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Living your life on the road is the stuff dreams are made of, but at some point reality has to catch up.

Where does the money come from to keep paying the bills, and how can you ensure a regular cash flow so you never find yourself in a sticky situation?

There are a number of cheap travel hacks to help you get the most out of your money while traveling. However, even living the frugal lifestyle won’t keep you sustained forever.

Finding a job that is as flexible and transportable as you are is important, meaning you have the luxury to take it up whenever funds start to run dry.

Here we take a look at a few of the options open to you, which can help you get the spare cash you need.

Short-Term Work That’s Suited To The Travel Lifestyle

Work in Hostels

Ireland hostel

Working in a hostel can be one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences you have while traveling.

It will normally start with you being a resident at the place and just falling in love with the culture and people there. Taking a job at a hostel helps cement friendships you make and build your intimacy with the location.

While hostels don’t tend to pay an awful lot, they do remove most of your outgoing expenses, namely accommodation, transport and, in some instances, food as well.

Photo credit: Barnacles Budget Accommodation

Sell Photographs Online

Blogging Sydney Blog Computer Laptop

If you are a diehard travel fan, it’s more than likely that you have a pretty sweet camera on you and an eye for a good shot.

After all, spending your time 24/7 in amazing new places is a good reminder to always cherish the moment. If photography is your passion, then why not turn it into your livelihood too?

The options for making money from pictures are numerous: sell the license for them to stock photo sites, or even build your own online shop using one of the many super simple and affordable online services out there.

With your own shop all set up, you never have to worry about staying on top of other companies’ admin or worrying about whether you’ve been paid.


Teach English RF

A great way to make a regular income wherever you are staying is to teach. Whether you do this via webcam to people located all over the world or to local people, it’s really up to you.

A popular subject for many travelers is teaching English classes: you can apply for a TFEL certification in order to teach at schools or you can simply offer to help people with their language more informally.

If this doesn’t appeal, many people are very successful running yoga or massage classes, which simply require you to find a space to hold the class in.

Volunteer for Local Jobs

For an in-your-face impact, try a construction project.

No matter where you are in the world, there are a number of schemes out there designed to pair people seeking one-time work with odd jobs to be performed.

Fiverr is a well-known app that specializes in matching freelancers with web and design skills with those looking for help and assistance with their business marketing.

Task Rabbit operates on a similar model but spans out to also include more labor-based work such as cleaning, mowing the lawn, and even painting and decorating.

Photo by Jim Holmes for AusAID

Become An Au Pair

Become an Au Pair RF

One of the best known and long-standing vocations for those seeking to explore the world while holding down a job is to take on an au pair position.

The immersive experience of living in with a family is not only beneficial for you to become better acquainted with a country’s language and culture, but to develop close relationships with people too.

It is common for au pairs to receive a salary, weekly days off along with free food and board, giving them the freedom to enjoy their own time as well as that with the family.

Although this option requires you to stay put in a location for at least a few months, it can be incredibly rewarding.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. I have only seen short term au pair jobs during school breaks. Which means one must also schedule one’s travel accordingly.

    • Absolutely Roy, the nice thing is that the travel is usually easy enough to work in around the work opportunities which are typically more fixed.

  2. If you’re able to spend a long time building capital, then you can invest and make money off the returns.

    • Absolutely, the best form of passive income :)

  3. These are great ways to make money without sacrificing traveling.

    • Glad we could give you some ideas! :)

  4. I’ve traveled the world as an Au Pair, and in fact if you form a good bond in a long term position with a well off family they’ll often take you on their family trips which is further travel still.

    • Sounds like a fabulous opportunity Melanie! I imagine hard to move on having developed such close bonds and connections with each family though :)

  5. One thing to be wary of is having the correct visas – you can’t just pick up work in any country you choose to.

    • Absolutely Rig, you definitely don’t want to break the terms of your visa, so that’s very good advice that if you’re traveling with the intention to work, make sure all paperwork is in proper order.

  6. I worked in hostels and pubs throughout Europe, much of the time it’s low pay, usually a lot of the work is in exchange for board, and it’s not glamorous by any means, a lot of backpacker work involves scrubbing toilets. But it pays your way, and definitely a good solid option for short term work you can find almost anywhere.

    • I’d happily scrub toilets if it meant prolonging my travels :D Maybe not now-a-days lol but I definitely would have been up for that as a young backpacker :)

  7. It seems like online work is the way to go these days.

    • Definitely a huge range of opportunity, and it saves the red tape of having to apply for work visas :)

  8. Love this! My girlfriend and I traveled throughout Europe and we would pick up extra money busking, offering services like haircuts in hostels, usually hostel notice boards are a great place to pick up local gigs for a couple of extra bucks too. You have to have a keen eye out for opportunities but they’re out there!

    • Sounds like you had quite the trip Logan! Clever hitting up the hostel notice boards, I’m going to recommend that to one of my friends who’s actually backpacking through Europe now. Great tip!

  9. I don’t think it’s right for Westerners to take jobs away from locals. Sorry but this post is horrible and the idea is disgusting.

    • Hi Floyd, very rarely do Westerners take local jobs. Usually the jobs like teaching English actually require Westerners to come in and share their knowledge, our recommendation to volunteer on local projects is of benefit to local communities, and work throughout hostels is generally the type of work that locals don’t want. Backpackers scrubbing toilets for instance.

      And then there’s working online which takes absolutely nothing away from the local community. So while I appreciate the sentiment that tourism shouldn’t have a negative impact on local communities (and agree with it), in this case the nature of the short term work recommended doesn’t have any such impact. I think you’ve greatly misjudged the concept here.

  10. Kitchen work is a good one too – every restaurant I’ve worked at needs kitchen hands, and backpackers that are willing to.

    • Great tip Debi, thanks for sharing!

  11. You can sign up as a lab rat and often make decent money :D Like thousands of dollars for participating in medical studies which is serious travel money. Often they span over several days or weeks and some include being monitored so you’ll stay in the hospitals. I’ve never been actually harmed, that said, always something to consider!!

    • Sounds interesting!! Thanks for sharing your experience :)

  12. I get a lot of work as a translator, I learnt Spanish in school (most southern US States do with Mexico on the border), and it’s come in really handy for traveling throughout Central and S America. There’s a lot of work if you head into restaurants and ask if they want their menus translated, I’ve done hotel welcome letters and in-room info booklets, tour companies, signs etc. You do have to be fluent, but it’s good work :)

    • Fabulous Charli! It’s great that you’ve taken a skill you have and identified local business opportunities from that. I’m always in awe of people who can speak multiple languages fluently, I’ve never been able to master one!!

  13. Great post!

    • Thanks Nakia!

  14. Giving massage classes. That’s a brilliant idea. I bet a lot of travelers would be interested in taking those!

    • And receiving them :D

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