26 Jobs That Give You the Best Chance to Travel
Lots of people dream of traveling the world and seeing all it has to offer, but the expense always seems to get in the way. Since it costs so much to travel, why not consider careers that offer both steady pay and a nomadic lifestyle that can fulfill that wanderlust?
Flight attendants spend many nights away from home in transit or at foreign hotels, providing frequent -- if exhausting -- opportunities to see new places, usually with discounts on air travel and seniority-based schedule flexibility. A high school education, customer service experience, and Federal Aviation Administration certification are expected. The average salary is $39,000.
Cruises require a small village of temporary employees working around the clock, from servers, entertainers, and deckhands to radio operators, captains, and doctors. Workers get to see exotic locales, usually with free room and board for the duration of the trip. Pay and experience requirements vary wildly.
Event management companies put on forums and festivals worldwide and year-round. Positions include programmer, sponsorship salesperson, customer service rep, manager, staff supervisor, office manager, and minibus driver. Apply or volunteer roughly five months in advance of a music or arts festival, and be diligent about keeping in touch. In the events field, salaries average about $50,000.
Professional English teachers are in high demand, which is why many college graduates take a year or more to become certified as an instructor of English as a second language and teach students in foreign countries. Bachelor's degrees and state certifications are the most common prerequisites; the median salary is as high as $50,000, depending on the country.
There's a low barrier to entry but a high level of competition in travel writing. Just about anyone can start a travel blog or pitch established publications, but it takes lots of time, dedication, and savvy self-promotion to make a reliable -- let alone luxurious -- living. Articles and online courses can help get you started.
Somewhat easier: writing while traveling but not strictly about that subject, or simply using the freelance lifestyle to load up on work for a while and be free to roam later (and spend the earnings). Focusing on anything from copywriting to film criticism, freelance writers -- like other "digital nomads" -- can work from anywhere with an internet connection, but a high level of self-management is required. Although the pay can vary widely, the median hourly rate is $24.
Freelance photographers get paid considerably more based on experience and industry contacts, and can choose from a wide range of subjects. (Travel and destination wedding photography are opportunities to explore.) The best strategy is usually to tap a variety of income sources, from stock-photo sites to retainer agreements.
Designing web pages and ads is a skill in demand everywhere, and another job where you can alternate work and travel. Graphic designers must build a marketable portfolio of work and establish a network of clients to supply steady, paying, and possibly specialized assignments.
PR positions -- especially in travel-related industries -- may require frequent travel for meetings and consultations, not to mention organizing and attending media trips for resort clients. PR is a varied field, and can be lucrative. The median income was $58,020 in 2016.
Foreign Service officers promote peace and protect U.S. citizens and interests around the world. Employees are well-paid, vary in experience, and often stay in the service until retirement, following tracks such as consular affairs, economic affairs, management affairs, political affairs, and public diplomacy in hundreds of embassies and consulates around the world.
Archaeologists don't globetrot like Indiana Jones, nor do much work on dusty dig sites. Rather, they work for federal and state governments, museums, or engineering firms, often traveling within a several-hundred-mile area as needed. But there's opportunity around the world, and while jobs are rare in museums and universities, they are more common in cultural resource management.
Consultants typically specialize in a particular industry and advise clients after analyzing business data. They often travel to client sites, and more experienced consultants can work remotely. It's best to start right out of college, applying to firms with global offices.
You're not the only one who wants to travel. Show tourists around a favorite neighborhood or conduct more extensive trips for a destination or international company, starting small and cheap ($13-an-hour cheap) at a hostel or local tourist site. This can also lead to more lucrative entrepreneurial efforts at organizing your own tours.
Backpacker hostels around the world hire travelers for stints working the kitchens or checking in guests. The pay could be just room and board, or considerably more for managers making longer-term commitments. For most, working at a hostel isn't a career -- simply a way to see more of the world and meet people at a reasonable cost.
Every city needs bartenders, and experienced ones with enough flexibility can find decent-paying (or decent-tipping) work around the world. Resorts, cruises, and tourist sites need someone to serve drinks -- just look into the work visas required internationally.
People in these high-risk positions buy and sell stock securities for profit, requiring sufficient starting capital, marketplace knowledge, and a profitable strategy. They can work for large institutions or alone, managing assets for clients or themselves. An expert can make money from virtually anywhere in the world.
Enough passion and skill in a sport such as surfing or rock climbing can allow a stint as a professional instructor, imparting that skill to beginners in tourist destinations. Fields such as scuba diving require certifications for instructors, whose salaries at dive resorts are generally limited to about $25,000 annually.
Au pairs -- essentially live-in babysitters and housekeepers who work for a family in exchange for room, board, and a bit of weekly income -- can form lasting relationships and absorb more culture than typical tourists. Many websites link host families and prospective au pairs worldwide.
Drop shipping is another new job option for the self-enterprising digital nomad: buying products at low prices and selling them at a profit on a curated ecommerce site -- like a mini Amazon. Making a steady profit, however, means moving enough product, and requires well-established suppliers and a market niche.
Whether playing concert halls or busking on the street, musicians can go just about anywhere, although there's little guarantee of pay for anyone starting out. Performing for tourists in popular areas can at least be a good way to help fund travel, if not bolster a savings account.
Airbnb lets travelers rent houses or apartments short-term. With enough real estate capital in desirable areas, Airbnb hosts can make enough to fund constant travel, though most (nearly 90 percent) stick to renting out their own homes when away.
Travel nurses are like regular nurses (and must have the same two- or four-year degree) but work anywhere from 13 to 26 weeks in one place before going somewhere else they're needed. A universal need for nursing and health care means considerable freedom to choose where you live and work, and competitive wages.
Translators must know at least two languages and usually specialize in one or two areas of translation, which might include literary, medical, or marketing. Demand is worldwide, and particularly high in popular tourist areas. This career often requires certification and a strong portfolio.
The work -- checking the accuracy of business records -- may be dry, but employees of multinational companies can travel extensively to review and evaluate operations worldwide. There are also external auditors who can work as independent contractors from anywhere, evaluating financial statements and providing consulting services.
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