How to Make Work and Travel go Hand in Hand

Today’s guest blogger is Daniela Baker, a social media advocate at the US-based credit card comparison website, CreditDonkey. She reviews travel credit cards and offers summer travel tips.

Anyone with wanderlust is always looking for ways to travel more. If you’re a travel junkie, then the best thing to do is find work and travel that goes hand in hand. Here, we’ve included the median earnings of popular travel jobs so you can decide if you’re able to support your lifestyle. And, to help you get started, there’s a list of useful websites to get you started on your job search.

1. Tour guide

Just like you, there are multitudes of people traveling around the world to see the sights and take in different cultures. Many of these travellers are interested in guided tours and are looking to be lead by someone who shares their native tongue.

If you’re a people person and are passionate about the culture and history of a particular world region, this may be a great job for you. There are schools that offer certifications to become a tour guide but depending on the opportunity, that may not even be necessary. You will, however, likely want to be bi or multilingual. Tour guides can make anywhere between €34 to €104 per day plus tips.

2. International teacher

Teacher’s have a variety of international opportunities available to them. Most commonly, people travel to foreign countries to teach English to children or adults. You often won’t receive much pay for these ESL (English as a Second Language) opportunities, so they’re typically filled by recent college graduates simply looking to experience the world. Also, depending upon the country you’re in you may or may not be required to have an ESL or other certification.

According to ESLJobsWorld.com, in June 2011 the average monthly salary ranged from €175 (Palestinian Territories) to €3,615 (Brunei). Equalling an annual salary of €2,100 to €43,380, with the lower end being more common. In some places, the programs will also cover your housing, medical insurance and travel experiences.

There are also international schools educating the children of US citizens and Europeans currently working overseas. These schools often teach a curriculum that is geared toward the students’ country of origin and they’ll be looking for experienced teachers from those countries.

According to LiveCareer.com, an overseas English teacher earns a median annual salary of €47,180; of course, this will vary greatly especially if you are in a developing country, which typically would be lower.

3. Flight attendant

While the job can be physically and emotionally demanding, becoming a flight attendant is a way to ensure that you get to travel the world. Being multilingual will definitely help, as you’ll be helping travelers from a variety of countries, but it’s not always required.

There are schools that teach you the necessary skills to become a flight attendant. Areas that you will need to develop include first aid, customer service, and security and safety measures. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a flight attendant is $35,930 (€25,030).

4. Pilot

Much higher paying than a flight attendant, becoming a pilot will provide you the same or often better travel perks. However, you will be required to pass a rigorous medical exam and medical certificates before you can start. There is also a lengthy training process that includes hundreds of hours of air time, the costs of which will come out of your pocket.

Many pilots start their training in the military and then once they’ve served their time, will transition to commercial work. Others do the training as civilians, with or without college degrees. According to Salary.com, the annual median salary for a large jet commercial pilot is €64,060.

5. Cruise ship crew

There is certainly a variety of jobs that must be filled for a successful cruise. Anything from bartender to waiter to entertainer to childcare provider to medic… the list goes on.

The hours will be long and the pay isn’t always the highest, but you will get to travel the seas and see a variety of countries when you work on a cruise ship. The jobs for cruises are often filled through recruitment agencies. And because a variety of positions are needed, you may not need any additional training. Just find a position that requires similar skills to what you have developed through your past jobs.

According to LiveCareer.com, a cruise ship director will earn a median annual salary of €28,555. Of course, the pay is going to vary depending upon the position you are looking for; and keep in mind that many cruise ship jobs will provide you with the opportunity to earn tips.

6. Best of the rest

If you’re looking for more casual work, many travellers find success in getting jobs in restaurants and clubs as bartenders, waiters and bussing tables and cleaning dishes. These jobs require little experience and allow you to pick up work as you travel to different cities. Of course, if you would like to bartend or take orders, it will help to be fluent in the language of the city you are working in. With these jobs, you’re likely going to get paid the minimum wage for the area.

You can also make money by being a counsellor or recreation leader at a summer camp. Many camps look to create an international staff to help educate its campers about various world cultures. As a counsellor, you will typically live and eat at the camp, which means your room and board will be covered – check out Secret Diary of a Camp Counselor by Lucy Harper for more on what working at camp in America is really like. According to SimplyHired.com, the average summer camp counsellor salary for camps in the U.S. is €11,145.

Other jobs that can help fund your travels are freelance writing and photography, which you can practice from anywhere so long as you have an internet connection. What you make for freelance work will depend on the amount of work you are filing and your previous experience.

Finding travelling work

Here are some websites you can use to help locate jobs that will allow you to travel the world. Many of these sites also provide information on studying, travelling and living abroad.

  • Indeed.com – allows users to type in keywords and location, searches through a wide variety of job sites worldwide to return possible jobs.
  • EscapeArtist.com – International job site that includes opportunities from all continents; option for email alerts is available.
  • GoAbroad.com – provides users with work, study, intern, and volunteer abroad information.
  • BUNAC.org – geared toward young adults, this site includes short-term opportunities for countries including Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Ghana, New Zealand, South Africa and U.S.A.
  • ExpatNetwork.com – UK-based website that helps UK expats find work abroad.
  • WorkisTravel.com – a great resource where you can read first hand stories from people who’ve made work travel.

Thanks to Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL, garryknight, gbaku and Aah-Yeah for their excellent posts from Flickr. Please note all images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting.

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