5 Ways to make money while living abroad


5 ways to make (1)

In 2011 I moved to Spain to participate in the North American Language and Culture Assistant (Auxiliares de Conversacion) program. The program is fantastic but with a limited budget it means participants get a basic monthly allowance to cover food and rent…and nothing else. So, unless you’ve saved up a ton of money beforehand, chances are you’ll blow through your “savings” after your first month of traveling and gorging on tapas. After paying a deposit on my apartment and deciding on all the European destinations I just had to visit I realized that my 700€ a month “salary” just wasn’t going to cut it. Other auxiliares in the program offered private lessons on the side for cash, so I started doing it myself. After living abroad for 5 years I’ve found more ways to supplement my income in addition to teaching…continue reading for more details.

1. English Classes

Overview: Private English classes are considered the go-to way to make extra cash by most expats. The most common types of classes requested are conversation or test preparation. Conversation classes are super easy; you just have to give your student the opportunity to practice speaking English in a real conversation. If you’re worried about running out of things to talk about you can look up current events, trends or typical English expressions to discuss. People often request English exam preparation classes too (like B1, C2, etc) so they can add “English” to their resume or qualify for a certain job. If you’re working in an academy you should have access to the practice exams and training materials a student might need for this type of class, or you can do some research online to see what materials you can get your hands on.

How do I find work? Personally, I found most of my classes through families at the school I worked at and by creating an ad on tusclasesparticulares.com. There are also tons of “virtual class” sites where you can offer conversation classes with students around the world via skype.

How much can I make? My prices were as follows: 15€ an hour for one class a week, 12.50€ an hour for 2 classes a week and 10€ an hour for 3 classes a week. If I had multiple students in a class I would lower the prices per person; 2 people an hour is 10€ each, and 3 – 5 people is 8€ each. If you have a big group of friendly, like 9 or 10 I’d charge 5€ per person per hour. Keep in mind I live in southern Spain, so in the north or in big cities you could probably charge even more.

2. AirBnb

Airbnb is another good option to make extra cash. If you have an extra room or pull out sofa in your apartment you could rent it out to travelers and earn anywhere from 20€ to 50€ or more per night. Keep in mind this isn’t exactly legal unless your landlord is cool with it and the apartment might have to be registered as a “holiday rental” in some places…a safer option could be managing Airbnb rentals for someone and getting paid in cash for your work. A lot of locals in Spain have rentals on the site but need help dealing with foreign travelers; English speakers like us are easily able to set up and manage their rental page, answer inquiries, and if you’re an auxiliare (and only work 12 hours a week) chances are you’ll have plenty of time to meet up with renters for check-in.

How do I find work? If you want to list your place as a rental all you have to do is set up an ad on airbnb.com. If you’re looking to manage properties I’d recommend reaching out to rentals in your area that are not listed in English to start; you can message the owner to see if they’d be interested in some help. You could also post an ad on milanuncios.com or just ask around in your city to see if anyone needs help managing their rentals.

How much can I make? Based on what I’ve read, Airbnb property managers usually get paid 15% – 30% for each reservation. The total amount should also depends on the scope of your work; for example, I manage my father-in-law’s listing for him online, but he handles checking-in guests and arranging the cleaning service. Owners who ask you to handle online inquiries, check-in guests and arrange the cleaning service should pay you more accordingly. I also have friends in Seville who rent properties long-term themselves and then rent them out short-term to Airbnb travelers for a profit…so it all depends on what you want to do!

3. Younique Cosmetics

So this one is more for the ladies (although I’ve met guys in Spain who are having success with this endeavor as well)…but doing direct sales with companies like Younique can be a great way to make extra cash while living abroad. Younique is the first and only direct sales company to operate completely online (primarily through social media) and its services are available in 9 different countries. The best part about it is you can start in the USA for example, work from abroad (since it’s all online), and continue selling when you move back home or to your next destination. All your money is sent to a PayQuicker debit card and you can change your currency payout based on where you’re living.

How do I find work? Get started with Younique is easy; once you sign up to be a presenter you can start right away. Check out my post about how to get started.

How much can I make? The amount of money you make is totally up to you…if you spend a lot of time on growing your team and selling you can make hundreds or thousands  a month. The more you sell the more commission you’ll get!

4. Vayable

Vayable is a new way to experience local culture. Essentially how it works is travelers hire local people (or expats like us) to plan their trip to a city or guide specific “insider experiences” while they’re in town. Think about it…after you’ve been living abroad for a few months you’ll know all the best restaurants, sights and other cool things to do in your city…and people will pay you to share these experiences with them! You’re basically a tour guide but on activities that you plan yourself and enjoy doing. There are similar websites like Shioube, ToursbyLocals, etc. so take a look and see if one of them works for you!

How do I find work? Sign up with Vayable or a similar site and create an “insider experience” you can host; experiences revolve around art, fashion, design, eating, drinking, architecture, history, outdoors or any other cultural experience that tells a unique story about the destination. Depending on the site you’re using or the traveler you’re helping you may be asked to help them plan their trip, or simply meet up with them once they arrive and complete the “experience” (i.e. tour) they’ve reserved with you.

How much can I make? This depends on you and the experiences you host…you can charge per tour or hours spent planning their trip for example. If you’re helping a big group you can charge a specific amount per person too. If you’re not sure what to charge there should be forums with suggestions and advice from other guides on the site.

5. GPSMyCity  

I’ve just started out with GPSMyCity and it’s an interesting way for travel bloggers to cash in on their blog posts. Essentially you can create an account on the site and the GPSMyCity team will help convert your blog posts into self-guided tours that people can purchase and use through the GPSMyCity app!

How do I find work? If you’re intereted in becoming a contributor you can contact the app developer through this form on their site.

How much can I make? Bloggers get 70% of revenue generated from blog posts that are “bought” i.e. downloaded by GPSMyCity app users. You can also earn 7% commission on qualified sales on the iTunes App Store (when your blog sends traffic to their app and they make a purchase for example). If you want the nitty gritty details of payouts use the form I’ve provided above for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *