5 ways you can earn money while backpacking
Backpacking around the world can be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone that gives it a try. But doing it on the long-term inevitably leads to the pressing issue of financing, regardless of how much money you manage to save on the way. Although there is a small and privileged percentage of backpackers that have enough funds to travel indefinitely, this is not the case for the majority.
The average backpacker runs out of money after the first 6 to 12 months of travel. And in order to continue the lifestyle, they need to find ways to finance it on the go. Although this is not an easy undertaking, it’s definitely possible to do so. In this article, we’re going to explore some of the most common ways to earn money while backpacking.
1. Get a remote job
A remote job is just like any 9 to 5 job, only that it does not require you to be present in a specific location. Nowadays, more and more companies provide this types of jobs because they get two main advantages out of it:
- It’s easier to find people as they can tap in a larger pool as compared to recruiting locally
- They save costs by not having to pay logistic expenses (office space, workstation, consumables etc) and most likely by paying less on labor taxes and/or employee benefits
- This is a good option if you have prior experience in a specific field. A quick Google search would reveal sites such as weworkremotely.com where you can find loads of remote jobs from companies all over the world.
But having a remote job comes with some obvious disadvantages:
- You still need to work full-time, meaning that you’ll have less time to go exploring. So your movement will be limited
- It’s not that easy to find good paying jobs if you have no prior experience
- It’s more difficult to get hired by a company activating in a different country than your passport nationality
2. Become a freelancer
Freelancing is the most popular alternative to having a remote job. This is actually one of the most accessible alternatives to earn money while backpacking, due to its appealing benefits:
- You can choose how many hours you work/day and you’re not required to work full time.
- You have higher control over your schedule
- There’s no need for previous experience in order to become a freelancer. Of course, starting from scratch, you’ll earn less per hour than senior freelancers in your field
- There’s no cap on the amount you can earn per hour. The more experienced you get, the more you can charge. Rates of $100/h or more are not unheard of for good freelancers.
On the downside, freelancing requires a lot of self-discipline in order to do it in the long term. Another aspect to keep in mind is the lower stability. Meaning that there can be times when you have difficulty in finding clients. And last but not least, you don’t get any paid leave nor other employee benefits such as medical insurance…you’ll need to take care of them by yourself.
If this path sounds appealing, then there are a plethora of freelancing sites where you can signup and start advertising your services, even if you’re not experienced. Some of the most accessible types of jobs for non-experienced freelancers are article writing and virtual assistant jobs, which are always in high demand.
3. Rent out your apartment
This strategy works best if you already own a place before you go backpacking. Simply renting it out would be a great passive income source as you travel the world. But you can consider it even if you’re not an owner. What you can do is rent your room or apartment and charge more than you pay the landlord.
This is a great strategy if you’re living in a city that gets a lot of tourists like New Your or maybe Barcelona. There’s always a demand for places to rent on sites such as Aribnb and the prices are steadily going up. So if you managed to lock in a rent that’s affordable you could potentially make twice that by subletting your place.
4. Sign up to micro jobs sites
Micro jobs are somewhat similar to freelancing, the main difference being that they don’t require specialization or too much interaction with clients. These sites usually list various types of jobs that can be done on the spot, without prior experience. For example, you could be asked to fill up a survey, check a website, and see if works as expected, click on a specific button etc.
One of the more popular micro jobs sites is microworkers.com, but a quick search would reveal many more similar sites. Some big brands such as Walgreenslistens have their own micro service sites, which are usually survey-focused in order for them to gather qualitative data that can help them improve their services.
The main advantages of doing micro jobs are:
- You don’t need to develop a client relationship
- You can work whenever you want to, even late at night
- If you speak English, you have all the needed qualifications
On the other hand, the main disadvantage is that they offer less income security compared to freelancing and remote jobs. This means that they are most suitable for earning optional income, and not so much as your main income source.
5. Become an English teacher
English teachers are in high demand especially in Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Korea. Being a native speaker is definitely an advantage if you want to follow this path but it’s not always necessary.
There are two main ways you can become an English teacher while traveling:
- Teach in schools. This means that you’ll have to stick to a specific city for at least 3 to 6 months, maybe even 1 year.
- Sign up to language sites and teach online. This way you can teach English on-the-go, but you lack the advantage of being face to face with your pupils.
Both options are viable alternatives, but depending on your travel style you’ll be inclined to choose one over the other. To get an idea of how much you could earn, the usual rates for English teachers are somewhere in the $15-$25/h area.
Maybe the most appealing aspect of teaching English is that it’s one of the highest-paid types of remote jobs that don’t require experience. This means you could easily start earning a decent income in a short amount of time. However, the big disadvantage is that there tends to be a cap on the amount you can earn per hour. So if you’re looking to get paid upwards of $30/h then teaching English becomes a less viable alternative.
Although the possibilities are endless as they say, these are some of the most common ways to earn money while backpacking. As proven by countless backpackers before, with a little determination and maybe a good internet connection, the travel lifestyle can be enjoyed indefinitely.
Do you have any other ideas of making your keep while traveling? We’d love to header them in the comments!