Travelling the world is amazing. You get to meet new people, experience new cultures, see incredible landscapes and live a life completely different to the one you’re used to. You can choose to lounge on a beach in the Caribbean or climb to the highest peak in the Himalayas.
However, there are two questions we get all the time from people who are thinking about adopting a digital nomad lifestyle: first, how in the world do people afford to constantly travel and what do they do to make a living and find work while travelling? Second, how the hell do you spell travel – is it traveling or travelling?
The words travelling and traveling often cause confusion among writers and people searching for information on the digital nomad lifestyle. Just like the history behind the work nomadic, the confusing use of these two words can be traced back to the fluidity of language. The difference arises from conflicting grammar and spelling rules between American English and British English. American English only doubles the last consonant if the emphasis on the last syllable. With travel, that’s not the case so the American English version of the word is traveling. The British on the other hand, double the consonant resulting in travelling. Most other countries follow the British way, including Canada and Australia, but Americans like to forge their own path.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, we’re going to help you sort out the answer to the most common question digital nomads face: ‘How do you work and earn money while traveling?’ Here, we’ll outline the many ways you can work while traveling (or travelling, if you prefer) in the most popular continents for digital nomads: Australia, Asia, Europe, and – believe it or not – the US.
If you know exactly where you want to go, working abroad programs are a great way to find travel job opportunities and instantly connect with a community of adventurers and new friends, and there are many established companies out there that will help you get set up to work while you travel, whether you want to teach English or work in adventure sports.
We’ve listed jobs by region of popularity so you can get an idea of what jobs are more readily available exactly where you want to travel, but keep in mind that it’s possible to do most of these jobs in just about any country.
Australia, along with New Zealand, is one of the friendliest countries when it comes to working abroad. They offer easy short-term and long-term working visas so you can stay for three months, six months or one year, earning money as you explore the diverse country.
You can opt to pursue jobs in the city, strapping tourists in as a bungee jump employee or leading architecture enthusiasts through the Sydney Opera House as a tour guide. There are also plenty of farm jobs and boating jobs if you prefer to be outdoors.
If you’re interested in more information about work abroad programs in Australia to help you get started, the following resources can help you find a job you’ll love.
InterExchange is a company that helps organize work abroad trips. To join InterExchange, you need to be between 18 and 30 years old, in good health, and hold U.S. citizenship. You’ll want to have an adventurous spirit and enjoy making new friends as you start your adventures abroad. InterExchange programs include jobs such as being an au pair, teaching English and language learning trips.
When you join an Interexchange program, they’ll help you get your working holiday visa organized, book flights and include your first week of accommodation to help get you settled before you start working. The benefit of a full service program, like InterExchange and other work abroad programs, is that they offer support not only before your arrival, but also throughout your stay. Having a resource to rely on for questions that arise during your stay – including everything from where to buy groceries to how to get health insurance – is priceless, especially if this is your first jaunt as a digital nomad.
BUNAC stands for British Universities North American Club and the company offers two different packages designed to help both experienced and novice travelers. Their Ultimate Fun package offers a completely stress free way to move to Australia and start exploring. They do everything for you, including finding you a job and setting up your visa and housing.
If you’re a more experienced traveler and prefer to do things your own way, you can opt for their Essentials plan, which gives you access to an online job database, and support for getting the essentials like a SIM card and bank account. The rest is up to you.
China, Japan, and Korea
In mainland Asia, the most popular work while traveling jobs are generally centered in the education industry and specifically, focused on teaching English. South Korea, Japan and China offer the most opportunities for English teachers. To qualify for these positions you’ll typically need to have a Bachelor’s degree and some sort of teaching experience. For some companies, tutoring is considered relevant experience while other companies require certifications such as CELTA or TEFL. So make sure to check the fine print when applying.
If you want to avoid being tied to a local school, and have a little more freedom, there are also online English teaching opportunities. Companies like VIPKID do all the hard work for you by providing lesson plans and setting you up directly with clients so you can teach and move on with your day. Pay ranges vary from $14-$22 an hour, with bonuses available for teaching last minute classes or teaching a certain number of classes per month.
This region is highly sought after by digital nomads and remote workers because of the low cost of living and ease of acquiring visas. Cities like Chiang Mai, Thailand, have become digital nomad hubs, where hundreds of remote workers have settled. You’ll easily find coworking spaces where you can get your work done or pen your travel blog, and coffee shops with high speed internet for email, social media, and Skype conference calls. (Be aware, however, that while Southeast Asia is beautiful and inexpensive, different cities and countries like India may not have the technology, like widely available wi-fi, that you need to do your job reliably. So, do some research before you go!)
If you want something a little more adventurous, Southeast Asia is a great place to be a scuba diving instructor. You’ll need to be a certified diver through either PADI or SSI and be a diver for at least six months before taking an instructor course. The PADI course to become a certified instructor takes 7 to 8 days to complete, and is concluded by an additional 2 days of examinations.
The beauty of being a diving instructor in Southeast Asia is that several of the world’s top dive sites are in this region. You can dive with whale sharks off the coast of Thailand, manta rays in Indonesia and even check out the famous Japanese shipwreck in Amed, Bali. You’ll spend your days with tourists from across the globe as well as sharks, turtles and colorful fish.
Alternatively, if you prefer to keep your feet dry, you can work at any number of hostels and restaurants catering to international tourists. You can also promote parties at local pubs and host events at your favorite hostel, often in exchange for a small stipend or free room and board.
Featuring nostalgia that backpackers can’t find anywhere else, Europe is the go-to summer holiday for many people who are looking to work while travelling. The two most popular job opportunities here are becoming an au pair or offering housesitting services.
Most popular in France, being an au pair is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture while still earning some extra cash. Most au pairs are offered free room and board, and sometimes a small stipend, in exchange for taking care of the host family’s children. You’ll take the kids to school in the mornings and help them with homework in the afternoons. Often, you’ll also get to tag along on family vacations and get to experience other countries and cities.
If you’re interested in becoming an au pair, but want help getting everything set up, check out Au Pair World. This service connects local host families with potential au pairs and offers support throughout your entire stay.
Another popular option to earn money while traveling is to become a house or pet sitter. You would take care of people’s homes or pets for anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months. The unique advantage of these types of opportunities is that they provide free accommodation for you while you explore new cities or regions. Plus, housesitting gives you the the best experience of living like a local.You can immerse yourself in the culture and travel across Europe, hopping from one housesitting job to the next.
To get started, check out websites like Trusted Housesitters that connect you to people looking for housesitters. You’ll need to create a profile and offer references to land gigs. Once you have done a few successful housesits, it’ll be easier to get more jobs as you build a positive reputation on the site. Keep in mind that some of these sites are not free, so you can also check out local ads and job boards if you’re on a budget.
United States of America
The USA isn’t often the first place many think about when working abroad, but there are loads of opportunities in the hospitality and education industries. In fact, US work visa programs offer opportunities from short summers up to five years. Companies like Alliance Abroad can help you decide which visa is best for you and will offer support along the way.
If you’re looking to build up your career, you can opt for a J-1 trainee or internship position. You’ll work in your field of study and gain on-the-job work experience to give you a leg up when it comes to finding your first real job. In your free time, you’ll get to explore the vast landscapes of America from Hawaii to New York and visit countless National Parks and monuments.
Alternatively, if you’re a university student, you can apply for the J-1 Summer Work Travel program. You’ll gain international experience, contribute to seasonal needs of your employer and make great friends along the way. Similarly the United States offers Seasonal Work visas known as H-2B visas where you can work in industries that need more employees during peak season. You can work the ski slopes of Lake Tahoe, California or Aspen, Colorado while earning money and traveling across America on your days off.
If you’re a teacher, you can join the J-1 Teacher Exchange program. To qualify, you must have an accredited degree and you’ll have the opportunity to teach in U.S. schools for up to 5 years.
With these great ideas, you’re sure to find a job that allows you to work while traveling and pursue your career driven passions at the same time. Whether you want to explore one single foreign country or hop around to several the opportunities are endless.
If you need more information on how to work abroad, check out our blog and join our community where you can get answers to all your questions from successful digital nomads. This community is focused on helping you kick ass in business and travel and you’ll instantly connect with other people who are inspired by the location independent lifestyle.