20 of the Best Jobs for People Who Love to Travel

There is one thing about traveling that is unavoidable…. it costs money. So unless you have just won the lottery you will probably need to find work. The purpose of this article is to give you a good idea of our top 20 jobs that we think are the most suitable for travelers.

The rationale behind our choices is based on a few key elements:

Does the job require you to travel?

This seems like a good place to start but is not the clincher in what makes for a good travel job. Clearly the biggest benefit to jobs that meet this criteria is that the expense of traveling is generally covered by your employer.

Are the qualifications easily transferable?

There are some notable exceptions to this rule mainly being the Doctor or Nurse which may require extensive additional accreditation in some countries.

Are the skills in demand worldwide?

Sure I hear you saying that ANY job could be found anywhere in the world but we feel the 20 we have selected have a general need around the world.

As always we encourage your feedback and would love to hear which picks you either agree or disagree with. So without further adieu here are our selections (in no particular order).

1. Airline Crew

Pilots
Pilots in the cockpit

A job as a flight attendant offers an opportunity to see many part of the world with generous time to explore on your days off. On the downside it’s not all fun and games – you will need to clean filthy toilets and deal with rowdy or sick passengers. Although the job may seem like it is purely customer service related, the safety and security training that flight attendants go through is just as important.

A position that carries some of the highest esteem in the travel world is that of a commercial airline pilot. The training is tough as is the competition for jobs but the reward is worth it. The pay is excellent as are the benefits.

2. Cruise Ship Worker

Wandering Earl working on a cruise
Wandering Earl working on a cruise

If you want to see the world then you should really consider getting a job on a cruise ship. The cruising industry has seen monumental growth recently and with cruise companies building bigger and bigger cruise liners there are many opportunities for work if you know where to look.

If you are interested in getting work on a cruise ship we highly recommend checking out Wandering Earl’s Guide to Getting a Job On Board a Cruise Ship. This comprehensive guide explains everything you need to know about how to land yourself a cruising job.

Roles ranging from DJs, dance instructors, child caregivers, hosts and hostesses,  lifeguards, swim instructors, tour leaders, doctors and nurses, spa technicians, hair stylists, cleaning staff, engineers, chefs, and food servers all are in demand on a cruise ship.

The pay can vary but you need to bear in mind that you won’t be spending much while you are on board as most expenses are covered.

3. Tour Guide

Tour guide
Tour guide

Tour guiding jobs are generally a lot easier to come by if you already know a location well and have good social skills. It helps if you can speak more than one language and have worked in a customer service related environment.

Some countries have strict regulations on hiring local tour guides but you may still be able to act as a Tour escort through these countries.

4. Travel Agent

Travel agent
Travel agent

One of the most recognized travel jobs out there but is a travel agent all that you read about? I can tell you from first-hand experience that the travel industry has seen a massive shift in the last 10 years. When I started out as a travel agent it was common to get familiarization trips and the travel perks were pretty darn awesome.

Unfortunately, the travel supplier’s budgets have all but dried up these days. On the positive side, however, you get to talk about incredible destinations all day long and share your passion for travel with others. Not to mention sharing all your stories with people who are willing to listen.

5. Travel Writer/Blogger

Travel blogger
Travel blogger

If you are the creative type and know how to string a sentence together (with decent spelling and grammar) you may well be suited to this role. The pros are pretty obvious – you get to work from anywhere and on your own clock. You will need to be aware of the con’s though – you will need to build a decent reputation before you will see any financial reward and even then the pay will generally be sporadic.

It is possible to achieve enough income to sustain your travels, but I wouldn’t go into it expecting to make a million $s. If you are looking for a great course to help you get started, check out – Superstar Blogging by Nomadic Matt.

6. English Teacher

English is the world’s most common language for communication thus producing a need for teachers in countries where English is not the native language. English teaching jobs are very easy to find in many parts of the world. It helps to have a college/ university degree, but these qualifications aren’t mandatory.

The most recognized accreditation is the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) program. Compensation varies greatly between countries (depending on the cost of living and other factors), but in larger cities, you could earn as much as or more than a teacher in the U.S.

If you would like to learn more about how to get started teaching English overseas check out our guide Teaching English Abroad.

7. Nanny/Au Pair

Au-Pair
Au-Pair

Nanny or Au Pair positions often don’t require an extensive background in childcare but it is always a plus if you have these qualifications. This can be a great way to see the world as you will be living with a local family and taking care of their children (and often house duties also). In addition to your salary and board, travel expenses are usually covered as well.

8. Charity/Conservation Worker

Volunteer
Volunteer

While the pay may be horrible, the pure joy of work will make up for it. If you are looking for a job that will fill your heart then this could be for you. Knowing that you are making a difference and having a positive effect on people’s lives…. I don’t know of anything more rewarding than that.

Read more on our volunteering guide.

9. Diplomat

Diplomat
Diplomatic passport

A diplomat is someone who is appointed by a nation state to represent and protect that nation’s interests abroad. Diplomats are heavily involved in negotiations, therefore you must be able to recognize where you can compromise, but also stand firm on matters where there is no space for negotiation. Above all, diplomats must promote positive and peaceful relations between their home government and the government of the country in which they are posted.

10. Geologist

Geologist
Geologist

The resource sector has seen steady growth now for many years and the need for exploration is still very high. You will need to get a degree for this job but once you are qualified the opportunities to travel are enormous.

The more common areas of exploration exist in South America, Australia, Indonesia and Africa but the options are limitless.

11. Sailor/Navy

Sailing Crew
Sailing Crew

If you have sea legs then becoming a sailor might be up your alley. Traveling from port to port across the open seas is an excellent way to experience what the world has to offer (if you don’t get seasickness first).

With a little training, it isn’t that difficult to snag a job as a crew member on a yacht or you could apply to serve your country and enlist in the Navy. Not only will you get on the job training but quite often your tertiary education is also taken care of while you are at sea.

12. Missionary

Missionary
Missionary

Missionaries are people from one culture who travel to another culture to share their religious beliefs. Most missionaries work through a formal mission organization. Domestic and global mission assignments range from a few days to several years. Some missionaries are volunteers, while others do mission work as a paid profession. Many missionaries solicit donations to cover their expenses.

Missionaries engage in a task that brings them into contact with the local people. Examples include teaching, building a school, providing medical care or leading a local religious organization.

13. Fitness/Yoga Instructor

Yoga instructor
Yoga instructor

Yoga instructors are in demand. The rapid increase of interest in Yoga and Pilates, however, has led to under-trained instructors.

Fitness centers and private studios are looking for instructors to handle the increasing number of students who are looking for a gentle way to improve their health with a balanced, low-impact, full body workout.

14. Doctor/Nurse

Nurse
Nurse

Registered nurses and doctors are often needed to take short-term positions lasting from three months to one year in medical facilities all over the world. There is a huge shortfall in trained medical staff, particularly in regional areas and developing countries. The only downside is that you may be required to sit an additional exam whenever you relocate.

15. Massage Therapist

Massage Therapist
Massage Therapist

Being a qualified massage therapist opens doors in many countries. It’s a skill that is in demand worldwide as people’s live grow busier and more stressful. You will need to get certified and more than likely required to join an association in the country you are practicing.

This is a good job to have due to the flexible hours, decent pay and low barrier to entry. You can either work as an independent contractor or in the hospitality industry (hotel, spa, health retreat etc.)

16. Photographer

Photographer
Photographer

“Have camera will travel” – like the travel writer it is pretty easy to get started as a photographer. The only issue again is gaining enough recognition to get paid for your photos. If you have a good eye and get some formal training you might be able to sell you pictures through a variety of stock image websites (eg. istockphoto, getty images and shutterstock), through your own website/ blog or by selling your images to media.

17. Rope Access

Rope Access
Hanging off the side of a building

Jobs working in Industrial Rope Access onshore and offshore worldwide can achieve a lucrative career. There are many different types of specialties available such as: Painting and blasting, Non-Destructive Testing, Mechanical repairs, Pipework, Railways, Welding, and Rigging.

If you have no fear of heights and have a good level of fitness you can get started by taking an accreditation course with IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association).

18. Busker/Street Performer

Busker
Busker

Street Performers such as musicians, impersonators, dancers and other entertainers work in one of the least secure occupational fields. To make ends meet, many take to the sidewalks to perform for pedestrians and tourists in exchange for tips.

For talented performers, this can be quite lucrative if they position themselves in a high traffic area. A great example of this is the “Bush Man” at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. He has taken a simple idea of hiding behind some bushes and scaring tourists as they walk by and turned it into a profitable business making upwards of $400 USD a day during peak times.

Most cities will require you to have a license to perform which is relatively simple to obtain.

19. Artist

Street artist
Street artist

Another of the creative jobs that have emerged to be a great way of paying the bills while traveling. If you have a talent for drawing, painting or sculpture there is always someone willing to pay money for it. There as some notable examples of travelers making a great living sketching three-dimensional chalk images on the pavement, using spray cans to create moonscapes while people watch (with loud music blasting in the background).

20. Chef/Bartender

Bar tender
Bar tender

Last but not least is another of the hospitality jobs out there. As a chef, it is quite easy to walk into a cafe and offer your services when you arrive in a new city. Even if you can’t speak the language that well you can usually get by.

As for a bartender – what guy hasn’t seen the movie “Cocktail” and wanted to be in Tom Cruise’s shoes (before he became a douche). You will need to get an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) license in some countries and it is suggested that you do a mixing course beforehand.

So now it’s up to you. No more excuses to not getting out there are exploring the world. Don’t just wait for something to happen, make it happen.

Have we missed any jobs? Tell us in the comments if there are other jobs that we might have missed.

More from the Wanderlist

40 thoughts on “20 of the Best Jobs for People Who Love to Travel

  1. Hey Michael!

    What would you say, how easy is it for an experienced tourism worker to get a job in SF? 🙂 I did tourist guide, have worked on a cruise ship, have travelled half of the world on my own, and have ran a hotel 🙂

    • Hey Nina, I think you should be pretty ok then. It really depends on your working visa status and what type of work you are looking to get into though. Feel free to send an email to [email protected] for any further questions you might have

  2. You don’t seem to know what a diplomat really is/does, do you? Issuing visas and helping with passports is about the least thing a diplomat would do. No country would waste their money on well paid diplomats for jobs as simple as issuing visas. Those staff are usually not members of the diplomatic corpse. Being a diplomat is a very demanding job that requires extensive education and working experience abroad. It’s a very political job and can also be quite glamorous (can…).

    Other than that, great post 🙂

  3. Nice article. I’m No.16 and a travel consultant for a travel club (not travel agent) for 7 years and I get the chance to travel by land, sea (cruise) & air and love what I’m doing 🙂

  4. Thanks Michael.

    Great article & comments. I have considered 9 of the jobs on your list over the last 10 years. It was good timing to be reminded of what I should be doing – time to do something about it! 🙂

    • Hey Claire thanks for the comment. I’m interested to know which 9 jobs you are considering now 🙂

      Hopefully this article will be the catalyst to get you started!

  5. I am a Travel Consultant of SOTC & Since one year I am traveling from my home to my office oly.. LOLZ
    Please any one tell me how do I get to see the world as being Travel Consultant of such a BIG Brand

    • Hi Sameer,

      I am not too familiar with SOTC but am I right in saying they are a tour company? To be honest with you I also struggled to find the time to travel early on in my career as a travel consultant although I was working in an agency.

      As with any job it is easy to get caught up in the day to day process of work so you need to really make a conscious effort to take advantage of any Familiarization trips or staff discounts that are offered. I am assuming that the company you work for encourages this.

      My biggest tip is remember why you wanted the job in the first place. I was fortunate enough to get opportunities but it was still up to me to take them.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks Alot to guiding Dear..
        I got it.. Will Try to make each & Every Opportunity in real..
        Hard work with smart work will only make my dream of travelling by company true.. 😀

      • That’s what I want to hear. I look forward to hearing how you go.

  6. Great article and even better comments. Enjoyed reading through all of them. As a world traveler myself, I can tell you there are an ample supply of jobs in China for foreigners. After traveling the world, I ended up in China and lived there for nearly 6 months. I spend a good amount of time teaching English but also found that simply being an English tutor to individuals was fairly easy to get into and also had great pay per hour and allowed a lot of flexibility in my daily schedule (time to blog:)

    Among other work you can find there was modelling. I’m by no means a ‘model’ but I’m referring to the work of being a ‘stand in’ for brochures and advertising for companies so that they appear diverse. If you’re a blond, even better! Since foreigners are such a minority in China (and other countries in Asia), being involved in their advertising and promotional materials can be a viable job opportunity without much (or any) experience needed. Keep in mind it may not be steady work but the pay is usually great comparative to the amt of hours worked.

    Interested to hear if anyone else has any other odd jobs they’ve come across!

    • Ha ha I can actually see myself as a model in China, probably due to the fact I like photobombing tourists 🙂 Be sure to keep an eye out for our guide to teaching overseas which is being released in the next month or so!

      Love the look of your blog BTW. Great job Rory.

  7. I hope to see any job that I can try to get more opportunity to travel around. It’s funny that my job is also on the list!(I’m a geologist!) haha but just have to say many job want guy more than girls in geology. Anyway thanks for the information!

    • Hey Ceci, I guess it all comes down to intent once you have the job. I know plenty of travel agents that don’t travel much (and plenty that do). These jobs give you the opportunity to work around the world but it is still your choice to go.

  8. I’m a nurse and yes I agree that there’s tons of traveling oppurtunities. Been through Europe and North America. But I am from Southeast Asia. I am certified Nurse backpacker! 🙂 Thanks for this one!

  9. I’d like to thank you for putting together the effort and publishing this article which might I add I have found very helpful. I wanted to know what jobs are available out there that let me chase my dream of travelling the world and quenching my thirst for travel….I was losing hope but now I feel a lot more confident seeing that people do make it out there.
    Admiring your work,
    Inspiring myself.

  10. Hi, im seeking some advice. Im nearly 18 and ive nearly completed my btec extended level 3 diploma in travel and tourism, also doing cabin crew level 2 aswell. I want to become a member of cabin crew but im slightly worried that im too small, at only 5″ they might turn me away. Is there any advice you could offer me or is there a different career option suitable for me?

    • Hi Ella and thanks for the comment. To my knowledge the minimum required height for cabin crew is 160cm or approx 5″3 to ensure they can reach the overhead lockers to help passengers.

      It really depends on what type of role in travel and tourism that you are looking for. You need to think about whether you want a front-line customer service role or something behind the scenes. There will also be options in the hospitality field, such as hotels.

      Perhaps you can investigate similar opportunities on a ship if you are already doing a related course.

      Good luck and let us know how you go.

      • Ella Plested

        Thanks for replying. I know and I dont think I will grow 3 inches in the next couple of months. Customer service is preferrable really, I will look into some ship roles, however, I would like to be able to progress into a higher paid role further on and eventually start my own business. Travelling is my passion and I cannot wait until I find an occupation suited to me, as I hoped Cabin Crew would be. Thanks for your help though! I will let you know how I feel when I have completed my course, Ella.

  11. What is going in that image with the travel agent? She’s throwing a phone at someone??

  12. Hi, I am on my plan to become a traveller to gain more experience on my life. I plan to travel for 2 years then return back to my hometown. Is there any suggestion for me? As I am a tour guide before.

    • Hi Jaynie,

      Most definitely you should utilize your existing skills as a tour guide. I would suggest making a rough plan of the places that you want to travel to then connecting with tour companies that offer tours in those places.

      In preparation make sure you read up about the destination and have some background knowledge first so you come across informed and prepared. This will put you ahead of most applicants.

      Keep in touch and let us know how it goes.

  13. I fall into #1 when the ships are not in drydock, amazing life to live and seen some marvelous places.

  14. These are some great suggestions and several that most people would never think about. I must take exception, however, to your statement that “like the travel writer it is pretty easy to get started as a photographer.” No, it’s NOT easy..despite the fact that these days, anyone who has a decent DSLR camera is “suddenly” a professional photographer. First you have to have a natural talent, then study the works of great photographers and receive training. In other words you have to work work WORK at it! Sorry to rant, but I get so tired of these GWC’s (guys with camera) who think they can immediately go out and make a living as a photographer.

    • Hi Andy and thanks for your comment. Firstly let me say that I appreciate your passionate response and totally understand where you are coming from. Professional photography is an artform to itself and I have to say that truly professional photographers are few and far between.

      My point is more so about the low barrier to entry with regards to the ease of getting started. You will also note that I address the ‘natural talent’ and ‘training’ aspects in this sentence: [“If you have a good eye and get some formal training you might be able to sell you pictures through a variety of stock image websites”]

      I am also a DJ and it is the same when someone says to me something like “oh that’s easy you are just matching some beats – I could do that”. The fact is that it takes a lot of hard work and practice, as well as a keen ear, to be able to create flawless transitions between songs. The beat matching is just a part of it, there is also song selection, making sure the key is matched, volume control and a lot of timing involved.

      This is the same for photography – anyone can pick up a camera and take a photo but the subject choice, composition, lighting, timing etc are all subtle factors that make a great photo.

      Lastly all of these jobs require a level of talent and training to make a living off them. The intent of the article was more a ‘food for thought’.

      Anyway enough of my ranting… hope that helps clear things up and thanks again.

      • It does, thanks Michael I appreciate your thoughtful response. I think you have a great site going here and I look forward to more informative posts!

  15. Very comprehensive! Some cool jobs on here I will have to check out.

  16. I am looking to connect with open minded, enthusiastic, glass half full people.And people who love to travel. If that is you please reach out.

  17. Damnnn I’m so going to check out that rope access one. Climbing tall buildings all day and getting paid….. sounds pretty sweet to me.

  18. ‎3? 5 😀 6? 8? 16 :):):)
    real cool :D:D:D

  19. Wow thank you so much for this amazing post! I have been looking into teaching English in Japan lately. Do you know anyone that has done it? I would love to chat with someone who has already been through it to get an idea of what to expect.

    • Hey Gina thanks for your kind words. I do actually have a couple of friends that have taught English in Japan and some currently teaching in South Korea and China. Happy to get them to contact you if you like – let me know.

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