Tips for earning your way around the world

Gap years are all about discovering new places, meeting new people and gaining a wider perspective of the world. For me, working – even if for only part of your gap year – is a big part of the overall experience. Not only does it give you the chance to earn some money and help fund your travels, but also acquire a host of new skills.

Below, you’ll find my top tips for earning during your gap year. I hope they give you a little inspiration!

Take a course or dive straight in?

The first decision you will need to make is whether you want to do a little training and then get a job in your chosen area of expertise, or if you want to dive straight in with something unskilled – or a role you’re already qualified for. Obviously, this choice is largely down to personal preference, but for me learning and developing are key parts of gap years, which means the former option has a stronger appeal.

There are lots of possibilities for learning and using your new skills and qualifications to secure a job to fund the rest of your gap year. For instance, you could train to be a ski or snowboard instructor and then earn while doing what you love!

Skiing and snowboarding - Flickr CC fortwainwright

There are so many advantages to this particular option, I think (well, assuming you’re a snow sports fan!). Firstly, you can improve your own skills; secondly, you’ll gain an official qualification; thirdly, you can get paid for spending your time on the slopes. Plus, there’s plenty of scope for travelling as a group of friends – you could rent a catered ski chalet in France and live and work together!

What skills do you need before you go?

The skills you’ll need to have before you go will vary depending on the kind of thing you want to do. For instance, if the idea of becoming a ski or snowboard instructor tickles your fancy, the requirements will be different on specific courses – but you can pretty much guarantee you’ll need to possess some decent skills on the slopes already.

Other jobs, however, can ask a little more of you. Teaching English as a foreign language in somewhere like Asia, for example, you’ll probably need to have some work experience already, as well as show that you’ve worked with children before. Plus, you’re likely to need to be educated to at least A-level standard, in addition to having achieved good grades in English.

Meanwhile, qualities like flexibility, confidence and friendliness never go amiss either.

Don’t forget your visa!

Next on your list should be checking out your visa requirements, which will vary depending on which country you want to work in. Going back to the skiing and snowboarding instructor example, you could work in France, which is nice and simple because EU nationals don’t have to secure to a work visa or permit to get a gap year job here – a passport will suffice.

But, if you have your sights set on working somewhere like Australia, you’ll need to get yourself a Working Holiday Visa. A standard holiday visa won’t cut it, so make sure you get this right – it’s virtually impossible to change your visa type once you’re in the country.

Bother to budget

My final tip is to make sure you budget. Admittedly, it’s not the most exciting element of planning your gap year, but it can help prevent you from having to cut your trip short due to lack of funds; even when you’re working, it’s all too easy to run out of money by being too relaxed with your spending.

I find it’s easiest to keep tabs on these things by making a weekly, rather than monthly, budget. This way, you won’t be tempted to blow all your money at the start of the month, thinking you can be frugal for the rest of it – a tactic that usually fails.

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