5 ways to make money while backpacking

Lifestyle | 22 Aug, 2019 |

Backpacking is an excellent way to get out on the road and explore, whether that’s your own country or somewhere overseas that you’ve always wanted to visit. Backpacking cuts down on the amount you have to spend, but doesn’t eliminate it entirely – you’ll still need money to eat.

Thankfully, earning that money and continuing to backpack aren’t mutually exclusive. In this article, we’ll be going over five ways you can make money while you are out on the road backpacking, so you don’t have to go back to the 9 to 5 just yet.

Teach English

If you are backpacking around a country where English isn’t the primary language then congratulations, you came with a built-in marketable skill. Teaching English is an excellent way to pull in some money while backpacking, as there is always a need for good English teachers.

Starting down the path of teaching English while backpacking is as simple as taking a short TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Langauge) course. Most teaching opportunities look for some sort of English qualification, but some will be willing to hire you just on the strength of you being a native speaker or having a university-level English degree.

Remember, it’s not just schools who will be looking for an English teacher. Many English as a Second Language (ESL) speakers will be interested in private tuition to improve their conversational language skills.


In the modern digital age, not having an office is no impediment to running your own business. You can just become a freelance entrepreneur!

The freedom and flexibility to work at your own pace and from any place with a WiFi connection is ideal for backpackers.

If you have a particularly marketable qualification or talent, you can start out by approaching prospective clients on job boards or with the email equivalent of cold-calling. However, if you are not entirely sure of your place in the freelance world, you can start out on websites like Fiverr and Upwork while you hone your skills.

Digital Opportunities

One of the best things about the internet is the number of opportunities it offers to either save or make money. If you are backpacking on a tight budget, it’s going to make your life a lot easier to take advantage of these opportunities.

Apps like Groupon and VoucherCloud can offer you huge savings on everything from accommodation to a decent meal in a restaurant you couldn’t normally afford.

We’re certainly not suggesting you gamble with your budget, but some online casinos will offer you free spins with no deposit to win real money.  Basically, you should be looking to take advantage of any opportunity to either save money or potentially make money for free.

Hostel Jobs

Hostels are an excellent source of low cost or free accommodation, but they can also be a good way to earn money. Most staff at hostels are travelers themselves, looking to earn some quick money and help out other travelers in a venue that has helped them.

Hostel chains like St Christophers Inns and Nomads Hostels are always looking for new staff at their many venues. So, when you are planning your trip and looking for the best places to stay on a budget, check out their ‘help wanted’ page at the same time.

Tour Guiding

If you’ve spent a long time backpacking around a particular country, there is a good chance that you’ve picked up some local knowledge and stories that you can share with newcomers and tourists.

Tour guiding is an excellent way to turn that local know-how, picked up on your travels, into cold hard cash.

One of the great benefits of tour-guiding is that it is flexible, allowing you to fit it in with your other everyday activities. Tours generally run multiple times a day, so you can work when it suits you.

If you have a specialized knowledge of a particular city, you can also make more money by signing up with more specialized tour companies. You might not have the same level of flexibility, but running a midnight vampire tour in Budapest will earn you more money, and sounds way more fun.

Finance Your Own Trip

Backpacking doesn’t have to mean that you cut yourself off from earning money entirely. By setting yourself up to work on the move and taking advantage of the opportunities offered to you, you can make enough money to finance your own movements, allowing you to stay on the road for as long as it suits you.

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