When I left for China to teach English at 21, I was determined to save as much money as possible to travel for cheap. When I arrived, I realized that I could travel even cheaper than I ever imagined by actually getting PAID to travel! These 3 ways to get paid to travel will make you realize that this is a totally viable way to get free travel!
There were so many work perks that you could take advantage of. My work paid for my housing and food so my monthly salary was nearly 100% dedicated to travel.
Even though I’m settled in my ‘big girl career,’ I still love to travel for cheap and use all my old ‘backpacking hacks’ to get other people to pay for my travel.
Whether that’s through scholarships, traveling jobs, or even being a flight attendant – I always love getting a good deal!
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‘Move Abroad’ Master Class
If you’re serious about moving and living abroad, do be sure to check out my ‘How to Move Abroad’ Master Class. It’s an intensive 5 week, online class that will give you end-to-end support with the whole process!
We’ll be talking about visas, immigration, moving logistics and so much more. There are also creative ways to get paid to travel with specifics and websites!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to DM me on Instagram @wanderonwards. I love hearing from you all and I love
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How to Get Paid to Travel
In this article, you’re going to learn how to travel for cheap WHILE getting others to pay for your travel through:
- Working in ‘Client-facing’ Roles
- Expat Packages (work sponsorship)
1. Work in ‘Client-Facing’ Roles
Throughout my career in marketing and tech, I’ve always been in ‘Partner or Client-Facing’ Roles. This means, I’m the face of Company X to a partner or client and therefore, I can justify traveling out to visit them based on company needs.
When you’re traveling for work, your job has the responsibility to pay for:
- Travel costs (Airplane, car, train, gas etc)
- Accommodation costs (Hotel, AirBnb, etc)
- Food, Drinks, and Snacks (Typically you have a specific daily budget)
- Any costs associated with doing business (Client dinner, events, etc)
Depending on the flexibility of your company, you can sometimes ‘add on’ a personal trip to your business trip by staying in that city for a long weekend or having them fly you in and out to a different location.
This is how I currently get paid to travel because I organize my travel around where my job sends me.
For example, I had a Bali Fitness Retreat that I planned on attending so I tacked it to the end of my Hong Kong work trip. I flew out to Hong Kong to visit colleagues and partners from Monday to Friday and then I flew to Bali for a long weekend (Fri – Tues).
If was actually cheaper for my company to pay for an extra night in Hong Kong and then fly me out on Tuesday night when I got back from Bali.
My company ended up paying for the whole business trip, my international flights to/from Hong Kong, and all of my food in Hong Kong.
FYI: This flexibility is not always honored by companies and the ability to be ‘client-facing‘ depends on your role.
Careers that require ‘Partner or Client-Facing’ Travel
- Account Management
- Event Management
- Diplomat or Aid worker
You can literally study anything and end up in any of these roles. If you want to know more about specifics regarding how to travel for cheap with your job, feel free to DM on IG @wanderonwards.
2. Work Sponsorship (Expat Packages)
If you have accepted a work opportunity abroad, you’re likely entitled to a ‘relocation package’ of some sort. That means your company will cover all or most costs associated with moving abroad for you and your family. This is the BEST way to travel for cheap because you save so much of your own salary.
- Up to $5,000 in flexible funds to move objects, pets, etc
- Paid for flights
- Immigration & tax paperwork done by company
- 3-month temporary housing or fully paid for accommodation for the duration of your stay.
- A much more generous salary than locals or expats on local contracts
- Generous holiday allowances
Industries with availible Expat Packages:
- Teaching at an International School
- Teaching English
- Working in a highly skilled profession (Law, Medicine, Tech)
- Working as an Aid Worker or Diplomat
Unfortunately, Expat packages are difficult to secure as most companies will want you to work for them in your local market for a few years before investing in a move abroad.
Teaching at an International School is by far the best way to secure an Expat Package because they are very generous financially and you’ll likely only work from 8-3 pm with a handful of classes.
3. Government-Sponsored or Specialty Scholarships
More often than we realize, there are loads of government-sponsored academic exchanges between countries. In 2015, I was granted a full scholarship to Fudan University in Shanghai, China to do a 2-year Master’s in Chinese Language and Culture. I ended up not taking the opportunity because I got engaged just a month after my acceptance and I decided to pursue a life in the UK instead.
This scholarship was based on an initiative from the Obama administration and unfortunately, it no longer exists.
Costs Covered by the Scholarship:
- All university and tuition fees
- Dormitory costs
- On-campus food costs
- Visa costs
- Plane ticket to China
If you’re applying to an academic program or internship, there are academic and need-based scholarships available. Depending on the size of your scholarship, you could have everything from your tuition to living costs covered.
You might even get ‘spending money’ for general expenses that you can repurpose to travel for cheap!
- There are loads of country-specific scholarships for those studying in ‘less popular’ countries.
- As education typically costs less outside of America, a little bit goes a long way.
- You need at least a 6 month lead time to apply, interview, and be accepted for a program and scholarship.
I hope you learned something about getting other people to pay for your travel! Whatever you lack in money and privilege you’re going to have to make it up in hustle and that’s okay.
I was exactly where you were once and now I’m living my best life on my own terms.
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