Traveling the world is an exciting affair where you get to pack up your belongings, carry them on your back and hit the road not knowing quite where it’ll take you! If you’re going for an extended trip with a one way ticket, not knowing when you’ll return home, then that’s the kind of trip I’d like to join you on!

But unfortunately, there’s the small issue of funds. Ugh how boring. When you look at your bank account post-ticket purchasing, it can be slightly nerve-wracking to think how you’re going to afford your adventures.

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Of course, prior to an epic trip you’ll have to put the hard graft in and work your buns off to save an amount that means you don’t have to worry about the cash dollar for a while… But after a few months of being a nomad, your bank account might become that evil swamp monster perched on your shoulder reminding you of limitations and reality. FU money!

Don’t rely on a credit card to power you through broke months as it’ll make your homecoming all the worse as post-travel blues coupled with crippling debt is a sure way to enter a world of regret and stress. So what’s the answer? Working while you travel of course!

If you’re pretty digital marketing and social media savvy, there is the possibility of being a freelancer who deals with online work while traversing the globe (freelance writers, check out oDesk and Elance!), but if not, there are plenty of other options.

For those under 30 years old, visas for numerous countries exist which allow you to legally work for a period of time. I’m talking about Australia, Europe, the UK and Canada here. Certain countries have alliances with other countries enabling you to work and earn that all important dough, and getting stuck into a city and working is a great way to really get to grips with the new country. You’ll be living just like a local!


My experiences working abroad is mainly in Australia, in my opinion, the land of dreams. When on a working visa, you can get involved in short contractual occupations that can fill your bank account and replenish your financial voids. Let’s face it, you can’t travel for too long without that cold hard cash!

Cafes and bars

If you have any previous cafe or bar work experience then this is the easiest work to get into. Many places have high turnovers making it great to jump in and pick up shifts, and if you work hard and learn to make decent coffee then they’ll love you.

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When leaving home, be sure to have an updated CV/resume that outlines your previous work and save it in your Google Drive or emails for when you need it. As soon as you’re ready to work, hit up anywhere and everywhere with your CV, and take up any trial shift offers even if you’re not sure if you’d want to work at a place. Sometimes being fussy will mean that you won’t get a job quickly, and you just need to get earning!

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As a manager in a cafe in Melbourne, I would get up to 9 applications a day during peak tourist season when the backpackers came to town. It’s paramount to be smiley and friendly when talking to the manager; let them know your availability immediately and perhaps slightly embellish the truth of how long you plan to stay in the city (only 3 weeks?? Get out.).

It’s certainly laughed at if you come in with your friends, each with a CV, and ask whether there’s a few jobs going. You’ve got to look out for number one, you, when applying for jobs and rarely would places hire two friends at the same time. If you’re nervous about working without a comrade, just fake the confidence till you make it, as it’s a learning experience where you’re bound to meet a ton of cool new people.


Once you get a trial shift, dress appropriately, be friendly and work hard. Don’t let that opportunity go as there’s 5 other people queued up behind you trying to nab some work!

Bar work can be so much fun, and can help you network with the locals. You never know who might be able to present you with another job opportunity in the future or give you a ride up the coast! Just take care of your liver as it might take a beating from working in a bar.


Temping is where you sign up to an agency who find you permanent or TEMPorary work. Of course temporary work suits a traveller best as you have a defined short contract that won’t tie you down. The good thing about this type of work is that it pays infinitely better than bar/cafe work and can be a substantial addition to your CV. This is great for when you come home as you’ve travelled, had fun AND added to your work experience!

Global recruitment agencies such as Adecco or Hays are a good place to start with, but just look up your local offices too. Send out a slick and professional CV that is streamlined to occupations that have responsibility, then do a quick shopping trip for smart clothes.

The recruitment agencies will invite you in for an interview (& sometimes a typing test!) to figure out what you want and if they want you on their books. Do not turn up in flip flops and shorts, as this is not applying to work in Club Tropicana. You need to look professional so wash that sea salt out your hair, don a smart shirt or dress, and wear shoes.


You could be sent to various places to do admin roles or telesales, so act keen and be errr, normal. Carry your CV to the interview and be flexible with what they can offer you.

If you do a good job at a company, they may very well be interested in taking you back in the future. I worked for three months at a car leasing job in Melbourne, and I was put in one of the highest skyscrapers which made me feel like a super city-slicker… who happened to live out of a suitcase. I found the majority of my smart clothes in charity shops and didn’t look too much of a hobo!

It was brain numbing work (ok I didn’t actually know what I was doing – notated leases?!) but I got my head down for 3 months and was beyond gobsmacked when my first pay came in. Temping work can get you earning about $25-$30 Aussie dollars an hour which mounts up when working Monday – Friday.


When my contract ended, I had money and something to add to my CV. Then when I had to work again, I went through the same agency who proceeded to alert my old company of my return – boom! I got employed by them again! Sweet and easy.

Of course if you hate your role, the temp agency will look for something more appropriate and you can get out quick.

Farm work

When I was in Australia, you had to do three months of farm work to apply for your second year work visa. That sucks balls if you’re not keen on getting elbow deep in fruit/veggies and working from dawn till dusk. I went apple picking on an orchard, and let’s just say I have never been as toned as I was after a few weeks picking!



It doesn’t pay great at all but it gets you an extra year in Oz. However, I met many who didn’t mind the hard work and stayed on at the orchard to earn some more cash.

You’re bound to be working alongside fellow travelers and it really gets you bonding. Well, there’s not much else to do if you’re faced with tree branches day-in day-out! You need to be physically fit to do this type of job, but it will get some cash in your account and that all important extra year of a working visa.


Teach English

This is an avenue that I’m seriously interested in trying out. You can do a TEFL (Teaching Language as a Foreign Language) certificate before you leave home so you’re ready to job hunt with the right qualifications. But you can also find foreign schools that will do the course with you and then launch you into the classroom within a matter of weeks.

Getting much training in this field will make you an attractive candidate and there’s been some interesting discussion as to what the best training is. Many online course are available, such as, Global English or Cactus, so you can get qualified while you’re on the road if you suddenly decide to have a whirl at teaching English abroad.


It’s a good idea to use a quality TEFL course that will apply to most schools in the world before you venture out, as different countries call for different levels of qualifications. However, this can be a fantastic way to get great experience and save some serious dough. China and Hong Kong are known for paying very well, but it’s a job that can take you all over the place!



If you’re travelling and absolutely lovin’ it, why not pay it back a bit by working in the tourism sector? I’m not talking about working in a sales office for flight bookings, but look into being a tour guide for the city that you just can’t get enough of!


You never know what tourism roles might lead to. An English guy I met while apple picking (he was a picking MACHINE) went on to work over in Broome in Western Australia with the camels on Cable Beach. Matt began working as a guide that led camels on their sunset walks with tourists and cared for the camels in their homes.

The company valued his hard work so much they ended up sponsoring him to stay and work permanently. He now works in Broome with the animals he loves, and has a mind-blowing Instagram account that you have to check out: @a_photo_a_day_from_miles_away

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This is also a good point for temp work. If you show skill and hard work, you may attract the attention of the boss who might not want to say goodbye! I don’t mean in a creepy way, but in the sense that they may be willing to do the paperwork to sponsor you to stay in the country and give you a career that you never expected to find whilst on your travels.

Matt never would have expected to stay in Australia years after his working visa, but now he’s living and working in a place that pretty much looks magical. So magical I’m on the cusp of unfollowing him on Instagram from pure jealousy.

Work in a hostel

This role can be quite hard to get as there’s a whole population of backpackers who are usually keen to get this job. You’re guaranteed to have to be added to a wait list, but if you manage to snag a job quick at the hostel then kudos to you!


To be a cleaner or receptionist at a hostel means either some cash in your pocket or free accommodation. Not only do you get to meet everyone who passes through the hostel as soon as they walk through the door, but you can act as a guide and give them your top recommendations of the city! It will help you get a lovely base in your new country and give you a sense of home and family.


We’ve covered WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) numerous times on travelettes (see WWOOFing in New Zealand, Canada and Portugal) as it’s a great way to see an alternative view of the country you’re in! Pick the right place and you’ll have a blast and get to do some fun jobs.

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When you sign up to WWOOFing you get a catalogue of locations where you can go work. You ring up or email the individuals to organise your visit, and as you stay with them you work 4-6 hours a day for free board.

It doesn’t pay at all, but it can get you working in exciting places and help save you a bit of cash that you would’ve spent on accommodation! And if you pick right, you could be working somewhere similar to paradise….


There are plenty of ways to earn money while you’re traveling, so the world is your oyster! Just work hard, whack a smile on your face and you’ll do well. If you happen to find yourself in a pretty snooze-worthy job, just think of the cash that will send you flying again or remember that there are plenty of other options available to you!

Image 5 & 12 via Jennifer Aitchison, Images 13 – 16 via Matt Deakin, all other photographs by Sophie Saint.

Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog and instagram: @saintsonaplane