It is possible to make money while traveling in a huge number of ways. This is one way that you probably haven't thought of. I'm pretty lazy and shy, which is a horrible combination of personality traits if you are going to be working in foreign countries. With no visa, no grasp of the local language, and no particularly useful manual labor skills, I'm pretty much out of luck.
But I've developed a plan that works for me, and I can't be that weird – hopefully this one works for you too.
Work On The Internet
It's as simple as finding work on the internet. You don't have to be a genius to figure out some of the most common jobs online, and there are a variety of routes to go. Some of these are on a commission based schedule, probably what you would imagine a typical freelancer would do. Some of these require quite a bit of prep along the way. I've done all of them with some degree of success, but I'll tell you which one I've had the most success with at the end of the post.
You would not believe how in-demand freelance writers are. Anyone with a decent level of English (it doesn't have to be perfect) and a bit of patience for research and spell check/grammar check will have an unlimited amount of work writing articles.
Lots of online businesses outsource content for their websites. It means they are too lazy or don't have the time to write stuff for their site, but they still want to provide quality information for their readers. The solution is to find a reliable person to write for them on a regular basis. Topics can be anything imaginable, from tech tutorials, medical research, product reviews, and even creative writing.
Native speakers get paid more, but there's a lot expected of you with regards to grammar and writing style. An owner may care about the flow of an article. Non-natives with a 80-90% proficiency in the English language can still find pretty good work, though it won't pay as well. Even writers with mediocre English can find work, but it's going to be low paid (less than $1 per 100 words). These are usually shorter articles with less research required.
CPA (Cost Per Action)
I haven't tried this personally, but I know a lot of people that have success with this type of work online. Basically CPA, you find ways to get people to sign up for stuff. If someone has a website where they want to collect email addresses, you create an advertising campaign to drive people to the website. For each email address collected, you make a fee.
Sometimes it can be personal information like a home address, a telephone number, or a complete survey. The ‘action' required will differ, as well as the amount paid. This does take quite a bit of training to learn, but it can be a fast way to make sales once you get the hang of it. It doesn't always require you to own an monitor a website, which means less work in that area.
I find this type of online work a bit boring, but some people have had a lot of success with it. Again, it takes some prep, but once your campaign is going, it can go on autopilot while you travel around.
Travel Site / Vlog
Just writing about your travels can make you money. It's no secret that you can make money from YouTube. If you do interesting enough stuff while you travel, you could get hundreds or even thousands of subscribers in a short amount of time. Imagine that – the YouTube community supporting you on your travels!
YT typically doesn't pay that much, and it can take a while to build a subscriber base. But if you blog too, there are ways to monetize your blog without really trying hard. If you blog about stuff people are looking for, or find a cool travel network to advertise your blog, you could be getting lots of traffic within weeks of starting your journey (or before if you include the prep). Joining G+ communities on a related topic is also recommended.
Stick up some Google ads, Bing ads, or Amazon ads on your site and people may click & buys stuff. The individual ad companies take care of presenting the reader with relevant products. They may even relate to what you're writing about. If things are relevant and the person is in a buying mood, you make some money from every click and sale. Get enough visitors, and you've got it made in the shade. Some people make a full time living off of Adsense.
Niche marketing is a weird one that most people haven't heard of. It's what I do. It takes probably the most prep of any of these, but in my opinion, it reaps the largest rewards with regards to dollars made and sustainability of the income.
Basically, you create a website around an idea or ‘niche'. This could be a particular product or service you enjoy, a hobby you have, or just something you think is interesting that you also think you can make some good money on.
By writing about topics related to this niche and posting them on your website, people will naturally find what you write in search engines. Once you discover what people want to read, you can predict what they will search for, and write on this topic. This is an awesome way to get targeted traffic to your site.
If they like what you write, want to try the products or services you write about, click your link and buy, you get credit. This can be a 4% commission or a 75% commission. It depends on the product and terms of your affiliate program.
The biggest challenge you will face doing this is the prep work. If you are starting to travel next week, this will most likely not work for you. If you have plans to do a long trip starting next year, this is an awesome idea to start now.
Last year I took 3 vacations This year so far I took one. I went to Malaysia and learned how to dive. I went to the Philippines and went wreck diving on Coron. I visited the US for two weeks during Chinese New Year. This year I learned how to sail in Santa Cruz.
During each of these vacations I did not have to work on my sites at all, but I MADE more money that I SPENT. That means I went on vacation and came back with more money in the bank account than I left with.
There is nothing magical or weird about this. I simply build a useful website that people find and read. When they buy something based on my recommendation, I make some money.
Websites are online 24/7/365. I can take a break for two weeks and the website will not break. After the referral, all processing, shipping, returns, and questions are directed to the seller, not me. This is my business.
Like I said, the one I know most about is the niche marketing thing. Part of my website One More Cup of Coffee is teaching people to do this, and showing them the right channels to get properly trained. The best way to get started is to join my free email course here. Let me know if you have any questions, or if you have some great ideas about how YOU make money while traveling.