We spent a year travelling and teaching English Online around South East Asia, East Asia, Oceania and Europe in a number of awesome countries. Here are some things we learnt and tips to help you make a choice if this is the life for you. Our travel for the first 8 months was focused on 3-5 night stays with occasional longer stays of up to two weeks.
- Making money while travelling
- Staying in apartments or hotel/private rooms
- Not spending all of our savings
- To be able to treat ourselves
- See the world and experience new cultures
- Can be stressful
- WiFi issues
- Noisy Environments
- Sticking to schedules
- Missing opportunities
Tips For Teaching While Travelling
- Always message the host if you booked your accommodation on Airbnb and ask for a speed test.
- Check reviews about noise and WiFi for hotels and Airbnb.
- Buy a 4G sim card in the country and use it in your phone or have a MiFi device to create your own personal WiFi connection as a backup.
- Ask about the 4G signal in the area you are booking or check the network’s website for coverage.
- Pack small props that are easy to squeeze into a suitcase and bag.
- Buy a light and a thin laptop.
- Keep a little torch, ideally a small camping lamp with you, so you can use it in case a room is too dark and you need extra lighting.
- Buy a USB light that you can connect to your laptop.
- Bring blue or white tack so you can stick things on the wall.
- Use your phone or a tablet for flashcards.
- Use Manycam to have a creative classroom.
- Do eye exercises regularly as you will start to get headaches spending so much time staring at the computer screen.
- Often the breaks are very short between lessons, most often only 5 minutes so make sure that you have easy food to eat between classes or ask your partner to feed you.
Things to Expect- Teaching Online While Travelling
- With all the travelling things break. We have lost 2 earphones, broken 3 earphones and 2 headsets. The constant packing and repacking causes many issues to equipment.
- Our laptops are seeing a lot of wear and tear.
- Losing props, I am sure there are many Airbnb hosts wandering why there are random little toys left.
- Lack of props, there is only so much you can carry while travelling.
- Not many backup options i.e friends laptop or parents computer.
- Back in the UK if we needed something we could order it online and have it delivered, while travelling this becomes a lot harder and we are stuck with whatever shops are available in that area.
Environment and Accommodation
- Noisy neighbours, each place you enter is stepping into the unknown which is fun but for teaching, it can be stressful.
- We have had karaoke all night, building work all day, dogs barking, roosters in the morning, noisy traffic, shouting, loud music and many more noise issues. We have had to cancel accommodation, some were easy, some not so much.
- Dark rooms with poor lighting.
- No proper table so having to just teach on a bed, or the table was too low so we had to use a suitcase or box on top of the table to raise the height.
- No clear background.
- Aircon or fan not working so hot rooms especially bad in humid countries.
- Power cuts.
- Check in and check out times, sometimes hosts can be flexible sometimes there are strict times. This was not a big issue in Asia due to the evening working hours. However, in Europe, it caused more issues as Chinese peak hours are around the usual check in and check out times.
- Booking a hotel room would mean one person teaching in the bathroom or on a balcony which isn’t the nicest place to be…(Only for couples).
- Sitting on a hard chair for hours.
- Poor posture due to awkward table height.
- Teaching on a bed is uncomfortable.
- Teaching after a day of sitting on a bus or train.
- Too tired to go do anything after work or too tired to work after sightseeing all day.
During the year we have been thrown into many situations as teaching online was a big part of our travels, here are some random moments that revolved around our teaching.
Kuala Lumpur- We landed in Malaysia and Sassi forgot to cancel a slot in her schedule which meant we had to quickly get to our Airbnb in the city centre. The downside the flight was delayed and there was a huge queue at the passport control. As soon as we got through we grabbed our bags, bought a sim card, got some cash and ordered an Uber. Due to the time (rush hour) the car journey took even longer and it soon approached Sassi’s lesson time luckily it was on PalFish which is run on a smartphone app. So Sassi asked the driver if she could teach in the back of the car. The driver was quite confused but was happy to experience something different. Not an ideal place to teach but it worked out.
Taiwan- We stayed with a host family in Taiwan during our volunteering opportunity, they had two young kids and the parents wanted them to learn English while we were staying with them. They would sit and listen to Sassi during one of her online lessons and occasionally jump around and join in. They even said hello to some of the students.
Auckland- While house sitting we looked after a German Shepherd, due to the time zone we had to teach until 2 AM, so tiring! The dog would stay up, sit next to us and wait for us to finish so that she could follow us to the bedroom to sleep.
The Philippines- While staying with family there were lots of little cousins who were excited to listen to the songs in English, they would come to listen to Sassi’s lessons. The youngest would sing and stare at the screen and get very excited about the fun songs.
Hungary- Sassi was ill and unable to teach, so I had to cover for her on a platform that I had little experience in, however, I had just passed my interview with that platform so they were happy for me to cover Sassi as I had knowledge of the platform and was about to start teaching with them. Without checking the lesson I simply had to wing it which worked out luckily, the topics were easy and no one seemed to mind that I was not the correct teacher and I started working for this company a week later though.
This blog is all about what we experienced during our year of travelling and teaching online. For anyone interested in taking on the awesome chance of travelling, you will experience different things. It really depends on how and where you travel and the platforms you decide to teach on. The experience we have shared is here to show you what it was like for us and hopefully, the tips will help you get a better head start on your travels.
At the end of the day, teaching online enabled us to travel and do more along with not having to worry too much about money. We were able to have more privacy as we needed private rooms or entire places, so no hostel bunkbeds or shared rooms. We were able to use better transport and opt for uber or taxi instead of using public transport sometimes.
Travelling can be lonely sometimes, teaching online helped us build relationships with our students and enabled us to have more human contact. Many of our students wanted to hear about our travelling experiences while teaching them.
We would not travel every 3-4 days and teach English online if we were going to do this year again but we are very thankful that we have been able to earn money while travelling.
Looking for accommodation for your trip while you travel and teach English online?
Book with Booking.com and receive £15 off your first stay.
Book with Airbnb and get £25 travel credit towards a booking.
Join Trusted Housesitters and look for free accommodation around the world in exchange for pet and house sitting.