Whilst travelling is incredible, life-changing, eye-opening, exciting and so many other wonderful things, it is also expensive. Between flights, accommodation, food, drinks and the odd drunken tattoo those expenses really can start to add up. How is it possible to fund a life on the road? How can you travel for longer whilst still enjoying the nomadic lifestyle? Well, the answer is simple; work. We, just like everyone else, have had our fair share of crappy jobs, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t some amazing job opportunities out there. Not only that, but there are a lot of travel experiences you can only have through work. We actually both love working, we love being independent and we love improving and broadening our skills. So, with all of this in mind, we decided to create a bucket list of cool, weird, wonderful and unique jobs that will not only help you fund your travels, but also help you enjoy them even more.
1. TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Teaching English has many positives. It can be very good money with many benefits, which usually include accommodation and flight reimbursement at the very least. Most companies will require you to have a degree as well as an official TEFL certification to apply. The TEFL certificate can be really cheap to get; keep an eye out for deals online using Groupon and other deal websites, but make sure you’re getting at least a 120 hour certificate as many companies will not hire you with less. Companies don’t always need you to have a lot of experience, which means that it is much easier to find a job, especially as there are far more jobs than there are TEFL teachers. Despite it being a fulfilling job, once you’ve started there can be a lot of working hours which make travelling whilst you work difficult. The best way around this is to find out your schools holiday periods in advance and plan accordingly. The pupils you teach can vary from children to adults who come with their own perks as well as challenges. The downside to this is how expensive the process can be upfront; companies will need you to do lots of checks, which usually include at least a medical and a police check. This also makes the process very long winded. Each country has their own difficulties though and some are much easier than others. We highly recommend this, our personal experience in this field so far has been great and it is a very useful thing to have in your back pocket. For more information on the TEFL process, check out our blog on how to get started here!
2. Work on a cruise ship
Working on a cruise ship is a great way of getting paid whilst you travel and if done right you can come away with quite a bit of money. The salary is average, but you have little to no outgoings as your accommodation and food is already paid for. You can also get benefits such as flight reimbursement, visa reimbursement, and access to guest areas and free onboard services. The job security is pretty good and you can hone your skills in a range of ways whilst on board. During Li’s time in this field she became very proficient at circus and it helped become even better with children. One of the main positives is the friendships you form. The job is very intimate and you spend a lot of time with the same people and saying goodbye can be very hard. The contracts tend to be around 6 months, which is a good length of time but the working hours can very long depending on which area you apply for. You will very rarely get full days off and have to spend a lot of your down time in small shared spaces, which can be hard at times. On top of that the internet tends to be very weak, which makes personal time even harder. This is a great experience though, one in which the positives far outweigh the negatives. In Li’s words; ‘working on the cruise ship was the best experience I’ve ever had, and I’ve had many weird and awesome experiences’! Check out this blog for more information on the pros and cons of cruise ship work.
3. Teach English online
Whilst this is technically a TEFL job, teaching online can be very different from teaching in person. The main benefit of this type of job offers is the freedom you have. You can usually choose your own working hours and can do it from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a stable internet connection, which makes travelling whilst you work much easier. The lessons tend to be 1 on 1 which means you have a more personal connection with the student, although it can be hard to gauge the student through a screen. You are usually supplied with lesson plans as well which makes your class preparation much easier and less time consuming. Unfortunately teaching online isn’t as good on your CV as teaching in person and the pay isn’t as good, but is still a fairly good income for the amount of freedom you have. Ben spent some time doing online teaching before we moved to China and we definitely plan on doing it again sometime in the future. Check out this blog for even more information.
Hostel work can come in the form of either paid or voluntary work and will usually include free accommodation. Jobs like this which include a lot of personal interaction are most suited to sociable people. During your stay you will meet people from all over the world, hear amazing stories and share tips. This goes for both colleagues and guests, the friendships you form can last a lifetime and we’ve met lots of people at hostels who we still speak to. When people inevitably pack up and move on though it can be very hard. You tend to have quite a lot of free time doing hostel work as the hours are often flexible as are the contracts. The pay isn’t very good but it is a good way of balancing the books, whilst not having to pay for a room. One of our favourite aspects of hostel life is the fairly wild lifestyle, long nights spent chatting and drinking and most of your meals are ordered from a nearby fast food joint. Although this is fun, it can really take its toll on your body. For more information on the working in a hostel, check out this blog.
5. Bar on a beach
Bar work is usually pretty fun but can also be very demanding. We’ve spent a lot of time in the hospitality industry and know the stresses it can cause. That being said, working on a beach bar would be more relaxing than a city bar as those coming in from drinks are far less likely to be stressed. You can learn some great skills in this job, especially if you are behind the bar and pick up some cocktail skills. There’s also the possibility of good tips, which go a long way to funding your travels. Salary and contracts vary, but when you’re working in paradise, who’s counting down the days?
6. Chalet host
Chalet hosting is one of the next jobs we have on our list. Chalet hosts work in apartments or chalets within ski resorts to clean and cater for visiting holidaymakers, cooking and serving meals and snacks throughout the day. Being a chalet host involves a range of activities. One of the first choices you make is location; Europe is a popular destination, although North America is on our list. The wage tends to be pretty low, but when you take into consideration the free accommodation, free food as well as free access to the slopes; it is more than worth it. There is a social side to working a ski season; you meet a lot of new people and a lot of time is spent hanging out, drinking and having fun. For more information on chalet hosting, take a look at this article.
7. On a boat
Working on a boat is the type of job you tend to find on websites and apps such as Workaway (we’ll come to that later) and usually involves you helping out and being an extra pair of hands. You tend to be repaid with free accommodation and food as well as being trained in boat maintenance and control. You can find more formal jobs like this online and they can pay fairly well depending on experience levels. If you’re somebody that suffers from sea sickness or cabin fever this job probably won’t be for you, but for those looking for a chance to be out on the open sea, this is a great opportunity.
8. Tour Guide
We all have those friends who love spouting facts and information about random cities and countries. For most of our friends, we are those people. Working as a Tour Guide seems like a really interesting job, it is a chance to learn new things whilst also helping others learn new things. You have two options as a Tour Guide, do I work self employed or work for a company? Being self employed, leading your own tours means more freedom, more pay but also a lot of more work on your part. Also, if you can’t find work you don’t get paid. Working for a company means less freedom, usually less pay but more security. One of the main positives of this is that you can spend a lot of time travelling and you get to meet people from all over the world. For more information on what it's like to be a tour guide, check out this awesome blog.
9. Freelance photographer
Whilst Ben is technically a freelance photographer, we both decided that we can tick this off of our list when we start seeing a more steady income from it. There are a range of ways to earn money through photographs but it isn’t easy. One of the best ways of generating an income for your travel shots are on stock websites. From here people pay to use your photographs for whatever purpose they have, albeit for a cheapish price, but once your work becomes popular it can be really profitable. This is a great gig as you have no contract; any money you earn is all yours and it gives you a chance to earn from your art. Follow this link for a list of good stock websites.
10. Kids camp
We are both currently working with children and love every minute of it. Kids’ camps are a great way to spend time with fun, energetic children whilst also releasing the inner, hidden child inside of you. You know, the part of you that always wants to play on the climbing frame at the park but you don’t want the parents to think you’re strange. Kids’ camps are usually in summer, so contract lengths aren’t very long and the pay isn’t that great. The bonus comes in free accommodation and food, so you have very few outgoings. You need to be a high energy person to keep up in a job like this, running around with kids can be great fun but also very exhausting. Li has worked at several camps and said the hardest part is making sure you play as much as possible… terrible right? Check out the list of possible kids’ camps here.
11. Own a market stall
Running or owning a market stall is something we’ve always thought would be quite fun. We pictured it by some exotic beach, selling our wares (whatever that may be) and feeling pretty care free. This is very ideological though and there are a range of pros and cons to take into consideration with a job like this. The freedom of what you sell is liberating, you can make art, clothing, sell photographs and so on. Making money from this isn’t always easy though and when you have to pay rent for your stall space you need to make sure you’re making a profit. Location is important as is setting your prices right. It is also quite weather reliant and a rainy day can leave you and your profits under a dark cloud. Preparation is the name of the game with this one as well as being innovative and creative.
12. Work on a farm
Farm work is very popular nowadays, especially in countries like Australia. Jobs like this are similar to most of those which attract travelers; free accommodation, free food, short contracts and a chance at some money. These roles are ideal for those that just need to not spend for a while, but not so much for those that need money in their pocket. There’s also something quite exciting about working with your hands in the sun and feeling like you’ve done a good days work at the end of the day, whilst you relax with a beer. You can also get very fit doing a job like this, which helps you both physically and mentally. For a more extensive view on farm work, check out this blog.
13. Work at a festival
Festival work is something that tends to attract a younger crowd. The main aim being to get free tickets to see your favourite bands and artists rather than actually earn any money. The benefits you get in these roles are usually just free accommodation and access to showers which, as those who attend festivals regularly know, is a god-send! You tend to get time off at some point in the day to watch the artists and have evening free for drinks and games. Festival jobs usually only last around 5 days with little income but a lot of fun. Check out this website to find good festival jobs abroad.
14. Digital nomad
A digital nomad is someone who earns money from their laptop and does so whilst travelling the world. The best thing about being a digital nomad is that you don’t need any fixed abode to do it, you can be anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. Digital nomads tend to be self employed and many are bloggers and content creators of some sort. This is actually a huge goal for us as it means you can travel freely, not be tied down to any contracts and also concentrate purely on creating content that you enjoy making. A job like this when done right can also be very profitable. Check out the Forbes guide to becoming a Digital Nomad here!
As musicians, busking is something we have always been quite open to. Busking is the art of performing in the street as passersby watch and if they’re feeling generous leave some change. One of the main reasons for doing this is that it is fun, exciting and sociable. If you’re good enough this can also be a genuine way of funding your travels but there’re a few factors to take into consideration. What you play is one of them; it has to be loud and entertaining. You will also need to find a decent spot full of tourists willing to take time out of their day to watch you play. You also have to make sure you’re not breaking any laws so make sure you check what you’re allowed to be doing first. Check out this blog by Wanderlust for more information.
16. Humanitarian aid
Our duty as humans is to help one another, especially those than can’t help themselves. There are too many places in this world that are experiencing famines, extreme poverty and war and if we have the power to help in some way, then we should. Jobs like this come with many pros and cons. Firstly, knowing you’re making a difference is of huge importance, having a job that aligns with your moral values is great. You will also work with many like-minded and amazing people who want to make the world a better place. Of course, your conditions are never going to be great, but that’s not why you’re there. Emotionally, it can also be very hard. You’re working with people whose lives are being torn apart and it takes a lot of mental strength to continue the fight. It’s worth noting that voluntourism rarely helps those you think you’re helping, so be sure to do your research first. This article by Humanitarian jobs is worth a read for more information.
17. Au pair
An Au Pair is a live-in Nanny; you get paid to look after the children, clean and do small jobs around a house. Becoming an Au Pair is a cheap way to live abroad as you will be living with the family you are working for. It gives you the opportunity to meet new people, including the family you are working with and fellow Au Pairs. A job such as this is great for travel as your contracts don’t have to be very long and you can have very few outgoings if you know how to be thrifty. Then there’s the possibility of learning a new language as well which is a great skill to have. Whilst these are all great things, it’s worth bearing in mind that you will be living with your employers and you will have to adapt to their way of life. It’s worth noting that the family is your primary concern as well so you must treat them as such. For more reading check out this article.
To be a translator you must be fluent in at least 2 languages as well as have a certain understanding of the culture. You will also need to have good interpersonal skills and be well versed in interpretation. The money for a job such as this can be very good especially if you opt to be a freelancer rather than work for a company. The demand is and always will be high in this field, even though there are many new translation apps and technology. There are a range of jobs involved with translating, both in person and online. If you opt for online work you can usually work at your own pace and can travel simultaneously. For more reading, check out this article.
19. Transport a car
Many car rental companies will find themselves in a predicament when they have too many cars at a single lot and need to get them back to other parts of a country. This is where we come in with our lack of commitments and our willingness to do anything that gets us from A to B on the cheap. Not only is this an easy way to get somewhere, but it is also really fun. You get paid quite a lot as well and shouldn’t take any more than a few days. This is something more popular in America than Europe. For more information on how to apply for this job, follow this link.
When you have a job such as this, the skill and where you can take it is literally in your own hands. Taking a course will set you back a little bit of money but you can usually charge a large amount of money per session once you’re qualified. This is a skill you can take with you anywhere and no matter where you go, there’s no shortage of people, especially backpackers that want massages. Freelancing means more freedom but it can be hard to find work without staying somewhere for a prolonged amount of time. House calls are the most lucrative way of making money in this field, but working for a company means more consistent work. The travel couple ‘Two Monkeys Travel’ were interviewed and answered some good questions regarding travel and massaging in this article.
21. Sell jewellery
Cheap, easy and simple. No, it’s not the name of Ben’s sex tape; it’s the positives to selling jewellery abroad. This is more a low risk, low yield scheme that in most cases won’t make you much money, but can be a relatively consistent source of income. Once you’ve attended some classes and honed your skills, the rest is in your hands (nope, still not the name of Ben’s sex tape). It is also a fun way of expressing your creative side. Travellers will always pay for cute jewellery other travellers have made, whether it’s big and bold or small and cute, everyone likes something pretty, no matter the size (the actual name of Ben’s sex tape).
22. Be an extra in a film
This is more for the sake of being silly than anything else but is actually quite realistic. There are many websites out there that search for extras for their films. Bollywood, for example releases more than 2 times the number of films as Hollywood per year and are always looking for non-Indians to be extras in their films. These roles are a good way of getting a quick bit of cash for little work whilst having fun and being able to brag to your friends that you have more movie credits than them. Follow this link for more info on how to become an extra.
23. Kid’s entertainer
Becoming a Kid’s entertainer can be a really fun job, especially if you enjoy working with them. Jobs like this can vary from seasonal work as one of Santa’s elves to freelancing and entertaining for children’s parties. Either way the money can be good, especially if you’re your own boss, but that tends to require building up a company from scratch. This doesn’t really work if you plan to travel unless it is something that is already successful and find a way to take it on the road with you.
24. Work Away
Work Away isn’t exactly a job per say, it is a platform you use to find volunteer work and can vary from teaching, to farm work to hostels. It is a good way of keeping your costs down as you get free accommodation as well as food in most cases. We plan to use this from time to time when on the road to help us balance the books. There are some really interesting opportunities on this website and we would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to create a sustainable travel life. Contract lengths vary from job to job but aren’t usually more than six months, with the most of them being around one month. Check out their website here.
25. Ambassador for a travel company
Becoming an ambassador for a travel company or brand is a great way of earning money whilst not needing to sacrifice much. If you have a good online following, whether it is on social media, via a blog or as a content creator of some sort, companies will line up to have you represent them in some capacity. This can sometimes be product promotion, but it is more rounded than that. You are supposed to represent the same values as the company, work closely with them and be a poster person to help the company reach your following. You can be asked to do talks at their product launches and seminars, appear in adverts and many other things. The best thing about this is that it can pay well, not take time away from your travelling whilst also helping your brand reach more and more people.
26. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you work with a brand or company to promote their product(s), with the purpose being that you affiliate yourself with that product, give it your backing and try to persuade others to buy said product. Earlier on this year we agreed our first role with the awesome people over at Water2Go, who make incredible water filtration bottles which damn near saved our life whilst hiking in Malaysia (read here for that story). The way that this system works is once you start promoting a product you will be given a code such as UNRAVELLING15, which, when people use it, comes up as a sale on your part and you earn commission accordingly. It’s a great way for both brand and affiliates to make money and can lead to some good relationships. It is important to not just promote any random product, only promote those you genuinely feel is worth the money, is ethical and worthy of your name. Once we’ve got a few more of these under our belts we will tick this off of our list.
To read more about Water2Go, read our guest blog for them on their website here!
27. House sitting
House sitting is a nice and easy way of earning a bit of money whilst simultaneously getting free accommodation with few hours of actual work. This is great job to have whilst you pursue other dreams. It gives you time to work on your new blog, improve your website, edit some photos whilst still earning money. The types of homes you sit for can sometimes be incredibly luxurious and even if they’re not, they’re better than the hostels that you would’ve otherwise been staying in. Unfortunately, last minute cancellations seem to be a regular thing. You also spend a lot of time moving from one place to another just as you’re starting to feel settled. For more information from an experienced house sitter follow this link.
28. Own a hostel
This is a dream of both of ours, we don’t know when, we don’t know where, we don’t know how but we sure as hell know why. We love hostels; we love everything about them. They’re cheap, fun, helpful and sociable. In most cases they will be a traveller’s first experience of a new place and can do a huge amount in helping someone feel settled in somewhere strange, exotic and foreign. You can do so much fun stuff with a hostel. In-house activities can include a bar, a games room, a movie room, family dinners, drinking games, contests and competitions and cooking classes. Out-of-house activities can include bar crawls, days out to local hangouts, tours etc. The opportunities are endless and for two creative people who love expressing themselves and making stuff they can have pride in, there’s nothing more exciting. It is also a way to stay in touch with the travel community, constantly meeting people who are opening themselves up to the wonders of the world, both young and old, from all walks of life. This will be something that involves a lot of financial backing, meticulous planning, lots of dedication and a strong will. We actually already have a name for our future project, but we won’t be giving that away any time soon.
As you can see, this is quite an extensive list, full of weird and wonderful jobs and it will take a long time to tick these all off. None of these are the type of jobs that you moan about having to do when you force feed yourself cornflakes at 5am, silently praying you get a seat on the train, just for your boss to then moan at you about the fact that his boss is moaning at him because they haven’t met their monthly quota. No, these are the type of jobs you wake up excited to do, knowing not only that you are doing something fun in an exotic place, but that you are funding what it is that you love more than anything in the world; cornflakes. No, sorry, travelling. We can’t wait to tick more of these off of our list and see the world whilst doing so.
If you know of any other cool travel related jobs please let us know and we’ll add them to our list. If you have experience in the jobs mentioned above, message us and tell us all about your experiences and gives us some tips. We’d love to hear from you!