It seems to be the plague of the modern world – people are stuck in their 9-5 office jobs and unable to get out. Some have never even left their own country! They would create thousands of reasons why they can’t leave – family, house, mortgage. Sound familiar? There are no written rules how you should live your own life. If doing what everyone else does isn’t for you, it might be a first sign that it’s time for a change and look at travel jobs. Have you ever considered leaving everything behind and just taking off, chasing your dreams? Maybe it’s not too late! There are companies out there that will pay you for traveling. Let’s look at some possibilities.
Been there, done that. You can read my story of being a travel agent here. It’s actually a normal office job, BUT you get to travel for work. It’s difficult to say how much travel you’ll get, as it depends a lot on you experience, position in the company and other small things like relationship with you manager etc. But generally speaking – yes, travel agents travel for free and get to stay at nice places. They are also taken on guided tours, nice restaurants, exciting experiences and shows. Good life, you could say. Well, that’s certainly not all there is to it. Being a travel agent means being a good customer service agent. And customer service may be both rewarding and stressful, so a certain skill set is needed to be a good travel agent. Moreover, you need to be open minded, respectful, good at sales and geography as well as culture and history. If that sounds like you, wait no more and apply for a travel agent position. Please note though, that the golden age of travel agencies is almost over and most of travels nowadays are booked via internet. If consulting about tours and destination is your thing, consider specializing in a niche area (like extreme sports holidays, scuba diving holidays, honeymoon trips etc).
Now this a job that never gets old. Even though this is formally more of a logistics/service type of work and doesn’t have much to do with destinations, it’s still a chance to travel the world for free (and get paid for it). What are the downsides? Obviously, you don’t have a life, home, family is hard to maintain. You are away most of the year and spend you free time sleeping at hotel rooms. Your workmates are your only close friends, as you get to share your life with them. On the bright side – you get to see the world! Even if it’s just for some hours, it’s a new country every day. You can easily visit sightseeing’s, go to the beach, experience things that others have to pay for. Plus you get to fly for free (or almost for free) during your own holidays. If you feel like it. Most people do, as traveling is highly addictive. What you need for the job? You need to be fluent in languages (English!), have decent looks (not a must, but some airlines may be picky), highly stress-tolerant, not have a life (family, kids). Having a family back home will make it really hard.
If flight attendants might actually balance work and family life, tour guides probably couldn’t. Being a tour guide at a holiday destination is a full-time job at the destination. You can’t just leave for the weekend. You work 24/7. What are the benefits? The payment may be nice, you might also get a cheap (or free) accommodation. You have other options to increase you pay (tips, commission in the souvenir shops). Some might say it’s a dream job – most tourists leave the destination after a week or two, but you get to stay there for the whole season. So where is the catch? Well, apart from it being work and not holiday (you still have to take care of the guests, making sure they won’t run into trouble), it could be very different experience for you. Being a tour guide means working closely with the locals. Depending on your communication skills it may be easy or hard. Some locals may be genuinely nice and friendly while others are only friendly as long as there is a gain for them. You as a guide need to distinguish between the two possibilities. Moreover, hot climate may be nice if you spend your day on the beach, but working in these conditions may be a challenge. Requirements for becoming a tour guide are not too strict – need to know the local language (at least some of it), be friendly and open minded, good communicator and be interested in history/culture.
Teaching English is probably the easiest thing any native English speaker could do in a foreign country. There will always be a demand for English speakers and people are willing to pay for this. You can teach both groups and individuals. This is a good way to make your living as you are not required to work full time. Before taking off consider getting a certificate though, as you may be required to present one. Find your nearest exam center here.
This is by far my most favorite way of making a career of traveling. Writing a travel blog is easier than it looks! The hardest part is to start writing. Surely there is something exciting you have seen or experienced in your neighborhood, hometown or during your latest trip. Believe me, there are people who would like to read about it. If you are not sure about the technical part, the easiest way is to start with WordPress free blog. Once you feel confident, you can move on to self-hosted website (I recommend Bluehost). The move is super easy, I will make a post it in the future. The hardest part is actually to keep posting, as the beginning may be slow – there is hardly traffic coming in. Setting up a Facebook fan page, promoting your posts at travel forums and among your friends will help. Once you are up and running, there is nothing to stop you from getting out there are posting on the go. The key is finding your niche and providing value for your readers. For me, travel blogging is the best travel job out there.
If farming is your thing, consider joining the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) . They will require 4-6 hours of work in exchange for food, accommodation and insight into local life. Outdoor work can be quite rewarding – you get to be outdoors, meet new people, do something good for the world, lead a healthy life and travel for almost no money at the same time. The hosts are located all over the world – you can search for opportunities at WWOOF website.
Work remotely for IT company
Some companies (mostly IT) may offer remote working possibilities to talented employees. Nowadays, many tasks can be done remotely. These are software developers, writers, even customer service. Why do companies do that? Well, it’s obvious – for the same reason there are so many online stores – they save on office rent! Also, remote work increases employee effectiveness (finish work faster to have more free time). Employees are paid based on their input rather than on hours spent at the office. This approach allows people to enjoy their lives and travel (working is possible as long as there is internet connection). How does a winter in Bali sound? Well, for some remote employees it’s not just a beautiful dream – it’s a reality! By the way – cost of living is low enough that you can save for future travels, early retirement or that cool new car you always wanted.
So, what is your dream travel job? Are you already doing it? Share your story and experience in the comments!