Top Ten Tips for being a Working Traveller

Follow the top ten tips for travellers below and you will learn to earn your way around the world.

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    Becoming a Working Traveller: take it seriously

    Make sure your profile is 100% complete: If you can’t be bothered to fill in all the details about yourself, how will you inspire a host to think you will work hard when you come to stay with them?
    Hosts run businesses and every member of the team counts. If you are seen as lazy even before you arrive it will not help you to get the good work placements that other travellers who have filled in their details are chasing too.

    You spent how long on your degree? How long saving up for this world trip? Don’t spend 10 mins on your profile and expect to become a Working Traveller overnight. There is no magic wand here. Hard work and working smart is what it’s all about. The goal is to eventually get paid for the work you do – so start right from the beginning to stand out from the crowd.

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    Chase the wave - get your itinerary right

    Take the time and research your itinerary: many travellers fill in their profile and then wonder why they do not get contacted by hosts. Without filling in your travel plans in the availability section, no host will know you are planning to visit their country when they need your skills. Plan your route using the Work and Travel Country Guides and see when your skills are needed in the countries you want to visit. if your skills are in the hospitality industry, makes sure you will be there a month before the season starts to get the good positions for the season. If harvesting is your thing, don’t rock up mid-winter and expect to find work.

    It all depends on your skill sets as to when is best to be in the places you want to visit. Building works are always out of season. If your work is not involved in seasonal work, is best to go to hosts when they are quite and have the time to make that solar water system etc. Think smart, plan ahead and you will significantly increase your chances of getting booked up with the work you want if you go there at the right time the hosts need you.

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    Skills you have - the skills you want to learn

    Choose the right skills: If you put that you are an expert on getting rid of mosquitoes and learn how to,  you will get work all over the world in some really nice hotels.
    Learn how to get rid of bed bugs and… you will make good money. Your degree in X might be great for that corp job when you go back home but will not be much use to you in the next few years of travel. Look in the work search and see what skills hosts are looking for, and learn them. If you don’t have these skills yet, still add them and tell the host that you are learning. You can volunteer until you have the skills you need and then go for getting paid once your references show you know what you are doing.

    You have to start somewhere and this is what Working Traveller is all about – getting the experience you need to get the job you want when you go home. Choose skills you like AND will get you work. Spend the time, do your research and learn as much as you can before you leave home for you Working Traveller trip around the world.

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    Know your volunteer work visa situation

    One of the reasons you are going travelling is to experience different cultures. Each country has its own way of doing things. Laws and how they interpret those laws are all part of the culture. One countries law may say you can’t work there, yet in reality – you can. Some say you can if you get form X and… no one has a copy. Do your research in the Work and Travel Country Guides and the web in general and see what is what so you can plan your itinerary. Go where it’s accepted travellers work for a month or two in high season – not where you will be thrown out of the country.

    Volunteering and getting paid work are two very different things. Again, depending on if you plan to get paid or not, make sure you know what you will be up against when you get there or when you are applying for work. Why contact 50 hosts in a certain country and ask for paid work when if you did some research you could see that it’s not allowed and no one does it.

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    Things you can do before you leave

    Get some references before you leave: it will make all the difference. Try and get your boss, your neighbour, or whoever you have done some work for to sign up to Working Traveller and get them to leave you a reference for whatever it is you did for them. Go work for free in your local hostel, farm, anywhere that would be happy for the help and a profile on WT.  Once you have a reference and case study, you can add pictures of your working and rank high in work searches when hosts are looking for your skills. All this can be done on a free account as you can contact up to 3 hosts a week on a standard membership. Once you are ready to leave, upgrade to full membership for €10 and year so you can contact as many hosts as you want a day.

    Work on your skills that will get you to work on your travels. They may be part of your career plans or maybe not. 10 good work references from 10 hosts around the world doing anything will help you get a job when you get back home as it shows you are willing to work hard, something your degree does not show employers.

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    Those first all important references

    If you had 20 good references and you have a bad week and get a bad one – your reputation is still in tack. How no references and getting your first one can be super hard – so when you do get it – 100% makes sure it’s going to be good. Or it’s all over. Sell yourself, but never lie: Add a load of fake references, say you can build a house when you have no clue and this will get you nowhere. One bad review saying you are a fake will kill your chances of getting more work. Add in all the skills you want to get experience in and be honest with the host that you have not done it before, but are REALLY keen to learn and will work double hard to get the experience and a good reference. If you have no experience, go and do a tuff job but somebody has to do it locally before you leave on your travels and get them to write you a review. It shows you are willing to do anything to get the experience you want.

    Hosts all started somewhere. They will see your keenness and honesty and they will do all they can to help you on your way. Lie, and they will destroy you in one review and it’s all over. So sell yourself, but be honest, set low expectations and over-deliver and your first 5 references will all be 10/10.

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    Learn to earn your way around the world

    Every travel blogger has a post on it ” How to make money as you travel the world”. No one is going to pay you to work unless they have to. I repeat NO ONE is going to pay you unless they have to. That means if you get can get someone to do the work on a volunteer basis they will – for sure. So how to get paid? Build up PROOF you have the skills they cannot get from volunteers and are willing to pay for. Your references are everything. ” She ran the hostel for two weeks on her own in peak season better than I do”  Hosts make good money in peak season and they need good people to help them. Hosts are willing to pay for people with a proven track record in the skills they need that make them money. Hence picking apples, you will never get paid. Running the front desk, doing critical tasks that make the host money or saves them money they cannot risk going wrong with a volunteer is what you are aiming for.

    It’s two things, build references in the skills hosts are willing to pay for and contact hosts months in advance of when they will need those skills so you are all booked in and ready to go before the party people rock up looking for easy money and a bed for the night.

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    Don't book work placements outside of WT

    Working Traveller is free for hosts. They get much better workers to come to stay with them if, like you, they have good references. If a host is not willing to make a work placement with you and wants to deal with you on FaceBook or What’s App – why? Keep your work placement communication all in Working Traveller, we keep a record of everything for you in case there is a dispute later on. You want references to growing your profile, so should hosts so if they refuse to make a work placement with you – there may be a good reason why they do not want to keep a record of what has been agreed between the two of you.

    The only way Working Traveller is going to grow is through its references. Do your bit for the community and make sure you agree with what you will do with a host in a work placement agreement before you go there.

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    Work hard, party hard and travel hard

    In your profile, set when you are available for work and when you are not. It’s not all about work and hosts know that. Book a month off after peak season to sit on the beach and chill, take a month for a road trip when there is no work available in that country. Make sure you get downtime and rest so you are fired up for your next work placement.

    That is why it is called Work and Travel after all – is about mixing the two things that are important to together so you get to have both at the same time at this stage of your life.

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    Cases studies for that job back home

    It may well be the time of your life. Travelling the world and experiencing so many things for the first time. But all good things come to an end. The day job is becoming you and reality is setting in. That’s why it is so important to take the time to get the right work placements for your career. Book up work that will make you shine. Get the pictures showing how you were involved in the project and made it a success. Video, audio diary, whatever you can do at the time will make all the difference when you are sitting in that suit in that big corporate office being interviewed by someone who has to work out if you have what it takes in half an hour. They watch a video of your leading a team that creates something special and you will get the job over the other person who worked in a factory all summer and just partied.

    I hope these top ten tips on how to be a Working Traveller have inspired you to kick arse and give it your best shot. Enjoy the journey, as we all know, life is not a destination 🙂

    Duncan Ridgley

Working Traveller – Learn to earn your way around the world

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