How To Earn Extra Money for Travel

Looking for ideas on how to earn extra money for travel? Read on for some creative side hustles I’ve picked up over the years. These have helped to fund my love for being on the road.

One of the questions that I get asked the most is HOW I afford to travel. The people asking me this question aren’t necessarily my Insta friends. I know they have already mastered their own personal side hustles to fund their lifestyle. The people asking me are usually my parents, co-workers or friends of friends.

I thought I’d share some of the ways I bring in extra cash on top of my day job.  Some of these won’t be applicable to every single person. But hopefully it can inspire you to start earning some extra money of your own!

Packing a lunch to work

The age-old trick of brown paper bagging it. I’m sure you’re thinking this is a no brainer but allow me to jump into a little more detail. I actually have co-workers who buy their lunch out EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. “Oh but I don’t have time to pack a lunch”, “I never go grocery shopping”, “I’m too lazy”, or my favorite “It’s only a few dollars more to eat out.” I love my lazy weeks where I never get to the grocery store or meal prep the weekend prior but to do this is on a regular basis would kill my wallet.

If you make a habit out of packing your lunch, it quickly turns into routine. Let’s say on average I’m spending $3 a meal to prep at home vs. $10 a meal for take out (Chicago prices are no joke). And let’s assume a 49 week work year (after Holiday time off), that’s a yearly savings of $1,695! I’ll take the few minutes of prep work each night in exchange for an international trip each year, thank you very much!

Selling my clothes on Poshmark & Mercari

Thank the lord for modern day smart phone apps. What used to turn into hand-me-downs to my little cousins now turns into cash. I’m not ashamed to admit I love shopping. I was also a bit of a hoarder through my college years and early 20’s.

Every time I would do a sweep of my closet I found myself asking, “Hmm, what if I need to wear that again some day?” LOL. Now with apps like Poshmark and Mercari questions like that are easier to answer. Goodbye old clothes, hello guilt free wardrobe replenishment.

I can’t say I make a second income selling old clothes, but it’s a nice supplement to my other side hustles. Plus it declutters my space at the same time. In my first year of using these apps I pulled in over $1,000. Out with the old, in with the new!

Renting my car out

This is the most passive form of secondary income that I have. The easiest way I explain this to people is that it’s  like Air B&B but for your car. This obviously won’t work for everyone but I’m a car owner who also lives in a city with reliable public transit. I use public transit to get to work and to get pretty much everywhere else I need to go. The only reason I keep my car is to get home to Michigan for the Holiday’s or for short weekend road trips.

The app I use is called Turo but there are other ones out there on the market. If you’re nervous about handing your keys over to a perfect stranger, rest assured they offer a great insurance policy. In my first year using the app, I made just over $4,500. This not only helps pay for insurance and maintenance but puts a ton of extra cash in my pocket with very little work.

Liquor promotions

This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store and seen people pouring liquor samples out for customers, then you know what I’m talking about. My best friend is the queen of liquor promotion events and got me into this a few years ago.

As my full time job has become more financially stable, I haven’t had to rely on working these events recently. However, the pay is great ($20-$30/hour), requires very little on-boarding training and is very simple work for the return. If you’re good at conversation with strangers and have an interest in the adult beverage industry, this may be a good fit for you! I suggest searching on Craigslist in your city for “liquor promotions” or “brand promotions.”

Case studies

I know what you’re probably thinking. No, this isn’t some weird drug or medical related testing like you see in the movies. I wouldn’t jeopardize my health with something that extreme! This is essentially something that is ran by a 3rd party research firm who works with companies that want to collect consumer insights on their products.

Most of the ones I’ve attended have been food or personal care/beauty related but they do have studies for technology, finances, etc. It’s an extremely easy concept. You show up, trial the product they are collecting data on (either by eating it, using it or watching a commercial about it), and provide your honest feedback. There is no right or wrong answer.

Sometimes they collect your answers right on a the computer and other times it has been through group discussion. Either way it’s a very easy way to make money. Some that I have attended in the past paid up to $200 for 2 hours of my time. Easy, peasy.

Monetizing my Instagram

If you landed on this blog post, it’s probably because you follow me on Instagram. And if you follow me on Instagram, it’s likely that you’re also a travel blogger/influencer/lifestyle enthusiast yourself – or aspiring to be! If that sounds like you, did you know you can monetize your Instagram too?

I landed my first brand collaboration 6 months into this journey with less than 10K followers. I then landed my first PAID collaboration 5 months later with less than 15K followers.

While I’m still considered a “micro-influencer”, I’ve had almost a dozen different brand collaborations and was recently invited to be an on-going ambassador for a brand that I love. This means I receive quarterly gifts from them in exchange for posts instead of it being a one-time deal.

when it comes to brand collaborations, make sure it’s a brand you actually use or trust. You absolutely need to feel comfortable telling your followers to buy from the brand. Also find ways to get creative about promoting them either through your actual content or through your caption. This way you’re not spamming your followers with too many forced ads that scream “I’m just doing this to get paid.” Instead, you want have a more natural feel to it – something that screams “yes I enjoy using this brand and you can too!” I wrote an entire blog post here about how to become an efficient content creator if you’re looking for more tips!

Hopefully this gives you more ideas on how you can pull in extra money for travel or other hobbies. Been eyeing a flight to your dream destination? Start cleaning out that closet! Think you have what it takes to be an influencer? Start working on that insta-feed and then reach out to brands with confidence! Let’s achieve our financial goals together!



  1. December 5, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    Love your blog ! Keep the good job Jen

    • ontheroadwithjen
      December 21, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and for the kind words Ivette!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *