teach English and travel together with your family

Whether you’ve been itching to change careers for a while or just need a change of pace, teaching English is an excellent option for people from all walks of life. The added bonus is that it comes with the opportunity to travel, should you want it. Yes, that goes for even those of you with a family. So, how do you start?

Get TEFL qualified

The industry standard to land a decent first teaching gig is a 120-hour TEFL qualification. Qualifications can be completed online or in your local area if a training center is nearby. All online courses can be completed at your own pace, though it typically takes around 10 weeks to finish. 

Bear in mind that some more lucrative jobs may require teachers to have a university degree. What you studied is not necessarily important, but preference is generally given to those with some form of higher education. Nonetheless, it is still more than possible to find other opportunities. 

Once you’ve completed your TEFL qualification, you can also opt to take some extra courses on either teaching online, teaching Business English, or even teaching exam preparation. These will help you both find your niche and feel as prepared as possible for anything once you join the ranks of certified ESL teachers working across the globe. 

Teaching online 

Depending on where you’d like to go, there’s no reason why teaching online across the globe via digital nomad visas can’t be an option. Not only will this give you more control over your schedule, and thus the chance to spend more time with your family soaking up your new surroundings, but you can also establish a clientele base before you uproot yourselves. 

On the flip side, you may need to deal with a bit more bureaucracy as a freelancer and will need to look into the requirements of each country you intend on heading to, as they can differ. But ultimately, with nomad visas up for grabs in locations like Iceland, Barbados, and Italy if you have the required minimum income, then a little bit of extra paperwork isn’t the end of the world. For more information on the other perks of becoming a digital nomad, check out Morning Maryland.com. 

Slow travel 

Traveling with your family, especially if you have younger children, will mean that a routine is of the utmost importance. With that in mind, considering slow travel so that you can stay put for a while might be the ideal approach to teaching English across the globe. 

By sticking around in one place for at least a year, you’ll be able to fulfill the commitment of a typical teaching contract and establish a community of friends around you in the process. It will also allow the honeymoon period to wear off and you’ll have more time to really get to know the local customs and culture so that you can decide if it’s somewhere you could see yourself staying. 

Should you find after a year that it’s not the right fit for you and your family, then simply start the process over and look for your next teaching contract. Once you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ll have enough contacts that may even be able to help you secure your next position. 

Financial stability 

If you’re looking to save for your children’s future, then set your sights on the countries that offer the most competitive English teaching salaries. A top teaching English abroad salary can be found in places like the UAE, Hong Kong, and Japan, so you’ll have plenty of choices.
Many of these high-paying roles also come with the perks of housing being included, flight reimbursements, and health care, making them extremely sought after. Don’t be disheartened if your first few applications are not successful; the majority of these schools look for extremely experienced teachers, so you may lose out initially if you’re still fresh to the field. 

Remember to look into the local laws and customs before applying too. While you may be drawn in by the pay, life in more conservative countries in the UAE may take a little longer to get accustomed to for you and your family. Be sure to do your research and apply mindfully. 

Prepare, prepare, prepare

There’s no such thing as being overprepared when moving abroad. To make the transition as smooth as possible, read up on all of the documents you’ll need to provide for yourself and your family. An advantage of working for a school is that they should be able to help make this process as painless as possible as they will have helped previous teachers navigate the same bureaucracy. 

In terms of the logistics of moving with your belongings, you’ll need to decide whether you want to look into good shipping companies, or if you’d prefer a more minimalist approach. Should you find that either way, you’ve accumulated too much along your travels then there’s always Facebook Marketplace where you can sell the things you’re happy to part with. 


No matter where you end up teaching, getting used to a new way of life and making new friends will take time. To help your children settle in, get them involved with the process as much as possible so that it can become something new that you build together, shifting the focus from the end of the life you had been living previously and the goodbyes you made. 

With older kids, in particular, you could enlist their help with redecorating and unpacking or even planning day trips so that you can explore your new neighbourhood. Younger kids, on the other hand, might benefit from a  babysitter who could help out while you teach and even start teaching them the local language. 

Overall, regardless of where you decide to travel to as an English teacher, there’s no reason why your family can’t come along on the adventure. While you may need to work your way up experience-wise before heading further afield, once you’ve got enough teaching hours under your belt, your next destination is only an application away. 

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