Sometimes, I dream of the digital nomad lifestyle (and other times, I dream of stuffing those words down the throats of people who live it). Unless you have a vacation home in the Hamptons, a private jet, and a trust fund, it’s a safe bet that money is one of the obstacles standing in the way of your travel dreams. But fear not, for there is hope! Here are the best jobs for those of you who want to travel the world without breaking the bank.
Perhaps one of the most obvious choices for a travel career. Flight attendants go through rigorous training and work all kinds of hours, but employee benefits include discounted rates for you, and sometimes even relatives. It is generally harder for flight attendants on short haul flights to leave the airport, so if it’s faraway locales you’re looking for, try finding work with an airline that flies long-haul.
Related: Tips for comfortable flying
Another obvious choice. Being a tour guide means being paid to travel to awesome destinations, and share your experience and expertise with others. The downside to being a tour guide is that you’ll spend a lot of time in the same place, but that can work to your advantage as well if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture. Being a “people person” is a must, and it’s also a bonus if you’re interested in art, culture, language, and history and passionate about sharing your knowledge with others.
Travel writing can be a very rewarding career, but also a very tough one. Many travel writers are freelancers, selling stories to publications. Freelance writers don’t tend to have a lot to spend on travelling, so they have to make each story count. This job is very research heavy, and writers have to be skilled at conducting interviews and writing. But the job also involves a lot of travelling, and many travel writers love every aspect of what they do.
Photography is another tough but rewarding career. There are many different paths to professional photography; some photographers go to art school or get a degree in photography, others start later on, turning a hobby into a career, some photographers work part-time, while others take the plunge and go all-in, some specialize in destination weddings while others take wildlife shots, some even get their start on Instagram!. There’s no one way to get into this field, but each path is awesome in its own way.
Cruise Line Worker
Cruise ships have a wide variety of jobs. Cooking, serving, cleaning, childcare, entertaining, and more are all fair game. One of the best perks of the job is that you’ll be on the move, all the time, as you work, and your accommodation and meals will be paid for by your employer. Explore on!
Surely you’ve heard of or personally know one. English teaching is rarely seen as a permanent career move, but there’s work virtually everywhere, spanning a wide range of contract terms. Of course, the best part is that you’ll be paid to interact with and immerse yourself in different cultures. Sometimes, you’ll be called on to work with kids, but if you don’t like kids, there are positions for adult teaching as well. You’ll need a certification, and in some cases, a degree, to get hired, but one of the most basic TEFL certifications can take just a few months to obtain.
Foreign Service Worker
If you have or want to have a degree, consider pursuing international relations in university and working for the government. There are tons of travel opportunities in the Foreign Service, plus you get to learn lots of new skills, especially in foreign languages. You might not get a lot of choice as to where you’re being posted, but that can work to your advantage too, if you’re super adventurous and spontaneous.
Bartending or Waiting Tables
One of the most common jobs for travellers looking to make a little extra or students who need a part time job is bartending and waiting tables. Make sure you’re of age and have a working visa, and you’re all set! Previous experience and a good attitude are nice, but not always necessary.
Do you like kids? (More importantly, do they actually like you?) If so, consider becoming an au pair. Au pairs live with a family in a foreign country and receive payment in exchange for childcare and some housekeeping. If you want to strengthen your foreign language skills, this job is perfect, though prepared to be kept on your toes, because children are a handful!
International Aid Worker (NOT Voluntourist)
This is admittedly a less glamorous occupation than many of the others listed, as aid work often happens in small and isolated communities, where even the necessities of life can be hard to find. It can and will be physically and emotionally trying. But aid work is rewarding unto itself; you get to make a real difference in the lives of others and be a part of something that is larger than just yourself.
As the world becomes increasingly digital and global, you can basically do anything online. Copy-writing, transcription, and web design are hot now, but really, anything goes. If you have a skill, there’s a person out there who needs your help, and all you need is a laptop and an internet connection.
Instructor (any kind, really!)
If you have a skill that travellers want to learn, you’re pretty much set! Seasonal jobs, like ski patrolling and scuba instructing are popular. This does also mean you’re out of a job for half the year, though its up to you whether that’s a good or bad thing. Other skills are in demand year-round, like teaching cooking classes, meditation retreats, and mountain climbing.