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You love to travel. You hate your job. Maybe a travel job is right for you.

DESPITE THE ECONOMIC gloom and doom, there are millions of jobs available these days. Many of these jobs require extensive travel or even relocation overseas.

Some of the travel jobs on this list pay better than others. Some demand specific qualifications, while others are available to just about anyone who can speak English and button their shirt. Most are best suited to young people without major attachments.

All of these travel jobs promise overseas adventure and exposure to foreign cultures, so put aside the local classifieds and explore a world of possibility!

English Teacher

English teaching jobs are ridiculously easy to find in many parts of the world. It helps to have a college degree or ESL certification, but these qualifications aren’t mandatory. The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program is one of the best English teaching gigs, but there are countless other opportunities in every corner of the world.

Top 10 Places For Teaching English Abroad

Tour Guide

Photo by Marcin Wichary

Tour guiding jobs are plentiful if you already know a place well and have good social skills. You can either freelance, using the web to attract clients, or you can apply for a job with an established tour company. It helps to have a particular skill or hobby that you can share with your clients, like mountain biking or birdwatching.

Tour Guide: The Right Job For You?

Sailor (Navy)

Even when the last factory in America has closed, the military will still be hiring. There are a ton of reasons why this situation sucks, but a Navy job actually isn’t all bad. You’re very unlikely to see combat, and you’ll definitely get to see the world.

Join the Navy, See the World

Sailor (Yachts)

Photo by sharkbait

If you can’t picture yourself on an aircraft carrier, how about a luxurious yacht? Rich people need crews to help them get around, and qualified sailors with good people skills can travel the world in style by hanging out in fancy ports and making connections with the global elite.

How To Travel The World By Crewing On Yachts

Travel Writer

Becoming a travel writer is easy. Earning a decent income from travel writing is more difficult. However, if you can write fairly well and are web-savvy, it’s possible to sustain your travels on writing income alone.

Matador Travel Writing School


Becoming a geologist will take some time and money, but once you get your degree the travel and employment opportunities are mind-blowing. Our hunger for fossil-fuel energy isn’t going to end anytime soon, and people who can sniff out the world’s last stashes of oil will always score high-paying work in exotic locales.

Becoming A Geologist

Peace Corp Volunteer

Photo by

Wait a second, you say. Don’t Peace Corp volunteers get paid pennies? Well, yes, but how does good health insurance, student loan deferrals and a solid $5,000 bonus after the end of your service sound?

Peace Corp Official Site

Importer / Exporter

There are cheap widgets for sale in China. Americans love widgets. So go to China, buy cheap widgets, and sell them in America. Done and done.

How To Start Your Own Import / Export Business

Host / Hostess

Photo by Timothy Lloyd

Japanese men and women will pay you hundreds of dollars to flirt with them in smoky bars. Hey, it beats English teaching…

So You Want To Be A Bar Hostess?


Yup, the foreign service is hiring. If you read The New York Times and don’t smoke pot you’re probably qualified. Being a diplomat isn’t all fun and games, but the pay is decent and you’ll have good job security.

The Life Of A Diplomat

Final Notes

Done with travel and want to find a job back home? How To Make Travel Look Good On A Resume is a must read.

An excellent resource for finding travel jobs is the website Transitions Abroad.

And remember, if you can’t find a travel job you can always travel the world for free.

If you have a suggestion, question or just want to rant, please leave a comment below.

About The Author

Tim Patterson

Tim Patterson is a long-time contributor and former contributing editor at Matador Network.

  • Eva

    FYI: I’m not aware of any drug testing for entry to the diplomatic corps. :D

  • Tim Patterson

    Really! Maybe in Canada….

  • Linda Little

    Tim – Nice post, but how could you forget the cruise industry? Last time we met I was about to embark on my cruise adventure! Cruiselines are great for entertainers (myself), but also for anyone who can work in the hospitality industry. Casino dealers, bartenders, activities staff, and youth staff (daycare and youth activities) are easily trained jobs that pay well on ships. Cruise ships go to most destinations, just be prepared to do a less popular run on your first contract. I did 5 months in South America and 1 month in Alaska during my brief Cruise ship career and think it’s great for those with a serious travel bug on a budget.

  • Hal

    Excellent roundup of links, Tim!

  • Christine

    This is like the travel version of 4-Hour Work Week. Sweet.

  • Turner

    Good one, Tim. Hosts and hostesses probably get the most money, and are the most likely to become alcoholics.

  • Tim Patterson

    Right on Linda – I should have added cruise ships. But don’t you have to be, like, the most talented saxophonist ever to come out of Vermont to score one of those gigs?

  • Carlo

    Is there such a thing as a professional shuffleboard player? There’s a gig I could get used to.

  • Tim Patterson

    You could probably make a killing sharking old people on the cruise ship shuffleboard court. Good idea, Carlo.


    Thanks for the article. I wouldn’t mind being a Diplomat. I’m good at leadership, and I love public speaking. Plus, I wouldn’t mind meeting the Queen of England!

    Who knew that you could be a Japanese host/hostess. I often thought about becoming a tour guide in the UK. I thought I had a job as a tour guide with a company in AZ, but it did not happen. By the way, another travel job is to work on a cruise ship.


    Thanks for the list. You could become a travel photographer or sell travel (either work for AAA or start your own travel business. Don’t forget about being a Cruise Director like Julie McCoy!

  • Maureen Maloney

    Peace Corps was a great way to get me started on my worldwide journey, plus I learned an obscure language ;) So far I’ve been able to get a gig as a bartender, too. I definitely think I need to try the hostessing thing, though.

  • Debbie

    Inspiring post. Scuba divers can also work as Dive Instructors or Dive Masters abroad and surfers can work as instructors in surfing schools. I’m getting my resume ready.

  • Pingback: How To Work Your Way Around The World On A Cruise Liner

  • Ruby Jones

    youth activities are always centered on enjoying the day and socializing with other teens:*,

  • Miami Florida Caterers

    I love this website, it is pretty cool, really well done. Is it easy to ? I would appreciate it very much if you could reply. Thanks in advance.

  • Britny

    Hi, I actually saw this post only b\c the Google translate sys, just a great tool for everyone who want’s to be opended to full world of info on other lang’.

    Anywho, loves your point of view. could i quote some of the things here with link back and credit?


  • Steph

    great post! As a RTW tripper I love stuff like this – it’s always great to get new ideas.

    A comment though – becoming a diplomat (at least in the USA) isn’t quite as easy as you make it sound. I’ve been through the process once myself (didn’t take the job) and can tell you it is almost a year of greuling interviews, tests, essays, interviews, clearances/background checks, and so on. It’s such a rigorous and incredibly competitive process that of 100,000 applicants between 2006-2010, only 2,100 got the job. So – yes, super fun, super awesome job. If you can get it :)

  • Navy Sas

    Your navy suggestion is a bit off. I’m currently in the navy, and seeing the world depends on the job you choose. Not everyone gets sea duty, and for those that do, depending on where you’re stationed, you might not see what you want or even that much. And as a submariner, you see Guam and that’s about it. It is (in my humble opinion) one of the best jobs in the world, but there are plenty of cons to go with the pros. Overall a good article, but I caution any who think the navy is the key to traveling the world!

  • michelle84

    Or even check this job out -
    sounds pretty awesome!

  • Robert Rivera


  • ESLinsider

    Many people make money as travel writers?

    I have taught English in China, Korea and Taiwan. I have a video based website where you can pretty much learn everything you need to get started teaching English (especially in Asia).

    • Abel Sanchez

       May I please email you? 

  • Angelab073

    Thank your for creating this web page.  I’m a 37 year old female with currently no attachments, have traveled quite a bit and desire an occupation with travel once again.  It has been hard to settle for a ho-hum job after doing so much in my life.  I hope that you continue to list more jobs that require travel opportunities!  

  • Emily Plummer


  • Anonymous

    Hi Tim.. great article! I usually get the itch to travel long term and am always thinking of ways to see the world as well as make a little money. I’ve done the teaching English in Asia and it was wonderful experience. If you’re looking for a meaningful way to travel, you could volunteer or intern for an international non-profit organization. I knew someone that was “passing through” Thailand and decided to work on an elephant reserve for a month. She loved it! Check out for gigs like that. I was actually thinking of WWOOF’ing.. that’s something people could get into in almost anywhere in the world. Happy travels, peeps!

    • Sarah

      Hiya, I was just wondering, did the teaching involve standing up in front of 30 odd people, smaller groups, or one-to-one tuition? Many thanks :)

  • Balaji Ayyanar

    am finish my mba program I love travel so I need traveling job where do I get.

  • Hariz Hazwan

    damn last 4 years I unintentionally dump scholarship to study geology in canada from big oil company and picked medicine instead. what a waste.

    • Felicia Sheppard

      lololol im telling you!!! but good luck with your career.:)

  • James Kiwuwa

    Wonderful information

  • Katrinamae Malubay


  • Anonymous

    Hi tim…its really a great article! I m a graduate and love to travel as I m a fresher can u guide me wht kinda job would help me tht I can travel and not looking out for studies anymore :)

  • Earl Andrew Plumlee

    The Navy just “fired” nearly 3000 sailors with out reason. These were career sailors many of them with stellar records. The Navy is no longer a good job and job security in the Navy is non-existent these days. Join the Navy and they will fire you when they are done with you.

  • Hank Frazier

    Join the Navy and you won’t see combat! I retired from the military. I did 10 years in the Marines and 10 in the Navy. How many times did I go to Iraq or Afghanistan in the Marines-0. How many times did I go in the Navy-4. Who wrote this article? Someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about!

  • Laura

    I know this is really late, but an update. I currently am doing ESL in Japan. It’s pretty awesome. Anyways, I found out that foreigners are not legally allowed to work at a host/hostess bar anymore in Japan. Too many foreigners have gone up missing or dead >.> You might be able to get a job there illegally though.

    I love this article btw! Thanks!

  • Chris

    Nice :) I would like to start travel around the world :) anybody interested to join me :) e-mail me. I am from Europe :)

  • SisterRosetta

    I would question the travel ethics implied by some of these points. Buying cheap goods produced by manual labour/possibly unethical business practices for pennies in one country, in order to make a profit in another? Sounds cynical at best, downright colonial at worst.

    I know it’s a surefire business method that is practiced the world over, but surely a travel website should be promoting sustainable practices that respect host countries and avoid exploitation?

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