¡Hola! Here I am again, bringing you the fourth post of my series of travel blog posts in English. The last time we talked about the differences between tourists and travelers, a sort of controversial topic that everybody loves. I often get asked about how I manage to get to travel for long periods of time, where do I get the money from, etc. The truth is, as you may know if you’ve been reading my posts, that I’m kind of broke. And I’m not saying this in a pitiful way, it’s just the result of the lifestyle I’ve chosen at this point in my life. And that lifestyle is the traveler lifestyle. So this time I’m bringing you the answer to how to travel for long periods of time without spending too much money. It’s actually very simple guys, what I do is work during my trips, save a lot of money, and repeat. Without further ado, here are 5 ideas for you to travel and see the world while you make money at the same time.
1 – Work and travel programs: This is the most popular one, at least in Argentina. Certain countries allow foreigners to sign up to these cultural exchange programs that are usually three to four months long. To participate you have to be under thirty years old and enrolled in college. You get to work for three months with other people around your age in a foreign country, and then you get a month off work just to travel around the country. ¡It’s a traveler’s dream come true! During those months you’ll be working, you’ll get to fully immerse yourself in the working culture of the country you’re visiting, and these programs usually provide housing and transportation for you. So even if it might be a bit pricey to go on them (especially for Latin American people), it’s an investment. What most kids do is work very hard, and they end up getting all their money back, plus more to spend travelling or to bring back home with them. One of the most popular destinations for work and travel programs is the USA, among others.
2 – Working holiday programs: I’ve thinking about going on one of these a lot lately. These are very similar to work and travel programs, except for even longer periods of time (six months to a year). The way they work is the same, except usually you look for a job and housing once you’ve entered the country (these programs tend to be offered by countries with a high employment rate, so it’s not something you should worry about too much). What most people do is work in either the food service industry or in big fields doing stuff such as picking fruit. Again, in this way you get to absolutely immerse yourself in the culture of a new country, working and playing in a new environment for a very long time. You also get time off work to travel around, even to other countries. You also have to be under thirty years old to participate, so it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! (for me, because I’m already 25, but if you’re younger you could take advantage of it and do it more than once). Some of the most popular destinations of working holiday programs are New Zealand and Australia.
3 – Au pair programs: This one is only for girls (I think), and it mostly takes place in the USA as well. You get to travel for a whole year, with the possibility of extending your stay for another year after it. What you do is you and a family with kids pick each other after a telephone or Skype interview and your job is to be a babysitter for the kids, while they provide you with housing (you stay in the family’s house), food, and sometimes even transportation (I’m not talking about money for the bus, I’m talking about you get to drive their cars around). I have friends who have done this and when the family went on vacation to the most dreamy beaches and destinations, they took her with them and took care of all of the expenses! And the fact that you live with them doesn’t mean you’ll be working 24/7. Like with any other job, you get a work schedule and time off to do you own thing. A lof of Latin American girls do this and they are sent to cities all over the USA, they always are in touch with each other because they go to meetings in their home countries before the program starts, so they get together on their days off and explore the city. This is ideal for girls who like being around kids, and a lot college students majoring on teaching programs do this because some families require them to teach Spanish to their kids as well.
4 – Cruises: There are a few cruise companies that hire people for seasonal work. These cruises usually travel around for a period of three months, sometimes even more, and they stop at different cities for like a day or two. The thing with these is that you have to work really hard. The cruise will be at sea for like two whole weeks during which you don’t get days off, and usually working hours are long. Also, you don’t have access to the internet and can’t make or receive phone calls until the cruise stops at some city. This may not be ideal for some people who tend to get homesick, but it is definitely ideal if you want to truly disconnect yourself from life as you know it to be at home and be fully independent from technology and social networks. These cruises often go around Europe or the US, among many other options, so you get to see many different cities and countries within a few months. It is a true traveler’s dream.
5 – Seasonal work: If you want to get to travel your own country and don’t want to deal with visa requirements, this is a good option. A lot of people work seasonally at ski resorts, beach resorts, or national parks. This way, you get to work for two to four months in winter or summer in your own country, being in touch with tourists from all over the world. If you live in a main city, and you want to experience living away from home, visit a new place, and make money at the same time, you can chose to work at a ski resort or a national park and look for accommodation close to your workplace. Those are places where a lot of people chose to vacation at, so you’ll usually be surrounded by gogeous natural landscapes and a lot of cool spots to explore on your free time, not to mention the possibility of being in touch with travelers and gaining valuable work and life experience.
So there you have it. Even if some of these options require you to save some money to pay for them in advance, all of them will for sure give you the possibility of getting your money back, if you’re willing to work for it, not to mention the extra reward of your investment that is the traveling experience. You can also save some extra money to take back home with you, so you can plan your following trip, and repeat it all over again! Some of the countries mentioned will also give you back your tax money after a year, so that’s some extra money you’ll receive when you’re already back home. It’s a win-win situation for young travelers, and I truly advise you to take action and take advantage of your twenties if you want to see the world. Let me warn you, as you get older you might, and I said might, start getting more easily physically tired or want other things, like a steady 9-5 job, a house of your own, or kids, so the time to do it is NOW. What are you waiting for? The possibilities are several, and I can promise you, you’ll remember these experiences for the rest of your life and won’t ever regret them. So, what do you say? Will you take the leap and do it? Do you know of any other options I didn’t mention to travel long-term? Let me know in the comments! XOXO