As Lover Boy once said, everybody’s workin’ for the weekend, and if you work behind a desk in a 9-to-5, you know all too well that itch you get in the middle of a workday to just get up, leave, and never come back. If adventure is in your soul, it’ll be hard to deny its call even when you’re forced to wear a suit and tie every day: you probably have a trip planned out in the next few months, or have a photo of some exotic location as your desktop wallpaper, whatever. The point is: you want an adventure to look forward to or fantasize about.
But even if you did plan a trip, most companies only give around 2 weeks’ worth of leaves in a year, and in between impromptu trips to see your family in the Midwest, emergency travel, and everything in between, it doesn’t leave you much room when the wanderlust kicks in (and it kicks in plenty!). Alas, many would-be adventurers get stuck in a cubicle just dreaming of exotic places to explore and new cultures to immerse themselves in.
Well, I’m here to tell you: you don’t have to do that, there are jobs that actually require you to travel. Imagine that! Doing what you love and getting paid to do it! While it sounds almost unreal, thousands of people travel for work all the time, and it can even be a career if you’re good at it.
But if you’re thinking that traveling for work requires you being an unshowered hippie, think again: with advances in telecommuting technology, many companies are now offering their employees a chance to work from home or, well, from anywhere really. Modern companies don’t care where you get the job done, as long as you get the job done. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics came out with a study in 2015 that showed 24% of employees from around the country completed part of, or all their work right in the comfort of their own homes, a 5% increase from 2003. In 2017, 5.2% of Americans were now dedicated work-from-home employees, that’s 8 million people working from anywhere in the world, all they need is their laptop and a steady internet connection.
This trend, called Digital Nomad, takes advantage of work-from-home schemes to create a new type of traveler that is working while they travel, rather than traveling because it’s required, although the latter doesn’t sound too bad either!
To help you find your dream job, we’ve created a list of jobs that require travel or let you travel for work. These are just ideas for you to get started, and in the end, a job that requires traveling might just be around the corner for you!
One of the first, and most obvious, jobs that require you to travel is travel writing. Travel writers must travel to exotic destinations and take note of everything they experience. But anyone with a little bit of savings can do this, how do you actually make money off of travel writing?
Aside from monetizing your blog, one of the best ways to earn money from travel writing is to cover popular or up-and-coming destinations and submit your articles to magazines. Publications like National Geographic, The New York Times, or Conde Nast, are always on the lookout for travel writers who can write about interesting destinations no one’s heard of before, or writing about a popular destination from an entirely different perspective.
Once you’re hired as an official travel writer, all of your travels will be sponsored by your company, which usually covers flights, accommodations, and usually a small per diem for miscellaneous expenses. Some publications might require you to polish up on your photography skills, or they’ll have a photographer travel with you, so you won’t have to be alone during your trip.
If you’re an independent travel blogger, you might be tapped by the tourism departments of foreign governments to help them promote a destination of theirs, which means they’ll also be sponsoring your trip.
If you have specialized knowledge about your particular field or industry, you’re in luck: many companies around the world are willing to hire outside consultants that can provide them with actionable advice, technical fixes, or just general business development insight into their organization.
This is where working a 9-to-5 might help: the only prerequisite for this job is a specialized knowledge base that is proven, quantifiable, and credible. Normally, this would mean that you’ve put in the years in your company, paid your dues, and hopefully gotten some form of professional or corporate certification (for example, Six Sigma). This will help you become an expert on a subject where the knowledge is exclusive, which means you get to charge more and you get a wider clientele from around the world.
In this job, travel is required specifically because you have to go to the company’s host country in order to teach what you know. Normally, the travel costs will be deferred by the company that’s hiring you, which can include airfare, accommodation, and your professional fee.
Scuba Diving Instructor
Our planet is 70% water, so it’s natural for some people to feel excitement about the idea of exploring the ocean depths and observe plants animals you won’t find anywhere else. Luckily, there’s a big demand for accredited and professional scuba diving instructors around the world, usually in sunny, tropical, and beautiful countries.
Whether it’s exploring the World War 2 wrecks off the coast of the Philippines, marveling at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or swimming (safely, of course!) with sharks in South Africa, scuba diving is both peaceful and intense, and while it’s a job that requires travel, it will also require you to stay in a specific country for months at a time.
However, becoming a scuba diving instructor is neither cheap nor easy; the process of learning to dive, learning how to teach diving, and then getting certified takes several months, if not a year. PADI, or Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is a globally-recognized organization that accredits dive instructors. PADI requires their dive instructors to be certified open water divers for at least 6 months prior to training as an instructor.
Being an English teacher abroad doesn’t actually require much outside of a Bachelor’s degree and some teaching experience (or credentials), which is why Americans choose to become full-time English teachers in countries whose native language isn’t English. Teaching English abroad is a job that requires you to travel to the country you’ll be teaching in, and it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and the language of the people you’ll be teaching as well.
Of course, being a native English speaker isn’t enough to land you that teaching job: many schools or companies that sponsor ESL (English as a Second Language) courses in other countries require their staff to either have TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) or CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) credentials that prove their mastery of English. While some places will require prior teaching experience, here’s the good news: if you’ve ever been a study group leader, tutor, or even a babysitter, you can count those as teaching experience as well.
Many places in Central and Eastern Europe, like the Czech Republic, Hungary, or Bulgaria, have high demands for native English speakers to teach English. This is also the same case in Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, and China.
International Aid Worker
Teaching in itself is already a noble profession, and a job that requires traveling, but what if you want to make even more of a difference in the world and really make an impact on the place that you’ll be traveling to? Luckily, The United States regularly accepts volunteer aid workers for agencies like USAID or the Peace Corps, while international organizations like the Red Cross and the Red Crescent welcome volunteers all year round.
Volunteer international aid workers are usually send to developing countries or countries in dire need of humanitarian assistance, usually following a war or a natural disaster. Despite being a volunteer position, many of these organizations offer housing, deferring travel costs, student loan deferment, even a full salary. Plus, it’s always a great thing to add to your resume once you’re done helping!
While the act of volunteering alone is noble, it would help to have some background or training in social services, health sciences, international relations, agriculture, or engineering, to maximize your potential to help. USAID and the Peace Corp will also require its volunteers to undergo a few months of training, not to mention medical evaluations, vaccinations, and immunizations, before sending them out to certain areas.
International aid workers have called the job physically, emotionally, and psychologically challenging, especially in war-torn countries, but the satisfaction you get from helping out a fellow human being, not to mention getting the opportunity to learn about a country and culture you might not have heard of yet because it’s not on the cover of a glossy travel magazine, is a priceless and enduring reward.
Explore Other Options
Jobs that require travel aren’t all Mai Tais at the beach; they are still jobs that require expertise and professionalism. There are three main jobs that require travel: expat jobs, digital nomad jobs, and location independent. Each one has specific requirements, credentials, and perks.
Expat jobs are usually white-collar jobs in multi-national companies wherein you’re assigned to a regional branch somewhere around the world. It’s still a 9-to-5 desk job, but you’ll be in a foreign country absorbing as much of the culture outside your office cubicle. Digital nomad jobs and Location independent jobs, on the other hand, sound similar and are quite similar, albeit with little differences.
Digital nomads are usually employees of a company who don’t require their workforce to be in the office. They telecommute, can work-from-home or from anywhere, but might require a couple of days a month at a company location. Location independent jobs, on the other hand, are the ones that allow you to work from anywhere at any time.
Explore your options! There are plenty of jobs that require travel, you just need to open your mind to various possibilities!
Bonnie is always on the road with some amazing adventures ahead. Her favorite continent is South America and she’s passionate about culture-focused traveling and ethical and sustainable tourism. During her time in university as a research assistant for a sociology professor, she realized she can’t fully understand cultures from a safe distance. She quit her job to become a full-time “voluntourist,” which brings her to places where she can immerse in local communities and support their causes. On top of writing, one of Bonnie’s priorities is offering women advice on how to stay safe while solo backpacking.