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15 careers that let you travel (and how to get started)

Who doesn’t dream about waking up in an amazing place, doing something they love, and falling asleep next to someone special? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but I’m no matchmaker so this blog post is gonna have to stick to talking about the first two topics. But hey, you never know!

Anyways, I feel really lucky to have found my home in Berlin and to have a job that I can take anywhere in the world (working as a web developer). Even though I sometimes miss things about the United States (like having shelves of choices for which chocolate chips I’m going to put in my chocolate chip cookies), I know for a fact that I couldn’t possibly be happier anywhere else right now.

I mean, have you seen the view out my living room window?

Girl at a computer

Finding a career that lets you travel or move abroad isn’t as hard as most people think, but sometimes it involves compromise or thinking differently about your skills. But it’s becoming more and more popular for people to look for job opportunities abroad when they’re thinking about changing jobs anyways, so I want to encourage you to do the same, and think about jobs you can do abroad the next time you feel like you need a change.

Here are a smattering of careers that will either enable you to travel or require it, some of which you might not have thought about as travel jobs!

Jobs you can do all over the world

Writer, blogger, content marketer

Writing content is perhaps one of the most commonly talked about remote jobs you can land. You can either work for an existing blog, digital publication, or agency, or build your own audience and pitch to companies. There are also plenty of companies looking to grown their online presence, who need content for their company website or blog. If this interests you, here is some more info on getting started as a writer for digital publications:

Photographer

There are a lot of options for photographers, from shooting events, fashion photography, and selling prints or licensing photos for commercial use. Since all you need is a computer for editing and your camera kit, photography can become a highly mobile career. Hourly rates can range greatly, between $40-$100 an hour. You have to also remember to calculate the time spent on editing, transportation, and the cost of repairing and replacing equipment.

Here are some websites with information about starting your career as a photographer.

Teach English

Becoming a teacher isn’t for everyone, but it’s easily one of the most popular ways for wanderlusting folk to find work in a foreign country where there’s a high demand for people to teach English. I personally know people who’ve taught in the Balkans, Japan, and Korea – the possibilities are nearly endless (well, unless you want to move to the UK, in which case you’re out of luck).

Depending on where you’re from, you can have a pretty easy time getting a teaching job. Some countries, like Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand all prefer to hire native English speakers, some of which go so far as to require citizenship for a native English-speaking country. The same holds true for Qatar and the UAE.

Fitness instructor or personal trainer

Do you have a passion for yoga, pilates, or other areas of fitness? What about doing that…but on a beach? There are services that will connect you, based on your existing skills, with resorts that need to staff fitness classes around the world. In some cases, instructors can also get free room and board and even bring a guest.

A sunflower

SEE ALSO How to move abroad by working remotely

Graphic designer

Now we’re getting into the tech-y side of location-independent jobs. All you really need as a graphic designer is a computer with a couple fancy accessories like a graphics tablet – which, importantly, can all fit into a carry-on. Plus, there are a lot of websites out there where you can get your feet wet freelancing as a graphic designer. There’s also always the option to join a design agency in order to get more steady work, although this can also lead to more demanding deadlines and a heavier workload.

Web developer

If you ask me as someone who is totally not biased, being a web developer is one of the best ways to achieve location independence. You can get a steady job in almost any city in the world, and you can work remotely from almost anywhere as long as the internet is stable. Most of the skills you need to learn to get started as a web developer can be learned online with some practice and dedication.

Travel nurse

Now we take a dip into traditional careers you never knew could lead to travel! Becoming a nurse takes a lot of work, but once you’re an RN with about 1.5 years experience, you’re eligible to participate in many travel nursing programs. The basic idea is that, within the United States, there is a shortage of nurses in many areas, so traveling nurses can go on assignment for 4-13 weeks. Contracts outside the US can last 1-2 years, and often after going on an extended assignment, nurses are offered permanent positions.

Academia

Did you know that you can work at a University without seeking a degree? Jobs in academia and research are pretty easy to come by, as they’re often looking for industry-quality talent who are willing to be paid a little less in exchange for extra flexibility. One of the cool things about working in Academia is that you can travel often for conferences if you choose to present your work!

Typing on a computer

SEE ALSO How to prepare a European-style resume

Scuba, snowboard, ski, surf instructor

So, you may be tied to the elements, but it’s relatively common for scuba, snowboard, ski, and surf instructors to have a wide range of employment opportunities all over the world. Each of these fields has its own kind of certification, and although the pay isn’t high, you can often get room and board from most places.

Hospitality

If you’ve stayed in hostels at all while traveling, you probably know that a lot of people working in hostels are actually just travelers like yourself. A lot of places offer room and board plus a modest salary, but you can also be more than just a receiptionist – positions as tour guides and event organizers are also possible! So depending on your career aspirations, you can even gain valuable experience working at a hostel.

Social media consultant

Social media consultant is probably one of the ultimate remote-friendly jobs. Whether you work for multiple clients, or simply remotely as the social media expert for a single company, there’s almost no reason not to take this job remote.

A computer surrounded by travel goods

SEE ALSO How to stand out as an applicant for a job overseas

Diplomat

The United States has over 250 embassies worldwide, where you can be stationed as a diplomat, or Foreign Services Officer. Depending on the assignment, you can be doing wildly different things in different parts of the world. Getting accepted to the program is highly competitive, with some reports that it’s even more selective than Harvard.

Cruise ship jobs

There are so many jobs you can do from a boat sailing the world! Whether your career is in beauty, entertainment, photography, retail – you name it, and a cruise ship is like a tiny self-contained world with a job you can probably do. While the hours may be longer, and the line between work-and-life can blur, there are some incredible perks about working on a cruise ship. Assignments are typically 8-months long, and it’s likely you’ll be working 7-days a week for that time. At the same time, you have almost no expenses: no rent, no groceries, no utilities. So you can make a decent living and save almost everything you make.

Virtual Assistant

If you’ve ever run your own business, you know that eventually one person can’t do it all. That’s often where a virtual assistant comes in – a VA can do anything from answering email, sending thank you cards, online research, creating presentations. If you can do these tasks with ease and efficiency, a career as a virtual assistant might give you the flexibility to travel, since all you need is an internet connection!

Proofreader or Copy editor

If you love English (or another language) and have an eye for detail, being a proofreader or copy editor could be a good fit for your passion. A job like this is highly remote-friendly, because transcripts are delivered electronically anyway. It helps a lot if you have prior experience in the field before applying for a remote position, but there are still a lot of companies

Girl typing at a computer

That’s a wrap! I hope some of these careers have inspired you to think about how you can make your career travel-friendly or see how it’s possible to switch to a career that can take you to the far reaches of the world 😄

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About the author

Hi there! I'm Monica, an American expat living in Germany for nearly four years and using every opportunity to explore the world from my homebase in Berlin. My goal is to capture my memories in photos and posts that show how easy it is to start from scratch and travel the world by working abroad.

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