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From travelling to busking, how to make a living as a Musician when moving abroad

Musicians moving abroad for work is a common phenomenon, such is the nature of their job. It represents a great opportunity to showcase your work in different countries, as well as gain an insight you’d otherwise lose by staying at home. With International Jazz Day preparations happening across 190 countries, we’ve put together a small guide on the life of an expat musician.


Travelling as a musician presents unique opportunities, namely the chance for inspiration. Bustling cities are great in this respect; the constant buzz of different people and cultures are sure to get the creative juices flowing! You could always retreat to a rural hideout though; sometimes the peace and tranquillity is all you need to create your latest masterpiece.

Our advice? Don’t travel purely for a better salary; take the opportunity to broaden your horizons as a musician and embrace change. Your music will be all the better for it.  Take cues from the local culture as well; you never know if the next greatest thing is hiding in an unexplored corner of the world!


If you’re travelling abroad as a musician, but don’t have a gig lined up, you can always resort to the age-old tradition of busking. It’s a decent way to get your music out in the open and earn a little cash on the side. Naturally, you need to be conscious of your target country’s busking laws, as some can be far stricter than others. Milan is pretty relaxed for example and it allows buskers to perform in designated squares every day of the week from 9 am until midnight. On the other side, London (despite it’s generally liberal nature) can be a tricky city to busk in as you’ll have to make sure you acquire a licence before you perform.

Another benefit to busking abroad is the opportunity to test your music in different environments. Be aware though, that your particular brand of music might go swimmingly in one city, and sink like a lead balloon in another.

Restaurants and bars

If you can, get a slot at a local restaurant or bar that hosts music nights. Sure you might be faced with an indifferent audience simply enjoying the ambience, but you could always end up impressing a lot of people (and maybe even secure future gigs). Bars are especially good because you’ll often be given a chance to really ‘play’ your music, rather than keep it at a respectable, restaurant volume. Additionally, if you land a future slot you can always use it as an opportunity to play some different styles, gauging the audience’s reaction in the process.

Wherever you’re looking to travel to as a musician, Santa Fe Relocation can help you get there effortlessly. For more information on how we can help you, give us a call on 020 8961 4141 today.

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