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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.)
“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
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
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.
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).
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.