People across the world have long dreamt of exploring faraway lands while still earning money to live on. What was once only a dream is now a reality, with literally thousands of jobs that can either be done remotely or are available for people from abroad to apply for in countries across the world.
There are two main ways to work while travelling: work abroad programs and remote work. Work abroad programs are typically for younger people, with temporary work visas granted to citizens of eligible countries to work certain approved jobs within the host country. This allows for a workaway adventure, a chance to see another part of the world while making some money. but it’s rarely a career-level job, and it doesn’t allow for the freedom to explore that more flexible jobs provide.
Remote work, on the other hand, has very few limits on where you can take your job – in most cases, reliable internet is the only thing needed to set up a remote office anywhere in the world. There are some drawbacks, such as timezone differences from employers or customers and sometimes shorter limits on how long you can stay in certain countries. But the ability to take your job with you – often a career-level job with room to grow and provide longterm fulfilment – is worth the drawbacks for those who choose to live this type of life.
So, which is better suited for your individual needs, your current stage in life, and what you want from your job? Below we explore the differences between these two types of working while travelling and distil the upsides and downsides of each.
There are two different types of working abroad: short-term jobs and expat career-level work.
Expats are people that have chosen to set up in a country outside of where they carry citizenship. In many cases, they are able to make good money and choose the expat life either because they were transferred abroad within their company or they enjoy the lifestyle as a way to experience different local norms. People who go down this route most often require work visas or work permits that may or may not be supplied by their jobs.
Short-term jobs, on the other hand, usually require some sort of documentation, but it is usually given as part of a program to work specific jobs, such as a working holiday visa for the service industry or sponsored work permits to teach English (in countries that allow for native English speakers to take on teaching jobs, with or without TEFL certification). Most of these jobs are only available to citizens of the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, or New Zealand – but it just so happens that the countries with the most open working holiday visas for foreigners to come in and work are these countries, minus the United States.
Jobs that fall under the category of working holiday visa include WWOOF (worldwide opportunities on organic farms) workaway programs, restaurant servers, bartenders, and au pair jobs – with some countries even offering specific au pair visas. For most of these, you do not need a lot of work experience and the pay varies considerably.
Some more difficult to land but very rewarding jobs away from your home country include tour guides (within or outside of tour companies), scuba diving instructors, yoga teachers, and even travel nurses.
Many of the jobs mentioned above are good for backpackers and those looking to explore countries while not necessarily working toward future career goals, at least directly in those areas. If you are looking to find a long-term career-level job that will allow you to travel wherever you like, your best bet is to try and land a remote job.
There are many types of remote work, from freelancers to business owners to employees of companies of all sizes. In general, the only thing that is crucial and necessary for a remote job is a reliable internet connection, though there are several other things that can apply to everyone in this community (check out the ultimate guide to remote working for more on this).
One of the best things about working a remote job is that you can just as easily be a backpacker as someone who enjoys the finer things – and there are coliving groups that seamlessly bring people together from both sides of this spectrum to live and work together in harmony, regardless of the size of anyone’s bank account. You can also be a part-time traveller that has a home base and spends a few months a year on the road, or a full-time digital nomad setting up shop in Thailand, Bali, Medellin, or the Caribbean for months or years at a time, moving on to your next destination whenever your heart desires.
Working remotely isn’t a perpetual dream, however. It can be difficult at times, especially to make good money and to set yourself up for the kind of freedom from both the office walls and the stress of wondering where your next paycheck will be coming from. But with hard work and determination, it is more possible than ever to live a location-independent lifestyle anywhere you’d like while still working a meaningful and fulfilling job.
Freelancing is one of the most common and easiest ways to get into remote work, but it is also one of the toughest ways to establish a consistent stream of work. This is because there are so many ways to freelance work – and just as many people trying to do the same thing in the same space. The competition will always be there, so you need to find ways to make yourself stand out, whether that’s with quality work early on or demonstrated experience down the line. Sites such as Fiverr, UpWork, and Freelancer are great places to find work and build your freelancing portfolio in web design, content writing, SEO services, SaaS services, digital marketing, and other sought after offerings.
Then there is the world of blogging. Travel blogs, fitness blogs, social media influencing, affiliate marketing, and building backlinks are all ways to not only make money but craft a serious career. It is much more difficult than many people think, and it takes more than just hard work to create a blog that earns anything besides a few likes from your friends. Building a brand, offering value, and monetizing that brand requires a lot of know-how and time spent behind the screen. When you get to where you want to be, for a lot of people, it is definitely worth the effort.
Teaching English is another option for digital nomads. Native English speakers can teach English online for a variety of reputable companies that pay upwards of $20 per hour.
Finally, Amazon dropshipping is one of the most popular and lucrative areas of remote work. It essentially involves buying products from a different site, raising the price, and then selling them on Amazon, a digital version of the old buying and selling hustle. This avenue provides a lot of work for people who set up their own dropshipping companies, as well as the freelance content writers they often employ to describe their products.
Find Your Ideal Remote Work
Whether it’s a short-term holiday work to travel program, or a coliving work and travel program, there’s something out there for anybody who wants to escape the shackles of the office walls. If you’re not sure which avenue you want to take, explore them all – there is certainly no shortage of information available on all the types of jobs listed above. And when you’ve found your ideal remote work, you should also consider your remote work-life balance. Learn more about WiFi Tribe and other coliving and coworking groups that help bring productivity, adventure, and life-changing experiences to remote work experiences.
Good luck on your journey, whichever stage you may be in!