One of the most frequent reactions I get when I tell people that I’m about to travel the world is:


“I would love to do that too…but I can’t afford it”.


Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

By the standards of the first world society I currently live in– I am pretty much broke.

Yes, I have property – but a condominium with a mortgage, taxes and condo fees contributes towards a debt that far outweighs my liquid assets. That said, I ain’t never let a lack of dead prime ministers get in my way. So, like many wise wanderlusters before me, I decided to use another form of currency – the English language – to finance my travels abroad. Combined with my current Skype teaching contracts, occasional translation gigs, editing contracts and my private clients in South Korea, I should be able to save at least 2000$ CDN a month. Again, I’ve literally got pennies in my pocket at the time of writing (well, mostly nickels anyway, now that the penny has gone the way of the 2 dollar bill here in Canada).


If teaching English ain’t your thing – there are MANY ways you can turn your travel dreams into a PAID REALITY. All you need is a passport, cajones and creativity – so grab your suitcase and peruse the ideas below to turn YOUR travel dreams into a reality (and hurry up so you can join me on the road).



If you’ve got bartending skills and can get by speaking the local language, consider offering your help at hostels in the area you’re visiting. No, you won’t get rich – but you’ll pretty much get paid to party, score easily with the ladies and gents (if you’re #downtofrolick), and if you’re lucky, room and board might be covered as well. There are worse ways to see the world – even if it is through beer googles.


Teaching English

If you’ve got a university degree or a TESOL/CELTA/TESL certification, you’ve got a good chance of easily scoring yourself an ESL contract. Oxford Seminars, a highly popular TESL/TESOL certification provider, offers six-day courses (combined with an online component) for less than a $1000. It may seem a little steep, but teaching contracts can pay off in dividends. Free private accommodation, health insurance, little to no income tax and paid return flights are all example of fringe benefits that may be included in your compensation package.




  • Dave’s ESL Café  has an extremely popular job board for teaching opportunities, and is one of the leading Web sites for ESL resources.


  • ESL 101: After mere days of applying to jobs via the ESL101 job board, I landed several interviews and scored a job offer at a hagwon (private school) in South Korea. Highly recommended!


  • Education First (EF) is a multinational ESL company that employs teachers from around the world. It’s also reputable, which means you are less likely to run the risk of being scammed, experiencing late pay, or otherwise. Having said that, it’s always worth scanning the Net to get current and past teachers’ experiences working with a given school. One of the best written, most detailed accounts was written by Robert Schrader over at Leave Your Daily Hell. Check out this candid and detailed account of his experience as an EF teacher.


  • Wall Street English is another multinational ESL provider, offering language teaching contracts in 28 countries. Unlike EF, you will need to possess a CELTA or TEFL/TESOL certificate at the time of application (EF sometimes hires teachers who do not possess an ESL teaching certification, and pays for their certification upon hiring).


  • Craigslist: Yes, I suppose it could be somewhat illegal(ish) without the proper work visa, but I have heard of many a language tutor simply offering conversation classes via Craigslist. One of my favourite bloggers, Sabrina Iovino of Just One Way Ticket, financed her earlier travels by teaching German conversation classes she offered through the site.


Cruise Ships

Derek Earl Baron of Wandering Earl published this fantasic e-book on how to score a job on a cruise ship. With contracts normally lasting about 6 months (and often, with options to renew), you could put aside a good amount of cash with virtually zero expenses AND travel the world! For more info, check out this highly informative interview where Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt interviews Derek Earl Baron about his many years of experience working on cruise ships.


Scuba Instructor

Taking a page out of my sister’s guide to an international career, becoming a PADI-certified scuba instructor is another great way to make cash while travelling the world. After becoming a certified instructor, my sister worked in the Canary Islands, Cuba and Brazil with varying contract lengths – and no end to world travel in sight. Find out more about PADI certification here.


Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make passive income. Granted, you will have to work pretty hard to build a large enough following in order to generate a reasonable income, but the principle is quite simple: recommend products you love online, get a commission when people buy them. Affiliate marketing is also a way that many bloggers are able to finance their travel lifestyles, which leads me to…


When I was trying to devise different ways to keep a cash flow during my travels, I turned to the world of blogging. No, I had never written a blog before and knew NOTHING about starting one but with tons of research, I learnt the ropes and am giving it my best shot. As a travel blogger, you can monetize your site through advertising, affiliate sales and products such as e-books. If you’re interested in the world of travel blogging, I HIGHLY recommend an online course entitled Travel Blog Success. This course not only spells out EXACTLY what you need to do to operate a successful travel blog, it also connects you to the entire community of professional travel bloggers. Joining this group literally took all the mystery away from setting up a travel blog with a step by step curriculum, access to dozens of webinars, and the ability to ask direct questions to your peers through a private Facebook group.  It’s the essential tool to jumpstarting your blog. Check it out today!


Working at resorts

If you’re fond of the party atmosphere, consider applying for work at a resort. You’ll work a lot, but the weather is nice (Canucks like myself accustomed to cold winters would especially appreciate this), and you can set aside a fair amount of dough to pay for your travels. You’ll also make connections and friends with people from all over the world who may be able host you in their country, or at least provide you some insider, local tips for some of your travel destinations. If you’re interested in going down the resort route, you’re in luck – Club Med is currently hiring for the 2015-2016 winter season– maybe in a city near you!


Au pair

If you love working with children, consider becoming an au pair (also known as a nanny). Working as an au pair can make a truly positive impact on a child’s life, and room and board is usually thrown in as part of the deal. Check this job board for opportunities around the world.


Teaching over Skype

Wary about committing to teaching from one location? As a Skype teacher myself, I can teach my clients from anywhere in the world with Internet access. To learn more about online coaching, check out this seminal article by Lindsay over at Lindsay Does Languages.

12 Top Tips: How to Teach on Skype



There are dozens of ways you can freelance your skills. If you’ve got a knack for graphic design, web development, logo design, professional writing and other professional skills, there are a myriad of ways you can monetize your skills online:


  • Fiverr is a great resource offering a wide range of services, including logo design, translation graphic design, professional writing, copywriting, jingle writing and more. Upwork and (previously known as Elance-oDesk) iFreelance also offer a wide range of freelance opportunities.
  • Freelance writers should also check out (for Canucks) and this awesome site that aggregates all freelance gigs listed on Craigslist from across the U.S


There are countless other articles out there on how to travel the world and continue to earn an income, so if the ideas above don’t strike your fancy, don’t fret – there are plenty more gigs out there for you to choose from. Honourable mentions include winemaking, fruit picking, yacht crew member, hotel staff, movie extra, ski instructor and more!


What are some of your travel work experiences? How have you earned income abroad? Share your love or haterade below!