16 Ways to Make Money for Travel

One of the most difficult aspects of pre-travel saving is the constant anticipation of reaching your goal and embarking on your trip. You’ve got the budget and a timeline, but still months until you board that plane. As soon as wanderlust engulfs you, your patience dwindles quickly. Finding a few ways to add money to your adventure fund will keep you steadily chugging towards your goal on the horizon.

Getting thrifty will open many opportunities to draw in those extra coins to the piggy bank. Though not every job will have a huge payout, even enough of the small efforts will eventually add up. Remember that twenty extra dollars could mean a few more days on the beaches of Vietnam.

Here are a few ideas we utilized in our own efforts:

  1. Move in With Friends or Parents

Rent (or mortgage) expenses is likely where you shell out most of your cash on a monthly basis. A surefire way to cut back on housing costs is to move in with friends, family, or even random roommates. If you are living by yourself you are undoubtedly spending far more than you would be if you shared your living space with one or more people.

Ask your close friends and family if they would consider housing you temporarily while you save for your travels. At the least, you will pay a lower monthly rate, and for those lucky ones, perhaps even nullify it completely.

If you exhaust your friends and family option, consider Craigslist or another roommate finder website. In cities there are always people looking for an additional roommate to help with their rent as well.

2) Get a Roommate

If you don’t have the option of moving out of your current property, consider getting a roommate if you have the space. For the same reason as above, lowering your monthly housing costs is hugely helpful in boosting your savings.

Craigslist is an excellent resource for finding a roommate or subletting a lease. Sure, there are always less-than-desirable characters on there, but there are also many solid people in need of a place to stay. I’ve had a lot of success with random roommates who became great friends. Keep your wits about you, and be sure to conduct interviews before accepting any offers.

3) Airbnb

Airbnb is all the rage right now in the travel world, and it’s fantastic to use as a traveler and for additional income as a host. If you have an unused room, consider turning it into a spare bedroom and hosting travelers via Airbnb. Airbnb holds a lot of financial potential, especially if you live in a city.

Another perk of hosting on Airbnb is that you have control over who you want to accept, and how often you want visitors. If roommates don’t sound great to you, but you have the option of renting a room, Airbnb could be a good option.

For instance, Weber and I rented our Toyota mini motorhome for a few months on Airbnb before our trip. Though the listing was very cheap we still made over $2,000, and we had guests only a few times a month. We also met some awesome people and swapped stories on their travels.

4) Sell Your Shit on Craigslist

If you couldn’t tell, I am a big fan of Craigslist – I think it is an important resource for just about anyone.

We’re selling many of our material possessions on Craigslist to make some money for our trip. Once you are in the minimalist mindset, cutting down on all the stuff you own is easy. There are always people looking for whatever it is you are trying to sell, and you’ll find them on Craigslist.

Rather than paying to store your belongings you may have no use for, simplify your life a bit while making a bit of money.

5) Next Door and TaskRabbit

Next Door is an online community that connects people in your neighborhood. Members post about a variety of subjects, including odd jobs they may need help with. Next Door is a great place to post a blurb about yourself and offer some services to your neighbors. You can find part time or one time jobs like babysitting or yard work.

TaskRabbit is a website which connects people who need services with people who they can hire for an hourly rate. Though I have not used it myself, it could hold potential for those looking to work odd jobs during their free time.

Craigslist can also be used in this way, simply peruse the latest job and services posts and you may find just what you are looking for.

6) Drive for Lyft or Uber

Lyft and Uber are both taxi services that can be driven by anyone who applies and meets the qualifications. You use your own car (there are some requirements on cars) and receive a portion of whatever money you make while driving. The hours are flexible and there is potential to make quite a bit of money.

7) Petsitting, Babysitting, Housesitting

Sitting for anything is a great way to make money on occasion. While it isn’t a steady income, it is a flexible one. There are websites such as TrustedHousesitters.com which allow you to create a profile so people in need can contact you to watch their house. The website DogVaca.com is my new favorite, it is like Airbnb for dogs. You sign up and create a host profile, and travelers who need someone to watch their dog can use your services for a flat rate.

8) Sell Your Car

Selling your car may seem crazy to some, and wouldn’t be necessary for those who are only traveling for a short period of time, but for others it’s worth considering.

Cars are generally liabilities and come with lots of payments. Between loan payments, insurance payments, gas and parking, monthly car costs can seriously add up. On top of cutting out the additional monthly costs, selling your car can bring in a large chunk of money.

9) Bike Everywhere

Weather permitting, biking is a great alternative option to driving. Not only will you save on gas and parking, but you’ll benefit your health and your travels. You can also avoid car traffic on two wheels which is a perk!

10) Take the Bus/ Public Transportation 

Sometimes it seems like people are against taking the bus for whatever reason. Many cities have good bus systems and monthly passes are usually cheap. Read your travel books while you let someone else navigate the rush hour traffic.

11) Carpool

Consider carpooling to work with a coworker or friend who lives nearby. Alternating driving days will cut down on gas, and as we know, every bit counts!

12) Make Meals and Coffee at Home

We all have to eat, and many of consider coffee a necessity as well, but meals out add up very quickly. Working long hours can make it difficult to cook meals at home, but not only is it far more cost effective, but its often healthier than eating rich meals out. Same goes for coffee – that daily Starbucks coffee could be costing near $100 a month. Remembering that will make your homebrewed coffee taste much better!

13) Cancel Your Gym Membership

While this may not be for everyone, gym memberships can be costly and are worth cutting out if possible. Most workouts can be done at home, in a park, with friends etc.  Running and yoga are free activities and are great for keeping in shape while traveling. YouTube has tons of online workouts which can be added to your routine.  You may not even need the gym anymore if you are riding your bike daily!

14) Cut Down on Alcohol

This is one obvious, but can also be difficult for those of us who enjoy going out. Unfortunately this is an expensive habit and cutting it out is one of the easiest ways to add more to your travel savings. So as to not be a total recluse (unless that is your thing!), invite friends over for a cookout or a movie instead of happy hour.

Oh but they are so happy aren’t they?

15) Utilize the Outdoors

Getting to the outdoors is easy here in Colorado, but no matter where you are, chances are there are some outdoor activities nearby you didn’t know about. Camping, hiking, swimming are all fantastic and free (or nearly free) activities to fill your downtime without spending money. You’ll be so tired by the end you won’t even feel bad about not going out to the bars that night.

16) Sell Old Clothes

If you are like me, you’ve amassed an embarrassing amount of clothing over the years, continually telling yourself you will wear that top someday, but failing to do so time and time again. Having a ton of clothes is not worth it, you likely only wear a portion of them anyways. Try selling your clothes to friends or to the local thrift store.

17) Yard Sale

Hold a yard sale one weekend to rid of anything you can part with. People love yard sales and one man’s trash is another’s treasure. You may not make a ton of money, but you will rid of some clutter which feels pretty awesome too.

These tips are only a few of the many money making ideas floating around out there. You don’t have to overburden yourself by working all the time, but picking up some odd jobs and selling your clutter can add up. Furthermore, any time you are doing something where you are making money it usually means you aren’t spending any either.

Kate Townsend

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