Feeding the Cruising Kitty

colorful dinghy boats

One of the most common questions we are asked is “how do you afford to travel like this?”  Most people mean well, and they aren’t asking to be rude (although they may as well just ask how much money you have in your bank), BUT this is why I started this blog – to satisfy the curiosity of others as well as talk about ways to increase income while traveling. Though I can’t speak for everyone, I think that a lot of cruisers, especially those in the younger age bracket, are not independently wealthy and need to work from time to time to replenish the Cruising Kitty.

While you’re unlikely to get rich, it still helps to have a variety of potential ways for fattening the wallet at your disposal. I’ve met people who travel from place to place and look for part time work in whatever town they are in, but this can be difficult because most businesses don’t want to invest the time and effort to train someone who isn’t going to be there for long and many places are hesitant to give work to outsiders when the locals need jobs so bad. Because of this, you may need to put on your thinking cap and get a little creative, not to mention be willing to work hard. I’ve compiled a list of some ideas that I’ve either heard other people do or that I’ve tried myself – I call them “side-hustles”, a term I adopted after reading Making Sense of Cents, a great blog about budgeting and making money.

  • Boat Delivery – If you’re a licensed captain, you can sometimes get paid to either captain someone’s boat or deliver boats from point A to point B. This can be lucrative but it’s not without it’s drawbacks. Sometimes the pay is good, sometimes only your expenses are covered. Do your homework on the boat as well – you don’t want to be out in the middle of the ocean only to find out that there’s a leaking thru-hull.
  • Graphic Design / Web Design – This is a tough business but it could be perfect for someone who lives and travels on a boat.  One of the advantages is that you have the potential to meet so many people and business owners in your travels – you never know when someone might need a website updated, a new logo for their business, or even their boat!
  • Boat Work – What’s the definition of cruising? Fixing your boat in exotic places! Every sailor has heard this joke and everyone laughs because it’s true. Pull into any port and you’ll find someone who is fixing something on their boat. If you have a special skill, or if you’re just good with boats, there are opportunities for turning that into a way to make money. I’ve known people to buy dinner for someone in exchange for going up the mast or helping to run wires or install a solar panel. Talk to people in your port and see if anyone needs anything – you might be surprised!
  • Canvas Work – Sail repairs, sail covers, biminis, dodgers, bug screens, lee cloths, bumper sleeves… the possibilities are endless. Get yourself a Sail-Rite or other heavy duty sewing machine, channel your inner Martha Stewart and get sewing!
  • Haircuts – Are you skilled with scissors? I’ve heard of many people paying for haircuts from fellow cruisers. Just be careful with sharp objects while the wind and waves are up!
  • Virtual Assistant – If you have internet access, you can sometimes find virtual assistant jobs that allow you to do a range of things from data entry to social media management to online research. The internet now makes it super easy for companies to reduce their bottom line by hiring virtual assistants to do some of the work that doesn’t require an office. More on this in future posts, but this can be a nice and easy way to make a little extra cash from time to time.
  • Blogging – Yes, I know – everyone seems to be blogging now, but don’t let that discourage you from going the blog route.  No two bloggers are alike,  and every audience is different. Write your own way, take your own photos, and build an audience. Once you do this, you have potential to make money from ad revenue, affiliate programs and sometimes by partnering with businesses who will offer their goods at no cost or a deeply discounted cost if you post a review. I will soon be posting some blogging tips that will help you spread the word and build your audience as well as write a quality blog. The great thing about blogging is that it allows for some creative freedom and it encourages you to get out there and experience exciting things so you’ll have all kinds of cool stuff to write about!
  • Photography – Are you good with a camera? Why not try selling prints of your work? One of the great things about cruising is that there is never a lack of beautiful things to photograph… sunsets, trees, water, wildlife, sea creatures… You can create a simple website for very little money and effort, or you could try selling strictly through your social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Writing – There are many avenues for sharing your writing outside of the blog-world. Do you have a story that would be suited for a magazine? Take the time to make it perfect (spell-check!) and write a kick-ass cover letter to accommodate your work. If you’re a new, unpublished writer, start by pitching some of the smaller publications that might be more inclined to print your work. You can also contact magazines and request their editorial calendar, which is a calendar of the types of stories they will be covering in each issue. Find an upcoming issue that one of your stories may be a good fit for and pitch directly for that issue. Be sure to do this well in advance because magazines have strict deadlines for material submissions. Don’t be discouraged if you get a rejection letter and just keep writing and submitting!  I will be delving into this a lot more in future posts, with more detailed information on various publications, guidelines and more.

These are just a few ways to replenish or top off the Cruising Kitty while traveling. I will be touching on some specifics on several of the above in future blog posts so be sure to subscribe to get posts to your email so you don’t miss anything!

What other ways to make money on the go have you tried or heard of? Comment and share below!

2 Comments

  1. I just stumbled across your blog and love it! I’m working on paying of debt now so I can move towards my sailing dream…always interested in hearing how others are making it happen! Thanks for sharing – looking forward to your future posts!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much!! I hope to provide some useful info, even if it’s just ways that we did it wrong. :) Have a great weekend!

      Reply

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