These are some of the best ways for how to make money while traveling. I have done every single one of them and they serve as my arsenal to keep on the road at all costs.
What are the Travel Jobs and What do They Pay?
Here are the jobs we will be covering, how much money you can make with them (let’s cut to the chase, right)?–and how long it’ll take to make that money. These are estimates and there are definitely exceptions–but I have done most of these jobs and know many people who do them, so this is based on my experience and knowledge.
If you can build a great portfolio on UpWork you’ll be in an excellent position to bid for jobs on a regular basis.
1 – Travel Writer
Average national rate in the USA as of 2020 is about $30,000 per year. But really you’ll be making about $100 – $1,000 per article (depending on who you write for and how many words they offer you). Your rate will increase as you build a portfolio, and then it depends on: how many articles can you write per year? You can begin earning this right away with no experience necessary (just gotta know how to do it)!
2 – Food Critic
Average national rate in the USA as of 2020 is about $90,000 per year. But you’ll probably start freelancing and so this is the same as a travel writer since a food critic can simply be a traveler that writes about food.
3 – Hotel Critic
Average national rate in the USA as of 2020 is about $15 per hour. But again, I’ll show you how to make more than this since you will be a traveler that writes about hotels, and so the rate is closer to that of a freelance journalist.
4 – Digital Marketer
Average national rate in the USA as of 2020 is about $80,000 per year. But you will negotiate your fee based on whether you’re being paid a retainer, a commission, or percentage of ad spend you’re managing.
5 – SEO
Average national rate in the USA as of 2020 is about $50,000 per year, but really the sky is the limit here. It simply depends on how big the company is and how many aspects of SEO you’re overseeing. But you can do this job from anywhere if negotiate the terms of your contract properly.
6 – Course Creator
You can make millions if you sell enough courses! More likely you will make maybe 5-10K on your first launch, more on your second and third, and can turn this into a very profitable business if you’ve got a great course.
7 – Social Media Manager
Average national rate in the USA as of 2020 is about $60,000 per year. But as a freelance social media manager, this number will be how you negotiate.
8 – Copywriter
Average national rate in the USA as of 2020 is about $55,000 per year. But as a copywriter, as with all these jobs, you’ll be starting out as a freelancer. In general–if you’re good–I wouldn’t charge less than $80 per hour.
9 – E-Commerce Store Owner
Well depends on how many widgets you can sell! Also, as a store owner, you can certainly outsource shipping and handling to a 3PL (third-party logistics company), or dropship items directly from the supplier… but you’ll probably be busy all day long.
10 – Blogger
Most bloggers make nothing but that’s probably because they’re not sure how to turn it into a business. There’s no point in going over how much bloggers make here because it’s anywhere from zero to many hundreds of thousands. Huffington Post is technically a blog and they make… well, a lot.
11 – Publicist
This was my hustle for about seven years. I made about $4,000 per client per month.
12 – Coder
13 – Web Design
Web design stretches to the moon because it depends on what kind of website you’re designing and how intricate it is. You can charge $1,000 for something basic that takes you a day to put together, or $10,000 for a more complex site. Overall this is a GREAT travel trade to have because you really only need one client at a time and quiet place to work in the mornings.
14 – Graphic Design
Graphic design is always in demand but the jobs are generally smaller than that of a web designer. You might have to constantly be picking up new clients, but that’s not a bad thing if you’ve got the personality for it. Also, once you’re established and you’re picking up regular work you can add it onto whatever else you’re doing. I wouldn’t do this as my main hustle unless I had a big client that used my often, but it’s great to pair with writing or photography.
15 – Travel Photographer
Travel photography is much like travel writing in the sense that you need to pitch your work to the media. It helps to also be able to write well so that you can pair together your writing with your photographs. One thing you can do is take tourism photos and sell them to the country’s tourism board that you’re visiting, or if you’re savvy (or more established) you can work out sponsorships to feature a particular hotel/ restaurant/ business in your upcoming portfolio.
How to Make Money as a Travel Writer
Whether you want to roam the world and be a travel food critic or hotel critic, write about the best tours in certain countries or how to travel best in specific cities, Travel Writing might be for you.
You may enroll in our Travel Writing Intensive if you have a sincere desire to Become a Travel Writer. We also have a Beginner’s Guide to Travel Writing that you can download for $7 if you’re interested.
The idea of a travel writer is you’re paid to write about your adventures. There’s a method to pitching the media about articles you’d like to write, and there’s also many things to keep in mind, such as each adventure can be spun off into ten to twenty articles. You simply need to add different spins.
I wrote about 20 articles about my Guinness World Record Road Trip…
Articles about relationships on the road, making money on the road, best diners on the road, best US roadside attractions, how to keep healthy on the road… You can really keep it going.
Expect to make about $1,000 – $4,000 per month as a travel writer (depending on how many articles you can write and how well you can negotiate your rates).
How to Make Money as a Food Critic
The best way to get started as a food critic is to begin your career as a writer that specializes in food and beverage. The more you write and pitch, the more you get published. The more you get published, the bigger media outlets you can write for–gotta keep moving on up as a writer. The bigger the publications you’re writing for, the more sway you will have. Now, you may not be revered as a food critic by Michelin chefs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money eating, writing about, and reviewing food. To take a deep dive into the world of travel writing–any type of travel writing, check this out.
How to Make Money as a Hotel Critic
In the same fashion as a food critic, the best way to build a career as a hotel critic is to begin writing about hotels as a freelance writer. The more you write and pitch, the bigger your resume will become. As your portfolio grows, you can leverage your talents and following for larger publications. Once you’re editor-approved at a few bigger media outlets, you will be able to work out deals with hotels that you want to cover. There’s a bit of strategy in this and if you have any interest in building a career as ANY type of travel writer, take the course offered on this site.
How to Make Money as a Digital Marketer
This is the broadest industry on the travel job list. Saying I want to be digital marketer is like saying you want to work with cars. That could mean being a mechanic, owning a Ford dealership, renovating old Chevys, or working as a used car salesman. So, in order to discuss digital marketing we gotta dive a bit deeper into digital marketing as a whole.
What is Digital Marketing
This definition comes from Hubspot because I seriously couldn’t figure out how to fit it all in one sentence, but they did it well:
Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.Hubspot
What the hell does this mean to you? Well, in Greg terms, it means you learn how to do one of a few things that’ll make you money, whether it be selling your own things online, or being hired by a client to sell their things online.
Let’s have a look at this:
You may also choose to help someone else market their business online, in which case you would end up charging a monthly fee or a percentage of sales or keeping a percentage of advertising spend. This would be the role of a freelance digital marketer. When travelers and entrepreneurs use the term “digital nomad,” they are generally doing some kind of digital marketing work.
Digital Marketing Breakdown:
You can focus on these areas as a Digital Marketer and become a Freelance Digital Marketer…
How to Make Money Doing Paid Advertising
This is Madmen-style advertising… but online. Strategizing ad funnels–which is the first ad a potential customer sees first? Is it a long video? An image of someone doing something funny? What will the text say? What is the point of the ad; where will it send the potential customer when they click? What will the second and third and fourth ad the potential customers (or current customers) see?
What is the journey you are going to create to sell something to someone who has never met you or seen your brand before? This is paid advertising (in a brief nutshell). It is broken down into two main sections: Facebook Advertising, and Google Advertising.
If you want to get great at digital marketing, these are the two juggernauts and you really only need to specialize in one of them–in fact, don’t try to learn both off the bat. They are too comprehensive. FB includes Instagram (you create Facebook and Instagram campaigns in one place: Facebook’s Business Manager), and Google includes Youtube (you create search and YouTube ads in one place: AdWords Manager).
FB – Ever see ads from stores you were just at or websites you just visited on Facebook/ IG? That is Facebook Advertising.
Instagram – Instagram is Facebook. There is no difference when it comes to advertising. You create the ads and campaigns in the same place.
Audience Network – These are all the websites and apps and games that Facebook advertises on. When you are playing a game and they prompt you to watch an ad before you proceed (I hate that), that is part of Facebook’s audience network.
WhatsApp – This is not rolled out yet.
Messenger Marketing – This is similar to email marketing, but with Messenger bots. You see an ad that says: “ask us anything” and when you click on it, a messenger chat window pops up and someone tries to sell you something, that is messenger marketing.
Google Advertising (Adwords)
Search – when you search for anything in Google and those text ads pop up–that is search advertising
Display (audience network) – When you are on a website and ads pop up between the pages and at the top of the site or on the sidebars, that is display advertising
YouTube – When you see those video ads before that damn video you just want to watch, and watch it NOW… who has TIME to wait three seconds?!
So those are the main paid advertising paths you could take. Of course you can tell your clients you specialize in Twitter advertising or Pinterest advertising too… but I mean, that’s like 1% of the market (that’s a made up number but it’s a small number of the market).
Let’s move onto other areas of digital marketing…
How to Make Money Doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You know when you search for something and those organic search results show website URLs for you to click on? How the hell did those websites manage to end up on the first page of Google?
That is SEO.
To get on the first page of Google when someone searches for something is a very detailed process. Check out Moz for a beginner’s guide to SEO. In a nutshell, it involves a lot of targeting blogging, online research, and correct website structure.
So, if you want your clients to show up on the first page of Google, this is what you’ll specialize in.
Instead of selling tangible goods that you need to package and ship, you can sell information as digital downloads. One popular method of this is course creation. If you’re great at something, create a bunch of how-to videos and place them all on a page that requires payment to access.
If you’re going to create courses and sell them online, you need to know how to market your course once it’s created, and that’s where the digital marketing comes into play. But the first step is to choose your teaching platform.
I’ve done EXTENSIVE research on this. I was going to use Teachable, however since I really wanted to keep it simple, I didn’t want to have my courses in one spot and my website in another. So, I found WordPress plugins that allow me to protect course content for only paying member. Currently using LifterLMS (because it is open-source, so it will continuously get better and better), and WooCommerce Memberships.
How to Make Money as a Social Media Manager
This is content-based marketing, also called inbound marketing. If you want to create content, build a brand through social media, and enjoy managing other peoples’ social media accounts, this is for you.
***NOTE: You are NOT spending money to promote anything as a social media manager; that would be paid advertising, which shouldn’t be confused with the duties of a social media manager:
- Creating content
- Scheduling content
That’s your job.
How to Make Money as a Copywriter
You can also specialize in copywriting: the art of writing persuasive copy to entice people to buy something. You know, like great emails or sales pages. Everyone always needs a great copywriter. Here are the two places you can find clients in copywriting:
- Sales Copy
- You can write copy for peoples’ websites, write copy for specific sales pages and landing pages (that website page you land on after clicking an ad that tries to get you to give the company your email or sell you something). If you want to see a landing page I created, just look at the Travel Writing Course main page or the Vagabond Secrets Book main page.
- Email Marketing
- Or you can help people write email sequences that engage their customers to bring them to the next level of customer–maybe it’s from email newsletter signup to buying something small, or someone who just bought something to buy the next thing. You get it, right? If you sign up to any of the emails on this website, you’ll see examples of what that looks like.
How to Make Money as an E-Commerce Store Owner
You can start your own store and manage it from anywhere! There are a few way to run an e-commerce store:
- Creating ads for a product, selling that product on your website, then ordering that product from the supplier in China (or wherever the hell they are) and having them send it directly to the consumer. Basically you find a product or bunch of widgets or cosmetic line that costs $1 to buy, and you re-brand it, mark it up 300%, and sell it as your own brand. It’s buy-on-demand style.
- Holding inventory
- This is when you buy a bunch of things at wholesale value and ship them out yourself when you sell them. You can ship them out yourself and use your apartment as a warehouse, or hire a 3PL (third-party logistics company) to handling the shipping and handling. They are not cheap; this is usually for more established companies.
Sometimes it’s better to start off dropshipping to see if there’s demand and then buy inventory once you realize this will be a long-term strategy (and you’ve made enough money to buy inventory).
This is not the BEST job to have on the road, but certainly you can set your own hours and take off for a month if you want and just have someone you trust handle the shipping while you’re gone.
Or let’s say you want to sell online courses or memberships to a website…
How to Make Money as a Blogger
Okay moving onto other ways to make money while traveling, you can go the route of Blogger as well.
How do you make money as a Blogger?
Throughout this site you will find links to software and products I like and endorse. If you were to click on any of those links, I will get a commission of what you buy. Now, this doesn’t cost you any more money than you would be spending anyway. In fact, generally the goal is to be able to give you a better deal.
This is the first thing I would recommend you do is to setup your affiliate links. Oh right, decide on what you’ll be blogging about first. Moving on… If you find something you like and want to endorse, search for their affiliate program. Google “[thing you want to endorse] affiliate program.” If there’s a way to become an affiliate, it’ll pop right up.
Promoting Your Services
Aside from affiliate marketing, you can also promote your services as a freelancer. Your blog is a GREAT way for people to get to know you. If they like you, they’ll want to hire you (maybe). So, what’s the best way to do this?
Always be creating two types of posts:
- Personal stories: This is so people get to know you.
- How-to articles: This is so people know you know what you’re talking about.
Then link to your sales page, or post an affiliate link at the bottom of every post.
Let’s talk about becoming a publicist; how I made the most money for the longest period of time.
How to Make Money as a Traveling Publicist
This is quite simple: people want to be famous. Your job as a publicist is to make them famous. If you can do that, you can charge about $3,000 – $5,000 / month. How do you make people famous?
You get them on podcasts, on TV, in magazines, big blogs–you make them known. EVERYBODY wants this and NOBODY knows how to do it, and that’s why you can sell this for so much money.
If you Google my name “Greg Cayea” you will see how many articles about me pop up. It’s not cause I’m cool, it’s a system I use–a PR system. People pay good money for this system and so it’s worth it to learn if you have an interest in this type of shit.
These are the best travel hustles to keep on the road in my opinion. If I missed something please comment below. There are a billion different jobs so I’m sure there are millions I missed. Since Travel Writing, Digital Marketing (paid Facebook and Instagram advertising), and Publicity are my specialties, we have courses on those. More to come in the coming months.
If you would like to learn other trades on this list, I have some recommendations. Simply comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.
How to Make Money as a Coder
There’s really nothing to write here. I mean, pick a language you want to learn and apply to Google, right? You can work for any number of companies as long as your learning programming that’s in demand– like Python and PHP and other API development languages… Check this dude out, I found him on YouTube and he’s a masterful coach for beginners.
How to Make Money as a Web Designer
I would say that the freelance sites like Upwork would be a great place to find clients, but you’ll get priced out by people willing to do the same work for less. The best way to make money as a web designer is to join a digital marketing agency and work remotely, or simply do ONE great job at a time and eventually the word will get out. Everyone ALWAYS needs a web designer, but who do you trust? That’s the biggest hurdle: finding someone trustworthy. If you can become a trustworthy go-to guy or gal, you really don’t even need to be that good. I mean, get good–of course–but people will hire you if you know what you’re doing and you can be relied upon. Most of the work you’re hired to do is quite easy anyway… but the client doesn’t know that.
How to Make Money as a Graphic Designer
The best way to live the good life as a traveling graphic designer might be to really put a bunch of eggs in the Upwork basket. Upwork (as many probably already know) is a freelance job site where you can basically hire, or be hired to do absolutely anything. The reason I bring it up specifically for graphic design is because graphic designers seem to do very well if you have a great portfolio uploaded. 99Designs is another great place to be. I never liked Fiver. I think it sucks. But basically loading up on the freelancer sites and bidding for jobs every morning in the common area of your hostel or AirBnb or wherever you’re staying can keep you afloat while you travel the world.
I also found a great Facebook Group for graphic designers where you can post your work and get critiqued. It’s often very hard to get feedback when we’re working for ourselves, trying to be our own best critic.
How to Make Money as a Travel Photographer
Travel writing and travel photography go hand-in-hand. You can always become instafamous with insanely amazing drone-footage draped with photoshop with nothing but sheer talent and a bit of luck, but a more practical way to build a career as a travel photographer is to master the art of travel writing because it’s a similar path to success. You’ve got far more options when you can offer more than just photos, but a story to go along with them. As far as learning the art of travel photography, if you comment below I’ll make recommendations for people based on your needs.
Best Software for Travelers
Here are some platforms and software applications that I would recommend… but as I began writing this I realized this post would go on forever, so here are a few, but if you want the full list, just filled out the box below and I’ll send you the Digital Vagabond Essentials List I put together in PDF format. Just lemme know where to send the PDF and I’ll shoot it over to ya.
Course Creation – Teachable or if want to gate content on your WordPress site, LearnDash or Woocommerce Memberships are better.
Sales Pages and Sales Funnels – Clickfunnels
Email Marketing – Convertkit
Website Development – Hostgator (less expensive) or WP Engine (very expensive but good)
Graphic Design – Adobe Suite…
Ya know what? Just fill out the form below.
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