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10 Jobs That Pay You to Travel

Wanderlusters, rejoice. If instead of applying for boring entry-level jobs on LinkedIn you’ve been reading through every travel blog out there, longing to be on the road, then you’ll love this–  a list of jobs that will actually PAY you to travel.  Read on to see which ones may be a good fit for you.

1. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)

One of the most popular jobs that people who want to travel will do is English Teacher. Almost every country in the entire world is looking for English teachers, and in some places, they’re DESPERATE to hire teachers with or without experience. That being said, a large portion of these jobs require some sort of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification from a reputable organization, but this can even be done online from the comfort of your own bed.  Typically, countries that are in need of English Teachers are willing to train and pay for visa (such as some countries in Asia and the UAE) while for some of the more desirable locations (like Italy and Spain) you’ll be required to at least have your TEFL certification before applying.

Some perks of the job — you often don’t need a ton of experience to land your first position, you can choose to go anywhere in the world, and you usually don’t have to know the native language of a country in order to teach there (although some language skills are always helpful for your day-to-day business and your sanity in a foreign country.) Salary is largely based on your chosen region and particular position, but there’s no doubt that this could be a rewarding and enlightening mission, should you choose to accept it.

How to get your TEFL certification and find open positions:

•  Here’s our guide on how to get your certification to teach English abroad.
•   Websites such as Dave’s ESL Cafe are constantly updated with job opportunities around the world.
•   Some TEFL certification organizations offer job-search assistance, so be sure to take advantage of that.

 

Want a job that will help you travel the world? These 10 jobs will pay you to travel. Click through to see how you can make money while also getting to travel.

2. Cruise Ship Staff

If your idea of traveling is less about solid ground and more about the open sea, joining a cruise ship staff may be the perfect option for you. There are countless types of jobs dealing with the cruise ship industry, so, if you don’t get seasick, there’s a good chance you can find a position that suits your fancy. If you’re one of the lucky ones who has a gift for performance, maybe you can get a musical gig; if you’re into cooking, well, the guests need to eat! While there are seasonal positions available, do keep in mind that this job may involve long periods when you can’t see your landlocked friends. A lot of cruises do, however, make frequent pit-stops on their journeys, which could allow you to see countless new cities and countries and potentially be a part of the excursions offered by the cruise company.

 How to get a cruise ship job:

•   Websites such as All Cruise Jobs are great resources that post jobs all over the world.
•   It’s also a good idea to check out company websites directly for current postings– try Carnival Cruises and Princess Cruises.

3. Tour Guide

What about becoming a tour guide in the city or region of your dreams? There’s a couple of ways that this could go– you could based in one location and offer your typical city tour or you could be a tour guide that travels from country to country leading excursions. It definitely helps to have some living experience in the region so you can bestow your infinite wisdom on your lucky customers, but qualifications vary and a quick learner with excellent people skills are the most important thing. You may find a position that’s a full-time job with a set income, or you could be giving “free tours” and relying on tips from generous attendees. That’s when you’ll have to break out the real knowledge and spunk if you intend to make a living off of it.

How to find tour guide jobs:

•   The “Work for Us” page on tour operator websites. Try New Europe Tours, Bus2alps, Contiki, etc.
•   A general web search on Indeed or Google is always a good way to go too.

 

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4. Peace Corps

If you’re at a point in your life that you think you’d like to really give back to the world, then maybe the Peace Corps is right for you. Keep in mind that this can be up to a 27-month commitment, and in a developing country where you may or may not have most of the modern luxuries that you know and love, so this is definitely not for the weak-willed wanderer– but it can potentially be an incredibly rewarding experience. Assignments range from teaching English to school children to working with sustainable development and disease prevention. While you’ll only make a modest living during your service time, you’ll be granted a reacclimation stipend upon your successful completion and will return to the States with priority recruitment opportunities in the State Department for a year. Not a bad deal — and you’ll have made a difference along the way.

How to find out more about the Peace Corps:

•   For information on what it takes to get into the Peace Corps, check out the Application Process page on their website.
•   The website also has tons of information about the types of volunteer work you can do, as well where volunteers may go.

 

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5. NGO (like Doctors Without Borders)

If the Peace Corps doesn’t seem quite right for you but you still want to give back, what about working for a non-governmental organization, or NGO? These organizations are often non-profit and typically work on the same sort of community development or human rights projects, but they all have their own structure and commitment responsibilities. NGOs hire people from all different career fields and may suit you whether you’re looking for a summer volunteer opportunity or a new job. Doctors Without Borders, for example, recruits medical and non-medical volunteers to help provide medical treatment to those in need all over the world. If you’re going into the medical profession, think how great an internship with this NGO could be!

How to get a job with an NGO:

•   There are a lot of job board websites, like NGO Jobs Online and DevNetJobs, that provide listings for countless organizations across the planet.
•   It’s also a great idea to look into specific NGOs that interest you, such as Doctors Without Borders or BRAC, to find out what specific opportunities they offer.

6. State Department

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of a big fancy job working for the US government. You can still travel! In a nutshell, the US Department of State prides itself on “Careers Representing America,” so you better be up for the challenge. The two main categories of these jobs are Foreign Service Officer and Foreign Service Specialist. While they both deal with foreign diplomacy, there are multiple career tracks to choose from and are geared towards a wide range of interests. Here’s the rub: there’s a test involved as part of the application process for both of these positions. But hey, if you can get past it, you may have a potentially life-long career representing the good ol’ US of A in your future.

How to get an international job with the US government:

•   The US Department of State’s website give general information about what working for the government entails.
 For more specific information about being a Foreign Service Officer or a Foreign Service Specialist, check out their respective sites.
•   If you’re concerned about the aforementioned selection process for either of these career tracks, check out the Test Information and Selection Process tab for being a Foreign Service Officer and the selection process tab for being a Foreign Service Specialist.

 

7. Roadie

Ok, so this may not be exactly what comes to mind when you think of working in a different country, but, if you’re into music, being a roadie may just be the best job for you. Depending on your gig, this could range from occasionally traveling to constantly traversing the world. As a technician or some other crew member for a famous musician, you could be in constant transit and working a lot of hours, but it could also be a great way to see countless cities and meet tons of new people everyday. Plus, if you’re a music geek, what’s better than a backstage pass to your favorite performer every night?

How to become a roadie:

•   Sites like Roadie Jobs and Music Jobs are great to check for posts about current job openings.
•   Any connections you may have in the industry could always be milked to get your foot in the door to work for your favorite performer.

 

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8. Au Pair or Nanny

Do you only have a summer to dip your toes in the international waters? Maybe being an au pair is right for you. An au pair is an international nanny that typically lives with a family to take care of their kids for a certain amount of time. There are countless websites that help find potential matches between families and budding au pairs, depending on things like availability, experience, and country preferences. Payments can range from just room and board to flights and a salary being included. Many times, families are looking for somebody to speak to their little munchkins in just English (as they want them to learn it from you!) but if you’re interested in picking up a new language, this could also be a great way to practice your skills or do a sort-of language exchange with your new family.

How to get a job as an au pair:

•   Websites like Au Pair World and International Au Pair Association help match hopeful au pairs with potential families.
•   Networking is also a great way to set up these types of positions. A lot of times family members have international coworkers or friends who would just love to have somebody come visit and babysit their kids or teach them English for the summer.

9. Travel Nurse

If you’re on the nursing track, you should consider being a travel nurse. These positions are applicable to a wide variety of health-care professionals and include both national and international traveling as a way to help with the international nursing shortage. Assignments can range from a short span to multiple years, so they could work for someone who’s a nursing student or a certified nurse looking to do something different. Compensation varies and many times housing is provided by the agency. If you’re tired of the same old scrubs in the same old hospital, it might do you some good to expand your horizons and try offering up your services in a new part of the world.

 How to get a job as a travel nurse:

•   Depending on if you’re hoping for domestic or international travel, there are a lot of great sites, such as Continental Travel Nurse and Worldwide Travel Staffing to get you set up.
•   These organizations and others like TravelNursing.com  are set up to match you with a travel nurse agency or position that best suits your fancy, ideal location, and skillset.

10. WWOOFing

Suppose all these options still seem a bit too mainstream for your vagabond soul. Not to worry–there’s always WWOOFing, or Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. While many of these positions are not technically paying jobs, the deal is that you usually work for a farmer in exchange for room and board. And what’s better for a hippie like yourself than a way to move about the world in a self-sustaining way all the while nurturing the organic greens that make this world thrive? This flexible position often allows you to set your own timetable and enables you to bop around the world from farm to farm as much as your little heart desires.

How to WWOOF:

•   There are websites, such as WWOOF.net that have you enroll as a volunteer and help you to find a match with a host farmer in your desired land.
•   Other websites, such as WWOOF Aotearoa New Zealand and WWOOF Deutschland are geared only to their respective countries.

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Photo sources: Thompson Rivers University via Flickr, Frontierofficial via Flickr, Web.MIT.eduInterExchange USA via Flickr


Laura’s persistent urge to experience new cultures has her currently stationed teaching English in Hong Kong since graduating college this year. Before that, she studied abroad in both the Netherlands and Costa Rica and found them also to be quite pleasant experiences. When not doing the whole English-teaching thing, Laura loves exploring new places, hiking, playing the piano, and enjoying some nice bread and cheese. If you’re still curious, check out her Hong Kong blog.


23 thoughts on “10 Jobs That Pay You to Travel

  1. Maria

    Fantastic and interesting post! Other good job that pay you to travel could be a “Foreign Language Teacher”. You could travel with your students group to the country where speak this language.

    Reply
  2. Hannah Wasielewski

    These are great, I’m currently teaching English in Brazil. Many people think they can’t go abroad because they’ll be issing out on job opportunities at home. But why not work abroad? English teachers can get really good salaries. Another thing to remember is Working Holiday visas. I plan on spending one year in Australia next year with the Work & Holiday, and Americans can also get this type of visa to Ireland and New Zealand. So many opportunities!

    Reply
  3. Trevor Moynihan

    Hello,
    I’ve worked on cruise ships before. Great experience BUT they do not contribute to your Social Security or unemployment benefits.

    Reply
    1. Jessica Dante

      Right. Most jobs that are international won’t, but if you plan on working a cruise ship job for just a year or two, that wouldn’t really be something to worry about– will just be a great experience!

      Reply
  4. Amy

    Hi!

    I like the article! 🙂

    Do you have any further suggestions of where to look for Tour Guide jobs?

    I’m wanting to be a Tour Guide to Latin America and/or New Zealand, but I’m having a difficult time finding any listed vacancies that I can apply for.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Donald

    Hi Hannah!
    My name is Donald and I’m living in Texas now and for the last 3 years trying the job market, but I was raised overseas by my mom whose job for almost 30 years was in the US Foreign Service, and I’d love to try my hand and find something overseas as well. The only thing is I don’t have much of a college education at 44 yrs old, but a lot of life experience in customer service and hospitality. So I’d like to ask you, after all my overseas upbringing in 9 different countries,and a fairly good grasp
    of Spanish as a second language, don’t you think I should be able to find employment abroad?? I appreciate any input, thanks so much!

    Reply
  6. Mary

    I used to work at the Grand Canyon. Two companies there are Xanterra and Delaware North. They even have benefits, and you can transfer parks. Housing and meals vary upon location, position/status, season… If you’re an avid hiker and the folks at Phantom Ranch like you, you could even work there. Always save money, though, in case you suddenly get let go. A couple of times a year, there’s a sort of purge of employees. You’ll find plenty of folks imagine a back-up plan or future move. Some people are with the company for many years, though, too. Grand Canyon has a school, too. One of the teachers told me she found the school through some International Baccalaureate teaching resources. Park Service has housing, too. So do some of the businesses outside the park, in Tusayan. The bank and the post office don’t have housing, but you may get lucky finding a place in the trailer park. Plenty of tour companies come through town – bus tours/photography/hiking/rafting. My favorite site is http://www.Coolworks.com. They have links to all kinds of stuff in all kinds of places. That’s where I found the Grand Canyon job.

    Reply
  7. Tyra Reynolds

    Hi i was wondering if you all new about any traveling jobs like throwing phone books or news papers or just selling things door to door for a profit s and hotel

    Reply
  8. Melstein

    Hello,

    Any advice or information for parents wanting to work abroad with children in tow? I was fortunate enough to grow in a family that travel with their employer. I would like my children to experience the same. Thank you for any and all information in advance.

    Reply
  9. christina

    I’m wondering if i were to become an ESFL teacher, would it just be you going to another country or could you take your kids too?

    Reply
  10. Jen

    I am a corporate event planner, I don’t travel constantly as my only form of work but I get paid to travel. I plan events and incentive trips and it has taken me to Asia, Europe, South America, and of course Hawaii and Mexico over and over! Full benefits, steady pay, and great paid trips.

    Reply
  11. Silvi

    I have a BA in healthcare administration and management. My dream job would be to travel all over while working in my field. Anyone have any ideas of jobs that I could do that? It would be much appreciated!!!!

    Reply
  12. Shannon

    This was a great read, so thank you! It got me a little closer to what I’ve been trying to find – a certified nursing assistant job abroad! I’ve been looking for a while now and can’t quite seem to find a job more specific to CNA, only RN positions. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much!

    Reply

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