Explore as You Earn Money to Explore

Hunting: Explore your financing options so you can travel

Sometimes I get a kick out of backpacking around and meeting people over scrambled eggs in communal kitchens, and sometimes you just really want a luxury hotel in a remote fishing village so you can lie in your hammock all day before spearfishing at sunset.

If you’re going to do that while on study abroad, you might need to beef up your bank account.


It’s hard to find a job, however, because no one likes to hire someone who will only be available:

  • evenings (if you study during the day)
  • weekdays (because you travel every weekend)
  • for a few weeks (because you’re staying in the country for a month, or a semester/summer)

What you can do to find yourself a client:

Offer Value

Then it doesn’t matter how strange your hours or how short your availability.

The value you’re offering clients is real, tangible, and practical.

For instance, I always tell my students: we’re going to have fun today, and you’re going to learn something. I always tell their parents: if your kid doesn’t feel like he learnt something today, he can tell us, and you don’t have to pay for the class.

In the past two years, I’ve taught in Aarhus, Denmark; Schleswig, Germany; Cambridge, USA; and Singapore –  none of the clients have asked for their money back, but i was always happy to give a refund. I don’t want to give a service that wasn’t useful for my clients, so i make sure the kid and i had a good time learning.

Whatever you call it – babysitting, tutoring, English classes, college prep etc, there is something specific that is delivered.

Another thing you can do to find a client:

Approach the Client

A lot of people post on online forums and job search websites, but you’re depending on the client to trawl through dozens of similar jobseekers’ profiles before they somehow decide you’re the one for them. But how on earth would they know to call you?

If i’m really looking to, for example, teach English as a second-language, then I will email English schools, small businesses, HR companies, with a short & sweet (& polite!) email apologizing for my unsolicited email, but letting them know what service i offer, why i’m confident my service is useful to them, and exactly when i’m available.


On the flip-side, I strongly suggest finding ways to minimize costs on all your travels.

Even if you’re backpacking and going solo, travel is not cheap (i’m assuming you’re no Mark Zuckerberg with spare cash floating around). The costs will add up.

Invariably, you will find yourself on a beach wanting to try kite-surfing for the first time. It’s going to cost US$180 for two days, including meals and guided hikes. Even if you have a budget of US$20 a day, you’re going to crave such spontaneity (the whole point of such travel! or maybe it’s just your personality)!

So for other days, maybe cutting down on unnecessary expenses would be a good idea:

  1. Use the communal kitchen! Suggest a burger and fries day with your hostel bunkmate = supermarket glories for half the price of eating out.
  2. Book a bed without the buffet breakfast = often much cheaper than inclusive-packages in hotels.
  3. Book a bed with the buffet breakfast = if that first meal is your heaviest & happy meal (hello, twin!), then by all means buy it, enjoy it, and have a lighter/cheaper lunch.
  4. Offer to work at the hostel so you don’t have to pay = friends have painted walls, worked as receptionists etc
  5. Always check online – often if you reserve and pay before turning up in person, attractions like museums & landmarks are cheaper.
  6. No harm in asking – is this the best price? Ask with a winsome smile! or 😉
  7. Join tours as an Add-on

i love traveling solo, and most backpackers would gasp at the word ‘tour’, but sometimes it’s just much more expensive to go it alone. even if you take the public bus and walk the rest of the way.

it is NEVER a bad idea to enter the local tour agency and ask nosy questions like:

where does the tour go?

can i join a group you already have? (the tour company usually has high fixed costs = a good thing for them if you join. meanwhile the tour clients pay less per person = a good thing for everyone)….

i used to be really embarrassed in asking… but you know what?

they’re running a business. and you’re earnestly in the market to buy. if you meet halfway, there’s a win-win situation you both walk away happy with. if you’re too shy to ask, you probably missed an opportunity.




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