If you’re thinking of working your way around the world, our list of career options should inspire you!
Once bitten by the travel bug it can be hard to face returning to reality, but what if you could make permanent travel your life? On any trip around the world you will likely meet a veteran who has tales of when they worked in Tokyo or how they spent two years on a paradise island teaching diving – so hey, why can’t that be you? Working as you travel is surprisingly easy, can be excellent experience for future career prospects and is (of course) fun too!
Remember, many countries will require that visitors obtain a visa for extended working and it would be wise to read up on the regulations in your target country. That’s not to say that there isn’t a bit of a black market for jobs when travelling, but to avoid falling foul of the law, stay legal when you can!
Language teaching can be one of the easiest routes into official employment in most countries and often pays very well. If you’ve never seen yourself as a teacher you may be surprised to find that teaching English in Korea or Spanish in Australia could be more fun than you would have thought.
If you literally want to work your way around the world, it’s pretty easy to find teaching jobs almost everywhere – although pay will vary massively. But, this is a great job for getting those air miles and passport stamps.
Those with a degree will be at an advantage but you can still get a certification – for example TEFL or Celta course to enable you to teach. Courses range from US$150 for simple online courses up to US$1000 for the full training with practical tuition. Check TEFL for more info.
Parlez Francais? Habla Espanol?
Skills needed: It helps if you’ve been a teacher before or have qualifications in teaching besides TEFL/CELTA. However many places, especially in the Far East will take a native speaker with a degree. Make sure you have a copy of your degree certificate with you (or scanned to the cloud).
Want to bask in the sun on a glorious beach? How about every day? Yes I thought so… Dive instructor is one of those dream travel jobs with potential for employment everywhere from the Caribbean to Krakatoa (or thereabouts), although it can be a competitive industry to get into.
You’ll need to get a dive master certificate and the whole course will cost you around US$800-1000 (depending where you do the certification).
One of the most popular places to take the course is in Thailand or Bali where the diving is exceptional. Search for PADI courses in your target destination.
Skills needed: You’ll need the divermaster certificate from PADI.
When you see those big boats that millionaires use for amusing themselves, remember, those millionaires aren’t sailing them themselves. There’s a whole crew on board, from pilots to cooks to general dogsbodies*.
Pay varies from poor to OK and the hours are pretty much non stop, but you get to cruise the high seas on a gin palace! It helps to have sailing experience and certification such as RYA. Competition can be fierce but there is a big demand for staff so if you think this is for you try sites such as Crewseekers.
Skills needed: It depends on the job you’re going for. If you’re going to be crew you’ll need certification which says you can sail a boat, in the UK it’s the ICC. Chefs will need some kind of experience, deckhands etc should be able to get on with minimal training.
(*general dogsbody not an actual role – will most likely be something like deckhand)
If you have some chef experience or you’re a bit handy in the kitchen you could find yourself a decent job in catering. From chalets in the Alps to restaurants in Sydney and all points in between, you’ll find a good chef is in demand in many places.
Pay is variable and hours are generally unsociable but it can be a great way to start a career and get a foothold in a new country. As a way to work and travel around the world, you’ll often find openings in surprising places.
Sites such as Indeed are international although you’ll need to target a particular country. For example Australia or Canada.
Skills needed: You will need some experience, no matter how small, in a professional kitchen. Start out as a kitchen porter or burger flipper and work your way up from there!
Personal Trainer or Sports Instructor
Are you a gym bunny? Can you surf, ski or snowboard? Maybe you’re a yoga or pilates nut? Or maybe you’re into some extreme sport? As a way to work around the world, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to pass on your enthusiasm for your sport and make money while doing it!
You can take personal training course from upwards of US$200 for an online course up to US$1000 for the full certification. Surfers and skiiers can also get certification to help them find work.
Remember, if you’re going to be freelance, you’ll need to look into the essentials such as public liability insurance and local licences in the event of accidents.
You can also find plenty of openings in local job sites for specialist sports instruction. Search for your desired role and your target city, or check out Facebook groups for some guidance.
Skills needed: You will need to be very proficient, ideally to master level, in whichever sport you are planning to instruct. Then you will need certification.
Hospitality and Bar Work
Probably one of the easiest jobs to come by when travelling is bar work. This also covers general hospitality jobs such as working as a chambermaid, cleaner, receptionist or transfer driver. Often casual work (ie: off the books) you can sometimes find work that pays in free accommodation and food or on a tips only basis.
If you don’t mind working for board and food, then go for it. Many people will prefer to take payment in hard currency, but if you’re working around the world, you’ll likely take whatever you can get.
In busy tourist areas you should be able to find reasonably well paid hospitality work. Being multi-lingual would be a bonus in most places. Visit Season Workers for some good hospitality options.
Skills needed: Having some customer service experience will set you apart from the crowd. However often just being young and friendly will get you a job.
Musician or DJ
Wherever there’s holiday-makers there’s entertainment. And that often means music.
Turning up with a guitar and playing a night for free might earn you a regular gig or perhaps you could play the piano in an upmarket restaurant. A good lounge singer could really set the atmosphere off in a sultry blues bar. Or maybe you’re a DJ who knows how to keep the crowd going all night?
It can be a casual job or as a regular on a cruise ship or venue but if you go looking it can be easy to find. Busking is also a good option in many places around the world but check local regulations to ensure you don’t fall foul of the law.
Check jobs boards and approach appropriate venues wherever you’re heading. Have a demo tape/CD/Mixcloud account so people can easily check you out.
Skills needed: Obviously you’ll need to be at professional level at whatever you’re trying to do.
Do you speak several languages? You may be able to do tour guiding in one of the world’s most exciting cities.
A chatty demeanour and good customer service skills are a must and additional languages are normally a very big plus.
From Milan to Melbourne, tour guides are in demand and often make a decent income. Long hours and working weekends are the norm but it can be great fun getting to pass on your knowledge and learning more in the process.
Adventure tour companies such as Tucan and G-Adventures are often hiring for guides although the selection process can be long – or search online for adventure tour guide jobs. Big Bus tours has branches around the world who are always hiring.
Skills needed: Normally some evidence of customer service skills will be enough to get you a look in. The tour companies often run recruitment workshops in designated places where they choose the best guides, so you will need to shine at one of these.
If you’re good with kids you will often be able to find good regular nanny work. Pay varies massively and hours are basically 24/7 but there is always work and it can be fun if you get the right job.
As always you can check sites such as Indeed. For specific international nanny jobs take a look at NurseryWorld Jobs.
Skills needed: You will normally need some kind of security clearance, in the UK this is the DBS (formerly CRB).
Maybe you have experience in IT, writing or photography? Maybe you’re a good video editor or graphic designer? Many skilled technical jobs can be done anywhere with a working internet connection so scope out your location and see what is needed.
Scour sites like Gumtree, Indeed and Linkedin for freelancer opportunities. And, check out our guide to becoming a digital nomad.
This list is by no means exhaustive and there is a whole world of possibility out there. If you find yourself somewhere you really want to stay or you find you need to top up the bank balance, stop and look around and you may be surprised what you’ll find. Ask around at expat haunts, read expat blogs and make a nuisance of yourself at places you’d like to work in.
There are a million opportunities to travel and work for those brave enough to try…
Have you had experience working around the world? Had some random jobs in far flung countries? Tell us all about it in the comments below…
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