(5 beneficial ways to sustain long term travel is Part 1 of a 2 part post on keep long term travel going months and years on end on the tightest of budgets)
Your long term travel/backpacking trip is coming towards the end…
You’ve falling in love with this nomadic life and don’t want to go home, but you’re broke. You’ve heard of others doing it for years but how?
How can they keep long term travel going as a budget backpacker?
As a budget backpacker myself, one who’s been long term traveling since 2010 (Find out about my journey if this is your first time reading) I get asked how I keep long term travel going all the time. Newbie budget backpackers are shocked when I tell them It’s been years not just months, friends back home, and even family scratch their heads in wonder.
They wonder how I can keep long term travel going because I’m always broke. I don’t have a trust fund, or any funds readily available so sometimes they jump to conclusions. I’ve heard loads of theories, some of them are funny, some of them are just ridiculous. I’ve even heard things like I’m a drugs mule; which isn’t true but to them how else could I afford to sustain long term travel! Nobody ever thinks I just get myself some backpacker jobs to keep me going!
How the conversation usually flows with a newbie budget backpacker
Fellow backpacker: How long have you been a budget backpacker for?
Me: A while now, I’m a long term traveler.
Fellow backpacker: Yeah me too. I’ve been on the road for 3 months now but time to go home soon. I’ve never been away from home for this long, I’m scared to go back to reality. So how many months has it been for you?
Me: For me It’s been years, not months. 6 and a half years was my longest stretch without going home. My trips have got shorter but minimum of 7 or 8 months.
Fellow backpacker: What the fuck! How? How is that even possible? You must be well rich then!
Me: No I’m always broke, no trust fund here. I just do backpacker jobs to sustain long term travel. I stop in a place, work when I need to, then carry on being a budget backpacker.
Fellow backpacker: That’s incredible, I wish I could do that. I don’t want to go home, how can I sustain long term travel like you?
That’s been a regular conversation I’ve had over the years with budget backpackers, not exactly in the same words but same general flow. It’s only when I explain how they can also sustain long term travel that they understand how it can be done.
How you can sustain long term travel for years not just months.
Of course to sustain long term travel while being a budget backpacker for years isn’t so easy as just getting jobs. It requires mental strength and desire to keep going, you’ve got to dig deep sometimes, push yourself, be willing to keep opening your mind to new situations and circumstances. You have to be aware things will go to shit sometimes. Part 2 maintaining long term travel covers the mental side of things, and the mechanics of long term travel.
In this post we will cover how the strength of your passport, the different visas you can obtain can determine how long you can keep long term travel going and how long you can stay in a country or region for. And we dive into the 5 most common backpacker jobs available for you to keep your long term travel going for years on end.
All you need is a laptop and earn 6 figures!
I’m not going down that route with you. I’m sure you’ve all seen loads of articles saying you just need your laptop and you can earn $$$ to keep long term travel going. Yeah that might be true for those with specific skills but for the majority of us that’s bollocks (Says the travel blogger).
Of course we do live in a digital age, and yeah more and more jobs allow you to work remotely (more on this further on) but It’s not that simple for a lot of us actual backpackers. Not all backpackers set out to be travel bloggers ( I know I didn’t, in fact apart from one or two I didn’t even like travel blogs), not all backpackers know how to code or are expert programmers.
I for one, had ZERO experience, qualifications or technical knowledge when I started blogging. I had to google the things I googled just to understand what I was trying to do.
In fact I stumbled into blogging, I never set out traveling and roaming around the world to be a blogger, it never crossed my mind for the first 7 years of my backpacking life. I will always be a budget backpacker first, and a blogger second, not the other way around.
Of course if you do want to get into the Digital nomad life, of some sort; if you want to be a blogger, vlogger, writer, programmer, coder, and you have the desire to learn, go for it.
However, below we will look at some other backpacker jobs you can do to sustain long term travel.
Strength of your passport/ visas allowed if needed
It’s unfortunate but not all of us can just arrive in any country in the world and decide we want to stay there, work there, live there and travel there for as long as we want. There are restrictions, there are visas, there are time limits on how long you can be there for. Always check before you start your trip what visa requirements you may need for a particular destination. Check if you need one in the first place or if you’re allowed to work there.
Some countries and regions have specific relationships and agreements with other countries so you may find where you’re from beneficial for you to keep long term travel going. For example those from Europe can travel freely through other EU countries with the freedom to live, travel and work for as long as they want. I’m from the Uk and pre-brexit this was the case for us. But now the the UK have left the EU, there will be different rules for us (at the time of writing the requirements are still unknown)
However there are countries you will travel too and will require tourist visa’s or an Esta, or a visa on Arrival. There are countries which will have time limits on how long you can stay I.E 30 days, 60days, 90 days. Typically if you travel to a country on a tourist visa or any type you’re not legally allowed to work there. However there are other visas an programs for travelers which do allow you to work. The most common is a working holiday visa, this visa allows you to legally obtain any job not just backpacker jobs. (Known in other formats in some countries).
Working Holiday Visa
A working holiday visa is one of the most popular ways to sustain long term travel and get backpacker jobs. It allows you to work as you travel, the visa is available in a number of countries all over the world and available for people between 18-31. (Sucks after you become 31)
So how does it work? Well in a nutshell, with a working holiday visa, you’re allowed to be a country for a year in most cases (Sometimes you can apply for the 2nd year.) During your time in the country, you are allowed to work in full-time employment for a single company for up to 6 months. Technically you’re only supposed to supplement your travels but in reality, you’ll work and earn as much as you can to keep long term travel going.
There is no limit on what type of work you can do, so you can apply for and work in any backpacker jobs that suits your skills. So that could be office work, sales, restaurant or bar work, laboring, or if you have skills in a specific niche. Basically, any job you did back home you can apply for.
During my Working Holiday visa in Australia, I didn’t want to work in the same field I did back home. So, through my backpacker hostel, I was able to pick up odd backpacker jobs. And also tried my hand at jobs I wouldn’t usually do like removals, construction, demolition which are typical backpacker jobs out there. It was only once I got my second year visa I got a full time job for a while.
Second-year option to keep long term travel going
Some countries will allow you to apply for a second-year extension depending what country you are from (mainly between Commonwealth countries and agreements between certain countries). It depends what country you’re in on how you can get your send year. For example, if you want a second year in Australia you have to undertake 3 months rural work, while in other countries you can apply directly for a second year once proving you have enough funds to continue your stay.
There is an abundance of backpacker jobs you can undertake in volunteering. It doesn’t matter what type of visa you have, because with volunteering, you won’t physically get paid. You typically do get accommodation and food in exchange for the backpacker jobs you’ve chosen to do.
Volunteering is such a great way to experience traveling, giving you a completely different experience of local culture. Not only will it help you sustain long term travel but it can fill you with such a sense of accomplishment knowing that you’ve helped make a difference to a local community.
There are so many organizations that offer all kinds of options. Organisations like HelpX or workaways can help partner you with local families or certain projects. You can choose to live with a local family, help with day-to-day work, work on farms through Wwoofing, wildlife conservation’s, marine conservation, community building projects, and many other programs and backpacker jobs for you to choose from.
If you like kids, and have a burning desire to teach, then this is another popular choice of backpacker jobs to help sustain long term travel for budget backpackers.
Being able to speak English in a foreign country is a massive plus if you’re looking to work and the best way to put your English to work is to teach. With teaching jobs there are paid options if you’re qualified already, volunteer programs, and some local families may even swap accommodation in exchange for you teaching their children English.
Like with Volunteering there are so many different types of options on offer. Different countries will have different requirements for travelers wanting to teach; like different levels of qualifications and experience.
In some countries, you don’t actually have to be a qualified teacher back home. In these cases, you can obtain TEFL qualifications which you can complete online.
Although I’ve never taught myself, I have met a lot of fellow long term budget backpackers who fell in love with teaching and use it to keep long term travel going. These are people who never considered teaching beforehand but wanted to prolong their travels and loved it so much they became fully qualified teachers.
And of course, teaching isn’t limited to the classrooms now. You can teach online to students from all over the world.
Casual backpacker jobs
Of course I realise and know, It’s not just that simple to walk into any country and be allowed to work. In fact unless you’re on a working holiday visa, or you’re from a country that has an agreement with another I.E, EU countries (Not including the UK anymore) It’s illegal to get a job.
However that’s not to say there are not ways around it. There are certain ‘casual’ backpacker jobs you can do, or a better way to say it; under the table work to keep long term travel going. This isn’t exactly legal, but there are always local workers who are on the lookout for somebody to do casual work. You of course wouldn’t officially be an employee, you wouldn’t get taxed, and in most cases be paid in cash. Sounds dodgy I know, but it happens everywhere.
You could find yourself doing some ‘casual’ backpacker jobs on a farm in the middle of nowhere, you might find yourself doing some manual labour, some bar work, promotions work or some other causal backpacker jobs.
There are other backpacker jobs you can pick up that are not illegal, like working in the hostel. Many hostels all over the world offer work in exchange for rent to keep long term travel going. However sometimes with hostel and other casual work, you need to keep an open mind. You never know what can be asked of you.
I know I made a joke about this towards the begin of this post, but if you do have the means to work through your laptop and earn money then you’re at a huge advantage to keep long term travel going.
We do live the digital age, working remotely accessible more than ever and if you’re a budget backpacker with any skill set in an IT professional then this is a no brainer for you.
The most common type of remote and freelancer jobs are IT developers, website design, online marketing, online business owners, graphic designers, SEO consultants, bloggers, vloggers writers, photographers, freelancers but there are plenty of other options.
I even met a budget backpacker in Nicaragua, his backpacker job was working remotely for an American based telemarketing company. He would simply put in 4-6 hours every other day on the hostel computer, use a mobile provided by his company and make his calls. This was a traveler who hadn’t stepped foot in America for more than 5 years.
Other options to sustain long term travel for budget backpackers
Make and sell trinkets or ornaments
Where there’s a want there’s a way
As you can see from this post if you have a want to sustain long term travel then you will find a way for it to happen with some sort of backpacker jobs. Here’s the thing, long term budget traveling can be difficult, it can be a grind, and it isn’t always glamorous but the rewards you get out of it will change you and your way of thinking.
There may be some of you reading this and saying “I could never do backpacker jobs like this”, it’s too risky, that you need the security – Well if then Long term budget backpacking isn’t for you. However, If you do want to do it, then any of the backpacker jobs above will help you out.
Now that you’ve seen the types of backpacker jobs you can do head over to Part 2, maintaining long term travel and read how your mental strength and desire to keep long term travel will play a big part on just how long you can keep it going for. You may find yourself roaming the world for years with the right combination of backpacker jobs, and mental strength.
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