An Insider’s Guide To Travel: Ways To Work And Travel

An insider’s guide to travel #4

Amy, from our Ideas & Imagination team, is spending most of her Summer travelling and will be sharing regular insight along the way in her insider’s guide to travel. This week Amy discusses ways to work and travel…

On our trip we’ve met many people who challenge the traditional nine to five graduate job. I decided to get more information from a few people who are subverting the traditional career model in favour of working to travel the world.


One of the highest growths in the field of education is teaching English to none native English speakers. ‘TEFL’ is an acronym for teach English as a foreign language, a certification that fluent English speakers can undertake allowing them to teach English abroad across the world. The certification itself is internationally recognised meaning holders of the certificate can apply for work anywhere and everywhere. While travelling, we’ve met a number of people who are either seeking their TEFL using the online course or already teaching in countries across Asia. All share the common goal of travel, and see teaching abroad as a solution to subsidise their adventure.

Eugene, Belarus 24
‘I’ve lived in Shanghai teaching for three years, despite only meaning to stay one – I can’t seem to leave! They pay a lot of money for English teachers and the school holidays mean I have time to travel the surrounding areas. I love living in China because it is a country full of opportunity. In fact, I love Shanghai to the extent that I have started my masters in Chinese at East China Normal University.’

Will, England 22
‘I studied Politics at university and despite work experience, I couldn’t seem to get a graduate job anywhere. I initially used TEFL as a way of feeling like I was doing something for a year, as I’d always wanted to visit Vietnam (where he is doing his placement). However, I now don’t see myself going back to England anytime soon. It’s so easy to travel with TEFL and the cost of living is so much cheaper over here than home. I want to do another couple of years before I start my proper career, as I worry that when I start climbing the career ladder I won’t be able to travel as much.’



My job and degree have come up in conversation with staff and other guests alike in several of the places we have stayed. In Gili Traweng we became particularly close with the hostel staff and, after speaking with the owner about her plans for expansion, she offered me an open ‘placement’ for the foreseeable future. After discussing with other guests, it became clear that many hostels offer similar ‘placements’ to guests with creative skill sets. Furthermore, some franchises like the Mad Monkey go as far as providing a formal program. Mad Monkey’s program is rooted in content creation and allows creatives to stay free in any of their hostels. In return, the company asks that creatives provide content promoting the country in which they are residing, in order to encourage more people to explore South East Asia. Similar to commercial placements, my friend Kirsty plans to travel the world through utilising NGO placements to build up her portfolio before trying to find a job in the third sector within the UK.

Kirsty, 21, England
‘I’ve done several volunteer placements through my involvement with RAG at the university, including organising events and campaigns. At the end of volunteer trips we’ve always had the opportunity to travel. This has allowed me to realise that while I love seeing new countries, I also need a purpose. For me, NGO work gives me the best of both worlds as I can experience new cultures, while doing something meaningful. NGO work across the globe opens so many doors for me career wise as I want to go into the third sector. Therefore, working with different organisations will allow me to build up a network and develop skills for my career. ‘


Australia Work and Holiday Visa (Temporary)

Bali is a hot destination for young holidaymakers from Australia, hence there seemed to be an abundance of backpackers either starting or ending their Australian adventure. The ‘Work and Holiday (Temporary) Visa’ allows young people with passports from partner countries, aged between eighteen and thirty, to work and travel across Australia. A lot of individuals we met chose to work on farms, from cotton to wineries, and nearly all recommended the experience saying Australia itself is beautiful.

Alric 19 Germany
‘I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school, so my brother suggested I meet him in Australia as he had just started working on the ‘Work and Holiday Visa’. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Yes, cotton picking is as boring as it sounds, but there are so many incredible places in Australia to visit that it makes it all worth it. I love the atmosphere of working out here and it’s made me realise there is more to life than my high school made out. The time out gave me the space to think and I have decided I want to study engineering. However, I am going to try and apply for a second visa because I don’t want to go to university straight away.’