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The idea of leaving the 9-5 job, jumping on a plane and heading off to travel the world doesn’t need to be a distant dream. The main thing stopping most people is the thought ‘how will I afford to live?’ This was our own main concern when we decided to sell it all and travel the world too.  But it doesn’t have to be any harder earning money while travelling than it does staying at home. It may be using your existing talents to do something you enjoy – or even give yourself the chance to try something completely new. Here are five ways you can quickly make money while backpacking, giving you more cash to spend on your travels:.

1) Teach English

There are job opportunities for teaching English all over the world – but it’s especially popular in South East Asia, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. For some countries you’ll need an existing degree, but not all of them. Often you will also need a certification like a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.  In fact, we got our TEFL certifications in Thailand.  So we were already abroad  and we had a blast meeting like-minded people while completing the course.

Many companies that hire you to teach English abroad will also pay for your flights and apartment.  Further, you will usually be provided with a good rate of pay that actually enables you to have a very comfortable lifestyle…or simply save money!  The salary and benefits was actually on of the reasons we decided to teach English in China!

Teaching Thick & Thin

Josh teaching English in China

2) Online trading

If you’re market savvy, you can make money trading in shares and forex, or CFD trading while on the move, by logging in online. If you’re not sure about market trading, check out as it explains all about how to trade for the first time. You can even set up a free demo account to give it a trial.

While the returns can be great, remember that with any trading there are risks involved.  As my mother used to tell me, never risk anything you can’t afford to lose.  It’s not for everyone, but there are definitely people out there who make a great living by doing this and have the freedom to travel and live abroad.

3) Odd jobs

Perhaps you have a good hand with a pair of clippers, so why not offer to cut your fellow travelers’ hair for a set price, or offer your plumbing, gardening or carpentry skills in the local area?  Everyone has their own skills or talents – so put them to use on the road!  Other travelers might also pay to have their nails painted or make-up done if these are your skills.

If you like writing, then write about your travels. Try approaching websites or magazines and see if you can get your work published. Or you may even decide to jump into the travel blogging industry, which is becoming more and more popular.  However, travel writing and blogging can take a long time to take off.  From our experience, you have to put in years of really hard work before blogging even starts paying a little.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t do freelance writing for others right away – especially if you have a writing background!

Josh working on the blog in a coffee shop in Thailand.

Josh working on the blog in a coffee shop in Thailand.

4) Sell Your Creations

Maybe you are artistic and love making jewelery, clothes or painting. Perhaps you can set up at the local market, or sell your handmade creations to other backpackers. In fact, we saw a woman doing this just last week in Kuala Lumpur – she set up a table outside near the Chinatown market and was selling beautiful handmade jewelry!

Souvenirs bring memories, so get inspired by your travels. If you are a talented photographer, you may possibly be able to sell your pictures. You can set up your own website or try approaching stock photography sites like Getty, istock or Fotolia with your work. Other businesses such as tour companies, outdoor brands and tourism boards may even pay for your pics because hiring a professional photographer can be quite expensive.

5) Bar Work or Other Help

This is a quick and easy way to make cash and enjoy the social scene at the same time! If you’re in a tourist area during high season it’s usually pretty easy to pick up work. Just pop into bars and cafes and ask if they are hiring.  You may also be able to check with local hostels too and see if they need some help.  Sometimes it is simply work in exchange for room and meals, other times it may actually be paid work.  There are also numerous websites where you can look for work in exchange for accommodation, such as Woofing or WorkAway.

wwoofFinal Considerations

While working and traveling is the dream for many people, it is important that you do some research and consider details like visas and labor laws.  So before planning your trip, be sure to check which countries require you to apply for a visa – and if you are even allowed to work on it. Many countries offer a working holiday visa, especially for young people, which could allow you to stay in a country for a certain amount of time while working and travelling. Also, be sure to check the local employment laws if you’re doing any self-employed work while abroad.

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