Make money while traveling – Challenges of earning an income on the road

If you are considering or even dreaming of long-term travel then you will also be wondering how you might make money while traveling on the road. This weeks featured post is from Scott and Hayley at International Hotdish who have been kind enough to share the challenges they have faced while trying to make money while traveling full-time.

Hi there! Scott and Hayley from International Hotdish, here. We’re a couple of American digital nomads on an adventure around the world. That sounds like a lot of fun but it’s a LOT of work. It requires us to hustle constantly and be flexible at all times. Here’s a little insight into how we keep the party going!

To make money while traveling full-time can be a little challenging at times, Scott and Hayley share their story and challenges of earning an income on the road.Challenges of Earning an Income on the Road

Finding money while on the road can be a difficult and stressful task. As a testament to how difficult it is, yesterday I found a $2 coin on the ground in a parking lot (car park) and I did a little dance of joy. Don’t get me wrong: it’s always nice to find free money on the ground, but when you’re travelling every dollar counts twice as much.

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns of life on the road is how to generate regular streams of income. This can be difficult and will take some time to build up. So, if you don’t have a great income generating specialization right now, don’t worry. You’ll have time to develop it as you go. The most important thing is to focus on something to put your energies into. And you should consider doing that right away. Take advantage of the time you have to practice this craft before you take off and travel., are all good places to start looking for info on your new career.

Okay, sounds good, right? But how do you finance your big trip? This is a huge concern for many people. They want to travel but they don’t know how they’ll finance their adventure. Well, first thing is first: where do you start?

At the beginning of course! That’s what we did when we planned out this trip. We looked at how much our trip was going to cost and then busted our butts to save enough money for it (it ended up being over $60,000!). It was a lot of work and you can see how we did it here.

The fact remains: no matter how you can do it, save money before you go on your trip to help finance it. This will take a lot of stress off your shoulders and give you a buffer for when things go wrong.

Another thing to ask yourself is what type of work you want to do while on the road. Do you want a job where you have to show up physically each day? Those are nice in that they provide a steady income but can put a damper on your adventures. Or, would you like a job you can take anywhere with you? That’s what we decided to do. If that sounds up your alley, then it’s time to start thinking about your side hustle. “What’s a side hustle” you ask?


Develop a Side Hustle

If you’re planning on being on the road, you’ll need some way to make money while traveling. We know a lot of people who’ve applied and received seasonal jobs working on farms or in cafes – stuff like that. Those jobs are nice but they require you to find new ones each time you relocate. Plus, you can’t work on them from anywhere – which is exactly what we wanted to do.

If you want to follow our path and find side hustle jobs that allow you to work from anywhere, consider this: digital nomads are thriving all across the world in more job industries than you can shake a stick at. They get to travel, sightsee, and make a good income – all while working from their laptops.

Make money while traveling

So what kind of jobs can you secure as a digital nomad? Basically, anything that allows you to work from a computer. Here are a few options we’ve seen people pursue and succeed at.

  • Ruby Developer
  • Python Developer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Web Developer
  • Full Stack Developer
  • PHP Developer
  • Mobile App Developer
  • Life Coach
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Proof Reader
  • Online Marketer
  • Journalist
  • Beta Tester
  • Political Blogger
  • News Curator
  • Apparel Designer
  • Jewelry Designer
  • Relationship Consultant

The list goes on and on. The best thing to do when considering what you want to do as a digital nomad is to think about what you’re most talented at. If you have a special interest in native New Zealand fauna or are a math geek, think about how you can turn those interest into a profitable niche. You might think focusing on the largest market is the best option, but you will find the most success if you focus on a niche you enjoy. The experts all agree.

For example there are a lot of travel bloggers out there, so someone who focuses on travelling with a family has a niche-y enough niche. Even more niche-y is a travel blogger who focuses on family travels with special needs or a disability. Plenty of families are willing to pay you for your expertise. That’s what we mean when we say find a niche to specialize in.


How We Make Money While Traveling as Digital Nomads

So how do we finance our fun and adventure? Well, besides the money we saved before we left, we have a few income streams to help us make money while traveling.

Income Stream 1 – Traditional Job: Hayley was able to negotiate terms of her employment that allowed her to work part-time remotely. This was a huge boon to our bank account as it presented us with some guaranteed income every two weeks. We know this isn’t possible for everyone, but if you can perform your job online, it’s worth looking into how to pitch your manager on allowing you to continue working for them. We used some information we found in this article for talking points.

Income Stream 2 – Social Media Marketing: Because of Hayley’s professional background, we’ve been able to manage the social media accounts for a handful of clients back in the United States. This is a reliable income channel we’d like to expand even further. In terms of getting the word out, a good working relationship and proven results is your best calling card. Word of mouth is king and we’re always on the hunt for new relationships.

Income Stream 3 – Website Development: I’ve been building websites with a partner for a couple of years now. He does the designing and passes along the project to me. I prefer this setup because it allows me to focus on the building blocks of a website (which I enjoy) and my business partner gets to make it look nice. I just have to put it together. All websites we work on are built in WordPress.

Income Stream 4 – Affiliate Marketing: We’ve recently gotten into affiliate marketing because we’re honest fans of certain products and services. And if we truly enjoy and use those things, we should at least try to make some money. Plenty of affiliate programs exist for you to take advantage of. A couple of the more popular ones are Amazon and Etsy, but plenty of others exist, too. One way to take advantage of several companies that offer affiliate programs is to sign up with Awin or ShareASale.

Whatever you end up choosing, keep in mind your readers will be able to tell when you don’t believe in a product or service. Therefore, only promote products and services which you use. It’ll help your authenticity and you’ll find it much easier to write compelling reviews for that which you’re marketing for.

Marketing doesn’t have to be slimy. If you’re pointing people in the right direction of something they really, truly need or can use, you’re helping them.

Income Stream 5 – Retail Sales: Before we left on our grand adventure, we were already managing our own locally-inspired business, Nice Minnesota. By the time we left the United States, we were running Nice Minnesota for at least a year and many of the early startup bugs had been ironed out. We still have to tackle problems occasionally, but overall the business runs itself. We manage it’s social media channels and communicate with vendors/suppliers pretty much every day, but by now the effort is reduced and we’re able to generate substantial passive income.

Read about some of the challenges of earning an income while on the road and get tips on how to make money while traveling full-time.


So that’s pretty much it. Have no illusions – to make money while traveling is challenging but incredibly rewarding. We used ample prepping time to get a couple of businesses in place before we stormed off to explore the world. And besides that, we had a substantial nest egg to work with. But even with those, we’re constantly developing new skills daily. Every little bit helps!

Go get started with picking your side hustle(s), start honing your craft, and get ready to make the leap!


You can follow Scott and Hayley’s journey on the following links!

Related reading: 


To make money while traveling full-time can be a little challenging at times, Scott and Hayley share their story and challenges of earning an income on the road.
To make money while traveling full-time can be a little challenging at times, Scott and Hayley share their story and challenges of earning an income on the road.


2 thoughts on “Make money while traveling – Challenges of earning an income on the road”

  • Some great ideas here, something else I could suggest is VIPKID. It’s an online program where you can teach chinese children english, you log in at certain times and have an online lesson with a student. It’s not easy money, but it is good money and you can do it totally remotely!

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