One of the number one questions I hear about traveling is: “How can you afford it?”
I do not come from a wealthy family, I did not receive a lavish inheritance from my late great aunt Penelope, and I am terrible at saving money. I’m probably just like you. Good news for you though — this means you too are capable of earning money while you travel.
Here are some ways you can jet off to a new country without a boat load of money in your bank account.
Work remotely from “home”
First and foremost, this would be the most ideal setup. If you are currently working an office job that you don’t hate, you should see if they have the option to “WFH” [work from home].
The good stuff: You could still be working towards your career while you’re sitting on the beach of some tropical island, sipping iced drinks named after colors and flowers.
The kinda crappy not-so-good stuff: This option requires self-discipline to get your work done before taking that guided tour of the Colosseum. Also, conference calls might be difficult if you’re in a completely different time zone.
Work in freelance
For me, freelance marketing is a field that I am slowly (if I will ever stop being lazy) trying to break into. If you have a talent that can be used on the inter-web fronts, use it! If you’re artistic you can work remotely by creating t-shirt designs or even creating tattoos for people! You can even find jobs if you’re into writing, photography, data input/analysis, telemarketing, web design, and so much more.
The good stuff: You can be your own boss by working the hours and the jobs you want to. You get to choose the freelance jobs that you want.
The kinda crappy not-so-good stuff: It can be difficult to break into the freelance field if you don’t have many credentials to back you up. It can be unstable since most of the sites I recommended are bidding-based jobs, so there’s a chance that you might not be chosen for the job you want.
Get a paid internship abroad
If you are still in college and want to travel next summer, look into getting a paid internship abroad. If you choose one in western Europe, you can use a Eurail train pass to hop over to other countries on your days off. NOTE: Make sure it’s a paid internship.
The good stuff: You will be able to travel while also working towards your career.
The kinda crappy not-so-good stuff: You’ll be required to stay in the area of your internship and would only be able to travel elsewhere on days off.
Work at a hostel
If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, you’re probably imagining it to be like the gory Quentin Tarantino film where two college grads are tortured in one. Rest assured, they are nothing like that. At least the ones I have been to.
When you are staying at a hostel you like, talk to the current employees about getting a job there. As a guest, be sure to be extra helpful around the hostel, encourage group activities and showcase your skills, such as being multi-lingual or playing guitar. You could also try couchsurfing in the area you want to work, that way you won’t have to pay for the hostel while you are trying to apply.
The good stuff: You can work in one hostel, and then network your way to another hostel when you want to travel elsewhere. This is great because hostel employees typically have free housing, some free meals, and a small stipend of money each week.
The kinda crappy not-so-good stuff: You’ll have to stay at the hostel with the hopes of getting the job. If you aren’t able to land the job at the hostel you want, you’ll either have to find a different hostel or find a different job.
Participate in “Workaway”
This is something I just heard of last year while I was traveling, and it’s a great idea. Workaway is an awesome program where you can work for somebody, and in return have a free place to stay.
The good stuff: You get to experience the culture from the locals’ perspective since you will be living with locals. If you are really into the outdoors and have a green thumb, it’ll allow you to become closer to nature.
The kinda crappy not-so-good stuff: These jobs are typically on farms and consist of manual labor. You will be wherever the farm is, which can sometimes be in a less desirable location. For example, when I moved to Maui, I couldn’t find any workaway programs near the beach.
Become an Au Pair
If you love kids, this could be an ideal choice for you. Being an au pair would mean nannying children in your country of choice. Spend time with them when you’re required, and then you have the rest of the time to travel around and see the sites!
The good stuff: You get to stay for free with a local family and embrace the culture. Common perks include vehicle privileges for your own use, nightly home-cooked meals, and/or a money stipend. Some families will even pay for you to go on vacation with them!
The kinda crappy not-so-good stuff: If you don’t like kids, this isn’t really an option. Also, you could potentially get stuck with a family with bratty kids, a high-demand job with lots of duties, or in an area of the city that is less than ideal.
Have a home base working odd jobs
Last but not least, you can go with “option D” and do what I’m currently doing. You can choose a country/city as a home base of sorts, get a job and then travel from there. In western Europe, you can stay in a less expensive country and do weekend getaways to the pricier places. I also hear Australia is a great home base for American’s to have easy access to the travels of southeast Asia.
The good stuff: You’ll have the comfort of having a “home” to go back to and keep your stuff at. It can be easier to save money since your housing/job will be stable.
The kinda crappy not-so-good stuff: You’ll have to travel around your work schedule. Also, it’s easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day stuff and postpone traveling to other places.
As you can see, there are many options for working while you travel. You don’t have to have a fortune saved up before you travel (although that would help.) Choose an adventure and let it begin!
Have you worked while you traveled before? How did it go? Share in the comments below!