How To Make And Save Money For Traveling

One of the most common New Year resolutions I have heard in the last few years was to start traveling (whether it was the first time or to do it again). But from what I have seen, many people still put their travel plans on hold especially because of money. Some of the responses I get from hearing about why travel isn’t possible were:

“I can’t afford to travel because it’s so expensive”
“Unfortunately I’m not rich enough to travel.”
“Planning to travel on a budget is too much work.”
“I have bills to take care of first.”

Sounds familiar?

I don’t deny that traveling requires some money. However, you don’t need to be rich to travel as there are many ways to cut down on travel expenses.

I was once in your shoes thinking that travel is an expensive hobby and one that I can only dream of. All these changed when a friend recommended me some of the resources that are useful for saving up money for my travels!

Besides, everything you do in life needs time and effort. If you have always wanted to travel or move abroad, it’s no exception as well. But planning how to travel on a budget doesn’t have to be as complicated and stressful as you think!

Here’s my top tips for making and saving money to travel the world.


As one of the most popular sites around for booking accommodation, AirBnB is a great way of earning money by hosting travelers.

You get to decide on a price of your own for the room that you rent to someone for. In order to entice travelers who plan to stay for a longer period of time, AirBnB gives you the option of offering them weekly and monthly discounts.

There is also a referral system whereby you earn up to $5,000 USD of travel credit for referring a friend or family member to AirBnB. Once they have completed their first reservation either as a guest or host, you earn the credit. These travel credits can be used for your new reservation while traveling.

Not only do you earn money from AirBnB but you get to forge new friendships with your guests as well!

Craigslist and other online classifieds

There are tons of paid jobs and short-term gigs that are great opportunities for you to earn that quick and cold hard cash you need for traveling.

If you also have a particular skill or talent, put it to good use through these sites! You can put a post about offering your services (such as music lessons, photography, tutoring, web design and whatnot) to people who need them.

Not only do online classified sites have potential job and gig opportunities for earning cash but job applicants will also find them to be relatively simple to navigate and less time-consuming. This is because most of them often do not have to go through the formal and lengthy process of filling up their profile and online questionnaires that professional job search sites require before assessing their applications.

Some of the most common sites are:

  • Craigslist – one of the most popular sites that is available across all regions and features a gigs section
  • Kijiji – works similarly to Craigslist
  • eBay Classifieds (US, Germany)
  • Monster – one of the largest job-focused classified sites in the world (though most job applications tend to be geared towards professional positions)
  • Gumtree – a highly popular online classified site especially in the UK and Australia

Finding online translation work

If you know at least one language other than English, sign up for an account with an online translation website as a translator. In general, online translation sites work in one of these two ways:

  • You register for an account for free. But you would need to pass a short test to be certified as an online translator before taking on any project – Gengo and VerbalizeIt.


  • You pay for a monthly or annual membership that gives you access to virtually all benefits (such as access to the latest translation job postings and being on top of the search results). There is no test required and you are usually free to apply for whichever project that you are interested in – TranslatorsCafé and ProZ.

If you’re confident in your translation skills and ready to go for the test, go for the first option. Once accepted as a translator, you would be able to select projects that fit your schedules and abilities on Gengo and VerbalizeIt.

But if flexibility and access to unlimited translation job opportunities are more important, you should opt for the second option.

Alternatively, post an ad on Craigslist or any other classifieds site about your translation services.

Teach a foreigner in your area your language

Aside from online translation work, you can put your bilingual or multilingual skills to good use!

Before leaving for my Europe adventures last September, I gave Mandarin language lessons to a Canadian girl for $20 CAD per hour every week. Then again, I found this language tutoring opportunity from Craigslist.

Brand Ambassador work

If you aren’t looking for a full-time career yet or would like to have a good-paying, flexible job, consider working in events and promotions. The frequent term used for those working in this field is Brand Ambassador (BA).

As a BA, you work at different events, representing the brand of the products or services that you’re promoting, on behalf of the event and marketing agency that you are registered with. The types of work that BAs are involved in include but are not limited to:

  • Food sampling at supermarkets
  • Serving alcohol at events
  • Providing customer service
  • Promotional giveaways
  • Promoting credit card and financial programs
  • Giving out flyers and goodies

Depending on the event and position, the typical wage is between USD $14 and $25 per hour.

The earning potential is so great that it has significantly contributed to my travel funds since last year!

Event staffing agencies are always looking for BAs to represent them out on the field. So they will post job opportunities on their websites and on the Brand Ambassador group pages on Facebook.

All you need to do is to constantly look out for BA job opportunities on their websites and on the social media group pages and have some presentable looking pictures of yourself and a resume handy for application.

Build your network on Couchsurfing and other hospitality exchange sites

Did you know it’s possible to get free accommodation while traveling? Indeed it is! Check out hospitality exchange websites especially Couchsurfing (CS).

You register for an account on CS for free, fill up your profile, upload your pictures and you will be ready to reach your potential hosts!

If you want to build up your network and reputation on CS, connecting with travelers (through CS events, hosting travelers or staying at their place) definitely help a lot as you both can provide references to each other to vouch for your positive character and the great experiences together.

References, along with the verification of your profile (through your phone or address) will help you to attract potential hosts and get more responses as they would then have a much better idea of how you are as a person before deciding whether to offer you a couch.

From my experience, when trying to send out couch requests, it is very important to read through the hosts’ profiles as some of them may require guests to know certain things about and agree with the house rules and may even have some traits that they look for in potential guests. For instance, you may find hosts who prefer to host guests that stay for a longer period of time or contribute to household chores.

An alternative to CS is Hospitality Club. Like CS, you get to stay with local hosts for free on the basis of cultural and hospitality exchange, and don’t need to pay any fees for registering for an account and accessing all of its features.

Other similar platforms you should also check out are:

Offer others a car ride using Uber and rideshare sites

If you drive and own a car, register an account for yourself as a driver on Uber or rideshare sites.

Uber is a convenient, inexpensive and reliable taxi service that has, in recent years, offered a great alternative to regular taxis in each city that it operates in. It currently has operations in 300 cities across the world. You can check whether the Uber service is available in your city.

On the other hand, ridesharing sites such as Bla Bla Car and Kangaride are great avenues for earning money for your travels by offering guests rides to destinations that you plan to drive to.

After registering for an account, completing your profile and having it verified, you can set a price of your own for the ride you offer to the intended destination. Depending on several factors such as the price of your ride, destination and reviews from previous guests (especially on Bla Bla Car), more people might be interested in joining you for the ride!

Subscribe for emails on travel deals

Signing up for newsletters from airlines and third-party airfare booking sites gives you access to special flight deals.

Because of my subscription for the mailing lists from Cheapflights and Skyscanner, I managed to book a round-trip flight in September 2016 from Vancouver (Canada) to Madrid (Spain) for just $570 USD!

Get a travel credit card

Depending on the travel credit card you get, there are several benefits such as:

  • Travel insurance (medical or all-inclusive)
  • Opportunity to earn points that, once accumulated to a certain amount, could be redeemed for a free flight or hotel stay
  • Some of these cards (especially American Express’ Gold Rewards) may give you a huge welcome bonus that is sufficient to be redeemed for a free flight or accommodation too

If you’re the kind of person that travels a few times within the year, getting a travel card with insurance could save you more money in the longer term as compared to buying insurance every time you purchase a flight ticket.

Cut down on eating and drinking out

This may seem a little extreme but cutting down on your dining and drinking habits would go a long way towards saving for your travels and is definitely possible!

Trust me. I used to eat out almost every single day until I realized how much I have spent on mainly food alone that I ended up not being able to join my roommates in a road trip to the Canadian Rockies.

A fairly sizeable sushi set could set you back by around $7 and hamburger would be about $5 to $7.

The same goes for your daily dose of coffee or tea! A cup of coffee or mocha costs between $2 and $5; that means spending at least $60 in a month which could have gone towards your accommodation booking.

By going to the grocery stores (and learning how to cook and making your own coffee or tea at home instead), you can probably save almost half of the money for your travels.

Having that cup of drink you craved for each day is nice but spending most of that money on diving with the sharks in Hawaii or hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru instead would be a super memorable time you could never forget and can proudly share with family and friends!

Cut down on frequent spending that adds up

Aside from curbing your habits of eating and drinking outside, learn to cut down on hitting the nightclubs and on shopping especially if it gets very frequent.

The average cover charge of a nightclub in cities like Los Angeles (LA) and Toronto ranges between $20 and $30. Even though some bars and clubs don’t have a cover charge before a given time on some nights, you would still need to pay for drinks, which could cost up to $20.

Also, I’d find that constantly hitting the stores for new collections and deals on clothes and tech products is really not necessary. Put it this way, even after you have bought a jacket or phone that caught your eye, there will always be new and better ones coming out and you will soon have your eyes on them as well. It’s never ending.

But, traveling elsewhere is something different! You get to experience something overseas that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to at home. You live with less but get to travel more.

Avoid pricey gym memberships

As another popular New Year resolution, keeping fit is understandably important not just for our health but to improve our confidence.

I don’t know about you but I’d find that signing up for or upgrading to gym memberships that offer all-inclusive or exclusive benefits is a waste of money. Not only are their membership packages expensive but some of the benefits are unnecessary as well. For example, many gyms that I have come across offer free towels and first few free personal training sessions as part of their membership packages. But you can always bring your own towel to the gym; personal training is also not necessary if you plan to focus on just working out.

Switching my previous gym membership at my university to my current one is one of the best decisions ever made. It allowed me to save up for my Japan and Europe trip last year!

Take advantage of existing deals, promotions and rewards

This applies not only to travel related products and services but to all aspects of your daily life (such as shopping, eating and buying groceries). It may sound pretty obvious but many people either overlooked this or do not think that the existing deals will help them to save significantly enough for their travels.

Whatever it is, make it a habit to constantly look out for ongoing promotions and discounts on all of your daily necessities and activities. For example, as a former customer of Virgin Mobile, I subscribed to their promotional newsletters for great deals such as 20 percent discount on any H&M item. Also, my expenditures made with my Canadian ScotiaBank credit card allowed me to earn thousands of points that were redeemed for free meals at selected restaurants.

Enjoying each and every single deal that is available to you will help you save money bit by bit and accumulate your travel funds!

Sell your items

If you have stuff that you don’t really need any more, sell them off! Not only are you freeing up space in your house but you also earn extra cash that add up to your travel funds!

The online classifieds like AmazonCraigslisteBayGumtree and Kijiji are great platforms to sell them. But do make it a point to post your items online for sale at least 2 months before you leave for your trip! If there has been no response for the first couple of weeks, renew your advertisement until you get one.

The bottomline is, you can definitely save money and supplement your income for traveling, and there are many ways to do that !

You just need to take that first step, persist, and look hard enough for alternative ways of and available resources (especially the ones mentioned here) for helping you to save all that money for your adventure!

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