With 2022 drawing to a close it’s the perfect time to start looking to the future. For some, that future involves swapping an uninspiring day job for Bali’s beaches, or trading in your shared-house flat keys for a hostel room in Lisbon.
It’s easy to see why moving abroad is so appealing right now. A chance to escape the cost of living crisis at home, explore sunnier climes, and after years of Covid lockdown, expand your network of friends and contacts overseas.
How do I start a new life abroad with no money?
Moving abroad with no job and no money? The ultimate taboo.
Yes, your mum and your careers advisor said it could never be done, but we’re here with a step-by-step guide that says otherwise.
It goes without saying that the most advantageous and safe way to move abroad is with some savings, but moving abroad with no job isn’t impossible.
Step 1: Look into visa requirements
When considering how to move abroad without a job, the first thing to think about is visas. Whilst in theory moving overseas without a job is possible, you’ll still need to check your chosen country’s entry requirements.
In order to get a visa, some countries will require proof of employment or a letter from an employer with the promise of an interview.
Step 2: Choose a country
But before you dig too far into visa requirements, you’re going to need to choose a county. When you’re relocating without a job, there are a few things to think about. First of all, make a long list of up to ten countries you’re keen to move to.
From there, eliminate the ones you won’t be eligible for. This goes for any country whose visa application requires you to already have a job secured or have a set amount of money in savings to support yourself.
To give you a head start, look into countries like Mexico, Poland, and Nepal which have more lenient requirements.
Psst! We’ve got an extended list of countries at the end of this article.
Now that you’ve made a shortlist, take your research into each of the countries further.
How expensive are they in terms of living costs? In order to move abroad with no money, you may need to prioritise somewhere cheaper, or somewhere that has lots of job opportunities.
Choosing an affordable country will mean a better standard of living as your money will stretch further. Make sure you factor medical insurance into your deliberation too.
Settling in quickly
A huge bonus would be having friends or family in the country you’re looking to move to. They could help set you up, find a job, and transition into your new life more smoothly.
A support network is a massive advantage when you’re figuring out how to move abroad without a job. They’ll be able to open their contact book to you and use their local knowledge to give tips on where to live and where to make savings.
Step 3: Save money
In order to go abroad without money or a job you’ll need to at least cover flights and visa applications as well as a couple of weeks of accommodation fees.
You don’t need a huge pot of savings, but do try and save what you can in the weeks leading up to the move to cover these essential costs.
Flights & shipping
How to move abroad without a job? Maximise your savings. Two big ways you can do that are flights and shipping.
In terms of flights, set up price alerts for your chosen destination. That way you’ll get a notification when it’s the perfect time to book, AKA the cheapest.
For shipping, look at companies like Sherpr. With any long-term move abroad, you’re going to want to avoid airport baggage and choose to ship.
It’s much, much simpler. Just get a quote online and pack your items (they’ll help with the customs paperwork) – that’s it!
Your items will then be picked up and dropped off at your chosen destination. You can even track them in transit.
If you absolutely have to move abroad without any savings you’ll need to find a job quickly when you land…
Step 4: Find a job quickly
A lot of the success of moving abroad with no money hinges on whether or not you can find accommodation. Volunteering is an ideal way to get a roof over your head quickly.
From an altruistic point of view, it’s a good way to give back to the country you’re travelling to.
From building hospitals and teaching children to help with environmental projects, this can be a rewarding and relatively cheap way to move abroad.
Another option is becoming an au pair, which is another way of saying, a live-in nanny. This type of employment solves a few problems.
Firstly, you’ll have somewhere to live that you won’t need to pay ‘extra’ for. Instead, your accommodation will be factored into how much you’re paid overall.
It’s also a good way of becoming familiar with a local area quickly as you’ll potentially be doing school drop-offs, grocery shopping, and taking the children to local parks, swimming pools, etc.
Brits, Americans, and other English speakers moving abroad to non-English speaking countries often find themselves snapped up by parents looking to teach their children English. If you have any extra languages, that’s a huge plus as you could also go into teaching.
Teaching English abroad is something of a gap year rite of passage. There are plenty of companies that can help facilitate a move for English teachers.
A closer look: Where to go?
If you need some destination inspo for your relocation, take a look at our starter guide to some of the best countries to move to below.
Vast and exciting, with bustling city centres, historic ruins, and footloose beach towns – Mexico has something for everyone. Add to that the relatively low cost of living and Mexico starts looking like paradise.
Aside from its obvious natural beauty, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife, Costa Rica is known for being welcoming to expats. Try the capital of San José or laid-back beach towns near Guanacaste.
The main highlights of moving here include exceptional healthcare and a well-trodden path by previous expats. You’ll be following in the footsteps of plenty of other European travellers which means culturally and language-wise you’ll come up against fewer hurdles. Lisbon is ideal for culture lovers, Porto for foodies, and the Algarve for incredible beaches.
Vibrant, student-centric cities like Krakow and Warsaw are the ideal cultural hubs. EU citizens are particularly well catered for in Poland, you can get here without a visa as it’s in the Schengen zone.
A manageable pocket rocket sitting pretty in the Mediterranean, Malta is a great choice. English is largely spoken here, the climate is great, and the culture is a melting pot of Italian, Spanish and Moroccan influences. The capital of Valletta is a must-do.
There’s life beyond the gap year here. Sure, you probably have friends who’ve passed through here on a South East Asia tour, ticking off full moon parties as they went. But Vietnam is also ideal for long-term moves. It’s incredibly cheap but also something of an adventure travel destination – so ideal for your free time too.
Moving overseas without a job? Tell us about your experience
We’re definitely not going to deny that moving abroad is challenging under the best of circumstances, adding a lack of funds and employment into the mix makes that challenge even bigger.
In this how to move abroad without a job guide, we’ve taken you through the steps you’ll need to make the move possible.
From getting clued up on visas, to choosing a destination, luggage shipping and finding a job quickly when you’re there – these are the tools you’ll need for a successful move.
Make small monetary gains where you can with the tips and hacks you’ve read above, and be smart about your spending. But most of all, enjoy the adventure!