Working Abroad: Your Guide To A Work + Travel Lifestyle

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Everyone wants to travel, but the age-old responses always come up: "I don't have time."

"I don't have the money."

"I don't know where to go!"

These are valid responses but there are ways around them, especially when it comes to working abroad. Trust me :) I've been living a work + travel lifestyle for the past 2+ years.

I've held three international travel jobs across Europe and Asia, one of which I did on vacation while working full time for someone else.

So you know I've gotten creative over the past couple of years because my never-ending wanderlust wouldn't let me do so otherwise! Working abroad made that possible.

Working abroad is one of the most financially stable ways to travel.

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Whether you're earning a paycheck or have other perks like housing or transportation covered (or both), working while you travel can significantly reduce regular travel costs. Working abroad allows you to travel for less, for longer, so you can escape to your epic, adventurous lifestyle around the world.

Now, let's get into the meat of this guide...

1. Different ways to work abroad

The three main types of working abroad go with the length of time required for the job: it could be short-term, long-term, or something indefinite with no true "end" in sight.

A timeline helps you figure out which opportunity is right for your situation. Do you want something shorter to test the waters, or are you ready to dive head first into a long-term (or indefinite) commitment?

The choice is up to you!

There are TONS of different work + travel opportunities all over the globe. Where to start? I recommend reading 11 Ways To Make Money While You Travel, which covers some of the most popular travel jobs. It's a good starting point and there are plenty of similar posts around the web.

Once you figure out how long you want to travel for, and 1-2 jobs you're interested in, breaking down the process becomes much more simplified since everything else you do leads in that direction.

2. Do I have to quit my job? (Answer: No!)

You don't need to quit your job to work + travel. If you want to travel long-term you might have to, but there are ways around it like working remotely or running your own business online.

One of the best ways to work + travel while you currently have a job is to do a short-term job during your vacation time. This could be something over a long weekend, a week away, two weeks or longer. If you have more than two weeks vacation I'm a liiiiittle jealous. :)

If you have a job where you have a certain time of the year off - such as summers off if you're a teacher - look into seasonal gigs during your time away from school.

Are you in school? Take advantage of breaks off of class for a work + travel trip!

3. Get in the mindset

We all have those mental blocks that prevent us from doing awesome things. I get it - sometimes doing awesome things, such as taking the leap to travel, is overwhelming or scary. It takes courage to get out there and do it.

These days when I'm about to purchase a flight, hitting the "Submit" button still requires some courage. Once you commit, you actually have to go through with it. This can be terrifying or it can be exciting! Choose to be excited because seeing the world is fun, epic, and just plain awesome.

Think about what your life will look like once you take the leap to live a work + travel lifestyle. Use that picture in your head as motivation when a mental block hits or you get behind on your goals.

4. Take action

This is the most important part: actually making it happen. Now that your mindset is in the right place, it's ready to incorporate this lifestyle. But to make it happen you need to take action. You'll either need to:

  • Apply to travel jobs, or
  • Work it out with your supervisor at your current job, or
  • Set up your current business to work remotely

One of the most common things people tell me when they're ready for an interview or about to switch things up is how nervous they are! That's normal and common across everyone, including myself!

Just be CONFIDENT in yourself and know that you CAN do it.

Be a dreamer, but most importantly, be a doer. Go after your goals!

5. Preparation for living the lifestyle

Next comes the preparation component, which isn't typically discussed among travel blogs. This is probably due to the fact that everyone is in a different situation: for someone who is traveling out of the country for the first time, going over basics like getting a passport, how to use your phone abroad, and general safety tips are necessary to go over.

But for those who have "been there and done that," less preparation is involved.

A few things you can do to get prepped and ready to go:

  • Get a passport
  • Already have a passport? Make sure it is still valid and won't expire while you're away
  • Get any visa situation squared away (if needed)
  • Book transportation if needed, such as purchasing your flight
  • Research extensively where you're going
    • Location
    • Map
    • Currency
    • Language
    • Lifestyle
    • Social norms and etiquette
    • Typical tourist scams so you know what to avoid
    • Learn basic language phrases
    • Do any required training, if you're working a new job
    • Connect with your future team if you're starting a new job, or join communities to connect with expats or locals living in the area
    • Pack your things!
    • Relay your itinerary to a trusted family member or friend (just in case anything goes wrong, so they know where you're located)
    • ...and go!