The COVID-19 pandemic has meant a lot of sacrifice for so many of us. One of those is the loss of the ability to travel. But now that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, many of us are itching to get out and see the world.
For some of us, the only thing better than getting to see the world is getting paid to do it. And travel actually makes you a better employee for a wealth of reasons.
1. International journalist
Salary: $61,822 (ZipRecruiter)
While the publishing industry is increasingly digital, business people and governments still have to get news about what’s happening overseas from original sources on the ground. If you’re the writing or editorial type, joining a big media company and focusing on the right type of beat can help you land some global assignments.
Yes, working at a publication with international coverage is competitive and prestigious, so it won’t be the easiest entry-level job to get out of school sans experience. However, if you’re willing to work your way up the editorial ranks at places that hire entry-level journalists, you’ll set yourself on the right path to achieving a life of professional, long-term travel.
Look for entry-level job openings at large media companies such as Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or Thomson Reuters and choose your beat wisely — think international politics or business. Finally, don’t forget to raise your hand for those international assignments often and early to make your desires known!
2. Travel industry PR
Salary: $72,616 (ZipRecruiter)
You don't need to quit your job to travel if you get a job in travel. Working in the travel industry doesn’t mean you have to staff a private yacht or wait tables on a cruise ship (though, of course, those are options, too).
Take our friends at J. Public Relations, for example. They cover a lot of glamorous hotel openings around the world — which means traveling to places as far afield as Dubai, London, and Singapore to meet with clients and journalists.
3. International sales
Salary: $76,280 (Salary.com)
Salespeople will have plenty of opportunities to see the world when they focus their niche on selling products and services to markets abroad. There is a wide variety of industries with international sales departments, and while you'll usually operate from your home country, communicating with people and business in other countries, there will be plenty of opportunities to travel to numerous other countries, depending on the specific territory for which you're responsible, and arrange meetings in-person.
4. The Foreign Service
Salary: $102,188 (Salary.com)
The mission of a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service is to “promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.” Sounds like a pretty quintessential travel job to us, yeah? A career in the foreign service can follow various tracks: Consular Affairs, Economic Affairs, Management Affairs, Political Affairs and Public Diplomacy. Career tracks are typically for life, which is why the U.S. State Department has provided this self-assessment for those who are thinking of making the commitment.
Whatever track you choose, working in the foreign service means that you will be required to serve in one of more than 270 embassies, consulates or other diplomatic missions on almost every continent on the globe. It’s no wonder the foreign service is a popular profession for those with some serious wanderlust.
A range of educational backgrounds can be found within the Foreign Service’s ranks, too, from those with a bachelor degree to a master degree to no college degree at all. Job openings can be few and far between though, so — as with anything — the more competitive of a candidate you are, the better.
4. Geopolitical analyst (security and/or risk)
Salary: $76,304 (ZipRecruiter)
Many large corporations with foreign assets, interests and offices (or clients) employ a risk and security department that often specializes in understanding whether business can or should be done in various geographical locales. Often, these departments work closely in conjunction with the legal and compliance departments of companies. For example, most international banks have geopolitical risk specialists and analysts who must not only study and keep up-to-date with local affairs but often will travel for work as well.
While entry-level jobs are not often widely available, you can start your career in a firm that specializes in providing geopolitical risk analysis and advice to clients. Then, once you’ve gained expertise (e.g. in Asian political risk or African commodities), you can apply for a more mid-level role within a global company.
5. Travel writer
Salary: $73,250 (ZipRecruiter)
There are tons of freelance writing jobs. If writing is your profession and you have a passion for travel, you may want to consider either freelance or full-time work for travel publications or companies that publish travel content. While many people immediately think of long-form destination pieces of the kind featured in Conde Nast Traveler, all kinds of articles are needed in this space.
For example, guidebooks, practical articles, food and travel combination pieces as well as study-abroad guides were all written by someone who most likely traveled on location to write (or shoot, or film) about the place.
Flexibility and a willingness to jump on a plane on relatively short notice are important aspects of a travel writer job. To get started in the field, write about places you travel to, pitch pieces, apply for open positions or respond to calls for articles. Keep a travel blog of your own for practice and to show your future employer your writing clips.
6. Travel photographer
Salary: $61,760 (ZipRecruiter)
Similarly, the market is excellent for travel photographers looking to see the world and fulfill their passion for making beautiful art. Whether freelancers or full-time employees at publications and other organizations and companies, photographers have plenty of opportunities to earn a living doing what they love from numerous destinations. It will also help you develop a strong, diverse portfolio to showcase your work and get new opportunities in the future.
Salary: $63,670 (US News)
Who do you think of when you think about archeology? Despite what many people think, archeology isn’t a profession that means you work inside a museum or at a university. However, neither is it always like Indiana Jones in Petra, Jordan. (And no, Ross from Friends was a paleontologist).
To get a job traveling that pays well, like as an archaeologist, you should choose your specialization area such that you’ll maximize your chances of working in the field...somewhere abroad. Just be aware that travel will typically take you far from modern-day cities, and deep into the jungles, deserts and valleys of the historical epicenters of civilization.
According to the Society of American Archeologists, the majority of archaeologists are employed in cultural resource management firms, which are responsible for complying with historic preservation laws of different countries and institutions to protect archaeological sites. If you’re employed by a cultural resource management firm, you may be hired to be a lab assistant, work in the field or as a project manager or administrator. You may also be involved in public education and community outreach activities for the local community.
Salary: $93,590 (Glassdoor)
Consulting is a high-paying career path you can start working in right out of college. Entry-level positions often require supporting and accompanying more senior-level consultants with client projects and business work. Consulting can be industry or domain-specific, depending on your specialization. It generally requires analytical abilities, attention to detail and thought-leadership.
Consulting careers often take you to client sites, which means the opportunity to travel. However, not all travel is necessarily international. To get international travel experience, consider joining a consulting firm with a global footprint. Ask about rotations through foreign offices, and even try to get client work with a company that is headquartered abroad or itself has offices in many different countries. This increases the chances you’ll find yourself staffed on an international assignment.
9. Traveling project manager
Salary: $83,917 (Glassdoor)
Project management may not seem like a field that requires a lot of travel, but there are some niches in which it's par for the course. For example, if you're a project manager at a real estate development company, you might be asked to visit different locations and scope out the different regions and territories. Or, you could work at a tech company that asks you to head to other countries to help you plan on how to best meet the demands of a given market.
Some companies may even specifically ask for a traveling project manager who specializes in managing projects in many different regions. That means there will never be a dull moment.
10. Events manager
Salary: $54,068 (PayScale)
If you work for an events company with global clients or sponsors, chances are that some of those events will take you abroad. While many events companies are small and locally based, others focus on high-end luxury destination events. Think about the companies that organize and run the World Economic Forum at Davos, for example, or the 50 Best Restaurants of the World Prize, or the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
Programming, sponsorship sales, operations and logistics and customer service positions are available at these companies and many of those roles require that you get on a plane for the job.
11. International aid worker
Salary: $39,279 (ZipRecruiter)
This a broad category of work that can accommodate people with a variety of different professional interests. For example, if your area of specialization is human rights, you can work as an attorney for an international organization such as the United Nations. Conversely, if you are a physician, you can join an international non-profit organization such as Medicins Sans Frontiers.
There are many different professional roles you can consider within in international organizations, so getting a job is less about your line of work than your interest in working for the institution. To maximize your chances of getting to travel abroad while working for one of these international-aid or non-profit organizations, you may want to consider working for one that is not based in the United States. Even if you aren’t based there, at the very least, you’re likely to visit headquarters at some point!
Salary: $42,417 (Indeed)
When you think of occupations that allow you to travel, piloting could be one of the first ones that come to mind. You'll need to be licensed to fly an aircraft, and you'll have to take courses on safety and adhering to the rules and regulations. But once you become qualified, the world is your oyster — quite literally. While much of the time will be spent flying aircraft, you'll get to visit lots of different places and have some downtime to explore the different areas.
13. Flight attendant
Salary: $33,459 (Indeed)
Similarly, flight attendants spend little time at home while they're aboard an aircraft, helping keep airplane passengers safe and compliant. They, too, must be certified by the FAA, in order to help maintain appropriate conditions in-flight. And also like pilots, flight attendants will get to see areas they might not have considered visiting before and will have some downtime between flights, allowing them to explore the locations.
Salary: $25,580 (BLS)
Many bartending jobs don't require any education or experience — though, of course, some prefer previous bartending experience. That said, there are plenty of bars around the world that are willing to give you experience if you can speak English and have the people skills to chit-chat the bar patrons. The more experience you get bartending, the bigger and more popular bars you'll be able to work at — and the better shifts you'll start to pick up. Just beware that people don't all tip around the world, so bartenders can make more money on tips here in America but will be paid better wages overseas.
15. Cruise ship worker
Salary: $48,404 (ZipRecruiter)
An easy way to see the world while working is to work on a cruise ship — you'll visit tons of new countries each week. A cruise ship employee may fill one of the following roles, among others:
- Casino dealer
- Entertainment director
- Retail clerk
- Dance host
Just beware that you aren't always allowed to jump ship when it docks. Depending on your shift, you may have to stay onboard while the guests get to hop off the boat and explore new lands. That said, you and your employees take turns working shifts and exploring. And the chances are that you'll get to see a host of new places and learn about different cultures from the ship's guests, too.
16. Travel nurse
Salary: $75,000 (Bluepipes.com)
Traveling nurses need experience. But if they have it, there are tons of opportunities for them to live in and travel to new places. A traveling nurse is assigned to different locations around the country or world and is tasked with living there to work for a few months at a time. Traveling nurse positions are in demand because it requires someone who is flexible and willing to pick up and leave every few months. This is a difficult job for anyone with a family or commitments based in one location.l
Sites like TravelingNurse.org list positions for registered nurses, adding that “most travel nursing jobs last between eight to 26 weeks, with the majority of the positions being offered for 13-week terms.” The site also claims that traveling nurses can make up to about $10,000 per month and that they can choose the location. That's a lot of income to pocket given that they're offered great benefits and usually free housing, too. Think about it: You can save money while traveling.
17. Tour guides
Salary: $17.93/hour (Indeed)
Most tour guides need little experience if any at all. What they do need, however, is people skills and knowledge of a particular place. Of course, if you've been a tour guide before, or if you've worked with other tour companies, you have an advantage. While being a tour guide in your own city makes a lot of sense since you know the ins and outs of the place and can speak to the city as a whole, there are tour guide jobs all over the world — mostly in tourist cities. Once you've lived in a new city for a few weeks and have gotten yourself acquainted, consider looking for tour guide opportunities. After all, you might as well be getting paid since you've been giving free tours to visiting friends all this time.
18. English teacher
Salary: varies by location
Many people who teach English abroad don't even need to be fluent in the native language in their new country in order to teach. Whether you're interested in experiencing Japan, Argentina, Italy, Thailand, China or another country entirely, the market is huge for native English speakers who want to impart their wisdom and skills to students who are learning English as a second language.
Often, depending on the country in question, you'll need a bachelor's degree and a TEFL certification. But you usually won't need to have any teaching experience. This is a great way to become completely immersed in a new culture and interact with the people living there regularly. Plus, you'll no doubt pick up a new language yourself.
19. Au pair
Salary: $25,390 (Salary.com)
Being an au pair, which essentially means being a nanny for a family in another country, is a popular choice for students and recent graduates. However, there's no rule that says older adults can't work in the profession, too. In addition to earning money from your employer, you'll also usually get room and board — along with the chance to be fully immersed in a new culture. If you have childcare experience and love working with kids — and, of course, want the opportunity to explore the world — being an au pair is a great option.
20. Digital nomad
Salary: varies by type of work
Being a digital nomad isn't for the fainthearted. It requires someone who has a serious commitment to making money and earning their lifestyle of traveling around the world. Digital nomads differ from the other job titles on this list because they don't necessarily work one job. They're not just journalists, photographers and consultants. Rather, digital nomads pick up digital work where they can find it — sometimes, they specialize in just journalism or just consulting but, usually, they're inclined to take digital work where they can find it. This isn't a job that requires them to be in one place, nor is it a job that sends them to a new place. A digital nomad usually pays for their own travel and does digital work from wherever they are — their job may have nothing to do with travel at all, but they travel while they do it.
Forget scouring traveling sites for hours dreaming of a vacation. Get a job that allows you to make every day a vacation and travel the world doing it.
About the Career Expert:
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist for a gamut of both online and print publications, as well as an adventure aficionado and travel blogger at HerReport.org. She covers all things women's empowerment — from navigating the workplace to navigating the world. She writes about everything from gender issues in the workforce to gender issues all across the globe.