Most of us find ourselves broke at one time or another, but it is
never a bigger problem then when you find yourself broke when you
traveling and stuck overseas. When you are out of your own country it
can be hard to make money the traditional ways so you need to find
other ways to get out your situation.

I have found myself broke overseas before, and have found a few ways
to to make some money that might be helpful to keep in mind if you ever
find yourself in that situation.

1 - Sell yourself

antjeverena on flickr

won’t advocate actually practicing prostitution, doing that is up to
you and the local laws. Though selling bodily fluids, like sperm,
blood, plasma, and eggs is a viable option in some places. It is also
possible to make some money volunteering for medical or scientific
trials, though the latter may require a visa or citizenship, it all
depends on the laws of the country.

In some countries though it is against the law to pay you for your
donations of bodily fluids. While I was living in London, a friend and
I needed some money for traveling and after some research we found out
that the only money that we could get paid for sperm donations was the
cost of the subway ride to the clinic, though there are some other
benefits to donating we decided against it.

Though to make some money I did go another route that is very
helpful, and many people do it everyday, sell your stuff. Most of the
things you bring with you are worth something, and in many places you
can find a place to sell your stuff.

There are places that buy clothes, books, and of course jewelry and
electronics. In my experience I have found that you can get more money
when selling to specialized stores as opposed pawn shops. I have had to
sell books and camera lenses to make some money for food, and plane
tickets. While a was a little disheartened to lose some of my stuff the
money I made helped out with food, and getting home.

2 - Work under the table

Orin Optiglot on flickr

under the table is a way that many people in the world make their
money. It can be work doing anything from cleaning to even agricultural
work. In many countries the immigration laws are getting tougher so it
can be harder to get work for long periods of time, but you can still
find some odd jobs to do. Though once you get outside the western
world, don’t expect to get too much for your labors.

These jobs are easier to find once you know some people in the
country, so go to places where you can meet locals, bars off the
tourist path, residential areas, and churches. Many of the jobs that
people need done don’t require much skill from cleaning to painting to
yard work. In some hostels it is possible to work to help pay for your

There are quite a few websites where you can find farms and inns
that need workers and will pay you in room and board.  Also, working in
a country can help you understand the spirit of a country and come to
appreciate and love the country in a way that you can’t by just
sticking to the tourist trail. This is usually the route most people
would like to go, but you can’t always count on getting work, so keep
your options open.

3 - Starve yourself

morbuto on flickr

visiting Marseilles, a few years ago, I only had enough money to pay
for a hotel, or to sleep on the street and have money to eat and drink.
I decided on the former, figuring a roof over my head was better than
big meals. So, with the few Euro I had left I could only afford to eat
baguettes for over a week straight. Now this isn’t something that is
good to do, but it can teach a lesson.

Stay away from the restaurants, and rely on the markets where things
are much cheaper. Eat like a local; in many places in the world the
locals live on only a few dollars a day. When you feel that you are
broke you still have more money than many people live on each day.

Take advantage of cheap food, you can find some new favorites, and
old standbys for cheap in market and stores around the world. Even if
you stick to the ‘restaurants’ in the markets, where the food is cheap
and fresh, you will be saving a lot over the restaurants along the
beach or in the middle of the capital, in the tourist centers.

4 - Tell your story


you are broke overseas you are still in a position in which many people
envy you, because you are overseas. Many if not most people don’t get
to travel much and try to live vicariously through those that do, and
they do this by reading about what you are doing and experiencing. You
can do this through your own blog, and reach a few people. But, there
are websites (including this one) that will pay for travel related

There are many websites that feature reader submitted articles, and
will pay you for your work. Nowadays you can do all of the work at any
Internet cafe by using Google Docs to type up the article and email to
communicate you don’t even have to have a laptop with you, maybe just
some scrap paper to make notes. As long as you can carry a narrative,
and make yourself understood there is a website out there that might
pay you for your work.

5 - Dress like a statue

highlimitzz on flickr

seen them in most big cities, on street corners and city centers
painted silver, gold, or bronze: human statues. If you can find some of
the colored body paint you can dress yourself up as a statue and stand
perfectly still for hours on end to get tourists to pay you to move
around. Or you can use some of your other skills to bring in the change.

If you can play in instrument all the better, then you will get
people to fill up your guitar case with shiny coins. If you are not
musically inclined you can perform whatever you want, you can do a skit
or some other performance art, as long as you are entertaining people
are more likely to give you money than if you just sit there and beg.
Though I have seen people make money without any talent just because
they sit on a corner and make noise. Just try not to be too annoying.

6 - Go green

John_X on flickr

being a buzz word, it’s a good way you could make some money. In many
countries you can make money by taking cans and bottles into the
recycling center. Growing up in Iowa we got five cents for each soda
can you returned to the store, so I would collect cans when I was a kid
to get some spending money. It is still a good way to make money. You
can find recyclable materials in the lobby of your hostel, on the
street or in trashcans. It’s not glamorous by any means, but it can
make you money, and help the planet by cutting down on the amount of
garbage that goes to the landfill.

As long as you are being humble you can also eat leftovers, many
people will leave some food on their plate, and if it’s an outdoor
restaurant you can snag some of that food before the plates get
cleared. Maybe even find some things that the people in your hostel
have left over that they are just planning on leaving behind. Or you
can practice the art of freeganism and look for food in grocery store
dumpsters, a lot of times it’s still wrapped and just a day or two past
the expiration date.

7 - Grovel

Orin Optiglot on flickr

all else fails, it’s time to go with the old standby, something you’ve
been doing since you were little: ask mom and dad. This is something
that I’ve had to do from time to time, to get plane tickets or just
some money to get lunch. It’s not a fun thing to do but your parents
can help out.

Money can be wired almost anywhere with Western Union, or plane
tickets, hotels, and rental cars can be booked and paid for online so
that you will have a place to stay or be able to get home. It’s
probably a last resort for many people but it is always a viable option.