Backpacking around the world is one of the most exciting things you can do. At the same time, there’s a practical limitation: How do you fund your travels?

You can surely stockpile enough money before heading out on your grand adventure, but that’s not the only way. Many people pay for their trips by working while traveling, and you can do the same. Want to see how to make money while backpacking? Here are five great options to look into.

 1. Freelance online


The past few years have seen the rise of the “digital nomad,” someone who lives and works all around the world. With a laptop and a stable Internet connection, you can make money almost anywhere.

Today, there are ever increasing options for people to make money online and various platforms that allow them to do it. There’s a desire for almost everything in the online world, so chances are you’ve got a skill that someone is willing to pay for.

Write articles, become a virtual assistant, translate, do graphic design, sell your travel images online — if you have skills that you can offer over the Internet, you can freelance online.

On your travels, you may need to transfer money internationally (especially if work between different locations). Many services can help you with that — check out our guide on international money transfers to find the right one for you.

2. Teach English


English instruction is in high demand all over the world, and there are many teaching opportunities out there. With so many people either using or learning English worldwide, often being a native speaker is enough, and typically, you don’t need teaching certification.

Many English teachers receive benefits on top of a salary, including free airfares and accommodation. Competition to teach English in different countries varies, so investing some time into research before bouncing to a premeditated destination is advised.

3. Work at a hotel or hostel


Hotels and hostels often have openings for part-time workers, especially during the busy season. You could be a receptionist, do on-site cleaning or help with other work as needed. You can even negotiate room and board in exchange for your work.

With hotels and hostels everywhere, you can find work in many countries. To increase your chances of getting hired, do a great job for everyone you work for and stack up glowing references wherever you go.

4. Be a domestic worker


As a domestic worker, you work in someone’s home in such roles as:

  • Au pair. Take care of a family’s kids and help with housework.
  • House sitter. Take care of homes and pets while families are on vacation.
  • Provide assistance to the elderly or those who are ill or disabled.

For many domestic jobs, you’ll receive room and board in addition to payment.

Finding a job as a domestic worker is easiest when you’re actively networking. Reach out to your friends, family, other nomads you’ve met during your travels. Contact people within your circle and see if they know of anyone who’d be interested in receiving a helping hand at home.

5. Work on a cruise ship


Working on the seas is an excellent way to make money while traveling. In addition to receiving free room, food and board, you’ll have your transportation costs covered while you travel the world.

One of the best things about working on a cruise ship is there are plenty of jobs that need to be filled including massage therapists, bartenders, receptionists and casino dealers.

With a bit of research, you can be on your way to seeing the world while making up your travel costs through work you’re already good at or willing to do. Luckily, you also have StudentUniverse on your side to help with cheap student flights.

Remember, every country has different laws, visa requirements and cultural customs. Although you might be qualified to bartend at a hostel in one country without any qualifications, another may require you to complete a full day course. Preparation is key when it comes to planning a career abroad. Happy globetrotting!

Frequently asked questions

How much work experience do I need before I apply to a work-travel job?

It depends on the type of job you’ll be applying for. For example, many live-in caregiver jobs require prior experience assisting the elderly or disabled. The good news is that many work-travel jobs don’t require any prior experience — jobs like teaching English and working at hostels.

How much can I expect to make with a work-travel job?

For many work-travel jobs, you’ll receive a small salary or stipend in addition to free room and board. You probably won’t get rich, but what you’ll get in return is the opportunity to travel the world inexpensively.

How long am I expected to stay at my work-travel job?

It depends on your job, but most employers will expect you to stay at least a month.


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