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.
How I got work: I interviewed with an agency in Sydney before leaving Australia. When I arrived in London, I met with my case manager who then worked to find suitable jobs for me.
Travel experiences: Hogmanay New Years Festival in Edinburgh, small trips around UK, Beerfest in Munich, 3 month road trip around Europe. South East Asia trips on the way there and back
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.
How I got the job: I initially worked through a teaching agency and then applied for the advertised position in the paper. As it was not for a classroom teacher, I did not have to speak gaelic so was allowed to take the job. It is hard to get a job teaching full time in Ireland because of the Gaelic speaking requirement.
Travel Experiences: Ireland, UK and then to Africa for 5 months
Teaching in Raleigh, North Carolina
I taught Year 5 (Grade 5) for four years at two different schools in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Pay: Low, by world standards, I earned around $36,000 a year, but the cost of living in North Carolina is very affordable.
How I got the job: Through the VIF program, who recruit teachers from around the world to teach in the US. I found the ad in a Teacher’s Union magazine in Dublin. Applied. Had a phone interview in Dublin, an in-person interview in Cape Town and Sydney. I was placed in 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.
Pay: I received $500 a month. Craig $760. We had free accommodation within the school. At the private language school, I received $250 a day.
How I got the job: I applied for a teaching program via an ad in the Sydney newspaper. After a dinner meeting the other participants, and our teaching mentors at our schools, Craig had a conversation with a mentor from another school. The next day he had a job teaching at the best high school in Thailand, Triam Udom Suksa. For the private teaching job, I applied to an advertisement in the Bangkok newspaper.
Travel Experiences: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam
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
Pay: I think it was around 70 euros a day.
How I got the job: I did a TEFL course in Dublin and then applied for summer teaching work through a newspaper ad.
Travel Experiences: As above + part of the job meant taking the students on excursions to tourist attractions in Dublin and surrounds.
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.
How I got the job: I joined a bar agency that was advertised in the TNT Magazine. I had a short interview and then they phoned me each week with possible assignments.
Travel Experiences: As above + working in bars all over London helped have a diverse London experience and discover new places.
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.
Pay: I cannot remember how much I was paid by the hour. I think in total I made around 400 euros a week, but I got free meals at both pubs AND I received killer tips at Gogarty’s – sometimes 100 euro a night, mostly 30 euro average.
How I got the job: At my day time pub, I walked in the day after I arrived and introduced myself to Mickey. I’d heard a lot about him as my brother once worked at the pub. Mickey managed to find a day shift for me and started me the next day. For Oliver St John Gogarty’s, I walked in and asked if they had any jobs available. I started that evening in the bar. It was so busy and very aggressive with testosterone. I did not get on with my manger, who hated the way I poured Guinness. He sent me upstairs to help in the restaurant, which I loved. I begged the manager to put me on full-time and she did. Bec joined me a couple of weeks later. I LOVED working there.
Travel Experiences: Temple Bar pub crawling, wine bars, and a few nightclubs.
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.
Pay: 900+ euros per week plus free travel money.
How he got the job: through the agency OneillandBrennan.com
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.
Pay: After a 5 week swing, we’d walk out with almost $10,000. Accommodation and all meals were provided.
How we got the job: My brother worked at Kuri Bay and put a good word in for us. We still had to register at the employment agency Extraman, do the physical and medical tests and go on a waiting list. We were so lucky and had someone call in sick so made the next flight out to Kuri Bay and stayed for the next 4 months.
(Note, we get a lot of questions from people asking how they can get work here. Due to the GFC, the pearling industry in WA died. Kuri Bay no longer exists and it’s almost impossible to get work at any of the farms that have survived. Big sad face.)
Travel Experiences: Camping trips in the Kimberley, Perth.
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.
Pay: Commission based. I think I earned $9.
How I got the job: Newspaper ads. I called up and was invited to an interview. I don’t think you really need to rock the interview to get the job. Turnover is pretty big 🙂
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.
Pay: $12 per hour plus free flights on standby.
How he got the job: Craigslist.org advertisement.
Travel Experiences: New Orleans, Puerto Rico, 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.
How we make money: We earn money travel blogging via multiple streams – our ebook, freelance content creation, my weekly column at Kidspot, advertising, sponsored posts, and working on social media campaigns.
We also get a lot of our travel costs covered, which reduces our expenses. We don’t consider this as free travel, as we work for many hours producing content in exchange.
If you are interested in learning how to travel blog, click here.
How we got the job: Had a dream. Committed to it. Learned about it. Took action steps daily. Hit it hard with passion fuelled intensity. Networked. And reached so far outside our comfort zone we walked into other stratospheres.
Unless you want to dedicate every waking minute and then some to this, I’d suggest trying the above jobs and professions to help you travel the world. (In 3 weeks, I’ll be releasing an ebook outlining the 12 principles I’ve followed to help me create the life my soul yearned for. Keep connected so you don’t miss it!)
Travel Experiences: Thailand, New Zealand, Mexico, Pacific Islands, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Dubai, cruises, several states in Australia and now an indefinite road trip around Oz.
Want more tips about working holidays?