If you’re hoping to hit the road and travel long-term but don’t have a substantial savings account, working on the road and earning an income is the next best solution. But can you actually get paid to (adventure) travel?
The short answer is, yes. It’s not quite like what most people imagine, and it’s not about becoming a famous YouTuber or an Instagram megastar. In fact, you don’t even need to use social media at all and still get paid to travel. Here is how:
Freelance Tour Guide
Granted, it’s not that easy to find work as a freelance motorcycle tour guide, but doing it in 2022 may be more feasible than ever. Plenty of motorcycle tour companies have had to downsize and lay off some of their staff, and a lot of them are unable to pay tour guides full time. This is where you come in – as you travel, look for open motorcycle tour guide jobs and apply for some freelance work. Big tour companies like Edelweiss are the best place to start, but don’t discount the smaller ones, either. You never know who might be looking for help. Even if you don’t see any open job vacancies on the tour company’s website, shoot them an email and offer your services; they may have some openings for co-guides or one-off tours.
If you plan to stay in each country longer, you can offer your own motorcycle tours. Find a local bike rental agency, agree on a rental package, design some scenic routes, and advertise the tour. If it works out, you can use the same format in different countries as you travel along.
Freelance Adventure Guide
Motorcycle tours aside, you can also look for jobs in the adventure travel section. Driving expedition vehicles, leading hikes, working as a rafting guide, a surfing teacher, or a mountaineering guide are all viable options. As you travel, plan ahead a little and contact adventure travel agencies in each country. You never know what might come up.
Alternatively, you can create and sell your own tours. For example, using AirBnB experiences, you can take people on walking photography tours in cities or offer guided trail hiking.
If you’re hoping to work online instead of finding travel jobs on the go, Upwork is a good place to start. Upwork is an online job platform for freelancers, and you can find work ranging from CAD design to copywriting to teaching English or to project managing. When you’re just starting out, it’s a little tough to find well-paying gigs, but once you get a few good reviews and build a bit of a portfolio, you can comfortably make $45-$65 an hour and more on Upwork. This isn’t directly related to travel, but it does allow your to earn an income on the road.
Create and Sell Virtual Tours
Due to what seems like a never-ending Groundhog Day of 2020 (thanks to COVID regs), plenty of people were stuck at home and unable to travel—but they’re still thirsty for adventure. More borders are opening every month, but for those who still can’t travel, create and sell virtual adventure tours taking people with you on your trips. It’s hard to start earning a good income instantly this way, and you’ll need to invest in things like an Insta360 camera or other video gear. However, as you build it and get more people on board, this could be a decent side hustle to keep you afloat financially.
Join the Rally Circus
When looking for work on the road, your biggest asset is your flexibility, which can make you very attractive to motorcycle or adventure tour operators: you can be anywhere, anytime. If guiding tours isn’t your cup of tea, however, there are other travel jobs that require complete flexibility and offer adventure. If you’re mechanically minded, for example, see if you can join rally racing assistance teams. No, you probably won’t get into the Honda factory racing mechanics’ team, but there are plenty of smaller rally assistance teams catering to the privateers. They’re much easier to get into. The pay probably won’t be that great, but you’ll get to travel and see the rally racing world up close and personal.
If you’ve already covered a few countries or continents, you can get paid to share your experiences as a travel planner or consultant. Creating adventure travel itineraries online or working as a remote travel consultant is now getting more and more popular, and you can work as much or as little as you like from anywhere in the world. You can either look for adventure travel planner jobs online or start your on side business, especially as adventure motorcycling is a very specific niche and you likely already have some contacts and connections to get started.