The Most Travel-Friendly Professions

This list is designed to show you which jobs and careers are best combined with periods of travel. They’re not location-independents and they are more than just temp jobs that you pick up here and then as you drift through the world. If any of these interest you then taking the time to get skilled up could open up a lifetime of travel that in enriching and makes use of your own personal talents:

1) Freelance writer

This may mean travel writing but it doesn’t have to. I know freelance writers who work for all manner of magazines, newspapers and other publishing companies. Let’s say you were a banker; why not start submitting articles to finance mags and journals? The point is to become location independent, and you don’t have to write about travel to do so.

2) Freelance photography

Same as above, this can be travel photography but not necessarily. Destinations weddings, food magazines – there will be something out there that suits your passion. Oh and if you are just in it for the money, certain tour companies are now providing professional photographers on their tours to give their clients better snaps for their instagram accounts. Good move for you, questionable move for humanity…

3) Teaching

The most common route to travelling with teaching is to become ESL trained (English as a Second language). TEFL is a popular course, but there are others out there. This qualification is easy to get if you decide teaching is your calling but you didn’t study the right thing at university. Wages tend to be lower than fully qualified teachers, but the opportunities to travel and engage with the local culture are fantastic.

For those lucky enough to already hold a teaching qualification then the world is your oyster. International schools tend to be taught in English and are present in pretty much every country around the globe. The conditions are good and you can usually move around different schools every few years to see different countries.

4) Medicine

This isn’t as easy as I naively thought when I started my own medical training. It is difficult to train outwith your graduating country and have that acknowledged back home. Your options are: to pick another country and do all of your training there (usually Europe, North America or Australasia) and either settle there or jump through some hoops to get your degree recognised at home; to take periods of time off when possible and either work or volunteer abroad or to race through your training at home and then travel as a fully qualified consultant or GP. Broadly speaking travel to other ‘developed’ countries will be paid and to ‘developing’ countries will be voluntary. But this is my field, so look out for loads more resources on this!

5) Nursing

Nurses are in demand everywhere! And unlike doctors there are less strict rules about their training requirements. For accompanying some expedition trips you will need to be an independent prescriber, but for most jobs your basic nursing degree will suffice. From oil rigs to mission hospitals, the opportunities with a nursing degree are endless. Some countries, like america, even have specific roles for nurses who are willing to travel around to areas of greatest need: .

6) Tour guiding

You could consider getting a job as a local tour guide or tour assistant for an international company, either at a single popular location or for larger multi-destination tours. Or you can think entrepreneurial and start your very own tours! Maybe it’s the best un-marked surf spots, an awesome local hiking trip, or showing people the coolest bars and restaurants in town.

7) Travel agent

Because travel agents work as a middleman between travellers and hotels / airlines / tourism bureaus, they must typically have first-hand knowledge of what they’re trying to sell, which means visiting plenty of new places. Future travel agents have several options as far as education; most travel agencies prefer some sort of training, which may come from a vocational or technical school, a community college, or a university.  Did I mention they usually get free flights and accommodation for their personal holidays?!

8) Pilot

The training is extensive, but the travel benefits are obvious. Most airlines prefer to hire college graduates, and to obtain a license, you need a minimum of 250 hours of flight experience. Other requirements include passing a fairly strict physical exam, having perfect vision (with or without corrective lenses) and strong hearing, and not having physical handicaps that might impair performance.

9) Flight attendant

Salaries for air cabin crew members vary enormously based on the airline and experience, but in most cases you can expect to start higher than minimum wage. As a newbie, you’ll have fewer options as far as your schedule, number of flight hours, and the destinations you visit.

The good news: If you’re at least 21, aren’t what might be classified as “extremely” short or tall, and have a clean criminal background, you’re probably good to go. Some airlines may prefer you have some sort of degree, but it’s rarely required.

10)Yacht sailor

Yachties are paid a generous sum of money to work crazy long hours and with crazy demands, but it does indeed sound like an unreal lifestyle to live! You need to know a lot about boats, and you will often be working for the rich and famous and subject to their whims. But hey, you’re on a yacht, right?!

11) Cruise ship

This is slightly less glam than the yacht option, but you also need less boating knowledge and are less at the mercy of your rich employer. Jobs on cruises are in abundance, but they’re also highly sought after. If you do manage to land a gig, you’ll be delighted to learn its exactly as it sounds – you’ll make a living travelling the world! As if that doesn’t sound amazing enough, you’ll also receive free meals and accommodation.

12) Au pair

If you love children, this is the perfect gig for you. It’s a bonus if you speak a second language or want to develop your skills in a second language. As an Au pair you’ll live with a host family in a foreign country, look after the children, and receive a small salary for your efforts. It’s a great way to experience life in a different country, however your free time will be extremely limited.

13) Geologist

Clearly this one requires some advance planning. You’ll need a background in physics, chemistry, and mathematics; at least a master’s degree, possibly a doctorate. But man — talk about field trips. The largest employers of geologists are the oil and gas industries, and you can find yourself hopping from one “exotic” location to the next seeking out more sources for fossil-fuel energy.

14) WWOOF volunteer

It doesn’t pay, but if all you need is a roof over your head and food to eat, then this certainly counts as a job. WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an organization that pairs volunteers with farms all over the world. In exchange for room and board, as well as meals, you’ll work a set number of hours on the farm.

Start with a week on a flower farm in Oregon and move to a month on a cattle ranch in Montana. Spend the entire spring working on a coffee plantation in Hawaii. Live on a chestnut farm in France. The possibilities are vast.

15) Interpreter/Translator

There is a difference: An interpreter works with spoken languages, while translators deal with written languages. Depending on your employer, you may be required to have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and it helps if that degree is in linguistics. You can also work as a freelancer. The most important qualification, obviously, is that you are fluent in at least two languages.

Government agencies are one place to start looking for interpretation and translation work. Other options include community organizations and hospitals, as well as any type of event which involves international competitors or attendees. If you are just looking to make some money as you travel you could charge a restaurant to translate their menu, work for a tour company selling tours to tourists who speak your language, or offer freelance translation services online. The more fluent you are, the more money you can make.

16) Diplomat

Salaries can be pretty good, as can the benefits – vacation time, subsidized accommodation, duty-free goods, and frequent travel – more specifically, travel to many places the average traveller doesn’t have access to.

Depending on your country’s office of foreign affairs or department of state, a bachelor’s or master’s degree may be required to become a diplomat. You’ll start by simply submitting a resume and cover letter; eventually, you might be tested on subjects like world events and languages. There will also be a security screening that includes physical and mental health exams, as well as extensive background checks.

17) Hotel reviewer

Being paid to travel and try out fancy hotels sounds good? Bear in mind you might be based in a single country, the schedules are often tight and the hotels not always great. But still – beats your average 9-to-5.

18) Watersports/dive instructor

These are fairly self explanatory. Get yourself qualified to teach either of these and you are pretty much required to be in an exotic location. Unless you are one of those poor sods dedicated to teaching diving and surfing in the North Sea.

19) Ski instructor

Another popular choice for travellers is to take a seasonal job as a  ski instructor. Popular destinations include Canada or the French Alps. There is large variation in ski instructor qualification and the French System in notoriously tough to break into unless you have been on skis since you learned to walk. But there are lots of jobs out there and it is a solid qualification which when done right can let you work through winter and travel through summer – or winter back-to-back in the different hemispheres for those who just can’t get enough of skiing!

20) Sommelier

Travelling the world to visit beautiful wine-growing regions, sample some of the best wine and bring it back to your own country. I’m actually confused why everyone doesn’t do this! Oh, well because jobs are pretty in demand and not easy to come by. But check out: which can point you in the right direction for training and available jobs. Feel free to send some of that wine this way if you get lucky…

21) Teach yoga

If you’re passionate and talented at a niche skill like yoga, then why not get paid to do it?! Yoga is increasingly popular and yoga retreats in stunning locations are popping up everywhere. The training is long and it’s not cheap, but if yoga is your things think about the long game – the hourly rate is pretty reasonable and the job flexibility and working conditions are good. Oh and did I mention you can use your recognised qualifications to teach anywhere in the world? Ok, good.

22) Construction manager

Construction managers not only make good money, but also do lots of travelling. Often, they will relocate to different locations and stay for several months to oversee a project. Even if you don’t have the qualifications to be a project manager, construction companies are worth checking out — many need to hire support staff to relocate as well.

23) Consultant

Companies hire consultants from a wide variety of fields to fix specific problems. Because their knowledge is so specialised, a consultant’s client base is often spread all over the country, or even around the world. Maintaining a positive relationship with clients requires regular on-site visits, making it a perfect job for people who love frequent travel. This is another long-game kind of choice. You ideally need an undergrad in something related to your field, but post-grad qualifications are common so if it sounds like your thing there will be a path that leads you to it.

24) Retail buyer

For the fashionista with wanderlust, this might be the ultimate dream job. In addition to monitoring in-store inventory, retail buyers attend vendor meetings, trade shows and conferences across the country (or even the globe, depending on from where the company sources its products) to identify industry and consumer trends, and make decisions about what products the company should sell.
I would love to know your thoughts- do any of these catch you eye or your imagination? Do you have an awesome job that lets you travel and isn’t on the list?


14 Comments on “The Most Travel-Friendly Professions”

  1. Thats really gives a different perspective…Sad to see that my profession isnt in the list ;). Hope someday I can shift to doing something in this list and keep travelling

    1. Oh I’m sorry! Haha what is your profession? Do you get to travel with it much? If not then I hope one day you can switch too 🙂

    1. Oh I’m sorry! Haha what is your profession? Do you get to travel with it much? If not then I hope one day you can switch too 🙂

  2. Great list. Very useful for people who want a travel career. I am a social media manager and I can do it from anywhere in the world!

  3. Interesting point of view! I actually am a translator and interpreter but I honestly started travelling a lot when I got my own blog and Instagram, as I keep getting invited to press trips!

    1. Wow, that is really inspiring. Sounds like you’re living the dream. Glad to hear the list holds true to life!

  4. Awesome list – I’m very much torn between loving my job and dreaming of travelling more. Perhaps one from your list will be my next career move 😉 Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. It’s tough isn’t it?! Hopefully this article helps get you thinking – do let me know how you get on 🙂

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