5 Ways to Get Paid to Travel the World

Don't let a lack of funds keep you from traveling the world. If you're willing to do a little work along the way, you can get paid to travel, instead of paying to travel. Some gigs will cover your transportation costs or your room and board; others will pay for your entire trip, or could even send you home with more money than you started with. Like the sound of that? Then, let's look at some ways to get paid to travel.

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Become a Transporter

Become a Transporter
Become a Transporter. MECKY/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Headed out on a road trip? Get paid to deliver a car, furniture, freight or even animals to their specified destination. If you know you'll have extra space in your vehicle, or you have a trailer hitch that you can use to pull a boat or horse trailer, this is an easy way to earn some money towards your trip.

Websites like Auto Driveaway, list vehicles that need to be delivered across the country. The vehicle has a full tank of gas when you pick it up, and you have a set number of days to get it to its destination. While this gig doesn't pay in cash, it does allow you to skip the expense of a car rental and your first fill up.

Want to earn cash as a transporter? UShip.com allows you to bid on shipping jobs big and small. There's no cost to sign up as a carrier, and there are no special requirements to join. Anyone can be a transporter.

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Become a Mystery Shopper

Vacation Resort
Vacation Resort. Mohamed Abdulla Shafeeg/Moment/Getty Images

You've probably heard of mystery shopping before. It's when a company hires you to pose as a regular customer, so you can evaluate the service you received and report your experience back to the company. Most mystery shopping assignments involve restaurants and stores, but there are vacation mystery shop assignments, too. In most cases, these involve posing as someone interested in purchasing a time-share. You attend a time-share presentation. Then, you submit a survey afterward to let the company know if the sales staff stuck to the script. 

Payment varies from company to company, but usually includes free lodging, money towards your transportation expenses and a small fee. These types of shops go to experienced mystery shoppers, so you'll need to cut your teeth on a bunch of restaurant and store shops, before you'll even be considered for something big like this. But it's definitely something to work towards.

For every legit mystery shopping company, there are probably at least 10 scammy ones. Here's how to get started as a mystery shopper without getting scammed, and here are some of the best mystery shopping companies to work for.

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Get a Seasonal Job

Ski Resort
Ski Resort. MONTICO Lionel/hemispicture.com/hemis.fr

Popular tourist destinations need lots of temporary help during peak season. If there's somewhere you'd like to visit for an extended period of time (a ski resort or a beach town, perhaps), get a seasonal job there. You'll get to explore the area in your off hours, and you may even score free room and board as part of your compensation. When you consider the cost of peak-season lodging, that's a pretty sweet deal.

Coveted jobs go fast, so it's smart to start your search early. Here are a few places to look for seasonal jobs:

Once you get your foot in the door, and find seasonal gigs that you love, it should be easy to get rehired year-after-year.

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Get a Job on a Cruise Ship

Cruise Ship
Cruise Ship. Rawpixel/E+/Getty Images

Set sail on a cruise ship without spending a dime. Cruise lines around the world are in constant need of staff, and they need everything from entertainers and excursion guides to waitresses and housekeepers. Find a job that suits you, and you'll score pay, plus free room and board. Just know that it is hard work. You'll be expected to work long hours, and you'll receive few (if any) days off. But it's a job that comes with a gorgeous view and plenty of perks, like a special, crew-only gym, deck and activities. And with few opportunities to spend money, you're sure to come home with more cash than you left with.

To find a job on a cruise ship, try:

If there's a specific cruise line that you'd like to work for, check their website for job openings, too.

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Teach English

Teaching English
Teaching English. Dennis K. Johnson/Lonely Planet/Getty Images

Native English speakers are in high demand in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. You don't have to have a teaching certificate (or teaching experience), but you do need a bachelor's degree (in any subject) and a TESOL, TEFL or CELTA certification, which you can earn in about a month. Typically the pay isn't very good, but you can earn decent money teaching English to business people.

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Travel for Free

Travel Guides and Souvenirs
Travel Guides and Souvenirs. JGI/Tom Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

Hang on to the money that you earn traveling by finding free things to do along the way. Who knows, maybe you really will arrive home with more money than you started with.