Have you ever wanted to travel the world, but found that travelling can be expensive? You always saved up for travelling just to survive those few days of expenditure. When you got home, you found out you’ll have to save up for another few months to afford another trip. Well, let me tell you, there are ways to make your travelling expenses much easier to endure. Actually, you might even make money while travelling, if done correctly.
- Little inspiration for the start
- Everyone loves a good story
- The revelation
- The End
- Document everything
- Photos that tell a story
- When people care, sponsors care
- To summarize the man's income
- Was there more to be done?
- Want more ways?
Little inspiration for the start
I will now tell you a little anecdotal story that inspired me to travel. You can skip this to the chapter “The End” if you want to get to the tips and tricks to make an income while you travel. Otherwise, enjoy.
When I was a kid, I remember a strange man coming to our English class. He sat down into our little circle and started talking. His shaggy blond hair, tanned skin and bracelets of all different types and colours got our immediate attention. He spoke in perfect English, with an accent I did not recognize. Most importantly, he talked about his dream come true.
One day, he spontaneously decided to get to Australia. Being bored with his monotone life. With 200 euros on his account, he decided it was time for a change. So, with just a little amount of money, a few basic things and a laptop, he set out East. We knew he was somewhere from central or Western Europe, but he never mentioned from where.
And so his story started. He hitchhiked East for the next few days, sleeping in the forests, occasionally going to a store or public bathroom to wash himself. When his money ran out, he asked for a job and worked for a month or two in the country he was in. Then, he continued, telling us stories about all the things he experienced. He met good and bad people. People of all cultures invited him to their house, so he could tell them about his stories and so, he got an idea one day.
Everyone loves a good story
He stopped in Pakistan to work for a while to make enough money for his big thing. You see, the man kept a diary about his travels. He had a little notepad with him, writing down stuff that he could then put into his notebook, whenever he recharged it. He wrote down everything, but he was missing something. Pictures. The thing he bought was a cheap digital camera. And so he started documenting his trip.
At this point, he opened his laptop and started showing us pictures from his travels. He explained that he fell in love with photography and found out, that every place in the world has something you can take a picture of. And so he continued, telling us funny stories, times when he was afraid for his life, moments of embarrassment and ways how he made living as he travelled. He saw the great wall of china, made friends with people from almost every Eastern country and gained a life of adventure he always wanted.
And so, the man finished his story. Eventually, he got to Australia. The trip he expected to take a few months took 7 years. Once in Australia, he found out he was not the man he used to be 7 years ago. And so, after spending a few days there, he bought a ticket home. Home to the Czech Republic, my home country.
Not only this was a shocking revelation because no one expected it, but it was also the first time I’ve met someone who broke the norm. And what more, that man was from the same country I was. He lived just one city away from my hometown!
As a kid I was stunned. It was like seeing a celebrity on a TV your whole life, then you meet them for real and realize they are a person like you. You start thinking if they could get to where they are now, what is your excuse to not get there if you really wish for it?
After the man finished, he let us know that instead of Australia being the end of his journey, he found out it was just the beginning. And so, as he talked to us, he let us know that he was now preparing for a trip West. He’d go as far as he could get.
The story of this man always stuck with me. I wish I remembered his name because he was one of many great inspirations for my life. He showed me, that you can break the norm and he also showed me how. After his impressive story, we got to ask questions. One question was about how he got money to travel for so long. And this is what he told us.
As you travel, you should document as much as you can. If possible, document everything. The man had a laptop. He took it to originally have a way to find information about the country he was currently in. Later though, he started his travelling blog. You see, the diary I told you about, the diary he kept, he would rewrite it into blog posts. More and more people would gather to read his travelling blog. Once he added pictures from his travels, thanks to the camera he bought, his popularity rose enough for him to finance his travels. Furthermore, it rose beyond that.
Photos that tell a story
As the man learned photography, getting better at it every day, the quality of his blog got even better. He was not just a traveller anymore, but a travelling photographer now. He’d shown people from all around the world interesting places, interesting people and most importantly, interesting stories. One of his most popular pictures was a picture of the Great Wall of China. Only his picture was taken from a part that no tourist would ever think of going. And as a bonus, he took the picture during the sunrise, bathing it in golden colours.
To make money out of his photography, he used money from the advertisement on his blog to print his favourite pictures. Then he’d sell those as posters, rolling them up to take them with him on his travels whenever he wanted. I remember him showing us a picture of him sitting on a street in a small town in Japan (one of his many detours), with his small stand setup full of his photos from his travels. His entire trip to Japan and back to China was all financed just by his photography alone.
When people care, sponsors care
During his travels, as his blog got more traction and comments flooded his posts, he noticed that he started getting e-mails from companies he’d never heard of. These companies offered him to send him a free product and to make a few pictures showing him using it. Needing money and finding out the product was actually pretty useful, he complied and tried it. During one of his month-long stays in Thailand, he got his first product. And so, he took a picture of it and another of him using it. The next thing he knows, he got money to his account.
And that’s when the flood gate had opened. Suddenly, more sponsors showed up. The man would promote a random product a month to his thousands of followers. It turns out, this was more than enough to cover his travelling and living expenses.
And so, he almost accidentally made a third source of income.
To summarize the man’s income
The man in the story above ended up with three sources of income during his travels. First was his blog with google ads implemented on it and thousands of people enjoying his posts. Second ended up being his photography, which he used to sell on his travels. Later he made a calendar out of his photos which sold out. And then finally, he accepted sponsorships on his travels.
Once the man returned home, other opportunities to gain income showed up. He wrote a book about his travels, that apparently got very popular. Then, before he headed West, he spent some time travelling the Czech Republic, having talked to kids in schools and other people that loved his story and wanted to know more.
Was there more to be done?
Yes. The answer is clearly yes. Although the man’s income exceeded his wildest dreams, if you’d like to go with this strategy today, you can apply way more useful tools.
The man had his blog. You should too. But! these days, if you plan to travel, find out basic stuff about making videos and taking good pictures. Instagram and YouTube are an actual goldmine for people that travel for a living! Travelling is interesting. It’s something not many people get to do. I’ve recently seen a channel about a man that travelled around the world on a unicycle! Guess what? He documented everything as well. YouTube is absolutely amazing for reaching new audiences and more importantly, sponsors. Same goes with Instagram. If you’ll have time, post on other Social Media as well.
Flying for free (sometimes)
The man hitchhiked most of the time, but don’t worry, you can just fly. Surprisingly, sometimes, you can even fly for free! Most airlines are offering a loyalty program. You get the Airline’s credit card and every time you buy something with it or you use it to fly, you get miles. Miles flown are pretty much like points that you collect and can later exchange for some nice stuff.
If you are flying a lot for your travels or work, you want one of these. Scout out the internet to see what airline loyalty program you can get. Many airlines offer free flights for enough miles and other interesting benefits.
Just, for the love of anything holy, use your credit card responsibly. Don’t treat it like a bag of extra gold you can use until it’s empty, but rather as a non-interest loan. That’s basically what a credit card is anyway. Always make sure you repay it in time.
Start a travel company
If you feel like your travels got you to places you’d like to show to other people, you can actually make this your job. You can start your own travel company that will offer unique trips to destinations you’ve been to or perhaps a company that can offer part of your experience. Such as, an extreme niche travel company that will take you on a month-long trip through several countries. Or a company that offers a bike journey through an entire country. With enough creativity, there isn’t much to stop you.
Talk about it
People love hearing about your experiences, good or bad. Stories are always interesting. With today’s podcast popularity, think of making your own travel podcast where you talk about your travels or have guests that will talk about theirs. You don’t have to feel as anxious as you might about public speaking as it’s pretty much you in your room, talking into a microphone. If you have your partner or friend to join you, it might go even smoother.
And that’s pretty much it. Let’s summarize the ways to gain income while you travel:
- Document everything.
- Learn photography or/and film making.
- Vlog or blog your travels. Share everything. People love travel stories.
- Create Social Media accounts and fill them with your travel content.
- Search opportunities around you. The man printed and sold his photos.
- Reach out for sponsors. If your travels have a theme, it’s much easier to find a sponsor. Just like the unicycle guy. One of his sponsors was unicycle makers.
- Use your airline’s credit card to pay for stuff to gain miles which you can eventually exchange for free flights to more countries.
Once you are done with your travels:
- Write a book about your experiences. I’ll repeat it again, people love stories.
- Teach other people how to travel. Courses or public talks are a great way to do so.
- Create a unique travel company. This point is not for everyone, but some people might find their calling here.
- Make a podcast about travelling.
Phew. Okay, this was probably the longest post here yet. If I’ll think of any other travelling tips, you can bet I’ll make more posts on this topic. Travelling is something I always enjoyed. I only wish I remembered this man’s name. Ten years later, I still remember him. The way he talked about his solo travels. It inspired me to travel alone as well, which became one of the best experiences in my life. If I’ll one day find the man’s name, I’ll add it into the article. Whenever you are, thank you for your speech, mysterious man. I hope your trip West was as full of experiences as the one to East.
Now, if you’ve got this far, my amazing reader, I hope you took something out of it. If not, let me know. We are all in a constant state of learning from our mistakes and I’d like to learn from my own. Also, consider subscribing to my newsletter and if you’ll feel really adventurous, try this random article on my site.
Want more ways?
Check out this article from the blog Think Smart Wealth called 10 Ways to Get Paid to Travel and Explore for more ideas.