Teach and Travel with VIPKid

So, you want to teach and travel the world…

I wrote a post awhile back introducing you to my love for teaching English online. Now that I’ve done my first (brief) stint in Southeast Asia, I thought I’d give you a little heads up about how it all works to teach and travel. It seems like the dream, right? Travel around the world, work a little bit here and there, and never worry about money! Well, it truly is great, but there’s more to consider than that.

If you don’t already know, I teach for VIPKid and absolutely love it. I used to work for another company, but now solely work for VIPKid (and like it much better!) It has allowed me to roam around the US for 6 months, and come back to wander around Asia for almost 2 months without watching my savings account dwindle.

Requirements for being a VIPKid Teacher

 
 
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fisher twins // unsplash
 
 
 

First of all, you’ll need to be hired if you aren’t already (obviously). Make sure you fit the requirements. As of late 2018, these are the requirements straight from the VIPKid website:

 
 

– Eligibility to work in the US or Canada (sorry, California residents are now excluded)
– Bachelor’s degree in any field
– 1 school year of traditional teaching experience or the equivalent in mentoring, tutoring, or alternative education

 
 

You can be creative with that last one! ANY kind of work with kids, provided it has been a year or longer, can be translated into “teaching experience.” Maybe you were a volunteer tutor, art or dance teacher, or worked at a daycare. If you’ve worked with kids before and loved it, you will enjoy this job too!

 
 

You’ll also obviously need a computer (right now the platform is compatible with a Desktop, Laptop, MAC, or Surface. You’ll also need a camera (your built-in is fine!) and a headset (I use earbuds with a mic as I find them more comfortable–big head problems).

 
 

How to teach and travel

 
 

Internet speeds, internet speeds, internet speeds. This is the most important part of choosing a place to stay when you are preparing to teach and travel. You’ll need to find a quiet place to teach too, so cheap hostels are out. This is the most difficult part of teaching and traveling. You have to message your host on AirBnb, Booking or wherever you choose to book to have them send you a screenshot of their download and upload speeds. It should look something like this:

 
 
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These speeds are perfectly acceptable for teaching, although a higher download speed wouldn’t hurt. 
 
 
 

You might think that it’s too expensive to rent an Airbnb while traveling, but you can pretty easily earn your money back for a week’s stay in a day or a few. You can usually arrange a discount with your host, too, if you stay a month or longer.

 
 
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spend the morning lounging at the ocean and a few hours in the evening teaching cute kiddos! #vipkidlife
toa heftiba // unsplash
 
 
 

How much can I make?

 
 
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$$ with vipkid, you’ll always be paid in usd $$
 
 
 

Everyone wants to know how much money you can make while they teach and travel. It greatly depends on 2 things: 1) bookings and 2) how many classes you teach.

 
 

Peak hours are 7-9pm Beijing time and all morning on weekends, and when I open those hours they are typically fully booked. Most teachers start at $8/class, but a $1/class bonus for just showing up on time and not having IT issues. If you teach more than 40 classes in a month there is an additional $1/class bonus. Sometimes VIPKid also runs incentives where you can earn bonuses for opening a certain number of classes in a given time period.

 
 

All of that being said, I will tell you that I am super casual about teaching, and I don’t usually teach on weekends. I have a full-time job contract starting up again in Korea so I’m just not that worried about saving a ton of money at the moment. You could say I’m kind of on a “mini-retirement.” 😉 For the sake of example, let’s say you teach all the peak hours during the week. 

Peak hours during the week: 20 classes x $8/class base pay = $160
Participation Bonus: 20 classes x $1/class bonus = $20
40+ Classes/Month Bonus: 20 classes x $1/class bonus = $20
Total pay: $200/week x 4 weeks = $800

 
 

That’s $800/month for just working 10 hours a week. Sure, you’ll need to consider taxes (If you decide to stay abroad for 11/12 months of the year and you’re American you’ll qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion though! My amazing friend Jerrica of Jerrica from America is doing just this!). But if you’ve ever been to Thailand or Vietnam, you’ll know $800 is more than enough to live on in a month. And, by all means, teach more if you want to earn more. Teach less if you don’t need it and just want to relax. You’ve got the power, baby.

 
 
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alesia kazantceva // unsplash
 
 
 

How to find a place to stay

 
 

Most people I know use a word-of-mouth referral from another VIPKid teacher, or find places on Airbnb directly and message the host about internet speeds.  It’s also good to have a sim card plan that can be used as backup should the wifi cut out for a time.

 
 

Several teach and travel Facebook groups exist with recommendations of places to stay by fellow teachers who can vouch for the reliability of the internet connection. I like this one.

 
 

Meet all the requirements and want to apply?

 
 

I’m here for you. If you apply through my link or use my referral code (AMAND0639) and shoot me an email, facebook message or comment here with your email address, I’ll gladly send over the feedback I received during my interview (I was hired immediately after the first interview so I think it can be useful for you!) I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have that aren’t covered in this post.  For transparency’s sake, I do get a referral bonus if you use my link. I’d appreciate the support if you’ve read this far! 🙂

 
 
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nabilah saleh // unsplash
 
 
 

Thanks for reading, beautiful people! 

 
 
Amanda

Teach English Online!

Can you speak English at a native level? Then you can teach English online!

An excellent way for English speakers to save money for travel–or to make money while you travel–is teaching online!  This is my main source of income as I take time off from having a “real” job. Presently, I teach English online about 10-15 hours per week. Because I’m mainly surfing couches and staying with family at the time being, this is more than enough to cover my basic monthly expenses so I don’t need to dip into the money I saved while teaching English in Korea.  However, there are many people who do this “full time” (20-40+ hours/week)to earn income while they travel or live abroad long term!

Why is there such a demand for online English teachers?

In China, competition for getting into the best universities and eventually landing good jobs is intense. Because of this, a lot of Chinese parents choose to enroll their children in extra classes to help their child get ahead. Traditionally, this meant that students would go to a physical academy after school for various subjects. Thanks to modern technology, however, these students can connect directly with a native English speaker from the comfort of their own homes.

These students face a tremendous amount of pressure in their lives from a young age when it comes to their academics. Teaching English online gives you a great opportunity to connect with these students. Not only can you teach them correct grammar and pronunciation, but you can help them have fun and let loose a bit while they learn.

Where can I find a job teaching English online?

I currently teach for two Chinese companies, VIPKID and 17zuoye, though many similar companies do exist. While the application process with VIPKID can be tedious, it is the best company to get started with. They have excellent training, and there are a ton of VIPKID teachers due to the size of the company. Because of this, you can find an answer to most questions with a simple Google search. Several Facebook groups specific to VIPKID  also exist.

I also teach for Cambly on the side, which isn’t a Chinese company and focuses on free-talk sessions with students from all over the world. This might be a better fit for you if you prefer teaching adults. Although the pay is significantly lower, you can choose to log in whenever you want. You’re also guaranteed 15 minutes of pay for every Priority Hour you sign up for. You never know who you’re going to end up talking to and it can be a lot of fun!

To find more information on other companies out there, you can visit the OETjobs website or Dave’s ESL Cafe International Job Board.

The flexibility and fun make teaching English online the best way to earn extra money. The cuteness of the kiddos makes you forget you’re even trying to pay off debt in the first place!

 

What Do You Need to Get Started?

You likely already have a laptop or desktop computer, but if not here are two that come highly recommended. You’ll also need a good headset or a solid pair of earbuds. You can find some props around your house to start out



Teaching English online isn’t the right fit for you?

Check out these other side gigs you can do from home to earn a bit more money to pay your debts and travel the world.

10 Side Gigs to Help You Save Money for Travel

Finding room in your budget for adventures at home or abroad can be difficult, especially if you’re already working hard to repay your debt. Here are 10 side gigs you can do to help you save money for travel.

1. Teach English Online

An excellent way for English speakers to save money for travel or to make money while you travel is teaching online!  This is my presently my main source of income as I take time off from having a “real” job. Presently, I’m only working 10-15 hours per week, though I do plan to increase this in the next couple of months to save for my fall/winter travels. While it doesn’t give me the chance to stockpile extra savings, it covers all of my expenses in a month (which has mostly been plane and train tickets since I came back to the US from Korea, oops!) However, there are many people who do this “full time” (20-40+ hours/week) income while they travel or live abroad long term!

You can read more about my experience with teaching English online here. I currently teach for two Chinese companies, 17zuoye and VIPKID, though many similar companies exist. I also teach for Cambly on the side. The flexibility and fun of this job make it the best side gig on this list.


2. Freelance Your Skills

If you have an art, design, tech or other skill to share, you can do freelance work to save money for travel! Maybe you are good with photography and editing software like the Adobe suite. Excellent with social media? Look into social media management for businesses that don’t have the time. Proficient in more than one language? Design a website and course or create a YouTube channel to teach others and eventually earn passive income. That’s easier said than done, of course. But if you put the work into it in the beginning, you’ll likely thank yourself a year from now. If you have any kind of tech skill, you should have no problem finding freelance work. You can promote yourself on websites like fiverr or search for gigs on Upwork.


3. Babysit Some Kiddos

Love hanging out with kids? Post your services in your local newspaper or Facebook group, or create a professional profile on childcare service websites like Care.com or Sittercity. It will be good to gather a few references and become first aid certified to distinguish yourself among caregivers.


4. Sell Your Creations

Are you a creator of physical or digital goods? Sell your work on etsy, or create and promote your own website for it! This is best for someone with a more permanent space, as you’ll need to house your materials and inventory, and have a good shipping system.


5. Transcription

This won’t make you a ton of money, but it can likely cover a few cafe visits in Bangkok or a Sunday brunch in NYC! You might even learn something interesting in the clips you transcribe. Check out Rev, TranscribeMe or Scribie and choose your favorite platform. I like doing this between teaching classes online to make the most of my working hours.


6. Sharing Economy Apps

If you live in a larger city and own a car, this may be the choice for you. Check with Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Food Dudes and others for their vehicle and personal requirements. In some cities, car rental may be available if you don’t have your own.


7. A Good old Food Service Job

Don’t forget about this trusty old trick! You can often get a pretty flexible schedule to work around whatever it is that you’re already doing and make some cash. Bartending, serving, making coffee and delivery driving are all good options. Put your tips in a jar or put your paycheck in a separate savings account meant just for travel. I worked a very part time bartending job for about four months and it paid for my trip to Sri Lanka entirely!


8. Tutor Kids or Adults

If you have a degree in STEM or another subject that’s in high demand in your area and you are good with kids, tutoring during after-school or weekend hours could be a great way to help in your community and earn some extra cash for travel. Many parents are willing to pay good money if you can help their kid become proficient in and even enjoy a difficult subject. Think about advertising on community Facebook groups and set up a basic website outlining your offerings.


9. Sell Your Things (…and don’t buy more)

You probably have a lot of stuff. You probably don’t use all of it. If you have good quality items that are just collecting dust, list them on Facebook marketplace, Craigslist or Ebay. Your space will feel more clear and organized, someone will get some use out of something you aren’t using anymore and as a result, you’ll get some cash for your adventure jar. Feeling a little more old school? Host a garage or yard sale.


10. Start a Blog

Do what I’ve done here and start a blog! It will take a lot of time, passion and dedication…not to mention patience. There won’t be heavy cashflow in the beginning. You may fail the first time around. But, if you are passionate about your subject, the work will flow out of you, and you could be doing as well as this couple in a few years! (Special thanks to Anna and Tom at Adventure In You. I took their basic blogging course and it encouraged me to get started!)

Honorable Mention: Paid Surveys

Surveys are not exactly my cup of tea; however, if you enjoy participating in market research studies, you can make a little change here and there. A lot of survey sites and apps will pay you via PayPal or Amazon gift card. It might take a few months to reach your cash-out point, but if you have a few extra minutes in your day you can use this avenue to save money for travel, too! Check out Google Surveys or iPoll.

 

Happy traveling, loves.