Seeing the world--or at least one or two particular foreign locations--is an item on most people’s bucket lists.
However, as appealing global travel might be to you, many of us have a certain limitation when it comes to hopping on the plane and taking off into the great unknown: our bank accounts.
For many, the cost of travel seems to be simply too high. There’s the cost of flights, food and lodging and the reality that as you pay for these things you’re steadily emptying your savings. Ideally, there would be ways to not only travel at no cost, but to actually get paid to fulfill your dreams of seeing exotic locals.
Luckily, there are ways to do just that. Here are some creative ways to get paid to travel.
Though some will require time or labor commitments, depending on your skills and personality, you should find a method that will get you to where you want to go and put some cash in your wallet, while affording you a fantastic time abroad.
#1. Harnessing Social Media
Social media is an incredible thing. In the last two decades, numerous social media venues have developed, all of them offering opportunities to not only connect with friends and loved ones, but to also create revenue for yourself.
Depending on your personal talents or interests, you can start a blog, create an Instagram presence, Twitter feed and more.
If the goal is to travel, work to create an online brand or persona that focuses on either travel in general or a specific form of travel or location. If you’re relentless and creative, you should be able to build a substantial following within a year or so. This is important because if you have a large audience, you can begin harnessing your platform to bring in revenue.
The most common way of generating revenue through social media is through Adsense and Affiliate links. Google Adsense puts ad links on your blog or website and pays you a commission when products are bought through your links. Affiliate links work in a similar manner, though with those you have a little more control over the products you’re promoting, as you choose the products and place them within the bodies of blog posts or articles. If you’re looking to travel, focus on curating links to products that are related to travel.
Adsense and Affiliate links are a good start, as they’ll put some money in your bank account to help fund travel.
However, the real payoff is when you generate enough revenue through these methods to attract Brand Partners.
If you’re successful enough, a brand might approach you and offer to fund a trip so that you can further advertise their brand or a specific product they sell. You can also court brands by showing them your blog traffic numbers and other data and offer to be their Brand Ambassador if they send you to different locations where you can further highlight their brand.
In these scenarios, the brand that partners with you will usually cover the cost of travel and also pay you a stipend or commission for your work on their behalf.
If writing and blogging aren’t really your strong points, social media can still be harnessed to get you similar perks.
Instagram and other photo sites can be utilized to fund your travel.
Talented photographers are constantly in demand, and if you’re good with film, you can channel your love for images to pay for your trip and fill your pocket book. Market yourself as a travel photographer, and if you prove your worth, you could get hired by tours and magazines to take pictures for them. You can also hop on growing travel trends, such as destination weddings, and offer your services. Even if you’re not hired by a company, you can still make your trip pictures work for you by selling them through stock photo sites.
Piggybacking on social media, if you do really enjoy writing or film, you can set yourself up as a freelance writer or filmmaker and potentially be paid to travel while you work at something you love.
It will take a lot of determination and patience, but if you work at it, you can get hired by magazines, newspapers and publishers to be a travel writer or documentarian.
Many news sites such as BBC Travel will pay you for pieces on different locations, local color and exotic cuisines. You can also sell your work to existing travel blogs as a guest writer. While it’s not guaranteed tha