I work remotely and travel on a budget. You can find me wherever there is Wi-Fi and a supermarket nearby. I’m a writer and travel blogger – I’m what you’d call a digital nomad. I learned early how expensive it can be to travel the world, so I’ve decided to travel for cheap and rather spend my money in the local economy than give it to global travel operators. And in the process, I have found the perfect way to live.
This article is about how to learn not go broke when you are traveling on a budget. It’s about encouraging you to take your skills to the next level and utilize them like never before. There are many opportunities to make money while traveling, but the most important thing is that you find ways that work for you.
How the Internet is Transforming the Way We Plan and Record International Wanderlust
The internet has transformed the way we plan and record our international wanderlust. In the past, people would have to rely on travel agents, travel books or simple paper map to find information about how to get from point A to point B. Nowadays, there are a myriad of websites that offer cheap flights, cheap or free accommodation and job offers. People can link up with companies, employers and private people from all over the world. Organizations like Workaway or WWoof have opened the door to choose work and travel lifestyle for people of all ages and backgrounds. If you’d rather keep working on your computer there are platforms such as RemoteOk, Working Nomads, Digital Nomad World.
How to make the switch from a regular office job to work remotely?
One of the most common questions I get is “How do I make the switch to remote work?”
In this article I provide you with a step-by-step process that will help you find your way to the world of remote work. One of the few benefits of the corona pandemic that it made remote work and working from home a lot more accessible and more widely accepted even among more traditional companies.
Steps you can take to start your remote career
- When you decide you want to take a turn in your life and want to discover remote work but you already have an office job. The first thing to do is talk to your employer and ask them if they are open to offer remote work (even temporarily). If they are not, then it’s time for you to start looking for a job that.
- Websites like Upwork, Remote OK or We Work Remotely are platforms specialized in listing jobs and companies, that have already made the switch to (entirely) remote operations. But more mainstream sites like Indeed or LinkedIn are good options because they have more sophisticated search parameters.
- Dedicated Facebook groups and other online communities can be good sources, as well.
- If you have a very specific skillset, try searching for opportunities on Google.
- Go offline and visit digital networking events in your area. Most of bigger cities have a vivid expat and digital nomad community. They organize meetups and events on a regular basis. You can use these events not only to meet great people from all around the world but also, as a proxy to find a remote job for yourself.
- Ask your friends and family. Sometimes, talking about your plans and ideas with your closer circles can result in a job of your dreams.
- Curate your online presence. Depending on your area of expertise you can create a portfolio, a compelling CV, a presentation about your strengths and make easily accessible to potential employers.
- If you prefer to become a freelancer and go solo, you’ll need to gear up. What you need is a professional yet compact setup, that can be carried around in a backpack. A fast and powerful laptop is essential, the rest will wary based on what you need for the job.
Fake it, til you make it
I encourage you to build the confidence to act like a pro from the very beginning (it doesn’t mean you should to become a scam artist and defraud people on the internet). You will inevitably make mistakes, you may loose jobs or clients over your journey as a remote digital professional. But that shouldn’t stop you from offering your skills to earn a living early on. There is no point in making up references, just build them from the very beginning and work on a portfolio, that you can be proud of. Leave room for self growth and allow yourself to learn along the way.
I get frequently asked questions about working remotely and traveling around Europe
I’m a European, and living in the EU gives me the benefits to be able to travel and reside easily anywhere within the Schengen Area. For my luck, in the last decades Europe has become one of the major hubs for long term travelers, location independent people due to its good general infrastructure and connectivity, high quality and affordable healthcare and expat friendly work conditions and opportunities. Many people want to explore far away and tropical lands, but they often realize that those places aren’t necessarily the best to settle down. So once these nomads are done exploring Asia and the Americas, the coasts of Greece, Malta, Cyprus, or the Canary Islands are ideal to combine a reasonable cost of living with tax benefits, nice weather all year long. Not to mention the welcoming locals and flourishing expat communities.
The last section explores the most common questions people have about working online and traveling around Europe.
What is the best way to find a job in Europe?
The best way to find a job in Europe is by looking at job boards and company websites’ job offers. If your profession involves physical presence or you want to explore alternative ways of living there are also many websites that you can use to search for paid and volunteer jobs abroad, such as Working Abroad, EuroJobs (within the EU) or Go Overseas.
What are some of the pros and cons of living abroad?
Some pros of living abroad are that you will have an opportunity to learn a new language, explore new cultures and places, and make new friends from all around the world. If you don’t constantly travel, living abroad can eventually be a lot cheaper than your life back home (I’m going to write an article about this so I can go more in detail). Being able to travel while working gives you freedom and novelty. However, being location independent comes with downsides. If you change your location frequently, you won’t be able to build long lasting relationships and after a while traveling can become lonely. Navigating through local bureaucracy (especially when you don’t speak the local language) is often overwhelming. Figuring out your tax and healthcare situation will also require some extra efforts.
How much money should I expect to make in Europe?
Many European countries have a minimum wage, which is typically higher than those in the US. Western Europe has higher living standards, higher salaries but usually higher costs of living, as well. If you have a well paid, and remote job, you can save up a lot if you live somewhere cheaper, for example in Eastern or Southern Europe. As everywhere else in the world, salaries will greatly vary based on required qualifications, seniority levels, company location etc.
If you want to work as a freelancer and be able to finance your life do this: Create a list of the skills you have in your portfolio and add how many hours you want to work. Calculate an ideal monthly salary that you need to securely cover your expenses. For example, if you want to make €2,000 net per month, then divide that number by 40 hours and that will give you a good estimate for your hourly rate. Be aware, 40 hours of paid work doesn’t mean you will only work 40 hours/month. It means that the hours you have to put in to maintain and grow your business are not counted as paid work.
How much will I make in Europe?
Well, this depends on where you are in Europe and what you are going to work. average salary for international students is about $1450 a month, which would be about $20,000 a year. To give you an idea. The minimum monthly wage is the lowest in Bulgaria with only €332 and the highest in Luxembourg with €2202. But the European Union is working on a concept to synchronize the minimum wages within the EU which would come with many benefits. Not to mention that most European companies offer medical insurance and other perks paid by the company such as retirement, plenty of paid vacation or bonuses.
What about language barrier?
If you don’t reside somewhere super remote (like in a small village in the mountains), the chances that you can make it just by speaking English are very high. Also, multinational companies are always looking for people who are speaking different languages. So, coming from a different country might even be an advantage in some cases.
Do you need more information about how to live a location independent lifestyle and work remotely? Ask your questions in the comments and we’ll answer them!
More articles on work and travel can be found here.