Six Online Resources to Help You Make (And Save) A Little Money for Traveling

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.

Some of the photos came out OK though. Don’t try this at home, kids.

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.

ExpertFlyer.com - Empowering the Frequent Flyer

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.

Yes, that’s me.

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!


How To Tell That Your Friend’s Vacation Was Straight-Up #CuratedLife

The following is the joint brain child of myself and the fabulous Michelle Rick, whom you can stalk on Instagram here. Also, check out her website here

The perfect trip does not exist.

The perfect trip does not exist firstly because the perfect life does not exist, but also, shit happens when you catch flights – mosquito bites, missed planes, food poisoning, having to wear all your clothes to dodge Easy Jet fees. Anyone who describes their trip as “perfect” or “a dream” is BS-ing you at least a little.

Social media, of course, makes it super easy to create and maintain the image of a perfect trip–or even a perfect life. If you’re like us and follow a plethora of travel accounts on Instagram, it’s easy to idealize traveling and forget that even the girls perfectly posed in paradise with a pineapple paloma in their paw (that was fun) have the same travel troubles as we mere mortals. Like, if you went to Renaissance Island and didn’t take a picture of you pretending to feed a flamingo, did you even Aruba?

These days, social media makes sure we’re interconnected to the point where we’re seeing Fijian beach pictures from the vacation of a girl we haven’t talked to since the seventh grade.

Fast forward another 12 years, and the seventh grade acquaintance in question, let’s call her Mindy, is doing the tree pose in a rainforest somewhere, pricking her finger on the top of the Louvre pyramid, and adorning her Thai island pics with quotes Marilyn Monroe definitely didn’t say, and thanks to social media, you get to see it all. 

We can’t help but wonder: if Mindy really felt as #blessed as she claims to be, would she feel so compelled to convince her IG followers that this was the case? Similar to the phenomenon that couples who over-post on social media are overall not as happy as the ones who don’t.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 ways you know that your friend’s picture-perfect vacation was, for whatever reason, not perfect.

“I Really Like The Post Of That Yoga Post From That Place You Visited” #irony

1. Excessive Facebook check-ins

Anyone have that one friend who suddenly becomes a FB check-in machine once they go somewhere new and suddenly your feed is flooded with random check-ins?

You don’t need to check in twice during your layover in Cleveland – we know. You’re sitting in an airport lounge waiting for McDonald’s to open and fighting for an outlet so you can charge your phone to provide more unnecessary updates.

2. Instagrams a lot – but doesn’t Snapchat as much

Snapchat is in the moment, so it’s harder to fabricate a dope trip that way, whereas Instagram makes it easier.

3. …Or, alternatively, only posts one photo when they’re gone for a long time

There are exceptions, but if someone posts 5 pictures a week of their cat, their friends, their new shoes, etc. when they’re home in Missouri but then suddenly posts one picture for their two weeks in Amsterdam, something doesn’t add up.

4. Flowery quotes about how amazing and life-changing everything is

Your picture of you on those swings in the sea in Indonesia is cool enough. No need to accompany it with a super long quote that’s meant to be inspiring.

The aforementioned swings. Photo credit: Dennis Keller. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dennisk/

5. Documents every meal they ate/fancy cocktail they drank

Don’t get us wrong, 1-2 are acceptable. Okay, 3-4. No more than 4. But if you’ve seen one paella and sangria picture, you’ve kinda seen them all.

6. Too many selfies

If you’re off doing cool stuff, why can’t you leave your phone alone for more than 3 minutes at a time? Don’t you want to conserve battery for more than just your face?

7. Posts about how great their trip was–six months later

When you’ve posted the same picture twice with the #takemeback hashtag, you know you’re trying too hard.

8. Tagging the same random people they met at their hostel one time in posts weeks or months later – when nobody tagged them in anything

…bonus points if they use a caption like “missing my bitches from Prague.”

9. Doesn’t have any good stories about their trip when you see them in real life…

…because all the good parts (or with some people, every damn moment) is documented in their social media. It’s like a movie where all the good parts were given away in the previews. If you’ve ever stayed in a hostel, you know you haven’t really done it right until there’s at least one story you can’t put on the internet or tell your grandma.

Also, if you ask them how their trip was, they don’t tell you any stories but repeatedly assert that it was “incredible”–that’s the word people think they’re supposed to use.

10. …and yet clings to the same anecdote over and over

“You went to Olive Garden last night? Ohhhh my godddd the pasta I ate in Rome eight months ago was sooooo good I literally died.”

Photo credit: Glenn3095. https://www.flickr.com/photos/steamster/

Don’t get us wrong – there’s nothing wrong with posting about your travels on Instagram, and we’re pretty active on the ‘Gram ourselves. We just want the Mindys of the world to know that it’s OK if your trip wasn’t perfect. Sometimes, it’s the not-perfect trips that make for the better stories. Social media isn’t everything. We’d rather hear an awesome story than double-tap your Eiffel Tower pictures any day.

Do you have a friend that does this? Have you had a trip that was less than Instagram-perfect? Let us know in the comments!

TL;DR: Social media isn’t everything. We’d rather hear an awesome story than double-tap your Eiffel Tower pictures any day.