The best 20 travel jobs

Gabriela Peratello

Working while you explore the world is a dream for many of us. Whether you want to travel while you work as a digital nomad, pick up casual jobs as you backpack the globe, or relocate full time as an expat overseas, there are plenty of opportunities out there.

This guide walks through 20 of the best travel jobs available in 2021 for inspiration.

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We’ll also touch on how Wise and the Wise Multi-currency Account can help you save money when you live and work internationally.

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How do you work and travel?

lady-working-on-a-bangalo
Firstly it’s worth saying that finding work which allows you to travel is possible — but not always easy.

Some of the most popular jobs for working internationally require specific experience and qualifications. Others are more easy to access but may not come with the best paycheck. And if you’re planning on building your own business or working as a freelancer, you can expect it to take some time to build a credible customer base and start making a decent wage.

Choose to live in a country which has relatively low costs of living while you’re getting off the ground. That means you can afford a decent lifestyle even as you’re building your business or finding your feet as a digital nomad.

Things to consider when getting a travel job

One important point here — before you take on any work internationally make sure you know where you stand from the perspective of visas, work permits and taxes.

The rules and requirements vary widely depending on where in the world you are, and the type of work you want to do. But the last thing you want to do is end up with a hefty unexpected tax bill, or get blacklisted for having the wrong visa.

What kind of travel jobs and careers are there?

lady-working-by-the-pool
To help you find the best travel job to suit your lifestyle, we’ve split out our top picks by role type. Before we dive into the specific jobs you might choose, let’s take a look at the categories we’ve covered.

Expat jobs

An expat — properly known as an expatriate — is someone who lives outside the country of their birth. Typically expat type jobs are longer term, and often at a professional level.

We’ve included expat positions in our list because they present an opportunity to live and work abroad, even if the job you’re doing is based on one place. Expats may spend years in a single location, or work internationally for a few months at a time, depending on their role.

If you're looking for an opportunity to stay longer abroad, while holding a steady job Wise is hiring in over 15 countries!

Examples: Country manager in a multinational corporation, foreign service or diplomatic roles, international school teacher

Digital nomad or remote working

Digital nomads work online in most cases, which means they can travel and work at the same time.

Remote working opportunities offer the same possibility, even if you don’t consider yourself nomadic. Roles which fall into these categories may be part or full time, freelance or for one employer, or may be a mix of options put together to create an income.

Examples: Freelance graphic designer, remote web developer, online English teacher, blogger

Backpacker jobs

Backpacker jobs are often casual or short term, and provide a way to make a bit of money while traveling. Backpacker jobs are often part time or seasonal, and may not provide enough income to fully support your lifestyle.

Some backpackers work for a few months full time, to save enough to travel and explore afterwards.

Examples: Seasonal fruit picking or farm work, casual bar work, ski instructor or chalet staff

Careers in the travel industry

Our final category is based on positions which are intrinsically linked to travel because they’re connected to the travel industry. Often these positions will require travel as part of the role itself.

Examples: Yacht or cruise liner crew, pilot or cabin attendant, tour guide

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Top 20 international travel jobs

Here’s our roundup of great international travel jobs to consider, including the skills, qualifications and experience you might need to snag these roles — and a broad indication of the earning potential.

1. English teacher

If you’re a native English speaker, or have a high level of English and a neutral accent you could find work overseas teaching English. This could be a part time job at a language center, or a full time position at a prestigious international school. You could even take on private tuition, work with younger kids at an enrichment center, or teach business English to professionals.

There are plenty of options — most commonly you’ll need a bachelor’s degree or previous teaching experience, plus a 100+ hour TEFL Qualification.

Type of jobExpat
Average earningsMedium — high
Qualifications and experienceNative level English ability. Bachelor’s degree and TEFL teaching certificate usually preferred

Learn more about how to get a job as an English teacher abroad in our full guide here.

2. Blogger

Blogging is perhaps the archetypal travel job, as it allows you to work from anywhere and according to your preferred schedule. All you need is a computer and some good ideas. Bloggers cover all types of subjects, so while you may choose to write about your travel, you could also pick another passion and build a blog from there.

Monetizing a blog isn’t easy, and can take some time. Aside from earning ad revenue, there are other ways to get paid once you have a big enough audience. Consider sponsored posts, selling online courses or training materials, or curating premium content for paid subscribers.

Type of jobDigital nomad
Average earningsLow to start with — opportunity to grow significantly once established
Qualifications and experienceAll you really need is a computer and a good idea

3. Photographer

There’s demand around the world for photographers — from marketing materials to family portraits, stock photos to news items.

You’ll need to be skilled to stand out, and will have to think about how to market yourself and connect to customers. But there are lots of ways you could make money from photography if you have the skills and interest.

Type of jobExpat/digital nomad/backpacker — depending on your setup
Average earningsMedium
Qualifications and experienceYou’ll need photography skills and experience, as well as a decent camera to get started

4. Virtual assistant

Virtual assistants (VAs) offer a range of services online, from diary management for a busy business owner, to data entry, research or personal tasks like booking restaurants or arranging travel. VAs often find work through marketplace sites like Upwork or Fiverr to build a client base.

Consider offering specialist services to stand out in a congested market. Being able to create amazing presentations, write research papers, or offer services like translation as well as basic admin support could enhance your opportunities to find clients.

Type of jobRemote/digital nomad
Average earningsLow — medium
Qualifications and experienceOrganisational skills and a computer

5. Customer service — call center roles

In some countries there are plenty of jobs available for people who want to work in call centers offering customer support. Often all you’ll need is to speak a specific language — including English — so you can communicate clearly with customers. Other training and support is given by the employer.

Call center roles don’t necessarily have the highest available pay, and you may need to work unsociable shifts — but they do often come with interesting locations and support with relocating.

Type of jobExpat
Average earningsLow — medium
Qualifications and experienceOften language skills are a bonus, as well as patience and organisation skills

6. Seasonal farm or outdoor work

Many countries have increased demand for labor over certain seasons. Often this will involve farm or crop picking work, although other sorts of seasonal work also exist.

The great thing about these roles is usually that they don’t require any specific skills and often provide accommodation while you work. Specific visas often exist for this sort of work as labor is frequently imported. Sign up for a few weeks or the whole season, earn some cash, and get ready to move on again.

Type of jobBackpacker
Average earningsLow
Qualifications and experienceNone usually required

7. Copywriter

Writing jobs can be found on a freelance basis, or you can look for more permanent positions with major employers. Because you only need a computer and a web connection, you can usually work from anywhere.

One of the most important things as a writer is to build a portfolio showing the type of writing you’re good at — this can take time to do, and may involve taking on free or low paid projects for a while. Carve out a niche and build long term client relationships to make the most of this opportunity.

Type of jobDigital nomad/remote work
Average earningsMedium
Qualifications and experienceCommunication skills, research skills

8. Bar work

Bars, cafes and restaurants the world over need staff and are often happy to take on people for relatively short periods of time. Maybe you’re in a location where there’s a busy tourist season, or over a holiday peak period — casual bar jobs are often advertised locally and can be a great way to bring in a bit of money while meeting new people.

Pay is not often great unless you have a specialist skill like cocktail making — but if tipping is the cultural norm wherever you are, this can push up earnings.

Type of jobBackpacker
Average earningsLow — medium
Qualifications and experienceNone usually required

9. Web or mobile developer

Specialist skills like developing websites and apps can be good ways to work and travel. As your work can be delivered entirely online your location doesn’t matter.

You’ll need the skills and experience to deliver high quality work, but the earning potential is fairly high if you can find the right clients. Consider working with clients in high-paying developed countries while living in a place with lower costs of living if you want to maximise income.

Type of jobRemote work
Average earningsMedium — high
Qualifications and experienceBachelor’s degree and experience often preferred

10. Tour guide

As a tour guide, travel and work naturally go hand in hand. Whether you’re offering local tours in your area or traveling with groups as they tour, you’ll be introducing new people to exciting destinations. Tours could be anything from a niche option involving a couple of hours exploring local history or street art, to multi-destination trips which span several weeks.

Qualifications and experience in the tourism industry are needed for some positions — but for some lower key roles being polite and enthusiastic might be enough to get you the job.

Type of jobTravel industry
Average earningsMedium
Qualifications and experienceQualifications may be preferred but are not always necessary

11. Globally mobile corporate positions

You may not think about multinational corporations when you think of travel jobs — but if you have the right skills and opportunities, many large organizations offer international positions which can come with a range of perks.

If a company has offices around the world, it’s common to have employees who are globally mobile move between offices to build their own careers and also share their skills and knowledge with a different team. These roles are likely to be offered on an expat basis of several years, giving you plenty of time to explore a new region.

Type of jobExpat
Average earningsMedium — high
Qualifications and experienceRelevant higher level education and professional experience usually needed

12. Hostel work

Backpacker hostels often employ travelers on a short and medium term basis to work in a range of roles. These jobs often come with relatively low pay, but accommodation and even food may be covered, meaning all your money is yours to enjoy.

Hostel work doesn’t usually require much in the way of skills or qualifications — but you’ll need to be outgoing and not afraid to get your hands dirty.

Type of jobBackpacker
Average earningsLow — accommodation may be provided
Qualifications and experienceNone usually required

13. Yoga teacher

Teaching yoga is a great way to work on a part time basis while you travel. If you’re planning on staying in one place for a while you could offer classes on your own, or connect with local yoga studios to see if they need cover teachers or have short term positions open.

Hotels and resorts often provide yoga classes for guests, which can also be a good place to look for short term work. Finally, many teachers offer online yoga classes which can be done regardless of your location.

You’ll need to be skilled — and usually hold a recognised qualification — to earn through teaching yoga.

Type of jobBackpacker/digital nomad
Average earningsMedium
Qualifications and experienceYoga qualification and skills required, in some countries it may be mandatory to have insurance when giving classes

14. Translation

There’s high demand for translation in a variety of forms including translating documents or recordings, or even live translation at events. You’ll be able to find some translation jobs on a freelance basis through marketplace platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, or you could market your services through your network.

Type of jobDigital nomad/remote working
Average earningsMedium — high
Qualifications and experienceLanguage skills essential

15. Graphic design

Get project based graphic design work through a marketplace platform, or consider selling digital designs you’ve created through a site like Etsy. Think resume templates or party invites that can be printed by customers at home.

Or, take a look at a site like Redbubble which lets artists provide designs which are then centrally printed onto physical items on demand. The site takes a cut of the profits in return for providing the print services — but you get the rest without needing to manage your own website.

Type of jobDigital nomad
Average earningsMedium
Qualifications and experienceExperience usually required, formal qualifications may not be necessary

16. Au pair

An au pair lives with a family to help with light domestic duties, and look after the family’s children. Au pairs are usually between 18 and 30 years old, and often choose to take on the job in order to practise or learn a foreign language. Agencies can help place candidates with suitable host families, and provide a support network for au pairs who may be away from home for the first time.

In some countries specific au pair visas exist, which also stipulate what an au pair can and can’t do while working for a host family.

Type of jobExpat
Average earningsLow, but accommodation and food is usually provided
Qualifications and experienceQualifications not always required

17. Flight attendant

Flight attendants get to travel the world as part of their work. Working as a flight attendant is demanding, with long and sometimes antisocial shift patterns.

But the upside is that depending on the company you work for, and the routes you serve, you may get to stay for a day or two at a time in new countries, and may also get low cost travel when it’s time to take a vacation.

Flight attendants need to be patient and service oriented, but the role is really about safety — so being physically fit and able to keep calm in an emergency are equally important.

Type of jobTravel industry
Average earningsMedium
Qualifications and experienceHigh school level education, physical fitness required

18. Foreign Service positions

Working for the US government overseas as part of the Foreign Service is another way to experience new places while building a successful career. Getting into the Foreign Service can be tough, and there are specific tests and processes in place depending on the type of position you’re interested in. Foreign Service Officers work across consular services, as diplomats, and in roles promoting US economic interests, for example. There are over 30 career paths to choose from in total.

Type of jobExpat
Average earningsMedium — high
Qualifications and experienceHigher levels of education and experience required. Specific tests are used to join the Foreign Service, medical and background clearance also required

19. International school teacher

Around the world, networks of international schools offer local and expat families an education which may be delivered in their preferred language, and following their preferred school system.

This includes many US focused schools which teach in English and follow curricula which will be very familiar to anyone with teaching experience back home. Positions are offered across all subjects and all student age ranges.

You’ll normally need high levels of qualifications and experience, including being fully qualified to teach in your home country. However, jobs often come with good perks like international airfares and help with relocating.

Type of jobExpat
Average earningsMedium — high
Qualifications and experienceDegree and experience in teaching are usually required

20. Busker or street performer

Busking, singing, performing magic tricks or acrobatics can all be ways to earn money as a street performer. This sort of work is casual, and may not be entirely legal — make sure you know the rules wherever you are so you don’t run into problems.

Type of jobBackpacker
Average earningsLow
Qualifications and experienceNone required — you just need to be entertaining enough to get paid!
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Being able to work while you travel can make it far easier to experience new cultures and explore new places. And whether you’re looking for a long term expat lifestyle, or just want to spend a short spell working remotely, there are options out there.

Wherever in the world you end up, see how you can save with Wise international payments and the Wise Multi-currency Account. Get currency conversion with the real exchange rate, and make your money go further when you travel.

Further reading: How to make money while traveling

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