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17 ways to make a living while travelling the world. Certified translation is our favourite.

Updated: Jun 21, 2019


We'll start with a couple of questions almost all travellers ask themselves. "How can I afford to travel and work at the same time?"

"How can I go on trips without having to worry about money?"

There is no doubt that the issue of travelling and working your way around the world is the most questioned by most travellers, and no wonder. Even though you can travel around the world very cheaply and save up as much as you need beforehand, there will always be that need or desire to generate some extra income along the way. For many, it’s the dream combination. Supporting yourself while living you’re your favourite hobby – travelling the world.

Seasoned travellers understand how important it is to get money for their addiction - and anyone who has had to go home half way through a trip due to lack of funds knows how frustrating it feels. That’s why I want to dedicate this post to all those people who are on the eternal quest for a job that allows them to live the nomadic lifestyle while earning enough to stay afloat – or perhaps even make a killing! It should be said that this list comprises just a tiny number of the almost limitless opportunities that exist throughout the world, so do not hesitate to let me know about any jobs that you think have been left out. I’ll be more than happy to add them to the list. Once which I have first-hand experience in and would say is the best of the bunch, is working on certified translations, this has been what has allowed me to travel from my home country of Panama all over the world. But it’s not all about me! Read on for more details.


1- Work on a cruise ship

The idyllic dream of sailing the seven seas and seeing the world becomes a reality thanks to cruise ships’ necessity for a large number of staff. The greatest benefit of working on board is that, since you won’t be paying for food and lodging, the expenses are reduced considerably. In addition, you will meet people - passengers and co-workers - from all continents, which makes the experience even more enjoyable. Just make sure you have your sea legs and aren’t prone to sea-sickness!


2- Make music

It's time to reap the benefits of hours spent learning to play your favourite instrument. Many travellers take to crowded places such as busy streets, restaurants, parks and even universities. Some will think this is a waste of time, but you will be surprised to know that I’ve met many musicians who have made an average of $40 or more per day.

If playing music on the street doesn’t really appeal to you, you can dedicate some of your time to giving private lessons to those who wish to learn the instrument. Start by placing ads in music stores or local classifieds.

3- Sell handicrafts

How many of us have seen people (mainly Argentinian hippies) selling their creations on the beach, at music festivals, in parks or historical plazas? As in any sales business, there will be good days and not so good days, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of artisans from continuing to travel on the funds they make from selling their produce. You do not necessarily have to sell handicrafts either if it's not your thing. I met some guys who had paid for their trip to South America selling clothes along the way and they have done very well for themselves.

4- Nanny / Au pair

Being an au pair consists of taking care of children in family homes for a number of hours per week. The benefits are great since, in addition to lodging and food, you will have a fixed salary (which is not bad) that allows you to explore the country you visit during your free time. An important point to remember (and one which many overlook) is that you’ll need to know at least the basics of the language of the countries you want to work in.

5- Bartender

Personally, I can’t remember how many times I've walked around cities I’m visiting and seen ads in many of the bars requesting staff. In most of them they do not ask for the relevant work permits, you just have to be punctual with the schedule and perform the work with a good frame of mind and friendly and diligent attitude. Bar owners prefer to hire staff willing to stay for several weeks or months in one place, which is good when it comes to saving some money and getting to know the destination ina more relaxed manner.

6- Certified Translator (Or general translator)

So, here’s the big one for this website. If you are a professional translator you really have it sorted when it comes to supporting yourself while travelling. Even better if you can perform certified translations. Perhaps you can do these for people in the country you are visiting or back home via email. If you already have a translator's license or are a recognised certified translator, you can basically just keep on working and start your trip. This is one of the jobs on the list that can earn you a good living, as carrying out translations or certified translations can pay quite well. You can take advantage of travelling to earn a western wage while perhaps staying or living in a cheaper country, giving you more spending power. Certified translations can translate – for you – into living a life of relative luxury in many places in Latin America or Asia. If you are spending your time in Australia or North America for example though, it may just feel more like real life!

7- Travel blogger

Everyone who starts out trying to be a travel blogger thinks that a lot of money will be made overnight, which is a misconception. Living through a travel blog is easy as it sounds, but if you dedicate enough time to learning the appropriate business models (selling ebooks, affiliate marketing, advertising sales, membership websites), be assured you that will get there in the end. Not to mention the possibilities of getting blogtrips. If you write about a certain place or business that wants some advertisement, you can sometimes get your trip paid for in return for your article!

8- House Keeper (House Sitting)

As its name indicates, you will be in charge of taking care of the owner's house while they go away on trips, perhaps also feeding their pets. Although they do not usually pay you anything for it, many take advantage of this job so they don’t have to spend on accommodation. The house sitting is much more appealing if you can make money at the same time, either by working online or in the local area in which you are based. The length of stay will depend on the agreement you get with the owner of the house, and on your own luck and initiative. There are many online resources for people looking to work as a house sitter. Have a quick Google if the idea appeals to you.

9- Web designer or developer

Are you a lover of the web? Are you passionate about the idea of ​​travelling and want to be paid for programming, creating online applications or designing an online portal? It is easier than you might think! Currently, there are many companies looking for personnel all over the world, either for temporary projects or long-term contracts. If you’re already good on the internet and this is your area of work, I’m sure you’ll know where to look!

10- Work on a yacht or sailboat

Getting work on a yacht is less complicated than on a cruise ship, which makes it the perfect option for those who want to cross the ocean without getting tangled up in too much paperwork. If you already have some experience as crew, you will have a big advantage. Many skippers are also happy to take on novices who want to help out with basic tasks, cooking and cleaning and getting to know the ropes, quite literally!

11- Work in a hostel

There are many hostels that hire travellers willing to work a few hours in the hostel, in exchange for accommodation and food. While it is true that you do not usually get paid unless you put in a large number of hours, in some you will be lucky enough to make money with the tips that guests leave. Working in a hostel is also a great way to meet fellow travellers too. There’s a great social life and plenty of activities exploring the local region and also usually plenty of opportunities for night-life too. Just don’t be too hungover for work in the morning!

12- Plant trees

If I told you that there is a job (apart from working on a cruise) where you work without stopping for several months and the rest of the time you are free to travel wherever you want, would you be willing to do it? Planting trees is a job that pays very well, and the best thing is that you do not require any kind of previous experience. Yes, it is a job that requires a big commitment, a lot of effort and hard work, but whose monetary reward is worth it at the end of the contract. And if you don’t believe me, just have a quick search online about this job and see what kind of benefits and payment it has, as well as often offering accommodation.

13- Work in New Zealand

What many backpackers do is go to work in New Zealand because it is a very popular country to get jobs, of any kind, on a temporary basis. Why NZ? It’s a beautiful place with friendly people and has a fairly laid-back policy regarding temporary foreign workers. After a few months working (and having saved enough), you can decide to venture to any region of the world that you please. Getting the desired job will depend on the season in which you wish to apply, but there are many jobs available at all times. New Zealand was definitely one of my favourite countries visited on my travels. It’s not the cheapest but great for working for a while.

14- Teach a language

Do you have the ability to teach a particular language? Take advantage of it and teach anywhere in the world. It may not quite rank up there with certified translations in my humble opinion, but teaching English is the #1 demand everywhere in terms of languages. Spanish and Chinese shouldn’t be neglected though, they are also very popular. Currently, Spanish is a language that is a booming for language learning, especially in Asian countries (Korea and Thailand are a good example of this interest in learning Spanish). While teaching languages is a great option, I would recommend that your next step should be getting into supplying an online certified translation service, it has worked the best for me.

15- Cabin crew

Call them flight attendants, hostesses, or in a non-PC world, trolley-dollies, but these individuals are the face of the airlines as they are responsible for serving, with the best possible care, passengers on each flight. The duration of the training is usually about 60 days and it is not as easy as you think, but if your plan is to fly from one destination to another and get paid for it, being a cabin crew member is the choice you should make. The pay isn’t bad either, plus you can have a guy or girl in every port, lol.

16- Write for a travel magazine

The desire of every travel-lover who writes about their time on the road is that their texts appear in famous magazines such as Condé Nast Traveler and National Geographic. Getting into this business is not easy, as it’s very competitive. You need natural talent, a lot of patience and be willing to work very hard. But if the door opens you for, you really will be living the dream. Good luck! As you can see, this won’t be my occupation any time soon, hehe. I’ll stick to certified translation for now. Maybe start of with something more realistic that the publications listed above. If you are interested in something more local, try the local magazines in your country and find out how much they pay. As the saying goes, he who seek, will find!

17- Sell your photos

Just like wanting to make money with a travel blog, selling pictures online takes time to generate revenue. The norm is to monetize through microstock agencies, which is a business model dedicated to the sale of good quality photographs. You have to really have talent, but with the quality of cameras on phones these days it is easy to take pictures wherever you spot the perfect image. If you have a good eye, take that snap and go for it! Hopefully you get some ideas for working while travelling from this blog post. But take something very seriously: it doesn’t do any good to read about these ideas to travel and work and just dream, you have to take the first step. I say, quit your job and hit the road! I did it. I went for working for a translation agency in a drab and boring office to quitting on whim one day and establishing myself as a freelance certified translator. I haven’t stopped travelling or looked back since! I wish you good luck and a whole lot of balls. Now see the world and enjoy yourself!

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