Get Paid to Travel with These Careers
If you’ve ever gotten a taste of the travel bug, then most likely you’ve wondered if there was another way to see the world rather than saving up over the course of a year for a measly two-week excursion. Two weeks fly by, and you find that your vacation is over before you really feel like it started — not to mention, you come back with an empty piggy bank to start the process all over again.
You’re not alone.
But, did you also know that it is perfectly possible — whether you are just out of college or standing on the opposite side of your twenties — to make a career out of traveling? That doesn’t just mean you have to become a travel writer, either. Below is a short list of some of the best options that will keep your bank account full and give you the opportunity to experience all the great places this world has to offer.
Try your hand at being a travel tour guide.
If you’re the type of person who can feel at home anywhere, consider becoming a tour guide. It’s a great way to constantly change your scenery and routinely earn a paycheck in the process. You’ll have the opportunity to share your passion and love of new culture, art, music and people with others — and be paid for it!
So where do you start? Do research on tour companies that offer opportunities for abroad travel. Backroads tours is one great example, but there are many more. You may find that some companies require you to speak one or multiple foreign languages, but often, native English speakers are in high demand.
However, do expect to put in the work. This article from Working Abroad Magazine has some great insights on what it takes to be a traveling tour guide. Think about reading pieces like this to determine if becoming a guide is the right fit for you.
Set sail on a cruise ship.
This might seem a bit far-fetched, but becoming part of a cruise ship’s staff is actually quite varied and covers a large array of career focuses and educational requirements. If you have experience as a server, childcare provider, electrician, masseuse, bartender, entertainer, dancer, chef, hotel manager, etc. there is a place for you on a cruise ship staff — and these are only some examples.
Try searching on a broad platform to see what’s available on different cruise lines. You can even look for short-term and long-term appointments, depending on what your current career goals are.
Join the growing world of freelancers.
Freelancing in just about anything is a very viable option available in today’s digital age. This can mean becoming a travel writer or blogger, but it could also mean freelance web design, research, translation, consultancy, photography, etc. Whatever your skill set is, get creative.
It’s possible you have an entire list of services that potential clients are looking for, and all you need is a computer and Internet connection. For example, millennials are highly sought after in the marketing industry. Make that statistic work for you and look for positions at companies like WebpageFX. Companies like this, where culture is important to both employers and employees, are usually the most flexible in terms of work hours and location, making travel much more realistic.
Going freelance, however, means you likely won’t be raking in the dough without some preparation, so don’t just decide to quit your office job tomorrow and expect to be fully funded. Anything worth doing takes a bit of time and organization. Look for resources on how to be a successful freelancer and make a plan. Once you have your plan and a bit of savings, take the plunge and don’t look back.
Become an Au Pair
Becoming an Au Pair is an option if you have experience as a childcare provider and would like to take those skills outside your home country. Generally, the families you will be working for are wealthy, so there are perks — like rent-free lodging, free luxury vacations and gourmet food while you work. However, do keep in mind that it is still essentially nannying for little ones (and all the dirty work that comes with it).
There are many websites out there you can use to help match you with a prospective family, like GreatAuPair.com, that let you search by location and other filters. You can also use an agency specifically for the country you are interested in visiting.
Whatever you choose to do, just remember to be clear on what you expect and what the family expects you to do. Ironing out those details before you go will help avoid any unpleasant surprises when you arrive.
Join the Peace Corps.
Okay, so the pay isn’t really great as a Peace Corps Volunteer, but this option is ideal if you are interested in seeing the world and making a difference. You are also given health insurance and student loan deferment while you serve.
The application process is quite rigorous, so make sure you plan the necessary time to write your award-winning essay and gather the appropriate documents. For more specific requirements and details on available opportunities, your best bet will be to visit the Peace Corps website.
Take to the skies as a flight attendant.
Depending on what airline you choose and any previous experience you may have, the salaries for crew members will vary. Keep in mind as well that starting out, you may not have many options available to you for scheduling, flight hours or location/destination. However, the positions all generally start higher than minimum wage, and of course, they guarantee travel to some place.
Speaking more than one language will also help you during the application process. For example, if you do a general search on the American Airlines Career site, their positions are listed with language requirements, as well as access to any specific employment information you may need. The sky is literally the limit for you!
These are just some of the options available to the aspiring career traveler. If you’re concerned that changing jobs might be detrimental to your advancement, keep in mind the traditional workplace is changing. It is perfectly acceptable for millennials to change jobs more frequently than their parents did 30 years ago.
So, for those of you who may think 30 is too late to change it up and do what you love, consider re-thinking your options. It’s never too late to find work you look forward to doing — and that pays you well, too.
Holly Whitman is a millennial writer and journalist based in the DC area. After relocating from the UK a couple of years ago, her new mission is to visit every state and complete half of her bucket list before turning 30. In her spare time, you can usually find her working on her novel, volunteering at a local women's shelter or, most likely, attempting to stop her dog Winston from jumping in puddles.