15 Genius Travel Hacks and Teaching Tips for TEFL Teachers

We think it’s safe to say that life is hectic. Whether you are teaching English as a foreign language and planning to head to another country or using it as a side hustle to teach online, it’s essential to be organised and make the most of the precious time you have. You also want to be the best teacher and help your students progress. To make this a bit easier, we have rounded up a great selection of travel hacks and teaching tips that we have to say are simply genius. Work smarter, not harder! So here are the 15 best we could find from experience, other teachers, and of course, the vast receptacle of knowledge known as the World Wide Web.

Travel Tip 1: Fly Smart

Did you know that it’s cheaper to fly during the second half of the week and it is to try and commute on a Monday? So whenever you plan to take off the foreign climates and begin your teaching journey, look at booking in towards the end of the week. Also, prices increase during the 28 days before a flight, especially if the flight is incomplete. So it would be best if you were organised and tried and book at least a month in advance to get the best price. All the information we could find suggests that you should head online and book on a Sunday and try and get your ticket reserved for a Thursday flight.

Travel Tip 2: Outsmart the Bots

If you use the Internet regularly, you will know a lot of tracking is going on. For example, if you look to purchase a new pair of shoes using a search engine the next time you head back to Facebook, your feed will be filled with shoe adverts. Big Brother does appear to be watching. The same is true of flights; if you’re logging in and out and checking the price of flights, they will start to increase because your search history is being tracked through cookies.

Honestly, it’s a bit of a dirty trick by companies, but two can play that game. So use an incognito or private browsing mode to ensure you cannot be tracked and get the best and lowest price no matter how many times you need to look.

Travel Tip 3: Embrace the Layover 

Layovers are seen as something of a travel disruption. Actually, they can help when it comes to managing your budget. Generally, it is cheaper to have a flight with a long layover than if you aim to fly directly. So look at your route and plan to spend a day exploring in whatever city you’re stopping for a layover. It’s a great way to see even more of the world. but you need to be that little bit more organised and know that you’ll spend a couple of days travelling rather than hopping on a plane and landing at your final destination. It saves money and is a great way to tick off list destinations.

Travel Tip 4: Less is More

Smart packing is your best friend if you plan to travel and teach English as a foreign language in a far-flung country. You do not need to haul your whole life across the world. You’ve got to carry everything you pack; in reality, you can purchase most things there. So declutter your life and only take with you what you need. If you are moving out of a rental to head abroad, chat with friends or family and see if someone can lay new loft space so you can leave anything you don’t need to take.

Teachers Tip 1: Check Job Offers Carefully

One of the downsides to teaching abroad is that sometimes the salary seems relatively low. There are a few things you need to remember here. First of all, the cost of living will match your paycheck, so although it might not equate to the life you have been used to, rest assured it is likely your bills will be less in line with the fact you have a lower salary. Secondly, be sure to look at what is on offer when you’re searching for a job. Sometimes the hourly rate seems very low, but there are a lot of bonuses that you can take advantage of. Additionally, if you’re considering teaching in a country where World Express Logistics operates, you may be able to benefit from their reliable and cost-effective shipping services, which can help you save money on sending personal items or educational materials to your new location.

Some locations will offer free or reduced-rate accommodation to English teachers. Although you might earn less, your rent is pretty much-taken care of, and that is most people’s most significant monthly spending. Some places offer to cover your flights and add health insurance. Double-check whether the salary is inclusive or exclusive of any taxes. You can also enquire about holiday clubs and after-school teaching, which can further pad your paycheck.

Teachers Tip 2: Home Working to Save Money

If you are planning to teach English online, you could also look to save money in your daily life. Because teaching online gives you the absolute freedom of working from anywhere that has a stable Internet connection, you might be able to find a cheaper place to live, move in with friends and family or perhaps take a second job as a house sitter and get paid to look after properties and animals when the owners are on holiday. These are paid gigs; you are not expected to sit there all day watching things. As you can work from the Internet, you can do both simultaneously.

Rather than sorting out the property in the animals and taking off to the beach for the day, you could log in and teach English instead. Be upfront with your plans, and make sure using their Internet is allowed. Most people will be very grateful that the house will be occupied by someone working rather than leaving the property for hours. 

Teachers Tip 3: Cut Costs with a Buddy

Back to those of you that are heading abroad. In many cases, you will find some of the more popular English teaching areas have a lot of people just like you. This means it’s worth your while buddying up with someone else. If you live in the same city, it doesn’t matter whether you work at the same school or different schools. You could look at sharing accommodation. It saves you money and makes a living in a new country much less isolating.

The other tip is to eat and live like a local. So avoid expensive Western supermarkets and restaurants; the fact that everything is being imported will be charged the highest prices. Instead, head to the local markets and street food vendors where everything will be a lot cheaper and usually excellent value for money, giving you enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

Friends Travelling abroad

Teachers Tip 4: Apps Are Your Friend

Living in a new area can be pretty daunting. You should always try and aim to learn some basic language skills, but many apps are on offer that can help you. You can get apps that will help you translate and communicate and currency apps to make understanding pricing a breeze. Taxi apps will make arranging transport easy and guide the local public transport system. If you are in some underdeveloped countries, this might not be the best tip. However, apps are usually available in most cases.

Teacher Tip 5: Side Hustles 

If you can’t find a full-time job or are teaching online, you may find yourself with chunks of time free. Language schools tend to offer evening classes to people working themselves and are also open at the weekends. So if you have too much free time, consider taking on a side hustle to earn a bit extra. It is up to you to clear any second job with your primary employer unless you’re self-employed and teaching online. This can be especially helpful in a country where wages aren’t exceptionally high, but you must check your Visa to ensure you’re entitled to work other jobs.

Classroom Tip 1: Seating Plan 

Going into a class full of students in an unfamiliar country where names are different to those who are used to hearing a seating plan can be your best friend. Over time, you will begin to learn the students’ names, but the most effective way to engage with someone is to refer to them by their given name or preferred name. So in the first class, create a seating plan. Ask the students to use the same desks for every lesson. It’s straightforward to refer to this when you want to speak to a specific student. It’s also a great way to commit them to memory. You can also use the seating plan to break down difficult-to-pronounce names to ensure you get them right.

Classroom Tip 2: Classroom Props on a Budget

In some developing countries, resources can be pretty scarce. But that doesn’t mean you must spend much money to create the perfect props for the classroom. Mini whiteboards are available very cheaply, and students like using them. You can look at making your games, using paper and laminate, or raid your house for anything helpful. If you can’t afford to purchase whiteboards, a sheet of A4 paper, laminated, and a water-based pen give you the perfect free writing space. 

Classroom Tip 3: Extra Work

Once in the classroom, you will quickly realise that students learn at very different speeds. Creating a separate challenge folder is a great way to magic up some work for finishing first. It’s one of those things that you can take everywhere you go and will fit most scenarios. Building worksheets online and again laminating them creates a reusable resource. On the other hand, you can photocopy several sheets and hand them out. You’re looking for fun and extra things that will help the student keep learning but also reward the fact that they are so good at completing their work. So think about word searches, crosswords, and other word puzzles.

Classroom Tip 4: Stop Reinventing the Wheel 

Of course, you want to ensure that you are well prepared and have lots of lesson plans to hand. However, there is no need at all to reinvent the wheel. Lesson plans are available to download online, and many resources are entirely free. Ensure you’re looking for the appropriate age-specific lesson plans that fit your curriculum. 

Classroom Tip 5: Marking Magic 

Part of your job as an English teacher online or abroad is marking. Thanks to technology, if your students are online, this is possibly less time-consuming. However, when you’re faced with a stack of assignments, it’s essential that they are marked well and that it is easy for the student to understand your feedback. Stamps or stickers are a great way of importing your feedback. For example, great work, please try again, or any other message you would like. If you teach younger children, you will also find that stickers are a fantastic motivation, and they love earning them. You could also create little games with small rewards when they hit a certain number of cheerful stickers.


So that are our travel hacks and teaching tips for all TEFL teachers. How many will you use?

In general, you don’t need a degree to teach English abroad or online. Our certification stands alone and you can get employment without pairing it with a degree. However, some TEFL employers do prefer their teachers to have a degree. More importantly, for some countries, it’s a visa requirement. This means you can’t obtain a work permit without a bachelor’s degree or higher. Some of these countries include China, Japan, UAE and Vietnam. 

Our advice is if you have your sights set on a certain country, look into the visa requirements first before putting time and effort into finding a job there. This will save you time and disappointment. If it’s a school preferability, and not a visa requirement, there’s sometimes some leeway. 

You do not need any prior teaching degrees or experience to teach abroad. Once you have your TEFL certificate, you can secure work as a TEFL teacher. A BA in Education would enhance your CV, but it’s not a necessity. Completing a TEFL course that includes teaching practice, like our Hybrid TEFL Courses, will also help your CV.

If you want to experience different cultures and see the world, teaching English abroad is for you. Not only will you get to explore new places, you’ll also meet new people and get the chance to make a difference to the lives of language learners. A TEFL certification lasts a lifetime. So, you can dip in and out of teaching abroad whenever you feel like it. 

It is not necessary to speak any other languages. You’ll be able to find a job and work comfortably without knowing the language spoken in your chosen country. Of course, it is always an advantage, even if it’s just the basics. We recommend learning a few phrases before you move abroad like hi, thank you, goodbye and sorry.

You’re never too old to gain new qualifications! Some TEFL employers do have age restrictions, but there are ample opportunities for more mature teachers. There are also the options to teach English from home as a private tutor or online tutor.

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