16 Travel Jobs & Side Hustles [Get Paid to Travel!]

Five men smiling and standing in front of a mountain range during a guided travel and hiking trip on the final day of a paid job
Best Travel Jobs & Side Hustles [Pictured: Noel guiding a hiking tour in Torres del Paine, Patagonia]
There’s nothing like a quality vacation after working hard all year, but what if you could find a travel job and get paid to explore the world? There are loads of jobs and side hustles out there that are directly related to travel, and landing one is a lot more doable than one might think.

Of course, remote work and the digital nomad life are great, but we’re here to show you jobs that require travel as a prerequisite. In other words, if you play your cards right, you can make traveling an integral part of your job.

There’s nothing wrong with a “regular” job, but some of us need a slightly less conventional line of work. With the right hustle, you can spend time seeing the world, experiencing new cultures, eating new food, etc. – all while earning money (or, at the very least, not losing any).

Finding a travel job and getting paid to see the world isn’t as complicated as it sounds. I’m currently doing so and will walk you through many of the options that exist for you. Read on to learn the ins and outs of working on the go — we guarantee there’s at least one job here with your name on it.

Start a Travel Blog

Man and his dog in a white camper van typing on his laptop while working on his travel blog
Start a Travel Blog

What kind of travel blog would we be if we didn’t walk you through what we know best? Noel, the founder of The Packable Life, makes a living full-time by sharing tips, resources, and gear recommendations for travelers, hikers, and backpackers worldwide.

If you have wanderlust, time, and resources, you’re probably qualified to start your own travel blog. Travel planning can be challenging on your own, which is why many of our readers turn to more experienced travelers (us) for help.

Bloggers earn money through affiliate marketing, ad revenue, and brand partnerships. If that sounds intimidating and hard to get into, it really isn’t — consistency, transparency, and a little luck will take you a long way as a travel blogger.

Resource: How to Start a Travel Blog

Become a Freelance Travel Writer

As a freelance travel writer, this one is right up my alley. Here’s one of the Internet’s best-kept secrets: anyone with a flair for writing can write for reputable publications, bloggers, and newspapers, many of which focus primarily on the travel sector.

If you have a way with words and are passionate about traveling, you stand a good chance at landing a writing gig in the travel niche. Ultimately, the job boils down to writing the types of articles you wished you’d read before leaving on a trip.

Getting your foot in the door can take a little while, but once things get going, you can manage your workload and have spare time to visit the locations you read about online. I’ve discovered lots of places that can help you find writing jobs, such as:

Resource: Travel Writing Jobs

Teach English Abroad

Man giving a peace sign surrounded by four kindergartners while teaching English in Chengdu, China
Teach English Abroad

English is a global standard, so there’s always a demand for people qualified to teach it. If it’s your native language (or you feel it might as well be), you can earn a respectable living by teaching English abroad.

Countries like Japan, South Korea, and China are keen on hiring foreign teachers, especially language tutors. Often, you don’t even need to speak the local language. And whenever you’re not teaching, you’ll have plenty of time to immerse yourself in the local culture and forge lifetime memories.

For a very reasonable price, you can pay to get accredited (or otherwise qualified) via an online program. Once you get a certificate, you can apply to as many places as you want and see where you end up.

Resource: Best Countries to Teach English

Teach English Online

You can always try online English tutoring if you don’t want to be a teacher tethered to a single location. The nature of the job is very similar to what we discussed above, only you’ll get to move around as you teach and see more of the world.

Depending on the website or service, you may or may not need a teaching certificate to land one of these jobs. Either way, prospective countries are full of students eager to learn, so expect a reasonable income and a flexible schedule.

Some jobs involve zero upfront investment, but others require setting up a ‘digital classroom’ with a whiteboard and props. Here are some of the most reputable sites for this niche:

Resource: Best Online English Teaching Companies

Start a YouTube Channel

For those of you who are a bit more adventurous, a viable (but admittedly harder) option would be to start a YouTube channel to chronicle your travels. Practically, this means showing off some of the most interesting parts of your trips and hoping your channel takes off.

The hardest part about running a YouTube travel channel is standing out from the crowd — there are loads of ambitious travelers out there with fantastic production skills. Even if your videos are great, those inscrutable YouTube algorithms greatly influence what goes viral and what doesn’t.

Still, if your channel takes off, the sky’s the limit regarding how many people you can reach. Luckily, you can always take inspiration from the platform’s most engaging content creators. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Resource: Starting a YouTube Channel

Become a Professional House & Pet Sitter

Cat staring out a window while her owners are out of town and she's under the care of a house sitter
Become a Professional House & Pet Sitter

House-sitting jobs are less about making money and more about securing a nice place to stay for free. In exchange for looking after somebody’s property, you can crash at their place for a while and spend your lodging savings some other way.

Every now and then, people get to house-sit for the rich and famous and make a pretty penny while doing so. You may be tempted to aim high right off the bat, but remember — most pro housesitters got started with unpaid jobs, so be sure to temper your expectations.

In a way, a free bed is a lot like making actual money, so search online for offers in the area you’d like to visit. To keep things simple, TrustedHousesitters is by far the most reputable and reliable source for house-sitting gigs. Check it out first and go from there.

Resource: How to Become a House Sitter

Become a Travel Nurse

Experienced nurses can travel the world and earn money by sharing their essential healthcare skills. As a trained nurse, you’d be hard-pressed to find an organization that wouldn’t benefit from your help in some way.

Nursing is one of those jobs that objectively makes the world a better place, and doing it abroad lets you make a difference in ways you can hardly imagine. Besides, travel nursing keeps things fresh by allowing you to move around every few months and experience new cultures.

The hard part is having enough training and real-world experience since there’s no shortage of people competing for these positions. Still, if you’re passionate about healthcare but want more time to yourself, travel nurses arguably get the best of both worlds.

Resource: How to Become a Travel Nurse

Work as a Flight Attendant

“Work and travel” doesn’t get much more literal than this. Flight attendants travel the world and make airline passengers’ flights more comfortable, and in their downtime, they get to enjoy free hotels and lots of sightseeing around the globe.

No university degree is required to be a flight attendant, so the barrier to entry is pretty straightforward: you need to be hospitable, empathetic, and fully committed to your passengers for the duration of an entire flight. A winning smile doesn’t hurt, either.

Obviously, people with a specific type of temperament would fare better at a hands-on job like this. It also helps if you have a background in service and hospitality, but if you don’t mind flying and feel you have what it takes, it can make for a fantastic experience.

Resource: How to Become a Flight Attendant

Work on Board a Cruise Ship

Cruise ship navigating clear blue waters in the afternoon
Work on Board a Cruise Ship

If you aren’t the biggest fan of flying, you can always ride the waves instead and land a job on a cruise ship. Interesting tourists, solid wages, and breathtaking port towns are only some of the reasons to consider this career path.

Since cruise ship workers are always on the move, you can expect to see new destinations every few days. Not to mention, you’ll get to meet new people with each cruise if you want to play the social game as you travel.

Remember that working on a cruise ship takes a specific set of skills. Also, applying for a position can be easier said than done. For a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about cruise ship work, check out Wandering Earl’s 175-page eBook to land a job in no time.

Resource: Work on Board Cruise Ships

Find a Job as a Tour Guide

If you want to get paid to travel, consider jobs that involve helping fellow travelers. If you have a city or country you know well, you can show people around for a living and point them towards some of the destination’s more interesting landmarks and activities.

People who love history, food, and culture would get a kick out of this job — after all, what could be more rewarding than being paid to share your passion with like-minded people? The primary qualifications needed are good social, navigational, and communication skills.

Multi-language fluency is also a big plus. A lot of tour guide positions pay extra if you can translate what you’re saying into the local language, so it may be helpful to at least learn the basics before applying.

Resource: How to Become a Tour Guide

Become a Travel Journalist

As far as travel jobs go, solid writing skills can help pay the bills while you travel. Writing informative and enticing reports from the road is always in demand. As a travel journalist, you’ll get to travel year-round and meet exciting people from all walks of life.

Travel journalists usually pair up with tour companies or independent contractors to visit and write pieces on specific cities or countries. Compared to more formulaic blogging formats, you’re freer to focus on telling stories about intriguing or unique destinations.

Travel journalism’s relative lack of format templates means you’ll need some extra creative juice in your storytelling — fresh angles and a more evocative style. But talented wordsmiths can earn a good living in travel journalism by crafting memorable stories.

Resource: Travel Journalist Career Guide

Freelance as a Travel Photographer

Professional photographer in a field holding a camera in his right hand as the sun goes down in the distance
Freelance as a Travel Photographer

Some people have a special knack for cameras, an ability to rise above tourist-level snapshots. If that sounds like you, consider becoming a full-time travel photographer. Travelers are constantly taking photos, so why not be the one who earns money doing it?

Travel photography can take you in many directions, from selling to publications to advertising on stock photo websites. If the stars align, you can use your photos to grow your social media and website traffic and go on to even bigger things.

This is a very competitive field since everyone these days thinks they’re an artist. Still, if you have a good eye, the necessary technical skills, and some travel savings to fall back on, photography could be an investment worth considering.

Resource: Travel Photography Jobs to Take You Around the World

Move Overseas and Become a Translator

Your iPhone may help you translate a menu or decipher street signs, but it’s seldom up to the task of handling everyday conversations, especially in the workplace. But if you know an extra language or two, you can earn good money by translating.

Machines rarely convey the level of nuance so essential to smooth human interactions. When you’re a fluent translator, you can become indispensable, especially in more demanding business and technical environments.

Unfortunately, the demand for general full-time translators is relatively modest. However, as mentioned above, multi-language fluency can boost your chances as a language tutor or tour guide. For the big bucks, build your technical vocabulary in another language.

Resource: How to Become a Translator

Find an Au Pairs Job Abroad

No matter where you go, kids will always be kids, and those who can handle them can make a decent living doing so. Sure, it’s a lot of responsibility, but you get lots of time for after-hours sightseeing and adventuring.

Wherever you go, spending time with kids is a great way to familiarize yourself with the local culture. Kids ask a lot of questions, and if they like you, they’ll be happy to try to answer your questions. It can be a very enriching exchange.

Being patient and liking kids is, of course, a prerequisite for this job. Running after young ones can be hard physical work, so it helps if you have experience with children and are relatively fit and active. Keeping up with them will definitely burn some calories.

Resource: Become an Au Pairs and Find Host Families Abroad

Work for the Peace Corps

White man in Africa standing in front of a group of African children under a tree while teaching them English
Work for the Peace Corps

If committing to nursing or medical school isn’t an option, consider joining the Peace Corps to help in other ways. There are communities in need of food and shelter all over the world, so this can be one of the most rewarding options for hard-working empaths.

Working for the Peace Corps can take a lot out of you, but the organization makes it worth your while. On top of decent compensation, you get the added benefit of doing things that matter for people who genuinely need your help.

Be warned that you’ll probably need to sign a two-year contract once you qualify, so backing out would be tricky. This is the kind of job you apply for if you’re absolutely sure you can handle it, so think carefully before signing up.

Resource: Work for the Peace Corps

Volunteer Abroad for Free Accommodations

Being an unpaid volunteer while earning money sounds contradictory, especially when traveling. But if you focus on the big picture when you do the math, it can actually work. Start by calculating the cost of lodging and food, a big chunk of your travel expenses.

Most organizations know that you still need to be compensated even though you’re not on their payroll. They’ll often help you get placed with host families or subsidized, low-cost lodging. Your meals may be included in this, or at least be more affordable.

You’ll still have other travel expenses, but affording them becomes much easier if the essentials are covered. Ask your volunteer-based employer about other cost-saving resources within the community and save even more.

Remember: Today’s volunteer position might become your paid job of tomorrow. It may make sense to play the long game. Learn more about all of this by checking out these reputable placement services for volunteer jobs:

Resource: Best Volunteer Abroad Programs

Find a Travel Job & Get Paid to Explore the World

Group of flight attendants and a pilot getting paid to travel as they walk down the tarmac towards the sunset
Which travel jobs caught your eye?

And there you have it — 16 of the best travel jobs that’ll help you get paid to bounce around the world. From travel blogging and au pair gigs to becoming a travel nurse or flight attendant, there really is something for everyone looking to make a buck while on the road.

Anyone can benefit from devoting themselves to seeing the world firsthand and all that it has to offer. Here at The Packable Life, we’ve built our lives around travel, so we practice what we preach and know it can also work for others.

One of the hardest parts of holding down a conventional job is that it can leave you feeling trapped. Working on the go can change all that. If you’re getting itchy feet, choose a path that gets you out of town to earn money while exploring globally.

I’ve learned firsthand that finding travel jobs and getting paid to work on the road isn’t all that hard. Yes, taking the first step with a job outside your comfort zone can be daunting, but if you stick to it, the rewards can change your whole life for the better.

Last Updated on March 18, 2024

Photo of author

Andrej Paskalov

Andrej got the travel bug at an early age, and he hasn't looked back since. His perfect holiday includes a small group of buddies, a pocket-sized book, and beautiful nature as far as the eye can see.

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