5 on the road jobs I checked out for you
How can you afford to travel so often? This is a question most (long-term) travellers get asked a lot, because travelling is quite expensive, or is it? In fact, it does not have to be. Travelling can be expensive if you don’t know the tips and tricks in the field. Tour companies are trying to make as much of a profit as they can and getting about is the easiest if everything is readily arranged for you, so people pay the price. Nowadays, loads of people have discovered that their is an alternative: a group of nomads that try to travel for cheap or free. No wonder that millions of guides on how to travel for nearly nothing have popped up recently. The tips given in these articles can be helpful, but the fact remains that we need to eat, sleep and move ourselves around – at the very least.
So how CAN we afford to travel forever? The answer is simple when you are ready to accept that travelling is not the same as taking a holiday. Long-term travellers are not always living it up on sunny beaches with a cocktail in their hand and a surfboard under their arm. That is part of it, on their day off. Every long-term traveller that was not born a millionaire or won the lottery does one thing on the road that others do in the same office everyday…. That’s right. They work.
However, working and travelling can easily go hand in hand, which is why I wrote this short guide to 5 jobs I have had on the road, to help and inspire you on your quest to travel forever.
1. Camping job
Some businesses make most of their money in one season. Hereby I am thinking of campsites in summer and ski resorts in winter. A lot of these enterprises close their doors in low-season or they enjoy the peace and quiet. Either way, when the high season is coming up they always need extra employees. Since their will be many businesses in the same area that will be looking for staff in the same period, you can enjoy the question-and-demand working in your favour. Of course, you need to apply, being willing to work and have some qualifications, but working as a receptionist, bartender or camping entertainer is not rocket science. As long as you are motivated and willing to learn you will have a good chance of finding a job in high season.
Photo’s by: Lisa Piette
If you travel a lot you will likely have the advantage of speaking at least two languages: a huge advantage in any tourism job. Furthermore you will get to work on a location where people are on holiday, with people that are on holiday and believe me, those are the happiest people you are going to meet in any job. Plus it means that on your time off there will be plenty to do in the area, as it is high season and the camping or hotel guests need to be entertained. This work is not restricted to campsites, but also hotels, hostels and even restaurants and pubs in areas that experience a serious peak season will be looking for extra staff. If you find work on a campsite or in a hotel, accomodation is often included and sometimes even one or more meals. Your life is all taken care of, you don’t have to spend a penny or worry about rent while you have the time of your life, making sure that other people have the time of theirs.
Basically, the only down-side to this type of work is that it is temporary, but as a world-traveller, that is exactly what you want, isn’t it?
I was 18 years old, had no idea what I wanted to study and already felt the wanderlust-gene itching. I had just finished high-school, still lived with my parents and had worked full time for a few months to earn some extra bucks. There was not an obligation in the world to worry about, because, if something would go wrong I could always retrun to my safe have: the room at my parents place. Honestly I ne
ver really worried about anything going wrong, I just thought in adventure and adventure is what I got.
In order to be a little safe, I wanted to be sure of a job when I arrived at my new destination: Australia. Apart from its snakes, spiders, crocodiles and everything else that wants to kill you, Australia is a relatively safe, developed country where – bonus – rich people live that speak English. So what job would possibly be easier to arrange from home than a job working taking care of cute little children of parents who don’t have enough time to do that themselves? Right, I started searching for a job as an au-pair.
As a noob in both the job- and travelworld, the process wasn’t even that easy. There seem to be hundreds of organisations that match au-pairs to families, but it is going to cost you a year’s worth of wages to be able to afford a match like this. There must be a better way… Don’t worry, there is. AuPairWorld is like a dating site for au-pairs and families. Both can set up a profile for free and specify their preferences: For example a family could indicate that they would love an au-pair that knows how to speak French or that has a driver’s license, whereas an au-pair can state where they want to work or kids of which age they prefer. In this way you can find interests that match and families can contact au-pairs and vice versa. Normally it is the au-pair that contacts multiple families in order to get a reply and get things going, unless you are some kind of super(wo)man that everybody wants to take into their family, because basically, that is what they are doing.
Of course you have to like kids and be willing to get yourself involved with a whole extra family if you want to do a job like this, but it is a great experience and the love of the kids is well worth it. Don’t forget that doing housework is often part of the job, so check it out in the description.
3. Food Service Industry
Barmaids, waiters and waitresses, kitchenhands… they come and go. Some get a promotion, some travel on, some go back to studying and some just want to do something different with their lifes. Additionally, it is not only the staff that come and go, but also restaurants, pubs, food courts, cafes and everything come and go now that “pop-up store” is a well-accepted concept in society. All this traffic of coming and going means that job opportunities in this industry will be flying around like falling leaves in an autumn storm. And honestly, as long as you don’t trip on your own shoelaces anyone can carry a few plates or pour a beer. Mostly you’ll have a lot of contact with the customers and it is a lot of fun to watch full-functioning adults get tipsy together after work.
4. Take it to the Outback
Big cities have attracted people for ages. There are people who live there, people who work there, people who visit… All these people want to work, except the ones on a holiday or city-trip, but anyway, most cities have more inhabitants than job opportunities, especially cities filled with backpackers and expats such as Sydney, Bangkok or Paris.
If you are struggeling to find a job in the city you might want to consider taking it to a rural area. This might sound a bit scary as you won’t meet as many other backpackers there as you would in a city, but who cares? You are travelling to experience a different lifestyle, to meet new people and see new cultures. How do you know that working on a farm is not your cup of tea if you have never tried it?
There are millions of opportunities in wineries, working on a farm, fruit picking, governessing… You name it. Fruit picking is not necessarily one I would recommend as it is often heavy and dangerous work. Governessing or working on a farm on the other hand is amazing. I have worked on a ranch in Australia where they held 6000 sheep and 1000 goats and this was considered a small property! As the property was 300 km from the nearest school, the child of the couple I was working for could not go to school like many “normal” kids. He was home schooled and I was there to help him explain his schoolwork as well as to help out on the farm.
This experience gave me time to enjoy the peace and quiet of outback Australia, got me to see unusual places, taught me how to ride a motorbike and gave me some hunting experience. Now that’s not something you’ll easily find in a city do you?
This is without a doubt the worst job I have ever had. In my life. Why is it in this list then? If you speak the language of the country you are in, it is an easy job to get into and it pays big money while you largely improve your communication skills. Well, it’s not going to make you rich, but it is going to make you richer than many other long-term travellers.
I am terrible at making decisions and after half a year as an au-pair in Australia I did not yet want to leave. However my plane was leaving within two weeks and the university I had signed up for would not start much later. To set this issue I used an approach I use more often when I have to make a decision: the “if-then”- strategy. In this particular situation I set the goal to find a new job before next Tuesday. If I succeeded I would stay, if not, I wouldn’t. Fundraisers are always needed and I speak fluently, so the job was easily arranged.
Just to keep you on track, as a fundraiser you go out on the streets and talk to as many people as possible in order to get them to sign up to donate money to a good cause. However you are not working for the charity itself, but for an advertising agency.
The first few weeks were fantastic. I got to go out on the streets, talk to people, I had awesome collegues, we got to go on trips sometimes to talk to people in order parts of Australia AND we had regular drinking nights out with work, unlimited booze paid by the boss. Wow. However, soon things started to go worse. If you do the maths you find out that you are getting paid way more than would make sense from the amount of people you sign up to donate just a small amount of money on a monthly basis. This does not even include all the extras or the profit the advertising company is making. This is the point where you realise that the first two months of people’s donations go towards your wages, whereas the first two years worth of wages dissapear into the pocket of the company a.k. your boss. This means that only the donations of members that stayed a member for longer than two years actually contribute to the cause you think you are working for. Many people don’t stay with one charity for that long, because it starts costing them too much or they want to swap cause each year. So, with an exception here and there, what you are talking people into is not that they sign up to donate money to a good cause, but to your bank account and that of your boss. It is a form of begging in disguise.
When I realised this my statistics started going down. I wasn’t motivated to get people to donate anymore and even if you still use the same pitch as before and try to be energetic, people notice. This is when I quit fundraising. My conscience could no longer handle what I was doing and even though I had made a quick buck in the two months I had done the job I realised this was not for me. I am too sensitive to fool people like that. However as long as people don’t realise that signing up with a fundraiser on the street is basically signing up to pay for their expenses, people are going to be doing the job. It pays well and it is great for your communication skills, but now that you know how it works it up to you to decide if you want to get your
hands words dirty.
This is just a short overview and inspiration for you to apply for that job and go. Take advantage of your skills and qualities or and if you don’t think you have any, be enthousiastic at least. Your enthousiasm is going to get you far. I will soon write posts in the category “diary of…” where I will give you better insight in each of these jobs based on my personal experience, so keep posted. Do you already have questions, want to know more or want to know where to start? Get in touch!