I am frequently asked about how I can travel often. “You are living the dream!” “What’s the secret?” “Teach me!!” I’ve gotten these DMs on my Instagram. To many friends, I am living this mysterious life where I seem to have endless time and money (because that’s what it takes to travel right? Spoiler: wrong. You’ll see soon). To me, traveling is a regular part of my life because I choose for it to be. It’s something that feeds my soul so I do what it takes to make it happen. But…what exactly does “make it happen” mean?! You ask in annoyance of this vague answer. The truth is, there are many ways to attain this lifestyle and I am living just one out 1000 ways. In this post, I share my story and the story of several bloggers. Together, we reveal our “secrets” on how we manage to travel often and tips on how you can too. Check out these different ideas and maybe there is an approach that you can apply to your life!
Teaching English Abroad – Viola (me)
I often talk about my job teaching English in Japan. It’s something I very much enjoy. I think that working abroad is a great way to slow travel and is something everyone should experience at least once in their life. It really takes living in a country to immerse yourself in its culture. As well, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to contribute to the local communities. I’m really glad that I chose Japan, a beautiful country with plenty of places to explore. It’s easy to hop on a bus or a train to a different city on the weekends and with so many national holidays, I can combine these days with paid time offs to visit a different country in Asia. I came to Japan with the JET Programme, with which I am entitled paid 20 days off in a contract year. With good planning, I can take off on a new adventure every month. So far during my time in Japan, I’ve been to China, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan (2 times), Australia, and the Philippines. On the finance side, the teacher’s salary is modest but I do my best to save for my travels. I am always ready to pounce on flight deals! I believe that traveling doesn’t have to be as expensive as people see it as there are tons of hacks for traveling cheaply. At the end of the day, it’s all up to you in how much you desire to travel and the courage to just go for it. In the near future, I might teach in some different countries or shift to teaching online. Teaching English was my stepping stone to seeing the world. For that, I am forever grateful.
Teaching (in home country) – Carly
I didn’t choose teaching to be able to travel, but it has certainly helped. I have tons of time off for travel, but it doesn’t always work out that way since teachers are so underpaid. Plus, summer is the most expensive time to travel! So, pros and cons. I’m currently 32, and I’ve still managed to get to 53 countries so far. I do that in a variety of ways!
To supplement my income, I do a lot of focus groups. In the past 4 months, I’ve made $1,500 from doing focus groups and giving my opinion. It’s fast, easy, and fun work! That money goes straight into my travel fund. I’m hoping to entirely pay for my Antarctica trip with them! You just have to take surveys to get matched with an appropriate study, and then if you’re picked, you go in! It’s important to try with many different companies to have steady groups coming in.
Since I’m a teacher, I can also take students abroad! I get to go free, and it’s also a really exciting way to experience a country through the eyes of a kid. They interact with everything so much differently than me! I’ve so far gone to Costa Rica, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands with them! I’ve gone with two different companies, and I was also sent on a free training trip to prepare me for it.
A third way I get to travel more often now is that I’ve started up as a travel agent. I get discounts on my own adventures, and I book for my friends and families and the occasional stranger. It’s certainly not big money (yet?!), but it’s another income stream to fuel my travel passion. I searched around until I found a company that worked well for me. No startup cost and no monthly cost either.
Feel free to reach out if you have any specific questions, and I’ve also talked about all three of these adventures on my blog, Flight of the Educator.
Working Seasonal Jobs – Courtney
When I first started traveling, people that I hadn’t talked to in years started coming out of nowhere to ask me: “How do you afford to travel all over the place?” The simple answer is that I work. But I work in really cool places.
I found the world of seasonal work about 4 years ago and it changed my life. I couldn’t afford to travel based on my current wage or my (non-existent) savings, but I was determined to find a way to see other parts of the country, and eventually, the rest of the world. Seasonal work seemed like the best option, and I’m so glad I took the leap and tried it out.
Let me explain real quick what I mean by “seasonal work”: Think of all the popular tourism spots around the world. During peak season, those places get thousands or even hundreds of thousands of visitors, and suddenly they’re super busy. Tourists need hotels to stay in and restaurants to eat at, and somebody has to run the attractions and activities. To do all of that, these places need to hire a bunch of people to work for the summer (or whenever the busy season is).These seasonal jobs include things like housekeeping, food service, hotel workers, tour guides, and tons of other things. Once you have one of these jobs, you’ll go and work for the season, which can run anywhere from 1 month to 9 months. Benefits often include housing, meals, free tours, and other fun things in addition to a paycheck!
You can find seasonal work in any tourist destination, so it can actually take you around the world, one job at a time. I’ve worked all over the U.S. AND New Zealand, in National Parks, hostels, and campgrounds. There are so many options when it comes to seasonal work. You do have to stay in one place for a while, but that just gives you more time to get to know it and see everything. You won’t be living in luxury or earning a fortune, but the opportunity to live in a new place, meet new people, and earn some money while you’re at it is more than worth it!
Seasonal work is an easy way to travel and see new places while still working and earning money. You can even eliminate your living costs if you find the right job. And once you start saving up everything you earn, you’ll have a travel fund for your next adventure!
Freelancing – Cris
Let’s start by defining “often”. For me, it means to get out of my hometown at least once every 3 months. Anymore more than that is a bonus. Anything less makes me cranky. There’s no real secret to doing this though, except being a freelancer. Back in 2005, I had to make a choice: after I was kicked out of my business by a partner, I could choose a job in a local travel agency or start as a freelancer. While I did get the job in the agency, I gave it up because I didn’t feel it would fit me (spoiler: they closed within 3 months of opening). And so, I started freelancing.
I am not a digital nomad, albeit I have lived in other cities. However, I feel more secure that I have a base I can always return to if things go sour. We own and it’s affordable not to rent it when we travel for longer. And my parents are always checking on our house when we are away. I’ve written my first travel article in high school (I was 15). Since then, I wrote every chance I got. And soon enough, it became my way of making money. And while I took a lot of creative writing classes, I’ve majored in Finance for my Bachelors’ Degree, and also did two Masters: Marketing and Tourism. So, I combine this knowledge with my passions. I was lucky enough to find either part-time or full-time full freelance gigs. That means, while I have the stability of the income, I can work from anywhere with decent internet. And most importantly, I can arrange my schedule the way I like it. I also run 3 blogs, but I never invested enough time in them to live only from them. They do get me income though.
If you are looking to freelance, you need knowledge, patience, and thick skin. There will be moments when you will have to work for crappy pay cause you don’t have food in the house; or you have to pay the bills; there will be moments when you borrow money from your parents; but there will also be moments when you realize you can travel more than other people you know, you can take a lunch break and enjoy the sun, or just decided to take a long weekend off because you are done with your chores.
And being able to do this with my husband is the cherry on the cake!
Being “Weekend Warriors” – Allison
My partner, Michael, and I both work full time jobs. I am a full-time engineer and Michael is a professional photographer/videographer. We also run the blog, She Dreams of Alpine, as our part time side-hustle. She Dreams of Alpine is an outdoor, adventure travel blog and it was born out of our love to travel and be outside. You could call us more like weekend warriors than full time vagabonds. We spend nearly every weekend we have traveling and being outdoors, and since we live in California it makes it easy for us to travel to special places that are only a two to five hour drive from where we live. In order to juggle all the things we are doing, I often spend most of my free time during the weekdays after work and at lunch working on the blog, and during our car rides to the mountains or the beach I will usually spend time writing and outlining my next blog post. Our time travelling is a big part of what makes us happy and so we just prioritize it no matter what. We recently just bought a van and had it converted into a camper and this allows us even more possibilities for travelling around California and the United States. We sometimes even take three day weekends to travel to places like Utah’s Zion National Park or go hike Havasu Falls in Arizona. The key to us traveling so often really boils down to a few things. We keep it local 90% of the time, and save our longer vacation time for bigger trips abroad. California has so many amazing places to escape to and explore, which makes it very easy to travel locally! Second, because we primarily travel local, it keeps things affordable. Since we are often camping when we travel, our biggest travel expense is usually just the gas to get us to where we are going to and maybe a Starbucks or two when we need to use some free WIFI. Lastly, we do everything we can to make travel and being outdoors our number one priority. We work harder during the week, and we find opportunities to simplify our work so that we don’t have as much on our plates and we can spend more time doing what we love and sharing that with others.
Being a Virtual Assistant/Blogger – Michelle
My secret to traveling often is that I work remotely as a freelance virtual assistant for bloggers. I also run my own travel blog on the side.
I’ve been working remotely since 2014. When I used to work a 9-5, I worked in Public Relations. In 2014 I got the opportunity to work for a girl I knew in college who was starting a social media company. So I quit my PR job and started working for her remotely. And I haven’t looked back since. I learned a lot about the social media world during that time and it gave me the skills that I needed to start my blog and my virtual assistant career.
For the past year I’ve fallen into the freelance virtual assistant field and I love the flexibility it provides. What I love the most about being a virtual assistant is that I’m basically doing exactly what I do for my own blog but I’m doing it for other bloggers. I also get to choose who I work for and when I work.
Bloggers who are starting to make a full time income do not have the time to do more of the time consuming work like Pinterest threads, Instagram pods, pitching articles, even scheduling all of their social media. And that’s where I come in. I help bloggers with anything they need done for their blog, while working on my blog on the side. It’s the perfect job for me because not only do I get to help these bloggers with their career, I’m also bettering my career because I learn so much from them and get to apply that to my own blog.
But the thing that makes me love my career more than anything else is the flexibility it provides. I can work from anywhere in the world, as long as I have wifi! Since I started working remotely I have traveled to 22 countries. I even lived in Indonesia for a whole month. There is nothing more rewarding and eye-opening than travel. It’s the best thing I did for myself and I see the world in a completely different way than I did before I started traveling.
Working online is the greatest advantage we have these days and I think we should all be taking advantage of it. Being a virtual assistant is a great way to do it! It just takes learning some basic online skills such as social media marketing, SEO, copywriting, etc. and a lot of networking. And you can have yourself a great freelance virtual assistant business that can provide you with the freedom to travel the world and live an extraordinary life.
Being an Oncology Nurse – Gemma
There’s no magic spell that enables some of us to travel, and not others. Trust me. You might look at me and wonder, “how does she do that?”. But the truth is, it’s just good old fashioned courage and hard work that eventually pays off. None of it happens overnight.
6 years ago when I finally decided I wanted to travel, I made a big sacrifice to make it happen. I’m a nurse, so I’m lucky enough to have a profession that is sought after all around the world. My choice of country however, was slightly controversial. My move to Saudi Arabia was not one I took lightly, but it provided me with options that were otherwise not available to me. Loads and loads of vacation time, the opportunity to explore part of the world I had never visited, a lucrative salary to fund and create the nomadic lifestyle I desperately craved, and of course, the complete change that my mind and soul desired. I worked hard to make my life in Saudi Arabia work to my advantage and eventually it opened up doors I couldn’t have imagined.
Now, 6 years later, I don’t live in Saudi Arabia anymore. But I have so many amazing memories, new life skills, career advantages and most of all, I finally, after some trial and error, have the lifestyle I wanted. I’m lucky enough to have landed locum nursing jobs for short periods on luxury islands Turks and Caicos and Bermuda, which I thank Saudi Arabia for in the most part. In-between working I travel, and more recently, manage a small amount of freelance writing to fill the gaps. I do what I’ve always dreamed of, exploring new countries, cultures, volunteer my time and live my life in a way that makes me content. Even if it’s not very conventional.
I’ve travelled to over 45 countries, driven a rickshaw through India, hiked on the Great Wall, swam with turtles in the Philippines, volunteered in Nepal, and all this is only down to hard work. I have no commitments at home, financial or otherwise, which allows me the freedom to live the way I do. So, you may ask me if I won the lottery, and you may tell me I’m lucky I’m in this position. But the truth is we make our own luck.
Being a Scuba Instructor – Demi
I currently live and work in Malta, but this time last year I was living in Costa Rica. My job as a Scuba dive instructor means I can go nearly anywhere in the world and find work. Having previously dived in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Australia on my travels, I started wondering how I could stay out of my home country for as long as possible, whilst also doing something I enjoyed! It wasn’t an easy ride to become an Instructor. Days are long, and whilst you are training you are the shops’ dogsbody. You spend a lot of time cleaning equipment and carrying painfully heavy tanks. I felt like giving up many times. It is also very expensive, with many courses to take and equipment to buy, and your insurance goes through the roof! I don’t regret spending my savings on this career though, now I can work anywhere there is water. A typical day means an early start, arriving at the shop around 8 am and loading trucks with tanks and equipment. I then take my customers to an appropriate dive site, depending on whether they are newbies or dive veterans! We may go to see an old ship wreck or choose to stay on the reef and look for marine life. After 2 or 3 dives, it is back to the centre for a well-earned coffee, before washing all the equipment and preparing for the next day. Sometimes I feel absolutely exhausted, but if I ever find myself complaining I take a step back and think about the lifestyle I have. My job is extremely social, and I am lucky enough to have met some wonderful customers and colleagues from all over the world. The ocean is unpredictable, meaning no day is the same, and even now I am an Instructor there are always more to be learned. When I am not working, I get to fully immerse myself in the country I live in. Living and working somewhere gives you a unique opportunity to really connect with a place and meet local people. For now, I will work in Malta for the summer season in Europe, after that I will probably head somewhere more tropical to avoid the winter!
–Demi, Around the World with Her
I hope these stories have inspired you in seeing the variety of possibilities there are to attaining a lifestyle that can allow you to travel often. The list definitely does not end here. At the end of the day, the real secrets are no other than courage and the willingness to work hard. Do you long to travel and see the world? Which of the paths mentioned is something you can see yourself pursue? Let’s share in the comments!