If your dream is to travel and/or live abroad, then you must’ve asked yourself the question: How can I make money to travel or live abroad? I get it. I’ve asked myself that a lot too. The traditional answer to making money is a lackluster one- work at a 9-5 job at home, live frugally and sock your money away for a vacation. Realistically, that’s a decent answer and how much of the population goes.
But why can’t every day be a vacation, where we get paid to play? Is it possible? The answer is yes and no.
Travel is not a traditionally painted road of right and wrong resumes. There are many alternative ways to go about things and the road is as wide as your creativity. But it also takes that nasty word– work.
In this first installment of my two-part series (continued here), we’ll be looking at travel jobs.
Up until moving back home to Hawaii (okay, that’s a sore spot I won’t talk about…), I’ve made a living out of careers which, either pay for me to travel or offer the tangential perks of travel. Collegiate volleyball player, exhibiting artist, professional dancer in a company, cameraman for television, English teacher in Korea… All embraced a skill, hobby or talent I was passionate about, a colorful work environment and travel on either, an occasional to regular basis.
How did I do it? Instead of splitting my goals getting completely unrelated work to afford the travel lifestyle I wanted, I went for the big pie. I invested the time to transform my passion into a lifestyle that embraced travel.
Impossible is a state of mind. Anything is possible if you will it! > Click to tweet
There are many types of “travel jobs” out there and many ways to turn a beloved “hobby” into a career. Yes, these are jobs which will pay you to either, travel or live abroad. While some require slightly more specialized skills or training, if you earnestly start sculpting yourself towards the goal, it will pay off in the long run.
#1. Travel jobs from home
Some folks like having a familiar home base, when traveling and one of the major benefits of getting a travel job from home is the ability to work legally in your country, be paid in your country currency and to keep your stuff in your apartment’s storage, as you travel.
Customer Service Jobs
“I get paid to travel the world, visit more than 30 countries per year, live in luxury hotels and on cruise ships when I work and I fly so often that the cabin crew often goes “Hi Claus” when I enter the flight cause they remember me from previous flights.
As a tour leader you often have the sole responsibility of the group and you should expect the average working day to be around 14 hours per day and there are no days off before the group has gone home. And these hours can increase if one of your clients end up in hospital or get robbed.
Pay varies a great deal and some companies barely pay anything and you might have to start with these companies when you are new but once you get some experience then you should be able to save a bit of money up for further travels. As I am a native danish speaker and because the global crisis has not hit Denmark as bad as some other countries and I earn roughly 200 US dollars per day and have all expenses paid while I am on tour.” – Claus Anderson, Tour Leader, Denmark, Read more at Travelling Claus
• Tour Leader or Tour Guide
• Flight Attendant
• Work on a cruise ship *
• Airport customer service check-in attendant (It’s minimum wage, but you get free flight vouchers on a part time job alone!)
Specialty Training Required
“A travel nurse is referred to as a “traveler” because we come from out-of-town to fill a staffing shortage. Because we are experienced, we are given literally one day of orientation and then jump in the fire. In the ER setting, it can be sink or swim and you have to rely on your knowledge, skills, and experience to really get there to take care of patients and navigate through the healthcare setting. It is nice to get to meet people from new places and ask them about themselves, the way they live, where they are from and places to eat and places to visit when you are new to town.
Usually the contracts that I have done are 8 to 13 weeks in length with the option of extending. You can start working as a travel nurse with as little as one year experience, however, much more competitive resumes have at least two years of experience in certain specialties.
I’ve met nurses that have worked in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Ireland, the UK, US Virgin Isles, Australia. There are medical missions such as Doctors Without Borders, Operation Smile, and the Aloha Medical Mission that can take you to all the continents with destinations that include Sri Lanka, China, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Africa, etc.”” – Erik Vincent Pacpaco, Travel Nurse, U.S.A
Some of these jobs are:
• Travel Nurse
” When I lived in New York, I worked in the television industry and often with MTV Networks and other large cable brands. I traveled for anywhere from weeks to months to the point. At one point, I only ever came home to do laundry. My work hours ranged anywhere from two hours to a non-stop eighteen hours, operating a camera, while producing television episodes. It’s hard work and physical, but I love being paid to do my gym workout. Pay is relatively good, all my expenses are covered from flight, hotels, rental car and meals.
Working in the center of all the action, in a changing environment of talented personalities is what I’m drawn to and I got to use my creativity in a way I loved and thrived under. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to knowing your episode is being viewed nationwide and occasionally internationally too.
While I went to school to enhance my skills for this profession, there are thousands, who enter the entertainment industry, and learn on the job either, starting as an assistant or through paid/non-paid apprenticeships. ” – Christine Ka’aloa, Camera Operator/Field Producer, U.S.A.
Some of these jobs are:
• Roadie for a band
• Film or Television Crew
• News Journalist or Correspondent
• Travel Photographer, Correspondent, Journalist
#2. Travel Jobs Abroad
You mean, I need a visa?! If you want to work legally in another country and in a traditional “job”, you’ll need a work visa and the only way to get one is to have a company in that country hire and sponsor you. A foreign company will only hire you to perform a skill that a national can’t do. That leaves a lot of us to be English teachers or to hold jobs based on the skill of being a native English speaker.
Some of these jobs are:
• Yoga /Activities Instructor at a resort (i.e. Club Med– over 40 countries)
• Scuba Dive Instructor
• Au Pair
• Translator or Interpreter
• English teacher
• Camp counselor
• Newspaper editor of an English publication
#3. Teach English Overseas
Teaching ESL is how many travelers get to live and work overseas. Often, requirements scatter across the board and are dependent upon country. However, the main requirement is that you have to be a native English speaker or otherwise, born in a country, where English is the first language, (over 58 countries meet this requirement!). Some require a TEFL certification or a teaching degree; others, not. Teaching is a full-time job, and the salary will afford rent and a basic lifestyle. Depending on the cost of living in the country you’re at, if you’re thrifty you can save.
Take my one year of working in Korea- not only did I get a rent-free apartment and all expense paid for roundtrip flight to Korea, I was also able to save over $10,000 of my salary and that became my travel fund.
All countries will pay a salary, comparable to a decent lifestyle in the country. Some countries pay little, but the cost of living is low. Alternately, is true of countries like Japan, where the cost of living is high. So far, the Arab Nations offers the highest salary I’ve seen yet. It’s enough to have me wondering what I might look like in a hijab!
While there are many private institutions which teach English, my recommendations for Asia are EPIK| EPIK -Seoul & TALK for South Korea and the JET Programme for Japan. With EPIK, you can apply through their website or the recruiters I’ve listed some below. JET applicants need to apply directly through their website. They’re both government-funded programs, which means they’re regulated.
Private institutions can be reputable too, but you have to do your homework on them. There are bad schools out there too,.
More posts about teaching and being an expat in Korea.
Job Hunting Resources:
• Dave’s ESL Cafe – Great for finding ESL jobs in Asia (mostly Korea and China, occasionally Japan and other). Outside of Asia, the options thin and it’s best to go through recruiting agencies.
• Jobs Abroad Bulletin UK- The ESL job postings on this site aren’t as good or nearly as organized as Dave’s ESL, but the site posts various jobs in travel for Western/European countries as well.
Well-known Recruiting Companies:
Note : There are smaller recruiting agents/ headhunters on Dave’s ESL. All recruiters make a commission from the hiring employer, so, you should *never* pay a fee for job placement.
Work at an English Camp
Occasionally, you can find listings for temporary teach abroad work through English camps. The contract can last anywhere from a few weeks to a month, during summer or winter. Some programs will get you a work visa to work legally, others may slide you with a sly “wink” for an understanding. Many provide dorm living situations for the camp counselors and while the atmosphere is fun, the hours can be long.
i.e. Jobs are limited, so start looking on job boards a month or so beforehand.
#4. Private tutoring
When you get a work visa, you’re not allowed to work freelance or part-time outside that contract. The condition of a work visa is that you only work for the company sponsoring your visa. With that warning in mind, I have known expats to private tutor on the side for extra money. It is illegal to do this, so if you try it, I wouldn’t get caught.
Recommended e-Books by Travelers:
How to Work on a Cruise Ship by Derek Earl Baron (Wandering Earl)
Add Your Brick to the Great Wall: Teaching in China Made Easy– Sarah Bennett & e-tramping (Agness Walewinder & Cez Krol)
How to Teach English Overseas by Matt Kepnes (Nomadic Matt)
Stay tuned: In the next post, we’ll be looking at Volunteer Jobs and Being Location Independent. Lots of good stuff!