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Work on your holiday? Bear with us... it's not such a crazy idea! If you want to get the most out of your travels on a tight budget, earning at the same time as partying and experiencing a new culture can actually end up rather well!
Work in a Backpackers Hostel
As with many of the following job ideas, it’d be a good idea to sort this out before leaving on your travels. If the majority of independent youth hostels and backpackers hostels hardly give you the impression that they have a coherent hiring policy, then you may well be surprised.
It’s one thing being inundated day after day with tumbleweed travelers rolling in and out of town asking for work, and unable to say how long they plan to stay. But you’ll almost certainly find, that if you buzz your CV over to a place in which you’d like to work a few months in advance, with a commitment to work for them for a set period of time (such as a summer), then you may well find that they’re extremely eager to have you. You’ll obviously be particularly attractive to them if you speak another language, but don’t think that they won’t take you on with just one (particularly if it’s English).
If this is something you like the sound of, be warned, though: it’s not always (quite) as much fun as it looks, and is frequently extremely hard work. If you can see yourself working at a relaxed, small to medium-sized hostel that encourages its staff to chill out with the guests, take them out for drinks and party with them, then remember it’s you who has to get up early the next morning with a steaming hangover and put a professional face on proceedings!
People gravitating to warmer climes to pull fruit down from branches or bushes (avoiding the assortment of spines, thorns and troubling looking local wildlife lurking on the undersides of leaves…) has been a mainstay of budget travel for generations.
From time-honored grape-picking sojourns in southern France, strawberry harvesting in England, cherry-picking in Canada, the harvest trail in Australia, or corn detasseling in the US, this is a great way to earn some cash on your travels.
Frankly, though, it’s a lot of hard work for a measly wage and not terribly ‘relaxing’ in the truest sense of the word. But on the upside, you do get to be out in the fresh air with the hot sun on your back, and there’s something decidedly wholesome and rewarding about it all.
Camp America’s been packing them in for the best part of forty years. But there are summer camps pretty much everywhere that you care to mention and all of them need willing young people to help keep their charges happy. If you’ve got some skills that can be put to good use – particularly those of an athletic nature – then this could be a genuinely worthwhile and fulfilling way to spend a summer.
This is a great option for those looking to improve foreign language skills, as you’ll be completely immersed in a natural, unforced situation. There are a few websites that provide work placements for young people prepared to look after a family’s children for board and lodging, and perhaps a little pay.
Another option is to browse local websites. Many, (admittedly, well-to-do) families looking for an au-pair who will be able to accelerate their children’s language learning, may even advertise in the listing sections of newspapers and magazines in English-speaking countries.
Whilst this is hardly a summer job, it’s still something you can do in your university or college holidays. If it’s a prerequisite that, in order to work in the hospitality industry, you need to be a bubbly type who gets on well with all sorts of other people, then in the world of chalet hosting, you often need to be able to cook meals, make beds, clean, entertain guests, and have inexhaustible reserves of stamina.
This is a bit like working in a backpackers hostel only, if anything, potentially that much more exhausting! On the plus side, though, it does allow you the funds to get some skiing done… Make sure you apply several months in advance as competition for places is frequently really stiff.
There are few things as satisfying as helping someone to learn. And if you are a native English speaker traveling with a TEFL qualification, teaching English abroad can be a gateway to the perfect travel experience.
You’ll be living and working in a country, and really learning about how the country works, and what makes its people tick. It can also be one of the best money-spinners as you'll typically be earning a decent wage at the same time as getting housing allownce and other benefits. For the serious stuff, Southeast Asia has the highest wages and the best positions - but be prepared to stick around for 12 months.