Best jobs for travel lovers
Seeing the world and living the jetset life is a "bucket list" item for many, but time and financial constraints often prevent people from achieving that dream. Work obligations don't have to stand in the way of your travel ambitions if you get yourself on the right career path. If you want to get paid to travel, consider one of these 20 great jobs.
It may be the most obvious travel-related job, but it's also one of the most accessible: You don't need a specialized degree to become a flight attendant, and most major airlines only require prior customer service experience and a certification from the <a href="http://faa.gov">Federal Aviation Administration</a>. The hours are frequently erratic, and the work isn't always easy, but you'll get a glimpse of hundreds of cities across the globe during your career. A bonus perk? Free or discounted flights for you and your family.
For the fashionista with wanderlust, a career in retail purchasing might be the ultimate dream job. In addition to monitoring in-store inventory, retail buyers attend vendor meetings, trade shows and conferences across the country (or even the globe, depending on where the company sources its products from) to identify industry and consumer trends and make decisions about what products the company should sell. Of course, it's not just clothing stores that hire purchasing agents: Most large retail companies employ buyers to help them select and negotiate merchandise deals.
In the age of Google searches and travel price comparison websites, some may think that the professional travel agent is dead. While it's true that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a decline in this occupation over the next decade, it's still a rewarding job for anyone who loves to travel. In order to make honest, helpful advice to clients, travel agents often visit popular destinations to get a first-hand experience of the resorts and restaurants they recommend. Whether your clients are business or leisure travelers, they'll thank you for your insider insights on local sights and activities.
Do you work well with children and know a second language? If so, becoming an au pair might be a good option for you. Au pairs live with a host family in a foreign country and provide childcare services such as babysitting and assistance with schoolwork. You'll receive a small salary on top of your room and board, but you also get to fully immerse yourself in another culture as an extended member of a family. To learn more about becoming an au pair, visit <a href="http://www.interexchange.org/working-abroad/au-pair-program/au-pair-abroad">InterExchange</a>.
Peace Corps volunteer
As the title "volunteer" might indicate, you won't exactly be making six figures working with the Peace Corps. But if you don't mind living on a budget, you can become part of a worthwhile organization that lets you travel the world and make a difference at the same time. Assignments typically last two years and involve working to advance education, health care, and economic and agricultural development in a community abroad. The <a href="http://peacecorps.gov">Peace Corps</a> also provides housing, health benefits and student loan deferment — not to mention an excellent résumé talking point.
We're not talking local events like parties and weddings. A job coordinating large-scale events like <a href="http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/1156-event-planning-business.html">festivals</a> and trade shows could be a golden opportunity for travel lovers. Meet with potential vendors from across the country, then travel to the event location to help oversee everything from setup to break-down. A search for "trade show coordinator" on <a href="http://www.careerbuilder.com/Jobs/Keyword/Trade-Show-Coordinator/">Career Builder</a> returns more than 250 jobs in a variety of cities, so start sending in that résumé.
Cruise line worker
Working on a cruise ship is a travel lover's dream gig: You quite literally make a living traveling the world, all while receiving free food and accommodations. Whether you're a restaurant server, a shop clerk or a performer in the cruise's entertainment lineup, there are opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds to work on one of these "floating resorts." Websites like <a href="http://www.cruiselinejobs.com/">Cruise Line Jobs</a> list employment openings with some of the top-rated cruise lines.
Travel tour guide
Imagine spending your days guiding fellow travel lovers through a bustling European metropolis, or perhaps a small local village is more your speed. Wherever you want to go, popular travel destinations are always in need of friendly, knowledgeable guides to lead tourists through city sights and cultural excursions. Study up on the history and culture of your city of choice, and don't forget to brush up on the local language!
Destination wedding photographer
Every wedding needs someone to capture the newlyweds' big day. For couples that choose to host a destination wedding, the photographer they hire must be willing to travel to their location of choice. With a high-quality camera and a great eye for photography, you can get paid to spend a few days on a beautiful, sunny island (or wherever the wedding is) documenting the most special day of a couple's life together.
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International aid worker
If you want to travel for a living while making a real difference in people's lives, consider working for an international aid organization like USAID. With this job, you can visit struggling countries and help its residents recover from dire situations such as natural disasters and famine. You'll need a background in a field like health, agriculture or education and a strong interest in social work, according to <a href="http://money.howstuffworks.com/10-careers-people-love-travel.htm#page=6">How Stuff Works</a>.
Archaeologists travel the world to recover and preserve artifacts from past human cultures. Careers in archaeology require frequent travel, often to remote regions of the earth.
A career as an auditor will provide you with a lot of great travel opportunities. Sure, you may not always get to see the most exotic locations, but auditors often spend a few weeks or more at each stop, making it one of the few careers where you have time to explore the new places you visit.
Exploration geologists help resource extraction companies identify the most profitable places from which to extract natural resources. Since extraction tends to happen in places that aren’t very well-populated, exploration geologists get to travel to some of the most remote regions of the world, and can be away from home for months at a time.
Companies hire consultants to fix specific problems. Because their knowledge is so specialized, a consultant’s client base is often spread all over the country (or even around the world). Maintaining a positive relationship with clients requires regular on-site visits, making it a perfect job for people who love frequent travel.
Field service engineer
When it comes right down to it, field service engineers are essentially traveling customer service representatives. When a customer needs help with the installation or repair of a product, field service engineers are dispatched to help. If employed by a company with worldwide clients, this career can require extensive travel to interesting places.
If you want to combine your love of travel with your love of your country, then a career as a civil servant could be right for you. The Department of State has hundreds of job opportunities listed on their website, and with more than 250 embassies around the world, there are plenty of opportunities for travel.
Athletic recruiters travel the country (and sometimes the world) to scout and recruit athletes. Generally, athletic recruiters are employed by colleges and professional sports organizations. If you love sports and traveling, this is one of the few careers that will let you do both (without being an athlete).
A benefit of speaking one of the world’s most popular languages is that there are people all over the world who want to learn it. Teaching English in a foreign country is one of the easiest ways to get out and see the world. Many teaching positions in foreign countries do require a certification, but you can easily get one in about a month’s time.
The traveling nursing industry developed in response to the nursing shortage in the United States. Traveling nurses move around the country from hospital to hospital, bouncing from one temporary position to the next. It’s a great way to see the country, and the pay and benefits are excellent.
If you love traveling by sea and have a passion for learning more about it, then there is probably no better career for you than that of an oceanographer. Oceanographers often split their time between laboratories and research ships, where they can spend months away from home visiting remote regions of the ocean.
<em>Originally published on Business News Daily on Apr. 19, 2012. Updated Sept. 9, 2014. Additional contributions by Kevin Spence, CEO and founder of <a href="http://careerthoughts.com/">Career Thoughts</a>.</em>