7 ways to make money as you travel

Kathmandu ambassadors Alesha and Jarryd are professional photographers, writers and founders of adventure travel blog NOMADasaurus. They’ve been exploring the world together since 2008, searching for culture and adventure in off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Travelling the world long term is the ultimate dream for a lot of people, but the number one issue that will put a halt on those goals is a dwindling bank account.

Luckily there are quite a number of ways to earn money on the road that don’t require international job transfers, university degrees or selling a kidney. Here’s our list of fun travel jobs that will extend your overseas trip.

1) Working at a ski resort

If you love the idea of spending your days skiing or snowboarding in a mountain paradise with a bunch of other excited travellers, then working at a ski resort is the job for you.

Hitting the slopes is a favourite pastime for millions of Aussies and Kiwis. There’s plenty of opportunity to get a working holiday visa for a lot of countries in the Northern Hemisphere, so you can take that hobby, and turn it into a way to make money during the winter months.

A lot of ski resorts in Canada, the USA, Japan, France and Austria love having foreign workers. Jobs you might be able to do include lift operator, ticket checker, ski instructor, or a host of other seasonal roles. Prior snow experience not required – you can learn when you get there!

The money isn’t the best, but you can get a free season pass, discounted rates on food and beverages, cheap (or free) rental gear and sometimes even staff accommodation.

Tip – You can apply for jobs at most ski resorts online, or arrive well before the ski season starts to secure positions.

Three people skiingThree people skiing

2) Working in hospitality

An excellent job on the road is to work in hospitality. Fortunately, there’s lots of work, even if you don’t have any experience.

In Europe and North America, you’ll find lots of restaurants and bars hiring, and this can be an excellent way to sustain your travels. Hospitality is not an easy industry, but it does open up opportunities to work in areas that otherwise don't offer much chance to earn money. For instance, small seaside towns in the Mediterranean won't have many jobs going, but offering your services to clear tables and make drinks in a small Italian restaurant can be a great way to meet locals and other visitors, and you never know where these interactions will take you. 

3) Working in a hostel

Hostels are the ultimate place to make friends when you travel, so why not extend your stay and pick up a job in your favourite one?

Jobs in a hostel include receptionists, cleaning staff, activities coordinators and maintenance crew, and along with free accommodation and food in exchange for not-that-many-hours, many of the bigger ones also pay a wage for long-term staff. It will probably end up being the funnest job you ever have, but you will have to get used to relinquishing some of your own space if that is something you are used to. Embrace the lifestyle of being within a tight community and the fact that a lot of what you will do will be repetitive, but as long as you accept that, you can then meet all sorts of people and experience local cultures like no other visitor can.

Two women eating noodles indoorsTwo women eating noodles indoors

4) Working as a tour guide

If you are a people person, have a real interest in history or nature, and love the idea of staying in one place for a while, picking up a job as a tour guide is an excellent way to fund your lifestyle on the road.

These jobs vary from short walking tours right up to full-time expedition guides. You need to have a passion for the role you’re applying for (for example a deep knowledge of street art to do graffiti tours), but previous guiding experience isn’t always necessary.

Feel like really getting paid to see the world? Join the ranks of one of the companies that lead tours in multiple countries, like Dragoman, G Adventures, Contiki and Intrepid.

5) Teaching English

Perhaps the ultimate job to do overseas for those that want to immerse themselves in a new culture, picking up work teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) allows you to make decent money and see the world at the same time.

Most English teaching jobs only require you to work around 20 hours a week, educating young kids in basic language skills. You can easily acquire your TEFL certification online, and then secure a job before you leave home. Many schools will either provide housing or help you find a place to live, and take care of all the necessary visas.

It’s a very rewarding job, and the biggest benefit is that you’ll truly get a grasp of local culture and customs. As you build your experience you’ll also be able to move around to different countries and continue living the dream!

6) Become an instructor

If you prefer your job to have a touch of adventure, an awesome way to make money while you travel is to become a certified instructor.

Divemasters are like scuba diving underwater guides or assistants, helping instructors look after new divers or showing qualified people around beautiful sites. Getting your divemaster certification takes three months at a minimum, but some of the benefits include living in tropical paradises, only working a few hours a day (usually), having a qualification that is recognised around the world, and of course, getting paid to go scuba diving!

Teaching surfing, rock climbing, yoga or other activities people like to take on when travelling can be a great way to supplement your income when on the road. Of course, you have to be confident in your skills, but if you are lucky enough to have a strong background in one of these activities, the whole world opens up to you.

Man duckdiving on a surfboardMan duckdiving on a surfboard

Become a freelancer

Don’t be fooled, it’s not easy to develop an income as a freelancer, and it will take thousands of hours to build it to the point of earning money, but with enough motivation and dedication you can find financial freedom and work from anywhere with a wifi connection. Use sites like Meetup.com to find out about free events that open up networking opportunities, because networking is absolutely key to finding short term work, and it can be hard to do this when not settled in a place.

Some of the most common forms of digital nomadism include travel writing, copywriting, web design and other forms of creative services. One of the best things you can do is develop your coding skills, initially starting with tools such as Codeacademy. Some of the most lucrative freelance work travellers can receive is through developing or data science. Consider taking on contract roles for projects, giving you a home base for months at a time before you then move on to a new location. This can be a great way to travel for years at a time.

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