Working From The Road: Why Teaching Online Is A Great Way To Travel

Guest Post by Quincy, former teacher and founder of ESL Authority

ESL Authority is a site dedicated to bringing first-hand advice and guides to those looking to get involved in ESL teaching. Currently located in China, Quincy will work for strong coffee and IPAs.

If you’re looking for a job that allows you to choose your schedule, work from home, and travel around the world at your own pace, don’t give up hope. It might seem too good to be true, but if you’ve got the right credentials under your belt you can likely fund your travels by teaching online from practically anywhere. Earning money as you go will allow you the freedom to travel where you want and on your own schedule.

Travel while you work

It’s no secret that teaching English is a great way to see the world, but working for an online school provides an extra level of freedom.

Most online ESL companies give you the ability to choose which hours you’re available for teaching which leaves you a good amount of flexibility. This means that as long as you have a reliable internet connection you can quite literally teach from anywhere on the planet. You could be practicing grammar with children in China while you complete your dream backpacking trip across Europe; or you could be teaching French business students while you slow-travel across Thailand.

Set aside a couple hours per day for lessons and it’s easy to spend the rest of your time exploring a city without having to worry too much about budgeting.  This is especially useful if you find yourself in an affordable area like Southeast Asia where you can stretch your income pretty far! Just make sure you’re able to have a private area with stable internet for at least a couple hours per day.

One of the biggest benefits of online teaching is that it’s scalable to meet your needs. For example. you can easily teach more classes during weeks when you need to earn more money and taper it off when you want to explore.  For those who want to travel long term it doesn’t get much better than income when you need it and the ability to set your own schedule.


Nuts and Bolts

Many online ESL companies prefer that you to have a Bachelor’s degree in a field related to education, and/or some teaching experience. Don’t worry if you don’t have a TEFL certificate as many jobs don’t require one with the priority being that you’re a native speaker. For the application process expect to undergo an interview and at least one demo lesson.

In the past, most of the difficulty with online teaching came from the platform. Teachers had to rely on unstable technologies and figure out how to design curriculum that would work well in that specific setting.  Now, most of the bigger schools use proprietary platforms to connect with students and have their own curriculum and lesson plans.  With most of the prep done for you, many teachers just show up and teach with very little need for outside work. If you’d rather have some flexibility in how/what you teach, there are also companies such as English First where students have the option to request a customized lesson. It’s even possible to start your own freelance teaching business through Skype if you’re more of a self-starter.  Pay is usually based on experience, initial performance, and occasionally student reviews and retention with most companies paying $10-20 per hour.


There are a ton of job opportunities available in this field right now with established companies like 51talk, DaDaABC, and VIPKid hiring regularly.  No matter if you’re a teacher by trade or just trying to fund your travels, teaching online affords you a level of freedom and flexibility that wasn’t common 5 years ago.


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