Travelling has always been a passion of mine, and from the first time I travelled outside of the United States, I knew that I wanted to build a career and a lifestyle that would allow me the luxury of location independence.
So, soon after graduating college, I started a remote Graphic Design business and bought a one-way ticket to Spain. From there, I would go on to spend time in France, Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and more.
While I’m now based in the United States, I’ve held digital, location-independent occupations for virtually my entire career. But I have the freedom to up and leave whenever the mood strikes, and throughout my travels, I’ve met some of the most ineteresting people who have that same freedom… but built on the foundation of a wide variety of professional foundations.
And in drawing inspiration from their stories and my own, I’ve devised a list of ways in which you can turn your degree into a license to travel. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!
1. Start a Remote Business
Whether it’s a small freelancing business or multi-million dollar ecommerce, the businesses you can start with nothing more than some ambition and a laptop of virtually endless. Plus, as a business owner, you have the luxury of setting your own hours and work schedule… which is inherently beneficial to the perpetual travel who bounces through time zones like a game of hopscotch.
How do you decide what kind of business to start? Simply put, follow your skills and your passion. Choosing a cookie cutter business model posed by the YouTube gurus out there will only result in boredom and eventual failure.
If you majored in design or the arts, consider offering your skills on a freelance basis like I did. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr have made it easier than ever to find clients and develop a consistent income.
Or, for example, if you majored in finance, you could develop a very lucrative accounting/bookkeeping business.
Computer Science? Become a freelance developer, or create an interactive tool that nets you a passive income. English? Become a freelance writer, teach English as a second language, or start a blog.
The list of possibilities goes on and on… just make sure you choose something you enjoy so that your work life matches the illustriousness of your free time.
2. Find a Remote Job
In this post-Covid economy, more and more employers are choosing to listen to their employees (and their bank accounts) and ditch the in-person work paradigm… making it easier than ever for anybody to pack their bags and start living the laptop lifestyle.
Of course, not all jobs are conducive to remote working… but if you’re associated with tech in any way, or if you spend the majority of your 9-to-5 staring at a computer screen, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be able to find a rewarding gig that you can take on the road.
And if you’re worried about finding reliable Wifi or places to work wherever the wind blows you, fear not. Coworking spaces have become commonplace in cities around the world, and you can always check with your hotel or AirBNB host to ensure that there’s a stable internet connection when you arrive.
Even if your job is 100% remote, you may still wish to check with your employer and make sure that your wandering aspirations are okay with them. Some business may be weary about the legal and tax ramifications of having their employees work from foreign countries.
But that decision is entirely up to. And if one employer doesn’t allow, you can bet that there are dozens of others out there that will.
3. Work in Exchange for Housing
You don’t need a fancy remote job, business, or even a large income to travel as you see fit. There are lots of businesses around the world that will gladly pay your housing costs in exchange for some labor.
Hostels, hotels, restaurants, cafes, co-ops, farms and many others are always looking for help, wherever it may come from. Sure, their offered living conditions may not be 5-star-worthy… but if you’re young and malleable, then chances are you can give up some creature comforts in exchange for the freedom of travel.
Many of these business won’t require a full-time work investment from you either, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore or work on a digital side-hustle/passion project to net you some additional income.
If you’re living lean, then chances are housing is your largest monthly expense, so with eliminating that, the rest should be fairly easy to piece together!
Wondering where to start? Platforms like Work Away connect people with businesses for this very reason. Check them out and see where the opportunities could take you!
4. Get a Job Overseas
This is probably the most complicated option on this list given the paperwork involved, but if you’re skilled enough and can pull it off, then getting a job in another country and moving there all together is a great way to travel.
And if you’re strategic about it, you can open doors to a number of other countries based on where your future employer is located.
For example, if you get a job in a member of the European Union, then you can spend your weekends and vacation time moving fluidly throughout the other EU nations. If you get a job in Germany, then you’ll have quick and affordable access to surrounding countries like Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy… the list goes on.
Getting a legitimate job overseas is dependent on a number of factors… and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to learn the language of whatever your desired destination might be. But if you’re determined enough, there’s no reason why you can’t land your dream job and your dream country code in one swoop. Two birds… as they say.
5. Get a Rewards Credit Card
Prior to this point, I need to make the obligatory disclaimer that I am not your financial advisor, and this should not be taken as financial advice.
Now that that’s out of the way, if you’re just looking to tap into your savings and do a big trip after graduation, then you might consider a credit card with airline miles for a reward program.
Of course, this isn’t to suggest that you should rack up thousands in credit card debt solely for the purpose of travel, but if you have foreseeable big-ticket expenses coming up down the road then see if you can sign up for one of these reward credit cards, put the aforementioned purchases on the card, pay off the balance on the back end, and then enjoy resulting miles!
Many cards that offer a miles-per-dollar program also offer some sort of signing-bonus… wherein if you spend “X” amount within the first three months, you’ll get an obscene amount of miles in return.
In many cases, that sum of reward miles will be enough to get to and from any number of exotic locations around the world… and you may even have enough left over to afford some small flights in between.
If this idea catches your eye, then simply do a Google search for airline reward credit cards and see which options work for you! If you have an idea of where you’d like to travel to, then consider cards which partner with airlines that are cost-effective in getting to that part of the world.
For example, if you’re wanting to go to London, then look for a card that partners with British Airways. Or, if you’re looking to go to Dubai, then look for a card that partners with Emirates. And so, and so.
Ready to pack your bags?
Of course, these aren’t the only ways to travel the world after college. The possibilities are only limited by your own creativity and ambition. There are penty jobs here in the US which require international travel as part of the day-to-day requirements. Or maybe you dive into Crypto Currency and forge and semi-passive income through day-trading.
Whatever the case may be, the point is that if you want to travel and see the world, there’s nothing holding you back. Don’t feel obligated to listen to boomers claiming that the next 30 years of your life are destined to be lifeless and desk-bound.
The future is what you make of it, so get out there and start living your best life.