Hi @minesneves - it is definitely possible to travel while working as a vet. I’m an Australian vet but I’m currently based in the UK. I moved to the UK early this year after I quit my full-time job and sold all my worldly possessions. Now I spend 50% of my time working and 50% travelling.
I work as a locum tenens veterinarian (called locum vets in UK/AUS) or relief vet in the US. Essentially, I contract out my services to vet hospitals for a mutually agreed upon period (days to months). Many Australian vets adopt this lifestyle to travel. Locum vets are paid a higher wage because the work is casual but this is definitely a bonus if you’re planning to travel.
Benefits of being a locum vet:
1/. Easy to save money - most locum jobs (in the UK) will provide accommodation and some will provide a car. Eg. My last 3 month job gave me an apartment and a work car (petrol was also paid for by the hospital). All I paid for was food (no rent or bills!). Accom/car is less commonly provided in Australia.
2/. There is plenty of work for locum vets in the UK and Australia (can’t comment on any other countries). Experienced locum vets are in demand In the UK and getting a job can be as easy as making a phone call today and starting work tomorrow. For me, the hardest part about getting a new job is deciding where I want to move to next.
3/. Higher pay (compared to a regular vet). In the UK, expect to be paid any where between 200 to 250 British pounds per day for a 9-12 hour shift. (working 4 days/week). In Australia, locum vets are usually paid hourly ($50-60 Australian dollars/hour) and usually work around 8-10hours a day (not including the inevitable overtime).
However, there are a lot of things you need to be aware of before you become a locum.
1/. Location of work is limited to your country of registration. It is not as convenient as working on a laptop and you need to stay in the same location to work for however long you want. The veterinary profession is very tightly regulated and you must register with the governing body of that country (Royal Collage of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK). Your eligibility is dependent on your degree. Eg. my Australian degree is recofnised in Aus, UK and US. You need to make sure your degree can take you where you want to be. On top of that, registration is usually quite expensive (£300/yr in the UK) and the process involves a lot of time and paperwork, which is why I only work in the UK. If your degree isn’t recognised in the country that you want to work in, you may need to take additional exams (in Aus, it is very difficult. Cost is $8000+ and can take over 12 months with low pass rate, non-native English speakers also need to take English test).
2/. Language barrier - being a vet requires good communication with your clients so you must speak the local language fluently.
3/. Work experience. This is probably the most important point for your situation. Being a locum vet requires enough experience to independently handle medical and surgical cases. 95% of employers will not hire a new graduate vet with no experience as a locum (unless they’re super desperate ). Locums are usually hired to fill in for existing vets when they take annual leave or they are short staffed while they are recruiting for permanent staff, so employers need vets that are self-sufficient. New graduates typically need intense supervision in their first 6-12 months of practice so most employers look for at least 1.5-2 years of work experience (minimum). I have been a vet for 3.5 years and i don’t have any problems finding work.
4/. Work visas. I am on a working holiday visa in the UK which has a 2 year time limit.
My recommendation for you (if you still want to locum) is to thoroughly research the registration requirements of your target country first (I’d recommend the UK), you could then contact employers to see if they are willing to take on a new graduate vet. Otherwise work in Portugal for at least 1 year before trying again. The alternative is to take a gap year. I have been responsible for employing new vets at my old full-time job in Aus and I have never refused to hire a vet because they have taken a gap year (you may need to check whether this is the case in Portugal).
I hope this information helps. Let me know if you have any questions.