Of course you want to get paid to travel the world. Who doesn’t?
Okay okay, not everyone wants to make money traveling. Some people actually prefer to work from a more stable home base. As someone who recently came home after 15 years of traveling and moving around the U.S and the world, I definitely get the appeal of having a car, a gym membership, and a regular chiropractor.
But if you’re not quite ready to settle down, or if you’ve been settled down and you’re itching to get out there and explore, there are some seriously viable (read: lucrative) options for doing so.
No, you don’t need a trust fund. No, you don’t necessarily need to teach English abroad.
In fact, most of the ways to get paid to travel do not involve a “regular” job at all, regular meaning a stationary gig where you report to the same place everyday and are therefore stuck, just like you were stuck back home.
No, these jobs are truly mobile, in that they give you a way to make money and travel pretty much wherever you want, whenever you want.
If you think that sounds too good to be true, think again my friend! I personally did a combination of #2 and #3 for 13 months while backpacking through Asia.
Also, I haven’t included anything on this list unless I actually know someone who has a) done it, or b) is doing it as we speak.
Ready to get paid to travel? Here are 7 ways to do it in 2016:
If you can write code, develop websites, or know the language of CSS, you can work as a freelance web developer from just about anywhere with a Wifi connection.
Now before you protest that you don’t know how to code, relax: you can learn!
#2: Virtual Assistant
This is a GREAT way to get paid to travel while staying totally mobile. Plus, you don’t have to learn any special skills. If you’re organized and a good communicator, you can get a regular gig as someone’s Virtual Assistant (VA) or online business manager.
Here’s what a day in the life of a VA might look like while traveling:
- Wake up in [insert foreign city of your choice here].
- Have breakfast while checking emails from your client and making a to-do list for the day.
- Work for 2-3 hours in your hotel room or guest house. “Work” could include anything from managing social media accounts to scheduling travel, responding to emails, conducting research, or doing data entry.
- Spend the afternoon site-seeing in your destination!
- Enjoy dinner out.
- Return to your hotel for more work.
- Lather, rinse, and repeat, adding travel days into the mix when you’re ready to move on to your next location.
#3 Freelance writer
Get paid to travel by becoming a freelance writer. This could involve travel blogging, copywriting, journalism, creative writing, or a combination of all of the above.
Assuming you have some decent writing skills, the main question that needs answering is “Where do I find writing gigs?”.
For me, the answer was always through Elance, a website that was recently bought by Upwork. Upwork is the place to go if you want to write SEO copy for online businesses, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.
What do I mean by “SEO copy”? That could mean press releases, website copy, bios, blog posts, eBooks, and so on, all of which have been “optimized” for search engines using the right keywords. (If you want to learn how to do this, you can hire me to teach you for cheap).
For creative writing gigs and journalism, check out Writer’s Market. They post publishing opportunities from magazines, trade publications, publishing houses, and newspapers all over the world.
Freelance writing is a very in-depth topic, but suffice it to say that copywriting will bring you faster cash, while creative writing/journalism will bring more notoriety (and bigger bucks long-term).
While traveling, I loved being able to log on to Elance, bid for a job, work for a few hours from my hotel, and get paid within a few days.
#4 Professional Gambler
Here’s another online opportunity that allows you to get paid while traveling. I knew a girl who made an obscene amount of money as an online gambler. Obviously it helps to know a thing or two about gambling, playing cards, and the like, and to enjoy playing these kinds of games.
If that’s your bag, it’s an awesome way to make extra money while traveling without ever having to find a “real” job!
#5. Insurance Adjuster
My friend is an insurance claims adjuster and she seriously travels more than anyone else I know. Granted, she doesn’t always get to choose her destinations, but she makes enough money that she’s able to travel regularly throughout the year during her down time.
6. Day trader
Being a day trader is another skilled trade that can be easily learned so you can get paid to travel.
I used to date a guy who was a day trader by day (duh), and a film director by night. He worked from home and had total flexibility in terms of when, how often, and how much he worked.
Jobs like that make perfect travel jobs – just ask this top travel blogger who funds his adventures with day trading.
I personally know zilch about the stock market, but if I wanted to build real wealth while traveling (as opposed to simply make enough to fund my travels), I’d choose this option.
7. Extreme Athlete (or extreme anything)
Don’t laugh! I’m serious! And I promised I wouldn’t include anything on this list unless I knew someone who was making it work…
Well, our contributing writer Shirine Taylor is cycling around the world. That’s pretty extreme, wouldn’t you say? When Shirine began her trip, she was living on savings. Now, after starting a successful blog to document her adventures, she’s gained sponsors, donations, and global recognition.
Shirine isn’t a professional athlete – she’s just a girl who loves to cycle! If you’re passionate about a sport, dancing, heck, even bagpiping, there are people who will pay to watch you do it.
Another travel blogger I know of is bagpiping her way around the world. People who also love bagpipes sponsor her to do it, just like people who love Wandering Earl sponsor him to keep on a-wandering!
If you choose this option, be sure to go big. Choose a niche sport or hobby that people are fanatical about, then start with a crowdfunding campaign to get the word out about your journey.
Are you ready to get paid to travel? Which option do you think would be the best fit for you?