free ways to live abroad or overseas

Free Ways to Live Abroad

For you, living abroad is the dream, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. I understand this need for adventure and travel because I have it too, which it why I put everything in storage and traveled roughly 8,000 miles away to Chiang Mai, Thailand on my journey to becoming a Digital Nomad.

Of course, the Digital Nomad lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’re looking for a more temporary option, or you want a lifestyle that allows you to immerse yourself in a culture for longer periods of time. Regardless of your wishlist, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Here are my favorite free ways to live abroad.


TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Becoming a TEFL teacher is actually much easier than you might think. English fluency is one of the most highly-demanded skills in the world. Explore parts of the world you’ve always imagined such as Europe, Asia, and Africa and make a difference in students’ lives. This is one of the most common ways for twenty-somethings to live abroad, and I’ve met several TEFL instuctors who say it’s the best decision they’ve ever made.

In fact, I met two American TEFL teachers on their way back from Jakarta and Kaula Lumpur who each spent 2 years teaching English. I was astonished… two years? Did they ever miss home? Of course they did, but the man I met returning from Kuala Lumpur said something that really stuck with me: “Of course I miss my comfort zone, but one day I’m going to wake up and have no regrets about all the experiences I’ve had, and that, is probably the greatest feeling you can wake up to everyday.”

Damn. And that just destroyed all my worries about being homesick.


Being an aupair is one of the most romatic jobs you can think of, right? Living in a magical country, working in the day, exploring a new city at night. At least that was always a dream to me after watching this movie. You can make that dream a reality by applying to many aupair agencies and programs such as Au Pair World. About 3 years ago I actually went through the application process through that company and although it didn’t work out, I only have good things to say about that company.

Many cities already have large established aupair communities so you can meet fellow nannies in the city you live in. Spain has a huge Au Pair culture and if making fellow Au Pair friends is a requirement for you, be sure to ask your agency or potential host family what the scene is like in that city. They know the area best and will be honest with you.

To see if the Au Pair life is the life for you, check out these blogs from real life:


WWOOF Abroad

This fun acronym just got even fun-ner. Want to hop across the globe living on vineyards, olive groves, goat farms, or even beekeeping homes? Then your answer is definitely to WWOOF it.

Different from this, fans of The Office:


WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In exchange for free housing, you volunteer on an organic farm for just a holiday, or long-term. You get to set your own dates and choose the host country you’d like to live and volunteer in.

There’s a huge community of current and past WWOOFers, and a lot of them exchange tips and stories in the r/WWOOF subReddit thread.

Work on a Cruise Ship

International cruise companies like Norweigian and Carnival are always actively recruiting young adults to live and work at sea. I’ve personally noticed these two cruise lines heavily using social media to find new talent and to promote their interview round ups in large cities. I lived in the Carnival port city of Charleston, South Carolina and I know of many occasions of large-scale hiring for basic positions.

Have a special talent such as performing? Audition to be an entertainer on board. I know an aquaintance who worked for Norweigian Cruise Lines and always posted the most incredible photos from his adventures – hiking Macchu Piccu or surfing in Hawaii – because of the opportunities that came from working for a cruise line.

Royal Caribbean Career Opportunities

Disney Cruise Line Careers

Princess Cruise Line Career Opportunities

Carnival Career Opportunities

SilverSea Career Opportunities

House Sit or Swap Homes

Yep, the movie The Holiday, is real! Well, sorta. If you do have a house to offer up, there are various websites that provide online classifieds for owners to advertise and meet potential sitters.(, or

Or, if houseswapping isn’t your jam, join the online community of House Sitters $60 annual fee $20 annual fee $89 annual fee

Although you’ll likely have to shell out some cash for a reputible agency, the amount of money you will save by not renting a home, hotel, or Airbnb is completely worth the upfront cost. And be sure to do your research on visa and immigration requirements beforehand!

With all of these free ways to live abroad, there’s really no excuse not to pursue living abroad if you really want to. Have you taken any of these routes to live abroad for free? Share your experience in the comments below!


Hi, I'm Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I've always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 15+ countries in one year. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

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