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Work & Travel [Updated: December 2018]
The best travel jobs allow you to earn income while exploring the world. Here are real-life examples of people living the dream – making money traveling abroad.
Do you wish you could travel more? If you love traveling as much as I do, but can’t afford to completely quit working, you’re in luck.
There are actually many different travel job opportunities to make money traveling the world.
Whether it’s seeking opportunities to trade work for accommodation, landing a location independent job that gives you the freedom to travel abroad, or long-term careers that require travel — you have options.
There are even travel jobs out there for people without a college degree.
The reason I’ve been able to travel the world for the past 8 years is that I’ve slowly turned my travel blog into a very successful business.
However that’s certainly not the only path to freedom and long-term travel.
How To Work & Travel The World
First a little disclaimer. If all travel-friendly jobs were easy, everyone would have one! Many of these professions require passion, specialized training, time commitment, and talent. For those that don’t, the pay isn’t always great.
There is no magic way to instantly earn lots of money traveling.
The truth about becoming a location independent nomad is that it takes years of hard work and sacrifice behind the scenes — something too many people conveniently ignore.
That said, it’s not impossible to work and travel either. The people I interviewed for this article below have invested their time to learn how to make these jobs work for them — which means you can do the same if you make it a priority.
We all have the same 24 hours, how will you spend yours?
Expat, Digital Nomad, or Backpacker?
Not all “travel” jobs are created equally. The wanderlust opportunities listed here fall under one of the following categories — expat jobs, digital nomad jobs, or what I’ll call backpacking jobs. What’s the difference you ask?
Expat stands for “expatriate”. Meaning while you are a citizen of one country, you choose to live/work in a foreign country. Expat jobs are only related to travel in that you’re working in a different country from your own. You may live in that country for months or years at a time, so you aren’t exactly nomadic.
Examples: English teacher, nanny, foreign service, etc.
A Digital Nomad works from their computer. This makes them location independent. As long as they have access to the internet, they can earn a living. Blogging falls under this category, so it also describes my lifestyle. Digital nomads are free to travel at will, working from coffee shops or hotels.
Examples: Online business, freelance writing, social media, etc.
Backpackers and vagabonds do work that I’ll call “alternative” travel jobs. The type of work that may not require a computer or a college degree, but has a more hands-on approach. Think musicians, artists, or manual labor. Pay could be under the table.
Examples: Street vendor, musician, farm work, etc.
The Best Travel Jobs For 2018
The following travel jobs encompass one or more of those categories. If you crave the safety of permanent work, but you also want to live in a different country, then working abroad in a regular full-time type position might be best.
Keep in mind not all of these jobs are suitable for everyone. If you have a university degree, you might not be as willing to pick berries on a farm as someone else might be. Or maybe you are! I won’t judge.
We all have different backgrounds, skills, and comfort levels.
1: Travel Blogging
Making money as a blogger while traveling the world is a dream job for many. But like most things in life, it’s hardly simple. Earning a living with a travel blog is hard work — and can take a few years.
However, a travel blog isn’t the only option. Other examples include food bloggers, mommy bloggers, fashion bloggers, and lifestyle bloggers. Income generally comes from advertising, affiliate marketing, selling products, influencer projects, etc. But first, you need to build an audience!
Me! Check out my special tips below about how to become a travel blogger.
$500 – $20,000+ per month
2: Teach English Abroad
Do you know how to speak English? Perfect! English teachers are highly sought after around the world — and the pay can be decent. You can get jobs teaching overseas, or even teaching classes online from your computer.
For the online jobs (basically teaching through Skype) a college degree is required, and for the foreign-based jobs, a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is also required (these jobs include accommodation too).
My buddy Drew made money traveling and teaching english in Korea.
$2000 – $3000 per month
3: Teach English Online
In addition to traveling overseas and teaching English at a foreign school, there’s also demand for online English teachers to tutor kids via video chat, like Skype. A bunch of teaching services have popped up over the last few years, mainly based in China.
To apply for a position, you generally need a college degree, be a citizen of the United States or Canada, and speak fluent English. A TEFL certification helps too. Classes are about 30 minutes long.
$1000 – $3000 per month
4: Yacht Sailing Jobs
Can you imagine sailing around the world working on some rich guy’s private sailing yacht? This is an awesome job that requires travel! It’s a fun way to see some exotic locations. Your food and accommodation are covered too, which is great for saving money.
It’s ok if you’ve never worked on a yacht before because the job of deckhand or steward(ess) are entry-level positions that pay really well. All you need to do is take a short course beforehand and spend time in a beautiful yachting destination while looking for work.
My friend Katie made money traveling & working on private yachts for almost a decade.
$2000 – $3000 per month
5: Bartending Jobs Abroad
Bars, nightclubs and restaurants are located worldwide and the job description is pretty much the same everywhere. It helps to speak the language, so you may need to invest in a few weeks of language classes.
Touristy places will be easier to find work in this industry and there’s no minimum or maximum time requirement. Plus the more experience you gain as a bartender, the more job opportunities will open up, with a potential for higher income.
My buddy Jeremy traveled and worked as a bartender in Australia.
$1000 – $3000 per month
6: Traveling Tour Guides
You could consider working as a local tour guide or assistant for an international tour 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. Becoming a tour guide is a great way to earn money.
My friend Lauren started a successful food tour business in Spain.
$1000 – $10,000 per month
7: Language Translation Jobs
Obviously, you need to know a second language to be a translator, but maybe not as much as you think. Sure you probably won’t be employed at a top United Nations position, but the opportunities are as open as your imagination.
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.
My friend Maria translates English websites into Spanish.
$0.10 – $0.40 per word
8: Work At A Backpacker Hostel
Backpacker hostels frequently hire travelers to fill positions on a short-term basis in exchange for free room and board. There are many different types of jobs, from working at the front desk to housekeeping or bartending.
If you plan to stay long-term, some hostels offer paid positions too. Actually, I once got paid to work at a backpacker hostel in Hawaii many years ago. It included a small salary and a free apartment to live in.
My buddy Dave worked the front desk at a backpacker hostel in Singapore.
$7 – $10 an hour, possibly with accommodation included
9: Traveling Yoga Instructor
Another job that allows you to travel the world while making money is working as a freelance yoga instructor. You can teach classes on pilates, yoga, zumba, dance, or provide services as a personal trainer if you have enough experience.
Some yoga instructors make deals with local gyms, backpacker hostels, or fancy all-inclusive resorts in order to use their facilities with clients during trips. You can also be hired as an in-house yoga instructor to lead classes for guests.
My friends Brandon & Anne make money teaching yoga while traveling.
$30 – $100 per hour
10: Freelance Travel Writer
Writing about travel seems to be a dream job for many, however, it’s not something most people can just jump into. First, you have to be great with words. Next, you need to learn about networking, pitching to editors, and all the other business stuff involved.
Once you have those down, then it’s possible to write for magazines, newspapers, websites, or travel guidebooks and travel the world. Freelance copywriting and other types of writing are also options.
My friend Jodi earns income on the road as a travel & food writer.
$0.10 – $1.00 per word
11: Freelance Massage Therapist
Massage therapy is in demand worldwide as an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. Trained therapists can offer their skills to weary travelers or expatriates near popular tourist destinations.
Work for a larger company or strike out on your own as an entrepreneur. Find clients by teaming up with hotels and giving them a cut for referring customers. Print flyers to hang up around gyms, coffee shops, etc.
My friend Kach made money traveling working as a massage therapist.
$50 – $200 per day
12: Website & Graphic Design
One of the most common jobs for traveling digital nomads is graphics or website design. All you need is your computer, an eye for design, and knowledge of certain software programs and online platforms. Things like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, WordPress, Illustrator, etc.
Talent for writing code helps too — specifically HTML, PHP, and CSS. School is great, but it’s also possible to learn on your own with tutorials. Building websites for others can lead to new clients, no matter where you are in the world.
My buddy Adam makes money traveling while designing websites.
$1000 – $4,000 per month
13: Work On A Cruise Ship
Traveling the world while working on large cruise ships is an awesome way to see some pretty exotic places. Food, accommodation, transportation, and insurance are covered too — so it’s a great way to save money.
Many jobs also provide plenty of vacation time to travel on your own. There are different types of positions available like tour manager, ship entertainment, engineer, housekeeping, cooks, and more.
My friend Earl made money while working on cruise ships for a few years, and saving money to travel.
$1000 – $4000 per month
14: Stock Day Trading
Like many of the jobs in this list, you can’t just jump into day trading on the stock market without any prior experience and expect to become rich. However, I’ve met quite a few people who make money traveling and day trading.
It usually takes a few years, and losing some money, before it starts to pay off. A background in finance and spare cash to invest helps too. Just be wary, there are a lot of day trading scams out there too. Do your research and learn from someone who knows what they’re doing.
My buddy Marcello makes money day trading stocks while traveling.
$100 – $10,000 per day
15: Traveling Street Vendor
Jewelry is the most popular item to sell as a street vendor, but it could also be art, clothing, leather goods… anything where you can source materials locally in bulk to make a product yourself.
Setting up as a vendor requires supplies, possibly meaning a long time in one location, but if you’re going to spend a season in one place it can be worth it. Popular locations with lots of tourist traffic work best.
My friend Sorina sells leather accessories while traveling around Europe.
$20 – $200 per day
16: Work At Different Festivals
You don’t have to be a big name performer to work at festivals or events around the world. There are side-stage acts, installations, event staff, and food vendors too. Festivals always bring on lots of staff before, during and after the events.
You can time southern hemisphere Australian and New Zealand festivals between Canadian, American and European summer circuits.
Free tickets – $12 per hour
17: Scuba Instructor Or Dive Master
Scuba diving is a sport that is enjoyed all around the world. From Fiji to Iceland! The scuba diving community travels frequently, hunting for the best dive sites. And scuba divers have money to spend.
The training required to become a dive master can take a few weeks in beautiful places like Utila, Honduras or Koh Tao, Thailand while you get your certifications. Or, with more training become a Scuba Instructor, teaching people to become certified PADI divers.
My friends Antonio & Amanda make money as scuba diving instructors.
$1000 – $4000 per month
18: Foreign Au Pair
An au pair is a professional live-in babysitter or nanny hired by a family to help their kids learn a new language and do some household chores in exchange for room, board, and a weekly income.
The job allows you to live in a foreign country, learn a new language, and experience the culture first-hand while making some money. Some countries pay more than others (the Middle East especially).
My friend Ashley made money working as an au pair in France.
$400 – $1000 per month
AU PAIR RESOURCES
19: Work As A Flight Attendant
The life of a flight attendant may seem glamorous. Constantly jetting around the world, partying it up in different cities, experiencing different cultures, 90% off airline tickets, hotel discounts, cheap rent, and employment in the clouds.
The training is tough, the hours are long, and all the moving around can get kinda lonely. However, for those with a case of wanderlust, it can help you travel the world for a while too.
My friend Mia makes money traveling the world as a flight attendant.
$1000 – $4000 per month
FLIGHT ATTENDANT RESOURCES
20: Foreign Service Jobs
Working for the foreign service (aka diplomats) or an intergovernmental organization (IGO) is one position that allows you to experience life in a different part of the world.
Most of these international government jobs are only open to people with university degrees and knowledge of foreign languages. Applications and tests for these types of positions can be found online.
My wife Anna once worked abroad for the Polish embassy in London.
$500 – $10,000 per month
FOREIGN SERVICE RESOURCES
21: Freelance Travel Photographer
Becoming a professional travel or adventure photographer selling your images from around the world is a dream job, but takes a lot of work too. You can upload photos in bulk to micro-stock sites or sell images to clients directly for use in magazines, books, brand campaigns, or websites.
Running guided photography tours or selling online photography tutorials are additional ways to make money as a traveling photographer. If you build up you social media audience over time, you can start to get hired for paid “influencer” projects too.
My friend Brendan earns money selling stock images from his travels.
$1000 – $10,000 per month
22: Drop Shipping / Private Labelling
It has a few names and variations, but buying or manufacturing products overseas and selling through Amazon under your own brand is an increasingly common way to make money while traveling.
Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) means you don’t need an actual storefront location because inventory is stocked at Amazon’s network of fulfillment centers around the world.
My friend Aileen makes money traveling & selling her own stuff on Amazon.
$1000 – $30,000 per month
23: Musician / Street Performer
Also known as busking, use your best talents to make some money from tourists. Create an act, grab an instrument, pick a spot with lots of foot traffic, and drop a hat. Many cities require a permit for busking, so make sure to do your research first.
Do you have any special talents? Acrobatics, painting, fortune telling, music, break dancing, henna art, it could be anything. You can turn your hobby into a job that allows you to travel.
My friend Nadia earns money playing street music while she travels.
$10 – $100 per hour
24: Rent Your Place On AirBnB
I’m sure you’ve heard of AirBnB by now, the holiday apartment booking site that lets you stay in other people’s homes rather than hotels.
Well, some enterprising individuals are renting out their flats while they travel, making a decent income. The key is automating the process so you don’t have to be there in person. This allows you to freedom to see the world!
My friend Alyssa makes money renting her apartment on AirBnB.
$1000 – $7000+ per month
25: Seasonal Travel Jobs
I’ve met many travelers around the world who work seasonally, spending part of the year earning money and then traveling for months in the off-season. The number of jobs in this category are countless.
Construction, school teachers, commercial fishing, oil workers, electricians, ski resort staff, etc. These jobs depend on what skills you currently possess or are willing to learn.
My buddy Brian has worked construction jobs while traveling.
26: Internet Poker
It almost sounds too good to be true. Playing poker for a living, online or at real tables, from anywhere in the world. But like anything else, it requires lots of hard work to make that lifestyle sustainable.
You need to be good with numbers, possess the strong willpower to play for hours, keep your emotions in check, and be able to stay focused on repetitive tasks. There are whole communities of players who sometimes travel together this way.
My buddy Konrad makes money playing online poker for a living.
$1000 – $30,000 per month
27: Peace Corps / NGO Work
Want the experience of a lifetime helping others less fortunate than yourself? Try volunteering with the Peace Corps or a Non-Governmental Organization. Just keep in mind that volunteer work is a full-time job.
While it makes your life rich with experiences, the money isn’t great. You’ll build confidence to handle any challenge — because the work itself is challenging.
My friend Danielle worked as Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua.
$314 per month plus food & accommodation
28: Freelance Marketing
Again, not something you can just learn in a week. There is a reason people go to school and get a degree in marketing. However, if you have a business/marketing background, there is no reason why you can’t freelance this type of work from a hammock in Bali.
In fact, it’s becoming much more common — I’ve met plenty of people helping authors or brands get their name out to a wider audience while traveling.
My friends Pete & Dalene run a digital influencer marketing company.
$1000 – $10,000+ per month
29: Videography / Vlogging / YouTube
Getting paid to travel making videos is another dream job, and some people make a very good living with it. There are a few different paths too — shooting and selling stock footage, becoming a popular YouTuber, or producing highly polished marketing films for tourism boards & travel brands.
A strong knowledge of video, editing, networking, and marketing is highly recommended for this type of work. And of course, this is a job that doesn’t absolutely require travel, but it certainly helps for creating amazing content.
My friend Nadine earns income traveling as a professional YouTuber.
$1000 – $20,000+ per month
30: Traveling Nurse
To become a travel nurse, you must first get a degree as a registered nurse (RN) which takes 2-4 years. Once you have that, it’s possible to apply for temporary travel nursing jobs which can last up to 13 weeks.
Depending on the assignment, sometimes these jobs include tax-free income, free housing, medical coverage, rental cars, and more. There are travel nursing staff agencies that specialize in helping you locate a job overseas too.
My friend Rachel worked as a travel nurse for a while.
$30 – $40 per hour
31: Nomadic Computer Programmer
If you already have the skills & training needed as a computer programmer, then transitioning your cubicle office job into a freelance position that allows you to work remotely would give you the freedom to travel.
There are special freelance programming websites where you can bid on jobs, or you can try to launch a company to build your own products like iPhone apps or custom web applications.
My friends Simon & Erin develop smartphone apps as they travel.
$3000 – $10,000 per month
32: Online Virtual Assistant
With advancements in office technology and a desire to reduce employee costs, businesses are increasingly looking to hire virtual assistants who can work from home (or anywhere). There is little that personal assistants can’t do remotely these days.
Social media scheduling, responding to customer inquiries, calendar management, and all sorts of other tasks can be taken care of by a competent virtual assistant. It’s a job that often allows you to work from anywhere in the world!
My friend Katie travels & works as a virtual assistant.
$500 – $3000 per month
VIRTUAL ASSISTANT RESOURCES
33: Professional Consultant
Are you an expert in your field? Working as a professional consultant for companies may give you the ticket to location independence. Consultants work on short-term projects, helping businesses grow by training staff how to do something better.
For example, instructing a business how to use social media effectively, or how to become more environmentally friendly. Generally, they are paid to share their specialized expertise.
My friend Dave travels and works as a consultant for oil companies.
34: Working Holiday Visas
A working holiday visa is a special residence permit allowing younger travelers to legally work in foreign countries and supplement their travel funds. They are generally intended for people between the ages of 18 to 30, and requirements differ based on the country.
Some popular destinations for working holidays include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, Ireland, and Singapore. Many GAP year students will get a working holiday visa to travel for a while before returning home and looking for a more permanent job.
My friend Marta has lived in 3 different countries on working holiday visas.
Depends on the type of job.
HOLIDAY VISA RESOURCES
Ready To Get Started?
The truth is there are many ways to work while traveling the world, but many remote positions require some prior skills, a solid time commitment, or previous experience.
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Dream jobs often take years to materialize and include unimaginable effort & sacrifice that the average person just can’t understand until they experience that same journey for themselves.
While I make a good living with my travel blog — it didn’t happen overnight. It’s the same for most of these other jealousy-inducing jobs.
But I hope this article has demonstrated that there are plenty of people out there working hard and “living the dream” who manage to make money while traveling. It’s not impossible!
So get out there and start making your own travel dreams come true. ★
READ MORE TRAVEL TIPS
Have any questions about travel jobs or earning money on the road? Any others I missed? Drop me a message in the comments below!