TOP 11 Practical Travel Jobs to Support Your Backpacking Life

By Kach Umandap November 7th, 2018 Posted in Inspiration and Love Stories, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 32 Comments

As you already know, we initially funded our travels through teaching English, but this job requires you to have a degree, TEFL or CELTA teaching certificate and a business or work visa to be employed in a country. What if you don’t have these requirements and processing a visa is a big hassle or even impossible? While working online seems like the ideal solution, do you want to be traveling to a country to spend at least 4 to 5 hours of your day working online, staring at spreadsheets and sending emails?


We have also partnered with World Tesol Academy to provide an online TESOL certification course for the lowest price you will find anywhere – $34 USD! We recognised how badly affected many people around the world have been by the Covid / Coronavirus situation. So, we spent a lot of time discussing with this great company how they could come up with an affordable solution to help people afford the opportunities that an online TEFL / TESOL certification can bring.

If you’re interested in TEFL, then also check out our introduction to teaching English article abroad with TEFL!

Two Monkeys Travel - Cappadocia - Turkey 22

‘Well, what about being a travel blogger?’ you may ask. Some people do earn a good living from travel blogging, but in reality, there are few who make any money from it.

We started writing in May 2014 (but officially launch the website in October 2014) and have never earned from it so far, but according to our blogger friends you have to invest a lot of effort, and it takes the time to build your followers. It also has to be a genuine love that turns into an income.  If you’re writing and posting articles just because you want to earn money, it will show in your work and readers will see through it.

So, how should you earn money on the road while you’re building up your blogger empire, or looking for the opportunity of your dreams?

Don’t worry though; we’ve listed the TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs to keep you on the road – Most of the backpackers we’ve met have done more than one of these to support their traveling lifestyle. You don’t need a University degree to get these jobs – you just need passion and skills. Having graduated from one of the best schools in the Philippines, my jobs on the road might not seem ideal, but it taught me to better appreciate the simpler things in life and not to take things for granted.

1. Hostel Staff – Receptionist, Cleaner or all-around staff

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 8Jonathan’s daily Garden work in a Hostel where we worked for a month in Peru

There are many countries where you can work in hostels and hotels in exchange for a bed and one or more meal a day. We spent a whole month living and working in a hostel in the historic Incan town of Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Peru. Sure, you may have to clean a couple of toilets a day, but a little humility never hurt anyone! Often, the cost of accommodation is what keeps you moving on from one destination to the next when what you want is put your bags down immerse yourself in your environment for a few weeks. The simplest way to find this kind of work is just to turn up and start asking local business owners if they need some help. If you’re the organized type and prefer to plan these things, then there a few different websites you can try, but we’ve always used Help Exchange to organize our volunteering jobs in advance.

2. Bar & Restaurant Staff – Waiter/Waitress, Chef, Kitchen Assistant, Bartender

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 9

If you want to do a little work just to offset the cost of travel, but without cleaning beds and toilets, you can always get a bar and waiter gig in a local restaurant. This could be for a small hourly salary or just for free meals, which is what we did in India.  We were eating dinner in Duck ‘N’ Chill in Agonda, Goa. The food was so good; we asked if we could work there! We had amazing food all week and made some great friends who we are still in touch with nearly a year later!

3. Yoga Teacher or Holistic Health Practitioner

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 1The White Monkey’s Yoga Class in Ollantaytambo, Peru

It’s said that there are only two things you can be sure of in this life; death and taxes! Well, I can add one more to the list – Yoga.  No matter where in the world you go, you’ll always find at least one or two people who have done or want to do yoga. It’s a mobile skill that can be utilized in some different ways, anywhere in the world.

All you need to set up a yoga class is a space big enough for 4 or 5 people and of course, the knowledge to teach. So get some bright-colored baggy pants and start quoting Gandhi as you understand it! We studied an intensive teacher training program with Shri Kali Ashram in Galgibaga, South Goa. Highly recommended for a down to Earth introduction to Yoga and traditional Indian spirituality.

4. Massage Therapist

Everyone loves a massage! Wherever you are in the world, find a good, accredited teacher and get yourself certified. You can easily charge $20 for a 30min massage, more if you specialize in something that isn’t usually available. We trained in Ayurveda Massage Therapy in Rishikesh, India, with Dr. Vinod at Ayuskarma. Now that we’re in Peru we have a massage table, a therapy room, oil heater and special Indian herbs, although you can be a mobile masseuse with as little as a bottle of oil and some skillful hands – preferably your own!

5. Artist – Tattoo, Paintings

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 2
Japanese Backpacker-turned-paint artist in Koh Pah Ngan, Thailand

Got an artistic flair? Use it! Most tourist hot spots have some artisan market where local and foreign artists demonstrate and sell their skills to travelers and holidaymakers. We can’t paint or draw so we just don’t!

6. Jewelry Maker

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 3Hippie Artist in Anjuna Market, Goa, India

As above really. The great thing about this type of skill is that your work will change and adapt to your location depending on what materials you can find in different places.

7. Fruit Picker / Farmworker

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 10Fruit Picking- Photo by: Sakiusa Lesuma

Most common in Australia and New Zealand, agricultural work can not only earn you enough to keep going but in some cases can give you some serious earnings. Some tips we’ve received from fellow travelers – Learn the seasonal trends for the various crops; find jobs where you are paid per kilo; work hard!

8. Busker or Street Performer

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 4Street Performer in Arequipa, Peru- Photo by Leo Montes

If you have the passion for music, magic tricks, a rare skill or just a knack for making a spectacle of yourself, then people will probably be prepared to throw coins at you in the street!

9. Marketing – Flyering for Bars/Hostels

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 5Yes, you’ll be giving away fliers for these kinds of events – in exchange for bed or maybe a beer!

It’s dirty, thankless work, but if you have a face, love standing in the street talking to yourself and hassling people into bars with bad jokes and sales spiel then this is for you!!! We have no idea what these jobs pay, but it can’t be worth it, so it’s at the bottom of the list!

10. Tour Leader – Party Boat and Pub Crawl Guide

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 6The God of Parties, Party Boat Guide in Hanoi, Vietnam

11. Go off as a liveaboard guide

The party might not be the best, but you get to see some of the most amazing places in the world. Go off as a liveaboard dive guide, and remember it for the rest of your life.

Oceans Edge Key West Hotel & Marina

You’ll dive every day, have fun with guests and eat wonderful food, all while being paid to do it. The only problem, you’ll sometimes be sailing for several weeks at a time. Still, once you go live-a-board you’ll never go back.

There’s only one thing lower than ‘street harassment, own ’ and that’s the Party Boat Guy.  Loud, obnoxious and in a long-term relationship with ace.  The good news is that the only qualifications you need for this job are a loud voice, the ability to pressure teenagers into downing cheap shots and a penchant for sexually transmitted infections.  Party Boat Guy – Because everyone loves organized fun, right!?!

TOP 10 Practical Travel Jobs for Long-Term Backpackers 7

There are more job opportunities on the road but you have to invest in certification, or maybe above average skills or even years of experience: Scuba Diving Coach, Surfer Coach, Professional Photographer, etc

Which job would you like to do? Do you have anything else to add to this list?

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32 thoughts on “TOP 11 Practical Travel Jobs to Support Your Backpacking Life

  1. a travel job that i can probably do among the list is either a receptionist, waitress or a fruit picker/farmer. i have always wanted to try to be a fruit picker! i also did some waitress job in Japan when I was there to study. I did not receive any salary but I get free authentic Japanese food! The best!

    1. WoW! that’s really cool Princess, just remembered our India days where we did the same thing! Haha! good old days!

  2. Hi katch I hope I have the guts to travel too.. I’m just a plain employee and I also have dream to travel.. I hope I still have chance to do it right away.. I’m still saving for the start up.. Wish me luck..

    1. That’s okay Abby I know you’ll be able to travel soon! just be positive okay? the universe will make it work 🙂

  3. Hi Kach, thanks for the very interesting and useful article.

    I did a 3 weeks Thai massage course last year and I was thinking of using my skills on the road at some point. What I was wondering is: how do you set up/get started with your services while travelling? I mean: what about the local laws? Did you have any problems? How do you find a place to offer your services? How do you promote yourself?

    I was thinking to travel to South America next and thinking to stop a bit longer in destinations where there’s a lot of trekking and sore muscles… what do you think? 🙂

    Safe travels. Enjoy.


    1. Hello Kate! It depends on the country you’re going.. if you decide to stay longer then of course you have to get the work visa, you can also apply for the business visa so you can do business.

      We have a website and all of the details are there (, we usually promote our services to local Expat communities.. join the Facebook groups.

      Yeah check out south america but I suggest you go and join FB groups first and ask from there. you might meet business owners who can help you with the work permit etc,

      1. Hi,

        I just your reply it now.

        Thanks so much for the helpful info.

        Hope to see you on the road one day. Take care. 🙂


  4. Great article! So helpful x I just have a question, if you want to work at a hostel/restaurant, wouldn’t you need some kind of work visa? Ahhh your life <3 I'm so inggit.

  5. Im not sure if my last comment posted. Im tempted to do this. I just dont know where to start. I have to save first though. I think i can do the first two. I have zero talent and no artistic bone at all. Hahaha

    1. Hi Christine, me too, no artistic skill at all! I suggest you invest on certifications instead!x

  6. Hi there! Good list. I also read about starting a travel blog (not only as a hobby but also to fund your travels with sponsors but I’m not sure how much luck you may need to achieve that… there is so much fish in the sea!).
    I am a native Spanish speaker. Do you think teaching the language is something doable?
    We’ll start backpackingin Asia on January and probably heading to Oceania later on 🙂
    Keep up the good work guys!

    1. Hello, we’ve just started but I know you can still do something to earn- it’s passion though! Yes, in Vietnam a lot of people were looking for Spanish teachers so you’ll definitely be able to find teaching gigs there!! =) Thank you for reading Anna! x

  7. This is a good read. thanks guys. I’m also a Pinay married to a British English teacher! We have done quite a lot of travelling together before we got married but not to the extent of what you guys are doing; not even close! (so jealous). We would love to do more travelling again after the hubby retires from his day job and are planning to retire in the Philippines eventually. Would be interesting to meet up with you guys there in a few years’ time(?)! You two just reminds me of our ‘crazy’ travelling days when we were younger – 25-yrs or so ago!

    1. Hello Suzy, yay! Thank you so much. Whereabouts in the UK you’re based? We plan to go back and settle in Pinas but maybe few more years! Thank you for reading!! x

  8. very useful! i’m right now at a hostel but I’m really thinking on picking fruit next summer… good income! 😛

    1. Yay Rihla! Where are you working now? Which country? We plan to go to Oceania next to try picking fruit! Remember the season and choose a job that pays per kilo! yay!

      1. I’m working in a hostel in Santiago, Chile. Yeah Oceania sounds perfect for frui picking… New Zealand has been in my bucket list so many years already, i should go for it 😉

  9. I am 20 and just got my license as a teacher here in PHL but, I’ve always had thoughts on travelling and do stuffs as a means of getting by wherever i would be. I just donno where and how to start… funds, jobs, etc. This is really helpful !! thanks xx

    1. Hello Kim! Congratulations with your license, but when you decide to teach abroad, it’s better if you have a TEFL or CELTA certificate. TEFL you can do it online! I’m writing a new article on what you should do to prepare for your trip!x

  10. Those are some really helpful info, thanks!! One question though. I’m a musician, so I find performing on the streets a really cool thing to do to earn on my travels. But wouldn’t I get in trouble with the authorities if do that?

    1. Hello Zac, if you’ll do that in UK or Europe you might cuz you need a permit but if you’ll do it in Asia or South America, people might just be impressed with you! Not a biggie issue, you can even perform in any public transportation!

  11. Informative post. Many wanted to travel but the fear of running out of funds is what keeps them from doing it. This post may change it.

    1. Thanks Vanessa for reading!Yay!! You can always earn money on the road, we’ve found more opportunity while travelling. But of course it should be legal as not to affect the travelling lifestyle! x

    1. Yay! Thanks Hayley! Hope to meet you somewhere! We plan to build our own alternative healing resort in the Philippines, hope you can visit us there! After few years though! x

  12. Great read. One question though. …….I’m a certified massage therapist but would you get into trouble by making money? Would be great to do though to make my travels longer as I’m a year to late for the whv

    1. Hello Hayley, are you Thai Massage Specialist, Swedish or what? Yes, you can work! If you’ll go to India, Thailand or here in South America, you’ll always find an alternative health community! Not an issue making money as long as you won’t do it full time or work for big companies then you have to apply for work visa. =)

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.