The Best Options for Traveling and Teaching

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As a traveling teacher for the past three years, I’ve kind of done it all. I have experience in several different teaching scenarios and think that teaching is a job that allows you so much freedom to travel the world. It’s truly incredible! In this post, I’ll outline the best options for traveling and teaching.

Some background about me… I taught in a traditional classroom in the US for eight years. During that time, I was able to spend my summers teaching, traveling, and exploring. I quit my full-time teaching job and started to teach online instead, learning about a whole new world of teaching and traveling.

Note: If you are wanting to travel and teach, your first step is certification. Whether you want to teach full-time or part time, certification is going to be necessary in some form. I went to college for education and have been lucky to be qualified for all the below options. I’ll outline the certification needed for each option.

1. Teach full time, travel on holidays

Certification needed: full teaching license, state testing varies, degree required

This is a model I followed for several years and am so glad I did. It’s easy to use school breaks for travel. While you work, you’ll have weeks off at a time throughout the year. This means you have ample time to go on trips during the summer, spring break, and winter break.

There are so many options for travel discounts for classroom teachers. There are discounts on things like hotels, car rentals, flights, full vacations, activities, and just general tips for saving on travel that make it possible on a teachers salary. I created a whole series on travel discounts for teachers on my TikTok. Find all videos below:

Traveling Teachers: Teaching in Beijing, China

2. Teach full-time in internationally

Certification needed: education degree or sometimes TEFL/TESOL certification, Bachelor’s degree required

There’s a lot of different ways to do this. If you area already a certified teacher, you will be able to qualify for a variety of positions. You can teach at international schools as well as in tutoring centers and the like full time. All of these positions go together because they are full time in the sense that they last longer than a few months. They are not temporary positions, instead you have a classroom and continually teach the same students throughout the year.

Alright to start…

Teaching English as a Foreign Language refers to teaching English language in countries where English is not the native language. A Mexican student learning English in Mexico, for example, is learning English as a foreign language.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages is an all-encompassing term that covers TEFL and is commonly used by membership organizations like TESOL International and by universities to refer to graduate degree programs in English language teaching, such as the MA TESOL.

You can also go in person to the country you would like to teach in and take a TESOL course there with guaranteed placement at the end. There are many countries where you have the option to teach and programs will vary greatly depending on the country you want to teach in. One thing is for sure, you will need a bachelor’s degree if you want a full time position and you will want to at least get an online TESOL course certification or you can go straight to getting TEFL Certified. From there, you can begin to speak with recruiters and make your choice.

Some full time teaching options include:

how to get more bookings on vipkid tips for new teachers

3. Teach online

Certification needed: TESOL certification, Bachelor’s degree required (except PalFish, but it pays 1/2 what others do)

Teaching online is one way that you can see the world while continuing to work and make a decent amount of money. There are a lot of things to consider if you are wanting to teach online, but know that this job offers a lot of flexibility and a certain amount of stability, depending on the company you choose. It’s a great way to explore while living abroad.

I’ve been working for two different companies, VIPKid and QKids, they both have pros and cons. Online learning is huge right now and it’s easy to transition to this while traveling.

Here are some things to consider:

  • you don’t need teaching experience to start teaching online
  • you will need a strong WiFi connection
  • you will need props and materials for many of the programs
  • some online platforms require a minimum of hours
  • you will be an independent contractor and could be let go at any time

4. Teacher Travel Opps – Travel for Free with a Program!

Certification needed: full teaching license, state testing varies, degree required

There are many different programs that offer teacher exchanges, especially during the summer. I spent a summer teaching in China as well as in Zambia helping teachers in their classrooms. The best way to find these programs is by looking into fellowships, non-profits, and the like for programs that fit your schedule. Some last a month, others just a week. These are a great way to spend some time traveling and helping other teachers around the world as well as developing your own practice.

Programs to Consider:

  • Bridge USA
  • Fullbright
  • TALMA
  • GeoVisions
  • Destino Idiomas

Full list of teacher travel opps can be found in my subscriber resources where I list over 200 teacher travel opps.

My video series on Travel Opps for Teachers:

My experience teaching in Zambia and China

teaching in russia

5. Teach Privately

Certification: set by family or tutoring center

Many parents, small towns, and private tutoring companies are looking for strong English speakers to teach students privately. They do not always require a degree or anything beyond being a native English speaker, but having experience with kids will give you a leg up. The easiest way to find these positions is to look online at places such as AuPair World.

Here’s a story of a private tutor below:

Teaching in Russia

teaching in cambodia

6. Volunteer as a teacher

Certification: high school diploma or higher

This is one I do not recommend for some different reasons but wanted to place it on the list because it is important to know what is out there. Typically programs work like this, you pay a contribution to the volunteer agency and a small admin fee. You book your own flight, but the project itself is usually free along with basic accommodation two meals per day. Always question your intentions. Before and after your trip.

Really check your intentions before this one, especially if you have never taught before. Do you really want to help and be a part of something that could change the world? Or are intentions selfish, to travel and to see and experience a place at the same time. Always be honest with yourself about your intentions. That’s important.

Here’s a story about teaching and volunteering:

Teaching in Cambodia

7. Travel with your students

Certifications: This one assumes you are already teaching with students in another scenario above full time.

If you are looking for a cool way to explore and bring experiences to your students, consider organizing a group trip. There are several different organizations that offer this service and the best part? If enough kids sign up, chaperones get to go for free! Pretty cool huh?

8. Go on vacations just for teachers

Certifications: None

Did you know that there are vacations out there designed just for teachers? Yep, there are so many out there that you can find for affordable rates and fun over the summer, spring break, and winter break! I’m actually helping host one alongside two of my traveling teacher friends a vacation for teachers through GEEO.

Some other companies to consider besides GEEO are Teachers on a Trip, Traveling Teachers LLC, Book Bag Trips, and Classroom without Borders.

No matter the option you choose, you’ll have an incredible experience traveling and teaching.