Note: This was originally meant to be one article… but I wrote so much that I’ll need to release it in parts 🙂
I recently got a comment on my Facebook page from an old high-school friend. It read “Sam, how do you get the money to do so much expensive stuff?” in response to my status about snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef.
It’s a good question. In the last four years I’ve managed to live overseas three times, travel to 23 countries and live in five (Australia, Malaysia, Finland, France and Norway) and I’ve always come back with money in the bank every time. The exact amount of how much I came back with I’m not going to reveal… but it was always a nice comfortable nest egg to help me settle back into life in Australia.
So how can you do it? This is what I would tell anyone to do, when trying to save money to go overseas
1. Get Paid to Travel
How is this possible? You may ask, but I’m telling you I’ve done it three times – and it is possible.
This is the biggest reason I managed to not be broke or in debt after my holidays. The first two times I lived overseas was for a student exchange, and my university gave me a large grant to live and study both times.
If you’re a student you can look into scholarships and grants which your university/school/local government may give you. It’s most likely there will at least be something if the work you’ll be doing will go towards your course in your home country. For example in Australia, the Government gives an OS-HELP loan (overseas HELP) to Australian students studying overseas as long as their studies there will go towards their Australian course. It’s about $5,500 and goes directly onto your HECS debt with no interest.
I took this loan out when I went to live in pricey Scandinavia and have no regrets.
Heck, some overseas universities might pay you to come to them because they’re so desperate for students… Why they’re so desperate may be worth looking into, as always – it pays to do your research! 😀
In Australia if you receive a student living allowance you might still be able to be paid it while you’re studying overseas, again – as long as the studying you’re doing goes towards your Australian course. Plenty of countries around the world have these sorts of grants for students studying overseas – you just need to start looking!
Not studying anymore? Then the next option is to work. There are plenty of jobs for native English-speakers that don’t require a lot of skill or experience. If you fall into that category the money might not be flash, but it’s still money coming in – which is the most important point.
My personal experience in this category was being an English-assistant in France. I fit all the criteria – native English speaker, passable level of French (although there are lots of overseas English-teaching programs which don’t require you to speak the native language at all), a few years of a university degree under my belt and voila I had an income to keep me living in Europe.
I didn’t earn a lot of money – around 800 euros a month after social security, but I was able to live off it and only use the money in my bank for travelling during my seven weeks of paid holiday (gotta love the French).
The vast majority of programs like this will give you enough money to live on and have a few extras too if you’re careful with it.
Other jobs to consider are nanny/au pair positions (au pair’s don’t really need a lot of experience), tourist guides and any other jobs which require a native-English speaker. There’s also the possibility of a working visa in an English-speaking country such as the UK, Ireland or the US – which may have more opportunities.
The most important lesson is keep money coming in and avoid constantly withdrawing from your bank account for as long as possible. This means you’ll have to study, work or do both – but it’s the only way to get paid to travel.
Working at Home while Overseas: Depending on what your job is at home, you may be able to keep doing it and get paid for it. My job in professional writing only required a computer and an internet connection, so I was able to do a lot of it overseas in France. I committed to 10 hours a week and did it from home, but I refused to touch the money I was getting. I saved it so I would have thousands by the end of my working contract to travel.
There were times when I wished I wasn’t working an extra 10 hours on top of my contract, which still only took me up to 25 hours a week maximum. However a lot of other assistants doing the same job as me had a lot more time off, which I occasionally would have liked too…but the extra money was worth it when I was snorkeling in the Greek islands 🙂
Part 2 ‘There is No Money Fairy’ coming soon.