Originally published in 2013.
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 pay you to travel. Read on to see which ones may be a good fit for you.
10 jobs that pay you to travel
1. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
One of the most popular jobs that pay you to travel is English Teacher. Almost every country in the world is looking for English teachers, and in some places, they’re DESPERATE for them. 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,
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.
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. 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.
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. This is one of the best jobs that pay you to travel.
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. But, it’s all worth it, and it’s one of our favourite jobs that pay you to travel.
How to find tour guide jobs:
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.
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 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, 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, both of which are jobs that pay you to travel. 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.
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.
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. 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 in just English. But if you want to pick up a new language, this could also be a great way to practice your skills. Many families will also take their nannies traveling with them, making this another role to add to the list of jobs that pay you to travel (literally.)
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. Often, 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, as it’s one of the top jobs that pay you to travel. These positions are applicable to a wide variety of health-care professionals and include traveling as a way to help with the international nursing shortage. Assignments can range from a short span to multiple years, so they work for nursing students or a certified nurse. Compensation varies and many times housing is provided by the agency.
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.
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 don’t pay, you can work for a farmer in exchange for room and board. This flexible position often allows you to set your own timetable and enables you to bop around the world. Many farms in Australia pay pretty well, however, and it’s one of the best jobs that pay you to travel for backpackers in Australia.
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.
What jobs that pay you to travel are you thinking of applying for? Let us know in the comments.