An unknown author once said: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
If you’ve been consumed by wanderlust you’ll know exactly what that unknown author means. Travel enriches you, it strengthens you; travel teaches you things about the world, about others and about yourself. Travel is addictive, too. Once you’ve had your first hit, if you enjoyed it, you’ll want to do it again, and again, and again. You’ll want to travel far and wide, to every corner of the Earth. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a bucket list as long as your arm, which just keeps getting longer.
It’s an addiction that can become very expensive, as costs for flights, hotels, transport, excursions and food and drink quickly mount up. You think to yourself: “How am I supposed to know how to raise money for an empowering, enriching trip across Europe, if I can barely afford a croissant?” The struggle is real when you’re diagnosed with wanderlust.
I know that fundraising for an upcoming trip has a tendency to get sidelined in our busy lives – especially if you’re like me and have huge financial commitments like mortgages and insurance that you have to pay each month. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo travelling all together – there are plenty of ways to raise extra cash to travel. I’m not talking about crowdfunding websites (unless you’re trying to raise money to volunteer abroad), or becoming a blogger and asking people to pay for you to take Instagram photos on a beautiful beach in Bali (though blogging can be a money maker – see below). I’m talking about creative ways to earn money outside of your 9-5 day job, so that you can continue to satisfy your travel cravings…
1. Sell anything you don’t need.
I don’t mean a kidney or your spleen (though I’ve heard there’s good money for those), I mean all the stuff that’s just lying around your house unused, unwanted and unnecessary. You’re probably sitting on a wad of cash without even realising it; your unwanted furniture, books, DVDs and clothes could cover round trip flights from France to Canada if you do it right (and that’s at full price, without the £88 Corsair error fare).
Depending on what it is you’re trying to flog, there are some “methods” that work better than others. For example:
- Selling a car? Try listing it on Gumtree or Autotrader
- Selling a rare deck of Pokémon cards? eBay is definitely your best bet for that one
- What about a box of CDs that you haven’t listened to since 2007? Head over to Music Magpie and find out how much they’re worth
- Old mobile phones – either working or not – can fetch a fair bit. I sold a whole load of old handsets on Facebook Marketplace last year to fund my second trip to Turkey
- Selling furniture is probably easiest on Gumtree
- And for clothes, I found the best method was a good, ol’ fashioned car boot sale.
Here’s a snap of my brother and I in full car boot mode – think I made about £50 that morning. Yes, it won’t get me too far, bit it all adds up.
2. Rent out your spare room.
If you’re a homeowner, congrats! That’s an achievement in itself, so give yourself a pat on the back. Better yet, if you have a spare room, rent it out to raise extra cash. It’s probably one of the quickest and easiest ways to earn a decent wedge of cash – and doesn’t take too much time to arrange. A few photos and a listing on a site like Airbnb or Spareroom.co.uk, and you could be earning a couple of hundred pounds extra per month.
Sure, if you’re used to living alone and like you’re solitude then it’ll be a bit of a change, but housemates can be fun, and if you weren’t entirely comfortable renting it out for the full month, you could do a Monday to Friday let (these work especially well in big towns and cities where people commute to work).
3. Offer private tuition.
Do you play an instrument? Are you very sporty? Or are you a genius when it comes to learning foreign languages? Basically, if you’re skillful in any interesting activity or discipline, you should offer lessons to teach it. There’s no shame in earning a profit when transferring valuable skills – and just because you’re not a prodigy, or professionally qualified, doesn’t make you unqualified.
Make some leaflets, post them through letterboxes, be upfront with your skill-level. Post on local online chat boards, put a card in a shop window, or place an ad in the classifieds. Your talent could really help someone else, and help you by building up your pot of dosh to travel the world.
Even with a full-time job, there’s no reason why you couldn’t get a second job (actually, may be wise to check your contract terms of employment first, as some employers don’t allow second jobs). As long as it doesn’t impact your day job, why not take on some casual bar or waitressing work, or get a Saturday job in a shop. Other things to consider:
- Early morning newspaper round
- Door-to-door leaflet dropping
- Becoming a Deliveroo cyclist
- Becoming a delivery driver for your local takeaway
And have you considered freelancing? Again, check that it’s allowed, but if you can dedicate extra hours or the occasional weekend to do some copy writing/admin/book keeping/invoicing etc, then do it. There are a number of websites that let you list out your skills and showcase a portfolio for freelance work.
Hobbies like photography and creative writing may just become your newest money-making thingy. Freelance away. You may even become the next Rick Steves along the way.
5. Become a blogger.
If your next adventure is a pre-planned cultural extravaganza with enough thrills for an Indiana Jones reboot, why not pitch some of experiences to your local media? Newspapers and stations usually have budgets for guest contributions and the travel industry is evergreen. By offering photos, videos or written pieces of your travels, you may just offset some costs before, during, or after your trip.
We live in a world where ‘content is king’ and just about every blog, station, or publication is looking for some quality stories. Don’t go around with a begging bowl though, that could get you into some publicly humiliating situations (think Elle Darby and that hotel stay).
6. Work, work, work, work, work.
If you work in retail, hospitality or any type of shift work, stick to what you know and opt in for a few extra shifts. Let your manager know that you’re looking to add some more shifts to your weekly or monthly schedule, and mention to co-workers that you’re eager to cover any shifts they need covering, too. Even if all this trip fundraising is to escape the humdrum of your day job, working extra shifts is guaranteed earnings. Also, putting in the extra effort may just get you enough brownie points for a raise, so it’s a win-win.
7. Move back home.
Considered a last resort by some and a jackpot by others, moving back home with your parents is one of the best ways to raise money for a trip fast. In fact, moving back in with your folks so you can do some travelling later may just be the most millennial move in the books. Your agreement with them may include some sort of “rent,” whether that’s money, chores, or both, but you’ll be saving big time by shrinking the cost of housing. Plus, there’s bound to be some bowls of snacks laying around with your name on it.
8. Make a budget
You know that thing your parents, teachers and all those self-help books have been begging you to do since about the age of 16, when you got your first Saturday job? Yeah, maybe it’s time to finally give budgeting a shot. It works for me, and I’ve managed to juggle travelling to 34 countries, a full-time job, two mortgages, three cats and numerous bills.
Budgeting as a concept is fairly simple; you note how much money you’re earning, track your spending, make some goals, and adjust your habits. I know that budgeting as a practice feels akin to choosing the middle seat on a crowded flight, but trust me, creating a budget and sticking to it will serve you well.
These tips should have given you a few ideas on how to raise money for another trip. Being penny-wise (not the scary clown) does require discipline and an ability to keep your travel dreams in mind. Put a few of these bad boys into practice along with some lifestyle adjustments and you’ll be jetting off in no time.