You’re spending your day gazing longingly out of your office window, wishing you could work and travel. The only breeze you’ve got is coming from the fan collecting dust on your desk. But you’re imagining yourself somewhere like Turkey’s pebbled coastline. Perhaps the ancient city of Olympos, where the Mediterranean washes up Roman ruins on either side of the river valley that’s, with a breeze, swept back into the sea.
You snap out of it and find yourself back in your cubicle in some high rise in corporate America. But you start wondering about all the T-shirt-clad pedestrians strolling the streets outside your window. It’s not lunch hour, but some are jogging, some are reading on benches and others are loading their luggage into the back of taxis. Don’t they have jobs?
Envy consumes you.
You imagine kicking back the computer chair that kills your back anyway. After all, others seem to have figured out how to ditch the cubicle life. But how could you ever afford traveling as a lifestyle?
Before you digress and carry on to tackling your flooded email inbox, consider this: You could make money while traversing the globe with one of the best travel jobs.
Depending on the type of traveler you are (and there are several), there are indeed other jobs that’ll either allow you to travel or actually pay you to travel. Though some are better suited than others for your traveling modus operandi.
Despite the all-encompassing term, “world traveler,” there are different types of travelers. If we were all the same, I’d have spent a lot more pesos at bougie resorts in Mexico.
But we’re not all the same traveler. The most “all-inclusive” that entices a backpacker is a comped hostel breakfast. And a digital nomad might splurge a little more for that free WiFi, too. The expat? They’re whipping up their own Eggs Florentine.
Backpackers Are Budget Travelers
You can usually spot a backpacker walking down the street to the nearest hostel, waiting at the bus stop or relaxing in a city square dressed in, let’s say, well-loved clothes. Your trusty backpack is either slung over your shoulders or you’re using it as an impromptu bench.
If you’re a backpacker, you probably boast the “go anywhere, try anything” mindset and are tied neither to your computer nor to stable internet. You can (and often do) travel off the grid for days, weeks or even months on end, and you don’t mind taking odd jobs just to scrape together the cash to keep traveling.
Digital Nomads Can Work From Anywhere
If you’re a digital nomad, you are the folk who can travel just about anywhere—so long as you have a decent WiFi connection. You are consistently on the hunt for new experiences and adventures, but you count your laptops as an essential piece of travel equipment.
If you have an internet connection, then you’re online earning an income one way or another. You, therefore, have the pleasure of calling any coffee bar and WiFi-enabled beach or city park their office.
Expats Live Abroad
Short for expatriate, you’re an expat if you live long-term in a country different than that of your citizenship—sometimes months, other times years. You may not bounce from country to country as often as backpackers or digital nomads but, as long as you’re living outside your native land, you are still traveling.
Due to your moderately stationary lifestyle, the work available to you is equally long-term in most cases.
The Best Travel Jobs for Backpackers to Work and Travel
Contrary to popular belief, you can both work and travel. And there are tons of different ways to do it! If you’re a backpacker looking for a travel job, try one of these:
Hostels, hotels, resorts, cruise ships, restaurants—they’re always looking for bartenders. That’s where you come in. If you have a little bit of experience, or even if you are just willing to learn, there’s a good chance you can find a bar somewhere that’s looking for a hand.
These jobs generally pay fairly nicely and you often get tips to boot. In some cases, a bed at the hostel where you’re bartending can also be part of the deal. Just ask around at local bars and hostels for a gig.
Bartending is also a great gig for you expats. For more information, check out this article on becoming a traveling bartender.
Typical Pay: $10-$50 per hour, depending on tips
2. Scuba Instructor or Dive Master
Scuba diving is a much-loved and growing activity all over the world. And it’s easier than you think to be a part of it if you want to call the ocean your office.
Most dive centers in the world offer courses to bring your diving certification up to Divemaster, which is considered an “instructor in training.” Once you’re there, you can potentially land a diving gig at any number of beautiful tropical beaches or islands. Be warned, however. This is not a cheap endeavor, but skilled diving instructors are in demand and can earn thousands a month.
Again, scuba diving is also a fun job for you expats.
Typical Pay: $1,000-$4,000 per month
3. Yacht Worker
Want to sail the high seas and get paid at the same time? Then consider working on a yacht for a season or two. These jobs are generally entry-level and require a simple short course before departure.
That said, they can pay very well, and because yacht traffic tends to follow the seasons around the globe, you’re likely to find a ship looking for help any time of year. If you have a meticulous eye for detail and a fair amount of patience, check out job postings on sites like Crew Network.
Typical Pay: $2,000-$4,000 per month
4. Cruise Ship Worker
Similar to working on a private yacht to see the world, consider jumping on board a cruise ship. These vessels generally have jobs for just about anyone, from housekeeping and reception to engineering and more.
Therefore, you’re more than likely to find a spot to suit your talents. While these jobs generally consume a lot of hours aboard the ship, your lodging, food and travel costs to new countries are all covered for your efforts.
Try visiting individual cruise lines’ websites in order to look for job availability, look at staffing agencies that focus on the cruise line industry or check out job board sites like All Cruise Jobs.
Typical Pay: $2,000-$5,500 per month
5. Party Promoter
Hostels and party-focused tour companies around the world are always looking for fun-loving individuals to help promote their events and festivals. And landing a job as a party promoter is a fantastic way to dive into a new city.
These jobs often focus on social media campaigns or other ways of hyping up the event. You’re usually required to go along to the party or event to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves!
Typical Pay: Food and lodging only up to around $1,000/month
6. Flight Attendant
Now nobody is saying that it’s easy, but the long hours and tough training that flight attendants endure pays off with travel to any number of different locations. Plus, you’ll get killer discounts on hotels and airline tickets.
The travel is usually company specific, along with a universal CPR certification, but once it’s all over, you’ve got one of the hallmark travel jobs all lined up.
Typical Pay: $3,000-$4,000 per month
7. Busker or Street Performer
If you can’t imagine traveling without your instrument, as long as it’s not a tuba, then you should try your hand at street performing. Granted the income may just be a trickle from time to time, but it can pay for the occasional bus or train ticket to keep you on the move.
Be patient as you break into this job, develop your schtick, and learn the tricks of the trade to really start earning a profit.
Typical Pay: $10-$200 per hour
8. Yoga Teacher
Yoga has been growing in popularity around the world for years, and the need for teachers has increased right along with it. Everywhere from hostels to campgrounds to yachts have started adding yoga classes to their schedules.
Simply pick a location you’d like to visit and travel around, then start tracking down locations that might benefit from having a yoga instructor on hand. It’ll help if you’re certified, of course.
Like bartending and scuba diving, many other expats like you have become yoga teachers, too.
Typical Pay: Volunteer-$100 per hour
9. Festival Worker
Festivals around the world hire for just about every job imaginable to keep the show running. They need everything from side performers to food stall attendants to cleaning staff members.
A festival worker is one of those excellent short-term travel jobs that allows you to work hard for a few days, collect some cash, and get back on the road! As an added benefit, the difference between summer seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres allows you to move from festival to festival across world for almost the entire year.
Snowboard and ski lodges on every mountain in the world are looking for seasonal staff to get them through the busy months. You could work in hospitality, as a housekeeper, as part of the kitchen staff, as a snow groomer, as a ski or snowboard instructor or behind the desk at the rental counter.
And the icing on the cake? You can ski to your heart’s content in your off time. This is the perfect way to spend a season doing what you love and earning some cash for your spring travels at the same time.
Typical Pay: $10-$30 per hour
11. Hostel Staffer
Hostels are generally looking for an extra hand with their day to day operations, especially during their high season. It’s not difficult to work out a deal for joining their team for a short time.
These travel jobs typically focus on cleaning or food prep, but your lodging at the hostel is included, as well as one or two meals a day in most cases. The work can be tough, but hostels are naturally close to some of the best sights a country has to offer, making them the perfect bases for you to go out and explore.
Typical Pay: Volunteer – $15 per hour for more skilled worked
While WWOOFing jobs won’t add to your bank account, they do provide free food and lodging, which can be absolute gold when you’re on the road for an extended period of time.
As a volunteer, you’ll connect with different families and organizations that are looking for help. WWOOF focuses solely on organic farming, which means you’ll get to work on your green thumb and get some solid traveling under your belt at the same time.
Another little-known possibility that’s been growing in popularity amongst travel jobs is the coveted house-sitting gig. All you have to do is look after a person’s house and (oftentimes) pets while they’re away. In exchange, you get to live at the house for that entire time on your own, which means that you have the perfect place from which to explore the surrounding area in your free time.
These jobs can be a little tricky to land when you first start looking, but once you have a few on your resume, it’ll become a much easier to earn new homeowners’ trust.
While these jobs seldom pay, having your own house in a new country for a short time is often payment enough. Just look for jobs on sites like Trusted Housesitters.
Typical Pay: Volunteer
14. Construction Worker
There are construction projects around every corner—home renovations or expansions, hotel and hostel construction or renovations, office expansions, etc. Often, these projects are in desperate need of people with some construction, plumbing or electrical experience, and they are often willing to set up a short-term job for you while you’re in the area.
One of the best methods of breaking into this type of job as you travel the world is to simply volunteer for a few projects via sites like Workaway or HelpX to build up your experience and knowledge base. Once you have a decent resume, you can start finding paid travel jobs.
Many other expats like you also work in construction, too.
Typical Pay: Varies widely depending on skill, entry-level is volunteer
15. Backpacking Guide
For you diehard hikers, this one is right up your alley. Companies in every national park and beautiful wilderness in the world need guides to lead day-trips and multi-day trips during the peak seasons every year.
The basic qualifications are generally a Wilderness First Responder certification and a little bit of experience. If you don’t have experience, however, it’s generally no problem. Look for NGOs, camps and startups that need volunteers to assist guides or educators, and break into the industry from there.
The working seasons for this industry are generally very intense with back-to-back-to-back trips, but in the offseason, you can travel at will.
Typical Pay: $15-$25 per hour
The Best Travel Jobs for Digital Nomads to Work and Travel
If you want to travel and work from your laptop, one of these travel jobs is going to be your best bet:
16. Online English Teacher
If you have a stable internet connection, you can almost certainly find a job teaching English online. These most often take the form of teaching through some web-based video conferencing and generally require a college or TEFL degree.
Sometimes the lessons will be one on one; other times you’ll be working with an entire class. Naturally, patience and organization go hand-in-hand with this opportunity, but if you’re up to it and have the time to commit to regular lessons, then you can earn a regular paycheck.
Typical Pay: $10-$25 hourly
Travel from country to country and adventure to adventure, blogging about your passion—and earn an income! But like all worthwhile endeavors, it’s hardly a simple affair. Building a successful blog and formidable following can often take years.
But if you have something you are absolutely passionate about (it doesn’t even have to be traveling) then you can make a blog about it. Think: car blogs, hiking blogs, home crafts blogs, cooking blogs, career advice blogs—the list is endless!
Typical Pay: $100-$10,000 per month
18. Freelance Photographer
One of the perks of the wandering lifestyle is that we see sights and wonders that the vast majority of the population will never visit. But they still love to see pictures.
That’s where the freelance traveling photography niche comes in. If you’re an absolute killer behind a camera, look at creating an online presence to start selling your photographs for magazines and websites. Or you could focus on social media and develop a strong following, which could also lead to an income in the future.
Typical Pay: $500+ per month
19. Freelance Travel Writer or Editor
Now, this is one of the travel jobs that most folks out there dream of snagging. The freelance writer has the freedom to work on any number of projects, from book writing and blog content, to proofreading websites. And all they need is a laptop.
There are several online platforms out there to connect writers with potential clients, such as Upwork, and these jobs can pay either hourly or by the project. If you have a knack for writing, this could be your ticket to travel.
Typical Pay: $30-$400 per article
20. Website or Graphic Designer
Just as potential clients are always looking for writers, they are also always on the lookout for people to develop websites or brochures for their businesses.
Some online courses may be all you need to get started on the road to web development; after that, all you need to do is hunt down some work! Websites such as Upwork also work very well for connecting with potential clients online, and as long as you have internet, you have a job.
Typical Pay: $1,000+ per month
21. Computer Programmer
If you have some skill in cooking up lines of code, that could be all you need to get traveling. New app developers, inventors and website developers all occasionally need some code written or tweaked to smooth out their product.
If your skill needs a little dusting off or you’re still learning, there are dozens of online courses out there on sites like Udemy or CodeAcademy.
Typical Pay: $3,000-$10,000 per month
22. Stock Day Trader
If you have a banker’s mind and the stock market holds few secrets for you, then day trading may be all you need to earn some income for your travels.
A little past experience and a starting amount to invest are both prerequisites for this option, but if you have the patience and time (sometimes years) to develop your portfolio, it can certainly pay off. Just remember that this option sometimes involves losing a bit of money as you learn the ropes or pay for some beginner’s classes.
Typical Pay: $1,000-$3,000 per month, though sometimes more depending on skill
23. Online Translator
With two or more languages under your belt, you have a very easy avenue to earn a little extra income for your travels. Looking into translating. Websites, business materials and instruction manuals need to be translated on a regular basis, and companies tend to offer fairly decent payments.
Freelancing websites such as Upwork offer these types of travel jobs.
Typical Pay: $20-$50 per hour
Dropshipping is a shortcut method to break into the world of online retail without having to worry about maintaining a storefront or warehouses full of stock. Essentially, you find a product in a foreign country for which to act as a third-party salesman.
You can market the product through different online retail websites, such as Amazon, and simply arrange to ship the product to the customer directly after they’ve made a purchase. This means that you, as the retailer, never actually handle the product. With a fair amount of research and work, you can make some serious money by running a competitive and attractive dropshipping business.
Typical Pay: $1,000+ per month
25. Online Poker Player
It may sound like a huge risk, but for those of you with an acumen for numbers and cards, becoming a professional poker player could be a reality. It’s certainly not uncommon for backpackers to make enough from the online poker world to finance their travels, and maybe even turn a profit in the long run.
However, you have to be extremely patient and have a plan for how much money you are willing to risk along with how much money you need to win in order to maintain your traveling lifestyle.
Typical Pay: How good are you?
26. Virtual Assistant
Many folks in a business setting—from the bigwigs at the top to the busy entrepreneurs—are learning to reap the benefits of virtual assistants. The job is essentially managing your employer’s schedule, from meetings to business travel, along with some correspondence, making calls when necessary, setting up meetings, managing social media… you get the idea.
You’ll have the freedom to work remotely from just about anywhere in the world. Though it certainly helps if you’re in at least a similar time zone as your client for easier communication.
Typical Pay: $500-$2,000 per month
27. Social Media Manager
Businesses around the world spread the word about their product or services through social media. The market for social media managers is, therefore, absolutely on fire.
You will essentially coordinate the company’s presence on a whole range of social media platforms, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram. And, as you can bet, you’ll likely be a busy bee. These jobs are generally full-time, but the pay for experienced candidates can be very attractive and you can work from absolutely anywhere.
Typical Pay: $500-$4,000 per month
28. Survey Taker
This is an incredibly easy way to put a few dollars in your pocket while on the road. All you have to do is sign into one of many websites on the internet where companies offer you a small cash incentive to take their surveys.
Now, these surveys generally only pay a couple of cents per question, so you won’t get rich off this method, but if you buckle down for an hour here and an hour there you can definitely see some profit! Please remember that there are plenty of scam websites out there promising free money, so take the time to research what website you use.
The Best Travel Jobs for Expats to Work and Travel
Looking for a long-term move and want to find a job that’s going to let you work and travel in a slightly more stable environment? Consider one of these!
29. English Teacher
English is an intensely valuable asset in most corners of the world. It is the international language of science and therefore needed for any people who are hoping to pursue technical or science-based careers in the international field.
More practically speaking, English is the primary language for a huge chunk of the tourist industry and is, therefore, a highly sought-after skill in many countries. You can generally find a short or long-term gig teaching English in an informal setting (such as to a family) or in a more professional “English as a Second Language” program.
Wherever there are people, they’ll be food. And the hospitality industry is, therefore, always looking for chefs to feed the people.
These jobs, of course, generally require a bit of prior experience and a little know-how. Make no mistakes, the hours can be grueling! But you’ll be rewarded with the chance to explore a new country in your spare time while adding to your repertoire of gastronomic delights. This makes for a perfect travel job where you can be almost unstoppable as you travel from gig to gig the world over.
Typical Pay: $10-$60 per hour
31. Freelance Masseuse
If you have a massage therapist certification sitting on the back burner, now is the time to use it. Travelers all over the world, from skiers to hikers to divers and everything in-between, are always looking for a good massage to end their day.
Jumping from one gig to another in the most sought-after destinations in the world isn’t a bad way to work and travel.
Typical Pay: $30-$60 per hour
32. Tour Guide
Tour companies in just about every city in the world are always looking for knowledgeable tour guides to leads groups and share interesting information about the sights. Naturally, some in-depth knowledge about the area is a must, but read up and study hard and you’ll get your foot in the door in no time.
These travel jobs are generally best if you’re planning on spending at least a season in a particular area.
Typical Pay: $10-$25 per hour
33. Travel Nurse
Once you’ve achieved your degree as a registered nurse (RN), the whole world can open up to you as a travel nurse. Staffing agencies around the world hire adventurous nurses to take on short-term assignments in different parts of the globe.
You could potentially work anywhere, from clinics in developing countries to as part of a medical team aboard a cruise ship. What’s more, these travel jobs occasionally have paid housing included as part of the deal, especially if you’re on a cruise ship.
Typical Pay: $30-$45 per hour
34. Traveling Street Vendor
While this job requires a bit more time and supplies than most gigs on the list, it is an excellent way to spend the season making a little extra money and enjoying the area.
You can sell just about anything, although jewelry tends to be the most popular. Art, henna tattoos, leather goods, soaps and clothes are all good options, too. Be sure to check if you need a local permit before setting up shop though.
Typical Pay: $0-$300 per day
35. Airbnb Host
Have a property that is just collecting dust during your travels? Try making it collect some money instead.
If your property is in, or even vaguely near, a popular tourist spot, then all the better. You can easily make a fair amount of cash for traveling with this option. And we think it’s a much better option than spending all your money on just one long trip. We need to make these experiences last a lifetime, right?
Typical Pay: $400-$8,000 per month depending on your property and customer flow
36. Au Pair
Certainly an acquired taste as far as travel jobs go. But if you absolutely love kids and have an outgoing and responsible nature, then consider becoming an au pair abroad.
These jobs almost always include lodging and food. And the pay can vary from just a little pocket change all the way up to a very comfortable sum. Living with a family may also help you pick up a new language.
Running the United States’ embassies abroad takes a lot of work and personnel! You can almost think of every single US embassy as its own little business in a foreign country. As such, it needs its IT folks, engineers, medical staff, HR managers and so on.
If a life of travel and public service tickles your fancy, then perhaps apply to be a Foreign Service Officer. Entry into these positions is very competitive. The entry tests (yes that was plural!) are no pushover. But with hard work and dedication to the job’s mission, you can do it.
Once you land the job, you could potentially experience assignments in almost any country where there’s a US embassy.
Typical Pay: $70,000-$100,000 per year
38. Peace Corps Volunteer
A job as a Peace Corps volunteer is a serious commitment. You’ll spend years helping others during very long hours and few days off. But you will undoubtedly gain lifelong experiences and help communities in need around the world.
Remember that you often have little choice in the countries or regions to which you are posted. And remember that this job is no vacation. You’re there to help underprivileged communities. You must, therefore, be prepared for a lower standard of living than in the US. If you’re ready for the two-year commitment, however, dive in. See some of the world while helping make it a better place at the same time!
The best travel jobs will make your dream of work and travel a reality. Contrary to popular belief, you can earn an income while seeing the world. Don’t watch everyone else take control of their lives from your office window. Instead, relish in the control you have over your own — from that pebbled beach on the Mediterranean coast.