7 Ways to Get Paid to Travel

Ah, voyager. If you’re reading this blog willingly (as I hope so, unless you stumbled upon this blog forced by your travel-loving friend to read it) the possibility that we are sharing the same passion is inevitable. Yes, you have been bitten by the travel bug. Don’t deny it, own it! And make it your full time job. How? Don’t worry about that, let me help you by listing 7 ways to get paid to travel!

Take you chances, go on an adventure: you’ll never know which job is made for you – you won’t know until you find it out yourself. But to prepare you, I’ve listed description of the job, the salary and the pro’s and cons. I also have experience in some of these jobs: in that case, you’ll find my (personal) score with it.

Flight attendant

Tested! My score: 9/10

What: As a flight attendant, you ensure the safety and comfort of your passengers on board. Your tasks include: pre-flight briefing, pre-flight security checks, planning of meals and commercial services, security demonstration, making sure the whole cabin(adults and infants) are safely seated, providing service to the pilots, do the boarding and disembarking of the pax and providing the passengers with the best service possible, served with a smile. Of course, there are more things you have to do – sometimes, you have to be the doctor on board, or the cleaning lady, or the cook. It is a very diverse job, and I didn’t even discuss the best part: staying in luxurious hotels on your airline destinations.

Salary: €€€

You get paid a minimum salary and per flight you get paid an extra amount. Per night that you stay somewhere you get paid another (bigger) extra amount. Besides that, you eat and drink for free from the crew trolley. I admit it: airplane food is not always the best food, but catering does its best for the crew! Your uniform should also be covered by your airline company. Only the training can sometimes be paying (€100-€2000), that depends from airline to airline. You will have parts of these trainings yearly again and you will have to pass it with a high grade. Overall, I give this job a 9: the only point that’s missing is for the irregular schedules and sleep deprivation.

Pro’s:

  • Get paid to stay in hotels
  • Get paid to visit the best destinations
  • You know what to do in emergency situations (First Aid, Fire, …)
  • Satisfying job, working directly with customers
  • Using (and maintaining) multiple languages
  • Job stability (after a while you get offered a fixed-term contract)

Cons:

  • Irregular schedules
  • Non-existing sleeping rhythm
  • Really hard work and trainings
  • Long time away from your home (long haul flights)

Customer service agent

Tested! My score: 7/10

As a Customer Service Representative, you offer support to your company’s clients. Overall, there are many Customer Care jobs in call centers. However, your job doesn’t have to be located in the sector of customer service: I am working as a sales representative – so no problem resolving, only making reservations for hotels – and that also counts as customer service representative. There a lot of big call centers spread across the whole world, so your choice is endless. A lot of these companies offer relocation packages or sign up-bonuses.

Salary: €

Your salary will be the minimum salary of the country where you are based at. If you are at active in the sales sector, like the reservations specialist job, then you can earn performance bonuses, which can help you provide a better salary. But not everyone is lucky enough to have this and in most cases, you won’t get this. On the other hand, you often receive free health insurance, an apartment with all costs covered and more benefits of the company and its partners.

Pro’s:

  • Living abroad
  • Company benefits: apartment, all bills included, health insurance, sign-up bonus
  • Job stability (after a while you get offered a fixed-term contract)

Cons:

  • No direct contact with customers (only through phone or other channels)
  • Low salary

Tour guide/ company representative

Working as a tour guide or representative for a travel agency means that you have to inform your guests about tours, sell them and do them with your guests. You have different variations: you can be only the tour guide – not doing the sales -, you can be a representative – driving from one hotel to the other, selling tours and driving people around in e.g. you TA’s bus, and more. This depends on the job description. Overall, your salary will be a minimum salary and your bonuses will depend on your commissions. The more you sell, the more you earn. Mostly, you can eat for free in the hotels and the company provides you with a car, gas credit and an apartment – the basic means for you to practice your job. This job comes in handy when you want social contact, use your multilingual skills and are open for a temporary or permanent adventure.

Salary: €€

Your salary will be, again, a minimum salary. But, as mentioned before, you receive your apartment with all expenses covered, your car, and gas is also paid for you. Then, you can have free breakfast, lunch and dinner in hotels. Plus, you get commission on everything you sell. And since it’s your job to sell, it’s inevitably that you will get that extra bonus. So, no that bad at all!

Pro’s:

  • Living abroad
  • Having direct contact with clients
  • Learning more about destinations, monuments, tours, activities,…
  • Use your social skills to earn more money
  • Dine for free in hotels
  • Expenses covered (apartment, car, bills, gas,…)
  • Using (and maintaining) multiple languages

Cons:

  • You have to reach a minimum of sales to get around
  • Hard work
  • Repetitive work: same tours, same activities, same destination
  • No job stability (often temporary contracts during summer)

Au Pair

Working as an au pair, you are the nanny for the children of your hosts, but not quite. You will live with a native family and learn their language in exchange for childcare. Since you are living with this family, it means that all your expenses are covered. Of course you get a salary besides this. The salaries of au pairs can differ. I’ve had friends who worked for rich hosts with huge mansions and paid fairly good. Other friends live with a middle class family and their salary was average. It differs from the destination – where in the world are you located? How is the culture? The way of life? The family? In all cases, you will have your expenses like rent, bills and food covered.

Salary: €€

Your salary will be around the minimum wage, but it depends on your host family. Perhaps they pay you a lot more for extra hours or just because they are a very rich family.

Pro’s:

  • Living abroad
  • Having the security of a household family with expenses covered
  • If you love children: spending time with children!
  • Learning a new language

Cons:

  • As you are secure, you are also limited by living with this family: it’s not your “own place”

Teacher Abroad

If you are fluent in English, or you already have a degree in English, you can easily apply as an English teacher anywhere in the world. Of course, for other languages, this is the same, but being an English teacher online or at the other side of the world is the most popular teacher job abroad. You can apply online to earn an English teaching degree, and with that degree you can teach English even in China. Friends of mine did this: they earned the degree online, traveled to China, ended up in an international environment with other colleagues, and earned pretty good – also: the food in China is way cheaper than in Europe, so it depends on the region you are based in as a teacher.

Salary: €€€

The salary is pretty high since big companies will hire you to educate e.g. their employees. Also, depending on the area you are working in, that culture and lifestyle may be very different from yours – it might be cheaper if it’s in Asia, so you can save money too.

Pro’s:

  • Use your degree or get an extra degree
  • Be based wherever you want – English is an international language and you don’t necessarily have to learn the local language, in contrary to being an au pair)
  • Perfect if you want to save some money

Cons:

  • No job stability (often only a couple of weeks)
  • Not everybody is suited to be a teacher (I wouldn’t have the patience to do it)

Couchsurfing / Airbnb Host

The next travel job is pretty obvious. You heard about it tons of times. You’ve seen ads for it. But how do you become an Airbnb or Couchsurfing host without owning an apartment or house? First of all, check your local laws. If you are renting a big apartment and you want to rent out some rooms, you need to check the legal stuff. It’s important. Couchsurfing differs from Airbnb. You can easily put aside a sofa bed to offer a couchsurfer a place to stay. Add some breakfast, lovely location and nice pictures and you have enough customers, that’s for sure. Airbnb is somewhat more complicated. You have to rent out an entire room and a bathroom – are you sharing yours? Or is your apartment big enough and does it have to bathrooms? Anyway, after making these legal steps and obtaining permission to rent out your space, go ahead! Let your accommodation shine to those 260 millions of users!

Salary: €-€€€

The salary is depending on your time and availability. Where are you located? What is the rate of other Airbnb’s near you? How much can you rent out? You can make some money out of this, as long as there is a healthy supply and demand.

Pro’s:

  • Live wherever you want
  • Make money without sitting at a desk or office
  • Create your own schedule

Cons:

  • Be aware of the laws in your region
  • Be careful: you are inviting strangers into your property
  • In times of low season, the demand might be lower

Hotel or Hostel Receptionist/ Cleaning/ …

Tested! My score: 9/10

As a hotel receptionist, you are the face of the hotel! You welcome guests, do check-ins and check-outs, give information about the hotel and the city, have contact with other services (cleaning, roomservice, restaurant,..). If you’re working for the cleaning service, this includes cleaning the rooms, making the beds, etc. I worked as a hostel receptionist and there were many advantages about it, plus the job overall was pretty satisfying and fun.

Salary: €€

Your salary will depend on your employer – working in the Hilton will get you a bigger payslip than working in a cheap hostel – but overall, it’s not bad at all. In most hostels, you can choose to either receive a salary or stay for free in the hostel (mostly in a room shared with other colleagues), plus you can eat for free (if they offer breakfast and other meals) and, of course, both hotels and hostels offer discounts for your stays or friends and family’s discounts.

Pro’s:

  • Living abroad
  • Using (and maintaining) multiple languages
  • Discounts, free stays, free meals, other benefits
  • Having social interactions with your guests and making their stay more comfortable
  • You’ll know all about your city, transport, activities, etc.

Cons:

  • Peak moments (check-outs at the same time)
  • Cleaning: can be physically hard

Reflections on Expat Life: What I’ve Learned So Far & Tips

The loneliness of the expat is of an odd and complicated kind, for it is inseparable from the feeling of being free, of having escaped.

This quote captures the feeling of being an expat perfectly . You are free. You have taken distance from your life at your birth town. Yet you are alone, on a quest. A quest to a life full of adventures, discovering new cultures, traveling, meeting new people, learning, falling and getting up. It is not that different from a normal life based in the same village as your family and friends. It’s just that you have come to the realization that life will end one day, and you want to make the best out of each and every day and life your true purpose.

Phew, that was kind of heavy. Let’s discuss in a more lighter way how the life on an expat is made up. It has been since February 2018 since I last spent an official night as resident at my parents home. After that, I lived in Barcelona and Lisbon. I took a chance, started a new life. Twice. And what I have learned from this, in this relatively short time of period, is beyond what I could have imagined.

You Get To Know Yourself More

Being an expat, living on yourself in a new environment in a new country, you automatically get to know yourself more. You know what you can handle and what you can’t. You discover new interests, new hobbies, new habits, etc. I myself became more strong and spiritual while living in Lisbon. I never liked doing any kind of sports, but here I love devoting my time to yoga. Everybody’s experience is different, of course. But you get to know your habits, your addictions and your needs.

You Blossom Up & Find Your True Purpose

Because you have no outer distractions or influences or other people around you – whether it be family, friends or a lover – you can do completely what you want to do. It’s like solo traveling – you get to do what you want thus you take your chances to try out new things. While trying these new things, you meet new people, you experience what you like and what you don’t like and you can move on with that knowledge.

“Stepping out of that comfort zone is scary. Challenging. Frightening. And the best thing that can happen to you.”

You Gain Independence

Living on yourself or sharing a house with (an)other person(s) causes you to be more independent. You clean, clean up, do groceries, manage your life and household; you know how to take care of yourself and build up your own life. This is important knowledge everybody needs in their lives. To be able to take care of yourself on your own is the most important thing you can learn.

Loneliness & Homesickness Is Inevitable

Even if you build up your own life in a new country, surrounded by glorious self-love, friends, maybe a lover, an amazing job, there will always be missing that one part: family. You will be homesick and you will miss your family and friends at home. That’s natural; how can you not miss the most important people in your life? But that is what makes the visit to home that much better and fulfilling. And the moments when you cherish these people and memories, will give you a feeling of gratitude because you realize you have these amazing people to miss.

Being An Expat Opens Up Your Mind & the World

Let’s continue with the most wonderful advantage, and maybe the reason why you became or want to become an expat: discover the world. Explore new cultures. Not as a tourist, but as an expat. By living somewhere, and truly mixing in that culture, you will gain experience about how that culture truly is like. It opens up your mind: you are open to new experiences, like learning that new language, getting to know all about the local food, music, traditions, and so on. And hereby comes the realization of how big the world is (and that you should explore as much as you can).

You Are Open To New Experiences

Imagine living at your parents’ village your entire life. Would you try new things? Things that scare you? Would you eat new kinds of food that you never heard about before? Would you learn a new language, not by an online course but by really speaking and hearing it? Your answer is probably no. In your comfort zone, you are safe. You are comforted. Stepping out of that comfort zone is scary. Challenging. Frightening. And the best thing that can happen to you.

When you are living abroad, you don’t mind trying new things. And that is healthy – us humans have to be open to new things, it’s good for us. That’s how you learn things in life. I wrote a list of all the things I learned during my time as an expat, and I probably didn’t write it all, but the list is long. And it is only getting longer. Not just language or culture-wise, but also personally. If you are an expat, I suggest you to do the same. It is mind-opening to see how much you’ve learned during a period.

So don’t be afraid. Go after your dreams. Step out of your comfort zone. Whatever your dream or aspiration in life is: go for it. Because the world is big and there is a lot to discover. I hope you have a clearer image about the life of an expat and what my experiences are.