Odd Jobs While Travelling

Travelling can be expensive, and getting all the places you want to go can seem like a financially daunting task. There are smart ways to cut back on costs—travelling light, staying in hostels, haggling, buying a cheap used vehicle that you can sell before you leave somewhere, and lots of other little tricks. You probably know a few already 😉

One thing you might not have considered that can keep costs down while travelling is bartering. Sometimes you can trade items you have collected in previous travels for an item you require in your current locale. People are always in the market for foreign goods; I have found that electronics and designer clothing tend to be popular. But if you don’t have anything worth their while on you, you may be overlooking something very obvious: yourself. If your translation skills might come in handy somewhere—say, at a restaurant where customers appear to be arguing over the bill—you can offer to help resolve the problem for a discount on your meal.   I’ve had people come up to me and ask directions to a tourist friendly location. Instead of giving them directions and sending them on their way, I’ve often offered to be a tour guide/translator and tagged along (usually for the price of admission or a meal). If you are comfortable enough with your surroundings, the people who have approached you, and the language, it is definitely worth a shot.

Something else that works for me is offering labor in exchange for something. I stayed at a hostel last year that looked quite run down on the outside but was surprisingly clean inside. The owner explained to me that her husband used to do all the maintenance while she handled the cleaning and that since he passed away, she had barely been able to manage. I looked through his tools and discovered a paint sprayer and an air compressor. I offered to power wash the outside and repaint if she’d let me stay there for a month and purchased the paint herself. She readily agreed, and I got to work. It was a two story building, but not very large, so it only took me a couple of days to get the walls ready to paint.

The paint sprayer was one of the best paint sprayers I’d ever used; it had a reverse nozzle to prevent clogging, it had very little overspray, and I got the whole building done in just a day. It was surprisingly easy to clean, too. I got everything put back in pretty much the same condition I found it all in. I think the owner was a bit surprised at the short amount of time it took me to do everything—about a work week—and then had to give me free room and board for another three and a half weeks, but her business doubled over that time, so…I don’t think she felt she could rightly complain. The best part was that I got to add another stop on my travels on that trip with the money I saved.

Definitely keep an eye out in your travels for ways that you can use your unique experiences and knowledge to make your travels cheaper and easier. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities that present themselves!