Many people have asked us how we are able to maintain a lifestyle of continuous travels around the world. How is it possible? How do we do it? Do we have rich parents supporting us? Did we inherit a lot of money? Have we created an amazing app, sold it and became millionaires? The answer is NO. We’ve always WORKED along the way.
I started my travels in 2011, Niko hit the road in 2007, way before ‘Digital Nomad’ was even an official word. It’s only since last year that we discovered a way to earn and save money by teaching English online. Before that, we’ve always searched for work in the countries we visited. Sometimes the jobs almost literally fell into our laps, other times we had to roll up our sleeves and get out there to find a job. Trust me, when the need for money is high and the number on your bank account is equally low – especially when you’re living on your last few dollars – you’ll find a way to get a job!
HOW DO WE EARN MONEY ON THE ROAD?
Let’s give you a little overview of our travel resume.
I started my travels in 2011 in Australia. I had a working-holiday visa and did many jobs there, especially hospitality work. I worked in multiple restaurants and cafes as a waitress and barista. I also worked in a couple of hostels, a bakery (without having baking skills!!), as a gardener and a life model for artists. I also applied for a working-holiday visa in New Zealand where I worked on a sheep farm during lambing season (it’s quite something to be a midwife for sheep!) and as a special needs teacher in a little village school. When I returned to Europe in 2013, I found work as an all-rounder in a hotel in the French Alps, worked again on a sheep farm in England, picked grapes in France, cut bog myrtles in the Irish swamps and waited tables in a stunning hotel in Ireland. Whenever I had the opportunity, I gave private language classes and did occasionally a few cash-in-hand jobs as a painter, landscaper or cleaning lady. I often combined this work with free accommodation and volunteering work so I could save most of the money I earned to spend it on the next travels.
Niko’s first job away from home (in 2007) was cherry-picking on the west coast of Canada. Then he volunteered in an orphanage in Guatemala and worked for years as a language teacher in four different schools and busked as a street performer in Mexico. A few years later he went to France where he picked grapes and when he traveled to Morocco, he got offered a job as a restaurant manager in one of the top restaurants of Tangier. He picked grapes for the second time in France – that’s where we met. We later moved together to Ireland where Niko combined a few jobs such as landscaping, construction work and gardening.
After reading what we’ve done, you probably noticed that we often stayed for months (or even a year) in one place to work. It’s not only necessary to have a break of constantly roaming around but it’s also very interesting to stay in one place for a while and learn more about the daily life in a country. We often combined our work with free accommodation so we would save even more money! Earning money while traveling + free accommodation = happy piggy bank!
After this ‘little’ introduction, here’s the part that you’re probably most interested in: How did we find all these jobs?
HOW TO FIND WORK WHILE TRAVELING?
If you want to be location independent, you’re probably interested in working online. So far, I did a few writing jobs but our main source of income now is teaching English online. For more information, check out our Ultimate Guide to Online Teaching.
There are many jobs you can do online such as freelance writing, becoming a virtual assistant, a website developer, graphic designer, SEO specialist, translator, … Here’s a list of 15 websites that might help you with finding online work:
- Upwork: for freelancers in web and software development, IT, writing, translating, design, finance, engineering,…
- Fiverr: for freelancers in graphics & design, digital marketing, writing, translating, video & animation, music,…
- Guru: for freelancers in web & software development, IT, design, art, multimedia, writing, translation, engineering,…
- Freelancermap.com: IT jobs & projects for freelancers, contractors and independent consultants
- Freelancer: for freelancers with skills in website, logo and graphic design, photoshop, copywriting, wordpress, SEO, …
- PeoplePerHour: freelance jobs in web, logo and graphic design, website development, copywriting, multimedia,…
- Freelance Writing Gigs: writing jobs, blogging jobs, online content jobs
- Freelance Writing: journalism, content, copywriting and blogging gigs
- iFreelance: jobs in consulting, finance, administration, education, photography, videography, writing, programming,…
- Project4hire: jobs in web design & development, IT, multimedia, engineering & science, writing, translation, data entry,…
- Working Nomads: Remote jobs in development, management, marketing, sales, design, finance, consulting,…
- We Work Remotely: for freelance and remote jobs in programming, customer support, design, marketing, copywriting,…
- Remote.co: find remote work in education, healthcare, design, customer service, marketing, HR, transcription, writing,…
- Outsourcely: remote jobs in design & multimedia, web development, writing & content, sales & marketing,…
- Toptal: for freelance developers, designers and finance experts
Or just type ‘online work + the skill that you have’ in the search engine and Mrs. Google will give you an endless list of possibilities.
So these are options to find online work but maybe you don’t want to be depending on Wi-Fi. Instead of working in front of a screen all day long, you prefer to work on the spot, have a completely new experience, meet many local people and learn more about the culture and daily life of the country you’re in. If that’s what you’re looking for, keep reading!
WORKING-HOLIDAY VISA AND TEMPORARY WORK VISA
You might wonder if you need a working visa to work abroad. If you’re planning to work in one place for a long time, it could be a good idea to get a working visa. There are many countries who offer a working-holiday visa for travelers who are under 30 – 35 years old. You can also apply for a temporary work visa. To find out more about the visas that each country offers to different nationalities, have a look at this complete overview of countries on Anywork Anywhere. This page will give you all the information concerning working holiday visas and (temporary) work visas and where to apply.
I applied for a one-year working-holiday visa in Australia and for one in New Zealand. I also applied for a second year working-holiday visa in Australia. This gave me the opportunity to legally work three years abroad.
What if you’re in a country without a working visa? It’s always possible to find a daily or weekly job that pays cash-in-hand, such as painting, gardening, cleaning, washing dishes, picking fruits, working on farms, … It might not be your ‘dream’ job and it’s not always fun or pleasant ( I still remember the days where I was on my knees scrubbing bathroom floors) but the money is often worth it, especially if you’re (almost) broke! Also, you don’t need a working visa to do volunteering work. Check out the section with resources about volunteering work in our Ultimate guide to Free Accommodation!
HOW TO FIND A JOB ON THE SPOT
Niko and I found most of our jobs on the spot. Here’s what we did:
Whether I was staying with hosts or in a hostel, I always asked my hosts, hostel owners and local friends if they knew about any available jobs in the area. My hosts in New Zealand contacted their neighbors who owned a sheep farm and were looking for extra help during the lambing season. When that job was finished, the farmers contacted the headmaster of the village school, who was looking for a special needs teacher and I ended up working there for three months. Then, while I was volunteering in a hostel in Australia, I asked the hostel owner for help in my job search. He contacted one of his friends who needed a gardener. That friend also introduced me to the local baker who was looking for an assistant in the bakery,… At one point I was combining three jobs at the same time! Don’t be afraid to ask around, people will know people who know people and they will help you in your search for a job.
You could also inform yourself by asking people who have lived and/or worked in the area or city you want to work in. They will probably have great info and tips for you!
Talk directly to potential employers
Another strategy that works is going directly to the places where you want to work and present yourself. When I was looking for a job as a waitress in Australia and Ireland, I used to print out a lot of resumes and walked into the restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels that appealed to me. I asked to speak with the manager, presented myself and gave him/her my CV. Within one week I had a job!
Niko did the same when looking for fruit-picking jobs. He walked from farm to farm and asked if they needed extra help. There is always a farmer who could use an extra hand!
Tip concerning fruit-picking:
Inform yourself about the local wages so you know how much money you can expect and whether you’ll get paid by the hour or by the amount of fruit you pick. You might wonder which option is the best. If you know you’re a fast worker, you’ll earn more money with picking fruit by the amount. If it’s the first time you do a fruit-picking job, it might be better to be paid by the hour or day. When we were grape-picking in France, the farmer gave us free food and accommodation and paid us daily €60 in exchange for 9 hours of work.
Talking directly to potential employers is a very effective strategy to find a job (abroad). Go out there and sell yourself!
I used to buy local newspapers that had a section with adverts for various jobs such as construction work, gardening, teaching, cleaning, bar work, … There were even ads from art groups looking for life models. That’s how I got the idea to work as a life model in Australia (and the pay was really, really good!).
Another way to use ads in your advantage is by going to the local shops and supermarkets and check out the noticeboards. Some locals might be looking for a private language or music teacher, a website designer, a gardener or painter,… This is how I found my second job on a sheep farm in England. You could also make a few ads yourself with the skills you have to offer and hang it out in every shop in the town or city or even get it printed in a few local newspapers.
Niko used to create ads on classified ads websites in Mexico in which he offered his skills as a language teacher. This resulted in a few jobs as a private English and French teacher and he got even approached by headmasters who offered him a job in the local schools.
WEBSITES TO FIND A JOB ABROAD
If you’d prefer to look for work in advance, there are some websites that can help you with that. I’ve made a list of 22 useful websites where you can find a job of your liking:
The title of this website says it all: find any job in hospitality, education, maintenance, entertainment, farm work and fruit-picking,… anywhere in the world.
This website offers you even more jobs! Here are a few categories to give you an idea: administrative work, camp jobs, environmental jobs, guide jobs, guest services, beach work, jobs on water, jobs with horses or with fish, outdoor adventures, ski resort, ranches,… What are you still doing here? Grab a drink and start searching!
Job Monkey claims to have the coolest jobs on earth for you, from seasonal and summer jobs to transport, entertainment and seagoing jobs and many more employment options.
This website will help you find a job anywhere in the world. Most popular jobs on this website are that of a language teacher but you can also find employment in resorts, as an au pair or even as a destination photographer!
Working Traveller is kind of the LinkdIn for travelers. It enables you to work and travel while you’re abroad and gaining good work references for a job if you ever plan to settle down. On this website you can find a job in exchange for food and accommodation but and they even have a section to find paid work. Signing up is free and you have to mention your skills in your profile. The hosts are looking for people who have skills in IT, art, agriculture, education, festivals,… Even bloggers are welcome!
During my time in Australia and the United Kingdom, I often searched for work on Gumtree. This is a classified ads website, so you can also create your own ad. If you click on the link, you’ll land on the Gumtree website of the United Kingdom but there is also a Gumtree for Australia, South Africa, Singapore, Ireland,…
Would you like to teach abroad? These websites will help you with finding teaching jobs around the world but there are many more out there! Type “Teach abroad in + country” and Mrs. Google will overload you with possibilities!
Want to work or volunteer in a National Park? Definitely head over to this website!
Picking Jobs is a great resource to find farm jobs and harvest work around the world.
If you’re interested in fruit-picking jobs in Australia, this website is a great resource.
Would you like to sail around the world while earning money? On these websites you can find volunteering and paid positions as a crew member on a sailing boat or yacht.
Do you prefer to work on a cruise ship instead of a sailing boat or yacht, then these websites are the place to be.
If you like to take care of kids and you want to be a part of a family, you’ll definitely find a good au pair job on one of these websites.
If you want more inspiration about which jobs you could do while traveling around the world, have a look at the blog Around the world in 80 jobs by Turner. This guy definitely knows how to find work anywhere in the world!
We always wanted our money to last for as long as possible. Check our budget saving tips for more information on how we do it.
We also want to hear from you! Did or do you work abroad? Would you like to share your tips and stories with us? Feel free to leave a comment or send us an email!
In this vlog we show you how we earned money in Ireland!