How To Take A Year Out From College And Get Paid For It
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Travelling the world is a dream for many people.
While there are ways to do it cheaper and safer than ever with sharing platforms like AirbnbandCouchsurfing and more information on budget backpacker travel that could fit an encyclopedia, the cost is still out of reach for most people.
But what if you could travel and not spend a dime? What if you could even get paid?
Many would jump at the opportunity to experience new cultures, traverse through beautiful landscapes and satisfy their insatiable wanderlust.
Luckily there are more ways than ever to travel and get paid. They aren’t easy, most are a lot of work, but the opportunities are out there if you want it bad enough.
We’ve compiled 15 ways for just about anyone to get their golden ticket to spending weeks or years, in exotic lands while earning some cash.
1. Teach English
If you’re looking for adventure in a foreign land, one of the most accessible and lucrative ways to get there is by taking up a job teaching English. Jobs in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America are abundant and most of them do not require that you speak the native language.
Schools are looking for native English speakers with bachelor degrees who can teach the “direct method”, by which students learn through concepts, pantomiming and the target language exclusively.
While not all schools require it, a certification for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can make you a more desirable candidate. Salaries can be as high as $36,000 (£26,000) (a year in Japan or $45,000 in the United Arab Emirates.
2. Research for a travel guidebook
There aren’t many professions as romanticised and misunderstood as researching and writing for travel guidebooks such as Lonely Planet and Fodor’s. While the job is exhilarating — jetting you off to hundreds of places to try the local culture, food and hotels — the reality of the work is a grind.
Most guidebook researchers and writers report having to meet unrealistic deadlines that require them to work 12-to-14-hour days. In addition, seeing the sights is a small part of the job. Researchers and writers must crank out reports and articles, make maps of the areas they visit and engage in extensive, tedious data entry.
Because of tightening budgets and an abundance of 20-somethings willing to do the job for next to nothing, guide writing is hardly a lucrative profession. But you can earn enough to make a living.
In an illuminating New York Times’ feature about the lives of guidebook writers, Warren St John reveals the cardinal tenet of the job: “Most who do it quickly learn the one hard-and-fast rule of the trade: travel-guide writing is no vacation.”
3. Become an Instagram influencer
Instagram is flooded with “influencers” trying to grow their reach on the platform, but if you are one of the few lucky enough to build a sizeable following, there are opportunities to turn it into serious income.
Twentysomething travel ‘grammers Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen currently parlay the more than three million Instagram followers under the names of their successful travel blogs into travel around the world and a six-figure salary. Morris told Cosmopolitan last year he once earned $9,000 for a single post on Instagram, while Bullen has received $7,500 for one photo. Typically he and Bullen are paid to promote various brands and locations through their feeds.
Even smaller accounts can get some benefits. David Guenther, who runs the Great North Collective, told Rangefinder Magazine in 2014 he received a free press trip to Alberta, Canada provided that he post photographs on Instagram.
Of course, most travel Instagrammers end up stuck at a few thousands followers and burning through their savings before they ever cash a check. Best to start building that following before you leave.
4. Become a flight attendant
If you don’t mind taking your travel with a side of 9-to-5, a great option could be applying to become a flight attendant. Flight attendants make between $45,000 and $100,000 a year, and they get free travel benefits for not just themselves but also their families.
The pay isn’t bad, but consider that the average schedule has attendants working 80 hours a month.
5. Apply for the New York Times’ 52 Places to Go job
Travelling the world and getting to write for one of the most prestigious publications in the world sounds too good to be true right? Wrong.
In October, the New York Times announced the creation of a travel correspondent position for the newspaper’s annual 52 Places to Go feature. The correspondent was to spend a week in each place and write about life on the road.
By the time the application deadline for the 2018 post closed, the job had received over 13,000 applicants from all walks of life. The New York Times eventually chose Jada Yuan, a veteran New York magazine editor.
Assuming the experiment goes well, one would think they will hire someone new for 2019. Better start working on that application.
6. Trade speciality, foreign goods
Looking to travel and have a little capital to start with? Consider getting in the import-export trade and head out to exotic countries to find local, speciality, and handmade goods that will appeal to travel-hungry consumers back home.
Pick up goods that areas are known for (examples include Italian leather, Mexican hammocks, and Turkish ceramics) as well as one-of-a-kind pieces that can’t be purchased by the truck full. Once you are back in the US, sell them to stores, collectors, or on e-retailers like eBay and Amazon for a handsome profit.
You’ll have to figure out how to navigate customs regulations, but when you can sell goods for many times their original worth, the hassle pays for itself.
7. Start a side-gig and work remotely
If you have a laptop, the internet and some skills, there are tons of side-gigs you could pick up to earn cash while you travel. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are built to make it easy for freelancers to pick up work anywhere, whenever they need it.
Of course, it’s a lot easier if you have a track record and marketable skills, like coding, graphic design, writing, translation or editing.
Start taking on side-gigs on freelance websites before you leave and you should be able to build enough of a reputation that you can pick up steady gigs when you need it on the road. Pretty soon, you’ll be earning cash at a beachside cafe in a foreign country.
8. Work for a cruise line
Working on a cruise ship will send you to exotic locales for pay, yet there are a few key things to remember.
The job comes with long hours for comparably poor pay, but with all expenses paid and free travel. Crew members have their own dining halls, shops, Internet cafes, gyms, party areas and even organised activities, which creates a fun culture.
There are numerous jobs on a ship, with certain ones better than others. Washing dishes just doesn’t sound as good as chaperoning passengers on exotic excursions.
9. Become a tour guide
Leading tours through some of the world’s most iconic and historic places sounds like a dream come true. It can offer tons of variety, depending on how you approach it.
Do you become a tour guide in one dream place – say, Paris! – and lead hordes of American tourists through the Louvre, the Bastille, and the Eiffel Tower? Or do you lead groups on longer trips that go through a series of destinations?
Either one can be a solid way to make a living and see new cultures. There are a few cons, though. Guides who stay in one location will likely be working freelance, which may mean uneven paydays and a lack of job security. Some guides give free tours and try to use their personalities to get tips from generous tourists.
Longer-term guides may be lucky enough to get a contract or a full-time gig from a touring company, which adds stability but means they will be the one dealing with all the logistics, planning, and headaches that come with trying to manage a group of cranky tourists for weeks at a time.
Be prepared to be extroverted and friendly at all times, even when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
10. Go WWOOF’ing
WWOOF, or Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is not a traditional business. Volunteers go for a set period to work on a farm with like-minded travellers in exchange for accommodation and home-cooked meals.
The terms are flexible with WWOOFers staying as long or little as they want, and the opportunities are plentiful. While you’ll have to pay your own way to fly to the farm, once you are there, there are plenty of people who can offer a ride to the next destination.
WWOOF’ing isn’t quite a career choice, but it is an excellent way to see the world while keeping your bank account (mostly) even.
11. Start a travel blog
Being a professional travel blogger is a tough gig. While travelling to every sight imaginable is a tantalising part of the job, it takes a lot of work to make it happen.
Most travel bloggers spend a year building their sites, churning out several posts a day and building up a following on social-media before they ever see any money from their sites.
Almost all travel bloggers start out by spending their savings just to get up and running. Even once you’ve built a following, a network, and ad partnerships, you are running your own business, which means that in addition to traveling and writing, you must handle all the marketing, site growth, and financials.
As you can imagine, it’s a job that never ends. To make it all work, you have to truly love travel and blogging.
12. Work as an au pair
An au pair or an extra pair of hands, is an international nanny who lives with a family for a set period, taking care of their children in exchange for travel, room, board and pocket money.
It can be a fantastic way to see a new culture from the locals’ perspective and make some money. Most au pairs are students or recent graduates, so get in before it’s too late.
Many families don’t require au pairs to speak the native language, and many even prefer it if you speak to their children in English so that they can improve their fluency.
There are websites, such as Au Pair World, that help match people with families.
This one requires a bit of skill, but for those with the artistic temperament a wedding-photography business can offer free travel and an outlet for creative expression. It goes without saying that you will have to be a talented photographer, or at least a well-practiced one.
The wedding business is a competitive one with high entry costs (think computer, camera, lenses, editing software, portfolio, website, and, possibly, training), but it pays well.
Many destination wedding photographers charge up to $10,000 a wedding, plus airfare, meals, and incidentals. While you’ll be working hard during the wedding, extend your stay for a few hundred dollars and you are well paid and traveling free.
14. Join the Peace Corps
Joining the Peace Corps is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires a 27-month commitment in a developing country with few modern conveniences and not much opportunity to see friends or family.
If you’re still on board, and have a desire to make a difference in the lives of others, the Peace Corps can be a life-changing and rewarding experience.
Few opportunities immerse travellers in a culture as thoroughly as the Peace Corps. Expect to choose from an array of assignments, including teaching English, working in disease prevention, and building infrastructure.
There is also an extensive application and interview process. The Peace Corps pays for travel expenses, living expenses, certain student-loan benefits, and it offers a readjustment allowance of $350 per month accrued upon completing your service.
15. Write a literary account of your travels
If all else fails (or you are an incredible wordsmith), take a crack at writing the next Green Hills of Africa, Homage to Catalonia or The Sun Also Rises.
If the book does well, you could have a cash cow on your hands in the form of royalties and advance checks.
Of course, most would-be authors will never see a cent from their travels or literary hard work.
If you have the courage to try, you could end up with the travelling lifestyle and your pick of publications to print your essays and stories.
Top 10 Websites That Will Pay You for Travel Photography
Get paid for your travel photography!
If you are anything like me, and thousands of other travellers, you are likely to have gigabytes of photos stored up in the Cloud somewhere. Wherever that is.
What if I told you that those bytes are a goldmine waiting to be converted into cash?
Photography is valuable, if you’ve travelled somewhere unique, someone might want your worth in a thousand words.
Here are 10 easy-to-use websites that will pay you for your travel photography:
Savefrom thattravelblog.com13Dave Weatherall • That Travel BlogTurn Your Blog Into a Business
Foap is an easy and efficient way of selling your photos on the move. You can download the App to your phone where you can easily upload, monitor and sell your pictures on the Foap Market. You get 50% of the revenue for each picture, every time you sell it! Foap also regularly hosts competitions on behalf of other clients. You can submit your most appropriate and best work for a chance to win.
Holding more than 78 million photos and videos, Fotolia by Adobe is one of the largest royalty-free image and video sites. You can submit your best work to reach millions of users, across all of their Adobe platforms. This includes Adobe stock – a new creative stock marketplace. With a creative community this vast, it would be a mistake not to sign up as a contributor! They have a pay-as-you-go service that offers between 20-63% of the sale price. Their subscription service offers 33% of all image sales and 35% for videos.
You can sell your photographs or videos on Tandem after registration. Their focus is on environment/nature, travel, culture, geography, nature & conservation, outdoor adventure, outdoor lifestyle and outdoor sporting genres. Tandem follows their own Right’s SpecificTM pricing model which was developed through extensive market research and to ensure better rates for photos. It is largely based on what the type of use is that the buyer is requesting. Tandem is a clean company who also partners with environmental non-profits. Well worth it!
500px is a great platform for uploading your work. As well as being able to sell to the stock photography marketplace, you can also gain exposure, get feedback, and compete against other photographers for some exciting prizes. They also give you the option to upgrade to 3 different packages for statistics, a customisable portfolio plus other great perks.
iStock is part of Getty images and being a contributor for them means you can access their global client base of 1.5 million customers worldwide. You can become an exclusive contributor and earn up to 45% on your work. This is calculated by what is sold in a 1 year period on all iStock and Getty Images sales channels. Non-exclusive rates are 15% for photo, 20% for an illustration, and 20% for a video. You have to submit an application with your portfolio to be accepted.
Snapwire are big believers in “fairness and respect” and they try to reflect this with their payouts. You can submit your photos to a request or challenge or directly to the marketplace and your profile. For challenges you will need to follow a creative brief. People can nominate your photographs and the best ones are paid. You will earn 70% of the listed request price for these. For marketplace and profile submissions, you will get 50% of what it is sold for. That’s pretty reasonable compared to other marketplaces on this list!
Shutterstock is one of the biggest stock photography websites. In addition to just photography, they are also looking for vector art and video footage. Earnings are based on your lifetime earnings as a contributor. As your earnings go up, so will your sale price per image. The average earning rate ranges from 20-30% per image (this includes vector art and illustrations). You have the option to earn more money by referring a contributor and receiving $0.04 per image they sell for the first 2 years.
PhotoMoolah is an alternative way to get paid for your photographs. It is predominantly based on entering your very best photos into one of their numerous contests. Images are then shortlisted and if you win, you will be showcased on their platform with your name. The more you earn the higher you rank. You can also receive badges for earning more and moving up levels as well as for referring friends. Payment is dependant on the contest and once you image is purchased you will get a bank transfer. Simple!
SmugMug is a unique and creative way of selling your photos. It allows you to completely customise your page from how you want your gallery to look, to controlling who can see which pictures, it’s all up to you! For print, the profit you make is 85% of the difference between the price you set and SmugMug’s default price. For digital downloads, pricing is dependant on a gallery or single download.
Can Stock is a fast way to sell your photos. They have a SpeedSubmit™ system that allows you to upload and submit your images in minutes. Their application process involves signing up and sending over a few examples of your work. This is also quick and easy and they usually respond on the same day. The added benefit of selling your photos on Can Stock, is that your images will automatically be represented on Fotosearch, one of the world’s largest stock photography agencies.
Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos. You don’t get paid for sharing photography on Unsplash, it is a fun way to use those shots that didn’t make the final cut. While controversial with some professional photographers who can see it as ‘devaluing the industry’. It is a good way to grow your fanbase, broaden your exposure, and give back to an awesome community.