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The Traveling Bartender Guide

Starting my journey into bartending at a small restaurant in Irvine, California, I never expected to be shaking an espresso martini in a Panamean cafe. We are fortunate to work in an industry allowing us to live and work anywhere. From my experience, my piece of advice to you is: Venture out from your bubble and travel! You will discover that everything you thought was the truth, is not the reality. From what people usually drink to the type of service expected. While I made a lot of unforgettable memories, there were definitely many mistakes made as well: Stolen wallet/phone, unplanned lack of wifi/network, a plane departing without me because of vaccination misinformation, and fumbling with my Japanese and Spanish. I wished I had a checklist to consider details ahead of time, as I tend to be the kind of person to go in gung ho without thinking about potential fatal mistakes. I Hope all my failures will be useful to someone out there reading this!


✅ Checklist of things to consider:


✔️InsuranceWhether for health or travel, having one can make a difference in saving money in the long run. Consider subscribing to Traveler’s Insurance, especially if you are unsure about getting insurance in a new country. You are at least guaranteed protection in the case of illness, injury, or lost/stolen items. 


✔️VaccinationsWe tend to forget that some countries have different vaccination requirements, and it can take some time to have them done. Check ahead of your trip. Usually, you can find the list on the embassy website, or Airheart is a site gathering all the requirements from different countries.


✔️Language: While English is an international business language, learning another language will be valuable to open doors and truly experience a whole new world of culture. I Highly recommended starting learning before traveling! Some tips and tricks, such as changing your phone language, watching shows/movies in the language, or reading children's books in the language is a great start! There are also some great online tools:

  •  Italki - online tutoring with native teachers for online 1-on-1 classes.
  • Apps - Duolingo, Pimsleur, LingoDeer, Rosetta Stone, Memrise
  • Forvo - Website to find audio of native speakers pronouncing words in the target language
  • Easy Language - Youtube channel that uploads interviews with subtitles in the targeted language and in English, to practice comprehension and listening.

Language Reactor - a Google Chrome extension downloadable to watch Netflix shows with subtitles and live translations.


✔️Visas: We all know that a visa might be required, but sometimes we are not sure of which one to choose and forget to check the timings to get it. Let’s avoid delaying our project! The usual types of visas you can get:

  • Working Holiday Visa - a visa that allows young workers up to 30 years old to live and work for a year in the country.
  • Student visa - some countries allow students to work and study while offering college education at a low price or even for free.
  • Working Visa - Visa acquired through the company that is hiring

Again, Airheart shows which visas are required per country.


✔️House and Job hunting

  • Craigslist and Facebook (FB Groups and Marketplace) are used in many countries for job-hunting and accommodations.
  • Using Airbnb for the first few weeks as you find your next job or place to live. Book it in advance for the best prices.
  • Websites like 50 Best Bars, Guide Michelin, and reviews sites like Yelp are a good start to building a database of prospects and finding the hottest spots. Create your Wishlist and contact them directly


✔️Tax obligationsThis means understanding the tax obligations of the new country and/or whether you need to pay the tax of your home country even while abroad.


✔️Mental Health: Moving to a country can be challenging for mental health, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Some countries offer mental health support hotlines and online chat platforms. If you are studying on the side, campuses have counseling support.


✔️LGBTQ+ and Women safetyYou can check the protections for people from the LGTBQ community and what organizations are there to support them. For Europe, the Rainbow Europe website carries the necessary info. In some countries, it may be dangerous for women to be walking alone. The Solo Female Travel Safety Index is a great resource to check.


Lastly, the devil is in the details, don't forget to:

  • Check if your phone is unlocked and works with a foreign SIM card
  • Buy a power plug adapter; some are interchangeable to use in any country.
  • Compare Airlines sites, Kiwi, Skyscanner, or Google Flights to find the best flight tickets deal, be flexible on the dates!
  • Use a VPN whenever you are outside using your phone/computer to protect your personal information and watch Netflix from anywhere in the world!