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As you all know, traveling is expensive! That’s why so many of our videos revolve around points and miles, and how we can use credit cards to earn rewards to offset the cost of our travel. In this post and video, I want to talk about some ways that you can earn money through traveling, specifically through travel side hustles. Most of these methods are active forms of income, while the last one is more passive.
This isn’t an income generating side-hustle, but it can be an effective way to offset the cost of your accommodations. If you’ve even seen the film “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, you probably have an idea of how this works. However, rather than swapping houses, you can go on websites to find people who need help housesitting or pet sitting while they are away. This often means that you can stay in their home, much like an Airbnb, though you’ll have to complete some daily tasks like watering plants, getting the mail, or caring for a pet.
Three sites that offer housesitting opportunities are MindMyHouse, Nomador, and HouseCarers. Keep in mind that these sites typically require you to have a membership to the site, which starts at $20 per year. Though Nomador has a Discovery option which lets you browse listings before committing to a membership plan.
The drawbacks to housesitting are that you’ll have to adjust your travel schedule to the homeowner’s needs and schedule. Also, depending on the situation, you’ll give up some of your freedoms. Though since lodging is one of the largest expenses while traveling, this could be an effective way to offset the cost.
2. Transporting goods via air travel:
This one travel side-hustle that I’ve heard a lot about, but have never tried. Being a courier has existed for many years, but it’s even easier now with sites like Airmule and Grabr.
Airmule is a courier service where you transport a box or container as part of your baggage. You’ll register on the site and enter your travel information. You’ll then enter your trip itinerary into their system. If you’re selected, you’ll be given a box at the airport with photos, descriptions, and documentation on the contents. You then check-in the bag as your own. Once you get to your destination, you’ll retrieve it from the baggage claim and pass it to the Airmule representative. You’re not delivering anything. Instead, you’re using your baggage allowance to transfer a box or container from one airport to another.
Airmule is currently limited to only a few airports. It looks like the service is geared toward transporting items to and from China, but the service seems to be expanding to new locations. To use the service, it’s currently limited to California or New York flights to and from Chinese cities. Each Airmule Travel Box earns you $150 each way and travelers are allowed up to four boxes per trip.
Liability and risk
The first thing that came to mind when I was researching the service is, “what if an airport or government official questions me about the package?” Airmule advises in their frequently asked questions that you should tell the official that you are an on-board courier and present the digital manifest. Airmule even says that travelers have the right to inspect their Airmule Travel Boxes before check-in.
That being said, I do think that there is risk involved with transporting someone else’s goods. You would need to weigh the risks and determine if it’s the right thing for you. I would have reservations with transporting items aren’t mine. Even if I know what the contents are and believe that there are controls in place by the company, I wouldn’t want to be accountable for anything that could be tampered. And since some countries have extremely strict penalties if you were charged with smuggling goods, I don’t know if it’s worth the risk.
Despite my concerns and reservations, Airmule does have a lot of great reviews online. Again, it’s determining your comfort level with it. I still don’t think that I would try it since I’m more risk-averse when traveling. Since you often don’t the same legal protections when you’re in another country, I worry about what could happen if someone tampered with items inside a box that I’m personally transporting.
This leads me to another service that might address some of your concerns with Airmule. It’s called Grabr. Grabr is a similar service, but a bit more personal and hands-on. The service links both shoppers and travelers. Suppose someone in Brazil wants to buy a pair of sneakers that are only available or cheaper in the US. And suppose I had an upcoming trip to Brazil. The service would connect us and see if it makes sense for me to purchase the item and deliver it to the buyer. We can agree on a price on the platform and Grabr can handle the payments digitally. When I arrive, I can meet the person in a public place and Grabr will send me the payment. There’s no physical exchange of money.
Grabr also promotes the service as a way to not only earn money, but also connect travelers with locals. It looks like an interesting and compelling way to earn money. It’s more involved than Airmule since you have to shop, transport, and deliver a product to someone else. Though since you’re buying the product, it feels safer to me since you can vouch for what you’re carrying. Though the drawback is that you do have to deliver the product to the buyer, which Grabr recommends doing in a public place.
Do your homework
If you do decide to use Grabr, you want to make sure to research the local laws. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re transporting a good that could be restricted or illegal at your travel destination. For example, I know that drones can be complicated when traveling. Some countries won’t even let you bring them in. There are even stories of travelers being forced to check-in their drone at the airport and pay a fee. You would expect that the buyer would know the legal situation. Though to be safe, I would research the local laws and restrictions of your destination.
3. Transporting good or pets via ground travel:
While the two services above are for international air travelers, there is a similar service for those of you in the US that are taking a road trip. It’s called Roadie, and it allows you to connect with other people and businesses that need something transported across the country. This could be anything from products, furniture, or even a pet. It’s like Postmates, but geared for long distance deliveries.
The site claims that you can earn up to $60 for a local delivery and $650 for a long-haul delivery. Roadie claims to work with several big name brands, but also allows people to register on the site if they need something delivered. Roadie provides up to $500 of insurance protection for free on every gig and has options to increase the coverage up to $10,000.
If you have an upcoming road trip, you might consider registering on the site to see what’s available on your route. It could be an easy way to make some additional income while traveling.
This might or might not be something that you’re interested in trying. Though if you love kids and want to travel for free, it can be an awesome opportunity. Companies like Adventure Nannies can help connect you with families that are traveling and looking for a babysitter to accompany them. Compensation includes an hourly rate, along with your meals, accommodations, and transportation.
There are obviously a lot of things that you would need to consider before pursuing this travel side hustle. Most of all, you would need to enjoy working with kids and have flexibility. Rates on the site start at $15 per hour. And though you will be working while traveling, you should have some time for yourself. The Travel Placement Counselor at Adventure Nannies will help you negotiate a salary and create an agreement with the host family. This should give you some structure to your work schedule.
Again, this isn’t going to be an attractive option for a lot of people. But if you’re someone who enjoys working with kids, this could be an opportunity to travel around the world for free.
5. Selling stock video:
This is a travel side-hustle that I am very familiar with. As you all know, I like to include a lot of b-roll in my videos. I use these videos to help illustrate what I am discussing. It takes a lot of time to incorporate this footage, but I think it helps make the videos more interesting. Also, I secretly use it to cover up cuts that aren’t smooth. I probably have OCD when it comes to editing, but I strive for our videos to look professional and visually appealing. Hopefully, that comes across when you’re watching our content.
Building my b-roll library
As a result of my OCD, that also means that I am constantly capturing footage that I think I’ll need in the future, especially when I’m traveling. In fact, I’ve built a huge library of b-roll footage on my server at home. And while I use a lot of it for our channel, I’ve also been able to take that footage and sell it to stock video companies.
I’m not going to lie. It’s a lot of work, but if you’re someone who is capturing interesting video footage while traveling, especially with a stabilized camera or drone, you can often use it as stock video footage. The process entails editing the footage, color grading it, and then curating the clip. Curating means determining the right description and keywords for the clips so that it’s searchable online. Though once you get your clips online, they are basically waiting to be sold. I’ve discovered that oftentimes, the same clips will sell over and over again. This makes it a nice little passive income stream.
Using Blackbox to sell stock videos
I personally use a service called BlackBox. It’s a platform that allows me to collaborate with other creators who can help me with parts of the process. For example, if you’re not comfortable with color grading or curating, you can partner with others on the platform who can do it for you for a percentage of your revenue.
BlackBox offers my clips to five of the largest stock video agencies, including Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Pond 5, Storyblocks, and VimeoStock. Rather than having to upload to each service individually, BlackBox handles the process for only 15% of your net sales. The time savings alone is worth the cost of the service.
How much can I earn from selling stock video?
In terms of prices, 4K video clips can sell for around $200. Though most of my sales have been lower resolution versions of my clips. The stock video services will offer your clips at different resolutions in order to get sales, even if it’s not at the maximum resolution and price.
Have you tried any of these travel side hustles? Do you have any other suggestions?