Illustration by Brooke Weber

Want to travel the world and get paid to do it? Whether it’s teaching in a classroom, sailing the high seas, or nannying like Mary Poppins, you can get an entry-level job that blends work with the pleasures of traveling.


English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher

Teaching English as a Second Language is a perfect opportunity for college graduates looking to earn extra cash and see the world. In many parts of the world, teaching English requires a bachelor’s degree from a school in an English-speaking country. Some ESL programs ask for previous training or experience, but many underdeveloped countries are simply looking for a native English speaker. Most jobs are part-time, leaving plenty of time to see the sights.

Most teachers work for one to two years before returning home or moving on to their next destination. While some programs are competitive, others are easier to get into and don’t require any foreign language background. So if you like to travel, have fun, see cool cultures, and meet new people, then consider teaching English abroad.

Cruise ship employee

If teaching English isn’t for you and you’re tired of staying in home port, working on a cruise ship is just the ticket. When you get to disembark with passengers at various destinations, it’s not hard to see why this job is the most sought after employment in the tourism industry.

Working on a cruise ship does require hard work—up to six days a week and sometimes up to ten hours a day—but the experience can be worthwhile. A cruise ship employee can expect to make from $2,000 to $6,000 a month. Once you’re hired, the cruise line will even pay for you to get to the ship and will cover your room and board. You could be saving money while you travel!

Au pair

The French term au pair refers to a young person between 18 and 30 years old who temporarily becomes part of another family in a foreign country—not necessarily France, despite the French title. An au pair takes care of the children and helps with the housework in exchange for free board, lodging (a private room), and a small salary.

An au pair isn’t required to have the certification that most nannies in the United States need. While the typical au pair is a young woman, increasing numbers of young men are finding employment in the field. As an au pair, you have the opportunity to integrate into everyday family life in another country and culture and to create lasting relationships.

Teresa Arroyo

Travel Careers

Two weeks’ vacation is not enough to fulfill your travel dreams? Look into these fascinating travel careers that require regular trips around the world. These aren’t typical seasonal jobs that college students would go for—they’re jobs for those who are ready for a rewarding and exciting travel profession that pays not only in dollars but also in international experience.


Travel Writer

If you have a knack for writing, check out this trendy career. Many travel writers work as freelancers, while others write blurbs for those handy-dandy travel guides. Though these positions tend to favor journalists, you don’t necessarily need a degree to be a travel writer. A desire to travel, a love of writing, and maybe some good travel insurance are the only prerequisites for getting paid to see the world.

A new and lucrative form of travel writing has emerged in our world of social media frenzy: blogging. When you travel, look for stories everywhere and blog about them. Breaking into this progressive industry and getting paid for it requires developing an irresistible online presence. While writing about your travel experiences, be sure to avoid overused clichés such as “best-kept secret” or using “world class” to describe a service or specialty.

Most importantly, as a travel writer don’t be afraid to submit your work. True, you might want to brace yourself for rejection, but keep trying, keep traveling, and keep writing!

Foreign Service

This career might be a bit more formal than joining the Peace Corps, but it’s no less diplomatic or patriotic. A Foreign Service Officer must be passionate about public service, different cultures, and new customs. The Service works with more than 265 embassies and consulates around the world. Some positions are in hostile environments. But if you’re up to the challenge, the rewards can be endless, starting with the increased “hardship” salary.

Being a part of the Foreign Service isn’t for everyone, so the Service has created a survey to help those considering this unique career. Some questions include whether or not you enjoy responsibility, thrive under pressure, enjoy travel, and tolerate situations involving physical risk. With all points considered, if the upsides outweigh the potential downsides, the Foreign Service could be your ideal career.


Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

Just as fulfilling as the Foreign Service, but perhaps a bit less dangerous, is a position with a nongovernmental organization (NGO). NGOs function independently of any government and include nonprofit organizations that receive funding from private sources. They are usually associated with the United Nations, who has the authority to authorize the NGOs.

NGOs are placed all over the world and offer a variety of opportunities and positions—from grant writing and public relations to engineering specialties (water, energy, etc.) and economic development. These organizations are also in need of health care professionals, legal experts, and finance specialists. If you’ve already completed a degree, think about using your expertise in that field as a means to travel the world.

—Teresa Arroyo