Those itchy feet aren’t going to leave in a hurry, I can promise you that. As long ago as I can remember I felt an uncontrollable urge to see the world. I felt a passion for languages, culture and food. I dreamt at night of what bananas might taste like straight off a palm tree in the tropics, or if roma tomatoes really taste *that* incredible when their picked fresh off the vine at the base of mount vesuvius.
For my whole life culture has been my driving force and now that I am really out in the world experiencing it I have no regrets, the closest thing I have is a strong urge to go tell my younger self to get out there and do it sooner! So, instead, I’ll tell you.
Just go do it, if you have the drive to experience the world it truly is the greatest gift you can give yourself, and if you have absolutely no idea how to fund this whole thing (much like me!) then here are some awesome jobs that will pay you to travel the world.
1. Sales Rep
Can you sell ice to an eskimo? Even if your not the stereo typical used-car salesman, a friendly face with a can-do attitude is often all you need to shine in one of these roles. Becoming a sales representative for a company usually involves meeting with the companies potential clients, customers or investors and showing them the latest product or service on offer. One very popular form of sales rep’ing is for pharmaceutical companies.
Pros: You’ll often get a company car and phone, a few hotel stays a month (or more!) and the opportunity to work your way up to international sales roles
Cons: It’s unlikely you’ll land a job where you start out jet setting across the world, it’s more likely what you’ll work up to after proving yourself by selling locally around the country that you’re based in.
Skills to Develop: Sales tactics, Psychology and anything that helps with confidence and charisma. There are a ton of books, online courses and Youtube videos about that will happily teach you what you need.
Where to Find the Work: You local job search website, craigslist, or try sending your resume out to companies that sell business to business (thing pharmacutecals, software, air-conditioning units) lots of the bigger companies have recruitment information on their websites, otherwise try and get in touch with their HR or recruitment team.
2. Flight attendant
Globe-trotting is not only a perk of being an air hostess, it’s a requirement! The lazy days spent sipping margaritas at the hotel pool are balanced by your customer service superstar skills. Don’t get me wrong – this job can be hard work! But so can many, and there is no lifestyle in the world quite like that of an international air hostess!
Pros: Free travel while you work, exceptionally cheap travel on your days off and lot’s of lovely hotel stays. Did I mention all the travel?
Cons: It can be a bit exhausting at times, and you need to practice that smile!
Skills to Develop: Safety and customer service are the key priorities here, but immaculate grooming and some charisma will go a long way too. Applying for flight attendant jobs can be incredibly competitive though, so it’s really important to do some research before you even apply. You can visit my course – the Cabin Crew Academy which has been designed especially for people who are looking to apply for a flight attendant role.
Where to Find the Work: Go direct to the airlines recruitment links (usually found very easily on the airline’s website). Airline recruitment is usually pretty cyclical, so if they aren’t hiring now don’t worry! They will be again soon. (did I mention my course? 😉 )
3. Travel writer/blogger
I’m writing this blog with a laptop on my knee, from a bus that is traversing rural Malaysia and bound for Singapore. You don’t get much more of an intrepid office space than that. Travel writing and blogging can be a competitive industry to break into, but once you get into the flow it is hugely rewarding. A day in the life of a travel writer might include brainstorming & drafting ideas, contacting sources and interviewing people for your next article and pitching your creative new ideas to magazines and blogs around the world. No two days are the same and you get to write about the things that really interest you.
Pros: You can be anywhere, at any time working from your own schedule. You get to interview lots of interesting people along the way
Cons: If you’re not into writing it could be a bit of a setback for you. Also travel writing can involve a lot of rejection from editors, especially to begin with.
Skills to develop: Writing (of course), but even more important is marketing of your own personal brand. The Freelance Writers Den has been my personal favourite resource for developing as a writer, but some of the other sites and blogs I absolutely love for honing your marketing skills are the Quicksprout Blog and the Lead Pages Blog.
Where to find the work: Writing work can be found everywhere. You can freelance on Elance (but be careful not to work for pennies!), pickup jobs on the various job board (like problogger) or go after clients yourself (the best and most profitable way). Everyone who is selling a product, providing a service or even running a charity needs writers, so get out there and look! If you’d rather blog, just get out there and do it! Start a blog, take a few courses and hit the ground running. You can check out my post on how I became a freelance writer or how I got freelancing on Elance
4. Tour Guide/Leader
Do you know your local country like the back of your hand? Maybe you don’t but you have great people skills & speak a second language. Tour guides are needed world-wide, and take many different forms. From showing visitors the local culinary scene to accompanying people from your own country to an exotic destination in order to translate, there’s bound to be a tour guide job that suits you. The term tour leader and tour guide may be interchangeable in some countries, but in others the term ‘guide’ can legally require special qualifications. Make sure you thoroughly investigate the legislation around it in your country of choice!
Pros: You get to meet so many different people, and introduce them to places they may never have visited otherwise
Cons: You might be limited by your own knowledge/experiences and/or languages
Skills to develop: Excellent people skills, and it could be very useful to speak a second language (Mandarin would be a great, albeit challenging one). I have personally used Pimsleur for language learning and had great results.
Where to find the work: Do some digging and in-depth researching to find the tour agencies that operate in your ideal location. You could look into places like Intrepid Travel or Contiki, and try searching your local job vacancy website for tour leader roles. f you’re in Boston, USA, you can even become a volunteer Boston by foot guide to build up some valuable experience. Check out this blog post on the Matador network for more info & a big list of more tour companies looking for guides.
5. Au Pair
Becoming an Au Pair, also known as a live in nanny, is an excellent opportunity to live overseas. Of course it is suited for anybody who is great with kids & has a background of being reliable and trustworthy. Living in with a family and caring for their kid/s is a wonderful way to bond with some little ones and be part of a family while you explore an overseas location. You will generally get time off to get to explore, as well as having a wonderful host family to show you around.
Pros: You get to live-in with a family and get the real local experience of a place
Cons: Kids can be a lot of work, only go down this path if the little ones are a real passion of yours
Skills to develop: Safety is paramount. Making sure you have an up to date first aid certificate and a completely clear security check & police record is a must. Any child care experience you can get is a great idea too – consider volunteering at your local kindergarten.
Where to find the work: There are a number of great sites around that will give you all the information you need to get started. Try taking a look at AuPairWorld, AuPair.com and Great Au Pair, just for starters.
6. Travel Guidebook Writer or Photographer
Creating a travel guidebook isn’t as glamorous as you may expect, however it is still a way to pay the bills while you explore the world and will most certainly get you out of that cubicle! Don’t expect to be welcomed with open arms or paid a fortune, but if you show talent and an exceptional work ethic you can certainly make it work. Once you’re names in print and you’ve had a book published, the travel writing/photography world will become your oyster.
Pros: Contributing to a travel guide is a pretty impressive credential, and you’ll have some wonderful adventures along the way.
Cons: It’s competitive and not particularly well paying
Skills to develop: Perseverance and a good, clean writing style. Devour as many great books on writing/photography as you can find, and learn to take constructive criticism with open arms. Practice, practice, practice.
Where to find the work: There are travel guides looking for writers and photographers all over the place, if you have the determination to succeed of course! You can try out Bradt ,Moon and Rough Guides for a start.
8. Airline or Cruise Ship Chef
We all know that planes and cruise ships have attendants or stewards, but did you realise that some of the bigger companies also hire in-house chefs? If you want to travel but have more of a flair for the culinary than customer service then you might just have the skills needed to chiffonade, sear and sauté your way around the globe.
Pros: You don’t have to work in a face-to-face customer service role
Cons: Much like cruise stewards and air cabin crew, these jobs often involve lengthly stays away from home and often relocation.
Skills to Develop: Cooking, cooking, more cooking. Different companies prefer varying types of experience ranging from a basic kitchen background to 2+ years in a michelin star establishment. If you only have basic cookery skills and want to build on them, try getting a short term stint at a higher-class establishment, take some additional training or have a look at a reputable temping agency and see if they can help place you in a few nicer restaurants for the experience.
9. Freelance Graphic Designer
With the development of good quality internet spanning a huge chunk of the globe, freelancing from wherever you like is becoming an increasingly viable option. Got an eye for design and some good tech skills? Becoming a freelance graphic designer might be an excellent place to start.
Pros: Graphic design is a skill highly in demand. There is a lot of money to be made here if you’re smart, and your office is wherever your laptop is
Cons: If your not already smiled it can be a bit of a steep learning curve, depending on the kind of design you want to do you might need a fairly high-end laptop, equipment and costly software.
Skills to Develop: Pick one skill and stick with it. If you’re into logo design, then study concepts of logo design as well as Adobe InDesign. Photo retouching? Get into photoshop and make connections with professiol photographers. Lynda.com is the market leader for online courses in these types of skills.
Where to Find the Work: You can find work on Elance and Odesk pretty easily, although they are generally pretty low paying and are only a good place to start to get a few samples make & testimonials/ratings given. 99Designs is another place where you can compete for work in a different manner from Elance and Odesk – think actual design competition. Once you have some samples and a reputation the best way to go is to create your own website/platform and market yourself from there.
There are no excuses not to get out and see the world. With the way the internet is bringing the world together, there is so much you can do with just a laptop and some creativity. Stop daydreaming and take action – the world is out there waiting, and it’s not half as scary as you think it is.. I promise.
Have I missed anything? Let me know what jobs you know of that pay you to travel!
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