need expertise and authority. And the way to do that as a travel blogger is by traveling.
So the sooner you can manage to get on the road and share your stories, photos, and videos, the better.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by money, read a few of our articles and guests post on budget travel below.
- How to travel World when you don't have the funds - Think you don't have the means to travel? Be inspired by Thailand blogger, Petz who shows that even with limited budget, you can travel the world.
- How to find Free Accommodation Around the World - There are ways to stay for free while you travel. If you are making very little money, this is a great option for saving.
- How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World. It gives all the secrets behind their house-sitting success. They've had 14 jobs in 9 countries, and saved over $50,000 in the cost of accommodations as a result.
Part 2: How We Get Paid to Travel the World
Over the years our income stream has evolved. Since we first started travel blogging there are more opportunities than ever. Even newer bloggers are starting to make money faster.
These are the ways we make money from traveling.
1. Ad Network - Once you have built your readership you can apply to work with an ad network. Currently, we work with Mediavine who pays us out by the number of visitors that come to our website and see their banner ads. We make a fixed dollar amount per 1000 impressions. You can apply with as low as 25,000 views per month!
2. Affiliate Marketing - We traveled non-stop for eight years and we still travel at least 1-2 weeks per month. So we have a lot of products, brands, and hotels that we like to recommend.
If you decide to click through to purchase one of our recommendations, be it a hotel we like in Paris, our favorite travel gear or the photography gear that Dave uses, we receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
3. Ambassadorships and Long Term Partnerships - We work with brands and tourism companies that we believe in and feel confident recommending on long term partnerships. These are usually year-long contracts where we discuss what the clients needs are and what type of coverage we will give them.
4. Tourism Campaigns - Throughout the year we work with different travel brands, tourism boards, and tour companies. We help them promote their product or service through social media, creating videos, writing blog posts or creating photography content. There are many different avenues we take and these contracts are usually anywhere from a one off social media share, to a one month long contract.
Part 3: How Travelers Make Money Online
1. Travel Blogger
Being a Travel Blogger is the most fulfilling career we've ever had. We know many people who are making lucrative careers travel blogging.
But don't be fooled, blogging is hard work and it takes time.
If you want to make money traveling, the first step is investing in yourself.
Superstar Blogging is a good place to start.
Recommended Travel Blogging Course
Nomadic Matt changed his make money travel blogging book into the Superstar Blogging Course.
He has split up his travel blogging course into 4 different streams:
- The business of travel blogging,
- How to become a travel photographer
- How to Become a Video Expert
- How to Be a Travel Writer
He has brought on different experts in their field to run and lead the courses.
That's four different ways to get paid to travel!
These are intense in-depth tracks that will help you succeed and he offers monthly mentoring and support through his teachers.
2. Travel Photographer
Contrary to popular belief, being a travel photographer is not an obsolete job. We have many friends leading photography tours, running photography workshops and selling their photos.
You can sell photography to stock agencies, sell to publications and set up your own store on Smugmug or Photoshelter.
We sell about one photograph a month on Smugmug and we often sell photos to publications and tourism boards.
There are many ways to make photography work.
I really do think that running courses and workshops are an excellent way for skilled photographers to earn a living traveling.
For Travel Photography we recommend taking Photographing the World by Elia Locardi.
We feel it is the best travel photography course out there. Read my review here.
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Meet People Who Are Traveling the World
The best way to plant the seed for your travel career is to meet other travelers.
The more people you meet the more ideas you will get in your head to take that step to making money from traveling.
If you go to travel meetups in your city, you will meet people in the travel industry. If you hit it off, you may find you can get a job with a tour company or someone may hire you to become an assistant or you may just get a. new idea.
Places to meet fellow travelers: Travel Massive, Eventbrite, TBEX, New York Times Travel Show, Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show. You can Google Search travel events in your city and check out Facebook Groups.
4. Social Media Influencer
They have built their social media channels around their personalities and have a strong following and fan base.
If you want to put work into either of these social media sites, you too can get paid to travel.
But it's not as easy at it looks.
You have to build an audience, post excellent photographs or show off your personality. You also need some sort of expertise in something.
So start thinking about what will set you apart.
When you are established, companies will pay you to travel and post photographs.
Youtube is a medium that you can build and grow like a travel blog.
If you post regular content and concentrate on SEO, you'll be surprised how quickly you can grow your following.
With YouTube, you can start earning money through YouTube advertising. It's not much at first, but once you build regular subscribers and views, you can start making money.
Read about the Dos and Don'ts of Instagram at Young Adventuress
5. Freelance Writing
It's a tough gig these days as magazines and newspapers regularly fold, but freelance writing is still an option.
I know many journalists that subsidize their travels by writing for magazines, newspapers and online resources.
We even write for many places like BBC Travel and CAA.
As you build your travel writing portfolio, you'll be able to approach the big guys with a story.
Think unique and catchy and before you know it, you'll be a published writer.
There are many places that pay a small amount per article, we started out doing that and it felt so good making my first $50 for an article.
Publications that Pay you for Travel Articles - ideas to get you started are BootsnAll, World Nomads, Matador Network, Transitions Abroad, and GoAbroad.
Once you have some smaller publications under your belt, you'll be able to eventually pitch to the bigger publications like Afar, National Geographic, BBC and Travel and Leisure.
Video is taking over the Internet and if you have skills in video editing, you can offer your services to anyone.
People are paying for video content regularly, so why not have them come to you! Geoff and Katy of Wandertooth are editing and optimizing YouTube Channels and spend their time living in Prague while traveling around Europe regularly.
We spent a week with them in Spain while they captured our travels on video and edited a couple of beautiful stories.
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7. Teach English Online
I didn't even know this was a thing until I met full-time travelers that were doing just that.
They make an hourly wage from 15-20 per hour just by letting people practice their English over Skype.
If you are living abroad in a country that is cheap to travel, this is an excellent way to supplement your travels and even live if you are staying in the right place where it is cheap to travel.
Check out QKids and VIPKID to get started.
8. Online Store
I had no idea this was a thing, but when we were at TravelCon last year, I met a guy that makes money selling travel gear on Amazon.
He doesn't blog, he's not a YouTuber, he just sells stuff online.
I don't have the expertise to tell you how he does it, so you will have to do some digging on the Internet, but he said he makes a lucrative income through Amazon.
We have an Amazon store and we do very well with affiliate marketing through Amazon, but he does something different, he sells products that people search for.
It's definitely not my thing, but I do have several friends that do this and claim to do well.
But there is one person I know that has the proof she makes money to pay for her travels this way. Keynote speaker Katja Presnal talked about how she made a lot of money selling things online at TBEX in Spain.
She started an online store selling things. Katja was so successful, she was featured by Oprah!
Now she is doing multilevel marketing selling essential oils and making a killing at it. If you have a knack for sales and marketing, this could be for you.
Perhaps you could start your own online store today!
9. Affiliate Marketing and Courses
There are many people making a killing doing affiliate sales in all fields and professions.
You don't have to be in the travel space to make sales online.
In today's world, it seems that you don't even have to have authority or traffic to be able to sell things to the public.
If you write a really well-researched article on a topic and make sure you SEO (search engine optimization) it to rank high in Google, you can put affiliate links from Amazon, Commission Junction, Share a Sale, booking.com or anything that lets you share revenue with their sales.
If people make a purchase you receive a commission.
I've seen people sell courses on various topics online. If you are providing a service or have valuable information to share, you can make money by selling a course.
they can sell for as little as 1.99 at first and as you gain authority and skills you can turn your business into online sales.
The sky is the limit!
Part 4: Jobs That Pay You to Travel the World
10. Work on a Cruise Ship
When I first caught the travel bug, I worked as a singer on a cruise ship in Guam.
I then sang in other places like Japan and the US. Now not everyone can sing for a living, but you can work on a cruise line in many capacities.
Cruise ships are always looking for people to hire, you just have to have a yearning for travel and a will to work hard.
Believe me, you'll have to work long hard hours on a cruise but it is an excellent way to save money as you'll have little expenses and the perfect way to see the world while getting paid to travel.
You can work as wait staff, blackjack dealers (I've done that job and it's fun!), cleaning staff, cruise staff, entertainment, bartenders, activities managers...the possibilities are endless.
11. Tour Guide
We have many friends that we've met on our travels that are travel guides.
They travel the world more than we do leading tours from Cuba to Myanmar.
Good travel guides are in high demand and you can make a great living. If you are personable, patient and knowledgeable this is your way to get paid to travel.
Places like Intrepid Travel, and GoAhead Tours are good places to start looking, but there are many companies out there that are seeking English speaking guides with a good knowledge of a destination.
You don't have to be a guide either, we know people who work in the sales and marketing departments and they get a lot of travel perks.
If you don't want to become a tour guide, you could always work in their offices and use your corporate skills.
The benefits of working with a travel company is that you will have a lot of opportunities to travel while getting paid.
12. Teach Yoga
Great way to Get Paid to travel: Teach yoga in India
Yoga Instructors are in high demand as people search for enlightenment and better health.
There are even yoga instructor retreats around the world where you can travel while investing in your future.
I know of many people who have opened up their own yoga companies and then book tours where they take a minimum amount of people on a yoga retreat.
All you have to do is find a location and a spot where you can lead your course and then you can work on the details of accommodation and meals in the destination.
It can be done, you just have to think outside the box.
Take a Yoga instructor's course, get some experience under your belt and then apply to retreats around the world.
13. Flight Attendant
There are new routes and airlines opening up all the time, so there has to be jobs out there.
These people work hard, but they get a lot of travel perks and layovers in exotic destinations.
Someone like HeatherPoole has turned her flight attendant career into a celebrity status as she tweets about her travels and has even written a book about the life of a flight attendant.
If you want to get paid to travel, this is a great place to start.
Buy her book: Cruising Attitude on Amazon
14. Skilled Instructor
We've met whitewater kayaking, rafting and climbing guides around the world that travel from place to place teaching wannabe adventurers their skills.
If you have a special skill like scuba diving, kayaking, or rock climbing, you can go anywhere on earth to instruct tourists and get paid to travel.
From Australia, to China, Central America to Africa, we've instructional guides from foreign lands teaching in a different country.
It was our first choice when we started traveling, our original plan was to become scuba instructors and teach around the world.
If that didn't work out, we were going to lead our own bicycle tours.
15. Massage Therapist, Esthetician
We get a massage everywhere we go. From cruise ships to resorts to everywhere in between.
If you have skills to relieve aches and pains or to help people look and feel better, this is an amazing job for travel.
And people tend to spend money on these types of services more when they are traveling than while at home.
I know that we like to splurge on a good haircut, a facial or a pedicure when traveling.
Think about getting into this business and you could find yourself working at Four Seasons around the world or on cruise liners.
16. Dive Master
It was our original plan when we started thinking of ways to travel and get paid. We even went to Honduras for our dive masters.
Being a dive master is a lot like being a skilled instructor but Dive Masters lead scuba excursions. They don't have to teach courses.
Imagine diving around the world leading experienced divers in exotic locations.
Many people travel the world and teach diving and you can get your feet wet by becomeing a dive master first.
If you have that skill, it's a job that is in demand.
17. Food and Beverage
We added this to our list of how travelers make money because someone emailed us quite upset that it wasn't included.
Well, it is now and it is a good idea!
You can apply for a working visa when you travel. It is especially easy if you are under the age of 30.
If you have the proper paperwork for the country you are visiting, you can work anywhere you like.
Dave and I are fans of serving tables because it's a quick way to earn cash and it's a job that is always in demand.
But if you don't want to wait tables, you can work at anything you like.
18. Hospitality & Hotel Management
Take your waitressing skills further and get a degree in hospitality management. We meet a lot of PR representatives and managers of hotels and restaurants when we travel and they all seem to travel the world to attend tourism conferences, open new hotels or get transfered to an exotic location.
We are amazed when we walk up to the front desk of a hotel in places like Tokyo and Beijing and are greeted by someone from America or Australia.
Getting a degree in hotel and restaurant service management opens up a whole new way to travel the world and get paid. And you get to do it in style.
Imagine managing a Four Seasons, Fairmont or Intercontinental Hotel. It's a dream job that lets you travel the world as you move from hotels in different countries.
19. Luxury Yachting
When we were climbing to Everest Base Camp, we met a guy named Bobby that was on hiatus from working on a yacht in the Mediterranean.
He was in between contracts so he flew to Nepal to do the EBC Trek.
He had many tales to tell from the high seas and he made a very good living working as the first mate on a yacht.
You can work as a cook, cleaning staff, engineer, captain, first mate. There are many opportunities.
All it takes is a Google search and a sense of adventure.
Other Ways to Get Paid to Travel Abroad
In today's world, the possibilities of getting paid to travel are endless.
If you are in the medical profession, you are in demand. I have a friend that takes blood for a living and she is qualified to work in many clinics overseas.
I've seen backpackers working in guesthouses and hostels and travelers tending bar. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen.
Once upon a time only National Geographic Photographers and Travel and Leisure writers were the only people that could get paid to travel the world.
Now you can take the business into your own hands and make money and travel in many ways. The question is, what's the right way for you?
Do you know of another way to make money from traveling? We'd love you to share your ideas in the comments.
Disclaimer: We do receive an affiliate commission from the books and courses mentioned. If you click through there is no extra cost to you.