"How do you have money to travel?"
I frequently get asked this question. As a lifelong nonprofit professional and a millennial with student loan debt, any discretionary income is a luxury. Beyond being diligent about budgeting and saving, I've created several sources of income throughout the years that helped to fund my travels.
Here are five of my favorite "side hustles" that can help to finance that next trip!
1) Provide Referrals
This is an such an overlooked way to get extra cash and requires little time. Companies are always looking to hire good people and the best way to do that is through its own employees. Check with your HR to see how much you can earn by referring a friend or contact to an open position - your friend gets a job and you can snag anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars!
Company doesn't offer anything? Recruit for other companies that do! For example, Vecna pays you $4000 for a good referral whether you work there or not!
Finished a professional development class? Enjoyed a tour? Love your dentist? Those businesses and services you've already paid for likely have referral bonuses. I've racked up a list of my own Deals & Discounts of my satisfied customer experiences here.
2) Participate in Research Studies
When I was in college, graduate students and professors were always looking for research subjects. Typically paying $20/hour or more, the studies could consist of playing computer games or answering surveys. Personally, I don't do anything evasive (like blood tests), but to each their own.
Participation requirements are sometimes very general (such as healthy adults between the ages of 18-45) or very specific (right-handed females who drink an energy drink a day), but can be lucrative. The most recent one I did was for McLean Hospital - $200 for a day of playing games and a free MRI scan.
Beyond online research databases, check your local hospitals, university newspapers, community boards, and even public transportation ads.
3) Launch a Side Business or Freelance
This is my favorite type of side hustling. Outside of your day job, what are you passionate about? Or at least what can you do outside the 9-5? Maybe it's graphic design or pet-sitting. Maybe you promote networking or nightlife events and get people to attend. Try things out and see what works for you!
For me, I always had a knack for resume writing and getting jobs. As part of a new year's resolution, I launched my career consulting service aimed at helping young professionals jobs - go side hustling!
4) Sell Old and Unnecessary Stuff
Travelers typically have less material possessions that the average person (except for their storage boxes of souvenirs of course!) and selling is the way to go to de-clutter and get extra cash.
Have old textbooks? Send them in with free shipping to Textbook Rush or Chegg. Clutter around the house? Have a garage sale or sell it on the app OfferUp. Got unused giftcards? Exchange them for cash with Gift Card Granny.
I often enter event raffles as the prizes far exceed the ticket value. $1 for a snowboard? If I win, that snowboard's getting sold!
5) Work as a Brand or Event Ambassador
This is a great way to not only get entry into cool events, but earn a decent cash flow typically anywhere from $12-$25 an hour. I worked the U.S. Open of Surfing years ago manning a keychain-making booth and earned $400 over the 4-day beach festival. In Boston, I managed a talent casting call during a weekend for $230. Not too shabby!
Gigs can be found on sites such as Craigslist or local promotion agencies. An additional plus is that if a company likes you, they'll often keep calling you back. Also note that you should never need to front money for membership or access to these events.
Of course, use proper discretion when working side businesses as you should only do whatever you are comfortable with. From some or all of these side hustles, you could earn yourself a nice vacation!
A previous version of this post was published on www.krystinastravels.com.