5 Apps That Will Help You Make Money While Traveling
From selling travel photos to packing extra luggage, here’s how to make some dough on the road.
658 million. That’s how many vacation days Americans left on the table in 2015. In other words, as a country, we missed out on nearly two million years worth of traveling.
Though many workers skip vacations because they don’t feel they can take time off, money likely has something to do with it, too. We spend an average of $2,448 per vacation, according to a 2016 Travelex survey—a big chunk of change for almost everyone.
If you’re excited to travel but worried about your finances, one way to ease the pain is with apps that can help you earn money wherever you are. They won’t make you rich—and they won’t fund your trip—but if you’re on the road, especially somewhere cheap, they might cover your next meal or drink.
Here are five apps that might help you make money while traveling.
In addition to making all your friends jealous, you can actually make money with your travel photos. Just use an app called Foap, which helps you sell your photos to big brands—like Heineken, Visit Sweden, and Garnier—for use in their digital marketing efforts.
You can upload images directly from your phone, and whenever a company buys your photo, you’ll earn $5. The best part? You can sell the same photo to an unlimited number of buyers, earning $5 each time.
The app also features “Missions,” which are requests by brands for specific photos. Examples of past Missions included a photo of “Christmas time in Poland” or “hair with flowers.” If your photo’s selected as the winner of a Mission, you’ll earn $100 or more.
It’s worth noting that when you sell your photos through Foap, you grant a non-exclusive right to buyers and therefore waive your right to be identified as the photographer in their content.
Heading out on a road trip? Roadie will pay you to transport items in your trunk to another location within the United States.
For local deliveries, you’ll earn $8 to $50—but travel long distance with an oversized item, and you could earn up to $650. (Or more, if you transport a pet!)
Even better, you might be able to write off the mileage on your taxes. “It’s no different than for any other freelance job: the driver needs to report all income received on Schedule C of their Individual Tax Return,” said accountant Eric Nisall. “Any expenses directly related to earning that money, such as mileage, tolls and lodging for long-distance trips can be deducted on the Schedule C. Nothing prior to pickup or beyond final delivery can be deducted as business expenses.”
Airmule is a similar concept for plane travel. If by some miracle, you have extra space in your suitcase, you can fill it with items that need to be transported overseas. Or you can check an extra suitcase filled entirely with a sender’s items.
As a “mule,” you’ll earn 80 percent of the sender’s fees, which is $40 for up to five pounds, plus $6 per additional pound. You’ll earn more if you have to pick up the package, or if your departure’s within the next 48 hours.
Right now, jobs are only available on routes between the U.S. or U.K and China—a trip for which most travelers earn a whopping $300 one-way—but the company plans to widen its offerings as demand for international shipping grows. “We will expand more globally in the near future,” said co-founder Rory Felton.
4. Swagbucks Watch (TV)
No matter how you spin it, traveling involves a lot of waiting. Instead of scrolling through Facebook for the billionth time, why not earn some extra money?
One way is with Swagbucks Watch (TV), which lets you earn “SB” points for watching movie trailers or other short videos in categories like recipes, fashion, and even travel.
You’ll earn 2 SB for every six videos you watch, with “typical active users” earning 50 to 100 SB per day, according to Swagbucks spokesperson Sarah Aibel. Once you’ve racked up enough, you can redeem them for gift cards or cash: 500 SB for a $5 Amazon gift card, for example, or 2,500 SB for a $25 PayPal transfer.
Clearly, the points add up very slowly, but remember that you can keep the videos on in the background while waiting at the airport or hanging out at your hotel.
5. Field Agent
Want to explore your new surroundings? Use FieldAgent as your excuse to wander.
Available in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Romania, South Africa, and Australia, this app connects you with companies in need of on-the-ground market research. Once you download it, you can simply create a new login for whichever country you’re traveling in.
The app uses geolocation to find gigs near you, and pays $2 to $12 for quick tasks like checking prices or displays in stores. (You’ll get paid via PayPal in the currency of the country in which the gig is located.) Find a bunch of gigs within a walkable area, and you might be looking at a decent hourly rate.
One thing to note: because of international tax laws, “as you add more income and more countries, this can get very complicated very quickly,” said Jeremy Williams, Field Agent’s Director of International and Product Strategy, via email. So if you’re using this app in a foreign country, be sure to seek professional help before filing your taxes.