Work to Live, Live to Travel! 7 Types of Paid Jobs Abroad with Accommodation
The nine-til-five job got you down?
It might be time for a change.
Here’s an idea: Break out of your comfort zone, pack up your desk and say goodbye to the daily grind forever! Well, at least for a year or two.
How, exactly? By relocating overseas.
Working abroad isn’t as difficult and expensive as people tend to think. Especially because you might not have to pay rent!
That’s right, many overseas employers entice foreign workers with free accommodation on top of their monthly paycheck.
What to consider before working abroad
Work permits and visas
Performing any remunerated work in a foreign country requires the appropriate work visa. By definition, remunerated means working in exchange for money or goods and services.
The difficulty of obtaining a work visa varies tremendously, depending on the country in question and the nationality of the applicant.
One easy workaround is the Working Holiday Visa. With it, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and Britons (among others) can work and travel in a member country for up to 12 months. The application process is relatively straightforward, although only young workers, typically under age 30, may apply.
One-way ticket restrictions
In some cases, you might enter a country on a tourist visa and receive your work visa after you’ve arrived.
If you travel on a one-way ticket with a tourist visa, chances are the airline will request proof of onward travel before allowing you to board. This common immigration requirement is in place to affirm the traveler doesn’t intend on overstaying.
A simple solution is to purchase a fully refundable flight to any other country, then cancel it upon arriving at your destination.
Learning the language
Depending on where you go, you may need to learn a new language.
But don’t despair, for language learning can be rewarding and fun!
Try FluentU free for 15 days and start watching videos to hone your skills. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, game shows and sports programs—and turns them into language learning experiences.
Planning on working in multiple countries for free accommodation? Good news! With only one account, you can access all nine FluentU languages.
Unless you can acquire local health insurance at your intended destination, you’re going to need a travel insurance policy. The main problem is that many policies exclude workplace injuries.
Check the fine print before making a purchase.
Some countries require expatriates to pay taxes at home as well as abroad. Effectively, this puts the overseas worker in the unenviable situation of being taxed twice. Talk about a double whammy!
Conditions vary, so research your personal situation to evaluate whether overseas work is worth it for you.
Work to Live, Live to Travel! 7 Types of Paid Jobs Abroad with Accommodation
1. The hostel worker
Working in a backpacker-orientated hostel is a favorite entry-level position for young travelers. Requirements are low regarding qualifications and experience, and employers rarely demand a commitment for more than a month or so.
Best of all, most hostels provide a fun and relaxed work environment with ample opportunity to make new friends from all over the world.
More often than not, you’ll work closely with backpackers in reception or restaurant positions. Some jobs include housekeeping responsibilities as well.
Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America tend to offer the best pay and conditions. Some hostel gigs are unpaid, with the worker receiving compensation in the form of food and accommodation instead.
Hostel Jobs and Hostel Travel Jobs list thousands of paid and unpaid positions. Workaway contains volunteer gigs only.
2. The farm hand
Working on a farm is the ideal occupation for outdoor lovers who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. And by dirty, we mean tough manual labor.
Nevertheless, it’s an excellent way to keep fit, save money and live an authentic rural lifestyle in a faraway land.
Seasonal farm work is available all over the world. Naturally, however, it’s only financially viable in developed nations. In the developing world, travelers tend to offer their services for a cultural exchange—with the added bonus of free food and accommodation—rather than an attempt to earn income.
A popular and profitable place is Australia, where an army of foreign workers picks fruit from the country’s countless orchids. Australia has a strong economy and large agricultural sector, so well-paying jobs are a dime a dozen. Many of which include accommodation!
A word of warning, though: There are some seriously unscrupulous operators out there. Dodgy Aussie farm owners have been known to exploit their international staff. Most vulnerable are Working Holiday Visa holders who are legally required to perform three months of agricultural work to obtain a second-year visa extension.
Always thoroughly research and obtain unbiased feedback on an employer before committing.
WWOOF lists volunteer farm jobs around the world. Backpacker Job Board and Fruit Picking Jobs have paid positions in Australia only.
3. The au pair
Working as an au pair is an excellent way to experience a new culture while receiving free accommodation and board.
An au pair is essentially a live-in nanny. However, by definition (the term means “equal to” in French), they should be treated as an equal member of the household. Typical duties include taking care of the children and perhaps performing a bit of light housework.
Obviously, you’ll need to get along well with kids to enjoy the role. Those interested in teaching or childcare as a career will acquire valuable experience along the way.
Pay tends to be low—between 100 and 500 USD per month—which is enough to cover basic expenses but not sufficient to save. Most families prefer women under age 30.
Positions in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe tend to be the most popular for the favorable conditions they entail. Of course, France is the quintessential place to work in this position!
However, more adventurous au pairs may opt to work for wealthy families in exotic destinations such as Asia and the Middle East.
Au Pair, Great Au Pair and Au Pair World all facilitate positions around the globe.
4. The ski season worker
Working a snow season is the ideal occupation for avid skiers and snowboarders.
Typical jobs include hotel and service industry workers, ski lift operators and ski instructors. As employees can ski for free in their time off, these jobs are often highly sought after. Get in early and write a killer application for the best chance of landing a gig.
Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe and North America are the go-to destinations for seasonal resort workers. Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb Resort is particularly famous for its abundance of fresh snow and hedonistic nightlife.
Regardless of where you work, pay is modest and may or may not include accommodation. Most workers don’t seem to mind, though. In the end, it’s all about chasing those fresh tracks.
Season Workers, Ski Jobs, Cool Ski Jobs and Best Ski Jobs are all great resources for finding work. Alternatively, browse the website of your preferred resort for openings.
5. The bartender
Working in a bar wouldn’t normally include free accommodation, unless that bar happened to be a pub in the United Kingdom.
Pulling pints for the regulars is a right of passage for young Australians, Kiwis and South Africans who come to work in the U.K. during the summertime in droves.
Most arrive on a Working Holiday Visa with the aim of earning a little extra dough for their travels through Europe. Yet despite some gigs including free rent in a room upstairs, a modest pay of around £5 per hour means bar staff must be thrifty to come out ahead.
London is the most popular spot for live-in pub work, although opportunity abounds throughout the U.K. Try Gumtree for listings.
6. The English teacher
Granted, English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers don’t always receive free accommodation. Nevertheless, qualified and experienced educators may well be able to negotiate such perks, particularly in more profitable destinations.
China, South Korea, Japan and the Middle East tend to offer the best pay and conditions, although other Asian destinations such as Vietnam and Malaysia are worth a look as well. These places are so desperate for native teachers that they often offer bonuses such as flights and accommodation to sweeten the deal.
Experience and a TEFL certificate pay dividends in landing a great job. However, it’s possible to find work without either of the above.
TeflSearch, ESL Employment, TEFL net and Dave’s ESL Cafe all advertise a variety of international positions. As always, be on the lookout for scams.
7. The cruise ship worker
Working on a cruise liner is an awesome gig for those who want to see the world and save a little money along the way. Having said that, this gig isn’t quite as cushy as some of the others in this list. There’s quite a bit of work involved, with extended hours and repetitive menial tasks being the norm.
Common positions include entertainment, service, casino and restaurant staff. Those with the necessary expertise could land a gig as a nurse, engineer or mariner.
As you might expect, food and accommodation on board are taken care of.
Cruising is an international industry that changes with the seasons. The most heavily trafficked routes ply the waters of North America and the Carribean, across the Atlantic to Europe and the Pacific Islands to Australia.
Working on a luxury river cruise liner through Europe is another possibility.
Cruise Ship Jobs and All Cruise Jobs are aggregate listings from various liners.
Other jobs can be found directly through company websites such as Princess, Disney Cruise Line and Carnival.
There are plenty of jobs around the world for expats who want to save on accommodation.
Sure, you may not come home with a bulging savings account. In fact, you might not save anything at all.
What you will receive, however, is an insightful cultural exchange and some valuable experience to put on your C.V.
And One More Thing…
If you’re excited to work abroad, you’ll love using FluentU. FluentU makes it possible to learn languages from music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks. Once you’re conversational in the language, finding a job and succeeding as an employee become much easier!
With FluentU, you learn real languages—the same way that natives speak them. FluentU has a wide variety of videos like movie trailers, funny commercials and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn’t catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s “quiz mode.” Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It uses that vocab to give you a 100% personalized experience by recommending videos and examples.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store or from the Google Play store. You’ll be working abroad in no time!
Harry is a South American-based freelance writer who covers travel, the arts, and culture, among many other things.