September 15, 2018 6 min read

Traveling doesn’t just mean spending money. It can mean earning money, too.

Have you recently decided to travel long-term but don’t know how to afford it? Concerned about going broke while you explore, or not being able to find a job in another country? It might help you to think of the absolute worst-case scenario to help you understand what you’re signing up for – I know it’s something I do – but while you should consider and prepare for the worst, it is important to understand that the worst won’t happen if you don’t want it to. Fear can stop you from doing a lot of things, but if you overcome that fear and get out of your own way, you’ll realize that you’re capable of attaining just about anything you want (including making a living abroad) as long as you really want it. Here are some things to consider about working in other countries, and some tools you can utilize to make sure you’re happy with your financial situation as you embark on your new journey.

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Living abroad is possible for everyone.

The first thing you need to know is that you won’t be the first person to pack your things, move to another country, and find a job. Once you understand and believe that you can do this, you will. This is the history of the world. Migration powers humanity, and whether it’s a place pulling you or another place pushing you, it’s been done over and over – and even during times when travel wasn’t accessible to everyone, either. It’s no longer 1990, and you can fly to Paris without having the job that Kevin McCallister’s dad had to be able to afford sending a thirteen-member family to Paris for the holidays. You can get to a major city without riding in a disease-ridden ship across the Atlantic. Traveling and working abroad is not just for the rich or desperate – all it requires is will. And if you are willing, you’ll find there are many tools at your disposal to help you.


Working Holiday Visas

This is a popular tool for arranging employment while abroad. Depending on where you’re from and where you want to go, you can easily apply online for a WHV that grants you legal rights to work abroad for a set period of time, usually a year or two with the possibility to extend. For instance, the United States has ready-made arrangements with five countries – Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and South Korea – such that you can simply Google the application, download it, and submit it online for wherever you want to go. It’s that easy. Provided that you complete the necessary materials (e.g. Passport information, bank statements illustrating you have enough funds to cover your initial stay), you can be approved in as fast as ten minutes. Once I received my Visa Grant to Australia, all I had to do was decide where in the country to go first and when.

Working Holiday Visas are available to many nationalities. You can find out more about your eligibility by visiting

After you enter the country, there are agencies to help you find employment, or you can apply to jobs online, or you can walk around with your resume – basically all the same activities for finding a job as you would in your home country. You just need an open mind, a willingness to work, and, of course, a resume. I worked as a Food & Beverage Attendant in Australia near the Great Barrier Reef, having had ZERO prior experience. Finding a job is the same just about everywhere you go: it requires a combination of effort and opportunity, and if you’ve already managed to work at least one job in your adult life, chances are you can get another one – even if it is 10,000 miles away from your last one.

The best part is, if you wind up liking where you are, you can extend your visa through a variety of means – most countries have comprehensive immigration websites that will detail these for you – but the initial Working Holiday Visa is an invaluable first step. If you’re like me and always wanted to go to Australia, trust me: it’s so far away that you SHOULD spend a lot of time there, and a long trip means you should work while you’re there. Visit and get one today, buy your flight tomorrow, and you’re halfway there.


Work Exchange

This is an especially great tool for your early days in a new country. Websites like or are databases that connect workers with hosts.In exchange for a minimum of five hours of work a day, for five days a week, your host will provide you shelter and meals. The details can change worker to worker, or host to host, but the best part is that it’s up to you to decide! Similar to actual currency-paying jobs, you have the ability to message and speak to each other to decide the terms of your agreement. You can arrange to stay somewhere for one week, or for five months.I used Workaway to live in Hawaii for two months, and to live in Australia for the first three months of my year there. Not only did I save money – I didn’t spend a single dollar on anything except occasional tourist trips on my days off – but I made friendships and unforgettable memories. Without concerns like rent or food, you don’t feel any of the initial burdens one usually might when unemployed and new in a country. You can get jobs like gardening, or house painting, or babysitting, or even helping someone build their online business and social media – and have a place to sleep with food provided. Not to mention, you can use your time off to apply to jobs. This way, you can make it so that you’re not paying rent somewhere without having a steady stream of income first – save the bills for when you have the paycheck! I even got a reference and recommendation for my paid job in Australia from someone I worked for in a work exchange – and work exchanges are easier to get because there’s no exchange of money. I never gardened before, but it didn’t matter! My hosts were happy to teach me and didn’t mind that my resume didn’t include gardening. You just have to make sure you do your research, choose a host that’s been reviewed before, and stay safe.


Teaching Your Native Language

This is a great option for people who are traveling to countries where they don’t speak the language. You might worry that you can’t find a job in Thailand because you don’t speak Thai – but your native language is itself an asset here! If you want to teach English in Thailand, you can. If you want to teach Spanish in Ireland, you can. All you generally need is to achieve a teaching certificate – such as the TEFL for English – which you can find all about at You don’t need to have had teaching experience before deciding to do this – you can start now!


Remote Jobs / Freelancing

If you’re having a hard time obtaining work abroad even with a visa – maybe the job market is saturated or you’re not a great interviewer – there are tons of online jobs you can get around the world. The best part of these is that you generally don’t even need a visa, because the internet is everywhere! I myself am on a tourist visa in Canada, and while I work on getting legal rights to work, I am doing remote jobs based in my home country so that I can earn money legally and simply from cyberspace. Virtual money (jobs that pay you on PayPal as a lot of freelance writing jobs do) and cash money are the best ways to get around technical legal limitations. Babysitting, helping lift things at event festivals – these are the kinds of informal jobs that don’t require tax forms to be filled out and can help you pay for that ski day in the Canadian Rockies or that scuba-dive off the Great Barrier Reef. Think outside the box, and you can find multiple streams of income from anywhere.

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If you employ one or all of these tools, you’re guaranteed to find ways to fund your traveling. There are indeed governments out there that WANT people to come and work in their countries, so they make it a bit easier for you. Consider researching visas – whether it’s a Working Holiday Visa or a Temporary Resident Visa — and finding the one that’s a right fit for you. Just know that if you’re prepared to work and want to work, you can work. And once you do, you’ll reach an echelon of traveling that’s far more rewarding than simply being a tourist… You can create a life.

Best of luck, and happy traveling!