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Long-term travel is often a tricky financial proposition.

UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN gifted an inheritance or a lucky lotto ticket, chances are that someone wanting to join the expat community in a foreign country will have to find work there. Teaching English as a Second Language classes is, by far, the job of choice.

Not because of the perks, but simply because it is the easiest type of work to obtain. In my experience, it seems that simply standing upright and speaking several relatively coherent sentences in English is sufficient to land the job.

There are one-month courses (CELTA and TEFL) that offer certification. However, in most places, especially in the developing world, a college degree is more than enough.

But while ESL teaching is the easiest job to find, but there are others paths to consider.

Hit The Water

The tourism industry is invaluable to the local economies of many countries, so it’s doubtful you’d score a job working menial tasks at a resort.

However, there are other opportunities. In seaside locales, many resorts and dive shops hire dive instructors. Some of these same places offer courses and tests to become a certified instructor.

There also might be openings for people with skills in other water sports. Some resorts hire instructors for activities such as surfing and para gliding, though keep in mind the stiff competition. Most surf instructors in, say, Bali, are local residents. For this reasson, SCUBA companies are the best bet for foreigners.

Wield Your Pen

Those of the literary ilk might consider a job with an English language publication. Most countries have several newspapers or periodicals aimed at an English speaking audience.

Editors are not extremely well paid, but can get by. Their jobs usually include cleaning up pieces written by local writers and perhaps writing (or ghostwriting) the occasional article.

While these jobs are not glamorous, they can provide an atmosphere conducive to writing. Editing is a good job for those who have the desire to try writing as a profession.

For a job like this, attitude is important. Working for a newspaper can be a source of great anxiety or a invaluable learning experience, depending on outlook.

It’s All Perspective

For people with certain set of skills, a job in a foreign country can turn out to be quite lucrative. Experience in construction, in the oil fields, or the security business might be enough for an individual to land a lucrative consulting job. Sometimes, simply tailoring your resume to a specific strength will do the trick.

The key is not as much what you can do as how you present your skills to prospective employers.

A friend of mine who had designed a simple personal website and taken a crash course in the local language was able to land a well-paying job as a creative director at an advertising firm in Jakarta.

The key, it seems, is not as much what you can do as how you present your skills to prospective employers. It might not hurt to look deeper into your past experience to see what might become useful.

That doesn’t mean that the high school essay you wrote about indigenous cultures in Peru makes you an expert in the country. But, at the same time, try to think of all relevant experience that you have had.

If you can talk intelligently and at length about your experiences, it might be worth including in a resume.

Finding a job in your dream city might not be as hard as you think.

Josh Lew has spent the better part of the last decade abroad. He pays his way by writing about travel and teaching English. When not traveling, he lives in world’s most non-exotic place: Minnesota.

About The Author

Josh Lew

Josh Lew has spent the better part of the last decade abroad. He pays his way by writing about travel and teaching English. When not traveling, he lives in world’s most non-exotic place: Minnesota.

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  • Kirsty

    …and if all else fails there’s always fruit picking!

  • Don

    New Zealand offers a working holiday visa for the young American, Canadian, or British traveller. You can work in anything you want for up to 12 months (24 months for the British). And, since it is an online application, they are pretty painless to get. See:

  • Scribetrotter

    And a few more…

    Ski resorts if you like winter – not as an instructor but in chalets and other hospitality work. If you have a few months to spare, jobs are to be had on cruise ships – combine earning money with travel. If you speak foreign languages, translation work into English pays well and you can find it on the web. Editing is good work, and so is proofreading – again, you can find a lot of work on the web either on freelance writing websites or on bidding sites like elance. And finally, if you have any kind of web background, there is plenty of web-based work you can do on the road – web design, research, graphics, content writing, and running your own blog or website for profit. I’ve paid for much of my travel by working on the road – to me it seems an easier alternative to saving before I go…

  • Lea

    Absolutely agree with Kirsty…finding a business venture/activity which allows you to work & travel at the same time is what my husband & I are currently doing – we call it being L.I.Ps (Location Independent Professionals). I’m a Business & Marketing Coach & he’s a graphic deigner & illustrator. Since we lfet the UK to run our businesses on the move, we’ve funded our travel/lives in Panama, Buenos Aires, Toronto & Grenada with Dubai & South Africa to come still.

  • Pingback: Making Money While Traveling: The Quick Guide |

  • Jenny

    Great ideas. I have been longing to go abroad again and this has definitely encouraged me to look into some teaching programs.

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