Living & Working in Great Places
Thanks for being here! The six of us at CoolWorks welcome you and wish you success in finding your Jobs in Great Places®!
As a seasonal worker, you have one of the best opportunities to travel. While most of the workforce tends to only get a week or two of vacation, seasonal workers will often have months off in a row.
Whether you’re a teacher, farmer, ski patrol worker, fishing tour operator, or in a seasonal tourism-related industry – you’re the unique position of having extended time off without losing your job. Of course, the money often isn’t rolling in when you’re off work, so you’ll need to plan ahead if you’re thinking of taking off during the off-season.
The first recommendation is to plan your living accommodations accordingly. It’s a real bummer to have to continue to pay rent while you’re traveling. You’ll want to do your best to avoid having unnecessary expenses back home while you’re off checking out the world.
It doesn’t matter if you own or rent, you’ll want to take care of business either way. Here is the list of some ways you can cut down on expense for your living situation.
If you rent:
- Plan to sublet while you’re away. You can rent by the month or use a service like Air BnB to handle frequent rentals. It’s possible to handle all your Air BnB bookings remotely if you set it up properly.
- If you’re ok with completely moving, only acquire short term leases while you’re working. Better yet, rent a room from people you know. They might let you store a few things while you travel.
If you own:
- Air BnB works great if you can store your valuables securely. It is your home, so you may want someone checking up on it.
- Rent out some rooms to quality people while you live there, and when you’re gone you’ll know what to expect. This won’t eliminate costs, but it’ll minimize them.
- Offer a short term lease. Many people (just like you) are looking for short term places to stay. You’d be surprised at the results. This may require moving out temporarily, though.
If you’re working on a time-limited schedule, you may want to have at least a rough plan. Put together a list of where you’ll start, and where you’d like to end up. There are lots of websites and apps that may help create and run your schedule. Then write down all the must-see places in between.
That’s your basic travel itinerary. By working with your fixed departure and return dates you can plan out how much time you have to experience each destination before you leave. This will ensure you get to see everything you want to, but still return on time.
This will allow you to set out the following criteria:
- Budget – You’ll be able to plan a route, rough places to stay, and know what things will cost. This will ensure your money lasts for the whole trip.
- Destinations – If you absolutely must visit the Eiffel Tower and taste the local beers in Prague, you’re going to need to plan for that. The only way you get to see all your destinations on a fixed schedule is with a plan.
You could completely ignore the planning advice and just plan a starting destination. Leave everything else to chance. Stay in a place as long as you like, then move on to another random destination. Just have an exit date in mind so you know when to be back, and see how long the money will last.
Planning can take the excitement and variables out of the trip. You may want that if you’re on a fixed schedule, but you may want to avoid it if you have a bit more time. Just pick who you’re going to go with, the rough geographical area, and get traveling!
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s a tendency to say “well, I may never be here again” and attempt to travel as far and wide as you can. That can be a big mistake.
If you pack your itinerary too full, you’ll find you spend most of your time on busses, trains and planes – when you’re not sleeping in a hotel. You’ll miss all the local culture in an area as you’re always rushing to catch your transit.
Slow down, enjoy the local culture, and you’ll have much richer experience. Rather than rushing through a city in a day to see as much as you can, take time to pick a couple things you can really dig in to. The more ingrained you can build your travel into the culture of a town, the more you’ll go home with.
If you rush, sure you’ll have vague memories of each city you visit, but the real experiences that you carry for a lifetime just won’t be there.
Normally travel packages aren’t something that you’ll find recommended. However, we’re not talking about holiday packages to resorts here. We’re talking about packaged passes that will simplify your travel to various destinations. They can usually offer some savings in common tourism destinations.
- Train Passes – If heading to Europe, considering buying a rail pass, showing up at the train station and picking your next destination from the departure terminal that day.
- Airline Passes – Not as common as train passes, but more and more airlines are now offering travel passes to their customers. Much like a train pass, you can hop on and go!
- Group Tours – Many tour operators now offer month long trips with all your transportation, hotels and meals stops planned out. If you want to see everything, these are great packages to maximizing your time.
- Cruises – There’s a reason cruises continue to grow in popularity, it’s a floating hotel that drops you off at cities to explore on your own. This means you can leave all your belongings in the hotel while you go out exploring new destinations every few days.
As a seasonal traveler, accommodations are going to require some special attention. This really depends on where you’re traveling, though. In some countries, a decent hotel room can be had for a fraction of the price you’d pay in a North American city.
However, if most first world countries, you’re going to continue to pay $100 a night for a hotel room that meets a certain standard. That can be extremely expensive for a traveler that’s on the road for any length of time.
You may want to consider renting by the week or month. This will be cheaper and allow you to dig your heels in more in the area you’re visiting. Most of Europe is also compact enough that you can even use a rental as your home base – and then use trains to see various surrounding cities with day trips.
If you can swing it, there’s nothing better than free accommodations. There are many programs available in countries where you can work or stay at various farming operations. This can pretty interesting if you find the right groups.
Students are the ultimate seasonal travelers because of the abundance of volunteer programs abroad. There are plenty of opportunities to trade time for accommodations.
There’s also couch surfing sites, or even home exchanges. Find a way to volunteer your home, and you get the benefit of using someone else’s.
Lastly, as a seasonal worker, the seasons will change. Before long you’ll be back at work. If you’re traveling for two or three months, you may want to take a vacation from your vacation!
Travel is a lot more tiring than sitting on a beach sipping drinks at a resort. Give yourself ample time to rest up and you’ll find yourself energized and ready to get back at the daily grind.
Seasonal travel can be extremely rewarding. Proper saving and planning can mean some excellent adventures await you in the offseason. By finding ways to lower your costs while you’re away, and traveling smart, it can be fun and rewarding any time of the year!