Long-term traveling is the best. It is an opportunity to learn, connect and, most importantly, to relax. I have always found the best version of myself after long-term traveling trips. The only problem is that eventually the money runs out and you are forced to begin thinking about what you will do to replenish your piggy-bank.
But what if you didn’t have to go search for a job? What if you could work four days per month and make enough money to fund your future travels?
Here is how we were able to make $1,000 a month, while traveling, while working only four days per month.
1) Get a job working as an online teacher.
We have covered this in other posts, but will list our resources section again for anyone who has not read the post. The main idea is simple. If you are a native English speaker and you have a computer and a headset, you will likely be able to find work as an English teacher.
***VERY IMPORTANT RESOURCES***
This website has a vast list of companies offering online teaching services:
This website also has an expansive list of companies offering online teaching services:
If interested in learning more about a particular company, go to this Facebook group and ask away: https://www.facebook.com/groups/online.esl.job.reviews/
***END OF VERY IMPORTANT RESOURCES***
2) Set aside two weekends per month that you can devote entirely to teaching.
No trips, no partying, no nothing. Just teaching. On these same weekends, book a private room at a nice hostel or mid-level hotel. Book Friday night through Sunday morning. Be sure to check on the connection of the WI-FI. Call before you book and explain your situation. Explain that you will be working and that a strong online video connection is important for your job. Ask them for upload and download speeds.
It is better to pay a little more for a stable WI-FI connection than to risk it and have all of your classes cancelled because you cannot log-in to the site.
Book as many classes as you possibly can for these weekends. Accept the fact that your life will suck and that you are not going to have an enjoyable two days. Remember that this is a means to an end. After these two days are done, you will have at least two weeks to travel, relax and get back to enjoying life.
Because many major online ESL companies, such as VIPKID, offer classes to their students on the weekends, the weekend can be a great time to make some serious money in a 2-3 day period of time. Here is what my schedule looked like. Please note that I was in South America, on CST. I was working for VIPKID, so all of my students were in China. Depending on where you are in the world, you will have to adjust your schedule to teach at times that fall in line with when class slots are available:
Friday night (Saturday morning Beijing) – 8:00PM – 2:00AM
Saturday morning (Saturday night Beijing) – 6:00AM – 10:00AM
Saturday night (Sunday morning Beijing) – 8:00PM – 3:00AM
Sunday morning (Sunday night Beijing) – 7:00AM – 10:00AM
If you are up for it, there is definitely the possibility of working more hours than this. I have met other traveling teachers who would sleep all day then just pull an all-nighter, working 8:00PM – 6:00AM Friday and Saturday nights. What exact hours you decide to work will be up to you. I personally liked the short 3-4 hour breaks in-between classes to grab a quick nap and recharge.
This schedule worked out to be 20 hours per weekend. At $22/hour, which was my hourly rate with VIPKID at the time, I was able to make $440 per weekend. I did this twice a month, which worked out to $880 per month. Add in bonuses offered by VIPKID for teaching more than 45 classes in a month and my final paycheck came to just under $1,000.
Again, sleep will be at a premium when you are doing this. Suck it up and remind yourself that you only need to do this twice each month. Small price to pay to be able to travel the world.
3) Expense it.
If you are from the United States, be sure to save your receipts from your hotel or Air BnB stays. Booking a private room so that you have a quiet space to teach is very much a business expense.
If you are new to teaching online, remember that most online teaching companies will hire you as an independent contractor, which means that you will be responsible for paying your own personal income and social security taxes. One way to counteract a huge tax bill is to have business expenses that are close to, or equal, your annual earnings. Your expenses from these weekend teaching binges will help come tax-time.
If you are looking for a free and simple system for tracking receipts and expenses, we recommend Wave Accounting:
And that is it. It is not glorious and it is not going to be a ton of fun, but the strategy outlined above is a great way to make enough money to keep your finances afloat while you travel.