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We get inundated with emails and questions asking how someone can travel around the world, especially since they are drowning in debt, have little money, or just graduated from University.
Our first suggestion is to work abroad!
I first left to travel in 1997, three days after I graduated from University and with very little money. After a 3-month backpacking trip through Indonesia, I arrived in London with no money, no job, no place to stay, and no friends.
I stayed there for 2 and a half years. Since then Craig and I have lived in Dublin, Bangkok, the USA and many parts of Australia. We did it with very little money saved and debt by way of good debt – mortgages that tenants covered – and bad as well.
We’re also utilized the same concept by road tripping Australia with our 2 daughters – one of the most expensive countries in the world. Little money saved, but we’re working online to cover our costs and turn every day into a play day.
It’s the BEST strategy to live a life of travel and experience different cultures. Most of us have to work for a living and we need money to travel. Why not combine work and travel?
Why we love the working holiday visa strategy:
- You don’t have to save up as much money before leaving home.
- You’ll be earning local currency.
- You experience a culture deeply by working, living, traveling within it.
- Weekends and days off become adventures.
- You’ll travel more like the locals, which usually makes it cheaper.
- You form deeper friendships and connections with people.
- You’ll learn new career skills and processes.
- You may get perks such as free accommodation, meals or even flights.
(We have an in-depth section on working holidays in our new eBook, if you want to pursue this path too.)
Here are 6 ideas for working abroad
As I am a qualified primary school teacher, teaching for me was a fantastic opportunity to work and travel around the world. Everywhere needs teachers, right?
Teaching in London 1997-1999
I taught in London for 2 years. I had a few long-term part-time positions and then worked on a casual teaching basis. I wanted this flexibility so I could travel when I wanted, rather than be tied down to school holidays.
Teaching in Dublin 2002-2003
I started casual teaching and then worked full-time as a resource teacher in a Pre-School – year 2 school. I taught small groups of children English as a Foreign Language and the Irish minority children.
Teaching in Raleigh, North Carolina
I taught Year 5 (Grade 5) for four years at two different schools in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Teaching English as a foreign language
Teaching in Bangkok 2002
Teaching English overseas is a great strategy.
We both taught English in Bangkok for 6 months. I taught at an all boys high school and Craig taught at one of the best high schools in Thailand. I also taught at a private language school on Saturdays for 6 hours.
Teaching in Dublin 2003
While living in Dublin, I did the TEFL course so that I could get a summer teaching job. I taught at a language school in Dublin
Bar work, London
I did some casual bar work at various bars around London. I worked for an agency so they placed me in various bars and functions that needed bar staff for the evening. For the last 6 months, I worked permanently at a pub near St James Park.
Bar work and waitressing, Dublin 1999
I worked in Dublin for the summer of 1999 with my best friend Bec. It was rad! I worked at a small pub just off Grafton St for the lunch time shift. In the evenings I worked as a waitress in the ever popular Oliver St John Gogarty’s in the busy Temple Bar District. This was one of the funnest working holiday experiences I had. Bec and I were in the thick of the party scene. We quickly made good friends and enjoyed the craic immensely.
Craig is a qualified Carpenter, and being a portable skill was fortunate to find work around the world.
Craig worked for 12 months in Dublin. For half the year he worked with the maintenance team at the Westin Hotel in downtown Dublin near the Liffey River. It was easy work indoors in a great location. The other half of the year he worked just outside of Dublin building a new Intel plant.
Kuri Bay Pearl Farm
We had the exciting job of chipping barnacles off pearl shells in a remote location in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. We had to catch a sea plane to the farm and would stay on site for anything from 2-5 weeks. We worked every day from 4am to 3pm.
It was hard work, but was a travel experience in itself as the area was stunning – many tourists would spend $1,000 a day just to visit by boat.
Sales and Marketing, Dublin
Before I started teaching, I tried my hand at door knocking. We were selling various packages like Domino Pizza vouchers. I’d start early afternoon and not return until around 9pm. I hated it and was ridiculously bad. I lasted 3 weeks. I also worked in a call centre selling envelopes for about 3 days until I worked out it was not for me.
Delta Airlines, Raleigh, North Carolina
Craig worked for Delta as a ramp supervisor for 18 months. It was freezing in the winter, and hot in the summer. Terrible money but interesting to learn about an airports operation, and we got free flights on standby, including a free flight home all the way to Sydney.
Don’t forget to research what sort of tax you will be liable to pay and if you are entitled to receive any back. A lot of people overpay tax without realising it. You could be due tax back if you worked abroad or were taxed incorrectly or perhaps didn’t work for the full year. TaxBack.com can check out your details and tell you for free what you’re owed. They provide tax refunds for 16 countries worldwide including Ireland, the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Own a business
We now have Australia’s biggest travel blog and one of the world’s most popular. We’ve traveled a lot because of it in the past 4 years. We’re so happy we’ve finally found a way to continue the life of travel we love, but without needing a boss or a work visa. It’s all on our terms now.
Want more tips about working holidays?
Have you considered a working holiday?