6 Occupations That Combine Work and Travel
You might have a 9-5 job that pays the bills and lets you set off once or twice a year for some days of novelty, relaxation, and/or adventure. But have you ever considered doing something full-time that lets you live abroad and travel while on it?
Here are some examples of careers that you can pursue so you can get your dose of wanderlust without breaking the bank.
Teaching English can open a lot of opportunities for traveling and building a career abroad, especially for native or proficient English speakers. Because of the high demand for English teachers worldwide, an English teaching certification is preferred but not required in many countries.
The most popular terms you’ll hear when talking about English teaching certifications include TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, formerly Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults).
TEFL and TESOL are most commonly used interchangeably. Some employers may require one or the other, although both remain as two of the most common certifications out there. Meanwhile, CELTA is often required for teaching more advanced levels due to its affiliation with the Cambridge English Teaching Framework and its quite demanding course work.
In general, the demand remains high for English teachers and if you are open to different options, you’re most likely to land a job with one of these certifications… and sometimes, even without any!
Degree and age requirements are also pretty lenient. Some employers won’t require you to have finished a degree nor a related degree. Teaching experience in any setting is also a plus!
However, it may seem more difficult for non-native English speakers to find English teaching jobs, especially if they’re applying from abroad. Some countries, especially in East Asia, also show a strong preference towards teachers from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
If you consider yourself a non-native, it might be easier to find a job when you’re already living in the country you want to teach in. Taking on private classes is definitely a good way to start to build your reputation. As an English teacher abroad, I find that word of mouth really works to increase your student pool. You can eventually put these in your resumé if you decide to work in an English academy in the future. You can also start out with online private classes from your home country and make sure they’re thrown in on your CV once you apply for posts abroad.
If you’re interested in becoming a certified English teacher, there are both online and face-to-face certification courses available out there. Check out Teach Away’s online course in partnership with the University of Toronto here.They also post teaching jobs abroad on their website so you can jumpstart your job hunting as soon as possible.
Cruise ship crew
I grew up in a family where majority of my male older relatives work as seamen — my dad is a seaman himself. While it’s far from being the easiest job in the world, my dad was able to travel the world working as an engineer on a cargo ship. He took little trips as they dry dock in different cities.
Meanwhile, I’ve also got an uncle who’s working with the Disney cruise line. He seems happy about it and has been working on cruise ships for many years. I’ve also met people from different backgrounds — health care, IT, entertainment, etc. – eventually leaving their land-based jobs to work on a cruise ship.
Although working as a cruise ship crew can be pretty difficult thanks to long hours and less-than-ideal conditions offered by some companies, it will all boil down to the kind of lifestyle that you want and value. Working on a cruise ship will definitely allow you to see different places and meet people from all over the world. Crew members are also often provided with lodging and meals, which can definitely help you save up the moolah for other things — like traveling!
If you feel working on a cruise ship can be for you, go visit Wandering Earl’s blog. He’s got tons of advice and practical tips for those who’d like to take the plunge. Having worked on a cruise ship himself, he sure knows his stuff! You can get a comprehensive peek into this world in Wandering Earl’s “Work on a Cruise Ship” guide. It’s the perfect tool to get you started on this new endeavour. Check it out here.
I have known people who have made this into a long-term career, and some who switched to this job to feed their wanderlust.
Of course, being a flight attendant has its lowdowns. For example, you’ll surely work shifts, and this may take a toll on those who value a routine and regular sleeping hours. Having a family or being in a committed relationship may also be more difficult because of the ever-changing schedule.
However, this can also be a real option to those who would like to combine work and travel. Flight attendants can request for schedules that actually get them to see a bit of the city after work. They also enjoy perks like discounted airfares and can get a lot of support and help from colleagues in dealing with visas and travel itineraries.
Airlines have different requirements and offers, and this world can get intimidating at first. Some won’t require you to have previous experience nor a related degree, so it’s also great if you’d like to test the waters and see if it’s something you can do long-term.
Being an au pair is a popular choice amongst young adults in Europe and the US as an initial experience in working and living abroad. What’s more, I think it’s also one of the best immersion experiences for people out there looking into sharpening their foreign language skills.
So what’s an au pair? It literally means “equal to” in French, hinting at the kind of relationship that you should have with your host family. Au pairs are usually young people between 18-30 years old who live with a host family abroad. They usually help take care of and tutor the kids, help them develop foreign language skills, and contribute in basic household chores.
In exchange, au pairs receive a monthly stipend and free lodging. Usually, the family also sponsors their travel expenses and pays for their enrollment fees in a language school, often the one spoken in the au pair’s country of choice.
Being an au pair abroad really has a lot of benefits, like getting immersed in a culture, sharpening one’s foreign language skills, and having a taste of independent living abroad.
The first step is to think of a country you’d like to go to and assess your unique skills and how you and your host family can benefit from the experience. There are websites like AuPair World and Au Pair Paris that can help you find a host family and walk you through the steps if you’re set to make this happen.
If you’re looking for au pair stories to get inspired or to get practical information on what an au pair’s life looks like, check out Ashley Abroad’s post.
Although this is often an unpaid position, volunteering is a perfect way for travellers to combine new experiences and social purpose.
Volunteer activities vary, and a lot of them are organized programmes that come with a fee. The amount you'll pay them usually covers accommodations, language classes, and weekend tours. Although you’re actually spending instead of earning, this option can be good if you don’t have the energy to deal with confusing paperwork.
Whether or not you decide to pay for your volunteer experience or abroad or go DIY, these are some of the activities that you can do as a volunteer abroad:
- Teaching English, Global Volunteers
- Environment Conservation, Global Leadership Adventures
- Temple Renovation, IVHQ
- Medical volunteering, Agape Volunteers
- Rugby Coaching, Projects Abroad
- Arts classes, Art Relief International
- Micro Business, Maximo Nivel
- Single Mothers’ Empowerment, Cultural Canvas
As I said, DIY volunteering is very much possible. You can tap your very own social pool — friends, relatives, and local community — to see where the opportunities are and how you can jumpstart the process.
You may be part of a local charity or group with international presence, such as Rotary Club. They may be able to guide you as to which volunteer opportunities are available and those that suit your profile.
You may also apply online in large supranational humanitarian agencies like the UN. Although I’d say that competition is stiff even for unpaid posts, it’s still worth a shot especially if you’re looking into working in the international development sector in the future.
You can also get apply for scholarships to do volunteer work ,and I think this is a great way to move forward especially if you’re not really in a position to spend money. For example, Go Overseas posts scholarship opportunities for aspiring volunteers from all nationalities on their website. Check out their website here for more information on application guidelines and deadlines .
Although this is not a job in itself, it sure gets money flowing steadily while you’re abroad. Doctorate fellowships are also treated as a full-time job in several European countries.
Europe offers a lot of full scholarships at the master and doctorate levels. I myself have taken this route. I quit my job as an occupational therapist back in Manila because I just felt like I needed a break and that I needed to expand my professional opportunities. I applied for an Erasmus Mundus Master’s and in a span of two years, I’ve been to more than 30 European cities.
Erasmus Mundus Master’s scholarships are generous, amounting to 1000 euros a month for scholarship recipients to cover living expenses. On top of that, you get full tuition fee waivers and extra funds for travel and installation costs. It really isn’t a bad deal.
Of course, your scholarship will rely on your successful completion of the course, and it can mean some sleepless nights, writing a dissertation, and doing academic stuff that some people might not dig. However, I’d say being a scholar abroad allows you to travel and advance yourself professionally, sans the financial burden.
Check out our posts on finding the right scholarship for you and our step-by-step guide to applying for full Erasmus Mundus scholarships in Europe.
Over to you. Do you currently have a job that lets you travel? Let us know in the comments below!
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