How to find work overseas: 10 ways to make money while you travel

by | Jul 14, 2020 | Live Work Play Travel, Work Abroad Backpacker Jobs | 0 comments

Knock, Knock. Any jobs available?


Updated 14 July 2020. Working abroad is a very unique experience. It allows you to immerse yourself in a different culture where you can learn another language, meet new people, experience different food and get a new perspective on the world. Now if you are thinking of heading overseas but haven’t quite got enough money, don’t worry, you are not alone. There are two options as I see it. You could spend your time in a job you don’t really like dreaming of the money you are saving for your travels. Or like many travellers, you could throw caution to wind and find work overseas as you travel.

Something to remember about finding work overseas is that you need to stay flexible in the work you do. Always remember that you are undertaking work to fund your travels rather than forge a career. Here are 10 work options that travellers often do to help them continue to travel the world.


Teach English


Teaching English to those who want to learn English has long been a way travellers make money while they travel. Depending on the country you don’t necessarily need a qualification. Though if you want a better paying job a qualification, such as TEFL will stand you in good stead. Qualifications can be done on-line which is good news as they are cheaper and often don’t take as long to do. i-to-i is a provider of such courses and the qualification is well respected. See what courses i-to-i have available here. Once you have it, the world is your oyster as this is because many schools will sponsor your visa allowing you to work in countries you may never have thought possible. Countries in Asia, South America or Eastern Europe. If you are serious about teaching English overseas purchase a copy of my ebook Teach English Overseas. Get more details about Teach English Overseas here.


Work on a cruise ship


Getting a job on a cruise ship will see you being paid to travel the world (or a specific part of the world). That’s why many people work on a cruise ship – you receive accommodation, meals and get to travel the world.

Cruising is very popular and o ensure passengers enjoy their cruise literally hundreds, sometimes thousands of workers are required to ensure this happens. Positions can be found as cooks, chefs, waiters, waitresses, bartending, engineering, administration, cleaning, housekeeping, to name a few. The first thing to do is decide which area you would like to work, ie. the Pacific, the Caribbean, Alaska, Asia, etc. Then find out which ships sail in these areas and then apply to the ship’s owner. My biggest tip here is that when you apply for a position, apply for a specific position, ie. bartending, this way the employer knows exactly what you want to do and if there is a position, it just could be yours. For more information on getting a job on a cruise ship check out my ebook Work on a Cruise Ship.


Work in a Hostel


Everyone has to sleep somewhere and many travellers sleep in a hostel. Not only are these places a cheap place to stay but they are a great place to work. There are minimal jobs available but usually are cleaning, working on the front desk, maybe working in the bar (if there is one) and maybe driving a minibus to pick up and drop off other travellers at bus/train stations. Hostels are usually staffed by travellers who like the town/city and want to stay longer. A wage and free accommodation is usually what you will get. Maybe discounted meals and drinks. To get such a job just ask in the hostel if there are any jobs going. Another way is to check out the HostelWorld website. This site not only allows you to research and book a hostel but will be a great source to allow you to contact the hostel ahead of time and ask if there are any jobs going.


Get a Working Holiday Visa


If you are between the ages of 18-31 years (sometimes 35) inclusive then apply for a working holiday visa. At present there are around 40 or so countries that have a reciprocal working holiday program available. Basically, if you are granted one of these visas you will be allowed to stay in that country for a maximum stay of 1 year or sometimes up to 2 years and immerse yourself in the local culture. The visa allows you to undertake work (usually typical backpacker work like picking fruit and vegetables, bar work, waitress/waiter, administration, labourer, etc.) to help fund your time there and for future travels. Pay isn’t always great but as long as you are paid. Check out our working holiday destinations page to see where you could live, work, play and travel.


Seasonal Work

Follow the sun


Many travellers like to follow the sun and this is possible by travelling between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. When you follow the sun you can find work in a popular holiday destinations usually in a hospitality related job (barista, waiter/waitress, washing dishes, bartending, etc) and also teaching English (particularly in Asian countries) so having some skills in these areas will be a bonus and make you more employable.


Follow the snow


If you love snow sports then you might want to follow the snow as many people do moving between the hemispheres from snow resort to snow resort. There are many jobs available including ski and snowboard instructors but you will need to be qualified to undertake these roles. Most travellers find work in the resorts in hospitality as chalet staff (housekeeping, front of office) and in the bars, restaurants, cafes and other shops that can be found in a resort.

Northern Hemisphere: Canada, North America, Europe, Scandinavia, the UK and Japan
Southern Hemisphere: Australia, New Zealand and some South American countries


Use your skills and adapt them to where you are


Everyone has skills and talents they can use to find work. So get off that bunk bed and start using them.

Can you sing, play guitar, dance, juggle? then you could busk. Ensure you meet any Council/Borough/Area regulations.
Can you cut hair? then offer fellow travellers cheap haircuts.
Can you answer the phone nicely? then you may want to contact a call centre.
Do you like children? then you could babysit, be an au pair or a nanny.
Have you used garden equipment? then you could mow someone’s lawn or tend to their garden.
Can you make coffees? then you could be a barista.
Have you got a friendly personality? then you could wait tables.
Can you teach English? then approach English language schools or teach it on-line.
Make money on-line (that is our next major heading).
Can you pour a beer? then approach bars to be a bartender.

I think you get the drift. Then adapt your skills to where you are. Are you in a seaside holiday town – then there should be lots of bars, cafes and restaurants to approach. Also accommodation where you might pick up housekeeping work. Are you in a country town – are there any picking fruit or vegetable jobs going?

These jobs will mean you need some get up and go and approach businesses yourself or you could advertise your services on such websites as Craiglist and Gumtree.


Work On-line


Many travellers find work on-line. If you have a background in web design, web advertising (like Facebook ads) or a tech background you may want to investigate websites such as UpWork which is a great website to find virtual work as you travel. I have a friend who gets loads of freelance work via this website and it allows him to continue to travel. He likes to call himself a VA (Virtual Assistant). He does need to ensure he travels with his computer and he needs good access to the Internet.

You can also create a profile about yourself and the services you provide on such websites as Fiverr, Task Rabbit and Outsource. a

Some travellers also find work doing things like data entry on-line, though this is very competitive, while others do on-line surveys and watch videos and get paid for their feedback. I do on-line surveys. It can be time consuming and I must ensure I have a good internet connection and doesn’t pay that well but hey, it pays and every dollar helps right!

You may even want to start your own travel blog about your travels. Many bloggers make money from their blogs through Google Adsense, Affiliate programs, drop shipping and creating content for their own blog and others. Some bloggers make enough money every month to fund all their travels.


Au pair


If you have an interest in children then you may want to consider being an Au Pair, nanny or child minder. Most of these jobs apart from babysitting are usually live-in meaning, you will have your own room (near the kids) and receive food and a small wage in return for looking after someone else’s kids. There may even be holidays involved.

I did this type of work when I lived in London and I loved it. I looked after 2 girls and took them to things like dancing classes and music lessons after school. We would go to parks and for walks and I was really pleased when I tucked them in to bed at night and I then had free time.

There are many countries you could find a job as an au pair and be living and working fantastic cities like New York, Paris or Sydney. There are a number of websites such as Au Pair World, International Exchange,  etc. or do a Google search.


Yacht Crewing


If you don’t mind the water then you may consider working on a yacht. Now there are different sizes of yacht so you will need to determine what size might suit you best. Also, you don’t necessarily need qualifications as you can learn on the job however, knowing the different knots and having a STCW95 certificate will stand you in good stead.

Smaller yachts often need crew to help them sail to far flung places. This could involve delivering a yacht to a sunny destination or sailing with the owner. Often you work for your board though some captains pay a small wage. While others might want you to contribute to the food and the running costs. As you move up the spectrum to larger yachts,  there may be a number of positions available such as a cook/chef, housekeeping, crew, etc.

Popular areas to get a job on a yacht are the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. However, there are other jobs sailing to different destinations around the world. To find a job head to the docks of yacht clubs and make contact with the owners or visit websites such as Crewfinders or Superyacht Jobs. For more detailed information, read my post Yacht Crewing.


Typical Backpacker Jobs


As you travel the world you will find there are typical backpacker jobs. This is because they do not require you to be qualified or have extensive experience, though it does help.

Typical jobs include: fruit and vegetable picking, waiting tables, bartending, child care, office work, teaching English. But whatever work you find, as long as it pays to fund your travelling lifestyle, it doesn’t matter exactly what work you do.

Going overseas and experiencing other countries is a great thing. It can change you forever. So don’t let money worries get in the way of living your dreams of travelling around the world cause as you have just read, you can find work as you travel the world to fund your travels. What are you waiting for?


Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!


Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from Eurail and Interrail Passes. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. World Nomads is great for general travel insurance while SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers.

Need something else? Check out my Resources page.


Sharyn McCullum In A Black T-shirt With Her Live Work Play Travel Logo In The Shape Of A World.

Hi. Sharyn here, the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline. My aim with this blog is to help you work abroad or work online and travel the world.   Read more.


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Hi, Sharyn here. I’m the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve travelled all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline – thanks dad! I’ve been a travel writer/blogger and living a location independent lifestyle since 1993. My aim with Live Work Play Travel is to provide you with the info to start living, working and travelling around the world like I do. I currently live in Melbourne with my partner and 2 kids. 


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