How to Make Emergency Money While You Travel

Sometimes you’re just going to fall flat on your face, and you’re going to need somewhat quick ways to make money online to keep your nomad travels moving smoothly.

These are not passive income strategies and you’ll need to be a little resourceful to pull it off –but they’re doable.

Quick Ways to Make Money Online While Nomad Living

This list if for that one morning you wake up and realize you don’t have enough baht in your wallet to live out the month. Everybody finds themselves there, sometime.

Whatever you do online, banking internationally usually comes with delays. You can mitigate those delays and get money faster with this financial service.

Related: Location Independent Jobs That are Always Hiring

Freelance Copywriting – Copywriting saved my life a couple times. On average, I earned .033 USD per word, and the work was constant. To date, my wife (formerly my VA) and I have filled gaps between projects with TextMaster, and we’ve made about $10k USD since I opened my account.

In order to get paid, the minimum threshold for a withdrawal is about $55 USD. That’s about 3 – 4 articles. It takes a few days to process, but it’s quick money.

TextMaster is a lot better than websites like iWriter because on iWriter your clients have the option to reject your work without explanation, take it, and not pay you. On TextMaster, you get paid if your client disappears or doesn’t approve your work after 7 business days.

Rates on iWriter are a joke, too, and it attracts shitty clients who don’t respect you or your craft –and they usually work for equally shitty SEO companies that flood the web with garbage content.

Other websites that friends have had success with include;


There are plenty of websites that offer money for surveys, and they’re a great way to stave off the anxiety of having no other options available to you.

If you choose to sign up for any of these, I recommend doing so with a VPN to ensure you get to the right page –for example, some survey websites won’t display for you if you’re not physically in a Western country. These options are best used by Americans, or accessed via a US VPN location; try to click a few links without a VPN to see what I mean.

Teach English – At various points in this book I’ve mentioned teaching, and I’ve heard the best things about VIPKid. It pays well, and it’s reliable. If you’ve ever taught English before, I suggest you give it a shot.

If you don’t meet the criteria for VIPKid, consider (less stringent) or explore Facebook groups and do a Google search for people overseas interested in having someone teach English via Skype.

I strongly advise you keep it digital and out-of-country –working under the table in Thailand is stealing jobs from people who did do the right paper work, got the right visa, or they were born there. All frowned upon by the Immigration Dept.

Be a Virtual Assistant (VA)

Upwork – The Upwork link to the left is pointing to thousands of Virtual Assistant gigs, many of which pay $10 USD per hour, and if you can read, write, and use the internet –chances are there’s something there for you, and the better-than-Fiverr wage will help compensate for Upwork’s horribly expensive fees.

Even if you’re just starting out on Upwork and have zero reviews, mentioning (or emphasizing) your nationality, age, or education will go far.

Most VAs come from the third-world, and Westerners go through them like water. Often they’ll be willing to take a risk on you if you’re from a Western country. Disclaimer: It is what it is, I’m not trying to slight anyone who isn’t from the West. It just is. And even if you’re not, give it a go and exceed expectations to get some ratings under your belt.

Consult over the Phone – Clarity is a great app for people who were masters of their trade back home in their respective careers. Or really good at speaking to other people and helping them solve a problem.

Clarity is an app that you put on your phone, write a bio, and choose your per-minute rate. After that, you’re in the database and people can schedule paid calls with you. Whether it’s tech, or you want to be an overnight lifestyle (read: digital nomad) “life consultant” –it’s your choice to make. There’s an “other” section –leverage it.

At the end of the day, everyone is an expert at something.

Airbnb Your Apartment and Go Sleep in a Temple

Doi Suthep Vipassana Meditation Center – This one may be morally questionable to some, but if it’s life or death, it’s life or death. Staying high atop Doi Suthep at this meditation center requires a donation, but the rental charge of your pad on should make up for it.

Make 3D Book Covers

Every ebook launch requires a high quality photorealistic 3D image of said book. There are tools online for this, and they’re either crap, or they have an annoying watermark on them. Some people pay as much as $25 to avoid a watermark.

If you watch the video above, you will notice that this $9 collection of 9 PSD files is incredibly easy to edit –just double click on a smart object, paste a flat cover image, hit save, and Photoshop does all the work.

digital nomad escape plan

My suggestion? Resell custom 3D book images as a service on Fiverr, and do low-res for $5, high-res for $10, and commercial use license for $15 each. You’ll make your money back x10 in a single day, so it’s a great way to spend your last $9.

Download Digital Nomad Escape Plan for Free

Make Online Video

Hold that dial if you’re not a video editor, this one’s easier than the 3D book cover.

If you’ve ever viewed a video of mine (that was produced after April 2017), you’ll know they have dynamic intros. I use an online tool called Viddyoze that’s basically Canva, but for video animation and cost $67 one-time, and $37 per month for the unlimited “Template Club” (which is optional, but without it the service sucks).

Some people complain that having to upgrade to the Template Club makes it a “scam” –but a one-time cost for cloud-based software doesn’t make sense for a business. I don’t blame them for having a $37/month upsell, however I do think they should consider setting that expectation from the get-go.

If I am ever in a jam again, I am going to sell customized video intros on websites like Fiverr or Upwork. Each render takes a few minutes, and it would be easy to come up with more than enough to cover its costs –plus using it in my own videos will only help conversions and up the professionalism a few notches.

Bonus Tip: Hire a VA in Your Darkest Days

When I hired my first VA, I had 1 month plus 5 days to pay her a salary of $600 USD. And that was a $200+ USD raise over what her previous SEO employer paid her when she was my content manager.

I gave her all of the work I did have –and I had time to find more freelance work on top of that because she freed up my time to look for it.

One month was enough time for us to earn back what I owed her, and enough for me to live on while I started Copyrise. It took my darkest days to give me the clarity that ensured I pulled this off.

My point? Always keep an eye out for a good VA from the Philippines before you get yourself into a tight situation –and then be ready to pull the trigger when the timing is right. Just know what you’re doing, and don’t risk someone else’s livelihood in the process.

Have any quick ways to make money online in an emergency you’d like to add? Let everyone know in the comments.

This an excerpt from Digital Nomad Escape Plan: From Cubicle to Chiang Mai, Thailand (it’s 100% free for download).

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  1. Watch out about TextMaster they are notorious for suddenly finding a problem after you have several articles in the bin, and then refusing to pay for some unnamed problem, or they give you a fine.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Oren. I’ve completed 2,645 tasks with them.

      Some people have good results, some people don’t. I’m of the view that eventually any relationship will go sour with them, but they’re good when you need money in a jiffy and you’ve exhausted all other options.

      I threw them out the window awhile back.

      My beef with them was that they kept changing site policies that affect how writers are paid without sending an email, much like the example you’ve provided. I informed them that I believe this isn’t legal (assuming a .com is under US legal jurisdiction) and suddenly all my work dried up. That’s how they treat their longterm, preferred writers.

      One of these days I’ll update this page as to not include them. If you’re looking for more copywriting work, check out our directory of reviewed remote job sites. Thanks for sharing, Oren.

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