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Living Abroad

How To Find Work When Travelling The World

July 9, 2024
Alfie Laurence

Finding work while travelling is a fantastic way to find your feet, get to know a place and earn money at the same time/save money. It also looks great on your CV if you have spent time in foreign working environments and it has given me valuable life skills like learning a new language. If your budget for your gap year isn’t enough to take you to all the places you want to visit, then it’s a good idea to earn some money or volunteer as you travel. In this blog, I explore some ways on how to find work when travelling and I share some great resources that I have found incredibly useful.

Firstly, why work?

  1. It’s a great way to learn and practice a new language. You’ll be engaging daily with clients, colleagues and it’s a great opportunity to pick up new words/language that will be very different to what you’d learn by reading a textbook or not learning at all! Isn’t it the best way to experience cultural immersion while traveling?
  2. It's an opportunity to learn some new skills - This is becoming an incredibly popular option for young people on their gap years/semesters abroad and there are lots of jobs out there. I did a CELTA qualification online with International House during the COVID lockdown and it allowed me to make lots of money while I travelled and lived in Latin America.
  3. Make friends and meet locals – It’s like building a global network! Indeed, travelling the world opens you up to meeting new people from different cultures and believe me when I say there’s nothing more exciting than striking up conversation with new people abroad and building new connections away from your comfort bubble of home.
  4. Save money! Travelling isn't cheap so finding some work along the way can allow you to live and travel cheaper. It also provides you with a base to work from. It's really nice to find somewhere you can be for more than 3 days... maybe you'll even get your own room!

How to find work:

When it comes to finding work while traveling, there are many options, too many to list in this blog but a few options include: being a teacher, as we discussed before, working in a bar or a cafe, getting an internship with a professional company.

All of these will give you invaluable skills to take forward into your life. Your network is your net worth. Reach out to friends and family to see if they have any that may be interested in hosting you. You’ll be surprised at how many people have volunteered or worked in foreign countries over their years. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and ask the Student Travel Tips community. Have a read of our blog ‘Ways to Make Money While Travelling’ to discover different options.

The hostel volunteering team at Free Cerveza in Guatemala!

Use Workaway, WWOOF & Worldpackers

With Workaway, you are expected to work a pre-agreed amount of time per day in exchange for accommodation and food provided by the host. There is a membership fee for 36 euros for solo workawayers but there are over 40,000 hosts to explore. The hosts have a really detailed page with photos, reviews, information and you can create your own profile with your likes, languages and what you’re looking for.

I think this is a fantastic resource and I’ve used it a number of times. I worked in a hostel in São Paulo, Brazil for 2 weeks. I was so out of my comfort zone aged 18 living in a hostel and working from 10pm until 6am occasionally having to answer the phone and try to understand some Portuguese. I also helped paint a lady’s house in Hila Grande with Work Away to help me save money and have somewhere to stay. They were both great character building exercises for me. I must say they were one of the best Workaway experiences!

There are a whole range of options, for example WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) connects global visitors to organic farmers and similar to Work Away, in exchange for a few hours’ work a day, you’ll receive food/lodging. World Packers, which I have used once before, connects you to a world of similar opportunities. I have seen that there are lots of different roles especially in things like tech and creation. You could find yourself creating content for a language school or a homestay. Always worth diving into the different sites (which are free) before deciding which one you want to sign up for and become a member.

Working as an English teacher in Central America

Learn new skills abroad: Zero to Hero Diving/Ski Instructor

One last option for working on your gap year is to learn a new skill and in particular, doing a ‘Zero to Hero’ course. This involves enrolling yourself onto a program, that you pay for, to learn the basics all the way through to an instructor. There are many countries that provide great incentive to come and live and work in their country and learn these skills to then put them to the test.

It is likely that the initial investment is quite substantial but once you’ve completed your license, you have that skill for life. It then opens up many opportunities for you to make money while there and living abroad.

For Ski instructor courses, there are courses using BASI, which is the qualification across Switzerland and France. Then in Austria they use the Awarder and Lands system, whilst in Canada they have CASI. If you’re thinking about this for purely one winter season, obviously don’t worry about things like how internationally recognized it is, you’ll be more concerned with costs and likelihood of getting work after qualification. BASI is often a more expensive route than the Awarder, largely due to Switzerland being more expensive than Austria, and then if you’re wanting to teach, France is very difficult as you have to be qualified to the highest level. Beyond this, just think which resort will be the most fun!

Become a freelancer or set up your own business

You could always find a remote job such as social media management, english teaching or tour managing and then you have the freedom to work from anywhere and earn money doing what you enjoy. I set up Student Travel Tips in 2019 and it has taken me to amazing places across the world and earned me a nice income on the side. You could sell e-products or deliver a service for companies who most need it. Have a think, be creative, budget for yourself and keep your expenses. It goes along way!

Beware of the Voluntourism Trap

Especially at a young age, we think that by volunteering overseas we are embracing new cultures, helping the less fortunate and doing a load of good. This isn’t always the case. It’s very easy to get sucked into these glamorous volunteer packages and they have become a bit of a tourist trap, giving them the label ‘voluntarism’. So, beware of voluntourism trap! Before you volunteer, you must ask yourself: Why are you volunteering? Is it to genuinely help the local communities? Or is it just to make you and your family feel better?

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Written by

Alfie Laurence
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