The average American only gets 10 vacation days after a year on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And 23% of Americans get no paid vacation time at all.
It’s tough to fit in a trip to Europe or Asia when you’re only allotted two weeks of vacation a year. If exploring the world is a priority for you, consider jobs where you can get paid to travel. Check out these seven jobs that allow you to travel the world. (And when you start globetrotting, this list of 28 ways to save for your next big adventure may come in handy.)
1. English Language Teacher
As the international language of business, English is a hot commodity across the world. Private and public schools across the globe seek native English speakers to teach the language. Several governments — like Korea, Japan, and France — hire college graduates as classroom assistants.
If you’re interested in becoming a head teacher, get a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate. You can take a 120-hour course full-time for a month or part-time on weekends. A TEFL certificate opens doors to teaching jobs that let you travel across the world.
To locate a position, use a job placement agency or search on a job board like Dave’s ESL Cafe. Just remember to start the process early. You’ll need time to make travel arrangements and obtain a visa from a local embassy.
Salaries vary across the world. South Korea and Japan have some of the highest paychecks for English teachers. According to Go Overseas, private school teachers in South Korea make between $1,600 and $1,940 a month. Public school teachers make between $1,265 and $2,500.
Note that some schools will cover round-trip airfare, visa expenses and housing. Between those perks and a potentially lower cost of living, you could live a high quality of life and save money. (That extra savings could even help you pay off your student loan debt ahead of schedule.)
2. International Sales Representative
Do you have a nose for business? Companies hire sales consultants and managers to connect with clients around the world. These positions require a strong understanding of a company’s products and clients’ needs. You’ll develop quarterly goals and work hard to meet them.
Your job will involve a lot of international travel, but you won’t necessarily get to choose where you go. International sales representatives make a median salary of $69,928, according to Salary.com. These roles typically require a bachelor’s degree, excellent communication skills and experience.
3. Flight Attendant
If you’re comfortable flying through the skies, then you could travel the world as a flight attendant.
Flight attendants look after passengers, plus they know everything about safety protocols. As a flight attendant, you’ll get the chance to travel the globe. However, you probably won’t get a regular schedule.
“Every other month I alternate between a set schedule and an on-call schedule, which means you have to be near the airport and ready to head into work on short notice if you’re called in,” one flight attendant told Cosmopolitan.
She adds that flights attendants typically work on holidays. Plus, they have to sleep in strange places, like bunk beds above the passenger area. Flight attendants make between $23,000 and $78,000 a year, according to Payscale, with the average salary coming in at $38,000.
4. Government Employee
The U.S. Defense Department, State Department, and other bureaus employ thousands of people in overseas positions across the globe.
The Department of State, for instance, hires foreign officers to work in many public diplomacy tracks. It also hires students and post-graduates for professional fellowships.
You can browse thousands of jobs opportunities at the State Department or Department of Defense. Salaries and skill sets vary widely, but most government employees can expect full benefits and some tax advantages.
5. Online Freelancer
If you have a service to offer online, like writing or web design, then you could work remotely from wherever you want in the world. Remote work is a growing trend, with many industries looking to hire remote workers over the next year.
Websites like Freelancer and Upwork connect freelancers to employers. You can build your portfolio while working from anywhere with internet access. You could even eventually start your own online business.
Note that you may have to account for time zone differences. If your work involves meetings, then you may have to keep strange hours if you’re traveling across the globe.
6. Tour Guide
One of the most straightforward ways to get paid to travel is to work in the tourism industry. As a tour guide, you can live abroad while showing other people around your favorite new city.
Work as a guide for tourists, or take groups of high school students on overseas trips. Companies like Broad Reach and Winterline hire seasonal guides.
If you’re outdoorsy, work for an outdoor adventure company, like Adventures Cross Country (ARCC). If you’d rather travel with adults, join a globetrotting company like Remote Year.
Note that tour guide jobs are not always full-time or year-round. You may have to supplement seasonal work with other employment during your off time.
7. Cruise Ship Employee
The Disney Dream cruise ship has 14 decks, 1,250 staterooms and three pools.
Needless to say, this 130,000-ton ship needs a lot of employees to keep everything up and running.
Cruise ships hire all types of workers, from group guides and photographers to dishwashers and entertainers. You’ll get paid to travel on the cruise and explore new places on your days off.
Rumor has it, the pay is low and hours are long. But you’ll have most of your needs covered, like food and housing, so you’ll be able to put your income straight into your savings.
Plus, working on a cruise ship is a great way to explore the world and meet new people as you figure out the next step in your career. You can find a huge directory of cruise ship jobs at AllCruiseJobs.com or official company websites.
How to Get Paid to Travel
If your feet are itching to wander the globe, you can find lots of jobs that let you get paid to travel. Some people work abroad for a year or two after graduation before moving into an entirely new career field. Others build careers that involve lifelong international travel.
Whatever you choose, you’ll develop skills of global awareness and cross-cultural communication, and your international skills and experiences can help you advance your career. And if you’re traveling abroad, you may want to consider getting a credit card with no foreign transaction fees or a rewards program for frequent travelers. This guide to the top credit cards for international travelers is a good place to start looking.
Curious about how to discuss your skills with an employer? Check out this guide to learn how to make yourself marketable for post-college jobs.