There’s more than one way to satisfy your dream of travelling the world. There’s more than I’m going to tell you in this post even! But if you want to work and travel the world, or you want to find a way to make travel your first priority, with a dose of work on the side, then this list is for you.
I’ve been working and travelling outside of New Zealand for almost five years, in all sorts of different ways. I’ve had the traditional travel jobs, jobs just like those I’ve have done at home, or something in between! I often get questioned about how to travel and work, or how to find work overseas. There’s plenty of information out there about working abroad, but sometimes it’s nice to have it all in one place. So here’s my take on the expat jobs that will help you to travel the world.
Table of Contents
Usually the first travel job to be mentioned when discussing ways to work abroad! Teaching English can be done all over the world. The thing is, there are so many ways that you can teach English abroad that it’s hard to know where to start.
If you want to teach English in Asia then some places like South Korea, Japan or China pay really well, and many programs also include free flights and bonuses if you finish the program. Usually you need a university degree of some sort. Other countries like Thailand or Vietnam might not pay so well but you may not need as many qualifications.
Teaching English in Europe is much more difficult if you don’t have an EU passport, and you’re better off trying your luck in Eastern Europe where you won’t necessarily need to be a qualified teacher, but you can often do a course with a school who will then help you get a job.
I’d like to note, you don’t always need to be a native English speaker to teach English, but you do need to have a fluent level. Also, there are actually teaching jobs abroad for other languages too. I’m an English Language Assistant in Spain, but the program I’m doing (Auxiliares de Conversacion) is actually open to French and German speakers too.
Being an Au Pair or Nanny is another common travel job, and a great way to get an insight into family life abroad. You can apply to be an Au Pair through agencies who will place you with a family, or you can look on forums and search for work yourself. As far as visas go, you will need to assess each country to see whether you need to get a visa. Often there are particular visas for au pairs or you can do this job under a working holiday visa. Check out The Broke Backpackers guide on how to travel the world as an au pair.
Freelancer who travels
This category covers all sorts of different freelancing jobs that allow you to travel the world while working. Many of these freelance jobs have only recently become a possibility, or become much easier. Websites like Upwork, Elance and Guru, amongst many others, have made finding and applying for freelancing jobs much easier.
You could work as a Virtual Assistant (VA), a translator, in various web probjects like web design or social media, as a designer or travel writer or basically anything, the possibilities are endless!
Many people are now also becoming freelancers on their own, with travel blogs running rampant over the internet, and jobs as “influencers” on Instagram or Youtube allowing people to make an income from anywhere in the world. There are so many ways to make money on the road now!
As a note, while freelancing websites have made finding a job that lets you travel the world and work from anywhere easier, many of them pay obscenely low rates. You’ll need to do a lot of hustle to become a freelancer, and not sell yourself short!
Working Holiday Visa
You don’t have to have a travel job to travel and live overseas. If you’re under 30 (or sometimes under 35) then I’d urge you to take advantage of all the Working Holiday Visas that you can! Different countries have different agreements, so you’ll need to see what you’re eligible for. As a New Zealander I can work in most European countries for a year before I’m 30 (eek, time is running out!), and I know a ton of people or have been to New Zealand and Australia on working holiday visas. Tom has an awesome guide to a working holiday visa in New Zealand, and another one for Australia.
If you get a Working Holiday Visa then the doors are opened for you to work in any kind of job in that country. I worked in Scotland in a normal office job I could have had at home, and I know others who have worked to gain international experience as a teacher in the UK, or in marketing. Working abroad as an expat doesn’t mean you need a travel related job. If you want to build your career with some overseas experience, or you’re willing to take whatever job you can get somewhere then a Working Holiday Visa might be for you.
Becoming a Diving Instructor must be on the list of dream travel jobs for a lot of people. Being able to do something you love every day and be paid for it is why so many people are looking for a travel job, or a way to travel and work. I fell in love with diving, and it’s not hard to see why people want to become a scuba dive instructor, especially when they can work all over the world.
In contrast, snow season presents another great opportunity for a dream travel job. If hitting the slopes is your thing you could look to upskill as a ski or snowboarding instructor, and follow the winter around the world.
Seasonal Jobs Abroad
In some countries you can get short term seasonal work that can help you to work and travel. You may need to have some kind of visa, for example if you work in Australia as a fruit picker you’ll likely need to be on a Student Visa or a Working Holiday Visa.
Camp America, or summer camps elsewhere, are a great option if you want to spend a summer abroad. There are even options to work as part of a travelling circus!
Winter and snow season are also the perfect time to secure a great travel job. If you don’t think you your skills are up to scratch enough to be an instructor there are all sorts of other snow related travel jobs, like working the lifts, bartending or seeing in restaurants on islands, housekeeping in hotels on the mountain or in ski villages, or even cooking.
If chasing summer is more your style and you love festivals, then you might be able to become a Festival Worker. Festivals always need people for setting things up, security, working at various stalls etc. You’ll need to check out each Festival to see what their requirements are. If it’s one that travels, you might be able to travel with it too!
If you sent you want to travel the world for cheaper then a work exchange can help you do it. You won’t need to worry about working visas because you’re not technically working a travel “job”. While you won’t receive any money in exchange for your work you will usually receive free accommodation and some or all of your food. HelpX and Workaway are the main two websites that people use for work exchanges, and you can read plenty of blogs about work exchange experiences abroad that should inspire you to give it a go!
I loved my work exchange in Spain, because it gave me an opportunity to try out Spanish country life and meet some other awesome travellers. I used HelpX because I like the interface and it had been recommended to me by friends. Work ranges from specialist tasks like building to more basic things like cleaning and cooking.
Visit a hostel around the world and it’s likely you’ll run into a hostel worker who isn’f from that country or place. Working in a hostel is a great way to travel around the world. Sometimes you can do it as a work exchange, but there are also jobs in hostels that pay. If you love the backpacker lifestyle then the next step might be travelling the world working in hostels!
If you want to work abroad for a cause, then consider working with an NGO, humanitarian organisation, or the Peace Corps. The kind of work you do can largely depend on your past experience. Emily shares some awesome information on her blog about what it’s like to serve in the Peace Corps.
I would caution against “voluntourism” which may be doing more harm than good to the community that you want to help.
Cruise/Yacht Ship Worker
Cruising isn’t for everyone, but working on a cruise ship might be your ticket to a travel job. It can be long hours, but you get to travel relatively in style. The camadarie among the crew can be great fun, and you will have at least some free time to check out the sights. Plus I’ve heard rumours about the parties…
On a smaller scale you can work abroad on yachts, travelling through all sorts of different places but commonly in the mediterranean. There are different levels of positions, from Captain to stewards, and all sorts of different size yachts you can work on. It’s a great way to spend at least a summer of travel!
Companies like Busabout, TravelTalk or Contiki always need tour guides to lead groups all over the world. As a travel job, being a tour guide can be a really fun option. If you love showing people round and are comfortable being “on” most (all!) of the time, and can think on your feet to deal with any issues then being a tour guide could be a great travel job. Smaller companies may be easier to break into to begin with as well.
If you don’t want to work for someone else, you could set up your own tours of a place you know well. If you’re an expat somewhere and you see a gap in the market for walking tours, food tours, haunted tours, etc, then set up your own travel job!
Working as a flight attendant often means long hours and short stopovers. However, on my travels I’ve met a fe flight attendants who really made the most of the time they had in each country they went to. It must be tiring, but visiting countries all over the world and getting to travel so much would be worth it!
So there you have it, 12 travel jobs that are your ticket to travelling the world. There are so many ways to travel and work abroad that there is something for everyone out there, you just need to find it. Wondering how to find these jobs? Check out these awesome places to find travel jobs to start with. Being an expat and working abroad has been the best thing I’ve ever done. Here’s to many more years of it!
Have you worked abroad before? What did you do?
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