If you’re interested in making travel a bigger part of your life, you may be faced with a simple question of how to make money on the move. As you may have noticed browsing this website, you have many options at your disposal if you’re planning on staying in specific locations for prolonged periods of time. You can find work at a lodge throughout the ski season, for instance, or help with trail services in a national park. If the plan is to remain on the move, however, you may be best served finding ways to make money online.
In a past piece titled “4 Tips On Funding Your Dream Travel Adventure”, we pointed out that more people are relying on laptops to work remotely as “digital nomads.” And if you have a job already that will allow you to take your role on the road, this is an excellent option! For those looking to start from scratch, however –– or those who simply want to supplement income to cover travel costs –– we have some additional suggestions for how you may be able to make money online.
1. Freelance Writing
If you have a talent for communication and you’re up for tackling different topics, conducting research, and negotiating with clients, freelance writing is a viable nomadic career path. To get started, many turn to platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr, which make it easy for freelancers to connect with clients and get some early jobs under their belts. Long-term however, a true career in freelance writing typically involves setting up a website and/or portfolio, pitching stories to potential clients, and managing one’s own workflow. Depending on your commitment and ability, you might reasonably expect to make anywhere from $300 to a few thousand dollars a month.
Transcription is an appealing option to many digital nomads because it’s a job that requires little experience or expertise. Like writers, transcriptionists often start by finding work via third-party freelance platforms, and then progress to finding their own clients. That said, there are different types of work and different types of clients to be mindful of. As is explained in a write-up at LiveAbout.com, the three main categories are “general,” “medical,” and “legal” transcription. They’ll involve different requirements (medical and legal clients may require that you have more relevant experience), but across the board the idea is simple: You’ll listen to audio and type it out accurately and in the desired format. From this work, you can hope to make about $20 per hour.
With this suggestion, we want to stress that gaming seldom works out to be a “job,” and making money in the field can require a significant time commitment. That said, there are more and more people today seeking to profit off of their gaming habits, and it’s certainly something that can be done remotely or “on the go.” Furthermore, there are different ways to monetize the hobby. At the simplest level, some will try to rack up earnings by testing games for developers or spending time with “play-to-earn” games that reward progress and achievements. Others who are passionate about and skilled at individual games will sell subscriptions and/or ads to their live streams. And at the height of gaming, pro-caliber players will join teams to compete for prize money (as well as endorsements, ads, etc.). Once again, these all require major time commitments; they are not “jobs” for most gamers. But they are possibilities to explore if you happen to be a skilled gamer.
Some digital nomads also look to profit from online poker games. Here we want to stress again that the time commitment is significant –– and in this case, there is also a risk of loss every time you buy into a cash game or tournament. If you happen to have an aptitude for poker however, there are ways to even the odds and maximize your potential. First and foremost, these include learning how to understand the math behind your decisions, which according to Poker.org means grasping both “pot odds” and “implied odds.” Combined, these will tell you the value of a given bet, and the likelihood that you’ll get a strong hand. That won’t mean you win every hand, but it will mean you’re making mathematically strong decisions. On top of this, you’ll also want to experiment with different platforms and find the types of games (in terms of number of opponents, size of buy-in, etc.) in which you tend to profit most. None of this will guarantee wins, and losses are always possible. But for those who are skilled at poker, a strategic approach can make it a viable means of earning side income on the go.
5. Affiliate Blogging
This suggestion relates to freelance writing to some extent. But if you want to keep your own blog rather than write for external clients (or do both!), you can also begin to earn income as an affiliate. This essentially means that you can partner with “affiliate” sites that will advertise on your blog. You will then earn money from that affiliate every time a visitor on your site engages with the ads. Naturally, you’ll need to devote time to establishing your blog and attracting readership. With regular, high-volume views though, you can make a few thousand dollars a month.
6. Photo Sales
Finally, you can also make money online by selling photos from your travels! Now, ideally you’ll want to invest in better equipment than a smartphone and a free photo editing app in order to get professional-quality images worth decent fees. Per ZDNet.com, there are several good digital cameras you can get for less than $450, including models from Canon, AKASO, Fujifilm, Olympus, and Panasonic. Meanwhile, you can also download a robust editing tool such as Adobe Lightroom ($9.99/month) or Afterlight ($2.99/month). It’s worth your while to experiment with a few options and find out what works well for you. Once you have your tools on hand though, you can begin capturing and editing spectacular images of the places you visit, and then post them for sale at any number of online platforms (such as Adobe Stock, Alamy, Shuttershock, and more). Royalties are small (sometimes $0.05 per download), but over time good images can pay off meaningfully.
These aren’t your only options, but they’ll certainly give you some things to think about as you set about establishing yourself as a working digital nomad!