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There are so many visas out there for young people wanting to work and travel, but what about when you get a little older?

Most working holiday visas are not available for over 30s

Most working holiday visas are not available if you’re over 30 or 35. However, there are still opportunities for those 30+ year old’s seeking their next overseas adventure. In fact, experience and age can be an advantage. If you have a great CV and an established career in a specific field, an overseas company could sponsor you or welcome you into their volunteer program.

Here are five ways you can work overseas (especially when you’re over 30) without a traditional Working Holiday visa.

Option 1. WWOOF

WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms (or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). It’s a program that connects volunteers to host families who live on farms. In exchange for food and board, you assist the farmers, getting your hands dirty and working outdoors during your stay.

Is this right for me?

The expectations for your working day – how long it will be and what you will be required to do – will be made with your host family. You will live in your host family’s home and eat meals with them, working with them on the farm during the day.

If the idea of visiting an amazing destination and really understanding the everyday life of the locals appeals, then this may suit you. However, if you need your own space and are looking to develop your own social life, it may not. If your farm job requires manual labour, make sure you consult your travel insurance provider to see if this type of work is covered under your policy.

How much will it cost?

If you choose to go WWOOFing then there are no essential costs except for your flight. It’s one of the most inexpensive ways to complete a working holiday.

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Option 2. Teaching English

If you speak English, there are lots of opportunities out there to teach the language in international schools via a sponsorship. Since English is spoken in so many countries around the globe, being fluent in English can help people’s careers and business opportunities – so many countries want and need good teachers and tutors.

If you spent your 20s getting a bachelor’s degree and now have a desperate need to travel, you’re in luck because lots of employers are looking for people with degrees. If you don’t have a degree, however, you can always pursue getting a TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification, which depending on the institution take about two weeks to complete.

Is this right for me?

If earning money and having a bit of freedom regarding how you spend your after-work hours appeals to you, this could be the one for you. However, teaching is a hard gig, so don’t take it on lightly.

It’s perfect for someone with experience in teaching or working with young people, or someone who enjoys helping people in their jobs. Teaching also takes maturity, so it could be advantageous if you’re over 30 and looking to work overseas.

How much will it cost?

You’ll get paid but the rates will depend on the school you’re teaching at and the general rates for teachers in that country. However, since you’ll have incoming pay packets, money should be less of a worry than when you’re just travelling. Be aware of rental rates and standard costs of living compared to the agreed income when choosing your destination.

english teacher overseas

Option 3. Help Exchange or volunteer abroad

Help Exchange is an online network where you can explore opportunities to volunteer in foreign countries in exchange for food and accommodation. While it’s similar to WWOOF, the jobs are not just on farms, rather you could be doing a wide variety of work. These duties may include building a school, taking care of kids, renovating a farm, working as a guide – the list is varied.

Similarly, you could also try finding work through an organisation like Projects Abroad. Projects Abroad have staff that assist volunteers to provide support to local initiatives in developing countries. When you volunteer in a program like this, you make a real contribution to a community and you will develop a real understanding of another culture.

Will it suit me?

If you want to work abroad and travel cheaply while giving back to the communities, you’re spending time in, this is a great way to do it. However, as with WWOOF, you’ll be interacting with the people you work with 24/7, so it depends what your wants and needs are.

How much will it cost?

This is another way to travel long term without spending a lot of money as your flights will be the most expensive purchase you will need to make.

working abroad with friends

Option 4. House swapping or house sitting

This is not a long-term option, but you can work from home (WFH) in another country for a month or two (or however long you’re allowed in that specific country visa-free).

House swapping is an excellent way for a mature person to travel abroad. If you’re a homeowner, you can swap this property with other people from overseas. For example, you could spend time in France while someone enjoys your local neighbourhood at your house.

House Sitting is similar, but instead of swapping you make yourself available to occupy someone’s house while they’re travelling. It makes people feel far more secure if someone is staying in their house while they’re away and in exchange you get to save money on long term accommodation.

Will it suit me?

If you love dogs, cats and pets in general, you might love house sitting as willingness to take care of pets is particularly desirable. House swapping is a great option for someone who lives in their own home, and in an interesting area.

How much will it cost?

These scenarios can be quite cheap in terms of accommodation, but you will need money for day to day expenses. If you combine these accommodation hunting strategies with teaching or working elsewhere this would be a great way to experience a new city.

dog on holiday

Option 5. Work on a cruise ship

The idea of working on a cruise ship might conjure images of white suits and romance, but cruise ships are just really large-scale floating cities, which means there are plenty of employment opportunities within them.

Have you ever worked in hospitality, as a lifeguard, in entertainment or in childcare? Perhaps you’ve been a manager, a hairdresser or worked in retail? If so, finding a job on a cruise ship is certainly a possibility no matter your age or field of expertise.

Will it suit me?

This could be for you if you:

  • have an appropriate skill; and
  • like the idea of working somewhere you can meet lots of different people and travel by sea to lots of different places.

What’s more, you may benefit from this arrangement if you prefer having your visas and travel arrangements taken care of for you.

How much will it cost?

You will get paid a wage and your accommodation and food on board will be provided, so there won’t be a lot of outlay for you.

cruise ship holiday

Work abroad in the land down under

In Australia, we have Working Holiday Visa arrangements with many countries, however they’re available for people age 18 to 30 only. For visitors from the UK, here’s a simple guide to the UK working holiday visa. The Australian Government announced on 1 July 2019, that Canadian, French and Irish citizens will now be eligible for a work and holiday visa up to 35 years old.1

If you’re excluded from this due to your age, don’t worry – there are other options (see above).

The world is your oyster…

If you want to see the world without blowing all your savings, work out which option suits you best, make your preparations regarding your passport, visas, luggage and travel insurance, and get on that plane!

When seeking travel insurance quotes, you should check the policy wording to make sure you have adequate cover. If working while overseas is included, be sure to declare exactly what kind of labour so there are no nasty surprises if you need to make a claim. Bon voyage!


[1] Department of Home Affairs. First Working Holiday Visa. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-417/first-working-holiday-417#Overview. 2020.

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