How in the World Do You Make Money to Travel?!
Truthfully, to make money to travel you have to give up a few luxuries and manage a few hustles. While taxes, health insurance, visa fees, and bus tickets remain monetary pitfalls, this article is here to share some insights to personal finances of a travel addict. [Oh, yeah, guess I could always not pay taxes, but we’ll leave that debate for another day.]
There’s loads of work exchange programs out there.
Check these out:
- Helpx – hostels, nannies, farms etc
- WWOOFing – organic farm work
- WorkAway – mostly hostels
- House Sitting – self explanatory
I’m shocked to find many people don’t know about this great site! Here you can find a place to crash for the night, a friendly tour guide, cheap thrills, and even create hangouts to meet new people.
Squat, Hitch, n Ride
If you feel up for it, check out Squat the Planet for anyone interested in train hopping, hitchhiking, van-dwelling, and other off-grid travel. Ridesharing sites are also increasingly popular. In Europe especially, check out BlaBlacar.
Make Money to Travel via….A job!
What? you thought I had some magical money-making lifehack? For 3.5 years I managed to hold down a modest nonprofit gig. Racking in $27,800/year. Yeah, that’s not much. Nonprofiteers are horribly underpaid. However, I was able to stow away most of my paycheck through the next two points.
I’ve already written about the benefits of living in community. The biggest financial perk comes from sharing housing, household items, and resources. Grab yerself a roommate at the very least.
Sometimes it’s not about ways to make money to travel, it’s about a spending limit to save money to travel. To me it’s excessive. No new vehicles, shopping at thrift stores, monitoring my budget. Trying (often failing) to cut back on “going out” expenses.
Easiest way to find employment in a foreign city? Ask. Walk in and ask. You are definitely qualified to wash beer glasses. Tell everyone you meet that you’re looking for gigs. Walk dogs. Try out some weird paid online gigs (these are timesucks that barely work…but hey, 8 hours on a bus with WiFi? Why not.)
Not the most cost-efficient way to save money! However, if you’ve got decent credit and can do things like buy refrigerators for friends/your commune, you’ll be able to travel hack cards. I use the MileagePlus Card.
If you have US loans, consolidate and reduce payment. I cannot stress this enough: you rarely need to pay the full amount. The Income Based Repayment plan adjusts your mandatory monthly fee, so you can pay waaay less per month. Also, check out the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
Finances note: just because I’m flippant about capitalism and not “working towards retirement” doesn’t mean I’m ignoring my financial future. In fact, I’m investing through Socially Responsible Portfolios at Betterment.com. Check out the suggestion from Ride Free Fearless Money or go straight to it with my referral link
Watch Out, Cause Now We’re Going to Talk about PRIVILEGE
There’re a few things I want to acknowledge so that we’re not just pretending travel is accessible to everyone:
1. I have an abundance of cis white privilege
a) Among other things, this makes travel easier (I don’t get mistaken for a prostitute) and access to jobs is easier
2. I was raised in a middle-upper class household with two parents and many middle-class relatives.
a)If the money well dries up, I have a network of people who’d be willing to help out til back on my feet. Travel does require the ability to risk. The more support you have, the more you can risk.
b) I have had access to higher education…in spite of the $25,000 in debt, this still makes a difference in employment opportunities
3. My parents continue to support me.
Adopting my cat (too aptly named Trouble), mailing my credit card after the old one expired, and being generally encouraging, my folks have helped a ridiculous amount on each travel journey. They even insist on driving 4 hours in a day just to get me to/from the airport where international flights are a bit cheaper! Essentially, I owe them a lot of back-pay.
Don’t recognize yourself in this profile? That doesn’t mean travel is out of your reach. Seeing the world isn’t just for skinny white girls in bikinis. Check out these fantastic blogs/articles:
- Taking Travel Black – a fantastic “digital platform that makes travel more accessible for Black Millennials”
- Latinas Who Travel – bilingual travel community created to inspire Latinas (and everyone) to travel more
- A Blog Abroad – badass solo female traveler AND full-time travel blogger *swoon*
- Solo Travel for Black Women: The Ultimate Guide
- Las Morenas de Espana – looking to thrive in Spain, check this out!
- Backpack ME – travel blog with great resources written by an Indian and Portuguese couple
- Nomadic Chica – Latina solo female traveler blog
- Confidently Lost – fantastic solo traveler blog
Additional money resources to get your shit together:
- How to Live Like a King for Very Little
- Dave Ramsey’s site for getting out of debt
- Mr. Money Mustache about the hustle n retiring by 35
- Ride Free Fearless Money – my favorite punk adviser on all things finance
Hope this blog and the additional resources will encourage you that it’s very possible to make money to travel the world! If you have more questions, I’m very happy to discuss. Find me in the contact section.