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Plane taking off - how to travel and make money by teaching English abroad

The new year has begun and, if you haven’t already, now is a great time to reflect on some New Year’s resolution ideas. For many of us, it’s all too tempting to fall back on resolutions focused on dieting or self-improvement.

A much better plan is to make resolutions you’ll actually want to stick to that are based on things that enrich your life and bring you happiness. So, let’s talk more about a resolution that can do both: travel more this year!

If this is already one of your resolutions you’ll be at no loss for travel inspo because Lonely Planet has already released its Best in Travel 2022 list and Travel and Leisure have rounded up 50 Best Places to Travel in 2022. But, of course, deciding where you want to go is the easy part. Figuring out how to get there can be a little more tricky. (With lockdowns still in effect around the world and the looming pandemic, we recommend consulting your country’s travel restrictions and plan accordingly.)

There’s still a chance that 2022 is the year to teach English abroad.

If you’re looking for a great way to tick travel destinations off your list this year, teaching English abroad might be the best option for you. Not only does teaching abroad allow you to travel the world but you can also continue to work and make money while you’re at it.

With growing worldwide demand for English teachers, there are plenty of teaching positions available just about anywhere for new grads or certified teachers. When it comes to teaching English you have two options: you can either move to a new country to teach there or live the digital nomad life by teaching English online.

So, keep scrolling for a step-by-step guide on how to make your 2022 travel dreams into a reality by teaching English abroad.

couple hiking a mountain - how to travel the world and make money

1. Complete a TEFL certification

The first step towards teaching English abroad or online is getting qualified.

If you have a university degree in education, you may already qualify for some jobs. But, if you don’t have one or if you want to make your application stand out, you’ll need to get a teaching qualification to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) in order to find teaching jobs abroad.

With a Bachelor’s degree (in any subject) getting a teaching certification is pretty simple. Holding a BA in any subject is the main entry criteria for any good TEFL certification course.

Speaking of TEFL courses, a quick Google search will reveal there is no shortage of TEFL courses to choose from. So being mindful of your budget, learning style and the amount of time you have to dedicate to your TEFL course will help you choose the right TEFL course for you.

Doing your TEFL certification online is the fastest and most afforable route to getting an English teaching job abroad. Along with your bachelor’s degree, your TEFL certificate will qualify you to teach English as a foreign language in any country around the world.

Online TEFL courses also offer a great amount of flexibility, so you’ll have plenty of time to work or plan your travels alongside studying.

And if you’re keen to hit the road as soon as possible you can even get a TEFL certification online while you travel.

girl teaching english online - how to travel the world and make money

2. Decide if you want a teaching job abroad or online teaching job.

Once you’re TEFL qualified you’ll be ready to start applying for English teaching jobs abroad. Next, you need to choose which route you’ll take.

Would you rather commit to living in one place or do you want the freedom to move around?

Let’s take a look at each choice a bit more!

Option 1: Teach English Abroad in one place

Finding a teaching job abroad normally means you’ll work in one location for one school. The process of finding a teach abroad job after you’re qualified can take around three months or more, depending on where you want to teach.

You’ll spend anywhere from a few months to a year in one destination as an ESL teacher. That means you’ll have time to make local friends, learn the language and immerse yourself in the culture where you live.

And travel-wise you’ll be able to visit destinations that are accessible from your new home base.

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Option 2: Teach English online from anywhere with Wifi

Choosing an online teaching job means you’re not tied to one location, as long as you have a good internet connection you can work from wherever you like. The process of finding an online teaching job after you’re qualified can take as little as two weeks.

The obvious benefit of this is the huge amount of flexibility it offers. Your job will allow you to travel wherever you like, whenever you like, traveling the world and making money as you go.

If you want to travel to a bunch of countries or don’t have a firm itinerary yet, this could be the best option for you.

person sitting at the great wall of china - how to travel the world and make money

3. If you decide to teach English abroad, get a job close to where you’d like to travel.

If you already know you want a teaching job abroad, think carefully about choosing a destination that will place you within reach of all the places you want to visit.

Luckily, living in one area for a longer period will mean you can travel extensively in the surrounding area, as well as having the time to fully enjoy the cultural experience where you live.

So when choosing a destination, make sure to factor in all the travel experiences you could have nearby and how accessible that location is from airports and train stations.

There are hundreds of teaching jobs all around the world available through our job board. To give you a little teaser of some of the top TEFL destinations abroad with the best proximity to hot travel spots, we’ve listed a few regions you may want to explore.

Where’s the best place to teach English in Central America in 2022?

If you’re interested in traveling in the Americas or in the Carribean, why not teach English in Mexico?

While you’re there, make sure to visit luxury coastal paradise Baja Sur’s East Cape, ranked number 5 in Travel + Leisure’s 50 Best Places to Travel in 2022.

Photo of girl in dubai - how to travel the world and make money

Where’s the best place to teach English in the Middle East in 2022?

Teaching in Dubai will give you great access to the Middle East, Europe and Africa. As Dubai is a travel hub it has plenty of quick connections to nearby destinations including Travel + Leisure’s number one travel destination Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, an emerging art and culture hot spot.

Where’s the best place to teach English in Asia in 2022?

If you want to explore Asia there are many great options to choose from!

Teaching English in China means you can live in Travel + Leisure’s number seven destination, Beijing.

Bhutan was named Lonely Planet’s best country to visit in 2022, which is easily accessible if you’re teaching English in Thailand.

Beyond these locations, there are equally exciting opportunities to explore different corners of the continent by:

photo of china - how to travel the world and make money

4. Save money for your travels while teaching English.

One of the biggest advantages of teaching English abroad or online is that it allows you to make money to fund your travels while you’re overseas.

If you decide to teach abroad in one location, this will probably mean that you build up a travel fund from your monthly salary. You can then use your savings to take short, local trips on the weekends, or larger trips during school holidays or after your contract ends.

Of course, how far you can travel will depend on how much you earn. If you have ambitious travel plans to fund, take a look at the top countries to make the most money teaching abroad.

If you are teaching English online you have two options to fund your travels:

  1. You could teach online from home to save up a travel fund. Then you can take short or long trips when you feel like you have enough money to fulfill your travel plans. 
  2. You could make money while traveling by teaching English online. This is not a way to save money, but a way to fund your travels while you’re on the go, and a great option for people who want to travel but don’t have a travel fund saved up.

It’s also a great idea to look into it more practically by looking into your potential earnings vs. expenses with either option.

If online teaching sounds ideal, you can start by calculating how much you can make teaching online before you plan your trip. Or if you’re leaning more towards teaching abroad, don’t forget to check out living expenses in different countries to get an idea of how far your hard-earned cash will stretch while you’re on the road.

photo of travel lay - how to travel the world and make money

5. Plan your trip and live your travel dreams.

Once you’ve worked out which kind of TEFL job best suits your travel plans, it’s time to start planning the details.

First, you’ll need to get TEFL certified and start applying for jobs online. The best place to start is at the Teach Away job board where hundreds of teaching jobs abroad are posted regularly and you can filter by country or region.

Once you’ve found a few jobs in your ideal location, think about your lifestyle preferences. Different schools may offer different salaries, vacation days and working hours. Think about what will work for you (and your travel plans) so you can find the best option for you.

If you’re looking for online teaching jobs, it’s time to start working on a travel itinerary. Thinking about which destinations you want to visit will help you figure out how much you need to earn to make your travel plans work.

It’s also worth considering how many hours you can work each week while you’re traveling, and how much flexibility you need in your schedule when looking for online teaching jobs. Different companies will offer different salaries and working hours.

Once you’ve chosen your ideal teaching job, you’re ready to go! It’s time to pack your bags and put a big tick next to travel on your new year’s resolutions list.

Get started today!

So here’s to 2022 — the year you traveled the world and made money!

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