My Ultimate Guide To Finding Work While Traveling

One of the most common travel questions I see out there, especially among young people, is how they can afford to travel. It is a common misconception that one must be rich to travel. It’s just not true! If you are not rich however, than you must be resourceful. There are really endless opportunities to extend your travels beyond what your budget would typically afford, but you are going to have to work for it.

Because of the demand for this information, I have created a handy guide to how to get a get while traveling. If you are curious about how visa regulations work when finding jobs, I am creating a guide that will be coming soon!

Many of these resources I have used myself, and have been a great asset to me extending my travels. They also have become priceless memories and I now have friends all over the world because of it. After all it’s not just about the money, it’s about the experience.

This is always a work in progress; if you have any suggestions I would love to incorporate them into this resource! Leave me some comments or use the Contact page.

 

Seasonal Employment

This might be the best chance of making money while traveling. You have to go to popular tourist destinations during their peak season to seize have the best chance of gaining employment. These are often destinations that are great to be in and explore. This section is just for general seasonal work; I will list more specific job information further down.

Pros:

  • Experience a place for several weeks or months and really get to know it.
  • Meet other seasonal workers from all over.
  • There are often opportunities for overtime or picking up a second job.
  • Some jobs help you find housing.

Cons:

  • Your employer may expect you to work more hours than what you want.
  • You might not have many days off.
  • If you have to find your own housing it may be difficult or expensive.
  • You may need work visas if working outside your country.

Resources:

  • CoolWorks – Mostly jobs in the USA, and includes jobs in parks, lodges, ski resorts, summer camps, and more. It also lists some seasonal volunteer positions.
  • Xanterra – This is a concessionaire company with jobs all around the US. You can browse positions at their lodges in national parks, on their luxury cruise ships, or at their resorts.

 

Summer Camps

Fitting squarely in the seasonal jobs category, summer camps need thousands of temporary workers every year. Most positions involve working directly with children or teenagers, but there are other jobs that don’t such as cooks, janitors, and IT staff. There are both paid and volunteer positions available. There are tons of different kinds of camps in almost every genre you could think of- camps in nature, science camps, theater camps, sports camps, etc.

Pros:

  • Work in an interesting environment.
  • Make children happy.
  • Be employed for several months.
  • Many camps provide onsite housing.
  • It is a good resume builder.

Cons:

  • Dealing with children or teenagers at their worst.
  • Possible undesirable housing.
  • Possible limited food options.
  • Possible limited days off.

Resources:

  • Camp Page – Mostly offers positions in the US and Canada, but also in other places around the globe. You can search by state/province/region or by camp activity.
  • Great Camp Jobs– Lists camp positions at camps owned by Camp Group as well as provides some assistance in getting the necessary visas if needed. They own 16 camps around the northeast US and Michigan.

 

Work Exchange

Work exchange comes in many different forms. The main idea is that you will agree to a certain amount of work in exchange for something, usually food and/or accommodations. Work exchange is a common way to make your travel funds last longer by working to cover some of your expenses. This could include farm work, working at a bed and breakfast, or simply helping a family out with some chores.

Pros:

  • Get a chance to experience a place from a local’s perspective.
  • Extend your stay in a place beyond what would otherwise be financially possible.
  • Possibly learn a new skill.

Cons:

  • Experiences can vary, and they aren’t always good.
  • Miscommunications between each person’s expectations can cause disagreements.

Resources:

  • HelpX – Has a large directory of hosts needed all kinds of help including with farms, language lessons, lodges, ranches, etc.
  • WorkAway – Another directory that lists hosts that are looking for volunteers to farm, cook, garden, and more.
  • World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms – There are different websites for each country. You may browse the listings, but you need to pay a subscription to that countries WWOOF site in order to create a profile and contact hosts. An annual subscription costs around $30-$40.
  • Hovos

 

Hostel Jobs

Picking up temporary work in hostels is a backpacking tradition. Many times this is a work exchange deal where you would agree to a certain number of work hours in exchange for free or discounted accommodations. Typical positions include front desk receptionist and housekeeper.

Pros:

  • Meeting lots of travelers from all over.
  • Having the chance to stay in a city longer than otherwise financially possible.
  • Sometimes these jobs are under-the-table.

Cons:

  • Paid work for temporary positions is harder to find.
  • You may not be trained to handle every situation.
  • Sometimes hostels get crazy, especially at night.

Resources:

  • Hostel Management – Here you can find classifieds from hostels looking for help as well as make a listing for yourself with your resume and skills where hostels can find you.

 

Tour Directing

Lead groups of tourists throughout their multi-day travel itinerary, handle logistics, troubleshoot, and deal with customer service. Most positions also require you to narrate the tour. Being a tour director can be a year round or seasonal job, and has opportunities all over the world.

Pros:

  • The wages can be good.
  • Travel everywhere your tours go.
  • Usually food is free, paid for by the company, or discounted while you are on tour.

Cons:

  • It can be a very stressful job.
  • If you have unhappy people you are stuck with them for the whole tour.
  • Gratuities are a big part of your income and can vary from tour to tour.
  • You usually need a degree, certificate, or years of experience in the industry to get hired.
  • You don’t usually have a lot of down time while you are on tour to explore or enjoy the destination.

Resources:

 

Au Pair

If you have an interest in working with children as well as a desire to experience a foreign place like a local, becoming an au pair can be a great option for you. The most common way to get into it is paying a program that will train you and help place you with a family. Finding a good match between you and a family is the most important thing. Compensation varies, but usually includes housing, food, and sometimes a stipend.

Pros:

  • Experience a new place from a local’s perspective.
  • If you like children, you get to have a hand in raising them.

Cons:

  • Sometimes people are not paired well with families and conflicts occur.
  • This is usually a longer term commitment, usually at least 6 months to a year.
  • Paying an au pair company can be a bit expensive.

Resources:

  • Au Pair World – Connects potential au pairs to host families worldwide.
  • Go Au Pair – Geared toward Americans who want to au pair abroad. Offers placement in six different countries.

 

English Teacher

If English is your first language then you automatically have a skill that’s desired in many places around the world. Teaching English as a second language can be a rewarding way to fund your life abroad. You could teach in a classroom or as a private tutor. While not 100% necessary getting a globally recognized certificate from a company like TEFL or TESOL can be a great asset as they can help you with job placement.

Pros:

  • Make a living wage in a foreign country.
  • It’s a great resume builder.
  • You can earn your TEFL or TESOL through online classes.

Cons:

  • Many countries require you to have a college degree (in anything) in order to be a working English teacher there.
  • Most jobs are for an entire school year, around nine months.
  • Getting a TEFL or TESOL certificate can be a bit expensive.

Resources:

 

House Sitting

This could be considered a type of work exchange. If you are flexible as to where you travel to, there are tons of houses out there that need taking care of. They are usually homes whose owners are away for vacation or business, or a vacation home that is only used for part of the year. Sometimes more work is required such as farming, gardening, snow removal, or small repairs. While some house sitting gigs are paid, most are in exchange for free shelter at the place you would be watching.

Pros:

  • Free housing.
  • Gaining a unique perspective on a new place.
  • You could possibly work another job in the area at the same time.

Cons:

  • If something breaks or goes wrong you may be held responsible.
  • Houses often need sitting in the off season of that area which might not be a desirable time to be there.
  • If the house is in a rural or remote location you may need your own vehicle to access it.

Resources:

 

Boat Jobs

There are lots of boats and yachts out there that need an extra hand. Boats need moved all of the time for different reasons, usually with the change in seasons. Sometimes the owners of these boats just need some extra temporary assistance and common jobs include deckhand and cook. Having some experience at sea would definitely be advantageous, but there are positions for those who lack experience as well. Sometimes the positions are paid jobs, and other times it’s simply a work exchange for the experience, accommodations, and food. Sometimes you are expected to help pay for food and other operating costs.

Pros:

  • A chance to see beautiful islands and shoreline from a sailor’s view.
  • Gain experience working on a boat that can lead to more jobs.
  • It can be free or cheap transportation.

Cons:

  • Sailing with an inexperienced or haphazard captain can be dangerous.
  • If you are on board with people you don’t like you are stuck with them until you get to shore.
  • If you are prone to motion sickness sailing could be miserable.

Resources:

  • Find A Crew – Search for boats that need temporary help all over the world.

 

Cruise Ship Jobs:

Cruise ships need so many different skills on board in order to operate. Deckhands, cooks, nurses, front desk, excursion desk, port operations, nurses, mechanics, beauticians, entertainers, and the list goes on. For some people this can be a perfect job, complete with benefits and competitive wages.

Pros: 

  • Travel to different destinations while working.
  • Food and accommodations are provided.
  • Have stable employment for 6-12 months at a time, depending on the contract.
  • Work with people from all over the world.

Cons:

  • Hours may be grueling.
  • Living quarters can be small and crowded.
  • You may not have a chance to explore the port stops if you are on duty.

Resources:

  • Cruise Ship Jobs – Provides information about the industry as well as job listings for many major cruise lines. You can pay a one time fee to have “premium” job seeking services.
  • All Cruise Jobs – Possibly the largest database of cruise ship job listings.

 

Flight Attendant

There are a lot of misconceptions and romanticizing about what being a flight attendant is like. I feel obligated to set the record straight. It is a very competitive field, and those who get hired most likely invested years of their life into getting there. Most airlines will only hire people who have a degree in communications, hospitality, or related field as well as a certificate from a flight attendant academy, speak at least two languages, and meet height and other physical requirements. The hours are long and you have to deal with people who hate flying in many ways. You may not get to choose your home base or your schedule. Most flight attendants work crazy schedules and are often away from home. All that being said, it can be a great career for the right person who is willing to invest their time and money into getting the job.

Pros:

  • Competitive wages.
  • Overtime pay is common.
  • Health benefits are common.
  • Travel benefits including free or discounted flights.

Cons:

  • See above paragraph.
  • There is no seasonal or part time position available.
  • It can be very stressful.

Resources:

  • The Travel Academy – They offer classes in becoming a flight attendant as well as travel agent or on a cruise ship.
  • Flight Attendant Career – A resource of information about starting your career in this industry.

 

Internet Based Jobs

There seem to be more internet based jobs all of the time. The two main veins are freelancing and working remotely for a company. Freelancing has its ups and downs, and does require a lot of time and energy to actually make a living wage. Working for a company does provide stability, but usually less flexibility in hours and location you can be. Jobs could include translating documents, graphic design, blogging, becoming a virtual assistant, righting reviews, or managing websites or social media accounts.

Pros:

  • Can offer flexibility where you travel.
  • You can work in a job that you can continue once you are home.

Cons:

  • Internet isn’t always reliable everywhere.
  • You may have to work weird hours if you need to work on a certain time zone’s schedule.
  • If freelancing, you wages may not be consistent.

Resources:

  • Fiverr – Offer your skills up for a base fee of $5.
  • Flex Jobs– This website finds “flexible” jobs from around the internet, including ones that are completely internet based. You have to pay for a subscription to browse the listings, but they vouch that there are no scams on the site which can be a huge problem when looking for this kind of job.
  • Zirtual – Offer your skills as a virtual assistant to startup companies looking to outsource some of their work.
  • The Remote Working Company – Job listings mostly geared toward tech related positions that can be worked remotely.

 

General Resources:

These are great websites to check out for general travel related job hunting.

  • Transitions Abroad – Good for a variety of information on working, volunteering, and studying overseas.
  • Go Abroad – Lists positions in volunteering, interning, and teaching abroad. It also includes programs for teenagers.
  • BUNAC– Has programs for volunteering, interning, and work abroad. Their work abroad programs help with visas and job placement.
  • InterExchange – Provides a service matching travelers to hosts abroad in various programs including teaching English, au pair, and camp counselors.
  • Go Overseas – Includes programs that are reviewed by people who have participated. In addition to working abroad, they also provide information and reviews on study abroad and interning abroad programs.

 

Image credit: Leon petrosyan – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

 

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