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  • Writer's pictureKimberly M.

5 Easy Ways To Make Extra Cash to Travel

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

*This blog post contains affiliate links.

A jet-ski sits on an empty beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
A quiet day at Playa Camarones in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.

As a single mother who travels often and has recently moved abroad, one of the most frequent questions that I get is, “How do you afford it?”

Well, I’ll be honest and say that money didn’t (and still doesn’t) just come overnight and it certainly isn’t always affordable. Like anyone else, I need to save, budget and plan wisely to make the most out of my trips, and to make sure that I’m not spending any more than my bank account allows.

However, there are a few ways that make earning extra money on the side to stash for travel (or other things) much easier. Even as I live abroad, I use several of these methods to help put extra dollars in my PayPal account, sometimes while I'm asleep!

Here are five easy ways that have helped me, and can help you as well:

1. Sign up for Rakuten (formerly Ebates).

With Rakuten, I earn cash back on the online purchases that I am already making on a weekly (or sometimes daily) basis. Not only do I earn a percentage of my purchase back, but coupon codes are automatically applied when I check out, saving me money when I buy. In just the first month of joining, I earned $20 in cash back shopping on common online websites such as Walmart or Macys. It's that easy! Bonus Tip: By adding the plug-in to my browser, Rakuten automatically notifies me when a website I visit offers cash back. To make cash back on your everyday shopping habits, sign up using my referral link and get $10 automatically added to your account.

2. Create and sell products on Zazzle or Etsy.

On Zazzle, I create my own designs on their products and receive a royalty whenever something is sold. This gives me a chance to be creative and take my favorite saying or image (or something completely made up) and put it onto a t-shirt, mug, phone case, or one of the hundreds of other items available for customizing. While the prices of the base product are fixed, I’m able to select my royalty amount, therefore controlling how much money I can make from each product.

Etsy is another popular way to create and sell your own products (and even turn it into a full e-commerce business)!

Like the shirt shown in the photo? Get your own Simply Unapologetic shirt at! To check out some of the items that I’ve created, visit my travel apparel store Unapologetic Travel, or my fitness apparel store Mission M.I.L.F.

3. Sign up for affiliate marketing programs.

There are many, MANY affiliate accounts out there. If there’s a product or service that you swear by and often tell people about, you are already marketing for that company-- why not make money doing so? One of my personal favorites is Amazon. While they may not be THE best affiliate marketing program to join, the thing is that most people are already using Amazon daily, whether for simple shopping or through Amazon Prime. You can see firsthand how this works by visiting my Travel Must-Haves page.

Whenever I think about a company that I may want to be an affiliate marketer for, I simply do a Google search for “[Place Company Here] Affiliate Program”. If nothing comes up, there’s always the option of e-mailing the marketing folks at that company and asking if they will consider offering a commission for marketing their products.

4. Sell unwanted items online.

This has been a money-making method of mine for years. It all started with selling items on eBay or Craigslist, and once Facebook expanded to offer services such as Buy/Sell groups and Facebook Marketplace, I started using them as well. If I have something laying around the house that I no longer need, something brand new that I can no longer return, or clothing in good condition that I can no longer fit, I take a few great pics and post it online to sell to someone else. Now that I have a child, I’m always getting rid of gently used or brand new clothing that he grew out of, or toys that he barely plays with. There’s ALWAYS something that can be sold. In addition to the sites mentioned prior, sites such as and have also gained popularity for local sales.

5. Become a freelancer or independent contractor.

If there's something you're good at, or that you already do daily in your full-time job, why not make extra money doing it as a freelancer or independent contractor?

Sites such as Fiverr and Upwork make it easy for anyone to set up a profile to market their services and make money doing so. I've personally made good cash formatting and editing resumes on Fiverr, and currently use Upwork for both short-term and long-term projects. In fact, both sites played a big part in helping me get my own independent marketing business off of the ground! Fiverr is also a great tool for finding and hiring other freelancers to help with smaller projects at an affordable rate.

So there it is. Saving for travel doesn't have to be a difficult task-- sometimes you just have to get a little creative in how you do so...and trust me, every little bit of cash saved adds up!

Once you've saved up some cash and are finally ready to take that trip, check out my blog post 9 Ways to Travel Like You Have It Like That for tips on traveling on a budget.


Stay connected! "Like" the Travel Unapologetically Facebook page for travel news and tips and blog updates!

If you're a single mom looking to travel more and/or move abroad, join the Facebook community Single Moms Creating Opportunities to Live and Thrive Abroad for inspiration and tips on how to create a location-independent lifestyle!

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