7 Creative Passive Income Streams You Can Try Today

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In my mind, the biggest roadblock to taking the year-long travel plunge is a financial one. When I tell my friends about our plans to travel, that’s one of the first things I hear: “how will you afford a year-long trip?” Well, how do you afford your current life? You have to eat and feed your family right? You have to have a roof over your head? The truth is your daily life here in the US costs money too! Inherent in this topic is the fact that in the US you have a clear way to pay for your lifestyle–your job. When you travel, you won’t have that 9-5 job (feel the stress leave as you read that). But, if there are ways to create passive income streams while you travel, that is icing on the cake. The good news is there are plenty of ways to make money passively, though they require outside the box thinking. This article can help you brainstorm.

Pay For Your Trip Using Passive Income Streams

So the issue is clear: you need a way to bring in passive income through a side hustle and earn money while you travel. This may be for a few hours a day, or maybe just a few hours a week depending on how much investment income you have coming in. If you are into real estate like we are, you may have a few thousand dollars in passive income already. Building up this side business can take a decade or more. If you aren’t there yet, that’s ok, you just may have to be a little more scrappy about picking up these side jobs.

A passive income stream should provide several hundred dollars of monthly income while devoting minimal time. This is in contrast to a career that usually imposes a rigid schedule, has far less freedom, but produces a predictable income stream over a period of time. Taking a look at some options, I’ve narrowed down to some that seem interesting and lucrative.

Travel Blogging As Passive Income Streams

I have to believe there are literally millions of travel bloggers. The idea sounds simple enough. You just go cool places, share your story, and you’re all set? Of course it’s far more complicated. The internet today is almost a different world than when I started in the early 2000s. Back then I was backpacking Central Europe and reviewing bars and beach towns on Virtual Tourist. These days, the industry is booming with millions of blogs. Digital marketing and SEO are infinitely complex it seems. You need an edge. Just writing down your travel adventures is probably not the way to go for a truly reliable income stream.

Fortunately, there are places that can help. You can hone your skills on websites like Skillshare. If nothing else, you can take that first step Lao Tzu is famous for.

If you have any friends or know anyone in your community who is an expert in digital marketing, seek out their advice immediately. The number one rule of getting a mentor in any area of expertise: Don’t add work to their plate! In other words, these experts won’t just give you the keys, they don’t have time. You need to offer to do something for them, even if it’s buying them a coffee if they’re local or sending a bottle of wine and asking for a quick chat over the phone.

Making money travel blogging

On this point, I mentored an attorney years ago and when we’d meet up he’d just buy lunch. He could write it off on his taxes as education. This approach made me far more willing to help, of course. I like lunch; especially when it’s free.

You will need to be thinking about what audience you want to reach and how to get there using organic SEO optimization at first. I highly recommend a Skillshare boot camp. I continue to watch the same classes after I’m done. Once you get started you will need to go back to various parts of the class that are clearer now with a bit of practical experience.

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You Tube Automated Channel

I purchased a You Tube Channel for $10,000. How did I do this? The first step is outsourcing nearly everything. We found a marketing company in Bali who offers this service. I’m not interested in the content they produce, but tens of thousands of people are, and that’s what matters. The company laid out a plan to monetize the site within six months, and we are currently ahead of schedule.

You Tube Automation
Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Virtual Customer Services Passive Income Streams

Many reputable companies are hiring for part-time roles. The application can be done through Glass Door and Indeed. These are the major online job search companies going in the US. I have never used these as an applicant. I have, however, used these companies as a manager and it’s a good way to apply I think. I don’t know if it’s a gig role where you just log in and the calls start coming in. Perhaps you could do this role if you have a quiet office in one of the places you are staying for a month or more. My other thought here is if you are only keyboarding (i.e. a chat function), this may be totally doable while you relax in a coffee shop in Laos. Think about that for a Monday morning, not bad!

Customer Service Jobs

Real Estate Investment Income

This should be a plan for anyone who wants financial freedom. You should put your US properties under management if you self-manage any properties. If you have the initiative, your primary residence can turn into a cash-flowing property. Rule number one: take all steps necessary to do this responsibly. You don’t want to piss off your neighbors with a house full of partyers. As we’ve mentioned in other posts, you need to declutter your things and ensure your house is ready to rent. You should have a keypad entry and lock off door for any personal items. We lock off our basement and a closet in our room, otherwise the guests have full access. Our family has had some bad experience doing this, but mostly good. The bad experiences have led us to want to give up on this journey, but stay strong! If you have any questions in this area let us know and we’ll try to help out.

Selling Your Vehicles

We plan to sell our cars. That, frankly, is what my friends find the craziest. I agree, it seems insane. But we are Americans, we look at the world as if a car is guaranteed. A car should get you from point A to point B. And if you are skiers like us, we need four-wheel drive and a comfortable place for our family to chill on long road trips to Telluride and Crested Butte. We plan to keep at least one of our cars through the ski season. Once we sell both cars, especially in this used car market, we should have plenty of proceeds–non-taxable money as there is no capital gain on a vehicle. It lost value the minute it drove off the lot. After securing this chunk of money, you can use it for your day-to-day travel needs, or you could put it into some sort of investment.

Investment Income

Our site has a disclaimer that we don’t offer investment advice, and I’ll repeat that here. I am not a financial planner in any way shape or form. But my thought is if you can invest this chunk of money into something that offers a return right away–such as a dividend-paying stock–you could use the gains to offset some of the costs and preserve more of the principle than if you just draw it from a bank account in the US. On that note, check out our post on foreign bank accounts. In general, anyway you can preserve your principle and get the money to have fun on the road, you are winning the game.

Passive income streams are the key to successful slow travel.
Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Dividend funds pay a low yield. For instance, I have $80,000 in a fund and have been getting about $200 per month in dividends. This can fluctuate, however, with market trends. If you pick the right fund, you could do well in the current economic environment. Seek professional help in picking the fund as I am not a financial advisor.

Choosing Your Locations Carefully

On our trip, I already know we’ll have some pretty expensive plane flights, especially when multiplied by four family members. You can minimize this cost by having plenty of flexibility in your travel schedule thereby allowing for flight picking. I’ve always envied those that can do that, and if you are on the road with your family you’ll be able to as well. But choosing your location can be equally important. London, for instance, is very expensive. We will not be able to afford a month in Central London. But I used to live there and taking my family there is a dream of mine, so we’re going. But we will be staying only about four nights. This allows us to cross it off the list, but be in a good area so each day there is usefully spent. It’s sort of a vacation within a vacation approach.

Something a little cheaper would be Czech Republic where we can get a flat rental in central Prague for a very reasonable price. Food prices, likewise, are good in Czech Republic, as well as Montenegro.

Southeast Asia is very popular with slow travelers for good reason. It is very budget-friendly and has some world class destinations. Remember that with a decreased cost of living often comes a decrease in standards of living, so you may be roughing it a bit in some parts of Asia.

Outside the Box Ideas

Above all else, be creative about this process. If you can’t rent out your entire house, do you have a basement you could rent? Or even a storage shed? Is it time to sell the house? We talked about that but I can’t bring myself to even consider it, so I don’t blame you if you’re the same way. Find networks where reputable companies are looking for copy editing, or even freelance writing contributions. Again, anything you can do with just a keyboard and internet access should be explored, and I’m not talking about just day trading stocks.

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