One of the first questions I ask new clients is, “What do you want to do?” The question is often met with a blank stare, or responses like, “Well, when I was younger, I wanted to be a [fill in the blank], but…” Or, “I’m really good at [fill in the blank], but I’d never make enough money doing that.”
And that’s when I call BS.
Trust me—you should trust your gut. When we get too caught up in our heads and don’t listen enough to our hearts, we often end up on the wrong path. But what you want—and need—in your heart is never going to go away.
This is often the dilemma of clients who want to travel for a living—they know what they want, but they’re sure they’d never find a job that would pay them to explore the world, or that if they could find a gig like that, they’d never make enough money.
Not the case, my friend! If you love to travel, and love it even more when it’s on someone else’s dime, and you want to get paid to do it, read on to learn about the best travel jobs out there.
Bars and restaurants exist everywhere, and the duties and responsibilities tend to be the same universally. Especially if you have experience in this area, landing a job in new locales as you travel around shouldn’t be hard. The biggest constraint is that you’d need to some command of the language since you’re working with the public. Moreover, visa requirements vary by country—be sure to check the State Department website for further details on how to go abroad.
2. Event planner
Imagine getting paid to attend the World Cup or the Olympics. Planning massive events like these requires a lot of work, before, during, and after the events, so the companies that are hired to plan them are heavily staffed. Working for a company that orchestrates large scale events like these will guarantee you’ll be traveling the world plenty.
3. International tour guide or tour director
A tour guide actually leads groups of visitors around sites, whereas a tour director plans the logistics behind the scenes. Guides and directors are needed in basically all major tourist destinations worldwide, so there are plenty of opportunities available. It’s a great way to learn about new places while making money, and it’s definitely exciting work. You get to meet all kinds of different people, and no two workdays are the same.
4. Teaching English as a second language
The requirements vary country to country, so you may have to get some sort of certification beforehand, but ESL teachers are highly sought worldwide. According to one source, Asian countries seem to have the highest demand and the best pay, although there is also solid demand in Central America and Europe, too.
5. Government employee
If you’re interested in foreign affairs and public service, seeking a position as a Foreign Service Officer may be an ideal opportunity for you. The main advantages of this line of work are job security with great benefits and pay. The cons are that you have to pass a Foreign Service Officer exam to qualify, and you have little say in where you get assigned. The process is lengthy.
Insider tip: read The Economist every day for a year before you take the test.
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6. Cruise ship employee or flight attendant
What better travel job than working for the company that provides the mode of transportation for travelers? There’s a huge variety of jobs available aboard cruise ships, including entertainment (musicians, dancers, broadcast and sound technicians), as well as service (cooks, bartenders, servers), and positions in logistics (electricians, maintenance staff, hotel managers, childcare employees). The main perks are free meals and accommodations while sailing the world. Drawbacks are that positions are pretty competitive to get, and the hours are long.
Flight attendant positions are somewhat easier to secure. Most airlines only require that candidates have some type of prior experience in customer service. Downsides, though, are crazy hours and a fast-paced lifestyle with little control over where you end up each night. But you’ll get to travel all over, and the job also comes with steep discount on flights for employees as well as friends and families.
7. Freelance writing or photography, or…well, freelance anything
The gig economy is on the rise, and more and more people are building their careers on freelance work, instead of freelancing merely as a side hustle. There are pros and cons to this, but one of the main draws is that, depending on your line of work, freelancing can enable you to become location independent, meaning you’re not tied to living in one specific area to do your job and earn income.
If the travel bug has bitten you, stop ignoring it. Even if travel isn’t your thing, try to listen more intently to yourself about what it is that you really want to do in this life, and do it. The only one holding you back is you!
You only live once… So, live.
Ashley Stahl is a career coach who helps millennials find their purpose, get job offers or launch their dream business.