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Travel on the Cheap: Working Holidays

Travel on the Cheap: Working Holidays

Earning on the road: holidays that pay

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Skyscanner takes a look at holidays that can pay (or at least offer free food and accommodation) and can keep you away for longer.

Typically we think of a holiday as a break from work, but there is a growing trend for people to combine a trip abroad with a working holiday or volunteering project.

Why would you want to work on holiday?

1. Longer holiday! If you’re earning an income or even just getting free accommodation or food, your money is going to last longer – which means a longer trip for you.

2. Local knowledge. Working abroad is a great way to get to know the local people and place more intimately. As a worker, you’re stepping outside of the tourist zone, and you become more of a local yourself – which tends to lead to a much richer experience.

3. Learn something new. There are ample opportunities to learn new skills, ideas and even languages which can then serve you well back home – and time spent constructively abroad is far more impressive on your CV than time spent getting drunk on a beach.

5 Working Holidays

1. WWOOFing – it stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and the basic idea is, you devote some of your time working on an organic farm, garden or small holding, in exchange for food and accommodation – no money changes hands.

You don’t have to be a tree-hugging vegan to apply – as long as you’re willing to learn and eager to get your hands dirty – you will be welcomed. As a global network – opportunities for WWOOFing can be found around the world, whether that be picking organic grapes in Italy, harvesting organic coffee in Brazil or building a new strawberry greenhouse in Devon. Check to find an organic farm that takes your fancy.

2. TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) – if you are a native speaker of English, you are incredibly fortunate in that you come hardwired with a skill that can take you around the world as an English teacher. Simply by helping others to learn your mother tongue, you will be able to find employment in almost any non-English speaking country of the world, from Japan to Jordan, China to Chile, and it’s an excellent way to prolong your holiday, gain valuable work experience and even learn a new language yourself.

A TEFL qualification will help open doors to jobs, although it’s not always necessary – often native English ability and an enthusiastic attitude alone will suffice. See TEFL or JET.

3. Work a Ski Season – there are many jobs available in ski resorts, most of which come with benefits such as cheap or free accommodation, discounted food and that all important season lift pass. Jobs can vary from ski instructors (which will require an instruction certificate), to dish washers (which will require endurance) and everything in between. Each job has its pros and cons in regards to pay, perks and how much time you get to spend on the slopes. Those with a British passport can work anywhere in the EU, and it’s also possible to arrange work for ski resorts in Canada, the USA or Japan.

4. Summer Camp Worker – the USA has a strong culture of summer camps whereby kids spend anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months, learning arts and crafts, developing sporting skills and taking part in new activities. Generally camps have an outdoor emphasis with campers living communally in cabins.

There are a number of different jobs available in camps: activity leaders, who spend the majority of their time running popular activities; support staff, who help out behind the scenes in the office, the kitchen and the grounds, and camp counsellors who mentor the kids on a day to day basis. See Camp America for more information

5. VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) – this is an international development charity that recruits volunteers to work on projects in some of the poorest regions of the world. Volunteers come from range of backgrounds; there are positions for both young, unskilled people, as well as experienced professionals. You’ll get to put your skills to good use and work within a local community in return for a living allowance, accommodation, insurance, flights and training.

A great choice for a longer term career break, gap year or a shorter term trip (assignments of 1-6 months are available) – if you really want to make a difference, VSO is an ideal way to do it. For more information see VSO.

If you’d rather not tie yourself down to any particular job – it’s possible to get working holiday visas for many countries of the world, including: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. These allow you access to the local job market where you can take on casual work or longer term employment, as long as you don’t overstay your visa limit.

Want to learn more about the options for working abroad?

Listen or download the Skyscanner travel podcast below: 11 Ways to Work Abroad