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How to Earn Money While You Travel

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Summer is here and, if you’re anything like us, you’ve been bitten by the travel bug. There are no shortage of amazing countries and cities to visit this year, so what’s stopping you? Don’t let worries about a lack of money hold you back from having the perfect summer holiday, especially as there are plenty of ways to earn some extra income while you travel.

If you want to come back from your backpacking trip and still have some money in your bank account, try these suggestions to make some money while you’re abroad. After all, traveling on a budget can only get you so far…

Find work in hotels and hostels

Working at a hotel or hostel is a great way to travel and either make money or have your food and board included. If you’d rather avoid the hassle of applying for a work visa, you might prefer the latter – although you won’t get paid money, you’ll save a considerable amount on your food and accommodation. Jobs at hotels and hostels include working in reception, house-keeping, and airport pick-ups. You can find jobs on sites like Hostel Jobs.net and Hostel Travel Jobs.com. As a bonus, this is a very sociable role, and you’re likely to find plenty of new friends among the other staff and hostel guests.

House-sit and save money on accommodation

Although you won’t normally get paid to house-sit, it’s another fantastic way to save money on accommodation. Your duties here can include looking after pets (ideal if you’re an animal lover), general maintenance and house-keeping. Sites like Trusted Housesitters.com are a good place to look for opportunities.

Teach English as a foreign language

Another popular way to travel and earn money is by working as an English language teacher – with particularly strong demand for teachers in Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Although it will admittedly be harder to find jobs teaching English if you’re not a native English speaker, if you can speak English to an excellent standard you shouldn’t be held back. To improve your chances of finding work, you should spend time in an English-speaking country and spend time ensuring your English skills are perfect. You’ll firstly need to do a course to get your TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification, and some countries – such as South Korea and Japan – will only issue work visas to people with a university degree.

Soak up the sunshine by working as a fruit picker

If you don’t mind working outdoors and getting your hands dirty, fruit picking is another great option to help you travel and make money. This is a seasonal and often well-paid job, and, while it is manual labor, it’s also a brilliant opportunity to see more of a country than you might as just a tourist, and also make friends with other backpackers from a variety of backgrounds. You can find fruit picking jobs at sites such as Picking Jobs.com.

Work on a summer camp

The US is a hugely popular destination for students who dream of traveling and earning money, and there are a variety of summer camp jobs available here. You could work as an activity leader to run popular activities, be a member of the support staff in the camp’s office, or work as a camp counsellor to mentor the kids and also lead activities. There are five main US summer camp companies to choose from, and you can read about how they compare here.

Work as an au pair

Another very popular way to travel and make money is to work as an au pair or nanny, in which you’ll look after your family’s children, helping them with homework, cooking basic meals and picking them up from school. You’ll get your accommodation free of charge, and might be able to improve your foreign language skills at the same time. Native English speakers are particularly sought-after, and previous experience working with children is also desirable. You can find au pair jobs on sites such as this one. Be warned, though, working with children can be exhausting

Work as a tour guide

If you have confidence, great customer service skills and a passion for history and culture, working as a tour guide could be for you. You’ll enchant tour groups by sharing fascinating historical stories about popular tourist destinations and the local area. You could work for a local tour guide company or a large international business, or even go entrepreneurial and set up your own tours. English, Chinese and Spanish speakers are all in demand for this role. To find tour guide jobs, you could check job search websites as well as tour operator websites.

Other ways to travel and make money

  • Want to feel that refreshing sea air? You could also get paid to travel by working on a cruise ship or a yacht.
  • Getting paid to blog and travel is a dream for many of us, but bear in mind that it can take a while before you can earn money from any kind of blogging
  • Another job you could do at a hotel or hostel is work as a bartender, a role that often pays cash-in-hand
  • If you have a musical talent, busking can be a fun way to earn a bit of money on your travels
  • This depends on your own abilities, but you could work teaching sports or musical instruments if you’re talented and passionate enough

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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