When I went on my Big European Adventure I literally had no money, but it was a now or never situation so I sold what I could and made sure to pack a credit card or two (naughty) and off I went.
I did make some money on the way though, and since working on the HostelBookers blog I’ve picked up a few more tips for the next time I roll up my clothes and stuff them in my backpack too. I’ve decided to share them, and on a selfish note, make a database for myself to update as I go too.
1. Working at an English immersion camp
There are many English immersion camps around the world – from my experience they’re particularly popular in Spain. You don’t necessarily need any experience, you’re just required to talk all day to the ‘campers’ in English so they can pick up a more conversational version of the language.
I’ve done this three times at two different camps. I worked in a monastery in San Zoilo, a luxury hotel just outside Madrid and an outdoors centre in El Contadero, Spain. The first two camps didn’t pay, but I was given three huge meals a day, luxury accommodation and plenty of free time. I did this with a company called VaughanTown. They don’t require any skills, except the ability to talk non-stop. My day was split into 5 x 1 hour long sessions where I was either in a one to one with the client and we just had to chat, or I’d have to be in a group with two Anglos and two Spanish. By the end of the five days I’d have spoken to everyone. We also had meal times together and an evening activity. Clients ranged from high-powered businessmen to housewives wanting to improve their English.
The outdoors centre was with an amazing company called Zem.Education, the owner Jose is one of the friendliest and nicest guys I’ve ever met. I worked for six days here, earned €250 and got my flight paid for. I also got a bed in a bunk room with the other counselors and three meals a day. It was my experience at summer camp in America that got me this job, but if you have any other experience looking after kids you should give it a go. I want to go back!
2. Working on kids’ camps in the US
I did this for two summers running, and they were the most memorable and best summers of my life. You don’t earn a huge amount, but you do get bed, food, a tshirt or two and new friends for nine weeks or more. It was an incredible experience and one I’d definitely recommend as you really get to know the kids and immerse yourself in the American lifestyle. You’ll earn £700+ for the nine weeks; if you can commit to 12 you’ll get a lot more.
3. Writing for an online company
While I was travelling Europe I wrote for a company called Demand Studios and ended up writing tens of fascinating health articles for LiveStrong.com. I got paid around £12 an article, but it was tough to get them approved. I liked DemandStudios in the beginning, but then decided they were taking the piss a bit. They have a bank of titles, you choose which ones you want, then you write them using their house style and strict formatting, then upload to their site using CMS. You have one opportunity to rewrite it if there’s anything wrong and if it’s still not right they will bin the article meaning you receive no money. I found that they got more and more picky and in the end made it too difficult to let anything past their strict filters. Oh, and you have to have some good published examples of your work to prove you can do it too. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re desperate, which I was and ended up making about £400.
Another one I looked at was Suite101.com. They work on the basis of whenever someone clicks on your story they’ll give you a cent, or similar. My friend in Mexico writes for them and has written over 100 articles and earned about £80. I keep telling him to stop, but I think he’s addicted.
4. Pitching writing ideas to magazines
I gave this a go and nearly nailed an article on the galleries of Pisa with Ryanair Magazine, but it all went a bit wrong in the end. I will try again, and I think with some trial and error this could genuinely be a lucrative avenue to go down. You just need some confidence, which I’m trying to work on at the moment.
I’m on the MatadorU Travel Writing Course, just ignore this bit if you don’t know what I’m talking about!
- The Huffington Post | Jody Thompson | Send your name, a brief bio, your email address and pitch in the form on the website. They will contact you if interested.
- TravMonkey | Paul Dow | Sign up and submit
- Bootsnall | Apply to write for them here | Submit the articles here |
- EasyJet Traveller Magazine | Amy Dennis or Sarah Warwick | [email protected] or [email protected] | send a 50-word pitch, if you don’t hear back you were unsuccessful
- TNT Magazine | Laura Chubb | [email protected] | send a detailed and focused pitch, if you don’t hear back you were unsuccessful
My last post was How I Made Money While Travelling, but since my last big trip I’ve learned a bit more about making some cash money on the road. Next time I go, hopefully summer 2013, these are the tips and tricks I’m going to take advantage of…
5. Working in hostels
Keep an eye on hostel notice boards. When I was in Los Angeles I remember seeing a sign to work in the hostel cooking the BBQ at night and cleaning the swimming pool – I was 18 and thought that was literally the coolest thing in the world. It didn’t quite work out for me though what with university and everything.
When I was travelling round Australia for 8 weeks there was always signs in the hostels wanting people to help with the day to day running. Make the most of them when you see them, at the very least you’ll get free rent.
6. Turn volunteering into paid work
If you volunteer for long enough sometimes you can become so valuable and knowledgable your host will want to keep you on as paid staff, or they might offer you some extra work for some real hard cash. This is definitely the case with my favourite travel site workaway.info. I’ve seen plenty of projects that offer employment after a week or two trial.
Working on volunteer projects can also be a good way to get attention in the local community – if word gets around that you’re a good, honest and hard worker, other people will be interested in you. Keep an eye on the seasons and work out the best time to visit places judging my their harvest. You’re sure to get roped into picking a few olives if you’re around in Italy at the right time.
7. Selling my pictures
iStockphoto.com and Shutterstock.com both offer payment in return for selling your images to their clients. At iStock you can earn 15-45% of the download price, depending on how exclusive you want to be and Shutterstock offers 20-30% depending on how much money you make.
This is definitely something I’m going to look at in the future.