If you’re anything like me, you’ll be finishing school (university in my case) with a big desire to see the world and a very small amount of money. It’s an exciting time because upon leaving school, you have no responsibilities or ties and the whole world is front of you. It’s not a question of ‘should I quit my job and travel’, it’s a question of ‘what next’ in a world of infinite possibilities (which can be rather overwhelming). Thus, the following ideas all incorporate travel for individuals with a limited supply of funds and a lack of ties.
Teach English Overseas
Teaching English is a great way to live in a new part of the world and make money. It allows you to fully immerse yourself in a new culture whilst supporting yourself financially. A good thing about TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is that you don’t actually need to be a teacher to teach English, making it very accessible. I first taught English full time in South Korea where I was given a free apartment, free flights, and over two thousand dollars a month after tax, meaning that I was able to live a very comfortable life. I also did a little teaching in Turkey, Poland, and Uganda because wherever you go in the world, people are keen to learn English, and I have found teaching English to be a great vehicle to take me new places in the world.
How To Get A Job Teaching English: Requirements vary depending upon where you want to teach, but a good starting point is to get a TEFL qualification which will make you more employable. You can get a job without the qualification (I don’t have one), but you might have to get experience to find a job – I did unpaid volunteer teaching before getting a full time teaching position. You can apply to teach English in South Korea and China here, using my recruitment contacts, and I put together this general page about teaching English overseas. Good luck!
Volunteering is an extremely rewarding way to see new parts of the world and feel like you are part of something. I loosely divide volunteering into two categories – charitable volunteering where you are trying to make the world better for people, animals, or the environment, and non-charitable volunteering where you are helping someone (possibly a business) in exchange for food and accommodation. The hardest part of volunteering is that you don’t make any money, so you will have to have the funds for transport, insurance, and any other expenses that you might incur. When I volunteered to build a school in Uganda after university, I ended up working on actual building sites before and after to cover my expenses!
How To Volunteer Overseas: Here is a list of resources for finding volunteering opportunities around the world, however I recommend that you read this post about volunteering overseas as it offers lots of information that will be useful. I built a school in Uganda, helped out at Hostels in Hungary and New Zealand, built a boat in Norway, and taught English in Poland and have included all the information on these pages that you will need to do the same.
I’m a big advocate of hitchhiking as you get to see parts of the world that you never new existed and you interact with real people, rather than just treading the typical tourist trail. I combined hitchhiking with CouchSurfing, volunteering, and free camping to travel for many months at a time on a budget of a few euros a day. It changed my life for the better and it was because of hitchhiking that I first created this site.
How To Hitchhike: There is no such thing as an expert hitchhiker (although you’ll meet people who claim to be), but here is my advice on hitchhiking based on 500 or so rides over the past few years. You might also want to read this post, ‘Is Hitchhiking Dangerous?’
Work A Ski Season
I love skiing and snowboarding, but it’s an expensive hobby and I rarely had enough money to hit the slopes. If you get a job in a ski resort however, many of your expenses will be covered and you can hit the mountain almost every day. I worked as a ski rep in the French Alps and was on the mountain six days a week (except for when I broke my back – stuff happens, life goes on).
How To Work A Ski Season: Based upon my experiences of applying and working a ski season, I put together this little guide about how to work a ski season. I hope you find it useful – try not to break your back, it hurts.
The World Is Yours
Those are four little ideas of how you can travel the world when you finish school and I tried and loved each one, but opportunities are infinite, so use this as a source of ideas and don’t be limited by what anyone tell you can or can’t be done.
I left it out of the list above, but I once purchased a Round the World flight, however it ended up being very expensive and I used all the money I had saved by working on building sites and in supermarkets during school for four years, so it wasn’t a very sustainable way to see the world. However, when it comes to expenses, get travel insurance. Without it, I would be paying off bills for my broken back and wouldn’t have been able to live the life I have lived for the past many years.
Mostly just get out there and chase whatever your heart tells you to chase. There is no right or wrong way to do things in life and you make your own rules, but nothing will happen if you don’t make it. Sometimes we spend too much time planning things, but plans never really work out, so get off your sofa, close down your laptop, and go somewhere! Enjoy the ride.