It's no secret that there are many factors involved when it comes to working while traveling, because there is so much to figure out!
Questions are bound to come up about exactly how to get paid to travel, who this lifestyle is right for, and how to make it work in different life situations.
Since I get questions on this topic daily, I thought I'd round up some of the most common ones and give you true, honest answers!
Answering The 18 Most Common Questions on Getting Paid To Travel
1. How can I get paid to travel?
The simplest answer to this is: work while you travel, aka live a "work and travel lifestyle."
There are countless ways to work around the world - or work for yourself through making money online. See the answer on question #8 for more details!
2. What is a "work + travel lifestyle"?
A work + travel lifestyle is where you work while you travel in exchange for a paycheck and/or other covered amenities (such as travel expenses).
You could be working as an employee for someone else, or work for yourself...while traveling. :) The choice is yours!
3. How easy is it to do - can anyone do it? Will this work for me?
I truly believe pretty much everyone can live a work + travel lifestyle and customize it for their situation.
You can work + travel for any length of time, which means you don't have to give up your commitments at home if you don't want to.
Of course you can do the typical quit-your-job-sell-your-stuff-and-travel thing too if you'd like!
Like I wrote in the previous answer, the choice is yours.
I won't sugarcoat it, though - while you can find something that is FUN that allows you to travel (!) you still have to keep up with your work so you can sustain your income/travels.
If you want to do absolutely no work at all, then you're better suited taking a typical/traditional vacation or backpacking trip.
4. How can I do this and still be financially stable?
The key to all of this is that a work + travel lifestyle means you are getting a paycheck and/or travel or living expenses covered.
When I worked in China last year in July for two weeks, I didn't get paid but they literally covered ALL of my expenses: flights, hotels, all food, all transportation, all activities, while I was working.
I ended up spending less the month of July than any other month last year - all while traveling internationally! This was perfect for me since I returned back home to my full-time job after.
If you intend to quit a location-based job at home in favor of a travel job, then definitely look for ones that include a paycheck, or have a long-term strategy in place (such as building a profitable online business) so you can keep your finances in check.
5. Do I have to travel alone?
Nope - Bring your significant other! Bring a friend! Bring your pet!
If you and your s/o really can't do this at the same time, look into short work + travel trips you can do together or separately (if it's shorter then it's not as much time away from each other!)
Friend(s) can't come? I get it - sometimes it's tough to coordinate schedules and you might not be totally warmed up to the idea of traveling by yourself. I never even had the thought of "solo travel" on my radar until I had met other travelers who did it all the time.
Check out these solo travel blog posts:
6. Wait, what is a "visa"?
A visa is either a stamp or a placed sticker on your passport that shows proof of entry to a country, and whether you need to apply for a visa (and the actual type of visa) will vary based on your country of citizenship and also where you're going.
If the country doesn't require you apply for a visa beforehand, you'll just get a stamp in your passport on arrival. For example, a US citizen going to France for less than 90 days would just show up to the airport, get a stamp (a "tourist" visa), and be on their way.
Customs officers will often ask you your itinerary, and sometimes require proof of onward travel, such as proof of a return flight (so they know you won't overstay your visa limit). Do your research beforehand and be prepared.
The three types of visas are: tourist, work, and student.
The type of visa you need really depends what type of work + travel opportunity you're doing, and whether you're working for yourself or someone else. Sometimes you won't even need to apply for a visa beforehand.
7. Do I need a visa to travel?
It depends. Check your home country's government website for this.
If you're moving to a foreign country to work for a company/organization, you'll want to work with the employer and do some research on whether you need a work visa.
When I worked for the conferences in Europe and Asia (2 weeks each) we went on standard tourist visas since we weren't exceeding the amount of days we were there.
If you're working for yourself (ex: digital nomad/working remotely) then a lot of people will stay up to the amount of time the tourist visa allows and then move on.
I've read a lot of blog posts about people who work for themselves (or for others) that do this and have no issue working there as long as they stay within the tourist visa time frame.
Of course if you'd want to stay somewhere longer you can look into taking classes through a university to get a student visa! That's a fun way to take a class or two (especially if it's a language or cultural class like cooking), meet some other students, and not have to worry about a visa if you want to stay longer.
8. Do you have a list of travel jobs and companies to work for?
9. How can I keep a peace of mind in case I run into issues traveling or an emergency happens back home?
Depending on the type of travel insurance you get, it can cover lost/stolen luggage, health emergencies, costs of flight changes if you unexpectedly need to go home, etc.
I know it's tough to sometimes leave family or close friends to go travel, even if it's only for a short time. This is a personal choice and one that often makes us feel guilty.
However, as long as everything is stable back home there shouldn't really be a reason why something would happen just because you're away.
"Most of the things I worry about never happen anyway." - Tom Petty
10. Safety tips while traveling?
Use precautions - just like at home - don't go out by yourself at night, avoid sketchy areas, keep an eye on your belongings, use a hotel room safe or hostel locker to store your valuables, avoid tourist scams, keep your cash in separate locations, act confident, be prepared, and have both electronic and physical copies of your passport, itinerary/addresses, and emergency contact information.
The best preparation is knowledge, awareness, and confidence!
11. What does a general travel planning "timeline" look like?
Click the button below to download a free 120-day checklist for travel planning logistics (as well as setting up a work + travel lifestyle)!
12. How can I work + travel in a creative or artistic field?
The beauty of a work + travel lifestyle are the countless options to work around the world.
You can also use your skills and expertise in any industry to generate an online presence and (potentially) online income through "information products" (ebooks, e-courses, onling coaching/training series, etc.)
If you're skilled in photography, writing, video, etc. you can definitely do freelance travel projects, upload your work to a website/blog, etc.
13. Are travel jobs just random/odd jobs, or can I find something stable that provides health benefits?
It can be either. If you want to travel indefinitely and pick up the odd job along the way, go for it!
Though if you prefer to find something a little more stable - in terms of length of the job and employee benefits - here are a couple of ideas:
- find a job with benefits at a company back home that also has international offices and transfer to an international branch. Big corporations, hotel chains, and tour companies tend to have multiple offices around the world.
- international education & study abroad have positions all over the world, and the school you work for will likely provide benefits
- work remotely for a company that provides benefits
- working for yourself? Buy your own benefits!
- also, travel insurance usually includes emergency situations and health care while traveling
- US citizens: if you're under 26 years old and your parent/guardian has health benefits for the family, get on their insurance plan
14. Do I have to quit my job?
No! You do not have to quit your job to travel. What I recommend doing is getting creative and strategic with how you use your time off through short-term work + travel opportunities.
Or, if your job has on/off seasons (ex: you're a teacher with summers off) then definitely look to work + travel on your time off!
15. How soon can I quit my job to travel?
Now if you want to leave your job, this is up to you!
If you do plan to quit, I highly recommend taking a good and honest look at your savings and how you plan to sustain your income:
Does your travel job provide enough income to sustain your lifestyle? Does your volunteer opportunity cover enough amenities where you don't have to work for a while? Is your online income stable enough?
Some people are spontaneous and decide to quit and figure it out along the way. Do whatever works for you!
If you're concerned, come up with answers to these questions:
- How much money do you have in your bank/savings account?
- How much money will you have by the time you quit your job?
- What is the "worst case scenario" if you run out of money or lose your job? (Ex: move back home, move somewhere with lower living costs, find a job back home, use X amount of savings)
16. I want to start a travel blog. How long does it take to build a profitable blog?
We all love instant gratification, and I wish I could say that instant gratification comes with travel blogging territory...but travel blogging can take quite some time to make a sustainable income, if it even makes an income at all.
If you love writing and documenting your adventures, are ready to put in time and effort, and treat your blog like a side (or main!) business, then travel blogging can eventually pay off.
My best advice is to simply START! Put work into it, set goals, and make it a priority to make it profitable.
You can start a blog for free (usually websites have the "blogname.wordpress.com" or "blogname.blogspot.com", though if you pay for hosting that will give you your own branded URL.
People ask me how I run my blog: I first started with wordpress.org with hosting through Bluehost. I migrated at the beginning of the year to Squarespace. Both are great platforms and it comes down to preference.
I used to use Blogger a long time ago for a personal blog. I don't recommend Blogger as I found it difficult for customizations or to make it look professional.
Now to earn money blogging - or through any online platform - you'll want to look for updated/current information around the internet about "monetizing" it.
There are a lot of outdated blog posts stating banner ads are "the way" to make money blogging, but to be honest it will take a LONG time to ever earn even a side income through banner ads, if anything at all...most full-time bloggers diversify their income through affiliate links, brand sponsorships/partnerships, digital products, or even physical products.
I'm getting this question more often, so I'm considering dedicating a whole post to this! Let me know if that's something you're interested in.
17. How do I squash family (or society) judgements of traveling when that is outside the 'norm'?
Read this post. And if you get backlash from the people in your life, send them that post.
If you have family members that are concerned for your safety, show them that you've done your research and send them information about the destination(s) you're going to.
18. How do I get over the leap and fear of traveling?
Taking the leap to live a life of travel requires a lot of faith and courage!
At the end of the day, know why you want to travel and what living a work + travel lifestyle would mean to you. Keeping this in mind is crucial to get past those mental barriers and nerves.