The freedom and adventure that come with travel are proving irresistible to a growing number of people who’ve opted for a nomadic life. Finding the ongoing funding to keep traveling is the only catch. Fortunately, flexible work arrangements and an abundance of online opportunities make it possible for just about anyone to earn money on the road.
Knocked back on your request for a pay rise? Instead of scouring the job ads for a position offering a higher salary, it’s time to think laterally. Yes, better pay might have made that next overseas holiday more doable financially but what if – as a compromise – you negotiated to work remotely for one month of the year? That could mean working in one of your company’s overseas-based offices or, better yet, settling into a beachside abode on a Greek island and going for lunchtime swims. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, so practice your pitch and see if you can come up with some ways your remote work will benefit your employer.
There’s a lot to be said for working for yourself, especially if you can do that work from anywhere you please. Networking and budgeting are both vital if you want to hit the road and earn enough money to live on along the way. Do your research to get a good idea of how much it will realistically cost to eat, sleep and play where you want to go, ensure there’s reliable wi-fi, and calculate how much work you’ll need to do to cover your monthly costs.
Let people know you’re going freelance, use LinkedIn to reach out to people in your industry, and register on Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer so you’re easy to hire. Joining some online freelancing groups is also a good idea – you never know when someone might have some spillover work you’re free to take on, and having a team of ‘colleagues’ can offer you company and support when you need it.
Teaching English abroad used to be a simple way to earn money while having an overseas experience. These days? The options are limitless. With the likes of VIPKid, Teach Away and Preply connecting you virtually with students worldwide, there’s no need to tether yourself to a single overseas destination. VIPKid teachers make US$14-22/hour and there’s no need to plan lessons – the curriculum is already laid out. You can work as much or as little as you like, and you can take a break for that impromptu getaway – or move to Bali – whenever the mood strikes. English isn’t the only subject you can teach online, of course. Platforms such as Udemy and Teachable allow you to share your know-how with a global audience, no matter what your area of expertise may be.
It isn’t easy to make money writing a blog, vlogging about your travels, or building a huge following on Instagram. But if you have a niche that resonates, or the content you produce helps solve a problem, you’re a step ahead of the competition. Persistence pays off if you start with a sound strategy and stick to it.
Matt Kepnes, for example, started a budget travel blog, Nomadic Matt, back in 2008 and hasn’t looked back. Through affiliate programs, ads, guides, books and blogging e-courses, Nomadic Matt has not just funded his travels through more than 100 countries, his blog has grown into a successful brand run by a team of full-time staff. Is video more your thing? Hit the road, get creative, upload videos regularly and collaborate with other vloggers – if other YouTubers have done it, you can too.
Louis Cole has almost 2 million subscribers on his Funforlouis YouTube channel, where he uploads videos about travel and adventure. Photographers, too, can get in on the action on Instagram, but keep in mind that algorithm changes have made growing and reaching your audience more difficult. The same goes for most social media channels – without running ads and boosting your content with payments, it isn’t as easy as it once was to grow a following.
The weather often dictates how popular a destination is at particular times of year and working during these peak periods can be a great way to fund your ongoing travels. Plus, you’re likely to have a pretty good time with travelers doing exactly the same thing. Imagine working in a bar in Ibiza, teaching kids how to ski in Whistler, or picking fruit in Queensland – there’s a whole world of money-making experiences that can help you stay on the road.
Many seasonal jobs provide free or subsidized meals and accommodation to sweeten the deal, making it even easier to save for your next adventure. Seasonal work doesn’t have to end when the season does – it might just mean you have to switch hemispheres. Follow up a European ski season with one in New Zealand, for example, before signing up for a ski job in Japan. Sites such as Anywork Anywhere can help you get started.
Freelance journalist Lola shares her top tips for digital nomads, to help you stay productive while you travel.
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