Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to find work and travel the world! There’s a surprising number of jobs that involve traveling and even some jobs where you actually get paid to travel…
I’ve been traveling the world for nearly ten years now and have picked up lots of different travel jobs on the road. For the last three years, I’ve been focussing on my new travel career – Evolving from a broke backpacker to a successful entrepreneur – but before that I worked all kinds of awesome, and terrible, traveling jobs to make ends meet and keep my travels going.
I’ve interviewed a whole bunch of backpackers and digital nomads who are traveling the world and earning money so that I can give you the lowdown on some of the best travel jobs for backpackers, expats and aspiring digital nomads.
Make Money Traveling the World
There’s lots of different types of travel jobs out there and they can roughly be broken down into three categories. Think carefully about what it is that you are looking for…
Jobs that require travel
There are some jobs that will pay you to travel the world… This might sound very glamorous at first but you have to bear in mind you may not get much of a chance to actually explore as you will be working. Some jobs that travel include
Jobs that require travel and pay well, such as being an airline pilot, will offer you a chance to save up mega-money and to hopefully see parts of the world during your downtime but in my opinion these travel careers don’t have the same kind of freedom as being a digital nomad…
Digital Nomad Careers
Personally, I’m a big believer in making money through a digital nomad job as these jobs all you to work from literally anywhere in the world, on your own schedule and often as your own boss.
I’ve covered some of the best digital nomad jobs in this post. I started my own digital nomad career as a travel blogger and this opened up many other opportunities for me – today, I make six figures a year from this blog but I’m also involved in several other ventures in SEO, dropshipping and even a tour company. I blog about all of my online ventures over at Ditch Your Desk.
It can take time to set up a digital nomad career and if you’re a wandering broke backpacker you may well need to find a traveling job right now so you can replenish your bank balance and keep the travel fun going!
Backpacker Travel Jobs
Many of the best traveling jobs for backpackers are super casual affairs such as seasonal work or temporary manual labour gigs.
I’ve found paying work on goat farms, behind bars, in hostels, on construction sites, on beaches and in many other places whilst backpacking the world. It’s usually very easy to find some casual work as a backpacker.
The Best Travel Jobs for 2018
These are some of the best travel jobs in 2018 for backpackers, aspiring digital nomads or folks who are keen to quit the normal 9-5 and start a career that involves traveling.
So I present the best travel jobs for backpackers whilst on the road. These are the jobs that allow you to work and travel the world without having to worry about running out of cash.
Some of these are bona-fide travel careers whereas others are simple stop-gaps you can do to earn a quick bit of cash before you continue on with your adventure!
Starting a blog was the best decision I ever made and is, in my opinion, the best travel job out there – I can travel whenever I want and make money out of my adventures to keep me going. However, blogging is not easy and it’s not especially quick to start making money. Check out this post for ten reasons you should start a blog.
You do NOT have to be a travel blogger, you can blog about whatever you want. Blogging offers a great introduction to many different digital nomad careers – you’ll learn a bit more about SEO, about copywriting, web design, social media management etc.
If you’re looking for a career that involves traveling, a successful travel blog really is the golden ticket.
2. Teach English Abroad
For backpackers looking to settle somewhere for a year or more to save up some serious cash, english teaching is one of the best jobs for nomads.
You can teach English in so many countries these days and see the world at the same time. You can give yourself even more freedom by teaching English online and it’s possible to score some very high paying gigs if you have good hustle.
This is probably one of the best travel careers out there and there’s a pretty low barrier to entry – most natives can get a travel job teaching english.
Being a native speaker gives you an obvious advantage but it’s also possible for non-native speakers to get work teaching English too. Taking a TEFL course first will help you hit the ground running and hopefully will mean you won’t be a crap teacher; it’s a small investment that will help you get a better paying job.
Check out: My case study for teaching English in China, Japan and read first-hand accounts from teachers making a living from teaching English abroad.
3. Teach English Online
Teaching English online is a consistent, very accessible way for backpackers and nomads to earn an online income. You don’t need any special coding, tech, writing, or photography skills to become a digital nomad these days…
Thanks to the power of the internet, the world of teaching English online has opened new doors to native English speakers wanting to work from—well— anywhere with a solid internet connection.The best part? Depending on the company you work for, you can choose your own schedule and commitment level that aligns with your own needs.
Point being, teaching English online is a bloody dream job for native English (in some cases non-native speakers too) speakers looking to make extra cash, whether they are on the road or not.
Teaching English online is fast becoming one of the best ways for backpackers to make money online without a doubt…
Dropshipping is when you ship products to customers, usually in Europe or the USA, from somewhere cheap, usually China. I began dropshipping my own products in late 2017 as I had been selling products through the Amazon affiliate program for over two years and I spotted an opportunity to make more money by producing my own versions of the products I sold the most of and shipping them from China to an Amazon FBA warehouse.
Check out: How to be a Nomad for more info.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is very simple. It means that you recommend a product or service to your audience, and if someone on your website uses that product or service, you get a commission! Affiliate marketing is basically being a middle man, and is one of the most popular, proven, and sustainable ways to create income online. I’d say that over 75% of my personal income comes from affiliate marketing. If you are interested in making money online – affiliate marketing is the holy grail.
Check out: How I’ve been making money over the past 6 months to see how much income I’ve made from affiliate marketing.
6. Day Trading
Day trading is a really exciting, but also a very nerve wracking, way to make money while traveling. I have no experience trading stocks but I have been trading Cryptocurrency for just over a year now and have made 3800% on my original investment. If you have money that you can afford to lose (seriously, this shit carries risk) then day trading is one of the most exciting digital nomad jobs out there right now.
Check out: How I built my cryptocurrency portfolio.
7. Scuba Instructor
Being a certified Scuba Diver Instructor takes a bit of investment, but can be one of the most fun ways to work and travel the world. You need a handful of courses and certifications, as well as having logged in a certain amount of hours underwater yourself.
If you are already certified, get excited! If you aren’t, you can do it at home, or take advantage of many programs that exist in countries like Thailand and The Philippines. Hand’s down this is one of the best ways to get paid to travel and you can pick up paying work in lots of different countries around the world.
Check out: How to become a scuba diving instructor
8. Surfing Instructor
Similar to a scuba instructor, but without all of the need for certifications. You just need to be a badass surfer! Surfing instructors can do well for themselves by traveling, surfing, meeting people who are interested and want to learn, and then offering their services.
You won’t earn as much as a scuba instructor, but you’ll be getting paid to do surf work and travel which is probably the coolest thing ever. I’m a big fan of surfing and hoping to spend a year or two getting a hell of a lot better in the future. If you are looking for a cool job that involves travelling, this may be for you.
Check out: Surf Travel Jobs
9. Teach Yoga
Yoga continues to grow in popularity around the world, and Yoga instructors are in high demand. While not the highest paying travel career, finding work as a Yoga instructor is one of the more assured ways to work and travel.
Getting certified certainly helps you stand out from the crowd, but isn’t needed. Talk to other guests at your hostel, or even better, throw up some courses on Udemy or similar online education sites. Namaste bitches.
Check out: Yoga Travel Jobs Directory
10. Buy A Place and Rent It
If you have been working for a while, you may have some savings. Rather than blowing it all on a couple of fast paced years of travel, invest it into buying a property at home and renting it out whilst you travel (living off the rent money).
You can advertise your place on lots of different websites including Airbnb. It can easily turn into big bucks: so much so that some of my friends will not even stay at their own place when they return to their hometown. They’ll keep renting it out and stay somewhere else. Cha-ching!
11. Work on A Boat
Unfortunately, the days of being a pirate are kinda over but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be a modern day ‘kind-of pirate’. Still a bit under the radar, it’s very possible to find travel jobs on boats, specifically – yachts and sailboats.
Work is certainly easier to get with experience, but sometimes it’s as easy as just walking on to a dock and asking around. Sailing around the world is one of the best ways to get paid to travel!
12. Work on a Cruise Ship
Cruise ships are one of the best travel jobs out there – you just gotta be ready to work! Cruise ships span the globe and gigs are easily found. It’s a work hard, play hard atmosphere. You’ll be doing 60 hour week shifts, and partying at nights and exploring ports with your colleagues.
One phenomenal perk to working on a cruise ship is the ability to save money. The jobs usually only pay $1,000-$2,000 a month, but with no car, no bills, no insurance, no nothing to pay for, it all goes in to the savings account.
Cruise ships is a great job that travels where you work hard, see the world, and finish your contract with a boat-load of money saved up plus this is a job where you actually get paid to travel so in between your hectic work schedule you should get time to explore some of the ports you visit.
Check out: Wandering Earl’s resources on how to find a cruise ship job.
13. Boat Delivery
A bit difficult to get into as a newbie, but if you have some experience on the high seas, boat delivery has some serious work and travel potential. Typically the pay won’t be very high (if at all) but you’ll get your experience up and get to sail the seven seas for free!
Getting into this travel career could lead to more lucrative gigs in the future.
WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) has been budget travellers go-to for decades now. The gist is – you work on organic a farm for 20-30 hours a week and are given free food and accommodation in return.
Whilst this isn’t exactly a travel job – since you won’t be paid – this is a great way to cut your costs if you’re on the road. There are tens of thousands of farms spanning the globe, so where ever you wish to travel, WWOOF’s got you!
Check out: My buddy Aaron from Nomads Nation (pictured above) spent two months on a farm in Portugal and wrote an awesome post – The Ultimate WWOOFing Guide
Similar to WWOOFing, HelpX has been around for a while. You haven’t earned your budget travel stripes until you’ve HelpX-ed somewhere! HelpX and Workaway (next on the list) are very similar. As opposed to WWOOFing (which is volunteer gigs exclusively on farms) these two sites have a range of volunteering tasks. Teaching English, translating, painting, hostel work, watching kids, farming – anything!
Check out: The HelpX website
Similar to HelpX, Workaway allows you to volunteer for free food and lodging. Workaway is a bit newer than HelpX but has grown in popularity very quickly, becoming the preferred out of the two for many travellers. I can’t recommend Workaway enough, it’s an awesome platform.
Check out: The Workaway site
Sort of a work-exchange-meets-a-job, Housesitting is all the hype right now. Typically you pet-sit for an extended amount of time, and in return are given free reign over an entire house! Housesitting gigs rarely pay, but you can’t really complain.
You’ll be getting free accommodation, a big ass kitchen, and the privacy of your own house! This is one of the best ways to travel. As with all good things, it’s challenging to crack into, but once you gain experience and a resume, you’ll have your choice of gigs. Highly recommended!
Check out: How to Travel the World by House Sitting
18. Work as an Au Pair
Au-Pairing is one of the oldest travel careers around and is still a great option to save some money and see the world. Personally, kids ain’t for me. However, if you are bubbly, happy, smiley and don’t mind clearing up sick then there’s plenty of little ones who need a lovely person like you to help take care of them.
It doesn’t always pay, and if it does pay it’s not always much but you can earn up to 5k a month if you’re happy to travel for your job (which, you should be!) to teach in some more far-flung lands.
You’ll get free lodging and food, and likely some pocket change for the weekend if your volunteering in Europe. This is a pretty solid way to get paid to travel and live in a new country.
Check out: How to travel the world as an Au-Pair.
19. Be A Translator
Are you a smarty pants who can speak other languages fluently? Or perhaps you have a knack for learning other languages quickly? You should consider becoming a translator and work online or offline to fund your travels. I have fuck-all experience with this as I am relatively talentless when it comes to languages.
Check out: Work at home translator jobs
20. Hostel Work
Hostel work is one of the best kept backpacker secrets. It’s on the web a bit, but it’s still pretty hush hush. So let me tell you – finding hostel gigs is SUPER simple and hostel work is one of the best travel jobs for backpackers.
One of the easiest travel jobs to get – just ask the hostels you are staying at if they are looking for any help. They will know exactly what this means. “Help” means manning the front desk graveyard shift, sweeping the floors, or most likely minding the bar.
If they are looking for any “help”, they might pay a bit of cash, but you’ll surely get a free bed and some food out of it. Hostels are one of the staples for travel work and are a phenomenal way to save money while traveling.
Check out: How to score free accommodation at hostels
21. Bar Work
Similar to hostel work, bar jobs have kept the backpacker going since basically the dawn of time. Often the bar work will be in a hostel bar (mentioned above) but just as legit is finding work at standalone bars. This is particularly true in seasonal European cities (but I’ve seen it in South America, Australia, Asia – basically everywhere).
The best way to find a bar job is just to walk around and ask if the bars are looking for any help, or if you’re having a pint somewhere, strike up a conversation with the bartender and get the scoop. A simple inquisition can lead to a lot of opportunities.
Check out: How to find a bar job anywhere in the world
22. Seasonal Jobs
This is a large category that encompasses many different jobs. Restaurants, construction, hotels, cruise ships, fishing boats, ski resorts, the list goes on! While a lot of these jobs are covered elsewhere in this post, seasonal jobs are worth noting.
You can literally travel the world, chasing season (which by the way usually equates to amazingly beautiful weather) and making money when jobs are in demand and at their highest paying…
Check out: This post on seasonal fishing work in Alaska
One can find legitimate and decent paying construction work in Australia or New Zealand. In other parts of the world, asking around can bring also bring a lot of opportunities. If you have construction experience heed my advice – check out WWOOF, HelpX and Workaway.
Many hostels, farms, and everything in between will advertise their needs in hopes of finding a qualified traveller. You’ll get food, lodging, and (depending on the project) a bit of money as well.
If you have experience as a plumber or electrician, you can make bank and even land a job where you are paid to travel to and from different world projects.
Check out: Australia’s Backpacker Job Board
24. Become A Freelance Photographer
If you love taking pictures, why aren’t you making the most of your skills and being paid for it? Breaking into freelance photography is no easy feat but it is totally possible if you have perseverance and work at honing your craft every day.
You can travel the world forever by snapping away… If you get really good at your craft, you can even land a job that requires you to travel as a professional photographer for either the media or, the dream, National Geographic.
Check out: Freelance Photography Guide
25. Transport a Car or RV
Car and RV dealerships or car rental companies sometimes hire people to drive cars to a different destination. Car rental companies often find themselves with too many cars in one destination and want to move them to an area where rentals are more in demand. Car dealerships may need a specific car, with specific options or colours that they arrange to get from another dealer.
While most companies work with full time, professional drivers, there may be some opportunities for one time trips. The trick with these jobs is getting a car that’s going where you want to go at the right time. You’ll need a clean driver’s license and may need a speciality license to drive RVs. Transport companies like DAS Auto Shippers and RV Transport hire drivers.
26. Tour Director
Director accompanies a tour group for the entirety of the itinerary and basically makes sure people are having a good time. If it’s a twenty-one day culture tour through Central America, the Tour Director is there the entire time, leading the group, answering questions, communicating with the bus driver, and most importantly creating solutions when shit goes wrong.
This is one of the travel jobs that requires the most work, but if you think you possess the qualities, there are thousands of tour operations companies looking for new leaders and you will often be asked to lead different tours in different countries meaning this is one of those jobs where you will travel a lot.
This industry is very competitive, but once you get your foot in the door you’ll be offered work left and right. I’ve got some experience leading adventure tours myself and this is a solid job choice… You just need to have endless amounts of energy!
27. Travel Tour Guide
As opposed to a Tour Director, a Tour Guide usually does shorter tours (think three hour walking tours). Ideally, Tour Guides are experts in their niche, but sometimes a bit more knowledge than the average Joe will suffice.
If you have experience or certification, getting tour guide work will be easy. If you live within the EU, you can also find tour guide work within Europe relatively easy (Free Walking tours, etc.) without certification. Otherwise, there are lots of people on the web tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit and starting their own tours while on the road.
Check out: This company hiring tour guides
Just kidding. Gotta make sure you’re paying attention!
29. Fitness Instructor
Similar to Yoga, if you’re in shape and know how to break a sweat, you can get paid to help others do the same! I love finding creative ways to stay in shape while traveling, and you’ll find plenty of other travellers who will share this interest.
See if your hostel wants to organise any activities or events which you can market by word of mouth off by putting a flyer up. Head to a park or the beach and BOOM! You’re a certified fitness instructor… sort of.
Check out: How to Stay Fit on the Road
After a long day of traveling and walking and drinking, backpackers might want to wind down with a nice massage! If you are a trained massage therapist this is a great way to work and travel!
Check out: How to earn money as a traveling Masseuse
31. Professional Chef
If you have experience working in a restaurant then you’ll know that it’s a very transient industry. Employees come and go in short spurts, only to be replaced by others, who then do the exact same thing. It’s just the way the industry works. But this benefits the traveler and it’s possible to find really well paying kitchen jobs that will pay you to travel… more likely though, you’ll find temp work whilst already on the road!
If you have some cooking abilities or some legitimate kitchen experience you can find a job by asking around at kitchens in hotels, cruise ships, boats, or retreats. Also take a look into WWOOF, HelpX and Workaway as you can certainly find some cook-work opportunities for a free place to stay.
32. Making and Selling Jewellery
Screw travel jobs, be a travel entrepreneur! While you can make and sell anything, Jewellery is certainly the backpacker artisans staple and I’ve met lots of people who make and sell jewellery whilst travelling. This is probably one of the best backpacker jobs out there…
Think about it. The materials can be cheap and light to carry, it’s an artsy/fun thing to do, and you can set up shop (busking style) in a city and make some money! Selling handmade jewellery on the street isn’t the path to becoming a billionaire, but if you can make a decent product, it’s a great way to bring in enough to cover a day of gallivanting.
You can also sell your jewellery online using Etsy, eBay, or Instagram.
Check out: This video on how to make bracelets
33. Importing Stuff to Sell
A personal favourite of mine, this is what I sometimes refer to as the ‘stuff your backpack’ method. When in exotic countries you will find awesome nicks and nacks that people back home will go crazy over! Think hippie stuff – chillums, trousers, jewellery, etc. These items will be authentic and dirt cheap.
Then, when you are outside that country you can sell the authentic handcrafted Indian peace pipe (that you paid $.75 cents for in Mumbai) for $15 at festivals or online! It’s a great way to make 1,000% or more on your investments. The best thing is that if it’s a success you can keep it up by importing directly from the country where you first made contact with your supplier.
To make the most money though, you’ll have to frequently hit the road and stuff your backpack… this is the very definition of a job that involves travelling as you’ll need to do it again and again to make decent money.
Check out: This post on how to spot good items to take back home to sell
Play an instrument? Tap into your inner performer! While not guaranteed, street performing musicians (aka busking) can bring in some good money! Next time you’re walking by a street performer, take a look at their tip jar.
If the musician chose the right location and is talented enough, there’s a pretty good shot they are making some dough! Also, as a musician, you should look into giving lessons while traveling, or playing gigs at bars or hostels. They might give you a free bed or some drinks. Not a bad payoff for a few hours of jammin’!
Check out: The Runaway Guides’ post on how to earn money busking
35. Travel Nurse
Stop right now and listen to me. If you are a nurse, or if you are thinking about becoming a nurse, being a traveling nurse is one of the single most amazing careers you can get into. Traveling nurses are usually hired for thirteen to twenty six weeks in whatever location they choose and all of your travel expenses ar usually paid. Housing is usually covered, and due to the high demand and urgency, traveling nurses are paid more than regular nurses. It’s one of the best ways to travel and save a stupid amount of money.
Check out: This interview with the nomad nurse
36. Flight Attendant
An oldie but a goodie. Being a flight attendant isn’t as glamorous as it once was, but if you are looking to work and travel, this is a fantastic travel career. Free flights, long stopovers to explore, and the ability to tweak your schedule to have a few weeks off a month – there’s a lot to like! This is one of the best careers that involve traveling and if you get hired by a quality airline this is a job that not only requires travel but can also pay well.
Check out: The Point’s Guy’ post on how to become a flight attendant
37. Be an extra in Bollywood
A bit more off the cuff, but more than possible! Bollywood is the movie capital of India and puts out double the amount of movies Hollywood does per year. A high quantity of movies means a big need for actors, especially foreign actors to fill foreign roles. India is one of my favourite countries on the planet, and having been there numerous times I’ve met plenty of people that work and travel while living their acting “dreams” in Bollywood!
Check out: The Ultimate India Backpacking Guide
38. New Zealand/Australia Work Visa
Depending on where you are from, New Zealand and Australia are two of the easiest countries to get work visas. The visa allows you to be employed in most industries, but you’ll most likely find jobs in the food, hospitality, or farming industries.
Also, Australia just reduced their visa fee by $50, and upped the age group from 30 to 35! This is HUGE for anyone who thought they were too old to experience a year of Aussie life… Now is your chance to travel to Australia and pick up a fun backpacker job that will let you save money for your adventures.
Check out: My mate Tom’s post on everything you need to know about Australia’s working holiday visa.
39. Farm work in Australia
A backpackers secret – three months of farm work in Australia gets you a year visa! Sounds great right? It can be but do be careful. While there are many stories of backpackers working on farms that pay them fairly, there are nearly as many that have expressed being exploited and paid unjustly.
Not to scare you away! The incentive is amazing, just make sure to do your research before you get your farm on…
Check out: Mine for backpacker gold in Australia
40. Sell Timeshares
Have you ever been told you are a good salesman? Could you sell mud to a pig? Ice to an Eskimo? A rolling suitcase (come on, they’re fucking stupid) to me? Selling timeshares (or anything else) is a great way to work and travel.
Overseas companies want to sell tourists on timeshares but have found it more profitable to hire the salesman that can relate to the potential customer. Hence, the timeshare company in Greece wants to hire a Brit to pitch timeshares to Brits visiting Greece on holiday. Got all that? This is certainly not for everyone, but it is a pretty good traveling job you can pick up on the road.
Check out: This hilarious post by Turner on his experience selling Timeshares.
41. Ski Resort Jobs
While I mentioned resorts and seasonal gigs before, skiing deserves its own holler. Ski resorts are notorious for hiring travellers, often under the table. You won’t get paid much and will likely be overworked, but it’s a great way to work hard, play hard and make some friends! Plus there will always be skiing perks which is obviously awesome.
Check out: This post for tons of resources on finding a ski resort job.
42. Poker/Online Poker
Thrill seekers, beware! This is not a line of work for everyone. But if you are good at poker and can maintain the discipline required, playing poker can be a great way to earn money and travel… possibly even professionally!
I rented a flat with a random bunch of backpackers in Medellin and one of the lads there was travelling the world, funding his adventures by playing poker online – he had a system that dictated how much risk he took and how much money he needed to make to maintain his lifestyle.
43. Tattoo Artist
There is always a demand for talented artists and I’ve met some amazing tattoo artists traveling the world and paying their way through freelance work in hostels and backpacker hangouts.
Check out: This tattoo artist’s journey as she cycles across Europe – The Travelling Tattoo Artist
44. Join the Peace Corp.
This is certainly one of the noblest travel jobs on this list and it deserves a mention! A different work and travel experience, the Peace Corp is no joke. It’s a two year commitment, you have very little influence on where you are stationed, and you only get two days off per month. But if you are serious about helping people, this could be the experience of a lifetime. Also, if you are eyeing a particular career, having Peace Corps experience on your resume can be a game changer in certain industries. You don’t get paid much but hell, you will be earning and you will get paid to travel to somewhere new.
Check out: This Peace Corp volunteer’s blog all about her experiences volunteering in Vanuatu
There are lots of different ways to work and travel the world. My highest recommendations are along the Digital Nomad route. Digital Nomad jobs are higher paying careers that only require a travel friendly laptop and a wifi connection – the ultimate freedom!
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And there you have it amigos; There are so many ways to work and travel, sometimes you just gotta get a bit creative! As long as you are cutting the costs of travel and picking up a job where needed, you can easily pick up a job that involves traveling or even a travel career where you get paid to travel and live in a new country.
Need even more inspiration?
- How To Be A Nomad And Travel The World Forever
- How to Start a Travel Blog and Monetise – 2018 Step by Step Guide
- How to build a cryptocurrency trading portfolio
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