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I’m sure like me you’ve seen all the memes reminding us how close we are to not only 2020 but to being in the next decade of this millennium! Just in case you haven’t they tend to go something a little like this:
All jokes aside though, 2020 is just around the corner, and it’s got me thinking about what I want to do and achieve in this next decade. In a revelation that will probably surprise exactly no one, I realised that working abroad was definitely on that list. And I guess if you’re reading this article there’s a pretty good chance that working abroad is on your list too.
So to help us both out with that goal I decided to compile this list of 20 ways that you could work your way around the world in 2020. And then because I was feeling generous and 2020 is such a great year for these types of lists, I decided to add another bonus 20 ways you could work abroad!
So sit back and relax, and I hope that one or more of these ways help you to achieve your work and travel dreams in 2020!
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I’ve put Workaway first on this list because this is how I am personally planning to begin working abroad. Workaway is essentially a job-board where companies, families and individuals around the world post ads for work that they need help with. In return, you get free accommodation and potentially free meals as well, depending on the ad.
You can search for specific hosts or organisations, or for a particular type of job. Common ads include families looking for someone to help teach their children English, helping out at hostels, farm work or volunteering in schools. While most of these options are a room and board exchange for your help, there are some options on there that are also paid! My list of bookmarked hosts that I want to look into when I next go abroad is steadily increasing, with helping out at a school in Thailand currently at the top of my list.
2. Help X
Very similar to WorkAway, except the focus is entirely on help exchanges, with no paid opportunities available. However, as room and board are likely to be your greatest travel costs, having this provided in exchange for your labour is still an incredible way to save money while seeing the world. There is a huge range of hosts to choose from, and some of the hosts on there only require as little a commitment as two hours a day!
3. House Sitting
This may be the simplest option on the list for working abroad. While you probably won’t get paid for house sitting (although in some cases you might), you can score yourself some free accommodation in exchange for looking after someone else’s house and maybe keeping their plants and pets alive if they have any. This is also a great option to combine with some of the ways you can digitally work whilst abroad that I’ll discuss later in the article.
For a yearly $99USD fee, Trusted Housesitters is a great resource for organising your next house-sitting gig. A quick search of their home page at the time of writing shows me that I could spend Christmas in wine-country by looking after someone’s home in Napa Valley, relax by the beach in Queensland Australia by looking after someone’s dog and house, or act out my own version of The Holiday by staying in a cottage in Sevenoaks, UK.
Hostels are a great option for those looking to work abroad. In exchange for free accommodation, you’ll usually be responsible for manning the desk and checking other travellers in, cleaning the hostel rooms and potentially organising fun activities around the hostel. Some hostels will pay you a wage on top of the free room and board, while others won’t. Either way, given that accommodation, is typically one of the most expensive parts of travelling, you’ll be sure to save a tonne of money, no matter the arrangement.
When I was in Cairns recently and stayed at the YHA there, the staff was almost entirely comprised of backpackers on a working holiday. Some stayed for a few weeks, others for a few months, but all found it a great way to work in another country and meet other travellers. In exchange for the tasks I already mentioned and organising the occasional pub crawl or movie night around the hostel, they were able to cheaply see Australia, which has a reasonably high cost of living.
If you’re interested in hostel work it can be as easy as simply approaching the hostel where you’d like to work, or you can also check out the listings on WorkAway. Another great option is World Packers, who have listings for hostel work all over the world as well.
5. Cruise Ships
Assuming you don’t mind being at sea this can be a great option for seeing the world. Cruises are only gaining in popularity, which means you should have no trouble finding one that’s looking for staff. Working on a cruise ship is also an amazing option because of the wide variety of staff that is needed to keep a cruise running smoothly.
As well as wait staff, house-keeping staff and concierge positions, you could also work on a cruise ship as an activity coordinator, as part of the medical team (assuming you’re qualified!) or even as part of the entertainment. Even though she ultimately didn’t end up taking it, when my sister was studying to become a professional dancer she was approached about joining a cruise ship as part of the entertainment and providing lessons to the guests.
As well as free room and board, you’ll earn a stipend on top of this and potentially have the opportunity to earn a bonus as well. With very minimal costs while onboard the cruise, even if you just decided to do this for several months, you should be able to make a very healthy contribution to your travel savings.
Wandering Earl is a great resource to check out if you’re interested in working on a cruise ship, having worked on one himself for several years. All Cruise Jobs is then a great place to start looking for a cruise ship position.
6. Crew Member for a Yacht or Sailboat
This one also requires you to enjoy being at sea, but if you do and have some sailing experience, joining a sailboat or yacht crew could be a fabulous way to earn money whilst seeing the world. The pay is typically not a lot, but as with many of the other options on this list, the free room and board combined with lack of expenses should offset this. This could be a great way to see some of the more remote places of the world you’d never otherwise considered.
7. TEFL in Person
If you’re a native English speaker you might want to consider Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). This is a huge demand for this type of work and it is usually very easy to get. The hours are flexible and the pay is good, so if you can combine this with living somewhere with a low cost of living, like Thailand, you could be looking at making some serious money.
8. TEFL Online
TEFL jobs are also no longer location-dependent, thanks to the rise of online TEFL services such as VIPKID. Through these services, the curriculum is usually organised for you, and you can set your own hours. This means you can work as much or as little as you want, which can be perfect while you’re travelling.
While some TEFL programs may require you to have a teaching degree, for many jobs the minimum requirement is having a TEFL certificate which is simple and easy to obtain through companies such as I-TO-I TEFL.
9. Farm Work
If you’re sick of your 9-5 office job, want to work outside and don’t mind getting your hand dirty, then consider helping out on a farm in exchange for room and board. If you’re on a Working Holiday visa in Australia and want to extend to a second year, this is actually a requirement for 88 days.
If you’re handy with a set of tools or perhaps already have a trade, utilise those skills while you’re abroad and help fund your travels. This type of work is probably easiest to obtain through word of mouth when you’re in the destination, but you could also have a look on WorkAway to see if they have any current listings or go through a volunteer agency like Projects Abroad and give back whilst travelling.
11. Peace Corps
Speaking of volunteering, for those of you from the US, joining the Peace Corps is a great option for seeing the world! The Peace Corps will cover your accommodation and pay you a small stipend in exchange for your commitment. And unlike some volunteer agencies, they don’t charge you for the privilege of volunteering with them. After you have completed two years of service you will be given $10,000USD to help you transition back into normal life. Or alternatively, you could use this money to keep travelling of course!
12. Ski Resorts
If you have better coordination than me, and can successfully navigate the slopes either via skiing or snowboarding, you could look into becoming an instructor at a Ski Resort. Even if you don’t, typically these resorts have a number of other positions available such as in reservations, equipment rentals, operating the ski lift and in the retail shops and restaurants.
I’ve had a number of friends who have gone over to skiing hotspots like Canada for a few months and had an absolute blast. Because this is a seasonal type of job they’ve been able to work and save for several months, which has then funded their onwards travels at the end of the season.
13. Skydiving Instructor
You’ll need to be an adrenaline junkie for this one, but if you are, wouldn’t it be awesome to get paid to do something crazy like jump out of a helicopter or plane several times a day? When I went skydiving in Switzerland, a number of the crew were backpackers who had decided to stick around for a while. You’ll need to pass some certificates to become qualified as an instructor (which you’d hope so really, wouldn’t you?!) but after that, you could work anywhere in the world where skydiving is popular, and get to skydive for free!
14. Scuba Diving Instructor
Same as above, this one will obviously require you to be certified first. But as scuba-diving only becomes more and more popular for travellers, you could make some serious bank as a scuba-diving instructor in diving hotspot areas like Thailand, Bali or even Vanuatu! Getting paid to do something you would otherwise pay to do yourself seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Dive Zone has listings of scuba diving jobs that you can check out here.
15. Surfing Instructor
If you’re at one with the waves then you could utilise this passion by offering surfing lessons. This probably won’t be the most lucrative way to make money, but if you’re the type of person who’d likely just be surfing all day anyway in their free time, you might as well be paid for it. Offer your skills on Gumtree or even by posting fliers in local hangout spots.
16. Summer Camp Worker
When I was deciding what I was going to do on my gap year, one of the many options I considered was working at a summer camp in the US through a program such as Camp America. While I did not ultimately end up doing this, I went to school with a girl who did and she had an amazing time.
Because this is a seasonal job, this is a great option for those who want to work for a couple of months and then go travelling afterwards. These jobs are typically aimed at younger people who are either preparing to enter college or already have, which means that you don’t need a tonne of experience to get accepted. As long as you have a good work ethic, can commit to working the summer and are a friendly person, you should have no trouble getting placed.
You can either work as a general camp counsellor or if you have strong skills or expertise in a certain area, you could become an advanced skills counsellor and teach that skill to the campers.
17. Au Pair
If you like kids and don’t mind sticking around in a destination for a while, becoming an Au Pair could be the perfect job for you to work abroad through. Although Au Pairs are typically women, this is certainly not a requirement!
Au Pairs usually live with a family and receive free room and board as well as an additional stipend in exchange for looking after the family’s children and performing general housework duties. Many of these families want their children to gain exposure to another language, so if you don’t speak another language, this is certainly not a dealbreaker.
Think about your favourite place to visit. Now imagine that you could be paid to introduce other people to it! By becoming a tour guide you could do exactly that. You might potentially need a licence to become a tour guide in some areas, but others it can be as simple as approaching travel agencies to see if you can pick up some freelance work as a tour guide. Obviously the more you know about a place the better, but as long as you can convey the passion you feel through your tours, you’re bound to be successful.
19. Work for a tour company
When I was eighteen I did a few Contiki tours. Quite a few of the people who did the tour with me actually then ended up working for Contiki down the track. I know one girl ended up working as part of the onsite crew at the Contiki accommodation in the Austrian Alps for a few months and also for the accommodation in Venice.
One of the best parts of the Ultimate European tour that I did through Contiki was our amazing trip manager Scott and our hilarious coach driver Luis. If you’re organised and a people person, becoming a tour manager, or one of the many other positions available within a tour company, could be the perfect job for you to travel whilst getting paid. If you’re a tour manager in Europe or the US where tipping is the norm, the potential for how much cash you can make can be pretty damn high if you’re good at your job!
20. Travel Agent
Some people might argue that the role of a travel agent is becoming redundant as people increasingly organise and book their travels online, however, I don’t think this is necessarily true. Actually I wrote a whole paper on this during my senior year of high school!
As long as people travel (which let’s be honest, will be forever) there will be people who are either unwilling, unable or not confident enough to do it for themselves. Travel agents who are willing to adapt and embrace the advances in technology rather than doing things the same way they always have will continue to stay relevant. And by doing this, and going above and beyond with the personal touch you can only get from a human being, not a computer, they will continue to have repeat clients and thrive.
Travel Agents get the added bonus of access to discounted flights, hotels, tours and more, which can be a huge drawcard for those who want to be paid for their love of travel. Similar to TEFL, the role of a travel agent can also be location independent. Independent travel agents are becoming more and more popular, which means that you could potentially be booking trips for clients whilst on one yourself! Check out this post by Trip Savvy for more info on how to pick a host agency as an independent travel agent.
And in case none of those took your fancy, here are a bonus 20 more ways to work your way around the world!
21. Flight Attendant
Working as a flight attendant for an airline means that not only will you be paid to travel, but you’ll also likely get generous discounts on airfare for yourself and your family, and potentially great savings on hotels as well.
Because this is one of the easiest ways to incorporate travel into your job, landing a position as a flight attendant can be a competitive process! To make the best impression possible, make sure that you are well-presented in your best business attire in the interview, and make sure you know specifics about the airline.
Flight attendants typically get to place bids on the flights they want to work, with those who have been with the company longer obviously getting priority picks. So while at first, you may not end up getting to visit the most exotic locations, prove your worth to the company and you’re sure to get the more desirable routes before too long!
For the foodies out there who can stand the heat in the kitchen and can cook up a storm, immerse yourself in another culture by preparing local cuisine as a chef in another country. Chefs have the added bonus of not only being able to find work in restaurants whilst they’re travelling, but through many of the other options on this list like on cruise ships, at a hotel/hostel/resort or potentially even through a food-based tour.
If you’ve got some experience behind you then you should have no trouble landing a role, and if you can combine this with peak season then you’re golden!
23. Waiting Tables
Waiting tables is one of the simplest ways to earn money at home or overseas. If you’ve already got a background in restaurant or cafe work you should have no trouble at all in getting a similar job in another country. Even if you don’t, given the size of the industry you’re sure to eventually be able to find somewhere to take a chance on you and get your foot in the door.
When I returned from my gap year and began saving to study abroad I worked for a hotel restaurant close to where I lived. I would say about 80% of the people I worked with where either on student visas or working holiday visas. The restaurant where we worked was pretty good pay thanks to the size of the hotel brand. This meant that we were all able to save our wages for travel and interact with guests from the countries we dreamed of visiting at the same time.
Often the easiest way to land this type of gig is simply going into the place you want to work and see if they have any hours going, especially if it’s peak season. Indeed and Seek are also simple ways to find online postings as well.
Similar to waiting tables, bartending can be a great way to earn money with skills that you likely already have from your previous hospitality jobs back home. Because the nature of bartending means that you’ll mostly be working evenings and nights, it can also be a great option if you still want to be able to explore the place that you’re visiting during the day and then go to work in the evenings.
Do you have good taste in music and know how to get people dancing? Try your luck at becoming a DJ in a popular party destination like Ibiza, the Greek Islands or Las Vegas. As this job is mostly performed at night, your days are then free to explore and travel around the area where you’re performing.
26. Yoga Teacher
Yoga is only becoming more and more popular, and this doesn’t look likely to change in 2020. Luckily, certifications usually don’t take too long to obtain, and once you have it, there are so many ways that you can combine your passion for yoga with travel. You could work at a yoga retreat in Bali, for a resort which offers yoga lessons to guests, or even advertise your skills on the notice boards of local gyms and hostels while you’re travelling.
27. Travelling Nurse
Clearly you’ll need to be already certified as a nurse for this one, but if you are then becoming a travelling nurse could be the perfect job for you. A typical travel nurse contract is 13 weeks, which means that you have plenty of time to explore the area that you’re working in during your down-time. The Gypsy Nurse is a fabulous resource to check out to find out more about the requirements of becoming one, and also how to land your first gig.
I’d have to say that one of my biggest regrets is not working harder at learning another language whilst I was younger. However, if unlike me you are fluent (or close enough to fluent) in another language, you could fund your travels by obtaining work as a translator.
This is something I have personally done to make a little extra cash whilst I was studying abroad. Through Rev, I was able to make a couple of bucks here and there by captioning short video clips or transcribing audio recordings. The jobs will usually per minute of captioning or transcribing that you provide.
Because I am not personally a quick typer, I did find that the time I spent producing this work was not really equivalent to the pay I would earn. However, if you do have some mad typing skills and can type a high number of words per minute, this is a great location independent job that you could do on the side as needed whilst travelling.
30. Paid Surveys
While this certainly won’t make you rich, paid survey sites such as Swagbucks or Pure Profile can be a great way to pass the time and make an extra bit of pocket money for your travels. Beware though, not all survey sites are created equal and there are plenty out there that are more trouble than they’re worth considering the effort you’ll have to put in for minimal reward. Swagbucks is a great option, and just for signing up you’ll receive a free $5 credit! Another option that I personally recommend is Pure Profile. They are an Australian company (which is great for Aussies like me who often get locked out of sites due to where we’re based) and my favourite part is that, even if you’re not eligible for a survey, you’ll still receive a small payout for answering the qualifying questions!
31. Website and app testing
This is a relatively new way to make money online, but its a great option for travellers. Basically you work as what is known as a ‘user tester’ and film yourself testing the functionality of website or apps as a review. If you have the more technical expertise you can also work as a bug tester, and help developers by identifying important technical issues. User Testing and UTest are both great places to get started. This option is one where you can work as little or as much as you want, with some indi