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7 Top Digital Nomad Passive Income Streams

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Traveling while working online is an excellent way to see the world. Any freelancer has the ability to do this.

Traveling freelancers, also called digital nomads, have not only the opportunity to earn money by working online while traveling. They also can earn even more money by creating passive income streams.

Digital nomad passive income streams give you extra money so you’ll have more for your travels. They also help you get through any lean times you may have with your freelance work. A passive income stream or two in addition to your freelance work will help ensure that you have layers of constant income.

This post gives digital nomads 7 top passive income streams that you can integrate into your freelance income.

Infinity symbol representing digital nomad passive streams of income.

Digital Nomad Passive Income Stream #1 – Affiliate income

If you create content online for an audience, selling relevant products as an affiliate can be a good source of passive income.

How affiliate income works

You include links to third-party products through platforms like Amazon or other affiliate sites. Whenever a viewer purchases using your affiliate link, you receive a commission.

Pros to affiliate income streams

• Because it is entirely online, you can continue using affiliate links even when traveling.
• The better suited your product is to your audience, the more you will earn.
• Affiliate links can be done on different platforms: blog, social media, website, etc.

Cons to affiliate income streams

• You need to have an audience. If you are just starting, it might be difficult to build up enough of an audience for affiliate links to be profitable.
• Consistently posting content takes effort and time.

Digital Nomad Passive Income Stream #2 – Dropshipping

If you have good business sense, dropshipping can be a great way to earn money.

Dropshipping is a business model in which you do not keep your products in stock. You can sell almost anything from Apple devices to Zumba clothing.

How dropshipping works

The way this digital nomad passive income stream works is you set up your online store. When a customer buys something, you purchase the item from a third party and have it shipped directly to the customer.

Like any business, dropshipping needs a good amount of marketing. Partnering with micro-influencers already involved in a particular niche can bring your products to customers interested in them. Lifestyle and gaming products work well with this strategy.

Pros to dropshipping income streams

• Dropshipping requires less capital than business models where you have to stock your products yourself. You can increase your bottom line as you get the hang of the process.
• There is limited risk because you are not spending on products until a customer purchases an item you’re offering.
• You can be located anywhere as long as you can contact your suppliers.

Cons to dropshipping income streams

  • You’ll need to have a partner back home who will handle the shipping.
  • Dropshipping involves running a business, which could entail more work than other passive income streams. However, the effort can be worth it if the business succeeds.
  • As with any business, there are possible risks like delayed shipments or low-quality products. This is why researching your supplier is very important.

Digital Nomad Passive Income Stream #3 – Rental income

If you like to travel, renting out your house or apartment while you’re gone can be a great way to supplement your income. If you have an extra room in that house or apartment, you can even rent that out separately to a second renter as well!

This is especially profitable if you live in an area with several tourist spots and nearby recreational facilities. For instance, if you live by the sea, you can look forward to tourists booking your space during holidays.

How rental income streams work

You put up your place for rent on platforms like Vrbo, then someone will book it. You will receive the payment minus the platform’s cut.

Pros to rental income streams

• You can earn money while traveling.
• It is easy to place your home for rent online.
• If you live in a high-demand area, you can charge more.
• You have multiple alternatives, as you can also rent out your car, your garage, or even your bike.

Cons to rental income streams

  • There is the risk of letting strangers or irresponsible guests into your home.
  • You’ll need a partner back home who will handle the cleaning and any other tasks associated with renting, or you’ll need to hire a management company.

laptop, pens, photos and magazine for digital nomad passive streams of income

Digital Nomad Passive Income Stream #4 – Stock photos or videos

Do you take photos wherever you go? Do you enjoy shooting short videos?

If your answer is yes, then you might want to sell stock photos or videos.

How stock photos or videos income streams work

Create high-quality audio-visual content assets and sell them to stock platforms like Adobe Stock and Shutterstock. When you send them your photos or videos, you can get paid with a commission every time someone buys your content.

Pros to stock photos or videos income streams

• If you love photography and videography, you can make money while having fun.
• Selling to stock sites is relatively simple.
• Frequent travelers have access to interesting scenes during their trips.
• Alternatively, you can also explore the market for stock music, audio effects, and vector images.

Cons to stock photos or videos income streams

• You will need a camera of excellent quality.
• To take photos and videos that sell, you should have an understanding of composition, exposure, and other photography and videography concepts.

Digital Nomad Passive Income Stream #5 – Digital knowledge-based products

As a freelancer, you are constantly honing your skills and abilities. You have knowledge that people want to learn. To profit from your expertise, you need to find people who will be your audience and create content that appeals to them.

For example, you can create an e-book about taxes for expat freelancers or make a video about marketing for small businesses. Selling digital e-books, videos, or online courses can augment your income and savings over time.

How digital knowledge-based products work

There are two ways to sell knowledge-based products: through a platform or independently.

Option 1: Platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, Podia, and Coursera are great for putting up online courses. These websites typically pay you per viewer and are open to guiding you through the process.

Option 2: You can also create and market your product or service on your own. If you already have an audience interested in what you do, you can publish an e-book or create an exclusive online course based on your expertise.

Pros to digital knowledge-based products 

• You can get paid to talk about your expertise—be it creative writing, corporate videography, effective sales calls, or whatever you’re good at.
• Once you finish creating your content, you can continuously earn from it. Unlike physical products, you don’t need to worry about suppliers, logistics, and shipping.
• By teaching people in your audience, you are also improving your own skills.

Cons to digital knowledge-based products 

• There is a lot of competition online for digital resources. You need to stand out among other content creators.
• Even if you are an expert, you also need content creation skills. For instance, if you are creating an online course, you should be good at scripting, filming, and editing. An alternative is to hire a videographer or have a friend help you.

Digital Nomad Passive Income Stream #6 – Investments

Investing in stocks is another way to earn passive income.

How investing in stocks works

To start this digital nomad passive income stream, you buy stocks from a company that you believe will succeed. The company then gives you dividends according to the number of stocks you own.

Pros to stock investment income streams

• Once you have purchased stocks, there is little effort required to start earning passive income from investments.
• Profit from stocks can add up, especially if you have several of them from different companies.
• The process is entirely online, which means you can be anywhere to start investing.

Cons to stock investment income streams

• It can be tricky to find the right companies to invest in. You need to do enough research to understand how well it might perform in the future.
• Investing is often a slow climb. You probably won’t be seeing quick profits, as stocks are more of a long-term type of investment.

Alternatives to stock investments

Another option for investing in stocks is with exchange-traded funds or ETFs. Peer-to-peer lending is also a viable alternative for investments.

Digital Nomad Passive Income Stream # 7 – Creative skills

Passive income can come from the strangest places. Here are some creative ways to earn passive income.

Cashback Apps

Apps can give you money for doing things that you were planning to do anyway. This means you earn a small amount of money when you buy groceries, watch TV, or use loyalty cards. These apps partner with companies to get marketing data from consumers.

Fast work

If you have a useful skill like playing the guitar or writing C++, you can find quick work through websites like Fiverr, Flexjobs, and Peopleperhour.

Ad Space

If you have property facing a high-volume street back home, you can sell ad space and earn income. If not, you can even sell ad space on your car.

Design custom shirts

If you have an eye for design, you can create images and visual prints for custom shirts. Sell your designs and earn money every time someone buys a shirt without you having to deal with logistics, marketing, or shipping concerns.

male traveling freelancer working on passive income streams sitting on a sofa with a city view

Managing freelancing and digital nomad passive income streams

Managing your time between freelance work and passive streams of income can be challenging at first, but it gets easier over time.

To better handle your income streams while traveling, here are a few tips:


Take off some of your workloads by automating income streams, regular payments, and saving deposits.

Look at your budget

You may find ways to reduce spending, like shopping at a different grocery store or reducing unnecessary expenditure with tax preparation professionals.

Don’t do everything at once

Instead, start one project at a time and feel it out before adding another income stream.

Plan ahead

Develop a money mindset by listing down your goals regularly and anticipating the steps needed to achieve these goals.

Conclusion to 7 Top Digital Nomad Passive Income Streams

Setting up digital nomad passive income streams means that you will have money coming in even when you take time off from your freelance work to focus your travels. Set up passive income streams in addition to your freelance income streams, and you will have constant income.

Want to learn more about how to earn income as a freelancer? Take my free 7-lesson mini-course Get on the Right Path to Freelancing


(This updated post was originally published on February 14, 2022.)

Images by Peter Lomas, ptra and Austin Distel

Randall Brody
Randall Brody

Randall is the Founder of Tax Samaritan, a boutique firm specializing in the preparation of taxes and the resolution of tax problems for Americans living abroad, as well as the other unique tax issues that apply to taxpayers. Here, they help taxpayers save money on their tax return.

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