The Portable Paycheck That Could Be Your Ticket Overseas

“But what will I live on?” It’s a common refrain among folks who dream of life overseas, but don’t have a ready source of income to fund it. (After all, even in the most affordable destinations, you can’t live for free.)

Good news is: You’d be surprised at the many ways you can collect a portable paycheck…all over the world. From teaching in Taiwan to family practice in Australia to leading tours in Guatemala, thousands of opportunities exist.

Whatever your expertise or your area of interest, there’s a job waiting for you in a dream destination. It’s simply a matter of finding the right fit…

For example, have you ever gone on vacation only to plummet back down to earth when you get back to the daily grind? But what if your daily grind was taking vacations?

For four years, Jess Lee has been a tour leader with one of the world’s top adventure-travel companies. “For anyone who doesn’t mind hard work in exchange for a job where no two days will ever be the same, you really can’t go wrong,” she says. “Unfortunately, a lot of people who would make great tour leaders are put off from applying because they think they’re too old or don’t have the right skills.”

In fact, the oldest leader Jess has worked with was in her 60s, and most travel companies want their tour leaders to have life experience and maturity. These days, companies are more likely to hire someone who has worked in a people-orientated career and been a previous passenger on one of their tours than someone who has, simply, traveled extensively.

To make employers sit up and take notice of your resume or application, highlight any experience you have with leadership skills, problem-solving skills, and, naturally, any relevant travel you’ve done.

“You won’t get rich as a tour leader, but while you’re on tour you will have no accommodation costs and in most places you will eat for free, which brings down the cost of living dramatically,” says Jess.

“New leaders shouldn’t expect to earn much more than $50 per day, rising to $80 to $100 per day once you gain experience.

“The real highlight of the job is that there’s no such thing as an average day,” says Jess. “One day you may be leading a hike and the next showing your clients your favorite local drinking dens.”

Editor’s Note: Eoin Bassett is the managing editor of International Living magazine. He recently produced a series dedicated to “portable paychecks,” part of which is included above. IL’s monthly magazine regularly includes articles about how you can make money overseas and includes profiles of those who have done so successfully. Subscribe to International Living magazine to find out more.


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