Working Abroad

Working abroad to fund your travels

Backpacking is a rewarding and enriching experience that opens your eyes to new cultures and ways of life. If you can add in a little work experience during the process you will be not only picking up a little cash along the way but also adding to your CV and gaining valuable experiences, such as language skills and working with other cultures, that future employers will love to see when (or if!) you go back home.

Working abroad when travelling – what options are available?

My first experiences working abroad came out of complete necessity. I was backpacking around Eastern Europe with an American friend who was way better off than me. Whilst I preferred to keep it cheap and minimise my expenditure, she was off enjoying cocktails in bars and having parties on boats with locals. My cash was fast disappearing as we arrived in Romania with 2 weeks to spare before our onward journey. Solution – volunteer work.

Volunteering abroad short term whilst backpacking

Volunteering In Gipsy Camp

You may not get paid for it but you’re sure to be guaranteed lots of other valuable experiences and even some free stuff. I volunteered with a local charity working with underprivileged children in the area. In return for my time I got free meals and accommodation for the week, made loads of friends and picked up quite a bit of local language to boot. I shaved a week off my costs and added a great section to my CV (employers are increasingly looking for a bit extra on a CV). My friend, on the other hand, got arrested for attending a party frequented by prostitutes. What better way to get to know a country in detail than by giving a little back?

Fruit picking and other manual labour

You're Not Supposed To Let The Kids Pick The Fruit

Thousands of backpackers on a gap year take a few months out of their experience to top up their income whilst travelling abroad. From fruit picking in France and Australia to working in a burger factory in Ireland, there are plenty of options. They’re not for the short term, and you may need to commit to at least a month of work, but you’ll be once again rewarded in the experiences and people you meet. The pay may not be great, but you might get free accommodation too, and it is definitely worth it to earn a few extra bob and potentially meet other travellers who you can hook up with in other locations.

Au Pairing your way through the world

Au Pairing While Backpacking

If you’re playing the long game and are looking to see plenty of other countries in the most economical way, then why not consider becoming an Au-pair? Once again, these are longer term roles but it is possible to get a job as an Au-Pair for a couple of months here and there if your travelling falls in the school holidays. When backpacking around Western Europe for a year, I began in France where I toured the north for 2 weeks; then, Au-paired for a month in the school holidays in the south before heading off to Spain and Portugal, where I worked for an English family for another 2 months.

The income and free accommodation during this time was most welcome, and it enabled me to save enough to enjoy my onward travels through Italy and Austria. Especially useful for those wanting to learn a language, Au Pairs are regulated by strict rules which dictate their working hours and wages. You may have access to a car and a network of other Au Pairs, ensuring you get right in with the community, no matter how long you stay.

Bar work when backpacking

Bar Work When Backpacking

If you’ve got some experience in a bar or café and know the local lingo you may be able to pick up some shifts in a local water hole. Be prepared for unsociable hours and a lot of hard graft. If you’re able to stick it for a few months then great – you’ll have plenty of money for your onward travel and will have met loads of new people (and probably heard quite a few interesting stories as well). There is a downside, though. The hours are long and you’ll probably spend most of your free time sleeping, so make sure you have enough free time to see the sights. It’s not all about work...

Freelancing when backpacking – turn your experiences into cash

Freelancing is probably the best way to earn cash when you’re backpacking, provided you have your laptop with you and sporadic connections to the internet. The beauty of freelancing is that you’re not tied down to one location, so you’ll be able to come and go as you please and have maximum flexibility. The best jobs are perhaps the ones that will come easiest to you – travel writing is a great way to put your experiences down on paper and earn a little extra cash too. You’ll need little research – you’re writing about your own experiences after all – and you can earn up to £400 a month by doing the odd article or travel review every now and again. The pay is not great at the beginning, but you’ll be flexible enough to dictate your own schedule and not miss out on the excellent experiences on offer around you.