So, you want to travel forever and make money on the road? After giving you ideas on how to travel for free and how to make money while traveling now I’m talking to people who are doing just that! Maybe they can inspire you to also make your dreams of a life of travel a reality?
You can make money from your travels without even having to commit to a job. I recently caught up with Will Hutton from www.thebrokebackpacker.com he is a master in traveling for cheap and making money on the road so I asked him to give us some tips about how we can also make money from selling souvenirs
So can you make money by selling your travel souvenirs? Let’s find out in this interview with Will from The Broke Backpacker
Writer and photographer, adventurer and vagabond, master of the handstand pushup,conqueror of mountains, survivor of deserts and crusader for cheap escapades. Will is an avid hitch-hiker, ditch-sleeper and bread-thief. He is a devout follower of the High Temple of Backpackistan and the proud inventor of the man-hug. Will blogs over at www.thebrokebackpacker.com about his adventures around the world, you can follow him on Facebook and on twitter or, if your really friendly, hunt him down on the road for a cheeky pint.
So Will, you’ve managed to make money from selling souvenirs that you’ve picked up on your travels. That’s awesome! Where did you get the idea from to do this?
I was in Vietnam about five years ago and I spotted some silk sleeping bag liners, I’d always wanted one but they cost about $70 in the UK so I’d never bothered to actually buy one. I haggled with the shopkeeper for a few minutes and managed to pick one up for $2.50, I was amazed. Ten minutes later and I had thirty of them stuffed into my rucksack for the bulk price of around $1.75 a piece! I sold them for $25 a pop on Ebay, a quick and easy profit!
Is there a particular type of items that you look for to buy and sell?
I tend to look for stuff which I know is already for sale in the UK but at a much higher price. Anything I can sell at a festival is a good bet; Hippie shirts from India cost me around $1 each but can easily be sold for $15, leather satchels sell for upwards of $100 a piece in the UK so I shipped thirty of them from India back home to myself, they cost around $15 each and I sold them at around $50 each.
And where do you find is the best place to sell your items?
Online is the easiest place to sell stuff but, if I have the time, I far prefer to head to festivals – the kind of stuff I am selling is often popular with festival-goers and then you can haggle with people a bit as well, I’m perfectly happy giving people a bit of a discount if they ask for it – I am usually making an 800% mark up!
Do you have a stand out best selling item or one that makes a lot of profit?
Handcrafted leather items always do well; belts, wallets, satchels and purses. Saying that, there’s a few people selling this gear now so you need to be willing to come down on price when competing online. Silk scarves do well, largely because even if you sell them for just $8 you have probably only paid a dollar tops for them, the more you buy and the better your haggling skills, the cheaper they are!
What has been the greatest challenge?
Stuffing fifty shirts and silk scarves into an already bulging rucksack!
And have you had any items that you’ve made a big loss on or that you didn’t manage to sell?
I bought back a load of sterling silver jewellery from the Middle East which I had real problems shifting, I suppose when it comes to an item which could be fake, like silver, people are less inclined to buy. In the end, I think I just about broke even but it really wasn’t worth the hassle.
What do you wish you had known before you started to buy and sell souvenirs ?
It certainly would have helped to know that I could get a much better price at festivals than online; I would have made a lot more money. I also would advise anyone who wants to do this to shop around; don’t just go with the first person you meet selling leather belts, you want the best quality for the lowest price – it’s a happy medium which is not always as easy to find as you would expect. Do your research, learn where the textile or leather centre of a country is and go to the source, if the goods have already travelled from somewhere to the store you are currently perusing, the price will be much more than it is at the source.
Can you describe your life as a broke backpacker in 3 words.
Hmmm, that’s kind of a hard one, let’s go with – Constantly Varied Adventures – largely because I am so spontaneous that what I am doing, where I am, why I am there, pretty much everything, can change at a moment’s notice. I love being on the road, it’s an adventure, and I have no idea what will happen or how it will end.
What about the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I’m actually very excited about the future at the moment, this year I am really focussing on my blogging and I am attending a couple of big Travel Blogger conferences in Berlin and Bangkok. I have also been hired as the very first Holiday-Rep for a very exciting, and currently under-wraps, type of package holiday which I can’t really talk about at the moment.
In 2016, I have another top secret project underway which will either succeed and catapult me to fame and glory or, well, fail, in which case I anticipate a watery grave! In five years time, I would love to still be writing about my adventures albeit having somewhat more comfortable ones – my days of sleeping in ditches are numbered!
Ultimately, I would love to own a couple of hostels around the world aimed specifically at backpackers on a budget – I would pour my heart and soul into them and make them totally awesome; we’re talking free surfboard, bicycle and skateboard rental. Huge breakfasts, free beer from 6-7, hitchhiking advice for the local region and plenty of events as well, I love a good party…
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what top tips would you give for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?
The singular top tip I can give to anyone is to just book a ticket. Get it done. Stop day-dreaming about isolated beaches, stop staring at rucksacks in store windows, simply book that flight. It will give you the kick up the ass you need to get everything else sorted – your itinerary, gear, insurance, the works! Once you have that flight booked, it will all seem very real and that’s what you need to shake up your world, which is always a good thing! If your interested in bringing things back home to sell; make a short-list of the kind of things you would like to buy back home, which are small and light, but are expensive – then see if you can find them on your trip!
Thank you so much Will for these inspirational tips! This is really something I should have started doing ages ago!
Check out some of the other interviews and Global Gallivanting is still looking to interview people working abroad, if you are interested in being featured contact me.