Making a Career and Life of Travel

Making a Career and Life of Travel

People have always asked why I felt such a strong urge to travel. The truth is that I caught the travel bug when I was only a teenager. I knew I wanted to find a way to build a career and a life of travel. While I tried to ignore it and choose a stable career path, I was never happy or fulfilled. If you are facing a similar dilemma, here’s how I found a compromise between my head and my heart that didn’t leave my bank accounts empty.

Making All the “Right” Choices

I come from a lower-middle-class working family. My parents worked hard to provide for us. And, they believed that a college education was the key to a bright future. Although this was true for me, they didn’t realize that it would open up more than a successful career path. College presented me with a whole new world of opportunities and reignited my desire to travel.

When I shared my excitement to study abroad, they would dampen my enthusiasm. With the best of intentions, they would try to direct me toward careers with better job prospects and salaries. However, I was stubborn. And, I had big dreams of exploring the world and experiencing other cultures. Yet enough of their concerns over the cost of travel helped convinced me that I needed to be more “realistic” with my plans.

As a compromise, I pursued dual degrees in history and education. I thought I could be happy teaching what I love and enjoy greater job security. But by the final semester of my senior year, I knew it was a mistake. I went to my advisor to share my sudden change of heart, and it led to one of the most honest conversations I have ever had about what I wanted for my future. It opened my eyes to the fact that I didn’t need to settle for a life I didn’t want. But most importantly, it showed me that there are several lucrative ways to build a career and life of travel

Looking for a Better Way

That day forever changed the course of my life. I realized that I didn’t need to define myself by other people’s standards of success. I also understood that it was possible to have the lifestyle I wanted and still find a way to support myself.

So, my next step was a big one that led me to study abroad. After graduation, I started a post-graduate degree in another country and pursued a degree in anthropology. This took me out of the work culture of corporate America and exposed me to an entirely different worldview. There were all types of new job opportunities. And since I was already familiar with the student visa process, it was a relatively easy transition into a professional career abroad.

When I finished my degree, I realized the only path to career advancement in my concentration was through academia. Although I have a passion for education, the world of academia is highly competitive, even cutthroat at times, and that’s just not me. Plus, I didn’t want to spend my life applying for grants and being under the thumb of benefactors.

However, anthropology is a broad field. And I met other people who showed me better ways to build a career and life around travel.

3 Ways to Support a Career and Life of Travel

After living abroad for more than 10 years, here are three ways that I have successfully found employment and supported myself overseas.

1. Pursue higher education.

Even though my parents and I had different expectations of my college education, it was an important step in my career path. And it led me to where I am now. Choosing to study abroad and pursue higher education opened doors that I never knew existed. And no matter how you look at it, I earned a master’s degree which has helped my job prospects.

But being in-country gave me the chance to network and get hands-on experience that would have been impossible back home. I also discovered that many several professional internships with multinational organizations can help you get your foot in the door. With the right training, credentials, and contacts, you can land a great job and build a very satisfying life as an ex-pat.

2. Look for online opportunities.

Although I left academia behind, I wasn’t ready to give up on my dreams. So, I used my skills and went online to look for new employment options. I soon learned that tons of online opportunities will allow you to work from anywhere. And, there are even more remote gigs post-Covid.

During my travels, I’ve worked as a freelance writer, copy editor, transcriptionist, translator, and tutor through several online platforms. However, there is also a huge demand for graphic and web designers and many other digital skill sets. If you have marketable skills that only require a computer and internet access, you can live comfortably as a digital nomad.

3. Find a position teaching ESL.

As ironic as it seems, my professional journey overseas ended right back where I started. For the majority of my years abroad, I settled into a teaching career. Native English speakers are in high demand as other countries want to become more competitive in the American and international markets. As long as you have a bachelor’s degree, many schools and companies are willing to compensate you well for your services.

I spent 8 years teaching ESL because it provided a great salary, benefits, travel allowances, and housing. And, I had nearly two months off every year to travel. By the end of it, I had earned enough to pay off all my debts, fund my travels, and save enough to start investing. It was one of the most financially and personally rewarding experiences I’ve had.

Those who are interested should look at one of the many online forums where you can browse offers to live and teach abroad. If the idea of being bound to one place doesn’t appeal to you though, you now have the option to teach online which will allow you even greater freedom of movement.

Final Thoughts

When the end finally comes, many people regret not traveling more or settling for a life they didn’t want. However, I don’t want to be counted among them. So, I have actively sought out a different path.

Although I did it while I was young and unattached, I have seen people at every stage of life successfully build a career and life of travel. Whether you are moving out for the first time, traveling with children, or retiring abroad, it is possible. However, if you want it, then you have to go out and make it happen.

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Why Should You Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb?

Why You Should Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb

When Airbnb first entered the market, I was ecstatic to have a new accommodation option when I traveled. It provided a new, affordable alternative to budget hotels and youth hostels. And for many years, it became my go-to booking site. However, things have changed in recent years as more people have joined and taken advantage of the platform. Nowadays, it is no longer the cheapest or most convenient choice. Here are a few reasons why you should book a hotel over an Airbnb.

5 Reasons to Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb

Let me start by saying that I still use the site to book certain types of accommodations. Renting a private residence comes with many benefits, especially if you are traveling in a large group. But in most cases, I still prefer the convenience and amenities of staying at a hotel. If you are deciding where to stay during your next vacation, here are 5 reasons people choose to book a hotel over an Airbnb.

1. No Chores

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but the last thing I want to do on vacation is housework. While I strive to be a clean guest and always pick up after myself, I’m less than thrilled when I get a long list of chores that have to be done before checkout. And what’s worse, is that there is usually a cleaning fee on top of the to-do list. I am often left wondering what I’m paying for since I am usually the one doing the dishes, stripping the beds, throwing in a load of laundry, and taking out the trash.

However, you won’t get this when you stay at a hotel since all of these services are included in the nightly rate. It goes without saying that the property will provide clean towels and linens, spotless facilities, and cleaning services during your stay. Making a reservation at a hotel lifts the burden of chores and allows you to enjoy a break from daily responsibilities.

2. All the Amenities

Speaking of amenities, you will have access to many more of them at a hotel than in an Airbnb rental. Although I have stayed at many wonderful Airbnb properties that had toiletries, a kitchen, a fitness area, and a pool on-site, they hardly compare with what you find at a hotel. Of course, the amenities will vary between properties. But, you will be hard-pressed to find many rentals that also offer a concierge desk, spa treatments, room service, or restaurants on the premises.

You can certainly find accommodations with all these amenities through Airbnb Luxe. But, they usually come with a much higher price tag as well.

3. Easier Check-in Process

Even before you book a hotel, you know exactly where you will be staying and when you can check in. Unfortunately, Airbnb hosts usually don’t disclose these details until a few days before your arrival. There have been times people have straight-up lied about the location to get bookings. Furthermore, I have had several Airbnb stays where the hosts had very limited windows of time to meet and turn over the keys. This added unnecessary stress and a sense of urgency, especially when there were travel delays.

While some people have made it simpler with keyless entry codes, hotels usually offer a much easier check-in experience. Communication is more direct since you can find someone available at the front desk at any time of the day. And you can get a room on short notice, even if it’s the middle of the night.

Although hotels have standard check-in and check-out times, they can usually offer greater flexibility since they have more rooms in their inventory. Even if they are at capacity, they can at least hold your bags until your room is ready. This saves you the time and trouble of having to lug them around with you if you have to wait for someone to let you into your accommodations.

4. Less Chance of Mistakes or Cancellations

Airbnb has given regular people the opportunity to earn income from their private properties while also allowing travelers to experience their vacation destinations as one of the locals. However, mistakes can happen and plans can change. There have been several times when a property was double-booked or personal emergencies forced the host to cancel our reservations.

While we always got a full refund, it put us in the unfortunate situation of having to find new accommodations at the last minute. When this happens during a holiday, it leaves you with very few options, most of which are more expensive than what you had originally booked. In some instances, there were no other options available.

This is less likely to happen when you are staying at a well-known and established hotel. And even if it does happen during busy travel periods, the hotel will usually offer some type of compensation for your trouble.

5. Comparable Prices

When Airbnb first came onto the scene, travelers like myself were excited to have a more affordable option for accommodations. Many experts even thought it would disrupt the hospitality industry and cause hotels to adjust their rates. However, this has not been the case.

When you compare the final cost including taxes, guest services, and cleaning fees, the totals are about the same. And in some cities, Airbnb rentals are even more expensive than staying at a hotel.

If you are a frequent traveler, it is probably more cost-effective for you to stay at a hotel and join their loyalty program. They usually offer better discounts. And, you can earn points during your stay which can be used for free nights and upgrades to help you save even more.

To Airbnb or Not Airbnb…

With current conditions and inflation rates, it is more important than ever to save money where you can. While Airbnb does offer many benefits and more unique options for travelers, it isn’t always the most economic choice. Although there was a time when it was this budgeter’s best-kept secret, the industry has changed. More often than not, I have several good reasons to book a hotel over an Airbnb. So if your bottom line is the most important factor when booking your next vacation, do your research and explore all your money-saving options.

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5 Financial Reasons to Research Locations Before a Vacation

Doing research before your vacation is a smart financial move. Research about your destination can help you better plan your trip and manage your money. In-depth vacation planning can reveal ways to save money on your vacation. Here are five financial reasons why you should research your next vacation location.

1. Planning Your Vacation Budget

Vacations are necessary. Vacations help you unwind, relax and rejuvenate. However, it is always important to stay on budget while you are enjoying yourself. Researching the location you will visit is essential for planning your vacation budget. All you have to do is read online reviews for restaurants and top attractions to learn how much money you should plan on spending if these sites are on your list of things to do. Most third-party review travel sites will tell you whether the attraction or restaurant is affordable or pricey.

Staying on budget during your vacation and not overspending starts with gathering as much information as possible and coming up with an itinerary. You want your vacation to be relaxing and not stressful because of how much you spend.

2. Research Can Reveal the Deals

The hospitality industry is very competitive. Researching your vacation location can reveal where the best deals on lodging and more are located. Moving just a little outside the beaten path can save you a lot of money. Becoming familiar with the location you are visiting, and the surrounding areas can open up the possibility of vacationing for less.

Keep in mind the center of the action will be more expensive than staying on the outskirts. Getting to know the location can reveal some low-cost hidden gems in the area.

3. Take Steps to Protect Your Health

HealthNet says every one of twenty searches on google is health-related. Traveling is a great opportunity for many reasons, but there are health risks you should be aware of. Losing time and money when you return from vacation because you got sick while traveling can put a big dent in your budget and fun. It is not just diseases that you need to research, you should also research the crime rate.

You don’t have to travel internationally to find high crime rates. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a trip to Philadelphia will put you in state number 27 on the list of gun violence. Protect yourself and your money by researching health and violence threats.

4. Currency Exchange Rates

How much is the U.S. dollar worth in Rome? What about the Bahamas? What about the exchange rate for the U.K.? All of these places have different currency rates. You will be on the winning end of currency rates in some areas. In other areas, the U.S. dollar is on the losing end. Proper vacation planning too far away locations require you fully understand how much your money is worth wherever you travel. Currency rates are published daily. You can find currency rates online.

5. Duty Costs, Tariffs, And Other Fees

Did you know that some countries charge a fee to enter the country at the airport? Usually, the fee is nominal, but it is still money you will have to spend. You must research customs charges, airport fees, duty costs, and other fees to ensure you are prepared to cover all your vacation costs.

There is one final tip for protecting your travel money. Ensure you become familiar with local laws. Fines and penalties for breaking local laws in other countries can be very costly. For example, according to Golf News Net, in some jurisdictions where golf carts are allowed on the roadways, the top speed is 35mph. If you break that rule, you will face a fine.

Doing your research with an eye on finances will make your vacation more affordable. Stress less about spending money on vacation by being thoroughly prepared. Learn more money-saving tips today.