One of the main reasons, if not the only reason, why people don’t travel as much as they would like (or at all) is money.
While it would certainly be unwise to leave home without some money in the bank, you don’t necessarily need to have as much savings as you think. Working on the road is a great way not only supplement your bank account, but also to hone your skills and become more deeply embedded in a foreign culture. There are so many options for working abroad; the only issue is choosing one.
Here’s a list of 10 jobs that will actually pay YOU to travel.
1. Au Pair
If you have experience in child care, even something like babysitting, and the desire to live abroad, au pairing is a great option. Typically au pairs work between 25-30 hours a week in exchange for room and board, plus a small weekly stipend (usually between $75-120 USD). In your free time, you’ll be able to explore your new home country, attend language classes, and make a group of international friends.
Regulations vary by country, but on average, au pairs are aged between 18 and 30, must have completed high school, and must agree to work with a family for a minimum of six months. You can search for a family yourself using matching websites like Au Pair World or Great Au Pair, or you can pay an agency to help you in your search. Use the International Au Pair Association website to find an agency that has connections in the country you’re interested in.
2. Camp Counselor
Another option for working abroad if you have experience with kids is by becoming a camp counselor in a foreign country. There are a large variety of camps, so you’ll be sure to find one that corresponds with your skills and interests, whether art, music, or sports. Camps pay different amounts, but on average, expect to make $1,000 for a summer’s worth of work. It’s not a lot, but the camp will pay for insurance, housing, and food, so you can pocket most of your earnings.
Because you’ll be working at accredited camps, it is necessary to apply directly with the camp in advance. Be wary of programs that have high application fees. These are big organizations that have high operating costs and therefore pass these fees onto participants. Most programs shouldn’t cost more than $300 to apply. Check out CCUSA for more info.
3. English Teacher
If you speak English as a native language and enjoy speaking in front of large groups of people, teaching English is an easy way to finance your travels. Opportunities for teaching English are plentiful and can be found in all regions of the world. Depending on which region of the world you are in and your credentials, you can save between $200-$1000 a month.
The best paid programs (think Japan, South Korea, and the Middle East) require participants to apply in advance from their home country, to hold a college degree, and to obtain an English-teaching certification (e.g. TOEFL, TEFL).
Some positions also require prior teaching experience. Lower paid positions in South America and parts of Asia usually only require a college degree, and you can apply for positions after arrival in the country. Having a teaching certification is not necessary, but it will multiply your odds of getting hired.
Here are some sites to get you started in your search: Dave’s ESL Café, English Program in Korea (EPIK), The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET).
4.Write for English Language Publications
Because of English’s global reach, there is no shortage of businesses, newspapers, and magazines eager to higher native speakers. If you have strong writing and editing skills, an open mind, and a strong interest in learning about a foreign culture from the inside out, working for an English-language publication may be the opportunity you’re looking for.
There are plenty of programs that will offer internships or short-term placements, but will charge huge administrative fees. In order to avoid this, be prepared to do your own research and to send out lots of resumes. World Newspapers is an international English-language publication database to help you start your search.
5. Working Holiday Visa
If you’re between 18-35, have a bit of money in the bank to support yourself upon arrival, and have the desire to live abroad for several months to a year, a working holiday visa is ideal. With the visa, work can be found picking fruit, working in a café, or waiting tables.
In order for your application to be accepted, you must prove that you have a clean criminal record, that you healthy, and that you have sufficient funds to support your stay.
Americans may obtain a working holiday visa in South Korea, Singapore, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Canadians have more options, including several European countries (France, Germany, Czech Republic).
For those with UK or EU citizenship, working holiday visas are available in Japan, USA, and Canada.
WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and Work Away are two very valuable networks for finding work on farms, camps, or pretty much anywhere imaginable. After paying a small fee, you’ll have direct access to thousands of individuals looking for help on their properties.
By working 4-5 hours a day gardening, painting, or doing household repairs, you’ll earn free room and board. Typically these positions are not paid, but from personal experience, I know that some hosts pay a small stipend under the table.
Depending on the host’s needs and your travel plans, your stay can range from a few days to a few months. This flexibility is a huge advantage for these types of programs, as they allow you to adjust your plans with little notice.
WWOOF operates on a national level, meaning that you’ll need to register and pay online for each country you’re interested in visiting. These fees can range from 0-72 USD and include one year of access to the website. Work Away operates internationally, requiring a 30 USD fee for two years of access. These sites require a small registration fee (about 30 USD) per year.
Hospitality experience and an English mother tongue can be extremely helpful in helping you secure a job bartending. If you’re hired by a bar, you will usually be paid the local minimum wage in cash under the table. This is a job best acquired on site, so don’t worry too much about job searching in advance. Just get to your destination, walk in and apply to as many places as you can!
8. Work at a Resort
Another great option for those with hospitality experience is working at a resort in a foreign country. Having native English speakers is vital to smooth business operations, so resorts are willing to recruit. Based on your previous experience, you can find work running the reception desk, providing entertainment for kids, or serving up fruity cocktails.
Pay varies based on required skills, but most positions will pay the local minimum wage, however tips can significantly increase your earnings.
A helpful way to get started in your search is to think of popular vacation destinations for Americans (for example the Bahamas, Aruba, or Jamaica), then to research resorts and hotel chains that operate in those areas. Visit Resort Jobs to start your search. Also, Club Med Resorts are particularly known for hiring for international positions.
9. Work on a Cruise Ship or Yacht
Working on a cruise ship is an attractive option for those keen to explore a specific region of the world without being tied down to a specific location.
A variety of jobs are available, from housekeeping staff to children’s activity planner to working in a gift shop. This is an attractive option as room and board are included with your salary, thereby allowing you to save while traveling. Expect to earn about $1,400-$1,800 USD a month.
Speaking a foreign language, having CPR certification, and hospitality experience will increase your chances of getting hired.
Here are some sites to get you started on your search:
If you are extroverted and enjoy learning about other cultures, becoming a tour guide may be the perfect travel job for you.
This job also has the perk of being very diverse. Based on your interests and skills, you might find yourself leading a group through a vineyard in France, climbing Mayan ruins in Mexico, or discussing art in an Italian museum.
Some tour guides are employed by companies, but most work on a freelance basis. Pay varies widely depending on your experience and location, but expect to earn between $9-$18 USD an hour.
While official certification is not required, getting some credentials will help you stand out in the hiring process. One of the best schools offering certification is The International Tour Management Institute, which offers both onsite and online courses.
If you have portable skills like graphic design, translation, or consulting, consider taking your business on the road.
Sites like Elance, Fiverr and Odesk offer free registration and put you in touch with companies and individuals in need of these services. You’ll choose your own hours, your pay rate, your clients so you can earn and travel as you like.
There are hundreds of options for jobs that allow you to work and travel, so treat these jobs and websites as a guide to help you find the best travel-friendly job for you. Never let money (or lack thereof) prevent you from exploring.
Do you have any personal experience from working the jobs above? If so, leave a comment for us below sharing your story! We’d love to hear from you.