Coming up with the money to travel can feel like a daunting task, especially if you’re getting started. With an abundance of posts and advice on how to travel on a budget and score cheap flights, there are plenty of ways to make your travel goals a reality. However, when it comes to creating a travel lifestyle long-term, moving abroad, or finding ways to travel while building an online business, there is one secret I’ve discovered that helps you earn money instead of spending it while traveling.
After graduating college, I decided to take the leap and work for a travel company based in Italy instead of accepting an internship or 8-5 job. Since, I’ve now doubled the number of countries I’ve worked in and done so in a few different ways that I’d like to share with you, and I’ve got some tips for getting started if you’re looking to do the same!
HOW I GOT STARTED TRAVELING FOR WORK
I didn’t plan to create a sustainable work + travel lifestyle from the beginning. In fact, toward the end of college when graduation was inching closer and closer, I decided to search for travel jobs and see if it would be possible to do a “gap year,” which is not common in the United States. Since I was going way outside of my comfort zone and doing something out of the norm compared to my peers, I thought it was just a short-term thing and I’d be back to “real life” eventually. Fast forward a few years later, I had made it to 26 countries…22 of those from working while traveling, and doing so without sacrificing my career in the process!
It all started a month before my college graduation. I knew a short backpacking trip was out of my budget and an idea crossed my mind: instead of paying for travel, is there a way I can get paid to travel?! When you’re feeling stuck, one of the best ways to find a way out is to rethink your questioning and get creative with how you’re going about what you set out to do.
Coming up with ideas of how I could make this happen forced the breakthrough that led me to find and land my first two travel jobs. That summer, I worked a job as a Faculty Advisor at international leadership conferences for high school students based in Washington, DC and New York City. Traveling and teaching on the east coast of the US was an incredible experience.
Then in August, I flew to Florence, Italy, where I’d be based as a Social Media Manager and Tour Guide for a student travel company based in Europe, which took me to 11 countries for work.
A FEW QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF IF YOU’RE FEELING STUCK OR TO GET STARTED
• What other ways can I make this happen?
• If I reversed this question, do any other ideas come up?
• How are other people traveling in ways that seem interesting to me, and how can I follow in their footsteps to make it happen for myself?
LIFE AFTER ITALY – FIVE MORE WORK + TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES, A FULL-TIME JOB, AND CREATING A DIGITAL NOMAD LIFESTYLE
Once I found ways to work + travel that worked for me, aligned with my passions and skills, and fit into my schedule, I became addicted. Upon returning from my tour guiding job in Europe, I worked another one of those conferences in Washington, DC and Central Europe, moved to Arizona to work a full-time 8-5 job, and used my vacation time from that job (10 days per year) to work at the conferences in Europe and China. After two years at that job, I said goodbye, moved to my dream city in Southern California, and started freelancing online, which allowed me to live wherever and travel whenever – so I booked a 5-week trip to Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. After that trip, I realized that out of the 26 countries I had traveled to, I had visited 22 of those by working while traveling and saved tens of thousands of dollars in the process.
PRIORITIES ARE KEY
They say that if you truly want something, you will do whatever it takes to make it work. For me, that meant sacrificing some of my time (for example, using vacation days from a full-time job to work abroad was rewarding but exhausting). However, I wouldn’t change it for the world: being able to travel in a manner that allows me to do work I love in such a unique way has made travel accessible and has given my career a major boost. If you love what you do, it hardly feels like work, which will definitely be a strong motivator when you’re working to make it happen.
FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
Finding ways to work abroad is certainly doable. Getting clear on what you want to do, where you want to go, and being organized are the keys to getting started. I have a LOT of advice for wanderlusters looking to fund their travels in creative ways, whether that’s working for a company abroad or working online while traveling.
Have you ever lived a work and travel lifestyle? We’d love to hear your stories, tips or questions in the comment section below!
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