I’ve lost count of the amount of blog posts I’ve read telling me to stop buying coffee when I’m out in order to afford to travel. To be completely honest, I don’t even buy coffee when I’m out. I have my one cup in the morning and that does me for the day. Similarly with going out for dinner or going to the cinema; they’re already things I don’t do often. Sure, it’s easy to cut back and save money if you do these things already but what if you already do them and still need extra money to afford holidays? The answer is to find yourself a couple of easy-to-access side hustles.
Sure, it’s easier said than done to find yourself a side hustle that you can fall back on, but it’s definitely doable. My main one is writing Youtube scripts for a fact-based website. I’m lucky in that the channel has more than 10 million subscribers so the pay is good and (relatively) consistent. I’ve been doing this for just over a year now and I try and think of this as my ‘fun’ income rather than my main income, which goes towards bills and other dull stuff.
However, in January of this year my script writing channel shut down for a few months. At the time, it meant I had to cut back on other fun things so I could justify going on holiday still and it made me think twice about putting all of my eggs in one basket. Fortunately I got given a different role in the same company after a short break but it has hit home to spread my wings a bit more.
So I spent some time looking back at the different ways I’ve made money over the years to fund my travels:
Freelance writing on topics I know a lot about
This might sound obvious but the easiest way to write quickly is to do it on topics that you’re knowledgeable about. So for me, having only graduated a year ago, a lot of the stuff I write about is student issues. I launched my own student website at university and as such, have a lot to say on student-based problems. I also write a lot of career content; how to get a job/improve your skills/look for jobs/etc because my first free writing gigs were for careers websites. Finally, I care a lot about health and women’s issues (probably due to my own history of medical problems) and I know a fair amount about that. So they’re all topics I can write thoroughly about to make some money quickly without too much researching. I don’t tend to write for these sites any longer now that I have my remote script writing but I know I could fall back on them if necessary.
This is something I’ve only got involved in recently but it seems like it could pay off. The company I’ve just started working for is called Appen and they test different apps from a user’s point of view across social media. The only real requirements are an enjoyment of social media and a free hour every evening a few days a week. The pay isn’t the best but can add up over the course of the week and they offer the chance to spend more hours working if you can do them. As it’s social media based, it’s something you can do in your free time without it seeming like ‘real’ work.
Selling your skills online
Okay so I’m fully aware this could be interpreted in various different ways, but the main ways I’m thinking of are Upwork and Fiverr. Both let you sell your skills/talents online (we’re talking graphic design/content/language skills/IT skills) for a small amount of cash. The trick is to find something you can provide quickly considering how little cash it is. So if you’ve got language skills, offer brief, accurate translations for people. If photoshop is your thing, you can offer basic graphics to people for £5. Remember that the hosting website takes a proportion of the money you make, which is why the things you offer should be representative of how much you’re making from them. I’ve also read interesting articles about people who’ve developed relationships with customers and built them up to offer a service outside of the website for more money.
Using cashback websites
I’m not sure if these are available around the world or if they’re primarily a British thing, but cash back websites offer the chance to earn money back from your purchases if you make them via a cash back website. Sometimes you can even get amazing deals – I found an offer for 100% cash back on a Mac lipstick on TopCashback, so I bought one I was waiting to replace anyway and now I’m waiting to get my refund. These websites work by storing your shopping habits which they can then use to develop trends for sales. Basically, you’re getting discounted items in return for selling a tiny part of your data. And as long as you’re only buying things you needed anyway, you’re still getting a good deal.
Most of us have piles and piles of unnecessary clothes that we could get rid of. I like to go through mine often for three reasons. Firstly, because I have a tiny wardrobe and can’t physically keep too many at once. Secondly, to make money to fund my trips. And thirdly because I’m still determined to pack it all up one day and travel the world. And in my mind, the more I sell now, the less I have to deal with when that day comes! I use eBay and Depop to sell stuff. If I need money quickly, eBay is best because it has a much bigger audience. But for better deals and more money, Depop is better. The easiest way to do this if you’re already travelling is to pack up everything you want to sell, list it on eBay and save things as drafts and wait until you need money. If you don’t have someone willing to package everything up for you, do it yourself pre-holiday and make a basic spreadsheet with a number reference for each item. Then, all your lovely willing friend/partner/sibling back home has to do is take it to the post office.
Buying to sell
I used to buy a lot of streetwear and it would infuriate me the amount of people who would buy expensive pieces to sell them for 10 times the price. That’s not the sort of reselling I’m talking about. My sort of reselling was buying pieces from charity shops and doing them up to sell them on. Vintage shirts, denim jackets and old Levi/Wrangler jeans all sell really well and you can buy them very cheap from charity stores. Where do you think vintage shops get their wares from?! If you’re elsewhere in the world it can be even more interesting. eBay has a new worldwide scheme where you can post items anywhere in the world for a newly cheaper fee. Obviously, this one is easier if you’ve got the time to trawl through shops but if you’ve got a spare weekend it can be a great – and fun – way to make some cash.
Teaching English online
I never actually got around to doing this but a few of my friends did and made some great money from it. VIPKID is a great website to use to teach Chinese students English, and so is Cambly. From what I’ve been told, VIPKID also allows people to refer friends and pays a little for each person who joins. In fact, there are hundreds of websites offering you the chance to use your first language to help others, although some are better than others. If you want to do it seriously you can take a TEFL course which can then allow you to travel the world and teach English from almost anywhere. But for most of us, it can work as a great side hustle and the time difference usually means it can work out well for evening work.
What are your top ways of making money to fund your travels? Let me know in the comments!