Today's guest post comes from Jessica Dawdy of Ways of Wanderers, and is about a topic that people always seem to be interested in — how to be able to afford to travel. Jessica has been working/volunteering her way through Europe and Asia with her partner, Brent, since September 2011. The projects are varied: from gardening at a retreat center in Germany to teaching ESL in Thailand. Check out her tips:
4 Ways to Afford Your Next Trip
Let’s talk about money: It can be an uncomfortable topic, but a lack of it is often one of the major factors that holds people back from traveling as much as they want. Here are just a few ways that virtually anyone can earn extra income to save for a trip or keep money coming in during long-term travel:
When people begin researching how they can travel and make money at the same time, teaching ESL (English as a second language) overseas tends to be one of the first recommendations they come across. However, instead of traditional in-classroom teaching, consider the more flexible alternative of teaching ESL online.
Typically, the only requirements are a reliable Internet connection, web camera, headset, and, not surprisingly, a good command of English. Many companies only need teachers to commit to a few hours of teaching per week, making this a low-commitment way to generate extra income when you’re saving for a trip. Plus, provided that you can consistently access an Internet connection while you’re traveling, you can continue to earn money when you’re on the road.
As an added bonus, these jobs often pay in USD, which can mean a better hourly wage than you would earn teaching full-time in-classroom, where pay is typically in the local currency.
Sell Your Extra Stuff
Many people sell almost the entire contents of their home before taking off for a round-the-world trip. It’s a great way to make trip money, and it also frees travelers from the responsibility of storing their belongings while they’re away. However, you don’t need to be going on a year-long journey to sell a few things that you no longer have any use for.
Take some time to de-clutter your home and you’ll probably find some items that are still in good condition that you’re willing to part with. You can sell virtually anything on Ebay or Craigslist. You can also sell old books to used bookstores, gently used clothes to consignment stores, or even hold a big old-fashioned yard sale.
Share Your Stories
There are a number of travel sites, including BootsnAll, The Lost Girls, and Transitions Abroad (to name just a few), which will pay for well-written travel articles. Another option is starting your own travel blog, although making money through blogging requires a great deal of patience and persistence. It takes time to build a substantial following and gain the interest of advertisers.
That said, affiliate programs are a good option for newer bloggers. Affiliate programs pay bloggers a small commission for sending customers to their site. You post a link to the merchant on your blog, and if the merchant makes a sale as a result of your advertisement, you get paid. Commission Junction lists affiliate programs by category, so you can apply to participate in programs that are relevant for travel blogs, such as airlines or hotels.
I used to think that freelancing was only an option for certain types of careers; however, if you take some time to brainstorm, you’ll probably realize that there are many freelance-friendly related fields that you could branch out into. For example, my background in science allowed me to land a year-long contract editing lesson modules remotely for an osteopathic school. This ended up acting as a great boost for my travel fund.
Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs if you don’t have experience. Often, it’s just about showing an employer how your skills are transferable. Craigslist and Elance are both great places to get started looking for freelance employment. Or, the imaginative can try advertising a service on Fiveer. Fiveer is a website where users can offer to do anything for $5. You’ll see users advertising everything from copywriting to “I will rawr your message as a tiger for $5”. It can be silly, but it can also be a good way to start building a network of contacts for freelance work.
Funding travel doesn’t have to be difficult. Get creative! There are almost endless opportunities out there for earning a little extra cash.
What other tips do you have for adding to your travel fund?