I’m part of roughly one billion (read: 12) travel-related Facebook groups, and at least once a week someone posts something to the effect of “what do you guys do to make money for traveling??? I’m super broke and could use some extra cash!!!”
(Side note, the other type of post I see once a week in these groups is essentially the exact opposite:”help!! My husband and I have only $6K to spend on a honeymoon, he wants Tahiti and I want the Bahamas, and we just don’t know which one to take!!!!”
I’d just like to say, if this sounds like you, then your life must be filled with much strife and hardship, and I just don’t know how you cope with every new day, you brave, brave soul.)
But if you’re a normal person, and you’re looking for creative ways to make extra money instead of worrying about how you’re going to spend it, then this post is for you.
Because of the Internet, we now have a million resources available to us, which includes a million platforms on which to pick up a little extra work and a million platforms to help us save money on flights, hotels, etc.
However, since there are probably literally a million resources, some are more legit than others. Like, getting paid to create a PowerPoint presentation on Fiverr? Super legit. Doing a (clothed) photo shoot with a Craigslist photographer in which you get paid in drinks as well as cash? Maybe not so legit. But it made for a good story. Ask me about it if you see me.
Below is a list of Internet resources that are 100 percent legit, and I know, because I’ve used them all.
Every app listed is available for both Android and iPhone.
1. Sell your skills on Fiverr
Are you an aspiring graphic designer? Maybe you’re a songwriter. Or maybe you can translate something from English to German in record time. Maybe you’re just really, really good at drawing trees.
No matter what skill you have, there’s someone on Fiverr.com who wants to pay you to do it.
Basically, decide which skill you want to market, and create a gig on the site. “I will draw you a very accurate portrait of a sycamore,” for example.
As the name suggests, lots of gigs on the site are sold for $5, but you can sell your gigs for $10 or even $60 if it’s a larger project that merits that. Browse the site first to see if anyone is already doing what you want to do, how much they’re doing it for and how qualified they are.
Keep in mind that Fiverr takes $1 for every $5, so if your gig is $5, you’ll make $4, if it’s $50, you’ll make $40, etc.
I’ve been Fiverr-ing for several months now and it’s decent side cash and super fun. Wanna give it a shot? Sign up for Fiverr here.
2. Get money back from the stuff you buy online with Earny
If you shop online a lot, you’ve probably heard of price protection.
(It’s cool if you haven’t, keep reading!)
Let’s say you’re a bridesmaid in your cousin Julia’s wedding in September. Julia’s being a bit of a bridezilla and wants everyone to purchase one specific dress that she found online for $300. You’re reluctant, but you buy it anyway, on Website #1.
Three weeks later, you see the exact same dress on Website #2 for $250, which obviously is a way better deal.
A lot of credit card companies and online stores will give you that money back if the same item is sold in another store within a certain number of days (usually around 90), but in order for that to happen, you have to do a bunch of paperwork and then find and submit the receipts for each item to the store or credit card company, and it takes forever.
However! There’s an app called Earny that will automatically give you money back when the price drops on something you bought online. No paperwork required.
After you set it up with your CitiBank or Chase credit card info, it then tracks all of your online purchases. If something you bought drops in price, it will automatically refund you the difference to the card you used for the purchase, without you having to do anything.
So, in the case of the bridesmaid dress for Julia’s wedding, you’d get $50 back. Except the company takes a 25 percent cut, so really it would be closer to $37.50, but that’s still $37.50 that, like, magically un-spends itself, so that’s pretty cool.
Want to start Earning? (Hehe.)
3. Let go of the past on Letgo
This is the only app on this list that sort of depends on where you are in the world, because if there aren’t a lot of people using it yet in your city or country, there will be less people to sell to and buy from. Also, as far as I can tell, Letgo only works in the U.S. and Canada.
Letgo makes it super easy for you to sell stuff you don’t want anymore, or buy stuff you need for a cheaper price than it would be if you just went to the store. You take a picture of the thing you want to sell – chair, lamp, Smashmouth CD, boots you never wear, etc. – through the app, assign it a price, post it and boom! That’s it. Super easy. The app uses GPS to display your posting to everyone else with the app in your area.
Remember to exercise a normal amount of caution re: stranger danger when meeting up with people from the Internet to sell them your stuff. If you get a weird feeling about the person who wants to buy your lamp, suggest to meet them at a nearby Starbucks with the lamp instead of them coming to your house.
4. Get cheap flight deals through TravelPirates
The folks over at TravelPirates are really good at finding “error fares,” which is basically when an airline screws up and posts a flight for way cheaper than it normally would be. If you download the app and set up their messaging service, TravelPirates will send you a Facebook message as soon as an error fare is posted. It’s also just a good resource for finding flight deals in general, error fare or not.
5. …and then book said cheap flights on Skyscanner
Skyscanner is great because you plug in where you’re leaving from, where you wanna go to, and the dates you’re looking at going, and it quickly scours the Internet for the cheapest airlines and shows you good flight deals.
I know what you’re thinking: “Has this girl never heard of Kayak?”
Of course I have, and Kayak’s dope. I just end up using Skyscanner more because it’s the most flexible in terms of putting in a general date instead of a specific one. Most airline aggregators don’t handle “I want to go in July-ish“ very well, but that’s like Skyscanner’s specialty.
You can just click “cheapest month” if you know you want to go to, say, Thailand sometime next year but you don’t care when, as long as it’s cheap, and it can suggest flights for ya.
Skyscanner and Kayak also have this really cool thing called price alerts.
Say you’re going from California to Montreal in August for Julia’s wedding (her husband’s Canadian, I just decided) but you want to book the absolute cheapest flight. Go into Skyscanner and search for a flight out of whichever airport is closest to you (you can also just type in your city if the airport isn’t important. Airport-ant? Sorry too easy) and into Montreal around the weekend of the wedding. Then click “set price alert.” Whenever that price rises or falls, Skyscanner will let you know immediately via email or Facebook Messenger. If the flight suddenly drops by $40, get on it.
Skyscanner is not an airline, so once you find a flight you want, it then takes you to that airline’s site to book it.
6. Save money on accommodation with Airbnb referrals
Got a friend who hasn’t used Airbnb before? Send them your referral code. Not only will they get some money off their first stay at an Airbnb, but you’ll get some credit to use, too. Money off accommodation for everyone! It’s a win-win!
Side note, something really weird happened a few months ago when my Airbnb account got hacked and I was getting notifications send to my phone in Chinese. Then I checked and someone had used my credit card info to book a property somewhere in China. Airbnb customer service was super awesome and helped me fix it. Keep that password secure!
Speaking of, hey there, you want some money off your first Airbnb stay? Here ya go.
The #1 way to make extra travel money is just to be super resourceful.
A couple of months ago, I saw a Facebook post asking for outgoing people to be a mascot for something, and that’s how I ended up spending a whole weekend inside of a very hot mascot costume shaped like a blood drop, bopping around from room to room of a pharmacy convention, dancing inside my costume and posing for selfies with convention goers.
The convention’s main objective was to convince people to donate blood, as there was also a blood drive. I mean, if a dancing blood drop came up to you and told you donating blood saves lives, who wouldn’t want to donate?
Apparently, the blood drop costume’s been around and used for conventions for several years, and I’m the first girl to ever wear it, so that’s kinda cool. I’m like Amelia Earheart or Mulan. Except not really at all.
Is there a super dope money-saving app or site I missed? My bad. Tell me in the comments!