Today’s guest post is by Anna Barker from personal finance site, LogicalDollar.
Many of us work for years to save up for that dream holiday. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to retirement so that you’ll finally have the chance to be able to start crossing places off your bucket list.
But there’s actually a way to scratch that travel itch while working towards your financial goals. In fact, doing this has actually helped me to achieve those goals even faster.
Moving to work in another country is absolutely possible for most people. And not only does it give you the chance to have a totally new experience in terms of where you live, it can easily come with the added bonus of letting you earn more money and see places that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
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How this works
For those of us from countries like the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, we often find ourselves far from everywhere.
Not only does this make traveling overseas expensive, if you have limited vacation days, it’s almost impossible to plan a great escape when you barely have time to go down the road.
It’s also why you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that your travel plans have to wait until “one day”. You know, that magical day when you have all the time and money you need to see the world.
But you don’t have to wait that long.
In my case, I’ve had the chance to live in many different cities in Europe and the Middle East, which have allowed me to be a stone’s throw from places I wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. It’s allowed me to visit more than 50 countries in total.
I’ve also made sure these moves have worked out from a job perspective, meaning that I’ve actually been able to make more money than I would have if I’d just stayed at home.
Of course, the decision to do this isn’t quite as simple as that. But if you can make it work out, I can confirm that your wallet and your passport will thank you.
How to do this yourself
1. Figure out where you’re allowed to go
Your first step is going to be creating a list of countries where you can get a visa, as this is going to be your key to whether or not you actually stay in that country. Sometimes this is going to be tied to your work but, in others, you can get the visa first then start the job search.
When we hear about people moving overseas for work, we often associate this with people in roles like teaching English in Japan or working as an au pair in Europe. And both of these are amazing opportunities! But there’s no reason to limit yourself to things like that.
Just keep in mind that whatever job you do back home, every other country almost certainly has people doing the same work. This means there’s a good chance that there’ll be job opportunities overseas in your chosen profession – and, like in my case, they could even pay better than in your home country.
For example, in the UAE and other Gulf countries, teachers, medical professionals and engineers are in hot demand. The cost of living is high, but salaries are tax-free, so there’s an immediate boost compared to where you probably live now.
Some countries, like Australia, even have a list of jobs for which foreigners can more easily get a visa. The jobs on this list can range from hairdressers to mechanics to accountants, so there’s a good chance your area of work could be on there too.
For anyone interested in moving to Europe, the German freelance visa can be a great option as a starting point.
2. Check that it’s a good idea financially
Once you’ve got a list of potential countries ready, it’s important to do your research to figure out which places are worth your while financially.
The cost of living can vary pretty wildly from country to country, but you’ll also have to factor in additional things that you may be responsible for. This includes visa renewal fees, if your employer doesn’t handle them, as well as costs like health insurance that may be mandatory for you as a foreigner.
To get an idea of what this may involve, I’ve found Facebook groups and Reddit threads to be goldmines of information from other people who’ve done it before you.
Read the book: How To Travel The World On $50 A Day to learn how to travel affordably around the world.
Other points to consider
While the idea of earning more money and seeing new corners of the world may sound like a dream – and trust me, it can be seriously amazing – there are definite down sides.
You’re inevitably going to miss out on some things back home, as you probably won’t be able to make it back for every holiday or event. There’s also definitely an adjustment period as culture shock is real. Let’s just say that wandering around a supermarket for two hours trying to find something that would normally take you two minutes to find is frustrating beyond belief.
But it’s genuinely possible to find opportunities that result in you getting a significant boost to your income – money that would take years for you to earn otherwise. Not only could you find yourself significantly closer to achieving your financial goals, but you could get there while doing things you may have thought you’d have to wait for retirement to do.
I will say that you do need some self-control to stick to a budget. It can be tempting to want to spend all that hard-earned money when you get somewhere new, as you want to see everything and don’t know how long you’ll be there.
That said, striking a balance is more than possible – just like back home.
Sure, you may not be able to go for that fancy dinner in town at that place you read about in Lonely Planet. But you’re also so much closer to seeing new places that are incredibly cheaper (and quicker) to get to compared to where you were before. And, I’d argue, these are much better uses of that “fun” money you’ve allocated in your budget.
While it may seem daunting at first, there’s absolutely no need to limit your money-making potential to only what your hometown offers – or even just your home country.
And if moving overseas, even for only a few years, could put you ahead financially, then what’s stopping you from giving it a chance?
Not only can this work out amazingly well for your financial plans, but just imagine the other possibilities. You could always be a few hours away from a Saturday morning hike in Oman or from sipping wine in a cobblestoned street in Tbilisi.
Or how about escaping from work on a Friday to be wandering around Amsterdam or Prague later that evening? And there’s even the chance of spending a long weekend in Cairo or at a beach escape in Sri Lanka.
Like anything, you should do your research and weigh up your options. But if you’re waiting for that “one day” when you’ve earned enough money to give yourself the time to see the world, perhaps it’s time to bring that day forward a bit.
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