What work I did while travelling – 10 travellers tell

by | Dec 10, 2018 | Live Work Play Travel, Work Abroad Backpacker Jobs | 0 comments

The world is yours


Picking up work as you travel the world is a great way to increase your money to keep you travelling. Some travellers find work in their current field of employment while others try something completely different. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you get paid. Please read the stories what work I did while travelling – 10 travellers tell. I hope their stories inspire you as you work and travel around the world.

Odd Jobs

Melissa Giroux – Over the years, I did plenty of jobs abroad. From volunteering in a hostel to milking cows in Australia, from picking cherries to fundraising, I’ve been doing everything I should do to stay abroad longer! I’ve never traveled with savings, so I did a lot of volunteering using websites such as HelpX and I found jobs while networking in Facebook groups. After doing many different odd jobs around Australia, I decided to get started as a blogger, and eventually as a digital nomad – which gives me a lot more freedom when it comes to traveling/living abroad!

Visit Melissa’s website/blog @ www.nomadlife101.com

Bar Work

Sharon Gourlay – When I was travelling in Europe, I worked in a pub on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. I initially had gone to Edinburgh wanting to work there but soon found that entry level jobs did not really pay enough to live plus save anything for travel. So when I saw pub jobs advertised in the TNT magazine in my hostel which included food and board and then paid on top, I decided to ring one of them. After a very short phone interview, I was on my way to Carradale the next day to work at the Carradale Hotel.

I worked as a waitress for the hotel guests for breakfast and dinner five times a week. I had the majority of the daytime free which could be boring as it was hard to get anywhere and there weren’t many young people around. It could also get lonely. However, it was an experience that, overall, I enjoyed and it helped me save money while experiencing more of Scotland.

Visit Sharon’s website/blog @ www.digitalnomadwannabe.com

Hostels – more than accommodation

Jo Cahill – After a year of solo backpacking, I realised that I would be arriving in London – widely considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world – with virtually no funds left in my bank account. Armed with my British passport (thanks Mum!), I was able to work anywhere, but thought that my best bet would be a backpacker’s hostel. I got online and found the contact details for as many hostels as I could, then sent them all emails with my CV and a request for work. I thought I’d probably end up as a cleaner somewhere, but I was given an office job in exchange for a bed, and – when I realised just how low my funds were – extra hours for actual pay. Over the next few months I also worked some shifts in reception and had stints as the acting head cleaner and even the acting manager for a short time. It was such a fun way to get introduced to the vitality of the city, and I loved every second.

Visit Jo’s website @ www.overtheedgeofthewild.com.

Teach in Korea

Sandra Muller – I taught English in Korea for two years. There are no age restrictions in Korea for teaching English. But you do need at least a bachelor’s degree and citizenship from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK or the USA.
There are three types of teaching jobs. The first is at a private academy or language school called a ‘hagwon’. You can teach any age at hagwons, from 2-year-olds through to business people looking to improve their English skills. These are the easiest jobs to secure, start year-round, and usually come with accommodation. I taught at different hagwons during my time in Korea.
The second type is at a government school through the EPIK program. The third kind is at a university. You’ll need at least a master’s degree these days to secure a university teaching gig. The perks are good with lots of paid holidays.
I found both of my roles via the internet, the second via Dave’s ESL Café. My first job was a roll of the dice because I accepted the job from my home country. The second, I interviewed at the school and checked everything out first.
Visit Sandra’s website/blog @ www.thesmarterwriter.com

Scuba Dive Instructor

Dominic Evans – In 2011 I left the UK to follow my dream of becoming a Scuba Diving Instructor. I went to Koh Tao in Thailand to do my dive training. After my Instructor course I found work quite easily through websites and local contacts. When your job is your passion it makes it an absolute pleasure to go to work. My students love my enthusiasm for the underwater world. It can be challenging looking after divers in dangerous situations but being under water seeing amazing things makes everything worthwhile. Since then I have travelled the world diving and working. Now I live in the jungle in Mexico teaching people about diving in Cenotes a massive underwater cave system. I’ve seen amazing things, met wonderful people and can honestly say that it has made me really happy.

Visit Dominic’s website/blog @ www.bestcenotedives.com

Cruise Ship Purser

James – Working on a cruise ship is a great way to travel and earn money for more travel at the same time.  When my working holiday visa in the UK was running out, I saw an ad for a purser on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in a hospitality trade magazine, so I applied.  After a successful interview in London, and getting a C1/D visa for the U.S., I was on a (paid) flight to Miami.  As a guest relations purser, I worked the front desk, helping guests with any questions or problems, as well as managing onboard charging (a ‘purser’ is traditionally in charge of the ‘purse’ i.e. money on board).  I worked for 8 months (the contract was 6, but I extended it), saved almost all of my money (everything is paid for and it is tax-free), then travelled for three months before returning for another contract as a crew purser (in charge of clearing the crew through customs and immigration).  It was able to see the Caribbean, have fun and save money.

Visit James’ website/blog @ www.travelcollecting.com

Garden Centre

Charles Kosman – Back in 2003, after 5 months living in a van in Australia, I wanted to work with my hands for a change rather than take on another IT contract. Micki was working remotely as an editor, however I had an Australian work visa so I looked into picking fruit while on Australia’s east coast. We were traveling during the wrong season to get anything good so I held off working until we hit Sydney.

When we finally rolled into Sydney, I met a guy in our hostel who had just started working for a garden center. The value of land was too high to pass up so they were moving the garden center out of town. Our job was to deconstruct all the flower beds, benches and even tear down some of the older buildings. It was tough work however the weather was nice and the people were friendly. The only problem were the giant spiders we uncovered while deconstructing everything. From giant jumpers to crazily poisonous ones you never knew what you were going to find as you took apart old things. It definitely made it a travel job to remember!

Visit Charles’ website @ www.thebarefootnomad.com

Selling chickens in France

Jessy Lipperts – When I saw an advertisement to work at a ‘beach club’ in the South of France, I thought it would be the perfect way to spend my Summer. Little did I know, that the beach club owner was so horrible that I left within a few days and then found another job: selling roast chicken. It is most probably the most humbling (read: horrible) holiday job I’ve ever done and not only because of the working hours. I worked 2 shifts a day, from 10 – 2pm and from 5 to 11pm, 7 days a week. And then, selling roast chicken in 40° C feels as if you’re in a stove. Constantly. They would only pay out at the end of the season which meant I had to come up with a horrible excuse to be able to leave this job before I would literally melt to death. I did. Got my pay. Left and never looked back. The village where this all happened was called ‘Vias’ which I from then on would refer to as ‘Fiasco’.

Visit Jessy’s website/blog @ www.planetpilgrims.com

Teaching in Ghana

Clare Dewey – I spent three months teaching English, Geography and History in a primary school in Ghana. It was quite an eye-opener for an impressionable 21 year old who had never been to Africa before! My friend and I were placed in a rural school a couple of hours east of Accra. The school didn’t have sufficient classrooms for the number of children, so some lessons were taught under the shade of a large tree, and when the intense midday rainstorms arrived, rivers of water would run through the school – we’d all stand on the chairs!

I have many memories of those extraordinary three months, but I’ll never forget the extreme humidity: we would be up at 5am each day and sweating by approximately 5:01am!  It was hard getting used to the heat but also to the cultural differences, but I also experienced life in a way I had never done before – and may never do again. It was awesome!

Visit Clare’s website/blog @ www.epicroadrides.com

Office Work

Sharyn McCullum – I have been travelling most of my life thanks to a father who worked at the airport. The first trip I undertook on my own was a working holiday to London. It was a huge experience and at times I hated it. When I first arrived I had nowhere to live, no friends or family to fall back on, no job and it was so cold. I didn’t like being this independent! But I found somewhere to live, got a job and made some friends. I mostly took ‘temp’ jobs in offices. Jobs ranged from being a receptionist to a typist in a typing pool to a private secretary. I also tried waitressing but I didn’t like the unsociable hours I had to work. For extra money I did some babysitting and had a live-in nanny job for a short while. I would work for 3 months then take off on a holiday to Europe. It was a great life.

Visit Sharyn’s blog @ www.shazzatravels.com

I hope you have enjoyed and are inspired by reading about work other travellers have done to extend their travels.

Safe working travels.

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, Booking.com 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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