How to Work and Travel the World (4 Methods)

Grant KennedyGuides, Money Comments

how to work and travel the world

One of the biggest questions I get asked online and in person is how I can afford to travel and live abroad for long periods of time. In this article, I will show you how to work and travel the world plus give you the resources so that you can do it, too.

If you want to save up $15k and travel around the world for 1 year without working, you can definitely make that happen but the objective of this article is to show you how to work and travel the world long term.

Teaching English

Pros:

  • Steady paycheck
  • Meet new people instantly
  • More stability
  • Work Visa
  • Possibly free accommodation (depends on country)
  • Easy to Start

Cons:

  • If it’s a language center, you’ll be working off hours making a social life difficult at times.
  • You’re still trading time for money. The quality of bosses may vary.
  • Pay isn’t amazing. Most of us supplement with private lessons, voice acting, or other side hustles.
  • Teaching requires patience and empathy. If you don’t have these, don’t teach.

Resource: MyTEFL

Freelancing

Freelancing is another great way to work and travel the world. Especially if you have professional skills in the digital realm such as web development, web design, SEO, and Instagram marketing. Freelancing isn’t something you can just jump into like teaching English. You’re going into business for yourself and will have to market and sell your skills.

It can take a long time to get your first client BUT if you hustle and turn out quality work, you may never need to go work for someone else ever again. An additional benefit is you can leverage geo-arbitrage in your favor. By getting paid in US dollars, Euros, or UK pounds, you can make good use of the disparity in costs of living.

My advice: start teaching English and then freelance on the side until you are earning enough to quit your teaching job. If you’ve never worked for yourself, read these books.

Pros:

  • Set your own salary
  • Freedom
  • Builds on existing skills
  • Paid in USD/Euros/UK pound
  • You’re your own boss. (You may be awesome at it.)
  • Can work anywhere that there is internet

Cons:

  • You gotta hustle.
  • Your new full-time job is marketing you and your skills.
  • Work is inconsistent at first
  • You’re your own boss. (You may be shitty at it.)
  • Need internet to work

Resource: Upwork

E-Commerce

Since you’re looking how to work and travel the world, it would be remiss to not talk about e-commerce since it helped launch the digital nomad lifestyle. What is e-commerce? It is an online retail business.

But, Grant, I’ve never opened a business and I don’t know how to run one. Excellent points and I know how scary it sounds but it’s not as scary as you may think. In fact, e-commerce makes up a huge portion of the US economy. In 2016 alone, e-commerce sales totaled almost $400 billion. E-commerce is where the future is and you can get in early.

Note: This is not a quick, or short term means of traveling the world. You are opening a business and taking on all that that entails which is a lot more than you may think initially. That being said, this is also one of the best ways to achieve a freedom lifestyle. Risk vs Reward.

These days it is easier than ever to set up an e-commerce shop and chances are you have shopped from one yourself. The easiest and best way is to use Shopify. <– Use this link to get a 14-day free trial!

Pros:

  • Highest earning potential
  • Scalable
  • Can be based on your interests
  • Can replace your income entirely
  • Can work where ever you have internet
  • Low initial investment (you can start with $100 or less)
  • Learn a lot of very useful skills
  • A worthwhile financial asset

Cons:

  • This is a real business. You must serve your customers.
  • Lots of work starting out.
  • Can be a long time 6 months-1 year before you see a profit.
  • You’re gonna be hustling aka being an entrepreneur

Resource: Shopify (Use this link to get 14-day free trial)

Transfer Within Your Company

This is another way that many people manage to work and travel at the same time. If you currently work for a multinational company, or a quickly expanding national company with ambitions overseas, look into openings in different countries. If this is more your style, I would highly recommend learning a new language. I wrote a guide on how to learn languages quickly here and set up a page with some of my favorite language learning resources here.

Pros:

  • Keep your job (and most likely your salary)
  • Learning a new language is a great professional skill
  • Can keep moving up the corporate ladder
  • Can leverage geo-arbitrage
  • Visa and paperwork assistance
  • Good for those who want to travel but not interested in a nomadic lifestyle

Cons:

  • You don’t have control over the length of your stay
  • Corporate cultures vary from country to country

 

The above 4 solutions are tried and true methods for working and traveling the world at the same time. Which one is the best fit for you largely depends on your risk tolerance and your work ethic. If you embrace the hustle, you can completely break free from the 9-5 grind by building an e-commerce business on Spotify or by freelancing. If you’re new to traveling, vagabonding, or living abroad, you should definitely give teaching English a shot or look to transfer in your company.

If you already work and travel the world, how do you make money? What other methods would you recommend?