The love of travel isn’t exactly a new thing, but does appear to be becoming more fervent among younger generations. Millennials travel more than any other generation, according to research from Morning Consult.
Gen Z is showing to have a strong appetite for travel, too, with many young adults valuing authentic experiences and leisure travel. Wonderful and even life-changing as travel can be, it can come at a great cost. Especially right now, when traveling is more expensive than ever.
It prompts the question: How can you get paid to travel? Turns out there are a number of ways to explore the world and get compensated while (or for) doing so.
Create Content for Hotels and Hostels
Garrett Brown, co-founder of Cameron Ranch Glamping, said the top way to make money by traveling right now is to build a UGC (user generated content) portfolio and reach out to hosts or hotels asking if you can come by to make content for them.
“Don’t expect to get all free stays or [get] paid for it, at first; you have to prove your value over time,” Brown said. “Follow up with hosts once you have built your portfolio and don’t overlook long-form YouTube videos. YouTube long form still has the highest ad payouts or sponsorships compared to only TikTok. Also, be flexible to not only go on weekends. Most hosts book weekends far in advance and for much higher rates. Weekdays are the tough part for us to fill so we gladly accept influencers on weekdays.”
A tried and true way of making money from (and for) traveling is by writing about it on a blog.
“Many destinations will happily pay for travel accommodations, meals and activities in exchange for well-written, published articles, social media posts and even photos,” said Pam Howard, the owner and author of Our Adventure is Everywhere. “While it takes time, effort and dedication to build a successful travel blog, the opportunities for growth and exploration are endless for those willing to put in the work.”
A great way to get paid to travel is to housesit.
“While you’ll have to take care of household chores like cleaning, watering plants and [possibly] watching pets, you’ll have most of the day to explore while also keeping an eye on the home,” said Andrew Helling, a seasoned traveler and the editor of Travellersworldwide.com. “The thing I like most about this opportunity is that you’re often staying in very nice homes, and some homeowners will cover the cost of your travel, albeit for a slightly lower nightly rate.”
If you plan to use any international housesitting services, you should consult local regulations around such work.
Work Exchange Programs
Work exchange programs offer another solid way to get paid to travel.
“Platforms like Worldpackers, HelpX and Workaway will allow you to find work exchanges around the world,” said Peter Lucas, the owner and founder of Relocate to Andorra. “You can join a host family in exchange for free accommodation and food — plus sometimes even a stipend — in return for helping out with chores or doing odd jobs. This is the quintessential way of traveling on a budget, and it’s great for those who don’t have much money to invest in travel.”
Become a Flight Attendant
If you love traveling and want to make a career out of it, becoming a flight attendant is a great path to consider.
“With just a [high school] diploma, you can join the ranks of an exciting and dynamic profession of becoming a flight attendant,” said Umar Ali from HopDes.com. “Once you’re in, you get to explore numerous international destinations. The best part? Your accommodation and food are free! Emirates Aviation College offers one of the best programs all over the world for anyone wishing to become a flight attendant.”
Seasonal Jobs at Resorts
Do you have the summer off and want to make some money doing something new that allows you to travel? Look into seasonal work opportunities at booming tourist hubs.
“Seasonal jobs at national parks, hostels or ski resorts allow you to live and work onsite in different locations around your home country for a few months at a time,” said Claire Ramsdell, a digital nomad and blogger at The Detour Effect. “What’s great is that you can usually extend your contract for multiple seasons if you’re enjoying it, or you can move on at the end of a season and go someplace new. There is often free employee housing, so while the hourly rate might be low, you get to pocket your entire paycheck.”
Teach English Abroad
As a global language, English fluency and literacy is in demand around the world. You can make money by teaching it abroad.
“Teaching English in foreign countries can provide you with the opportunity to travel while earning a salary,” said Jeremy Albelda, a travel blogger at The World or Bust. “Obtain a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, research countries with high demand for English teachers and apply to schools or language institutions.”
Become a Tour Guide
Working as a tour guide is a proven way to get paid to travel while helping tourists learn the history and beauty of a given location.
“The best part is that you can choose the type of tours that suit your interests and expertise — be it food tours, historical walking tours or adrenaline-pumping adventure trips,” said Astrid Thornton, the founder of Seek Scandinavia. “To get started, look for tour companies that align with your interests and apply for a position. Alternatively, you can start your own tour business by marketing your services online or partnering with local tourism agencies. Keep in mind that some countries may require specific qualifications or licenses to work as a tour guide, so do your research beforehand.”
Become an Au Pair
If you love children, becoming an au pair could be a great way to travel and get paid while doing so.
“As an au pair, you’ll be responsible for looking after the children and assisting with light household chores in exchange for accommodation, meals and a weekly stipend,” Thornton said. “This allows you to immerse yourself in a new culture and learn the local language while having the opportunity to explore your surroundings during your time off.”
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