Category Archives: Travel Budget Tips

Free Entrance to National Parks in 2023

This is incredibly useful and is going to save me some money! It tells you how to get into national parks for free--in the US and Canada.

Over four hundred of America’s national parks are free everyday.  But nearly 125 of them aren’t.  Luckily, the park system does offer free days, so you can go enjoy our beautiful country while remaining completely and totally frugal.

National Park Free Entrance Days for 2019

Prior to 2018, there were weeks-worth of free National Park Days. But in the years since, the number has been cut down to just five days.  If you want to visit on a free entrance day, you’re going to have to plan a little more carefully.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Fees will be waived on January 16, 2023 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

First Day of National Park Week

Before 2018, there were five free days in the month of April recognizing National Park Week. Ever since, though, you only get in for free on the first day of the celebration. This year, that date is April 22, 2023.

Great American Outdoors Act Day

To celebrate the 2020 passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, you’ll be able to gain free admission to parks on August 4, 2023.

National Public Lands Day

Admission will be free on September 23, 2023 in honor of National Public Lands Day.

Veterans Day

You can get into national parks for free in celebration of Veterans Day on November 11, 2023.

Which National Parks require an entrance fee?

I’ve been lucky to travel a good bit in my time. National parks always bring such a sense of awe and wonder. It’s one thing to wander around in the woods in your backyard. It’s a completely different thing to spend time in pristine, protected wilderness.

Some of my favorite national parks that will be waiving their fees on free days are:

There’s a ton of others, too. I was surprised to find the ones in my own back yard that I never knew existed. To find some near you, you can check out the National Park Service’s website.

Free Entry to National Parks Year Round

If you fall into any of the following demographics, you can get a free national park pass. You only need one per vehicle to get into the park, so if anyone in your family falls into one of these categories, you could theoretically get the entire clan in for free.

  • You are a US citizen with a documented disability.
  • You are a 4th grader. Eligibility starts on your first day of fourth grade and ends on your first day of fifth grade.
  • You are a member of the military or a military dependent.
  • You are a federal lands volunteer with at least 250 hours under your belt.

You can learn more about each of these programs here.

Not-Free Annual Pass

Depending on how often you visit national parks, it might make sense to invest in an annual pass. there are different prices for different parts of the population.

Annual Pass – $80

This is the pass for the vast majority of the populace. You’ll have to pay an $80 annual fee, and you can get it if you are:

  • An American citizen between the ages of 16 — 62.
  • An international visitor.

If you’re just visiting one park that has a per-car fee, this pass might not save you money. But if you’re doing multiple entries or visiting multiple parks, it might keep some cash in your wallet.

Senior Annual Pass – $20

If you’re age 62 or over, you can get the annual pass for just $20 — which is far more likely to save you money over the $80/year option.

Senior Lifetime Pass – $80

Want the senior pass to last beyond this year? You can pay $80 once and hold it for the rest of your life, which is a pretty great deal. You can only get this pass if you’re age 62 or older.

Getting into Canadian National Parks for Free

The first way to get into Canadian national parks for free is via a Canoo mobile app. This method is reserved for those who have become Canadian citizens in the past year, or immigrated to Canada in the past year.

The second way to get into Canadian National Parks for free is to be young! Anyone under 17 years of age can get into national parks for free all the time. Find out more about the youth program here.

We’d love to hear about your national park experiences! Tell us about them in the comments section.

Favorite Hotel Off I-95: River and Twine

Wooden sign lit up at night, nestled amongst shrubbery. White text on sign reads 'River and Twine Nestle in and Untwine' Text in corner of image read 'Best Hotel off I-95.' River and Twine is located in Rocky Mount, NC

Out of all the highways I’ve traversed in my life, I-95 is probably the one with which I’m the most well acquainted. As someone who has spent most of their life on the East Coast, it’s rare that I’ll take a big road trip without hitting it at least once.

This year we took one road trip in particular that took us down hundreds upon hundreds of miles of I-95. We were driving from Pennsylvania to Florida, and it was going to take two days.

Usually, when I book this route, I find a hotel somewhere around Fayetteville, NC or Santee, SC. This time was a little bit of a different story.

Why I did things differently.

I’m back to traveling again, but I’m still being careful with coronavirus.

Catching it sounds like a great way to ruin a trip, and I’m not eager to roll the dice with Long COVID complications for my family or the people around us.

Part of my COVID travel precautions include booking properties with windows that open, as good ventilation is one of the best ways to prevent an infection is the first place.

You’d think that would be an easy feat, but it’s not. If a hotel was built in the recent past, its windows likely don’t open at all.

I had a particularly hard time finding one on I-95 that would be even marginally close to the ‘halfway’ point. I spent countless hours browsing  Open My Hotel Window and calling individual properties up and down the corridor.

Finding a property took a lot of extra work for this specific trip. But I’m kind of glad it did.

Because this little sojourn led me to my new favorite hotel off of I-95. It’s an experience I’m glad I didn’t miss.

Here’s where to stay in North Carolina off of I-95.

Pines and trees with yellow fall leaves lining a gravel road in Rocky Mount, NC.

Believe it or not, the property I found wasn’t in a bigger town like Fayetteville. For a minute I even thought I might book a place in Lumberton, but that didn’t work out.

No, ultimately my favorite hotel off I-95 ended up being a bit further north in Rocky Mount.

Favorite Hotel off I-95: River and Twine

Bed cozied into loft nook. Walls and ceilings are wood panel. Sheets are pulled back over a hand-knitted quilt. Window next to the bed with thick blinds.

My favorite hotel off I-95 ended up not being a hotel at all. Instead, it was a tiny-house community that’s specifically built to be a hotel alternative.

River and Twine hosts a handful of clusters of tiny homes, each gathered around a fire pit. Each unit is freestanding, and there are combination garbage/recycle bins located all around the well-kept landscape.

When I booked it, I was a little unsure of the location. It’s just 10 minutes off the highway, which is great. But the pictures made me wonder just how rural an area it was. I enjoy backcountry camping as much as the next person, but I wasn’t trying to pack my own mess kit or cook over the fire for this particular trip.

I need not have worried. When we got there, the parking lot was literally shared with an enclave of fancier-than-fast-food restaurants, sites of historical note, and shopping establishments. Next door and lining the street was residential housing.

It was far enough removed from those things to be a quiet, restful property. But it was also conveniently located enough that I was able to get us breakfast the next morning without gathering kindling.

Inside the tiny houses of River and Twine

Inside a tiny home at River and Twine, looking up at the loft.Inside, the tiny houses of River and Twine are pretty much the exact same size as a room you’d get at a hotel. They’re longer and skinnier and taller, but at the end of the day it felt like the same square footage and accommodated the same number of people.

They also had the same amenities as a hotel. Our room had:

  • Mini fridge.
  • Kitchen sink.
  • Miniature shampoos, soaps and conditioners.
  • Towels and full linens.
  • A cubby to store your luggage and clothes.
  • A table and chairs.
  • Delightful coffee.

The bathroom didn’t have a bathtub — just a stand-alone shower. But that was the only real difference.

The bed situation was where it got even more fun. The room we booked was the equivalent of a hotel room with two full beds.

One bed was up in a loft. There were lights and windows in the loft space so you could control the environment somewhat separately from the ‘downstairs’ if you wanted to.

The ladder up to the loft was sturdy, but if you have mobility issues or a fear of heights, there’s no downside to staying in the ‘downstairs.’

When you first walk in, you’ll notice a fouton. Don’t let the (usually true) stereotypes fool you. This full-size fold out is thick and comfortable just like a nice bed would be.

The people at River and Twine

Picture taken from loft at River and Twine while watching TV.

Our stay was quiet — no rowdy fellow tiny-house stayers. No audible disruptions from the businesses nearby.

It’s actually self check-in, so we didn’t deal with anyone at all while we were staying on the property. And I kind of liked that. We saw other guests going about their business, but no one was intrusive, which was nice. Because as much as we like making friends, we were really just there to get a good night’s sleep.

As far as the people who operate River and Twine, they went out of their way to follow up with me the day-of to ensure a frictionless check-in process. I appreciated it because getting an email is one thing, but talking to a human being is another layer of assurance that this leg of the trip will go well.

Is River and Twine a good value?

Cluster of tiny houses of different colors surrounding a fire pit surrounded by adirondack chairs. In the foreground is a young tree with red leaves and in the background an inflatable snowman.The rate I paid to stay at River and Twine was comparable to what I’d pay for a hotel room of a similar quality. I did book during shoulder season, so bear in mind that hotel prices always fluctuate depending on the season — whether the rooms are tiny houses or traditionally stacked together like condominiums.

Plus, with a hotel room, you don’t get the same unique experience provided by River and Twine.

I also maximized my stay by using rewards programs. Right now, you can, too.

How to book River and Twine

I found River and Twine on I like using because they have consistently competitive rates. Sometimes I’ll even find a super great rate by using their Secret Prices feature.

They also have a rewards program. You get a virtual stamp card, and for each night you book using the site, you’ll earn a stamp.  After ten stamps, you get a free night.

Currently, they’re running a sale where members can save 30% or more on hotel bookings made by Dec. 24, 2022.

But they’re always running some type of great deal for their members. For example, when I booked this hotel, they had a promotion that gave me 20% off and two stamps for every single night booked. I am ridiculously close to that free night reward thanks to it.

Membership is free, and you can get started here.



Living with COVID: Travel Edition

This post is written relative to COVID only. I am still processing MPV.masked woman pushing a suitcase outside

In 2019, I traveled a lot. I was out there taking advantage of every airline mile, 10th night free offer, and Airbnb credit available.

And I’m so glad I did. In retrospect, those experiences helped shore my wanderlust as I mournfully sat in my house for the next two years, never venturing very far outside the borders of my own state.

I put traveling on hold. And with it, I also put travel content on hold. I didn’t want to encourage anyone to engage in behavior that could end up hurting or potentially even killing anyone else. I did not want to encourage the spread, even if that meant losing some of my profit.

My Instagram feed dried up, as it mostly features my travel pictures and savings tips. I stopped writing about my latest trip to Japan in the middle of the story. The budget travel hacks you used to find here by and large stopped being produced.

But today, I guess all of that changes.

Why I Started Traveling Again in 2022

In 2022, I started traveling again.

There were a multitude of reasons.

During this pandemic, I’ve lost many people. Some to COVID. Some to a lack of care or sub-par care created by an overwhelmed medical system.

At the tail end of 2021 in particular, our family lost several members of an entire generation. From all branches of our family tree. To be honest, I’m still processing all the loss.

This Spring, my cousin was getting married. They were throwing an extremely COVID-conscious wedding, with large portions of it outside or in a building where the front was open to the outdoors. They stressed the importance of vaccinations and testing.

They weren’t pretending COVID wasn’t happening, so they were able to effectively address it and create as safe an environment as possible.

While not everyone in attendance would be living to the same standards I’ve had to keep, this setting felt manageable.

At the time I planned the trip, I still imagined COVID to be a relatively seasonal virus by region, a theory that is now debunked by the data of summer of 2022. I thought it may be one of the lowest times of year in terms of community spread.

CDC Map for the dates of july 29, 2022-august 4, 2022 showing that community transmission levels are in the 'high' or 'red' zone in 94.17% of counties in the United States

I wanted to see my family, especially after all of our shared grief. Especially to celebrate such a wonderful couple.

So I made plans to go.

I had also booked a speaking gig in Philly for the summer of 2022 almost a year prior, when I thought for sure this would all be over (or at least better managed via public health measures.)

I brought my kids to Philly, too, to appreciate the more touristy parts of Old City.

How I Traveled with COVID-19 Safety Precautions

I cannot tell you that the precautions we took eliminated all risk of spreading COVID. I cannot tell you by inherent nature of being on the road, we were able to be as careful as we are at home.

I cannot tell you that setting up safety measures eliminates all risks, or that I don’t constantly question myself whether or not this is something I should or should not be doing.

What I can tell you is that by taking these measures, we used layered mitigations to make amazing experiences more possible. I’ve done it three times now, and well over a month later, I’m happy to say that none of us caught COVID on these trips.

Now, there’s nothing to say on the fourth trip we wouldn’t. My anecdotal experiences do not diminish the prolific evasiveness of this virus. Even if you do everything ‘right’ there’s no way to 100% protect yourself.

But we did what we could to protect ourselves, and did our best to protect everyone around us, too.

Here’s what actually implementing layered mitigations looked like for us.

We only went places we could drive.


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Why we did it: My heart broke when masking and testing measures were removed for air travel. The masking was particularly problematic because it also extended to public transit mandates across the country.

Buses and trolleys people use to go to work and the grocery store and the pharmacy everyday.

Not just airplanes.

I’m not saying I won’t get on a plane in the future under the right circumstances. But as I was planning these particular trips at this particular point in time, I decided that anywhere we went, we’d go by car.

On top of that, even though driving a car isn’t great for the environment, the harm is way less than burning jet fuel.

And I’d like the summers to not get any hotter, please.

How we did it: I’m lucky that my work schedule allowed me to drive two days to get to the wedding. And Philadelphia is only one day away by car. We’d be able to have fun and fulfilling trips without having to take on the additional risks of air travel.

We timed our boosters.


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Why we did it: Our vaccines, while life-saving for most, are not perfect.

Break-through infections are increasingly normal.

While the vaccine does dramatically increase your odds of staying out of the hospital, not everyone will be on the lucky side of those odds. At least tens of thousands of vaccinated people have died and are still dying from this virus.

And whether you’re vaccinated or not, you can get Long COVID. Long COVID occurs in up to 49% of people who are infected, and all too often follows a ‘mild’ or asymptomatic case.

Vaccines are an important mitigation strategy. But they are not a mitigation strategy to be used in isolation.

Vaccine efficacy also falls off after a period of time — dramatically so between 3 and 6 months from your last dose. Which is why boosters are necessary.

How we did it: Before we took our trips, we made sure everyone was up-to-date on their boosters in the past three months.

Everyone had to have their most recent booster shot at least two weeks before we left on the trip, as that’s how long the boosters take to kick in at full force.

We booked hotels with windows that opened.

Why we did it: Ventilation is a key element of layered mitigation. When the air is flowing, it makes it harder for an airborne virus to spread. You’re removing many of those viral particles from the room.

How we did it: We kept ventilation in mind as we were booking hotels. For one of the Philly trips, we stayed at Independence Park Hotel. It’s a really well-kept hotel with great staff, and was in such a great location in the heart of Old City.

But not all rooms in the hotel have windows that open.

We called immediately after booking to ensure the room we were staying in would. Zero issues.

When I was driving to the wedding, I made sure the hotel I stayed at after the first day of driving had windows that opened, too.

For the rest of the stays, I booked private apartments on Airbnb with windows that opened.

I’ve gotta say, the whole Airbnb experience has gone downhill since I started using them years ago, and I don’t know how often I’ll be using them in the future. But I had some credits in my pocket, and the ventilation situation was ideal.

If we do any road trips in the future, I might get my own HEPA air cleaner to bring along. But that wasn’t something I was overly familiar with prior to these trips.

We kept those windows open for at least 15 minutes before removing our masks.


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Why we did it: Real-life cases in both Hong Kong and New Zealand have shown us that even just opening your hotel room door can let the virus in, lingering in the air for a while and causing infection.

How we did it: We had a rule in our hotel room: Every time we entered the room, we immediately opened the window and waited at least 15 minutes before taking our masks off.

We did as much outdoors as possible.


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Why we did it: Covid can spread outside. But it’s much harder for it to do so.

How we did it: During these warmer months in the north, there’s no shortage of things to do outdoors. So we planned our adventures accordingly, going indoors as little as possible.

Here are just some of the fun outside things we did:

  • Attend an outdoor wedding ceremony.
  • Paddle boats.
  • Historic tours of Philadelphia. (NPS has an app so you don’t really need to pay for a tour guide unless you want to.)
  • Various outdoor memorials, parks, fountains and river walks.
  • Festivals at lower-traffic times of day.
  • Super fun playgrounds in the city.

We did mask outdoors if an area was particularly crowded.

We masked with N95s.

Why we did it: We did not take our masks off indoors other than our hotel room.

Not to eat.

Not to drink.

Not just for a picture.

Not when people were mocking us.

Not when an employee at the establishment told us we ‘didn’t need to do that anymore.’

Because the coronavirus doesn’t care about all that. If it’s in the air, it can infect you regardless of which activity you’re participating in.

We might not like it, but that’s how science works.

How we did it: That’s not to say we didn’t go indoors at all. When we did, we tried to keep it under 5 minutes. In all cases, whether or not we could meet those time constraints, our N95 masks did not come off inside.

Even when I spoke at Plutus Voices, I kept my mask on the whole time. It was a relatively small event that will eventually be shared online, and the venue was also really awesome and opened the windows to improve ventilation without us even asking.

We ate outside or in our hotel room with the window open.


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Why we did it: For all the same reasons listed above.

How we did it: Of course, we did have to eat!

Sometimes we ate outside if the restaurant had a setup that kept us reasonably socially distanced.

Our hotel let me bring our complimentary breakfast up to the room so we could eat by ourselves with the window open.

We also used take out and delivery the same way. Since the pandemic started, almost all restaurants now have a take out option. So it’s not like your dining options are limited. You can eat food from almost anywhere without having to sit in their indoor dining room.

Tested before events.

How we did it: Wedding?

COVID test first.

Plutus Voices?

COVID test first.

Before we went anywhere indoors where we could potentially infect others, we took an at-home COVID test, which you can get free through insurance.

Covid-19 at-home test showing a single-line negative result

Why we did it: At-home testing is another imperfect measure on its own. COVID can take several days to show up on one of these tests, and some strains show up more reliably than others.

PCR testing is much more accurate. It can take several days to get results back, though.

Overall, the at-home tests catch enough asymptomatic cases that they’re still worth taking. If it shows up positive, you can prevent yourself from going to the event and infecting others.

These tests also can catch some symptomatic cases, but they can miss them, too. If you have symptoms and test negative with an at-home test, assume you’re positive anyways. Air on the side of caution for the sake of everyone else around you.

Did any of these pandemic safety measures help us save money?


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Heck, yes!

The COVID tests were free, and we use N95s back home, too, so arguably our total additional cost of combatting COVID while on vacation was $0.

In fact, following our safety protocol actually lowered costs, as a lot of the outdoor activities we engaged in were either free or very low cost, while still providing immense joy.

Inside more often comes with an admission fee.

5 Essentials Every Travel Bug Needs to Know

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.
Brick building with white wall exposed exterior. Painted white with black number 5 paineted on it. Light on the house is papered red and reads, 'F' and 'found' on two different panels.

Consider yourself a bit of a travel bug, planning your next trip abroad shortly after arriving back from your last vacation?

Daydreaming about the next most thrilling region to experience at any given moment?

Then you probably already know most of the ins and outs of traveling abroad. Even though you likely have a valid passport and all the other relevant documentation you need to explore the world, there are some essentials that you might not be aware of just yet.

These essentials can enhance your globe-trotting experiences by simplifying your travels and ensuring you are prepared for any situation.

International Travel And Medical Insurance

International travel and medical insurance offered by GeoBlue might not be mandatory insurance for travelers. In fact, many American health insurance policies will cover you while abroad.

I’ve even had a health insurance rep request that if I was going to get hurt, I do it while I was travelling in Europe rather back home in the US. The cost of care is cheaper there, and costs the health insurer less money.

However, it can be beneficial depending on where you plan on travelling. GeoBlue provides a few different kinds of international travel and medical insurance policies, so you should choose one specifically relevant to your current health coverage status and end destination.

This type of insurance coverage will ensure that you have access to expert health care facilities should you need it, regardless of where you may be in the world. The policy provides medical care while it also protects you from travel-related mishaps such as lost baggage, delayed flights, and others that would otherwise have you overspending on your travel budget.

Some of their policies are most suitable for solo travelers, while others are great for multi-trips. Still others are best for ex-pats. A little bit of research about this type of insurance will help you determine which policy is best for you.

Travel Vaccinations

Travel vaccines are vital depending on where you will be traveling. However, even if you are traveling to a region where vaccines aren’t mandatory, it is still wise to visit your doctor before leaving on your trip to determine which vaccines would be beneficial. Some areas require multiple vaccines, and these will ensure you don’t fall ill while enjoying your experience abroad.

The most commonly required travel vaccinations include yellow fever, Hepatitis A and B, polio, meningococcal infection, cholera, malaria, and a few others. However, your travel vaccination needs will depend entirely on where you are traveling to. For this specific reason, it is always wise to visit your doctor at least one month before heading off on your next travel experience to ensure your vaccinations are always up to date.

In this specific moment in time, Americans need to remember that they’re coming from a place of extreme privilege with their access to COVID-19 vaccinations. If you’re travelling somewhere where they do not yet have access, or if you are not yourself vaccinated,  it may be worth taking the time to question your motivation to play tourist in someone else’s home during a global pandemic, and if that motivation is noble enough to follow through on.

Anti-Theft Luggage

Even if you have done your research ahead of time, you should still take measures to protect yourself as a solo traveler.

Anti-theft luggage is available in various designs and sizes, and the investment is well-worth, considering you travel pretty often. With that said, there are also tons of other self-protection items to consider, such as self-defense keychains, etc.,  that will ensure you can travel the world with confidence and peace of mind.

Travel Documentation And An Organizer

Of course, you already know that travel documentation is vital. Keeping your documentation safe and secure while traveling? IRL, that’s tough.

Your documents can easily be misplaced, even if you have not yet had such an issue. To avoid losing your documents while enjoying your vacation, you can invest in a travel documentation organizer that will keep all your documents safe in one place.

This type of organizer is similar to a wallet or purse. In addition to an organizer, you should also store copies of your documents in the cloud on your Drive to ensure you still have access to your documents even if you lose your organizer.

Universal Adapters

Plug sockets vary from region to region, and arriving in a foreign country only to find that you can’t charge your phone or laptop because your charger doesn’t fit in the plugs at your chosen accommodation can be extremely frustrating.

Instead of taking a chance, you should invest in universal adapters, and always bring them along with you regardless of where you are traveling. Universal adapters are also pretty cheap.

Whether you are traveling to Japan on a budget or visiting Australia to explore the diverse natural landscapes, you should always ensure you have the essentials that will protect you from any unpredictable situations.


How to Make Money as a Translator

Want to make money as a translator? Today, Rebecca Brown shows us how.

A white box is drawn around the words, 'Make extra money as a translator.' Below is pictured white Japanese lamps with black lettering.

I am a native English speaker. But thanks to my multicultural family, I happen to speak German at a near-native level. I have managed to turn my bilingual background into a fruitful career.

Prior to jumping into the translating industry, my grandparents had been the only ones to capitalize on my translating skills. They called me over every time they bought a new appliance and struggled to make sense of the English user manual.

I managed to slowly break into the industry by translating for people in my network for some pocket money. But the road would have been much easier if I had someone to answer a few how’s and why’s.

So, to help those who are looking to make some extra money as a translator, I’ll address some of the most important FAQs related to translation.

What Does a Professional Translator Do?

A professional translator translates written text from one language into another. Professional translators translate books, subtitles, blogs, emails, legal documents, etc.

You may be wondering: Why do we still need translators when we have Google Translate?

To be a professional translator, you need to be able to relay the meaning, style, and tone of the original source in your translations. That’s something Google Translate cannot yet do reliably.

You need to keep the facts and ideas from the original text accurate, and the sentences must flow as well as the original. A professional translator must consider slang and other expressions and cultural references that do not translate literally.

Translation is not the same as interpretation. While translators translate written words, interpreters translate spoken language. To be a translator, you don’t necessarily have to speak the original language fluently, but you must be able to read it and write it impeccably.

Translation is also not to be confused with transliteration. Transliteration is the act of converting words or letters from the alphabet of one language to another. Transliteration just converts a text into a new format. It doesn’t render the meaning of the text. For instance, “חֲנֻכָּה” is the Hebrew word for the Jewish holiday called Festival of Lights. The English transliteration of the word is “Hanukkah.”

How Do I Become a Professional Translator?

Being bilingual or multilingual is a great start, but it’s not enough to become a professional translator. As mentioned, translation requires skills that go beyond understanding and speaking a language. You also need sound research skills, in-depth cultural knowledge, excellent writing skills, proofreading skills, computing and CAT (computer-assisted translation software) skills. Since most translators get paid by the word, you also need good time management skills.

To gain those skills, first, you need to get specialized training. If you are looking for schools that can help you prepare to work as a translator, check out:

Get certified as a professional translator.

The next step is to get certified. Not all translation gigs require you to have a certification, but you will have a much easier time finding work if you become ATA certified. The ATA certification is a highly regarded credential in the US.

The Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) is another great resume builder. Be sure to check whether your state offers accreditation programs.

When you gain experience, you can specialize in a certain niche and get an industry-specific certification. These credentials usually target interpreters, but they are great proof of your expertise nonetheless. For instance, you can get the CMI credential from the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters.

How Much Money Can I Make as a Translator?

Most translation jobs pay per word, but my tip is to try to convert the rate-by-word to an hourly rate. The average translator can translate 300 to 600 words per hour.

Let’s say that you are a beginner and that it takes you 3 hours to translate 1000 words. If your goal is to make at least $20 per hour, you wouldn’t want to accept jobs that pay under $0.06 per word.

In the US, the average hourly wage of a translator is around $24. More experienced translators make around $33. But your hourly rate will depend on your experience and location, as well as the languages you know. When starting out, you can expect to make between $15 to $20 an hour.

The highest paying region for translators is Washington D.C. On average, a translator in D.C. makes $38 an hour.

Generally, translators for these languages are in great demand, so they pay better:

  • German.
  • Arabic.
  • French.
  • Chinese.

For instance, German translators in the US make between $26 to $33 an hour on average. The rates for Italian and Spanish are generally lower, but these two languages can still bring translators consistent income.

Where Can I Find Work as a Professional Translator?

I’ve come to learn that attending industry events, such as workshops, meetups, and conferences, is one of the best ways to promote yourself as a freelancer and find new clients. However, face-to-face networking isn’t always a possibility, even though it can be a great way of landing a job.

Some online platforms where you can find work as a translator include:


If you apply for a job at an agency, they will likely give you a test piece of about 200 to 600 words. Beware of agencies that require you to translate a test piece that is longer than 600 words. Some dodgy agencies will give you long test pieces to translate, but they are actually looking to get some client work done for free.

Is Translating a Good Side Hustle?

Translating is an excellent side hustle if you speak more than one language. It may not be the best-paying gig out there — at least not for those who are just starting out. But the extra money is nothing to shrug off considering the low startup and overhead costs.

Many — if not most — translators work from home, and the job is pretty flexible. This is a major plus point in times of non-essential business closures and social distancing.

Picture of Rebecca Brown

I’m Rebecca, a translator, avid traveler, and a bookworm. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.