The Best Travel Jobs
Ever wonder how some people make money while traveling? We’ll I’ve met many of them, and these are the best travel jobs for location-independent nomadic living.
If you love traveling as much as I do, but can’t afford to completely quit working, you’re in luck. There are actually many opportunities to make money on the road while traveling.
Whether it’s seeking opportunities to trade work for accommodation, or landing a location independent job that gives you the freedom to travel — you have options.
The reason I’ve been able to vagabond around the world for the past 5 years is because I’ve slowly turned my travel blog into a business.
However that’s certainly not the only path to long-term travel.
How To Make Money Traveling
First a little disclaimer. If all travel jobs were easy, everyone would be doing them. Many of these professions require passion, specialized training, time commitment, and talent. For those that don’t, the pay just isn’t great.
There is no magic way to instantly make lots of money traveling.
The truth about becoming location independent is that it takes years of hard work and sacrifice behind the scenes — something too many people conveniently ignore.
That said, it’s not impossible to make money on the road either. The people who have these jobs invested their time and resources learning the ropes — which means you can do the same if you make it a priority like they did.
We all have the same 24 hours, how will you spend yours?
Expat, Digital Nomad, or Vagabond?
Not all “travel” jobs are created equally. The opportunities listed here fall under one of the following categories — expat jobs, digital nomad jobs, or what I’ll call vagabonding. What’s the difference you ask?
Expat stands for “expatriate”. Meaning while you are a citizen of one country, you choose to live/work in a foreign country. Expat jobs are only related to travel in that you’re working in a different country from your own. You may live in that country for months at a time, so you aren’t exactly nomadic.
Examples: English teacher, nanny, foreign service, etc.
Digital Nomads work from their computers. This makes them location independent. As long as they have access to the internet, they can earn a living. Blogging falls under this category, so it also describes my lifestyle. Digital nomads are free to travel at will, working from coffee shops or hotels.
Examples: Online business, freelance writing, social media, etc.
Vagabonds do work that I’ll call “alternative” jobs. The type of work that doesn’t require a computer, but a more hands-on approach. Think musicians, artists, or manual labor. Access to the internet or owning a computer aren’t mandatory requirements. Pay might be under the table.
Examples: Street vendor, musician, farm work, etc.
Best Travel Jobs (2016)
The following travel jobs encompass one or more of those categories. Keep in mind not all of these jobs are suitable for everyone.
If you have a university degree, you might not be as willing to pick berries on a farm as someone else might be. Or maybe you are!
We all have different backgrounds, skills, and comfort levels.
Jeremy Bartending and Traveling
Bartender / Server
Bars, nightclubs and restaurants are located worldwide and the job description is pretty much the same everywhere. It helps to speak the language, so you may need to invest in a few weeks of language classes. Touristy places will be easier to find work and there’s no minimum or maximum time requirement. Plus the more experience you gain as a bartender, the more job opportunities will open up, with a potential for higher income.
My buddy Jeremy traveled and worked as a bartender in Australia.
$1000 – $5000 per month
Bartending For Dummies
How To Get A Bartending Job Overseas
Food Tours in Spain with Lauren
You could consider getting a job as a local tour guide or tour assistant for an international company, either at a single popular location or for larger multi-destination tours. Or you can think entrepreneurial and start your very own tours! Maybe it’s the best un-marked surf spots, an awesome local hiking trip, or showing people the coolest bars and restaurants in town.
My friend Lauren started a successful food tour business in Spain.
$1000 – $10,000 per month
Tourism Tiger Blog
Work Abroad Leading Adventure Tours
Maria Working as a Translator
Obviously you need to know a second language to be a translator, but maybe not as much as you think. Sure you probably won’t be working at the United Nations, but the opportunities are as open as your imagination. You could charge a restaurant to translate their menu, work for a tour company selling tours to tourists who speak your language, or offer freelance translation services online. The more fluent you are, the more money you can make.
My friend Maria translates English websites into Spanish.
$0.10 – $0.40 per word
ProZ Translation Jobs
How To Succeed As A Freelance Translator
Dave Working at a Hostel
Backpacker Hostel Staff
Backpacker hostels frequently hire travelers to fill positions on a short term basis in exchange for free room and board. There are many different types of jobs, from working the front desk to housekeeping or bartending. If you plan to stay longer term, some hostels offer paid positions too. Actually, I once got paid to work at a backpacker hostel in Hawaii many years ago.
My buddy Dave worked the front desk at a backpacker hostel in Singapore.
$7 – $10 an hour, possibly with accommodation included
Inside An American Hostel: A Guidebook For Managers
Working In A Hostel
Brandon & Anne the Yoga Instructors
Another job that allows you to travel the world while making money is working as a freelance fitness instructor. You can teach classes on pilates, yoga, zumba, dance, or provide services as a personal trainer if you have enough experience in these fields. Some instructors make deals with local gyms or backpacker hostels in order to use their facilities with clients.
My friends Brandon & Anne make money teaching yoga while traveling.
$30 – $100 per hour
Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations & Techniques
Igniting The Fire: Building A Successful Personal Training Career
Drew Teaching English in Korea
Do you know how to speak English? Sweet! You may not realize it, but professional English teachers are highly sought after around the world — and the pay can be decent. However just understanding the language isn’t enough, you generally need a college degree and a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).
My buddy Drew made money teaching english in Korea.
$2000 – $3000 per month plus accommodation.
Online TEFL Language Course
Teaching English As A Foreign Language For Dummies
Kach Giving Massage on TV in Peru
Massage therapy is in demand worldwide as an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. Trained therapists can offer their skills to weary travelers or expatriates near popular tourist destinations. Work for a larger company or strike out on your own as an entrepreneur. Find clients by teaming up with hotels and giving them a cut for referring customers. Print flyers to hang up around gyms, coffee shops, etc.
My friend Kach made money traveling working as a massage therapist.
$50 – $200 per day
Bodyworker’s Success Blueprint
Business Of Massage Therapy: Building A Successful Career
Konrad Plays Poker for a Living
It almost sounds too good to be true. Playing poker online for a living, from anywhere in the world. But like anything else, it requires lots of hard work to make the lifestyle sustainable. You need to be good with numbers, possess strong willpower to play for hours, keep your emotions in check, and be able to stay focused on the task at hand.
My buddy Konrad makes money playing online poker for a living.
$1000 – $30,000 per month
Becoming An Online Professional Poker Player
Strategies For Beating Small Stakes Poker Games
Adam Designs Websites While Traveling
Web / Graphic Design
One of the most common jobs for traveling digital nomads is graphic or website design. All you need is your computer, an eye for design, and knowledge of certain software programs and online platforms. Things like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, WordPress, Illustrator, etc. Talent for writing code helps too — specifically HTML, PHP, and CSS. School helps, but it’s also possible to learn on your own with tutorials.
My buddy Adam makes money traveling while designing websites.
$1000 – $7,000 per month
Running A Web Design Business From Home
Professional WordPress: Design & Development
Earl Worked on Cruise Ships
Work On A Yacht / Cruise Ship
Traveling the world while working on private yachts or large cruise ships is an awesome way to see some pretty exotic places. Food, accommodation, transportation, and insurance is covered too — so it’s a great way to save money. Many jobs also provide plenty of vacation time to travel on your own. There are different types of positions available: deck-hand, stewardess, chef, tour manager, entertainment, engineer, and more.
My friend Earl made money traveling & working on a cruise ship.
$2000 – $6000 per month
Work On A Cruise Ship
The Yacht Guru’s Bible
Daniel the Traveling Chef
Working in the kitchen as a traveling chef gives you the opportunity to work anywhere in the world. However the hours are long, irregular, and stressful. Traveling chefs can land jobs at traditional restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, private yachts, food trucks, or even work for private households. Being well-rounded with past experience helps your chances too. Jobs vacancies are often listed online, either in classifieds or company websites.
My buddy Daniel makes money traveling as a professional chef.
$9 – $20 per hour
Have Blade Will Travel: Adventures Of A Traveling Chef
Marcello Day Trading from Greece
Like many of the jobs in this list, you can’t just jump into gambling on the stock market without any prior experience and expect to become rich. However I’ve met quite a few people who make money traveling and day trading. It usually takes a few years and losing some money before it starts to pay off. A background in finance and spare cash to invest helps too.
My buddy Marcello makes money day trading stocks while traveling.
$100 – $10,000 per day
Day Trading Academy
Day Trading: Strategies For Maximum Profit
Sorina Showing Off her Holster Purse
Jewelry is the most popular item to sell, but it could also be art, clothing, leather goods… anything where you can source materials locally in bulk to make a product yourself. Setting up as a vendor requires supplies, possibly meaning a longer time in one location, but if you’re going to spend a season in one place it can be worth it. Find a location with lots of tourist traffic like walking streets or public beaches.
My friend Sorina sells leather accessories while traveling around Europe.
$20 – $200 per day
Jewelry Making & Beading For Dummies
Bohemian Inspired Jewelry Using Leather, Ribbons, and Cord
Kellie Working at a Festival
You don’t have to be a big name performer to work at festivals around the world. There are side-stage acts, installations, event staff, and food vendors too. Festivals always bring on lots of staff before, during and after the events. You can time southern hemisphere Australian and New Zealand festivals between Canadian, American and European summer circuits.
My friend Kellie makes money traveling working at festivals.
Free tickets – $12 an hour
How To Get A Job At A Music Festival
Antonio Makes Money Traveling as a Scuba Instructor
Are you exceptionally good at a particular sport? Share your knowledge with others and get a job as a professional instructor. Surfing, kitesurfing, skiing, scuba diving, skydiving, rock climbing, fly fishing, kayaking, tennis, sailing, mountaineering, etc. Earn an income doing what you love while traveling.
My friends Antonio & Amanda make money as scuba diving instructors.
$1000 – $4000 per month
True Stories From A Diving Instructor
Ski Instructor’s Handbook
Ashley Travels as an Au Pair
An au pair is a professional live-in babysitter or nanny hired by a family to help their kids learn a new language and do some household chores in exchange for room, board, and a weekly income. The job allows you to live in a foreign country, learn a new language, and experience the culture first-hand while making some money.
My friend Ashley made money working as an au pair in France.
$400 – $1000 per month
Au Pair Guide: A Helpful Handbook
So You Want To Be An Au Pair?
Mia Working as a Flight Attendant
The life of a flight attendant may seem glamorous. Constantly jetting around the world, partying it up in different cities, experiencing different cultures, 90% off airline tickets, hotel discounts, cheap rent, and working above the clouds. But it’s hard work too. The training is tough, the hours are long, and all the moving around can get lonely. However for those with a case of wanderlust, it can help you travel the world.
My friend Mia makes money traveling as a flight attendant.
$1000 – $4000 per month
Looking Skyward: Turn Flight Attendant Dreams Into Reality
Flight Attendant Survival Guide
Anna Working at an Embassy
Working for the foreign service (aka diplomat) or an intergovernmental organization (IGO) is one travel job that allows you to experience life in a different part of the world. Most of these government jobs are only open to people with university degrees or knowledge of foreign languages. Applications and tests for these types of positions can be found online.
My friend Anna worked for the Polish embassy in London.
$500 – $10,000 per month
So You Want My Job: Foreign Service Officer
Brendan the Travel Photographer
Becoming a professional travel or adventure photographer and selling your images from around the world takes years of hard work. You can upload photos in bulk to micro-stock sites or sell images to clients directly for use in magazines, books, brand campaigns, or websites. Running guided photography tours and selling online tutorials are additional ways to make money as a traveling photographer.
My friend Brendan wrote an eye-opening article about working as professional travel photographer these days.
$1000 – $10,000 per month
Going Pro: Making Money With Photography
How To Become A Travel Photographer
Jodi the Food & Travel Writer
Writing about travel seems to be a dream job for many, however it’s not something most people can just jump into. First, you have to be a great writer. Next, you need to learn about networking, pitching to editors, and all the other business stuff involved. Once you have those down, then it’s possible to write for magazines, newspapers, websites, or travel guidebooks. Copywriting and other types of writing are also options.
My friend Jodi earns income on the road as a travel & food writer.
$0.10 – $1.00 per word
The Essential Guide To Freelance Writing
Travel Writing: Expert Advice From Lonely Planet
Aileen Earns Income with an Amazon Store
Drop Shipping / Amazon FBA
It has a few names and variations, but buying products overseas then re-branding them and selling through Amazon is an increasingly common way to make money while traveling. Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) means you don’t need an actual storefront location because products are stocked at Amazon’s network of fulfillment centers around the world.
My friend Aileen makes money traveling & selling products on Amazon.
$1000 – $30,000 per month
Create Brands & Sell With Amazon FBA
Amazon Selling Blueprint
Blogging Hard in Mexico!
Making money as a blogger while traveling is a dream job for many. But like most things in life, it’s hardly simple. Earning a living with a blog is hard work — and can take years. A blog about travel isn’t the only option, other examples include food bloggers, mommy bloggers, fashion bloggers, and lifestyle bloggers. Income generally comes from advertising, affiliate sales, books, influencer projects, etc. But first you need to build an audience!
Me! Check out my resources below about how to become a travel blogger.
$500 – $20,000+ per month
How To Start A Travel Blog
Becoming A Professional Travel Blogger
Nadia Makes Money Working as a Musician
Musician / Street Performer
Also known as busking, use your best talents to make some money from tourists. Create an act, grab an instrument, pick a spot with lots of foot traffic, and drop a hat. Many cities require a permit for busking, so make sure to do your research first. Do you have any special talents? Acrobatics, painting, fortune telling, music, break dancing, henna art, it could be anything.
My friend Nadia makes money traveling and playing street music.
$10 – $100 per hour
Busking For Fun & Profit
Busking And Street Performing To Fund Your Travels
Alyssa Makes Money Renting through AirBnB
I’m sure you’ve heard of AirBnB by now, the holiday apartment booking site that lets you stay in other people’s homes rather than hotels. Well some enterprising individuals are renting out their flats while they travel, making decent income. The key is automating the process as much as possible so you don’t have to be there in person.
My friend Alyssa makes money renting her apartment on AirBnB.
$1000 – $7000+ per month
Get Paid For Your Pad
Make Money On AirBnB
Brian Working Construction
I’ve met many travelers around the world who work seasonally, spending part of the year earning money and then traveling for months in the off-season. The number of jobs in this category are countless. Construction, school teachers, commercial fishing, oil workers, electricians, ski resort staff, etc. These jobs depend on what skills you currently possess or are willing to learn.
My buddy Brian has worked construction jobs while traveling.
Oil Rig Jobs Reloaded
Building A Better Teacher
Helping With a Peace Corp Project
Peace Corp / NGO
Want the experience of a lifetime helping others less fortunate than yourself? Try volunteering with the Peace Corp or a Non-Governmental Organization. Just keep in mind that volunteer work is a full-time job. While it makes your life rich with experiences, the money isn’t great. You’ll build confidence to handle any challenge — because the work itself is challenging.
My friend Danielle worked as Peace Corp volunteer in Nicaragua.
$314 per month plus food & accommodation
I Quit My Job and Joined The Peace Corp
Pete & Dalene Working from the Road
Marketing / PR
Again, not something you can just learn in a week. There is a reason people go to school and get a degree in marketing. However if you have a business/marketing background, there is no reason why you can’t freelance this type of work from a hammock in Bali. In fact it’s becoming much more common — I’ve met plenty of people helping authors or brands get their name out to a wider audience while traveling.
My friends Pete & Dalene run a digital influencer marketing company.
$1000 – $10,000+ per month
The New Rules Of Marketing & PR
Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer On The Future
Nadine Makes Money as a YouTuber
Video Work / Vlogging
Traveling around the world making videos is another dream job, and some people make a very good living with it. There are a few different paths too — shooting and selling stock footage, becoming a popular YouTuber, or producing highly polished marketing films for tourism boards & travel brands. A strong knowledge of video, editing, networking, and marketing is highly recommended for this type of work.
My friend Nadine makes money traveling as a professional YouTuber.
$1000 – $20,000+ per month
Living Off YouTube: A Complete Guide
YouTube Black Book: How To Create A Channel & Make Money
Rachel the Traveling Nurse
To become a travel nurse, you must first get a degree as a registered nurse (RN) which takes 2-4 years. Once you have that, it’s possible to apply for temporary travel nursing jobs which can last up to 13 weeks. Depending on the assignment, sometimes these jobs include tax-free income, free housing, medical coverage, rental cars, and more. There are travel nurse staffing agencies that specialize in helping you locate a job overseas too.
My friend Rachel worked as a travel nurse for a while.
$30 – $40 per hour
How To Be A Successful Travel Nurse
Simon & Erin the Programmers
If you already have the skills & training needed as a computer programmer, than transitioning your cubicle office job into a freelance position with location independence would give you the freedom to travel. There are special freelance programming websites where you can bid on jobs, or you can try to launch a company to build your own products like iPhone apps or custom web applications.
My friends Simon & Erin develop smartphone apps as they travel.
$3000 – $10,000 per month
How To Become An Expert Software Engineer
How I Work As A Digital Nomad Programmer
Katie the Virtual Assistant
With advancements in office technology and a desire to reduce employee costs, business are increasingly looking to hire virtual assistants who can work from home (or anywhere for that matter). There is little that personal assistants can’t do remotely these days. Social media scheduling, responding to customer enquires, calendar management, and all sorts of other tasks can be taken care of by a competent virtual assistant.
My friend Katie travels & works as a virtual assistant.
$500 – $3000 per month
Becoming A VA: The Virtual Assistant Industry
Become A Virtual Assistant: Guide To Success
Dave Working from the Beach
Are you an expert in your field? Working as a professional consultant for companies may give you the ticket to location independence. Consultants work on short term projects, helping businesses grow by training staff how to do something better. For example, instructing a business how to use social media effectively, or how to become more environmentally friendly. Generally they are paid to share their specialized expertise.
My friend Dave travels and works as a consultant for oil companies.
Never Chase Clients Again: The Art Of Consulting
Working For Yourself: Law & Taxes
Marta on a Working Holiday
Working Holiday Visas
A working holiday visa is a special residence permit allowing travelers to legally work in foreign countries to supplement their travel funds. They are generally intended for people between the ages of 18 to 30, and requirements differ based on the country. Some popular destinations for working holidays include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, Ireland, and Singapore.
My friend Marta has lived in 3 different countries on working holiday visas.
List Of Countries Offering Working Holiday
How To Travel The World On $50 A Day
There Are No Easy Travel Jobs
The truth is there are no easy ways to make lots of money while traveling without prior skills, time commitment, or experience. It’s just not how the world works.
No one is going to pay you thousands of dollars to do something easy.
Dream jobs often take years to materialize, and include unimaginable effort & sacrifice that the average person just can’t understand until they experience that same journey for themselves.
While I make a good living with my travel blog — it didn’t happen overnight. It’s the same for most of these other jealousy-inducing types of jobs.
But I hope this article has demonstrated that there are plenty of people out there working hard and “living the dream” who manage to make money while traveling. It’s not impossible!
So get out there and start making your own dreams come true. ★
READ NEXT: Climbing Mayan Ruins in Mexico
Do you have a travel friendly job? Any others I missed?
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.