By Jen Birn
“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.”
Do you have wanderlust, “a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about”? If you answered yes, you’ll love our list of careers that allow you to do just that – and make a living while you’re at it. Some are obvious; others are not. Some require talent, skill, and training, while others are trades virtually anyone who applies themselves can learn. Take a look and discover a new career that can whisk you to places you’ve previously only dreamed of seeing.
1. Travel nurse
Nurses are needed everywhere, and several programs exist to help place nurses in positions around the globe, or even for short stays at cities across the U.S. According to TravelNursing.org, a traveling nurse can make an annual salary of $75,000.
2. Private jet flight attendant
Not only do you get to go places near and far; you also fly in a style afforded to few. On a private plane, odds are good you’re traveling to some pretty spectacular places where you may even have time to explore before getting back on board.
3. Work at a Charity
A lot of larger charities, like Doctors Without Borders and Operation Smile, have year-round charity missions, and program directors who work at the charity are tasked with planning the trips. Many of these missions include celebrities and other VIPs who come to see the work being done by the charity. Garnering the interest of these people and escorting them overseas is the job of the global talent liaison. Annual trips to places like Peru, India, and Vietnam are usually part of the package with these positions.
Like children in addition to travel? If so, there are resources like Care.com, Adventure Nannies, and Household Staffing International where you can learn more and be on your way to being a modern-day Mary Poppins. Flying umbrella not included.
5. Hotel management
Every country has hotels, and if you start with one of the bigger chains, you may have the opportunity to transfer. Better yet, jump on the corporate ladder and aim to be the person who works on opening international locations.
6. Destination wedding planner
As with any trade, this one will require some study to be familiar with a destination for every occasion on a range of budgets. You’ll also need to be familiar with accommodations, venues, caterers, musicians, and everything else that will be required for various roles on the ground once you get there. But this job could lead you to travel to places of many people’s dreams — and then watching dreams come true while you’re there.
7. Snowcat Operator
Love the snow and don’t mind the cold? Snowcat operators groom the mountains at ski resorts and travelers can make this a year-round career. For the last several years, Bernie Rosow has been shaping Mammoth Mountain in California and heading down to New Zealand when the ski season ends there.
8. Film publicist
Not only do you get paid to watch a lot of movies, but for the films with bigger budgets, film publicists travel to premieres as the film opens around globe. You may not have the luxury of much time in each city, but you could find yourself quickly stamping from London to Australia in your passport.
9. Cruise ship worker
Cruise ships operate like small cities and have to staff accordingly, from bartender to housekeeper and plumber to engineer. The bonus of working in this “city” is that it stops at a lot of ports, giving those with hearts overflowing with wanderlust but wallets not as full a chance to explore faraway shores.
10. Band crew/roadie/tour manager
When a big band goes on tour, it can hit a cities in different states, or sometimes countries, six nights a week. It may not be the most relaxing way to see the world, but if you don’t mind traveling light, living out of a suitcase, and constantly hop from one city to the next, a music career on the road could strike the perfect chord with you — and certainly ink up a lot of pages in your passport.
11. Teach English as a second language
You can get certified to teach English as a second language online, and many of the courses offer a database of places you can teach – from France, Germany, and Italy to Chile, Argentina, Thailand, Singapore, and more.
Billed as the “Peace Corp alternative,” companies such as Manna Project provide structured volunteer experiences for three to 13 months in places such as Nigeria and Ecuador for as little as $685 per month in expenses. That covers everything from food and shelter to visa, transportation, and retreats.
13. Teach — almost anything
Become certified to teach recreational activities such as scuba diving, skiing, tennis, yoga, or golf, and you can have your pick of places around the globe where you can go and seek employment — and you can keep moving around as the locale goes in and out of peak season.
14. Work at a company with international offices
PwC is a great example: a company in 157 countries that focuses on audits and tax and consulting services, and has a program that allows employees to work in one of its international offices. The job allows for regular paid visits back home, and opportunity to switch countries at various intervals.
File this one under obvious, but things become obvious or cliché when they’re true. We live in a day when you don’t need to break the bank on a camera and a darkroom to take a good photo. Be in the right place, know how to frame a photo and capture light, and almost anyone is on equal footing to sell a good photo these days. That’s not to say a class or two in photography couldn’t help. Do that, book a trip to a place you’d like to go and see photographed and pitch it to a publication (maybe even Yahoo Travel) and you could be well on your way to a career as a photographer who monetizes his or her travel excursions.
When I graduated college, I could escape the disappointment of not taking time to study abroad as I’d originally planned. I was a freelance writer in N.Y.C., and decided to try to make it a game to travel and get paid for it – and it worked. I’ve gone on “travel trips” to Tahiti and Hawaii and found cool things to cover in places from Paris to Panama to cover the cost of the trips. Find a great angle a publication wouldn’t naturally have on its own, pitch it, and there’s a good chance they’ll pay you for it. Alternately, try for a job at a travel blogor magazine.
Related: How to Make Money as a Travel Writer