Hey guys! Mark here, full time traveller, part time writer and occasional amateur videographer. I’ve been working my way around the world since 2011 and I wanted to share with you how I’ve done it. Working as a tour guide the most common question I’m asked is ‘how to find work whilst on the road’ so I’ve compiled my dream jobs that involve travel and will enable you to #MeetTheWorld.
How I started living the dream…
For me, it was 6 months into my Asia backpacking trip and the start of New Year in Thailand when suddenly it all clicked for me. A friend had come to visit for a two-week holiday and the day before his flight home he turned to me and said “where will you be this time next year? I have to go home and work, save up, then I’ll come visit again”.
It suddenly made absolutely no sense. Why have we all been moulded to think that we have to spend our lives working and saving, so we can have two days off at the end of the week, and perhaps 20 days holiday a year?
I needed to work too, but I had no intention of doing it back home. It dawned on me ‘why can’t we be on the road and earning at the same time?’
Put simply, we can. I have met some people who are working and travelling simultaneously. Here’s some of their stories in the hope of inspiring you to do the same…
20 Dream jobs that involve travel
1. Educate the world as a tour Guide
Personally, I have worked as a tour guide for over 3 years now and it has taken me to Thailand, Bali, Australia and Sri Lanka. Believe it or not it’s easier to get into than you might think. As a guide, the question I get asked the most is “how did you get into this?” The answer is simple; I looked up companies and applied directly!
Lots of tour operators provide on the job training and I know plenty of companies desperate for amazing tour guides. Provided you have been to the country you want to work in and are passionate about it, you are good to go. Top tip: if you have completed a tour with the company you wish to work for this will certainly tip the odds in your favour!
Who wouldn’t want to get paid to spend time with cool people from all over the world and educate people on this wonderful, crazy world we live in. What are you waiting for? Put yourself out there and apply!
2. Get snap happy as a photographer/ videographer
Feeling creative? Then this might be for you. Content for hotels, tours and restaurants are always in demand. Many will even cover travel expenses. Build a portfolio of your work and get pitching to tour companies, hostels, restaurant and bars. Websites like Shutterstock where you can upload your own stock images and get paid for them are awesome too. Grab your camera and get going!
3. Inspire others to get going as a travel agent
Richard – UK
“I got into selling travel whilst living in New Zealand. Most agents will require you to have travelled to the main destinations you are selling, Australia and Fiji for example. Once I moved back to the UK, I started with another agency here. Generally they will look for good people skills, confidence and good knowledge of trips”
Many agents offer great incentive programs where if you hit your targets you can win trips. Free travel? I wouldn’t say no…
4. Work in a hostel
What better way to meet the most interesting people than being the friendly face at a hostel. You’ll get to know everyone that checks in and be the go to person for cool things to do in the area. Most will offer free accommodation, often with pay on top. From working reception to making beds to organising party nights, whatever your skill set, they’ll be something that suits you.
5. Document your travels as a travel blogger
Louise – UK
“Start with getting your domain name, something short, snappy and memorable. Link it to your Insta, Facebook, Youtube and get sharing. WordPress is a wonderful platform to use for your actual blog. Plus it’s free!”
What’s your niche? Why will you stand out from the crowd? Bloggers are a dime a dozen but its never too late to start. Put yourself out there and start writing. Build engagement, grow an audience and provide quality to content as this will have businesses dying to work with you.
6. Make people sweat as a personal trainer
Everyone struggles to keep fit on the road (damn you chocolate and banana pancakes and cheap beer!) If you are a qualified PT your services may well be in demand. There are gyms all over the world looking for quality staff. Having a driven yet customer friendly demeanour is essential, as well as an ability to build rapport with clients. If no one is hiring, you can always round up the crew in the hostel for a one off boot-camp at the beach!
7. Are you tech savvy? Get geeky as a freelance web developer/ software designer
Alex – Germany
“The best place to start is with a computer science qualification. It’s quite a broad degree, but from there you can choose a more specific direction. Gaining experience is the most valuable thing you can offer. Once you have it, applying for contract work that will allow you to work from a laptop from a place of your choosing. My office is now a bar on the beach!”
8. Shake, rattle and roll as a street performer
Can you sing, dance, or stand still for a really, really long time? Street performing is a full time profession for a lot of people and its takes them all over the world. A small fee for a busking license, a talent and an ability to work the crowd is all you need before you hit the streets.
9. Try your hand at hairdressing
Bare with me on this one… typically, yes, a hairdresser is attached to their chair in a salon, but ever walked into a hostel when someone has whipped out their hairdressing kit giving cheap cuts to backpackers? I have. Backpackers LOVE a cheap cut, why not make some beer money by giving the hostel crew a trim?
10. Are you a pro? Give ski, scuba, snowboard or sailing instructing a go
Why not take a course while you are away? There are many places in South America and Asia where it is much cheaper than back home to learn or fine tune a skill. Yoga, scuba diving, surf, ski/ snowboarding are just some of the options available. Getting paid for something you love? Sign me up!
11. Lights, camera, action! Become a TV/movie extra
Movie stars travel all over the world to shoot movies in exotic locations and get paid a pretty penny at the same time. Although you might not be sharing a scene with Tom Hardy anytime soon, keep an eye out for casting calls for extras. Most extras travel expenses are paid for, as well as a good meal on set and decent pay. Word on the street is extras spend the majority of the day sat around playing cards which sounds like my rainy days at the hostel anyway, so why not earn a few bucks for it.
12. Take to the air as flight crew
If you love flying, why not make a career out of it? Although training can be rigorous, this is easily the number one job to take you all over the world. Different flight routes allow you to spend your nights and days in cities across the globe in a company paid for hotel, as well as having major perks such as discounted tickets. We all know what that means – cheap flights!
13. Do it for the ‘gram and become an Instagram influencer
In an ever-increasing online community of travellers becoming an Instagram influencer is now a viable option to fund travels. Sure, you won’t be hitting the big time straight away, but if you start small, take #goal worthy snaps and your selfie game slays then your online community will start to grow. Looks can be deceiving though and it is harder work than it appears. Be prepared to get up at sunrise to snap tourist-free spots, spend hours editing and curating the perfect images.
14. Go back to school and teach English
Easily one of the most popular and rewarding jobs to travel with. Requirements largely depend on what country you would like to teach in. Some will require a degree and others simply a TEFL qualification. A Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification can be acquired online at a reasonable price, and once you have it, get applying. Online is the most effective way so be sure to put time and effort into researching the countries and requirements beforehand. This can take you all over the world. For adventure seekers look at Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. For culture, try South Korea, and if you want to save a lot of dollar, opt for the Middle East. Your earnings will be tax free and most employers cover the cost of your accommodation.
15. Ahoy there matey! Jump aboard as cruise ship crew
If you are a lover of the deep blue then this could be the dream job for you. Imagine pulling into a different port every couple of days, waking up with nothing but the soft sounds of the ocean and a magical sunrise. Often crew will get free food while on board and if you have time off when your ship docks many offer free tours and activities.
There are plenty of positions available even if you don’t have any sailing experience, consider bartending, lifeguarding, child-minding or even working in the kitchen.
16. Really push yourself and join the armed forces
Kat – USA
“To join the military you’ll need to have reasonably good grades and be able to pass a physical examination. I’m just a small town lady, from township of 500 people in Wisconsin and I started my travels with the Air Force in Missouri. From there I went to Korea and the Middle East. I am currently based in Bahrain and I have been blessed to travel to the Philippines, Thailand and Bali. The latter two are my favourite, the locals are so happy and accepting!”
17. Pick a location and Work Away
Searching online for WorkAway.com can offer a wide range of jobs all over the world. Some jobs are unpaid, so be sure to read the fine print beforehand. Jobs such as Au Pair, decorator, working with animals all feature as the list is pretty much endless. Just put in your destination and scroll away.
18. Ease out those backbreaking backpacker knots as a masseuse
A masseuse can find work all over the world freelancing. You can learn the required skills in almost any country, although massage courses are extremely cheap in South East Asia. For approximately £200 in Thailand you can get qualified. This will easily pay for itself in any western country within a couple of sessions (depending on how much you charge.)
19. Save a life as a travel nurse
Jordyn – Canada
“After nursing school, the easiest way to start travel nursing is to apply with an agency. Emergency experience is super helpful, as it allows you to travel to bigger cities AND remote locations. You can fly or drive into each location which is covered financially. Personally, I like to have my vehicle with me as who doesn’t like to get paid to road trip!? Travel nursing is not your ‘typical’ lifestyle as it involves crazy hours and you live with strangers. That being said, it has given me experiences I could have never dreamed of. Getting paid to travel and saving lives while doing it, what more could a girl ask for really?”
20. Live the dream as a digital nomad
Whether you fancy yourself as the next Wolf of Wall Street and trade stocks, can speak another language and work as a translator or if you fancy yourself as a wheeler dealer and go into online wholesale selling, provided you have an entrepreneurial head on your shoulders, a strong WiFi connection and a laptop the wold is your oyster!
Work from blonde sand beaches, high up in snow-covered alps or from a Parisian café.
This could be you…
It’s been 6 years since my friend said those fateful words to me in Thailand. I convinced him to email his boss, tell him he wasn’t going back and to come with me to New Zealand where we both got jobs as travel agents for a year. We proceeded to travel the country for free as part of our training whilst getting paid for it.
Great opportunities are out there if you open yourself up to the possibility. So, stop dreaming, start living and #MeetTheWorld!