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The Best Careers That Set You Up for Traveling the World

by Rebecca Hughes Feb 28, 2019

Finding a fulfilling job that lets you travel the world is not as rare as it may seem. Aside from short-term or volunteering opportunities, there are jobs in all sorts of sectors, from healthcare to sound tech, with plenty of scope for professional development and earning a steady income. If you are looking for a new challenge, here are some of the best careers that set you up for traveling the world.

1. Teaching English

Native English speakers can think about funding a life abroad by teaching English as a foreign language. You can pick pretty much any destination in the world and find teaching-related jobs, even countries where the native language is English.

You’ll need to have a teaching qualification to get a job, such as a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification. Qualification courses can be followed online, though the best courses have some classroom hours too. Provided you have a university degree as well, you can have the requirements you need to teach within a few months. There are plenty of jobs out there, from private language schools to teaching in companies to using Skype to teach online.

2. Teaching yoga, photography, painting, music, etc.

Teaching, in general, is a career that leaves you relatively free location-wise. If you have a niche hobby and think you’re skilled enough to begin teaching it to others, then look at finding yourself a course on how to become an instructor in that particular field.

You could think about doing the instructor course itself abroad, for example, yoga instructing in Bali or becoming a surf instructor in Australia. With a course under your belt, you can look at joining a pre-existing teaching center for your chosen skill or going freelance. You can search websites posting job opportunities abroad for your sector, such as yoga, massage and wellbeing, or scuba diving.

3. Cruise ship entertainer

You need to know several languages, have plenty of confidence, and have an inexhaustible imagination in order to do this job. However, you will never be bored, as you may be required to do anything from hosting fashion shows to organizing kids games.

You won’t get many hours off in this job, but you will get transported all over the world with food and accommodation provided. Other jobs on cruise ships also give you similar advantages, and you can search for open positions online. It might be difficult to know which position to hunt for, and the interview process can be tough, so read up on these tips before you apply.

4. Flight attendant

Just like working on a cruise ship, becoming a flight attendant means free transport all around the world, as well as discounted fares when booking with the airline for personal trips. You don’t need a degree, but preference is given to those with some customer service experience, and knowing a language or two doesn’t go amiss. To start a possible career, you’ll need to take courses for certifications or an on-the-job training program. You also need to be prepared for a lengthy interview process when applying for jobs. Your first few years in the job can be pretty tough. The hours are erratic, the starting pay isn’t great, and it can put a strain on relationships and families when you are called out unexpectedly or keep missing Christmas. But a few years down the line, you can have more control over your schedule and destinations.

5. Busking

On the opposite end of the scale, if you are happy to live a more alternative lifestyle and you can play an instrument or sing, then busking is an activity you can do almost anywhere in the world. The income is often low and unreliable, but there are lots of lively festivals and events you can take part in. The oldest buskers’ festival in Europe takes place in the medieval city of Ferrara in Italy during the summer while Canada has various festivals through the year, including one in Halifax in August that takes place on the waterfront.

One way of earning more money is to apply for a busking permit or license in city centers like London. One of the most lucrative locations is the London underground. It has seen buskers like Ed Sheeran and Jessie J perform there, so be prepared for some fierce competition during the application process.

6. Travel writer

It’s one of travel lovers’ most desired careers — to be paid to travel to different countries, get stuck into local life and experiences, and then write about it. It comes with a cornucopia of perks, including free nights in hotels, free tour guides, and discounts on pretty much anything.

It’s not an easy career to get into, however, especially if you want to make it your full-time income. It definitely helps to start with a personal blog so that you can demonstrate your writing experience. Keep thinking constantly about improving your writing quality by keeping journals of your experiences and reading anything travel-related. Then it requires dogged determination to get writing gigs in newspapers and online magazines. It may be a slog at first, but gradually you’ll make contacts in the industry, which may lead to a regular slot in a magazine or commissions.

7. International aid worker

In contrast to staying in luxury hotels for free, becoming an international aid worker will introduce you to the grittier sides of the countries you visit. Working in this job, you’ll have the chance to make a real impact on communities, like helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon or giving tsunami disaster aid in Indonesia.

It helps to have a background in health work, social services, or international relations. It’s a physically and emotionally draining job, but it will teach you how to deal with challenging situations, give you a sense of satisfaction, and give you an experience that will stand out on a resume. You’ll get access to places in the world most people will never get to visit. Have a look at websites of organizations such as Doctors Without Borders or the Red Cross for job postings.

8. Foreign service officer

Another hard-hitting career path is working as a foreign service officer. There are embassies all over the world that you can work in, giving you the opportunity to live and travel within other countries, especially as officers are often assigned new places every few years. According to the US Department of State careers website, applicants need to have problem-solving skills and are expected to be “well-rounded” in order to deal with serious issues like immigration and disaster aid.

To get a foot in the door of the foreign service you’ll need to pass a foreign service officer test and an oral assessment. After that, there are plenty of different positions and over 30 different career tracks you can follow. The US Department of State gives details about applications and job availability on its careers website.

9. Techie or roadie

Another way to get taken around the world for free is to get a job as a techie or a roadie on tour. The job has a romanticized reputation of partying and one-night flings, but there’s lots of hard work involved too. You need to take a course that can last from one to three years, such as this music technology course at NYU Steinhardt, to become a sound or lighting technician, and you need quite a bit of experience too. Bagging a job unfortunately also relies on contacts a lot of the time. Hours are long, but you’ll be traveling across continents, exploring new places, and meeting plenty of memorable people.

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