The Ultimate Guide to Get Paid to Travel!
The number one excuse I hear from people who don’t travel is that they can’t afford it. My quick retort is that they probably pay money in rent, along with hundreds of dollars on going out with friends, and even more on new clothes each month. They manage to find the money for those things because they’ve made them a priority.
And travel works the same way.
If your desire to travel is strong enough, you’ll prioritize it over that constantly changing wardrobe, or all the drinks and meals at expensive restaurants. And if you plan to travel long enough, you can give up your rent (or sublease your place) while you do so.
The reality is that for many countries in the world, the plane ticket is the most expensive part. If you go to Thailand, for example, you can eat out every meal and still be under $10/day, buy new clothes and rent an apartment all for a quarter of the price of what you pay back home.
But of course, even those who manage to pack their savings account before taking off will eventually run out of money if they stop working to go abroad.
I was one of those people making excuses several years ago. I would talk to my friends about my aching desire to see the world, but never really thought I could be one to do it. I had rent to pay, a puppy dog, a job as a barista, and nothing in my savings.
But I wanted it badly enough to figure out how to do it anyway. I knew I wanted to travel and to write, and I just needed to figure out how to get paid to travel.
And here’s what I’ve discovered.
Teaching English Abroad
Those of you who’ve stumbled on my blog before know this is the route I chose. I remembered my friends had taken online TEFL certification courses while we were in college together, but they never ended up using them. I hadn’t considered it before because I didn’t think I had what it takes to be a good teacher (patience, patience, patience!), but when I realized the kind of money one can make from teaching English abroad, I signed up for a TEFL course myself. Then, I thought, “I might actually like this!”
And I proceeded to find a job in Thailand. Why Thailand? For me, it was because of the initial short-term commitment, which is anywhere from 3-6 months, with the opportunity to stay for years (and many do).
But that TEFL certification opened up the whole world to me, not just Thailand. I went on to teach in China, but there are more than 80 countries around the world — in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Europe — where accredited TEFL certifications are accepted, and they’re actively looking for ESL teachers to come teach English abroad.
I took a leap of faith, not knowing if I would enjoy teaching or Thailand or anything about the idea of traveling solo. But my original five months turned into two years… and counting. Not only did I end up loving teaching, but my experiences led me to found my own TEFL agency, globalU, where my goal is to make it easy for others to get started teaching English abroad while living and earning from anywhere in the world I choose to be.
If you’re already certified and looking for a job teaching English abroad, check out our new TEFL Jobs board.
In short, affiliate marketing is where a company pays you commissions to help sell their products or services, tracked by a customized link. When someone you know clicks on your personalized link and subsequently buys the offering (even if it’s not right away), that traffic is tracked and you get paid. To be successful, it’s beneficial to build a following before you delve into selling something, but you can do that by blogging and/or social media.
Keep in mind that you’d probably be weary of trusting an affiliate marketer whom 1) you don’t trust and 2) hasn’t actually used the program/product they’re representing, so you don’t want to be the untrusty one, either.
Through my blog, business and social media channels, I’m an affiliate marketer for World Nomads Travel Insurance and Scott’s Cheap Flights. It’s free to sign up and I could easily be marketing many more services/products, but I chose to focus on these two because I use them personally and I love them, which makes it easy for me to talk about them to others.
Network Marketing often gets a bad reputation as being “one of those pyramid schemes,” but the reality is they are a business-in-a-box, so to speak. If you have an entrepreneurial drive but don’t want to start from scratch, joining a network marketing program will give you everything you need to get started, including training, a web platform, connections, mentors, etc. AND you don’t have to do any of the brand marketing since they take care of that, too.
The key to success is finding one you’re passionate about. As with affiliate marketing, it helps to do it or use it before you try to sell it. I recommend finding a brand that interests you, and signing up as a user to see if you like what the company is all about before you join a team and become a marketing member. If you can think of something you use or desire daily, there’s probably a network marketing company doing just that, and you probably already know somebody who’d be happy to help you get started.
Since I’m guessing travel is your thing, by far the coolest traveling organization I’ve heard of is called Worldventures. My friend Katy is on her way to high-ranking success through this organization, and she and her husband are taking amazing trips along the way.
Perhaps you’re more into Essential Oils or want to learn about them? Check out DoTerra. Or jewelry? My friends Heidi and Whitney love selling Stella & Dot! I also know several people who’ve been successful at selling Lularoe clothing, which double as amazing travel clothes though I’ve yet to see anyone market it that way (hey, there’s an idea for you!). To get some inspiration, see how Joslynn and Cara are using Facebook to market Lularoe.
Perhaps the best part of network marketing? Not only can you work while you’re traveling, but you can use their training seminars (which are often in different locals around the world) as excuses to travel!
Become a Digital Nomad
The title “Digital Nomad” has a nice ring, doesn’t it? This classifies anyone who earns a living from their computer, working from anywhere in the world. Technically all of the above options are digital nomads, but there are so many other things you could do. I often meet graphic designers who specialize in things from web design to business cards, like my friend Tony who designed my business site and logo. There are numerous freelance writers and bloggers making money, and even some who specialize in editing.
There are also marketing specialists who help businesses gain an online presence, and this ranges from full-service boutique marketers who offer everything from blogging and SEO packages, to those like my friend Louise who specializes in only one social media platform: Pinterest Marketing for travel brands.
In today’s digital era, the options are quite literally endless. Are you good with math? Look into tutoring online. Do you love fashion? Why not scour the markets of Asia and Latin America looking for good finds and re-sell them in your online store? With the ease of creating a website these days and the billions of people online each day, all it takes to get paid to travel is a little planning and creativity and a lot of work….but oh, so totally worth it.
Are you ready to get paid to travel the world? I’d love to talk with you about teaching English abroad, or send you in the right direction if one of the other ideas is more your thing. Get in touch today!