Where it began
I’d always loved to travel, but it was a backpacking trip around Morocco in my late teens, long before the budget airlines started flying there, that really sealed the deal. Hopping onto scenic trains traversing dry, dusty, unknown lands and haggling for colourful spices in frenetic cities, felt so exciting, I knew I’d been bitten by the travel bug. From then on travelling the world was my aim, I just needed to work out how to fund it and landing a career in magazines was where I started.
After working my way through various departments across different magazines from layout design to the picture desk, I landed a job launching the online travel sections for a magazine and finally about seven years ago, took my travel writing freelance. And I’m not alone, with predictions that around half of the UK workforce will be freelance by 2020. A workforce that is also predicted to bring over £51 billion to the UK economy, which is great news in terms of people’s flexibility. After all, who wouldn’t want the possibility of sending emails from some far-flung beach or conducting meetings from a coffee shop rather than a boardroom? Not being held to any regular hours and fitting them around the far more exciting task of globetrotting.
How to make it work
But is it always all that it’s cracked up to be? Sure, travelling the world as a freelancer sounds the dream and often it is, but it’s not always as idyllic as it sounds. Good money and project management are key factors to being successful. On any given week, I have several deadlines from different publications and need to manage my time efficiently to get them all completed. I’ve had to get incredibly organised, keeping on top of my invoices and reluctantly becoming a keen spreadsheet user. You need to be aware of time zones and finding speedy Wi-Fi and plug sockets is not always as easy as it sounds.
How to move abroad
However, for a freelancer, as long as there’s great internet connection, moving abroad is always a possibility and one which I decided to try. After sorting an apartment on Airbnb, I made the move to Copenhagen and immersed myself in Danish life, joining the local sailing club and getting fit cycling around the city. When you move abroad there are always unexpected bills back home that pop up; but having a service which allowed me to transfer cash back to the UK was a life saver, as it gave me the freedom to pay things speedily without worry. When working abroad, there are plenty of apps to help you stay connected and in touch.
Other ideas to get paid to travel the world
It’s not just freelance writing that lets you travel the world while working, there are a huge variety of jobs through which you can make a living while travelling. From teaching English abroad to joining sites like Upwork, where you get to sell your skills as a freelancer within your specialism from sales and marketing, to design or photography. Bloggers and Instagram influencers are, as ever, on the rise and there are other revenue streams you might not have thought of… could joining a cruise ship, working on the shore excursions in the sunshine be your dream? Maybe your current company would let you go take a freelance sabbatical for a couple of months?
How to stay financially savvy
Once you’ve worked out how to work and get the money, how do you remain financially savvy? It’s all in making money management as easy as possible for yourself. Once, I arrived in New York late at night and when I went to check into my hotel, my bank card had been blocked. With the banking system down for maintenance, I turned to an online app and had money transferred from home within minutes and allowing me to get a bed for the night sorted, which was a relief.
I also look on travel websites to get the cheapest hotel and flight deals. A brilliant new website to join is Jack’s Flight Club, where he and his team spend hours searching through all the airline’s booking systems to find the cheapest fares possible (like flights from London to Tokyo for just £240). Once you’re on the ground, make sure you use banks with no ATM fees and research the best currency rates. To make it even easier, you can transfer your money to your chosen location before you go and just pick it up when you get there.