If you want to travel for a long time working abroad is probably going to have to be a necessity at some point. Whilst developing countries can be extremely cheap to travel, they still steadily drain your finances. There’s also something very nice about actually living in one place for a while, you can really get to know an area and being able to properly unpack is a delight! I also found myself checking my online banking around my first pay-day with childlike excitement for when the figures actually increased for the first time in about 5 months.
Working abroad takes a little bit of planning and up-front cost, but not as much as you may think. This does depend on whereabouts you are planning on working. I’m currently working within Australia – a country which offers hassle free 1 year working visas to under 30s and has a very high minimum wage – albeit also a high cost of living. It does have the potential to allow you to save quite a large amount of money quickly, but when you are job-hunting money can disappear alarmingly rapidly. There are many jobs available, but also a lot of backpackers with a similar plan, so be prepared to fill out countless applications and attend multiple interviews to get something. Jobs can be found the old fashioned way by walking into places and asking, but also increasingly online – both gumtree and seek.com.au are big out here – allowing you to apply for a lot of generic jobs pretty quickly.
Lots of jobs are found through word of mouth, so chat to fellow travellers as much as possible. Through meeting other travellers you can open doors to work that is vouched for as actually paying you and not working for complete crazies – it also gives you the great advice of places to avoid at all costs! Also sign up for recruitment agencies – means just filling out one form and allowing them to do a load of searching for you – if you find something before they do then it’s nothing lost.
Your job may involve having to grind out the hours in a soul-draining job, but just remember what it’s paying for and stick with it until you have enough cash to get away. Don’t pull sickies because you hate the job, casual work doesn’t have sick pay and it will just prolong how long you’re there for. When you’re trying to get a job on a casual basis, the rule of thumb is to say that you’re planning to be around for a long time. Don’t say you just want work for a month as you won’t get a job, sometimes you have to put yourself first, even if it isn’t the most moral option.
If you’re planning to stick around a while, do a bit of planning – seasonal work can be a great option if you want to try something a bit different. It often requires advance organisation, but can get you a guaranteed job for the future which can take a load off your mind. I’ve got a job lined up for the winter working at a ski resort with the youth groups. Not only is this an area which I enjoy working, it is completely different to other typical backpacker jobs out here and gives me a free ski pass for the season. Who’d have thought – skiing in Australia!
Another great option which is popular out here is Au Pairing – getting to live with an Australian family means that you don’t have to worry about accommodation/food and most pay 200-300 dollars a week as pocket money, which without many expenses can let you save a bit. Plus you get actual family life – all depends on what you are after. Lots agencies offer hooking you up with families or again the faithful gumtree can give you options.
Whatever you decide to do, the thousands of travellers working out here shows that it is possible, just be prepared to have to odd week where you’re worrying about trying to find work and eating your fair share of plain pasta!
If you are born in an English speaking country, congratulations! You have won the birth lottery – that lovely well spoken language you have enables you to work almost anywhere in the world.
You can get a TEFL at home fairly cheaply or there are many placements that allow you to get it whilst abroad and then promise you a teaching contract afterwards. You can pretty much choose a country and find a work, but as a general guide S. Korea pays the highest, followed by S.E Asia, then China then S. America/Eastern Europe. You can go from just breaking even to earning a couple of thousand dollars a month, whilst experiencing life in some fascinating countries.
This is something I’m yet to actually properly do, but I’ve got a few friends currently doing it and it’s definitely in the pipeline. I got offered a job in Thailand teaching when I was mass applying to jobs all over the world to plan this next year, but eventually turned it down in favour of the ski job – applying everywhere gives you a ton of options! To find opportunities Dave’s ESL cafe has lots of ads posted on it, so a good place to get started.
A good introduction to teaching and also an incredible summer job is working for an organisation called ACLE. I’ve worked for them for two summers and have to say it’s the best job I’ve ever had – and it also pays pretty well! You live with Italian families who are amazing hosts and get paid to travel around Italy to all manner of areas and be loved by Italian kids – what more could you want. I’m definitely hoping that I’ll be able to get a third summer of work with them. If you’re a student it couldn’t be a more perfect break away from university and you’ll meet many a like minded people who love travelling from all over the world – maybe just the next person to go on an adventure with!
A final note on working abroad is the volunteering option – something that will allow you to experience a place without draining your finances too heavily, although not increasing them. Be wary of doing volunteering projects that require a huge upfront cost – is this still volunteering or just paying to do work? A site I’ve heard recommended and had a quick browse is workaway which for a fairly reasonable yearly fee shows you lots of interesting options around the world. It can enable you to stay in an expensive country doing some pretty interesting stuff, but unfortunately at the moment I’m not in the position where I can’t be earning as future travels depend on it!
Wherever you decide to shoot off to, you’ll certainly get some experiences from it, hopefully many of them great and stories to last your lifetime!