9 Work Abroad Jobs to Support Yourself While Traveling

9 Travel Abroad JobsAs most of you know, I’m a self-employed America who live the “lifestyle lifestyle,” traveling through Europe for 7+ months.

(To learn more about this, learn how to start a new life.)

In addition to maintaining the Steve Scott Site, I run my own affiliate marketing company.

It allows me to work nearly anywhere in the world as long as I have the ability to carry my laptop with me and connect to the internet.

Since embarking on my trip I’ve received emails from several different people that are also interested in visiting other countries. The common denominator of the emails was suggestions on how to survive financially while being away from home. Although it’s what I do for a living, running an online business is not the only way to support yourself while traveling—in fact, I’ve met quite a few people with unique work abroad jobs.

Possible Work Abroad Jobs

It’s a common stereotype, but college students aren’t the only people who can travel abroad for several months at a time. I’m obviously proof of that, but I’ve also met plenty of “average Joes” during my journey who aren’t backpacking college students. The people I’ve spoken with are also proof that finding temporary employment while traveling is not impossible.

In most cases, the experiences people have while living and working abroad for a few months are some of the best adventures of their entire life. Traveling and working abroad will not only allow you to see famous landmarks and interesting places—you’ll also be able to improve your communication and language skills, meet hundreds of unforgettable people, and become very self-reliant.

There are actually dozens of books and websites that deal with the topic of work abroad jobs—Work Your Way Around the World by Susan Griffith is a book that I highly recommend if you’re interested in spending some time traveling and working in Europe, and Overseas Job Centre is a great website that’s chock full of resources. I’ve also compiled the following list of possible work abroad jobs for you to take into consideration—with a bit of preparation and planning, you can find something to do while traveling overseas!

#1- Do some Freelance Writing

A freelancer is simply someone who is self-employed and not committed to any one employer. Freelancing has become relatively popular in recent years due to rising unemployment rates, and it gives people the ability to take on as much or as little work as they so choose and set their own schedule. Travel blogs and online travel magazines often hire freelance writers to provide up-to-date information and even their own opinions on various destinations, and what better time to share what you know than while you’re in the region?

You don’t have to be a professional reporter with a degree in journalism in order to earn money as a freelance writer, and it’s not very difficult to find paying writing gigs through freelance websites. If you take on jobs through sites such as Elance and Guru, you can have your earnings deposited directly into your checking account. As long as you have a Visa check card you should be able to easily access your money. You won’t get rich, but you’ll most likely be able take on enough freelance writing projects to pay for a good portion of your food, lodging, and travel tickets.

#2- Work as a Travel Nurse

Nursing is a profession that’s in high demand in most areas of the world, and travel nursing is a great work abroad job option for nurses and other trained health care professionals. Certain regions experience seasonal nurse shortages, and travel nurses are often brought in during those specific times of year. Travel nurses are even occasionally hired to fill in for permanent nurses that are out on maternity leave.

If you are an experienced nurse who is interested in seeing the world, you’ll need to sign on with a travel nurse agency to apply for travel nursing assignments. Assignments range in length and location, but housing accommodations are usually included with each position. I’ve heard that the pay is good and the experiences that travel nurses have are absolutely extraordinary. (It’s also a good resume-booster once you’re back home!)

#3- Get a Job in a Hostel

Hostels are budget-friendly lodging facilities located throughout Europe. They are quite different than hotels you are probably used to in the United States—they’re actually similar to college dormitories in that guests can rent a bed or a bunk bed in a large room. Guests then share a common area, bathroom, and sometimes even a kitchen with other travelers. Hostels are not very glamorous, but they’ve come a long way over the years and they aren’t nearly as bad as they’re often portrayed in the movies.

I’ve met quite a few people in Europe that receive free (or nearly free) room and board by working a few hours per week in the hostel. Each hostel’s needs are different, which means that the jobs that are required vary from place to place, but the ability to stay in an area you love for a few weeks or a few months is an experience you’ll never forget.

#4- Find Seasonal Work

The tourism industry is probably one of your best options for finding part-time temporary work in Europe. Just as you’d expect, a lot of major tourist destinations in Europe have select busy periods during the year. Most businesses hire part-time workers to help out when they have an overload of customers.

You might find it difficult to apply for seasonal jobs in Europe from the United States, so some people suggest arriving in Europe in late winter or early spring, which is when most businesses begin hiring for their busy season. That way, you can apply for jobs in person instead of over the internet.

There are often seasonal positions available in sales, waiting tables in restaurants, or helping out at hostels or hotels but if the type of work you do doesn’t matter, plenty of other seasonal opportunities are also out there—working on farms or vineyards are two other popular jobs with young people.

#5- Be a Summer Camp Counselor

If you love being around children and you have a passion for the great outdoors, you may be interested in working as a summer camp counselor. Some camps in Europe that cater to English-speaking campers will hire young adults to work as counselors, and other camps hire English-speakers to act as tutors.

The children will learn from you as you learn from them, and an added benefit to working as a camp counselor is that your accommodations and meals are typically included.

#6- Work on a Cruise Ship

Cruise ships typically hire employees for short periods of time—often 4 months or so—but I’ve heard that they often offer to renew the employee’s contract when it ends if both parties are happy with one another. Cruise ships are like miniature floating cities, so they need employees to do nearly any job you can think of—anything from cooks and waiters to maintenance workers and entertainers.

Working on a cruise ship requires a lot of dedicated hard work and it often involves putting in long ten or twelve-hour days, but it also provides the opportunity to see interesting places on your days off and meet interesting people. You will also be able to live on the ship during your stint of employment and eat three meals a day for free.

#7- Become a Tour Guide

A lot of large tour companies such as Sandemans hire young, outgoing English-speaking guides to lead tours in popular cities throughout Europe. During my own travels, I’ve met quite a few people who work as tour guides. Most of them came from other areas but found themselves falling in love with a particular city after giving tours to other people and showing off the famous landmarks!

Keep in mind that working as a tour guide will involve speaking in front of groups of strangers, so if you’re a little on the shy side this may not be the best job for you. You’ll also have to stay calm if someone gets upset and be ready to handle mini-emergencies at the drop of a hat, but the ability to make great money from tips is there—especially if you’re incredibly upbeat and enthusiastic.

#8- Teach English in Europe

Teaching English to Europeans is another great travel abroad job that can support you during your trip, but you will most likely need to be fluent in a second language in addition to English. If you have a professional background in teaching or languages / linguistics, you may be able to get a contract position with a large company because they often bring in professionals to tutor their own international employees. You can also attempt to work as a freelance English teacher by posting signs in hostels or at universities, but it may be harder to obtain clients that way.

#9- Take on a Job as an Au Pair

American families often sponsor European au pairs—which are similar to nannies—to help with childcare and routine household chores in exchange for a small salary and room and board, but European families also hire English-speaking American au pairs.

Working as an au pair is a good way to visit other countries and learn about their customs and culture, but realize that you will be instantly emerged into someone’s family and private home as soon as you arrive. If you would like to work as an au pair, your best bet would be to sign on with an au pair placement agency. This will set up an official contract or agreement as to the length of your employment, your expected, duties, and pay rate.

Things to Consider when Searching for Work Abroad Jobs

Even though you might have fantasies of finding a perfect dream job while traveling through Europe, things may not work out quite as expected. Preparation is probably your best bet at successfully finding temporary employment while you’re abroad. Even though you may not be able to apply for some positions from home, you should consider where you’d like to travel and work (Europe is a big continent!) and whether you would prefer several short-term jobs or one longer position that would give you the ability to stay in one place for a few months.

In order to work legally in Europe, you need a work permit for the country where you’ll be working. Technically it’s illegal to enter a country and look for work without a permit, and you can save yourself a lot of stress and time by applying for a work permit before you leave for Europe. Some companies are willing to apply for the permit on your behalf if they have a job for you, but it may be a bit of a headache. You can find out more details on work permits here.

You may also want to visit a few “Job Board” type websites as you start your research regarding work abroad jobs. Here are two to get you started—Jobs Abroad and Overseas Job Centre.

Best Wishes and Safe Travels!

Sometimes it’s harder to get online than I would have expected, but I’ve been doing my best to share photos and videos of my travels to offer “proof” that I’m really, truly doing what I write about here on this blog. I’m impressed that so many of you have asked me for advice and suggestions, because it just goes to show that you’re also considering doing something that you’ve been dreaming about! Best wishes and safe travels to you.

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22 thoughts on “9 Work Abroad Jobs to Support Yourself While Traveling”

  1. Nice advice Steve doing freelance writing is something i am looking at at this moment currently i am doing an online journalism course thanks for these tips.

    • Nice,

      Even if you are still in “practice mode” try submitting some articles to Helium and Associated Content. For one thing, it is good practice, for another, even though you may only get pennies in residual income, once you get enough of those pennies, it can begin to add up.


  2. Hey Steve,

    You had a few that I would never have thought of, working in a hostel, or as a tour guide. the trick to doing something like this is to do it!

    Some people make the plan, and are gone, while others are saying how lucky they are, and that they could never do it because….

    I still may do some extended traveling. I haven’t seen the 7 wonders yet.

  3. Neil,

    You will love it when you get the chance. It is fairly affordable when you mainly stay in hostels, etc. But I imagine it could run a pretty hefty price tag with a family in tow.

  4. Hey Steve!

    I recently read that affiliate marketing is a bad way to get started with internet marketing and instead info product marketing is the best.

    The reasoning behind this is that a beginner affiliate marketer does not have his own cultivated list of admiring/trusting customers and probably does not have any sort of lead magnet so the process to succeed could take a while.

    Whereas with info product marketing, one spends time creating a great product and then once sales are made then the merchant is making money and building a great list of dedicated/ trusting customers who can later be referred to products. it just becomes so much easier to reccommend products to people who trust you.

    I would like to know your thoughts on this idea that the myth of starting with affiliate marketing is untrue and if really an info product is the way to start?



    • To be honest most of MY experience comes from affiliate marketing so I likely have a pronounced bias toward it. The way I have done my business is through affiliate marketing first, learning the markets extremely well, THEN creating and launching my my own product. The way I see it (and I am by no means an expert on this so feel free to disregard) is that long term product marketing /creation will be a bigger money maker but it is a matter of baseline knowledge.

      Are you entering a field with enough baseline knowledge that you are an true EXPERT from the start. The problem I have going strait for making your own product basically deals with that. You need to be a SME (subject matter expert) out of the gate, hopefully have an approach no one has thought of, and find a way to market your product to affiliate marketers so that they in turn want to sell your stuff. You would need a product, and still likely need a lead magnet and resourcs if you want an affiliate to succeed. A good product marketer will give his affiliates a lot of stuff to HELP them make thier sales.

      Long story short, for some, I would agree undoubtedly that product marketing is the way to go. For others not so much. With affiliate marketing your spin up work is a lot less also.

      In my (biased) opinion Affiliate marketing is easier to start with a lower ceiling of success. It is where you can make mistakes and gaffes and learn and grow from them. Product marketing is ultimately where you want to be. It will have the higher ratio of huge success stories, but also leaves the most people that just don’t make it.

      Really the key to your choice between the two systems IMO is whether you have an EXPERT level of knowledge going in

      Just my 2 cents


  5. I think I’d enjoy seeing some of the famous landmarks, but I don’t know about living over there for a few months since I can’t even take a 1 week vacation without itching to get back home. You’re brave!

  6. Hey,

    Great post, but just wanted to cover a couple of misconceptions – you don’t actually need to speak a second language in order to teach abroad, and you can also teach all over the world, not just in Asia – it’s a great way to see the world and earn money as you go. For more information you might want to download a free copy of TEFL Uncovered: How to Teach Your Way Abroad with TEFL: http://www.onlinetefl.com/contact-tefl-team/tefl-ebook.html

    Happy travels everyone!

  7. Steve, I actually had no idea you were traveling and working in Europe – Fantastic for you! I am headed to Switzerland soon but I only go for vacation. Someday I’d like to take a year off and travel and live in other parts of the world and blog. I think of all that you listed, freelance writing – a moon and star away from what I trained in school and college (electrical engineering and networking) – may be a source of income but before that, other things need to fall into place. THANK YOU for the encouragement here!!

  8. Farnoosh,
    Electrical engineering is a bit of a leap to freelance writing. Freelance writing can certainly supplement your income. Long term you can make a decent wage off of it short term it is likely just something to pay off a few bills. If you do decide to take a year off it is at least a small stream of income you can keep so you do not have to entirely live off of savings.

    Good luck to you and I hope you do get the chance to take a year off. It is a really a great experience I would recommend to anyone who is able.

  9. I agree, Freelance writing is certainly a good option. One of the best things about it is you can do it from anywhere. Most towns will have internet cafes if you do not have access to the internet where you are staying. Alos while you are travelling you are more likely to be relaxed and in a great position to write some really engaging and informative content.

  10. Hi Steve,

    If there is one thing I’m bad at (and there’s far more than one) it is paying attention to our stats and keeping track of who has been bigging us up. A very belated thank you for your kind words about the Overseas Job Centre.

  11. I love going abroad, traveling all over the world explore new things and new people but it sounds like it is just my dream actually,(sigh). I’m quite interested that 9 work jobs abroad, I’ll try to check it out!

  12. Hey Steve,

    These are a good starting point list. I am doing 80 different jobs and writing about them and found another option you can do most anywhere: selling timeshares. If you are interested in long-term travel I have found you need a job that you can do in a lot of different locations, so most people might advise teaching english, travel blogging or some other kind of job that makes money online.

    I have been selling timeshares for the past few months, and you can also do that long term and actually make money at it. Timeshares are in 100 different countries and it is fairly seasonal, so you could do 4 months in one beautiful spot in high season then go to another for their high season when the season ends. Here is my latest blog post on how to get a timeshare sales job if you are so inclined. good luck.



  13. Freelance writing jobs are indeed in-demand and pays-well-jobs.. well, that is if you can meet your quota while enjoying your vacation. But I’ve tried working in a hotel as payment for my stay there. It was worth it, cause I was able to save much money to spend on more things; like more places to visit, and more food I enjoyed, which was really fun.

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