4.5 Working & Volunteering

Working is a good way to take a necessary break from the road, without having to return home. Many long-term travellers get burned-out from the stress, hassles, decreasing health, and increased boredom from constant travel. Taking a variety of jobs in different locations will make the journey much more interesting, and allow you to understand the different cultures better than someone just travelling through. You might also learn a few things about yourself. Finding a job is not that easy, as work permits are hard to come by. An EC passport may make finding a job much easier. It is possible to obtain work visas (e.g. for Australians going to Europe and British citizens going to Australia -- on a temporary basis and restricted by age). Deportation is not the only danger, if you are caught working illegally. Fines, jail time, or a caning are other possibilities.

Most of the jobs you will be able to get will pay for your basic needs, but will not allow you to save much. It is hard to quickly find a temporary job that pays well in a foreign country, even if you have a professional skill. The more professional it is, the more likely they will want you for long-term, and the more they will have to follow the work laws of the country. You will have to wear nice clothes, which are hard to come by when you are backpacking. "What do you mean, I can't wear the same T-shirt and shorts every day, sir?"

It is not easy to arrange jobs in advance. A common way is to just show up in the town and start asking. Occasionally, hostels can help. Fellow travellers and people you meet in hostels, are excellent contacts for short-term work.

"Computer jobs are easy to get -- though only temporary and rarely arranged in advance." <Alan Nelson>

Teaching English in Japan, Korea, or Taiwan for a while can be very profitable. Ask other traveller-teachers how to go about getting students. In some places, people even walk up to you, name a price, and ask you to teach them English. Schools will pay more for "Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)" or "Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)" credentials.

"I did market research work in London and Sydney. Casual work, mostly backpackers, and it paid a decent hourly wage in Sydney. Usually, no experience necessary, and not half as bad as phone sales!" <Dave Patton>

"If you take good pictures you can find jobs lecturing on your trip. Obviously not something you can do during the first month." <Davy Davis>

You might look for seasonal jobs like fruitpicking, or tourism/hospitality related jobs, such as tour guide, translator, waiter, bartender, or hotel desk clerk.

Other odd jobs: wash dishes, smash grapes, shear sheep, deliver mail, chop wood, crew on a yacht, dive boat assistant, photography, import goods to your home country…

Note: buying items in one country and selling in another is very risky.

Some travellers defray the cost of their trip by getting sponsors, who usually give you free gear, such as cameras, film, equipment, outdoor gear, etc. For some ideas, read the travelogues in the sections: Bicycling, Motorcycling, and Sailing.

Another option is to do volunteer work in exchange for food and lodging, even at the hostel. These jobs are commonly available in developing nations, if you have real skills. One site that brings it all together is Work Away.

If you are interested in Import/Export, visit the The US Customs Service.

"The Almanac of International Jobs and Careers" by Ronald Krannich

"The Back Door Guide to Short-Term Job Adventures: Internships, Extraordinary Experiences, Seasonal Jobs, Volunteering, Work Abroad" by Michael Landes

"Building an Import-Export Business" by Kenneth Weiss

"The Business Traveler's World Guide" by Philip Seldon

"The Complete Guide to International Jobs and Careers" by Ronald Krannich

"The Complete Guide to Work, Study & Travel Abroad" by Transistions Abroad

"Culture Shock" Series - comprehensive guide to the customs and expectations of your host country

"Culture Shock! Successful Living Abroad, Living and Working Abroad" by Monica Rabe

"Culture Shock! Successful Living Abroad, a Parent's Guide" by Robin Pascoe

"Culture Shock! Successful Living Abroad, a Wife's Guide" by Robin Pascoe

"Directory of Jobs and Careers Abroad" by Jonathan Packer

"The Directory Of Work & Study In Developing Countries"

"The Expatriates' Handbook" by Bill Twinn and Patrick Burns

"How to Be an Importer and Pay for Your World Travel" by Mary Green & Stanley Gillmar

"International Jobs: Where They Are and How to Get Them" by Eric Kocher

"Jobs in Paradise: The Definitive Guide to Exotic Jobs Everywhere" by Jeffrey Maltzman

"Jobs Worldwide" by David Lay and Benedict Leerburger

"Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in 60 Countries" by Terri Morrison, Wayne A. Conaway, George A. Borden, and Hans Koehler

"Teaching English Abroad: Talk Your Way Around the World" by Susan Griffith

"Teaching English Eastern & Central Europe" by Robert Lynes

"Teaching English South-East Asia" by Nuala O'Sullivan

"Trips Abroad: A Directory of Travel, Work and Study Opportunities" published by Renaissance

"Work Abroad: The Complete Guide to Finding a Job Overseas" by Transistions Abroad

"Work Your Away Around The World" by Susan Griffith

"Work, Study, Travel Abroad" by CIEE (Council for International Education Exchange), a nonprofit, non-governmental, educational organization fo unded in 1947 with the mission of developing educational exchanges and fostering international understanding. Today, with programs in 34 countries on six continents, Council offers a wide range of international programs and services for students, faculty, and the general public. Council is headquartered in New York with additional offices in Berlin, Bonn, Hong Kong, Kyoto, London, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

Expat Links
English International
Escape Artist: A Website for the Borderless World
Expat Exchange
Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO)
Living Abroad
Overseas Jobs Express
Transition Dynamics
Transitions Abroad
Working and Living Overseas

CIEE: International Volunteer Project
Idealist: 14,000 Organizations Under One Roof
Peace Corps
IESC Geek Corps: Volunteer Match
Voluntary Work Information Service - environmental and humanitarian work

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