Is it possible to fund a motorcycle trip from zero, without having any savings or a stable income stream? If you’re dying to get out there and ride, but your bank account disagrees, not all is lost.
Back in 2014, Egle found herself in Argentina with a half tank of gas and exactly ten pesos in her pocket. Ten Argentinean pesos, back then, was about a dollar; Egle was in Tierra del Fuego, and her travel funds had run out.
Instead of panicking – okay, maybe she did panic a bit. Fine, a lot – Egle figured out a way to find work locally. Argentina is a horse country, and Egle used to ride and train horses in her twenties. Within that same day, she found a local ranch needing someone to train their unbroken horses and housesit. Just like that, Egle had a job and a roof over her head for three months.
Now, it didn’t pay well, it was hard work, and it was a lonely business spending days alone on a remote ranch with six horses and a dog for company. But it got Egle out of trouble – and back on the road.
That’s a bit of an extreme situation, and we don’t recommend winging it with just ten bucks in your pocket (unless that’s part of your adventure, in which case, godspeed and good luck!).
However, it is possible to fund a motorcycle trip from zero.
If you want to start traveling right now but don’t have any savings to speak of, you can still hit the road and figure out the money thing as you go along.
In this post, we’ll show you exactly how to fund a motorcycle trip even if you’re starting from zero.
Funding Your Motorcycle Trip with No Savings
Having savings to spend on your motorcycle trip is the fastest way to start traveling. The thing is, it takes time, effort, and serious discipline to amass said savings.
And with your day-to-day expenses like rent, utilities, transport, shopping, food, and entertainment, saving enough cash to travel by motorcycle is a tough gig. It can be done, for sure – but it’ll take a while.
Instead of trying to save enough money to travel the world for a year, try and save up for three months instead. If you can fund your motorcycle trip for three months, that will give you enough time to:
–Actually hit the road and get going
-Evaluate how much money you need to travel
-Find a way to make money while traveling.
One of the biggest obstacles that prevent people from traveling is the departure itself. We’ve seen countless riders stuck in the preparation stage – saving money, prepping the bike, choosing the gear – for so long that they never actually leave.
Once you do leave, however, you start looking at things differently. You learn to adapt, pivot, and find solutions to problems you’ve never faced before.
You quickly learn that you’re much more capable than you thought. Most importantly, you learn that this motorcycle travel thing is, in fact, a lot more doable than most people think.
When you hit the road with three months’ worth of travel funds in your account, two things are going to happen.
One, you’ll be free.
And two, you’ll realize that savings aren’t everything.
You can, in fact, fund your motorcycle trip on the go.
Here is how.
How to Fund a Motorcycle Trip On the Go
Now that you’re traveling and heading boldly towards the unknown, it’s time to have a little board meeting with yourself and see what your options are. As a traveling motorcycle hobo, you can earn money on the go in several ways:
Find Jobs Along the Way
Start an Online Business
Neither of these ways to fund your motorcycle trip is the best or the right one – they are all equally valid. It all depends on what you want to do, whether you want to do it long-term, and if you hope to create a passive income stream as your end goal.
As someone who needs money right now (like Egle back in Argentina), you probably can’t afford to spend months working on starting your own online business.
Working online may offer a faster reward, but it takes a while to find online gigs and get paid. If you need to start earning money yesterday, your best bet is to find jobs along the way.
Get Paid to Travel: Motorcycle Jobs
When you travel, it’s always possible to find local jobs in hotels, bars, farms, and the like.
But let’s say you want to keep traveling while working, or at the very least, find jobs for motorcycle riders. You probably speak two or more languages, love bikes, and you’re passionate about adventure motorcycling.
If that sounds like you, look for freelance motorcycle tour guide jobs.
These gigs aren’t the easiest to land, but it is possible to find work as a freelance guide. Thanks to COVID, a lot of motorcycle tour companies laid some of their staff off and cannot afford to keep full-time guides on board. That’s where you come in: since you’re already traveling, you’re free to come and go as you please, and that’s a valuable asset for motorcycle tour companies.
You can lead a tour, then keep traveling until they need you again, or you can fly in and guide tours in different destinations.
As a freelance motorcycle tour guide, you’re looking to make $90-$150 a day plus travel expenses (and tips, if you’re lucky). Not a bad start for a broke motorcycle hobo, right?
Where to find motorcycle tour guide jobs: first, trawl websites of all the biggest motorcycle tour companies like Edelweiss, Ride Expeditions, RideADV, Eagle Rider, and so on. If you can’t find any vacancies, email them anyway – they may have openings they haven’t posted yet. If this yields no results, search for motorcycle tour companies by country or destination and apply the same method.
Adventure Travel Jobs
Finding motorcycle jobs on the go is a great option, but it may not always be available in the countries you’re traveling through. Another awesome way to fund your motorcycle trip is getting a job in the adventure travel section.
Adventure travel jobs can include: overland expedition guide, overland truck driver, mountaineering guide, trail hiking guide, surfing, rafting, mountain climbing coach or guide, snorkeling or diving instructor, canyoning guide, and so on. If you have a passion that involves outdoors and outdoor sports, you can find an adventure travel job just about anywhere in the world.
In addition to hands-on adventure travel jobs, you can find remote travel work as a travel consultant, travel planner, or adventure travel itinerary designer (yes, it’s a thing). Hit up any job site online and enter “adventure travel jobs”, and you’re guaranteed to find a bunch of offers.
Fund A Motorcycle Trip by Working Online
As two professionally homeless digital nomads, Lennart and I fund our motorcycle adventures by working online. This is our favorite way of earning an income as it doesn’t tie us to any particular place or employer. We can work as much or as little as we need to, set our own rates and hours, and be flexible when it comes to new projects.
The drawback here is that it takes a while to set it all up. If you need cash right now, finding a job, at least temporarily, might be the best option.
But if you can survive two to four months on your savings, this is enough time to start working online and make a decent enough income to fund your motorcycle trip.
The easiest way to get started is to create a profile on online job platforms like Upwork or Fivver. These freelancing sites have thousands of different job offers, and you’re guaranteed to find something you can do. If you’re in the creative space – design, writing, copywriting, social media management, photography, video editing – you can start earning $20-$30 an hour pretty much right off the bat. As you accumulate good reviews and experience, you can start charging $45 and upwards in four to five months.
Another way of making money online is teaching a language on platforms like Preply. Whatever your native language is, you can become an online tutor and start earning right away. Equally, if teaching isn’t your thing, you can find work as a translator on Gengo or other plaftorms. It may not pay very well at the beginning, but it will keep you afloat – and on the road – until you figure out a better way to earn money online.
Read More: Digital Nomad Jobs
Online Motorcycle Jobs
If Upwork doesn’t really work for you and you don’t want to teach languages or translate texts, try finding an online motorcycle job. Sounds like an impossibility? It isn’t: if you’re good with words, images, or both, you can find online work that involves bikes.
Specifically, work at motorcycle magazines and online publications.
It’s not the easiest niche to break into, but the good news is, you do not need to be a professional writer or journalist to get started. If you can write more or less coherently, or if you can take great motorcycle or motorcycle travel photos, you’ve got a shot.
Most motorcycle magazines in North America pay around $100-$250 per online article, and $150-$600 per print article. That’s not a lot, but if you can churn out ten to fifteen articles a month, that’s your gas and food money right there.
How to find motorcycle magazine jobs: make a list of your favorite motorcycle magazines, ideally in specific niches (like adventure motorcycling). Next, look at their websites to see if they have a “write for us” tab – most of them do. Then, craft a good introduction email, add samples of your previous work (even if it’s your personal blog), and send it off. Follow up after a few days if you don’t get a reply; if it’s radio silence ten days in, move on to the next one.
Once again, this isn’t the easiest or the most lucrative way to fund a motorcycle trip, but writing for bike magazines is good fun, and it can open other doors in the future.
Start an Online Business to Fund Your Travels
Alrighty, so now you’ve earned a little bit of cash by finding jobs on the go, and you’ve got a steady (-ish) income stream from online freelance gigs. Awesome! You can now fund your motorcycle trip pretty much indefinitely, and you can always build on it to make more money or to travel further.
Or, you can take it up a notch and start your own online business.
What Lennart and I have learned from working online is that, yes, it’s pretty neat – we’re flexible, we can always get more work if we need to, and we choose which projects and people we want to work with.
However, we’re still dependent on clients and companies that hire us.
We still work for somebody else.
And while a lot of our work is exciting, inspiring, and allows us to grow, we’re now focusing on creating value for ourselves. At the end of the day, an online business that will result in a passive income stream is the ultimate freedom. This is what we’re working on right now, and we’ll be sure to post about our progress as we go along.
Here is what we’re trying out right now, and what may work for you:
-Building a successful adventure travel blog with a potential for passive income from affiliate marketing and advertising
-Creating digital products that can be sold online
-Building our YouTube audience for potential monetization later
The tricky part here is that building an online business takes time and lots of work. This is the long haul, so make sure you have a source of active income first!
Advice from Other Travelers
These are just a few ideas, and since we’re just beginning, don’t take our word for us. Instead, we recommend watching this video where we chat to other e travelers about how they fund their motorcycle trips by working online and running their own online businesses:
In this video, you’ll find tips from Lea Rieck (Got2Go), Kinga “On Her Bike” Tanajewska, and Nora from Adventurism TV talking about monetizing YouTube, running online shops, and other ways to fund motorcycle travels online.
We hope that this post has inspired you to get going right now, even if you’re not flush with cash. It’s entirely possible to fund a motorcycle trip by finding jobs on the go, working online, or starting your very own online empire.
The most important part is to get going! If you’re willing to be flexible and creative, put in a lot of hard work, and see failures as lessons rather than an indication to give up, you’ll get there.
Don’t forget to share your journey with us: we’d love to hear how you’re funding your motorcycle travels, and what else would help you do it better or faster. Leave a comment below or shoot us a message – we always reply to our fellow motorcycle vagabonds.