Life on the road can take unexpected twists and turns, and sometimes, even the best laid plans don’t always work out. Sometimes, you can find your finances dwindling at an alarming rate. In this case you’ve got 2 choices. The first is to return home, even though you don’t really want to.
The second is a lot more exciting, but potentially more difficult to pull off. You could stop where you are, and find work. Not only will this prolong your trip, but can help you earn the cash you need to move forward. It can be hard to know where to start though, especially if you find yourself in an unknown environment.
Have no fear! The following tips will help you along the way, and might just change your life!
Sometimes, the key to finding work is not what you know, but who you know. If you find yourself completely alone, that’s okay, there are ways to make friends if you’re proactive. First of all, reach out online, to see if you do know anyone where you are, or if your friends have friends — you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
If you manage to get in touch with someone, arrange to meet for a coffee and let them know that you’re looking for work. It’s not guaranteed, but they might be able to help out. They can ask their friends, who can ask around, and suddenly you’ve got a network of people on your side.
If you have no friends of friends locally, try attending a meeting or getting in touch with the local CouchSurfing community. In the past, I’ve ended up finding a job just by having a beer with the right group of people at the right time!
Try a hostel
Many travellers have spent nights in backpacker hostels, but few realize that many are desperately understaffed and in need of a little help from time to time. Working in a hostel can keep you in tune with the travelling vibe, and in touch with other travellers, and you’ll find you still have tons of time to socialize.
It’s not all drinking with the guests though, and you should be prepared for hard work. Tasks typically include cleaning rooms, changing bed sheets, preparing breakfast, and welcoming and checking guests in and out.
All hostels are different, and some may be looking for people who can take the guests out on tours, or simply nights out. Not all hostels will offer paid positions, but many will offer volunteer work in exchange for food and accommodation, which can be useful until you find something longer term. Working in a hostel is also a great way to broaden your social circle. You can also use online platforms to search for hostel jobs.
If you find that you want to extend your trip in a certain place, but aren’t too worried about making extra cash, volunteering could be the answer. Nowadays, you can find many online platforms that will hook you up with volunteer projects around the world. These range from hospitality work, to farm stays, and much more. I have personally volunteered all over Europe using Workaway, and gained many new skills and new friends along the way.
Most volunteer projects offer food and accommodation in exchange for a maximum of 6 hours of work each day. This gives you plenty of time to search for longer term work, or simply enjoy your surroundings.
In the digital age, there are a huge number of jobs that can be done remotely, allowing you to work from anywhere in the world. The only thing you’ll normally need is a laptop and an internet connection.
From freelancing, to earning a small but regular income through completing online surveys, the options are extremely varied. If you have language skills, you can normally find translation work fairly readily. Are you a good listener and fast typer? Then perhaps try transcription jobs.
If you have a more specific skill set, such as graphic design, writing, or programming, you can often find regular, well paid work. Working online can be tricky to get into at first, and your earnings might be quite low initially. However, if you pair volunteering for food and accommodation with working online, you can soon start building up your cash reserves, as your expenses should be pretty low.
Don’t be picky!
Finally, the best way to ensure you can find work in a foreign place is to not be too picky. Take opportunities as they come, and learn to say yes to everything. Even if you think that you’ll hate the work, or won’t be any good at it, you’ll never know until you try it, and you’ll never know when the next opportunity will come.
It’s always easier to find work once you’re already working, so getting that first gig is the hardest part. Once you’re in a job, your social circle will also grow, and you might find even more opportunities!