Tip #1 Get a Job
If English is your native language, this is likely the asset you’re going to be able to sell the most when it comes to working abroad. In 2009, I taught English to about 100 Hungarian kids to finance a year in Budapest. Other alternatives include au pairing, interning, working at summer camps and working holidays (depending on your nationality–this isn’t super easy for Americans, however). Companies like Jobs Abroad and BUNAC. are great resources to begin your search. Don’t forget that it’s also important to make sure that you have everything that you need whilst you are there. You don’t want to be stuck in a different country and find that you don’t have enough money for something. This rule applies too if you are considering looking for a place in Amsterdam for example. Obviously, you can’t live rent free. Plus, it is always good to check out sites like DestinationScanner , to get a better indication of the price of living abroad.
This is why it might be a good idea to find out more information about transferring larger sums of money abroad , this way you know that you will have everything you need.
As far as teaching English goes, a country like Hungary (I went with the Central European Teaching Program) won’t pay you shedloads, but it will cover your time there (and you’ll get a free apartment and utilities). Likewise, the CIEP Foreign Language Teaching Assistants Program in France is pretty well known, but will also only cover your time in France (without an apartment or utilities, which you will have to pay for). Although I have not taught in Asia or the Middle East, those are supposedly amongst the most lucrative and you may even get your flight paid for. Furthermore, you can find property for sale in Egypt or similar countries for pretty reasonable prices.
Tip #2 Study
Consider going to university or getting a Masters degree abroad. They are typically cheaper than in America and you may be able to get funding from outside institutions, or your own school, to attend. My Masters degree at the University of Amsterdam was completely paid for, thanks to the fact that I was given a University of Amsterdam Merit Scholarship. If you do decide to study abroad, consult your school or department about funding, as they can help you find scholarships and studentships that past students have successfully secured.
Tip #3 Take Subsidized Trips
Certain countries or programs will subsidize trips for specific groups of people. One of the most notable subsidized trips is Birthright Israel, which takes Jewish young people ages 18-26 on a free trip to Israel. Obviously now isn’t the best time to go, but it is something to consider if you fall into that category. The recent trip I went on to Poland was subsidized by a museum. You can read about it here if you are interested. My parents also went on a trip subsidized by the Chinese government in 2008, which you can read a bit more about here. Bear in mind that subsidized trips, however, are typically not holidays and will have an itinerary for you that you must follow as a condition.
Tip #4 Apply for a Travel Grant
Many places will offer you a travel grant to travel, especially if it is for a specific purpose. About.com has a great list of travel grants that you can peruse and see if one fits you.
Tip #5 Volunteer
Working, or volunteering, in the Peace Corps can change lives and allow you to live abroad for two years. This is an ideal job for those who are service oriented–however there are some drawbacks. In order to participate, you must sign on to two years of work and cannot return home permanently (visits are allowed). You must also be willing to live in conditions that may be below your normal standard and must be in good health. You must also be an American citizen. However, many people have found this extremely rewarding and a great way to touch people outside of the US.
You can also do service trips through places like Habitat for Humanity which you can pay for outright or invite friends and family to help you fundraise in a good old fashioned crowd funding scheme.
Lifehacker has a fabulous article entitled “How to Book a $1700 Vacation for $700 by Volunteering,” which will appeal to anyone’s favorite causes from education to human rights to animals welfare.I hope these tips have gotten your gears turning when it comes to travel. If you have any further questions or would like me to do a blog post on any of the programs I have participated in, please let me know and I will be more than happy to do so.