How to gain more than just memories from your travels
Many of us have fantasised about embarking on the holiday of a lifetime or taking a break from work for a prolonged trip overseas.
But extended travel comes with its own challenges, ranging from keeping in touch with friends back home to funding life on the road.
Whether it is writing a blog or posting photographs, social media has created significant opportunities for people to not only share their exciting new experiences with others, but in some cases to even earn money or attract sponsors for their travels.
We take a look at the innovative ways people have used social media to enhance their adventures.
A picture is worth a thousand words
One of the best ways to share your travel experiences with people back home is through posting your holiday photos online.
You can rave all you want about the perfect beach you discovered or the technicoloured sunset you saw, but sharing a photo will help your friends and family feel like they were there.
Some people have even succeeded in making money out of their photos by selling them through stock images sites.
Another possible channel is photo-sharing site Instagram. Instagrammers with more than 1,000 followers are able to earn money through advertisements on their page or through sponsored posts, while those with a significant number of followers are even offered expenses-paid trips to certain locations by local tourist boards keen to promote their area, as an influencer or Key Opinion Leader (KOL) as such would have its own unique audience.
Instagram pro Johan Lolos, who has over 370,000 followers, advises aspiring Instagrammers to create their own signature style, be active in their Instagram community and try to post at least three times a day.
Another great way to keep people back home up-to-date with your travels is through a blog. As with photographs, some savvy social media users have successfully turned their travel blog into a money-spinner tool.
A key source of income for many bloggers is through affiliate links, in which bloggers are rewarded for encouraging readers to visit other sites and even buy their products, and sponsored content. While getting these kinds of deals may sound daunting to a novice, there are apps and online sites to help you get started.
Other travel enthusiasts have used Facebook to share their ideas on how to travel the world cheaply. For example, there are Facebook pages sharing tips on how to use mileage programmes to fund their travel, and joint promotion with banks where people apply credit cards through the site owners can receive additional rewards.
If you don’t think you have the digital skills to fund your way around the world, you could always work your way around instead. While this route may be less glamorous than having thousands of Instagram followers, it is probably more reliable and a great way to meet and interact with local people while you travel.
While visa restrictions are likely to prevent you from simply pitching up in a new country and finding a job, there are a number of companies that help travellers find legitimate work. Websites such as Workaway, HelpX and WWOOF connect travellers with hosts who are willing to offer them free accommodation and food in exchange for a few hours work each day.
Alternatively, if you have a job that is not tied to a geographical location, you could consider going freelance and becoming a digital nomad. As long as you have a laptop and Wi-Fi, you can put in a few hours work each day, before spending the rest of your time exploring.
While working your way around the world or making money through social media may sound extremely tempting, sometimes there is no substitute for simply saving the money yourself.
The main advantage of funding your own travels is that you are free to do what you want during your trip, without having to worry about how many social media followers you have, updating your blog, or being forced to put off a trip to the beach while you carry out work for your host.
If you already have some savings set aside, why not speak to a financial advisor who can assist you in planning your investments so that you can enjoy your travels without worrying about your finances. Of course, money earned from your travel experience will be the icing on the cake.
So what are you waiting for? Whether through clever use of technology or savvy investing, your dream trip could be within your reach.