Use your laptop to pay for travel, while you travel.
You might just discover a new career while you're at it.
In a posting to the Digital Eve Israel Yahoo Group, a group member asked the following question:
“Any leads on how to find a job that can be done on my laptop, here and there, so that I can still pay my bills while traveling?”
This reminded me of the time when I was still a programmer at Amazon.com back in 2000.
Living in Paris but working daily over the Internet with people in Seattle, I wanted to visit my family in Montreal without taking a lot of vacation time either. Luckily, Amazon's computer systems allowed people to connect from outside the office and that made it easier to convince my boss to let me go.
In the end, I only took off 2 days for traveling purposes and otherwise worked full days from my parents' house, basically paying for my trip and expenses. A side benefit to Amazon was that having me in a middle time zone (6 hours behind Paris but 3 ahead of Seattle) made some projects easier to finish on time.
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Working while traveling abroad and telecommuting aren't quite the same thing
People usually associate telecommuting with a full-time job that lets you regularly work from home, but it can also be a part-time job on the road.
To best answer the question above, let's set out some criteria that make more sense regarding jobs for travelers. Those jobs usually need to be:
- Jobs you can do over the Internet
- Jobs that can be done over a short time-span i.e. during your travels
- Jobs you can get on short notice
This last one is important in case you need multiple jobs to pay all your bills during your trip.
So we're dealing with freelance jobs. However, if you choose well and deliver well, a short-term freelance job can become a longer-term freelance job that you continue from home after traveling.
Jobs you can do while traveling
With that in mind, the list below of online jobs for travelers should give you all sorts of ideas. Each job title points at a real job description, and if the description isn't a good match for you, just do a search on the job title to find more open jobs like it.
- 3D and Flash Animator
- Administrative Assistant
- Article Writer
- Billing and Debt Collection Representative
- Blog Programmer
- Career Coach
- Virtual Assistant
- Advertising Poster
- Customer Service Representative
- Data Entry Provider
- Data Specialist
- Database Developer
- E-book Writer
- Email Template Designer
- Flash/Web Developer
- Graphic Artist
- Marketing & Lead Generation Campaigner
- Logo Designer
- Online Tutor
- Personal Assistant/Secretary
- Press Release Writer
- Project Manager
- Recruitment Researcher
- Sourcer (not sorcerer!)
- Resume Writer
- Sales Presentation Designer
- SEO Analyst
- Foreign Language Voice Talents
- Technical Support
- Telemarketing Professional
- Travel Planner
- Video Editor
- Web Content Writer
- Web Designer
- Website Translator
- Stock Photographer
- Real Estate Researcher
- Business Consultant
- Legal Advisor
- User Guides and Manuals Editor
- Game Developers
- Travel Writer
Don't think this is possible? Not for you?
See how these laptop warriors have built careers while traveling:
- Lauren Juliff, @NEFootsteps: How I Fund my Travels Around the World
- Benny Lewis, @irishpolyglot: How to become a location-independent freelance translator
- Amanda Williams, @dangerousbiz: My Life as a Travel Blogger
- Adam Groffman: @travelsofadam: How to Make Money with a Travel Blog
- Taylor Banks: @learningbanks: Why Working From the Road Is Good for Business (and How to Do It)
- Alyssa Ramos: @alyssaramos: How This Woman Went From Broke To Traveling Full-Time (And Making Lots Of Money)
- Paul Minors: @paulminors: Side-hustle success story (and lessons learned): from full-time job to traveling indie-entrepreneur earning 2X as much in 1/2 the time
- Nathan Buchan: @world_nate: How I earn money while travelling full-time
- Matthew Karsten: @expertvagabond: This Is How I Get Paid To Travel The World
Bonus tip for beginners
Like with any job, having work experience will help a lot compared to a candidate who has no experience. But even having just a little bit of experience will make a difference because it will still allow you to tell potential employers “I've done this online before”.
With that in mind, get experience before your travels by doing some quick, cheap projects. This has the added benefit of getting you familiar with freelance marketplaces, negotiation with potential employers, and actually getting paid with all that's involved.
It would suck to be in a foreign country expecting to receive your pay the next day only to discover that you need to wait a few more days because of some strange policy you didn't know about. Practice before you go!
Another great success story
Question of the article
Have you ever worked while traveling for pleasure? How did you find the job? Tell us in the comments.