How to Get Paid to Travel Around the World

Three Methods:Working in the Travel FieldDocumenting World TravelTeaching Others

Wanderlust hits some people harder than others. If you have a passion for traveling and cannot imagine living out the rest of your days in one place, consider looking for work that will pay you to travel.

Method 1
Working in the Travel Field

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    Become a tour guide. While tour directors are responsible for the logistics, confirmations, overall planning and group dynamics, a tour guide offers specific, in-depth knowledge of a place. There are tours, in need of tour guides, all over the world. Becoming a tour guide is a good way to get paid at a global destination site.[1]
    • There are training programs for people interested in becoming tour guides or tour directors, including the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) in San Francisco, and the International Guide Academy in Colorado.
    • Most tour guides are freelance, and positions won't come with health insurance or benefits.
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    Consider working for an airline. If you want to get paid to travel the world, working for an airline is a great choice. Not only do airline employees travel for free as they work, but they also receive free passes for flights when they're not working, along with free passes for friends and family.[2]
    • Other perks for airline employees may include free or discounted prices on hotel rooms, car rentals, and other travel-related items.
    • Airline employees often have flexible hours and good benefits. However, they may have little control over the flights they're scheduled to work.
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    Work for the State Department. The U.S. State Department is a way to work in a wide variety of international destinations. Jobs found through the State Department range from Overseas Seasonal Hire Program providing seasonal employment for US Foreign Service Family Members Ages 16-24, to work for a government agency with international offices.[3]
    • Contact the Human Resources department of the local U.S. Embassy if you're traveling within a foreign country. There are embassy jobs available in a wide range of positions.
    • Family members of people placed in overseas jobs may be hired for many job positions. If you're related to someone working overseas, check and see which jobs you might be eligible to apply for.
    • A foreign service officer is a diplomat for the United States. If you are between the ages of 21 and 59, healthy, dedicated and capable, you may qualify to apply for this job. Speaking a second language is preferred, but not required.[4]
    • The Peace Corps is a branch of the U.S. State Department. Most people who work for the Peace Corps do so as volunteers, but still receive a living stipend. While this is far from a generous paycheck, it does allow you to immerse yourself in cultures around the world.[5]
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    Get involved in import/export business. If you're a savvy shopper, you can make money by importing goods. To do this, you'll need to travel to countries with a lower cost-of-living, purchase goods at a low price, and bring the goods back to countries where you can sell them at a profit.[6]
    • You'll need to learn about international and U.S. Customs laws and fees.
    • Look for items that particular regions are known for, such as Mexican pottery or Italian leather or special handmade items that can't be mass produced. Then sell these items for a profit in areas where they can't otherwise be found, on online.
    • Consider developing a specialty online store. Get to know other people who sell items similar to the ones you're selling.
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    Take a job requiring world travel. If you're a real estate agent, consider working for a resort development agency or high end international luxury housing sales. There are jobs in retail buying, travel sales, vacation planning, and other luxury lifestyle companies. [7]
    • An example is the company Jauntaroo, who posts a job listing as "Chief World Explorer" in order to further their knowledge of vacation destinations worldwide.[8]
    • Become an executive assistant for someone whose job requires world travel.
    • Doing event coordination for destination weddings requires international travel.
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    Work for a cruise ship. If you work for a cruise ship, you'll travel the world with your room, board, medical insurance and dental care paid for. While a cruise ship worker works seven days per week, there are opportunities for breaks and time off during each day. Because their work doesn't end when the ship is docked, the cruise ship employees may end up traveling more of the world than they see.[9]
    • Staff members on a cruise ship are usually English-speaking. Staff contracts are for 8-10 months, meaning that until the end of the contract, you're unlikely to be able to return home.
    • Entertainment staff includes musicians, hostesses, assistant cruise directors, and other entertainers. Contracts for entertainment staff usually runs 4-6 months.
    • Concessionaire workers - employees who work in the spa, gift shop, casino, photographers, etc. - are usually hired by a third party company. These workers are usually English-speaking.
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    Become an au pair. An au pair is someone who provides live-in help for a family living abroad, and usually includes childcare. "Au pair" literally means "living on equal terms" and can be a wonderful way for someone to learn a foreign language and culture while they work. Hours are set by agreement between the au pair and the family. In exchange, the au pair is give her own room, board, and an amount of "pocket money."[10]
    • Because being an au pair is usually an informal agreement, there may not be a contract.
    • The au pair may be treated much like a member of the family, but this also comes with more restriction than some travelers may find comfortable. You will need to be prepared to follow the family's diet - no diet restrictions of your own - and obey the family's standards of conduct, i.e. no overnight guests or dates unless explicitly agreed upon with the family.
    • Living with strangers involves a degree of risk. Use respected au pair agencies to find work overseas. Get references from the family for whom you've agreed to au pair.
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    Learn more about NGOs. Nongovernmental Organizations, or NGOs, are agencies that serve global communities. Each NGO has a unique mission, and relies upon trained staff people to bring its mission to life. If you have at least a Masters Degree in a particular field, or have a skill that's needed in a particular region, working for an NGO may be a good opportunity for you to get paid to travel.[11]
    • Unpaid internships are far more common than paying jobs at most NGOs.
    • Skills in nutrition, finance and nursing are preferred by many NGOs.
    • Working for NGOs is highly competitive. If there is an NGO in your home community, try working there first. This will give you an advantage when an international position opens up.
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    Find work as a travel nurse. A travel nurse works in locations for short lengths of time. The average length of a contracted position is 13 weeks, but may range from one month to one year. Contracts may be renewed by mutual agreement. Travel nursing is a full-time job, 36-40 hours per week. Housing is often provided by the company.[12]
    • Travel nursing is done both domestically, within the United States, and internationally. If you want to travel, look for a company, such as Worldwide Travel Staffing, that provides opportunities to work in countries all over the world.
    • You'll need to receive a visa to work internationally in order to work as a travel nurse abroad.
    • To be hired as a travel nurse, agencies typical request that you have at least 12-18 months of experience in your area of specialty.

Method 2
Documenting World Travel

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    Research travel guides. Writers for travel guides such as Lonely Planet or Fodor's don't make a great deal of money, but the job requires travel to popular and exotic destinations around the world. New writers are often employed for the research, while veteran writers proofread and correct their text.[13]
    • Writers are forbidden by most companies to disclose the nature of their work to local businesses in order to prevent biasing their perspective.
    • Some guides offer royalties, while others pay a flat rate. Most companies require the author to deduct his travel expenses from his own pay, though this varies according to publisher.
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    Write freelance articles. Travel magazines, corporate clients, and others hire freelance authors to create content for their publications, websites and blogs.[14]
    • Use freelance platforms such as, or to search for travel writing opportunities.
    • If your writing is fast and accurate you might be able to support your travel habit by writing short travel articles for individual websites.[15]
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    Create your own travel blog. While this won't bring in a great deal of money, particularly for the first year or more, the most successful travel bloggers may eventually bring in enough money to support their travel habit. The best travel blogs provide both practical travel information, such as the accessibility of public transportation, and personal experiences, such as relaying the disastrous experience you had riding the bus following a large meal at a restaurant where you didn't speak the language.[16]
    • Create a theme for your blog and stick to it. Choose a name for your blog that's easy to remember and which reflects the theme.
    • Chose a blogging platform. is the most popular blogging platform.
    • Use a wide array of social media platforms to promote your blog. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and others allow every post you create to be cross-posted within the social media network you're connected to.
    • Write about what interests you. You'll want your enthusiasm for travel to be carried to your reader through your words.
    • Once your blog becomes established, consider writing reviews. For example, if you're writing about backpacking in the Andes, contact companies which sell products you'd be willing to review on your blog in exchange for receiving free samples of their goods. Though this won't supplement your income, it will keep you from having to buy goods you'd be spending money on otherwise.
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    Photograph destination weddings. Scheduling weddings in exotic locations around the world is an increasingly popular choice for well-heeled couples, and no wedding is complete without a wedding photographer. Working as a wedding photographer requires a good deal of start-up investment on your part, but once you've got the necessary equipment - computer, camera, lenses, editing software, portfolio, website, and, possibly, training - the possibilities are limitless.[17]
    • Try contracting together with destination wedding planners or companies who specialize in destination weddings.
    • Develop a niche market, and cultivate a brand that fits that market. This will allow potential clients to know what sort of work you do before they hire you, even if their destination is different. For example, you may want to focus on weddings held within native communities, photographing local customs, music and dance.

Method 3
Teaching Others

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    Teach English. Depending on your ability level, you can work for a number of companies who hire English speakers to teach. You might be a conversation coach, a classroom teacher or teacher's assistant, or a summer language tutor.[18]
    • If you have your certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), you may be eligible for more jobs. You can get this certificate in the United States before you travel, or in many foreign schools.
    • Instructors for college-prep courses or SAT training are also ways to get paid while traveling abroad.[19]
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    Teach something you're skilled at. If you play a musical instrument, put up a flyer in a popular gathering spot announcing that you're teaching, together with your phone number. If you're a dancer, see if any local people want to learn your style of dance. You might teach yoga classes, art classes, improv classes. Anything that can be learned, can also be taught.[20]
    • This type of instruction can be done formally, through a professional school or training academy, but is most often done informally, in public spaces or in private homes.
    • Collect references and referrals as you travel. If people like your teaching style, ask them to put it in writing. Post these recommendations on your blog or website.
    • Always carry a business card with your name and contact information.
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    Teach other languages. English isn't the only language in high demand. French, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Swahili and other languages are also in high demand, depending on your region. If you know another language, see if you can find students who want to learn it.[21]
    • Good teachers in American Sign Language or other sign languages are also good to teach.
    • Advertise at cafes and universities where students may wish for additional tutoring.
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    Use your surfing or scuba skills to teach. If you're a certified scuba instructor, you can find work with outdoor adventure travel companies. Surfing instruction is another way to put your hobbies to good use, and make money while you travel.[22]
    • Keeping a blog of yourself on the water will enhance your job applications, and make you teaching expertise more desirable.
    • You don't need to be an expert to get hired for a job training beginners.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Goal Realization & Problem Solving