Updated: Mar 24
Are you dreaming of traveling the world but struggling to save enough money for your trip? Don't worry, you're not alone! For many people, the idea of saving thousands of dollars to travel seems impossible. But what if we told you that being broke is actually the best reason to go travel?
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to save a crazy amount of money to start your adventure. The key is to do the best you can with what you have. Travel with the budget you have, not the budget you wish you had. And if you don't have as much money as you want, consider working overseas to keep your wallet flush with cash and your adventures going!
Working abroad is a unique and wonderful experience that provides deeper insights into a country, exposes you to a new culture, and allows you to learn a new language, meet new people, and get a new perspective on the world. Plus, it's not as hard to do as you might imagine!
There are many jobs that are easy for travelers to get and often don't require a long commitment. For example:
Teaching English (or any language!)
Teaching jobs are incredibly abundant around the world, especially in Southeast Asia. They pay well, have flexible hours, and many countries offer huge bonuses. You can find many online resources for potential teachers, and finding an online TEFL course has never been easier.
Get Seasonal Work
Move with the seasons and work in ski resorts, as a camping guide, on boats, in bars or restaurants - whatever works! Wherever there’s a big tourist season, you’ll find a big demand for temporary labor.
Do Freelance Work Online
If you have a background in web services, design, programming, or anything tech-related, a website like Upwork is a super way to find virtual work as you travel. There are tons of opportunities here if you’re willing to seek them out.
Work on a Cruise Ship
Working on a cruise ship is an excellent way to earn money while getting a taste of the world, gaining some solid work experience, and networking with people from around the world.
Get a Working Holiday Visa
Working holiday programs allow people under the age of 30-35 to legally work and travel abroad. These programs tend to be used mostly by gap-year travelers, students, or young adult backpackers. Most of the countries that offer these programs are English-speaking Commonwealth countries such as Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia.
Be an Au Pair
Love kids? Take care of someone else’s! Being an au pair is a straightforward and rewarding way to extend your travels and make some spending money.
Work in a Hostel
Hostels are often looking for staff to work the desk, clean, show guests around town, or run their pub crawls. If you’re looking for something more temporary, many hostels will let you stay for free if you help clean the hostel each day.
Become a Scuba Diving Instructor
If you're a certified diver, becoming an instructor is a great way to find work in dozens of huge scuba destinations around the world.
Leverage Your Existing Skills
Don’t underestimate your existing skills when you head overseas. Use whatever skills you have to find a job. Websites like Craigslist and Gumtree are great places to advertise your abilities and find work.
Become a Bartender
Bars need bartenders – and every country has bars! In countries that have working holiday visas, these jobs often go to travelers. If you don’t have any bartending skills, check to see if they need a dishwasher.
Work in a Restaurant
If you have experience in the service industry, working in a restaurant is a great way to earn money while traveling. Waitstaff, bussers, line cooks, and dishwashers are always in demand, especially in popular backpacking and party destinations, as well as large cities. Countries that have working holiday visas often hire travelers, and if you can speak the local language, you can try applying to restaurants popular with expats.
Do Volunteer Work
Volunteering is an excellent way to save money on room and board while doing something good for the world. You don't have to spend a lot of money with large global organizations to volunteer. Worldpackers, Workaway.com, and WWOOFing are helpful resources to find volunteer opportunities. Just make sure to do your due diligence and find a reputable place to spend your time.
Be a Tour Guide
Tour companies are always on the lookout for new tour guides. This is a fun means of employment, though tiring. Companies that often hire travelers are Busabout, Kiwi Experience, New Europe Walking Tours, and Contiki. Tours are often operated in English as well as the local language, making it a perfect job for bilingual travelers.
Work on a Yacht
If you love the water, working on a yacht is a perfect job for you. Yachting jobs are surprisingly easy to get, and you'll be able to sail around the world as you work. You can find jobs on websites like Yacrew.com and The Crew Network.
Take Whatever You Can Find
There are plenty of short-term jobs around the world that you can get on the fly. If you're willing to work a few hours each day in exchange for room, board, and extra cash, you will always find something you can do. Craiglist, Gumtree, HelpX, Workaway, Worldpackers, and WWOOF are excellent resources to find jobs as a traveler.
Search Job Boards
Before you leave for your destination, search job boards for job opportunities. Bring copies of your resume, recommendations, and any other professional certificates. Make business cards and attend networking events to build your social network. Apply for jobs from local job boards.
Contact Expat Groups
Before you leave, contact expat groups and attend their meetups. These groups can help you network and find job opportunities in your destination country.
Create a LinkedIn Profile
Creating a LinkedIn profile is a great way to showcase your skills and professional experience. Many companies post job opportunities on LinkedIn, so make sure to update your profile and connect with recruiters in your destination country.
Bring Professional Certificates
Bring copies of your professional certificates and recommendations to showcase your skills and experience. Many companies in other countries will require proof of your qualifications before hiring you.
Make Business Cards
Make business cards to hand out at networking events and to potential employers. A business card is an excellent way to showcase your skills and experience.
Apply for Council on International Educational Exchange Work Abroad Program
Council on International Educational Exchange Work Abroad Program offers students and recent graduates short-term work permits for Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, China, Germany, Ireland, Canada, and several other destinations. The Council also offers advice and support, but it is your responsibility to find a job.
Here are some more resources for finding paid work placement before your departure and organizing accommodations:
BUNAC offers work-abroad programs in the UK, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Canada.
Peace Corps is a US government program that places US citizens around the world. Volunteers get a stipend and money at the end of their contract, and the program can also help pay off student loans.
Go Abroad has a list of available jobs from around the world, geared towards younger travelers.
No matter what kind of work you do, whether it's teaching English, waiting tables, bartending, working in an office, or finding a high-paying job in your field, working overseas is an experience that will change you forever. Living in a different country can teach you a lot about yourself and your perceptions of the world. At the end of the day, that's what travel is all about.
Don't let financial worries hold you back from traveling. If you're open-minded and creative about what kind of work you're willing to do, you will find opportunities. Remember that you're not necessarily looking for a career, just a job that will help fund your travels. Be flexible in your job search and you'll always find work to help you reach your next destination. You can worry about your career when you return home. So don't worry about saving up a lot of money before your trip. Just get out there, find a job, earn some money, and start your adventure!