How to travel the world and work without being a Digital Nomad

More and more often I get emails from readers asking me how I can travel for so long and in particular, the most common question is: where do I find the money?
A fair question to which I have replied on several occasions explaining how I was able to create this economic independence that although does not earn me much, has permitted me to travel for the past 17 months and allowed me to go around the world without having to hurry and to enjoy all that the countries that I have visited had to offer .


My story has intrigued many, especially since in these past few months there is increasing talk of this new category of people called "digital nomads", or people who are able to work through the web from anywhere in the world and so, can have fixed incomes even without having to go into an office but by creating an office of their own in any part of the world. Sufficient and necessary conditions are to have a wifi connection and a laptop.


It is so that a pro-nomadic movement has broken out, everyone would like to do it, everyone would like to work online and on the beach, in the mountains, in the countryside or a thousand miles away.
I admit it is the ideal situation, you decide at what time to work, from where, how and when, but what if you do not have the skills?
What if your attitude leads to do nothing more than spend hours in front of a computer screen?
These people cannot travel? They cannot support their travel costs along the way?


In this post I want to list some of the professions or activities in which I have come across in these two years of travel, some I have done, others I've seen done, that is why I can guarantee their feasibility, which allow millions of young, and not that young anymore, people to travel and work as long as they always keep in mind that we all have a gift, it is up to us to know how to make the most of it to our favor.


Travel and work is possible, whether a digital nomad or not.

Millions of people do it, succeeding in this way to extend their travel time to months and in some cases for years , and the most rewarding thing is that even those that in the backpack has neither a computer nor a smartphone has managed to do so too.


What are the professions that allow you to travel and work without being digital nomads ?


Take your art and do not set it aside

It is not necessary to have to work online to be able to live the dream of traveling for long periods , the earning potential when traveling are quite enough, we just have to be willing to stop for periods a little longer in some destination we love , be willing to get involved , be creative , to know how to propose ourselves and ASK!


Here is a series of jobs that can be found when you are traveling, some are paid for, others offer room and board in exchange for some working hours in order to amortize expenses , others are creative and entertaining solutions especially if you travel in company and make of the experience a real adventure .
In some cases the only requirement is the language (English or Spanish or both depending on where you decide to travel) .


Waiters in bars and restaurants

There are places so much touristic, that even though in the " third world ", offer seasonal or temporal work opportunities to travelers in restaurants and bars . The wages are rightly not comparable to those in Europe but at the same time the cost of living is low and affordable .
Generally you can also find work for a few weeks, the demand is constant, just ask at restaurants and bars and offer your services , they are the first that in order to pay less, prefer to employ travelers and therefore are favorable to a frequent substitution.

Remember that working in a tourist restaurant even if the pay is low means returning home with tips that in some tourist areas yields quite a bit.
Those who work in restaurants have more opportunities to earn in tips than the bartenders .


Volunteering work in hostels and in non-profit organizations

Many hostels around the world accept volunteers , that is, you work for free in exchange for room and food, in some cases also paid especially if you guarantee a long period of stay.
Most hostels in Central America where I was accepted for these kinds of collaboration , just ask if there is availability , in principle work as a volunteer at the hostels must not last less than three weeks and rarely more than a few months so the exchange is frequent .


If you do not want to work in a hostel , even if it means fun and opportunity to meet hundreds of people , the chances to work as a volunteer in the communities are numerous , even in this case all the expenses are paid and board and lodging offered, it can happen that a minimal fee has to be paid to cover a month's work, in Morocco and Panama I paid $ 50 for 1 month of work all inclusive and homestay (or rather, I slept in the home of the locals... a priceless experience).


Woofing - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

This paid work opportunities is widely used in Australia and New Zealand . You work in the fields for a number of hours a day , this is discussed in advance, and in return the owner provides food and lodging .

WWOOF has subsidiaries in 50 countries including Italy , Patagonia , India.
Typically you will not get paid for this experience but if you work more hours or have certain skills (web design , painting, gardening etc. etc. ) you can always talk to the owner of the farm and ask for a small refund in the event of extra work. If you have been a good employee, he will be happy to pay you something rather than see you go because of money.
To get a general idea, this is the official website .


Teach languages

The Italian language is a useless but fascinating language and a lot more people than what we believe want to learn it.

Those who want to learn it for the sheer pleasure of speaking the most musical and sexy language in the world and those who want to learn for working purposes instead . It is particularly in high demand in Latin America .

How to find work as a teacher of the Italian language ?
Spread the word around , hang out ads on the bulletin board of hostels , bars and restaurants , present yourself directly to language schools . In many cases no teaching qualification is requested, it’s sufficient just to be a mother tongue and to have academic studies done.

And if you speak English and are in possession of TOEFL then the possibilities for teaching will be a lot more especially in Asian countries where the need to speak English is growing and it is quite easy to find work .



You enjoy working with your hands , create things , jewelry , paintings , knitted things.
Why not make fruit of this your passion for travel with a light display load of your precious works and sell them ? Especially in Latin America, in many , Argentines first and foremost, choose this way to earn money and continue on the journey that in many cases reach up to Mexico and last for many months.


I have met people who do this job for years, those who have left their profession in Europe and has learned to create handcrafted jewelry and costume jewlry and have taken a year off ( Gap Year ) to travel by selling their own products, you may be quite surprised to find that there are many people who willing to pay for something that for you may be of little value .
The ideal locations for this kind of activity are the beaches and the sea-side places.


Selling homemade food

When on the beach of Montanita in Ecuador two Argentine girls approached me with a box full of slices of pizza, I found the idea brilliant. The Argentines, in particular, are dedicated to these activities , there are those who cook empanadas, those pizza, those who prepare refreshing cocktails and then sell them on the beach . In half a day of work they have sold all the food cooked and are continuing their trip generally in the northerly direction, up until Mexico .
What do you need in order to do this ? A hostel with a kitchen and a few dollars to spend at the supermarket.


Organize communal dinners for hostels

This is a practice used in many hostels where volunteers work . Working as a volunteer is often without pay but if you organize something original you can earn some money to continue traveling.

The communal dinners are interesting finds. In general, the day that you want to cook for everyone, it is asked of them to register and pay a participation fee . If you cook lasagna for 20 people and ask $ 7 per person you will have well $ 140 in your pocket ... and we all know that preparing a lasagna costs much cheaper!


Sports photographer

Ryan is a surfer photographer and as well as being paid by specialized magazines to take pictures of surfers during the competitions, travels the world presenting himself as an " additional service " to high category hotels and seaside resorts where the waves allow surfing at certain levels.
He sleeps and eats for free , offers his services as a photographer to the hotel guests who, for a professional service pay up to $ 350 for about 50 shots in the water .
How did he come to do this ?
By writing to the hotels of Fiji (where I met him) and proposing his service to them.


Musicians and street artists

Carlos is now an established musician in Guatemala and yet many years ago he traveled throughout the whole of Europe paying for his journey by playing in the streets of Dublin, London and many European capitals . You are a street artist but you're giving entertainment, people stop to listen to, applaud, and pay you because you are good not because they are giving you charity .


Painting houses or manual jobs

There is always a need for manual labor , worldwide . In particular to offer yourself as painters , bricklayers , or manual labor in renovation works are activities that render very well, especially in countries such as Australia and New Zealand , and allows you to work for a few days or weeks and then move on to other destinations.


Resell items bought in other countries

The shopping that you can do especially in Asia is incredibly beautiful and cheap.
Objects or items of exotic clothing are requested and attract the interest above all, of us in the West, and in many will buy there and then sell in Europe .
Annalisa , for example, bought clothes in Thailand for $ 5 to sell them at £ 20 in England , someone else sells on eBay and it all seems to be quite productive.


Working on cruise ships or cargo ships

Never thought of getting on a cruise or a cargo ship and work in exchange for the journey , hospitality and a little bit of money ? Online you will find many sites that specialize in these types of experiences , you just need to apply and wait for the answer. The positions available are numerous. A trip in cargo could become an exciting and alternative trip around the world.


If you work on cruise ships obviously the ports are the more famous and touristic ones and if you work instead on cargo ships called Freighter Cruises, the ports are perhaps not as touristic but there is a " risk" of discovering beautiful and unexplored places of incredible beauty.



Working for festivals and events

Especially in Europe in the summer when there are many festivals , there is always a need for staff to carry out hundreds of different tasks.
To find work at festivals it is sufficient to come forward and apply for the jobs available directly from websites . Generally for these events wages are well paid , you can have fun and take part in festivals of which the entrance costs exceeds the hundreds of euro.

I have worked sporadically for several events earning €70 a night to accompany people to their places and to smile, of course, concerts and shows for free



Tours and activities guide

You do not have to be a local to be a guide in a foreign country , in fact, it happens that in many foreign countries, it serves to have mother-tongue personnel to follow customers who do not speak any other language.
If you are experienced or if you have taken part in an excursion that you have particularly enjoyed you can always ask if there is a chance for working.
Joahn, a Swiss boy, after taking part in the tour in La Carretera de la Muerte in La Paz has accepted the job as a guide for a few months with a salary of $ 600 a month , which is more than enough to live in Bolivia.


Sell ​​photos

If you are a good photographer and you have a great camera why not consider selling your photos online ? There are many sites that can help you do this , among the main ones I would like to list:

Scuba Diving Instructor

If the sea is your passion , you already have some licence, why don’t you complete the course and become a diving instructor? Thousands of young men roam the world immersing in the most beautiful seas of the earth . They are paid , they have fun and know hundreds of people from anywhere in the world.
That's what my friend Giuseppe does in Thailand since 2 years now, and he loves it!


Surf instructor and Kite Surfing

As for the scuba diving instructor, here also, it is the passion for a sport that can become a profession . If you surf, the ideal would be the Pacific coast , Bali or Australia.

The kitesurfing instructors instead, find many opportunities in Vietnam , Egypt, Brazil.
Especially during the high season period there is a high demand for mother-tongue speaking personnel , in general English is a necessary condition to get the job given the high concentration of foreign tourists who use the English language as conventional language.
Luca leaven  following the right wave since 8 year, or more. When he doesn't give surf lessons he repairs surfboard. And you know what? He is also very well paid.
I guess he is in Australia right now!


Working as a Tour Destination Manager for Tour Operator

After months of travel, or maybe after staying in a country for a long time you may propose yourself as Tour Destination Manager (DMC) who is not the person who contracts with the customer but a specialist of a certain destination who provides information and reservations for hotel , tours, transportation, events and all that concerns the creation of packages which are then the tours that tour operators sell.


Traveling with backpack on the back and a small budget is a challenge, but with a little creativity and ability to adapt everything is possible for the intrepid traveler!

If you want to know more, in the next post I will write of the work as a freelancer or related to the web, such as exploiting a travel blog, translations, copywriting and all those professions that the web offers, and of which perhaps we have not yet thought of.


If you've ever traveled carrying out one of these professions, if you know any other I have not listed, comments on the post, new and fresh ideas help everyone. I'd love to hear your story.



Aggiornato il: 21 Giugno 2019
Scritto da: Giulia Raciti

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Scritto da Giulia Raciti

Esperta di Africa e Latino America sono in viaggio dal 2011. Attualmente a bordo di un van. Ho fatto un giro del mondo in solitaria durato 3 anni. Scrivo delle destinazioni che visito. Mi occupo di realizzazione viaggi personalizzati e su misura in Africa e Sud America sul sito dedicato Kipepeo Experience.

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