Are you someone who has caught the travel bug? Does the idea of living in another country and soaking up the culture and language sound irresistible to you? Are you wondering how to travel the world for free?
If these describe you, I may have just the solution for your nomadic yearnings. It’s totally possible to live in another country either for very little money.
Here are four ways you can make it happen:
1. Be a House Sitter
People all around the world need house sitters to take care of their homes while they are away. You can take advantage of this to score a free place to stay for a while in another country. House sitting assignments can last for as little as a couple of weeks to several months.
In exchange for free rent, you’ll be expected to take care of a few things. This is the main reason people use house sitters – to make sure their homes are taken care of while they are away.
Thankfully, most of the things you’ll be expected to do are simple and don’t take much time. Some of the most common reasons people use house sitters include mowing the lawn, taking care of pets, checking the mail, and others.
Many also like to use house sitters as a theft deterrent. Just having someone present to give a home that “lived in” look and turn the lights on at night is enough to ward off many thieves.
To get started in international house sitting, you need to set up a profile on one or more of the house sitting websites that list available opportunities. One of the most popular is Trusted House Sitters.
These websites operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and the most desirable house sitting opportunities tend to go fast. Some of these websites allow you to sign up for email alerts that go out as soon as a new listing is posted. You can be ready to bid by making sure your profile is complete and ready to go.
2. Teach English
Teaching English as a second language (ESL) is a great way to live in another country. The demand for native English speakers is strong, and if you have at least a bachelor’s degree and certification to teach ESL (more on that in a bit), you stand a good chance of landing a position.
English is the international language of business, and many parents want their children to grow up speaking the language to ensure their future success in an increasingly global economy. To meet the demand, schools look for and hire college educated individuals who are native English speakers to teach the language.
That’s where you come in.
As an ESL teacher, you will be teaching using the “direct method.” This means you will be speaking in English at all times and completely avoiding the students’ native language. That’s one of the best parts of the job – you don’t even need to have any knowledge of a foreign language to do this.
It’s important to keep in mind that you will be expected to work full-time (or nearly so) as a teacher. That’s your whole reason for being in the country – to teach.
You will probably also be required to agree to a contract to work for at least one year. Nevertheless, you will still have plenty of downtime to enjoy your host country and everything it has to offer.
One of the best things about being an ESL teacher is the cost of living in many countries is often much less than your home country. It varies by country, of course, but many report living comfortably on as little as $1,000 – $1,500 a month. Your salary as an ESL teacher, while not high by American standards, will be more than enough to cover your living expenses.
To qualify to be an ESL teacher, you need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in any field of study. You also need to obtain ESL certification.
Options for ESL certification include TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), and CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). The required classes for certification are usually just a few weeks long.
The ESL Cafe is one of the oldest and best resources for learning all about this amazing opportunity.
3. Be an Au Pair
Do you love children? If so, you might want to consider working as an au pair.
An au pair is a nanny for small children. As an au pair, you will be living with a family in another country and take care of their children while they work and do other things. You will also be required to do some light housework.
Au pairs don’t make much money, but they do typically receive modest stipends for expenses. Au pairs usually have all of their expenses paid for by their host families, including airfare.
Your duties as an au pair will be limited to doing things like playing with the children, helping them with schoolwork, cleaning their rooms, doing their laundry, preparing light meals for them, and similar tasks.
It’s also important to point out that your duties will be limited to taking care of the children. You will not be expected to clean the whole house, for example, or do anything that is not related to childcare.
In European countries, au pairs are only permitted by law to work part-time. The rest of the time is supposed to be spent studying. Many au pairs focus their studies on the languages of the countries they are living in.
For more information on becoming an au pair, check out Au Pair World, one of the best resources on the subject.
4. Join the Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is a great way to live and work in another country, and you get to do it all on the U.S. government’s tab.
Peace Corps volunteers usually work to improve the social and economic situations in developing countries. They often work directly with various governments, NGOs, non-profit organizations, and others.
Joining the Peace Corps is a major commitment, and you will be required to serve for at least two years if you decide to sign up. It also helps if you are a hardy individual since you will be serving in an area with few (if any) modern conveniences.
A stint in the Peace Corps can be very personally rewarding, and seeing the lives of those in a community transformed by the work you do is an incredible experience. You’ll also get to soak up all of the rich cultures of your host country, and you may even get to learn a new language.
If you’re interested in joining the Peace Corps, you have to submit an application and be interviewed. If approved, you will then have to complete a training program before starting your assignment. It’s important to start the application process at least a year before you plan on leaving for your adventure.
If you join the Peace Corps, you will qualify for a host of benefits. You will receive a modest stipend each month to cover your living expenses, and your airfare to and from your host country is also included.
Medical and dental coverage is also provided. After completing your two-year commitment, you will then qualify for an $8,000 bonus to use any way you wish. Other benefits are available.
Ready to Scratch That Travel Itch?
Academic studies have concluded that our life experiences make us much happier than the accumulation of material possessions. If you are feeling a strong calling to live and work in another country for a while, why not make it happen? Why not just do it?
Living and working in another country isn’t about the money. It’s about the incredible experiences you’ll have while there. It’s about learning a new language, making new friends, and immersing yourself in a different culture. It’s about living a life without regrets. If you are really serious about traveling for free then consider these options sooner, rather than later.