Working when on the road: tips for supporting yourself on an adventure


If you’ve always dreamed of heading off on a great adventure to see the world, the chances are there’s just one thing holding you back: the expense. You see, while access to a never-ending savings account would be wonderful it’s seldom the reality. So, if you’re not prepared to give up on your travel dream, just how do you make sure you can support yourself? We have just one word for you, and it may be simpler to achieve than you think – work.

Your new travel career: dream big

While the idea of working to fund your travels may conjure images of bar work, tour guiding, or cleaning hostels, there are plenty of other career paths you can follow. Who knows, you may discover a skill you excel at. Thanks to the internet the world seems smaller than ever before, and skills such as writing, editing, design, and web development can be done on the road – as long as you have access to a laptop and Wi-Fi, that is. Perhaps you enjoy writing and would love to turn your travels into a paid article, dream of using the cultures around you to create illustrations, or fancy turning your hand to freelance web design. Whatever you choose, internet accessibility has opened a world of opportunities for freelancers, and you’ll now be able to pitch, search for jobs, and maintain contact with clients, from wherever you are.

If you’ve a good idea that you’ll be attempting to work while you’re away, one of the best things you can do to find, and secure, that dream career is to put feelers out before you leave home. Follow potential connections online, approach businesses that tend to use your skills, and put together a portfolio of your work, alerting those who may be interested to the fact that you’ll shortly be touring a particular country. Perhaps such sites will be keen to hear your stories, would like to receive your graphic design work, or are likely to be looking for freelancers during the time you’ll be travelling.

Research is vital; what are companies looking for? What sort of pay do they offer? Most importantly, don’t leave yourself short of cash; simply assuming that you’ll pick up work while you’re away isn’t enough. If possible, secure yourself freelancing contracts ahead of your travels. Oh, and one last thing – make sure you’re able to commit to deadlines. Do you have access to the internet, usable mobile data and, above all, free time? Companies will be highly unlikely to hire your services again if you let them down once.

Continuing your dream career when you get home

The one downside to travelling is that, eventually, your trip has to end. What happens, though, if you’ve fallen for your new career and aren’t prepared to give it all up? The great news is that you don’t have to: why not pick up as a freelancer or contractor, and use your skills at home?

The rise of the internet, social media, and improved communication around the world has meant that more people than ever are making a successful go of a freelance career, and you could join them. Whether you’ve discovered a passion for writing, have proofread and edited your way around the world, or aren’t ready to give up your design dreams, there’s nothing stopping you making things that little bit more formal once you return.

Sourcing work, keeping in touch with clients, and updating your portfolio will work in much the same way as it did while you travelled, although now is the time to make things official. Have you registered yourself as self-employed, prepared invoices, set up a website, and thought about how you will function as a business? If the thought of such formalities is making your head hurt, check in with an umbrella company, such as Atlantic Umbrella. Their aim is to liaise between freelancers, contractors and clients, and to help with paperwork whenever they can. This will prove a valuable service if you’ve just returned from a lengthy trip abroad; after all, you need to start your business on the right foot.

Travelling the world, finding yourself and learning new skills can be liberating, and shouldn’t have to end when you come home. If you’ve discovered a particular talent for working by yourself embrace it – you never know where you’ll head next.

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