It’s easy to get into the mindset that traveling or not is simply a matter of willpower until you consider that nearly 50% of people around the world make less than $950 annually. Living on an income greatly less than the North American or Western European median reduces your travel opportunities but doesn’t eliminate them. While a large majority of those people living below the global GDP average simply will never be able to travel, chances are if you’re reading this there are a few ways to earn more toward your jet-setting goals.
Mindset First – Probability Not Impossibility
Adidas isn’t completely right when it says impossible is nothing but according to quantum physics, nothing is impossible. Everything that can be conceived is a matter of probability in the universe. The chances of you falling through your chair because the atoms in your butt align perfectly with the space between the atoms in your chair is possible – but it might take sitting for 30 billion years to experience it. (And probably another 30 billion to convince your best friends it ever happened.)
So while I’m not rich (but certainly very fortunate) I am a hacker – a mindset whose first rule is that nothing is absolute. Think in probabilities. Now you’re ready to improve your odds.
Cut Budgets From The Easy End
Spending less is a lot easier than making more money, especially if you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. CNET has 3 good Android apps to show you how much you’re saving by doing so (iOS versions as well) and apps like previously mentioned getupp (iOS) or EasyMoney (Android) can help recruit your friends online for support.
Supplement Your Income In A Stronger Currency
Of course any income is good income but even better when its in a strong international currency, especially if you want to travel internationally. There are a number of simple ways you can add a few dollars here and there to your existing income but converting your time into money.
Do Online Odd Jobs – Lifehacker has a good list of ways to make spare money doing online tasks but two I’d like to especially point out are Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Worker (MTurk) and User Testing.
- Be A Mechanical Turk – MTurk lets you offer up your time to do any number of online tasks computers aren’t so good at.
- Website Reviews – User Testing pays $10 for every website you critique for clients. Jobs are sent to you based on demographics.
You can also find several travel-related online jobs at the Travelllll Job board, Jobs Abroad Bulletin, or write city guides for UnAnchor. A few other good spots to actively search for freelance jobs are:
- eLance – A good resource where you can market your skills and turn them into jobs actively.
- Guru – A site similar to eLance (thanks for the tip Brad!)
- LinkedIn – I’ve never had much fondness or use for LinkedIn but Ad-Lib Traveler suggests it’s a good place to look for non-technical work (e.g. marketing) especially.
Also, Craigslist, whose digital streets are a bit more difficult to navigate for online work could be where you find some suitable local work to help inject your income with a dose of more.
Improve Your Proficiency At Highly Sought Skills
Languages – both human and computer are valuable commodities that can help you both connect with the wider travel community and earn you some extra cash. Fortunately language learners and speakers make a perfect symbiont; while computer geeks love to give away free information. Teach yourself for free and you may be able to charge others sooner than you think. Here are some resources to beef up a variety of skill sets:
- Learn New Languages Using These Free Online Services – Then use these language social networks (like prior mentioned LingoMatch) to practice with other speakers.
- Programming – iTunesU has over 500,000 free university lectures – not just on programming – from schools like Stanford, Oxford, and more completely free.
Aside from those online courses you can also attend Lifehacker’s Night School which, like everything else mentioned, is free and online.
Monetize Miles And Forge Relationships
Although these are often restricted by country or region, sifting through Contest Blogger once a week might reveal a few entries worth looking at. (I too occasionally send people places.) You can also enter frequent flyer mileage giveaways and hop on prior mentioned MilePoint to trade help (e.g. translation) for miles.
- Have A Blog? – I’ve written 4 ways to make money travel blogging in addition to general Travel Blog Advice.
Not all travel hacking is online, getting in touch with your local travel and tourism organizations may not directly impact your wallet but can put you in touch with people who can indirectly provide help down the line. Don’t underestimate the power of an expanded social network and begin reaching out locally.
Money Isn’t Everything, Not Even For People Who Have More Of It
Obviously most of the advice in this post relies on you having a laptop or at the minimum access to one. As Mina points out, there are other obstacles to travel (e.g. visas) for many around the world and certainly a base level of income is required for relatively expensive recreation activities; aka. travel. But if you happen to be a member of the lucky group who has a good possibility of making some of your travel dreams come true, adjusting the ends of your given budget will get you that much closer.
Great article and appreciate the mention. The Travelllll Job board is a particular favourite of mine as well. Good tips for funding travel which is so often a concern for those considering a trip.
I appreciate your recommendation 🙂 The Travelllll Job board has a nice mix of opportunities and I like format. Hope it continues to grow 🙂
Nice to see a post geared to those outside of the western world. Important to hear common sense advice in addition to moral support.
Will check out those job boards you mentioned, never even knew some of them existed!
There are some good opportunities in them, enjoy the browsing, you never know what you’ll find 🙂
Great advice Anil!I really felt that “Cut Budgets From The Easy End” part directed towards me! I know I might save a fortune (compared to what I make) if I start cutting down my expenses in those things…I’ll try 😀
On a side note, I took huge steps forward, getting TWO visas in just one week! I’m off to Thailand July 20th! Official! *crosses finger while hoping not to run out of money*
haha, I’m laughing at your gravatar photo for the budget 😉
Thailand?!!? That’s great and a surprise, thought you were going to western Europe. Ah well, SE Asia is a lot more fun…and inexpensive!
Some great tips Anil – I learned a couple and will be trying them out.
Thanks Barbara, I especially like the press trip pages on Travelllll for bloggers 🙂
The online world certainly gives us the opportunity to play about with our life in general, not just travel. Another idea for people is to join stock photo companies. Unless you’ve got lots of high standard photography equipment, you’re not going to make your millions but it’s a great way of making a little bit of extra cash without even noticing.
Interesting – I’ve not heard of that idea. Any good sites? I’m curious to check them out to see how they work.
A web presence as Anil has gives access to first world affiliate link income from advertisers. Most people earn little this way, but if done with some intelligence this can produce a healthy income stream.
Moreover, take advantage of the strong points of your area. For example, I would much rather buy airfares in super competitive places like Bangkok and Cairo than in Tokyo or Zurich! Buy as much as possible before you reach less budget-friendly countries.
A good point, as the prices will be adjusted for the local averages; which you can take advantage of especially if you’ve got a little bit of outside (stronger) currency coming in.
Great post Anil – there’s so much information about how Westerners can live cheaply elsewhere in the world, and I’m a bit embarrassed that I’d never really thought about how difficult the reverse must be. There are some resources here I’d never heard of so I’ll be checking them out!
That’s easy to do, especially because the disparity in income can be so great. It’s hard to imagine that traveling is immensely more difficult or virtually impossible for a large minority of people on Earth.
Some great tips here that I wasn’t aware of. We have started working online to allow us to work from anywhere in the world eventually. We want to travel and work and this allows us the freedom to do that. Thanks for posting this:)
Great post! I love the tips and bookmarked your site for future visits! OMG, I need these tips to travel round the world too! Thanks lots!
Thank you, sounds like a post for you based on the url in your name 😉
Really interesting post, i have done a lot of travelling and with little money but i used to earn enough playing online poker on my laptop whilst travelling to fund my year out, if you can learn to beat the game (which is tougher now then when I did it) its a great way to see the world.
Sounds interesting – you must have been really good (and lucky) to make enough to get around the world.
If only you had published this article a few years back and I had read it then 😛
Even I did not live on first world income when I was working, but had instilled a habit of saving up and investing early in my career.Actually the fact that I did not have many interests to spend money on helped. Except for books and travel. So although I consciously did not save money each and every penny to quit my job and travel the country(inf act I had no idea I would be doing this one day) & very few things to blow the cash on meant that I had enough in the bank to take a longer break and figure out what I wanted to do while doing what I loved to do. Which has provided me a bit more flexibility and financial freedom
Great post there mate!
It sounds like your motivation and drive helped even without these tricks and I’m happy to hear so 🙂
Keep in touch and safe travels,
Very good tips there, Anil…
There’s also the technique of saving 10 % on everything: utility bills, transportation, food, entertainment etc.
If you can save 100 $ a month, then that’s a huge contribution to a great trip: in 12 months you’ll have 1,200 $.
Must many people won’t be able to save that much.
Even 10 $ a month would come in handy for someone with a lower income, because 120 $ after a year of saving will come as a “gift”!
Small savings add up!