Taking a career break to wander the world sounds pretty good. But getting paid to globetrot is even better, right?
Well, yes and no. Here are the pros and cons for seven of the best travel jobs that caught our attention:
Flying the friendly skies to ensure the safety and comfort of airplane passengers is a classic travel job. Perks are self-evident and awesome: routine trips to far-away locales, plus deep discounts or freebies on vacation flights, hotels and more. But it’s not as glamorous as Pan Am might have you believe. Irregular hours, frustrated passengers, and the small possibility of risk all remind you that you’re essentially providing customer service in a metal tube hurtling through the air.
Average salary: $31,000–$51,000*
Importing vino requires you to travel around the globe to seek out the best vintages from Argentina, France or South Africa. Plus, you get to drink wine as part of your job. This might sound like the height of luxury, but this gig also demands business hustle; chances are, you’ll spend more time dealing with logistics like international regulations, shipping rates and insurance prices than you will sipping wine in a faraway land.
Average salary: $37,000–$66,000*
Can you speak English? Do you like other people? Then you have the qualifications for this job! Teaching your native tongue to students halfway around the world can be a gratifying way to fund your international wanderings. You can’t make a fortune — or, some might argue, even a living — doing this work, but cultural immersion is pretty much guaranteed.
Average salary: Varies (a Google search turns up payments ranging from room and board, to upwards of $30,000)
Share the wonders of travel with others as a tour leader. Play your cards right, and your work could land you canoeing through the Amazon, sampling fabulous food in Italy, or sleeping under the stars in Morocco. However, this job isn’t for those who lack patience: It’s your task to deal with the headaches of travel — reservations, translations, transportation — so your tour members don’t have to.
Average salary: $22,000–$40,000*
Talk about cultural immersion: these anthropologists take a first-hand look at the development of modern day cultures. You research in the field, and that could take you almost anywhere in the world. While you’re not an Ivory Tower academic, grant writing skills are important; you’ll probably devote more time to tracking down funding sources than you will to working abroad.
Average salary: $39,000–$71,000*
Whether waiting for hours to capture perfect documentary footage of a baby snow leopard, or running to catch action shots of the latest reality TV adventure figure, cameramen (or women) can take their skills on the road. Best perk? You get to see some of the world’s rarest sites with your own eyes. However, the hours can be arduous and you could find yourself in some rough situations — like stuck in a blizzard at the base of Mount Everest.
Average salary: $29,000–$61,000*
Travel can be about giving back. Whether working through an NGO, the Red Cross, or one of the many Without Borders organizations (Did you know they even have a Clowns Without Borders?) there’s a position that suits your skills. While these jobs aren’t for the faint of heart — the crisis you’re helping alleviate can involve everything from discomfort to actual danger — journeying to places in need of aid can grant a totally new perspective on wandering the world.
Average salary: $22,000–$36,000*
So, did your dream travel job make the list? What would you add?
*Salary info from the U.S. Department of Labor
Annie Favreau works for Inside Jobs, a career exploration site where people can discover what opportunities exist and learn what paths can take them there. Have an opinion? Join the conversation on Twitter @InsideJobs.