Get paid to travel the world? Sounds like a pipe dream, but it’s not. Here are 35 ways to make it happen.
Find a way to travel abroad.
This is one of the most basic pieces of advice I could give to anyone wanting to radically broaden their view of life, themselves, and the world. I’ve written previously about the time-expanding effects of travel and the empowering wisdom one can gain through extended travel.
Still, I know that for many the prospect of globe-trotting seems like a far-off, unreachable fantasy. People think, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I had the money to do that?” or “Sigh, I could do that if it weren’t for [insert excuse here].” or “Some day I will do that, after [insert arbitrary life event].” 
People tend to believe that traveling abroad will cost them a fortune, or else deep down they haven’t overcome a fear of entering the unknown. Well, I’m here to tell you that traveling abroad doesn’t have to break the bank. I mean, sure, if you want to live a 5-star lifestyle in a foreign country it will cost a pretty penny, but you shouldn’t want to do that. You should want to live with the people and experience the culture, because that’s where the magic happens.
In many parts of the world, you can live comfortably for very little money—substantially less than you spend in your home country.
Between cheap flights, living in hostels, or CouchSurfing, and finding ways to earn money, food, and/or accommodation while abroad, travel can be shockingly affordable, even profitable. I’ve now been to 21 countries by pursuing #1, #8, and a few others.
Without further ado, here are 35 ways to partially or entirely finance a trip abroad:
1. Teach English
I taught English in South Korea for one year through the EPIK Program and managed to pay off my student loan debt and save ~$10,000. English is, in many ways, becoming a universal language. There are job opportunities in countless locations all over the world, and often you only need to be a native speaker and/or take an online certification course (you may also need a college degree, but in some countries you don’t). Many programs will pay for your airfare and housing on top of a healthy salary. Google and Dave’s ESL Cafe are good resources to begin discovering your options.
This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Through the World Wide Organization of Organic Farms (WWOOF), you can travel to many different countries and work on organic farms. Basically, you work for 4-6 hours per day in exchange for food and housing with a host family. This leaves the majority of your day open for exploring and other activities. With the necessities covered, you only need to pay for travel expenses. I have friends who “WWOOFed” for 6 months in Japan, and some friends of a friend did the same for about 6 months in South America.
3. Peace Corps
Peace Corps is another option I’ve strongly considered and may still do. Corps members make a two-year commitment to live and work in a developing country. Members work in the sectors of education, youth and community development, health, business, agriculture, environment, and HIV/AIDS, among others. In exchange, you receive a housing and living allowance, student loan assistance, a re-adjustment stipend of $7,425 upon completion, full medical and dental coverage, plus a few other things. I know the Peace Corps would be a profoundly life-changing experience.
Watch someone’s house and/or pets for them and get a free place to say. Some people bounce around the world housesitting for years at at time.
5. Sell art in unconventional ways
My favorite rapper-artist-novelist KOOL A.D. has made thousands of dollars selling his original artwork on Instagram. Others use services/tools such as Redbubble, Teespring, Gooten, and/or Shopify to sell their art or print/sell their original artwork on t-shirts, posters, and more.
One of the easiest and most popular options for travelers. I’ll never forget the island of Koh Rong, Cambodia, where all of the bartenders I talked to were just travelers who had arrived on the paradisiacal island and decided they wanted to stay a while. I have friends who’ve bartended in Australia, Cambodia, South Korea, and probably a bunch of other places.
7. Work at a Hostel or Resort
Resort positions are among the most common forms of employment that can be easily acquired by people from foreign countries. And, there are resorts all over the planet. You could potentially work as a front desk attendant, in a restaurant, or in the activity/entertainment department. You could save money, and in your downtime, experience a tropical locale.
8. Start an online business.
It’s becoming more feasible all the time to work from a remote location, and people are capitalizing on this state of affairs to become digital nomads.
Make no mistake: online business is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but there are countless people who have found a way to earn a living online through diligent effort. If you’re curious to learn more about this possibility, read this guide I wrote.
9. Become a yoga instructor
10. Become a scuba instructor
Similar to yoga, you can get a scuba certification most anywhere in the world then get positions all over the world.
11. Do something through Workaway
Workaway is like WWOOF but broader. Workaway shares opportunities around the world to volunteer a few hours per day in exchange for food and board.
Similar to WWOOF and Workaway, HelpX offers interesting volunteering opportunities one can work in exchange for free food and accomodation.
14. Online poker
I’m hesitant to include this one because this could easily become a black hole that sucks up thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money. It’s true, however, that Texas Hold’em and other poker games are not like most gambling games. You play against other people, and skill is a huge factor.
The best poker players win substantial amounts of money over time. If you know a lot about poker, this is an option to consider, though it’s highly advisable to read a number of poker books before starting and to begin at playing at the lowest stakes. Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Texas Hold’em is a solid book to start with. I’ve most recently played online poker at Ignition Casino, though I personally have only ever lost small amounts of money pursuing this pastime.
This is another path of online entrepreneurship in which many people find success. Some people create crafts or other things and sell them on Etsy. Others hunt for undervalued items at antique shops or garage sales and sell them for much more money on Etsy or eBay. Still others start businesses helping other people sell their old, unwanted stuff on eBay.
16. Become a tour guide
With little to no experience, you can get tour guide jobs in various countries worldwide. Get paid to show people amazing places.
17. Become a flight attendant
Help people have good flight experiences and see the world in the process. Layovers for flight attendants are typically only a few hours but can be as long as a week. If you take maximum advantage of your layovers, you could get out an explore countless cities in a matter of months.
18. Use credit cards very effectively
This another item that I hesitate to include, considering credit cards are very easy to misuse, and millions of people currently find themselves in credit card debt, paying ridiculous interest rates as they try to dig themselves out of proverbial quicksand. With that being said, if you’re financially savvy, you can use credit cards to earn large sums of reward points/money, and use this to finance world travel. This article/blog is a good place to start. I’ve been simply using a couple Capital One credit cards with 1-1.5% cash-back rewards for the last few years and have probably received ~$1,000+ in rewards; others hack the system to get far more.
19. Create music and sell it digitally
It’s easier than ever for anyone to start creating and selling their own music. Get a program like Fruity Loops or Ableton and start making your own electronic music, or buy a good, cheap microphone and start recording. Sell your music independently on Bandcamp or use a service like CD Baby to get your music on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, iTunes, and more. I’ve made nearly $1000 in revenue making unusual rap music purely as a passion project over the last few years.
20. Become a massage therapist
Similar to being a scuba diving or yoga instructor, people get certified and then take their skills on the road, offering a valuable service while traveling and earning enough to live on.
21. Sell timeshares
Selling people shared vacation homes can be pretty easy and profitable compared to other jobs you can work abroad. Worth looking into.
22. Work remotely
This is one of your best options. There are now millions of jobs that you can work from your computer, in your pajamas. Here’s a nice guide to the best remote job sites. Also, an incredibly useful trick is to use SearchCraigslist.com, which lets you search all of Craigslist at once. Just search for “remote,” “telecommuting,” “remote writing,” “remote social media,” etc. For more details on how to pursue this path, see this guide I wrote.
Fruit-picking jobs can be found worldwide and are a good option for travelers.
I’ve recently begun to dabble in cryptocurrency investing. I don’t know much about stocks or investing yet, but if you’re motivated to learn, day-trading could be a great option, and in the long-run investing in low-risk stocks (index funds, mutual funds, etc.) is one of the best financial decisions you can make.
25. Work on a Cruise Ship
A few years ago, I went on an extraordinary Alaskan cruise with my family. While on the ship, I met a woman from London who encouraged me to check out working for a cruise line if I was interested in traveling abroad while earning money. She said she makes $1,800 per month, and her housing and food are completely covered. She also told me she was on a 6-month contract, so the job wasn’t an overly large commitment. Find cruise ship jobs here.
26. Be an Au Pair
When I was in Spain last summer, I met a girl who was working as an au pair for the summer. She was spending time in Germany, Italy, and Spain looking after different families’ children during the workday. She was then able to spend her evenings as she liked and travel on weekends. It seemed like a pretty sweet gig. Find au pair jobs here.
VSO‘s vision is a world without poverty. VSO volunteers work in the areas of animals and natural resources, communications and fundraising, communities and social development, engineering and technical, health, business, education, and more. VSO covers the travel expenses, insurance, and day-to-day living expenses for their volunteers. Additionally, keep in mind that VSO and Peace Corps are two among many volunteer organizations around the world that will finance your travels to volunteer abroad. Don’t be afraid to do some digging and check out others.
28. Give haircuts
Another skill you can take on the road, if you possess it.
29. Create online content and monetize it
YouTube channels, podcasts, webcomics, blogs, vlogs, games, animations, video game streaming, social media, and on and on and on. The web is bursting with mountains of multimedia content, and many of the creators of this content are making good money through advertising, affiliate marketing, or accepting donations from fans through sites like Patreon.
30. Give music lessons
Yet another skill you can take on the road. You can give music lessons anywhere or play your instrument outdoors for tips.
31. Be a surfing instructor
Surf’s up, dude! Surfing lessons are popular at beach destinations worldwide.
This is a classic dream of many people. Here’s what it takes.
33. Corporate work
Many of the largest companies in the world are not in your home country. Many more have offices overseas and offer exchange programs. Here’s a good list to get started thinking in this direction.
34. Work on a yacht
Yacht jobs: they’re a real thing. Join the crew of a yacht and sail the world.
35. Be creative and entrepreneurial
This is the ultimate advice when it comes to finding ways to earn or save money while traveling abroad. In truth there are countless ways you can make this work. The limiting factors are your imagination and determination. If you are dead set on making this work, you really can do it. Think outside the box, don’t take “no” for an answer, and get out there.
Will You Do What it Takes to See the World?
Hopefully this list has opened your mind to the vast world of possibilities for earning money while living or traveling abroad.
Once you’re awakened to the reality of affordable travel experiences and myriad ways to earn money abroad, it’s difficult to fall back on the same old excuses.
You’re forced to confront a difficult truth: I either want this badly enough, or I don’t. If seeing the world is something you feel you definitely want to do, you really have just one obstacle left to overcome: internal resistance.
We tend to resist change with all of our being. We procrastinate infinitely. Fear, anxiety, and distractions become readymade reasons not to do things. We crave consistency and the eternal comfort zone, but whether we like it or not, life will change and we won’t be ready for it. That’s a fact, but you have a choice.
You can lock yourself indoors, peak out the blinds, and wait nervously for the day when life becomes a kamikaze. Or, you can dive headfirst into a foreign environment, gain invaluable experiences, and come out stronger and more capable than ever of facing life’s inevitable quagmires.
It’s up to you.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
— Mark Twain
If you loved this post, you need to read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.
If you appreciated this post, you’ll absolutely love The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss. Don’t let the cheesy title fool you; this is one of the most life-changing, paradigm-shifting books I’ve ever read. It’s the first book I recommend to aspiring world travelers, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads. The Bible of lifestyle design. Get it. Read it.
You can buy the book on Amazon or read the key insights in 15 minutes for free on Blinkist.
 And indeed, for a large segment of people on Earth, this is true. Billions of people live on the equivalent of less than $2.50 per day; their options are tragically limited. If you’re interested in helping change this situation, check out The Life You Can Save, an organization that determines the most effective charities in the fight to end global poverty. In the developed world, however, traveling abroad is much more accessible than most people believe.