Top 10 Best Travel Jobs

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istock_000005915733xsmall.jpgI have listed below the top 10 best travel jobs, in no particular ranking or order (though as a reporter I have a soft spot myself for travel writing). Who doesn’t want to get paid to sip Ouzo in Athens?

10. International Correspondent

As the New York Times journalist and Middle East correspondent wrote in an introduction to one of his many books, “There is no better job in the world than international correspondent. You travel to interesting places, meet interesting people, and someone else picks up the check.” The best way to break into this business is to enroll in a journalism school that offers some form of international internship upon graduation. I know for a fact Northwestern University has this very program.

9. NGO

Want to change the world? Or want to travel, and then maybe as a side benefit, change the world? Either way, there are a slew of possibilities for the travel hungry and the liberal-hearted (a fruitful combination). Whether you or well-rounded in economic development, conflict resolution, or something as awesomely nebulous as risk management consulting, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are situated throughout the world, in all of its climates, and especially its hot spots.

A good way to get started is to check out, which provides a multifarious database of non-profit jobs, paid and unpaid internships and volunteer opportunities. Signing up with the UNV (United Nations Volunteers) can’t hurt either, though from what I’ve heard they are notorious for cancelling programs (and therefore, your job) at the last minute before they begin.

8. International Business Executive

You could be closing a deal over a 500 dollar of Brandy in the Swiss Alps before swapping stories and business ideas with the other guy or gal who likewise likes lots of travel, accompanied by lots of money. Having an MBA is one thing, but graduating from well-known business schools provides name-recognition and connections. The Princeton Review has an e-mail list which keeps you abreast of new programs and reputable ones still functioning.

7. Travel Writing/Travel Entertainment

This is admittedly similar to international correspondent, with its one saving grace being the safety factor. No travel editor will ever send you to Israel during the second intifada to report on that new hotel or restaurant.

6. Foreign Service

Embassy parties are by far the closest you will ever come to experiencing imperial and colonial eras. If being served by the locals of the country in which your country’s Embassy is bigger than the Presidential palace sounds like your bag, sign up for the Foreign Service. Those averse to test-taking need not apply. The Foreign Service test is a grueling gauntlet from which few emerge.

5. Armed Services

I know you think I’m a little deranged for suggesting you let Uncle Sam jerk you around for a few years, especially while we are at war. Whatever your view of the Armed Services may be, they provide excellent job training and in some cases a heavy focus on travel. With this in mind, the U.S. Navy stands out. You will sail from port to port, vacation time is ample, training is superb, and the Navy will pay for graduate level education in the field of your choosing. I would do it, but I get seasick.

4. Pilot

Come fly the friendly skies. Lots of adrenaline, lots of responsibility, but it’s all worth it to wear those wings. Piloting schools abound on the web, so take your pick.

3. English Teacher

As a native English speaker, you are very privileged. Right now you could most likely arrive in any non-English speaking nation on the planet and find work with ESL (English as a Second Language). Many other more official opportunities are available abroad, such as the Peace Corps.

2. Sommelier

Cultured palates and high-falutin snobs pay attention. Becoming a fully-licensed sommelier takes a while, but your skills could be useful in many countries, since there are wine-sipping and spitting elitists scattered across the lands like so many snowflakes.

1. Spy

I hadn’t planned on this as the number one choice, since rank is irrelevant here. But now that I’ve arrived at this juncture, I must say, a spy is quite up there on my top 10 ten best travel jobs list. The CIA even has a training program. If you have no qualms with ending another’s life and setting off international incidents, this is for you.

25 thoughts on “Top 10 Best Travel Jobs

  1. Well I am only in year 9 but I am thinking of doing travling when I am older but i dont know what can you please list me s list of job chocie but I dont want to be a air hostness cause i dont want to die it also dose not applie to me please write back soon x

  2. I think my dream travel job would be as a luxury hotel inspector, you can just imagine it, constantly checking in and out of 5 star hotels. It would be an amazing opportunity to discover the worlds most sophisticated travel experiences. It must be such a pleasure being paid to run up tabs in the finest restaurants & bars, ordering room service, getting spa treatments, generally having the run of places you could generally only dream of staying in. Although I’m sure the list of applicants for such a prestigious role would be long with job description like that.

  3. Hi,

    I just happened to read ur write-up above. i think it is really helpful but mainly for peaple who are still young & studying & who can experience different fields.

    Most importantly me being married now travelling for longer span of time isint possible but i would still love to travel & earn like how these shows on TV come with travel guides who talk about natures & spas in each country or any speaciality of any country & are back after the job is done.I would still love to do something in life that involves lots of short trips to various places & obviously gets you the required fame also. Being 24 years i think i still have lots of time to explore & experience. Can i please get ideas to this where travelling is a job & satisfaction.awaiting response soon, Thankyou

  4. Hi,

    do you think an archaeologist could apply to this list? I’m asking because I love traveling, especially visiting ancient places…

  5. You mentioned the best way to become an international correspondent, but you never mentioned the best way to get into travel writing. Also, what constitutes travel writing? Writing for a company, or writing books, or writing for studies?

  6. I think travelling is an exciting feel, for i travelling means enjoy,risk fear, joyfulky and something which is amazing i have no words to about.its a change your life.

  7. Looking at that list, I look back at my life and wonder… I could have done almost all those jobs, but never having gotten a degree due to my severe ADHD, never being able to realize that I should have gotten medicated till I was way past my prime…

    Well now I am stuck in a life that I somehow painted myself into, my advice to those out there who are single and still young, get out there and do what you need to do, learn what you need to learn and if you have some medical hang ups that slows you down, get the meds or the help you need and just get it done!!!

  8. Thank you for posting this.

    I am 18 and yet to enter college. I am trying to study something that will allow me to travel around the world. Life is short and i wish to make the best from it. You list gave me some ideas steps i need to take reach my DREAMS

  9. the journalism is rubbish…most newspapers pay fobbits to go sit in a hotel with other journalists and pretend they know what is going on.

    norhtwestern…just cash a 60,000 check and away you go!

  10. What about a Missionary? It is especially great if you want to get to know the people of the places you visit. You really get a chance to delve deeply into cross cultural relationships.

  11. I’m 24. Having traveled for study and pleasure around the world many times to dozens of countries I can say it is addictive and by far the most fun, interesting, cultural, rewarding and exciting activity one can do… When you love doing it of course, but like Michael said, if you have ADHD or something like that (which I do) get it sorted or it will f’ you up, unless you want to get stuck in some boring job, you gotta – every once in a while – be selfdiscipined and get a degree or certificate (which I have yet to do) or whatever it is you need to find your dream job – and get to travel as long as you please – Cheers and anny advice for becoming an international man of mystery? hey a spy (at least in novels and movies, right?) gets to travel to exotic locations, meet interesting/sexy people and do lots of new activities all the time it sounds like a PERFECT JOB!!!

  12. Pilot should be dead last. A flight student can expect to pay $100,000-150,000 (USD) for all their flight training and college education then expect to earn $16,000 (gross) their first year on reserve at a regional airline, that is if they can find a job! With the new 1500 hour rule, this may be impossible. If you still decide to become a pilot, expect to be working 16 hours/day and only compensated for eight of those hours. Of course, passengers want to pay a Grey Hound bus ticket price to soar in a jet. Don’t get upset the next time crew members fall asleep and crash, they can’t afford a hotel room. It won’t be long until the cabin crew will pass around tip jars.

  13. well as of all the writing on the paper l do understand.hey l am a 28 year old male living in lesotho but working as a radio persinal and IT worker too. but l would like to work at a hotel as the sound man to the compang and anything that mit be of good help to you.l was born in South Africa did more then one or more thing in l would not know how to speak my mind but l would know how to work well with my hand please tell me if this would make you mind think well.

    Thank you.

  14. Hi since you said i speak my mind,all am asking is how can i get a job with the UN or UNEP.

    Please help me am very hard working and patient always ready to serve others with a happy face

  15. i m 17 yr girl i live in hongkong and i love traveling but now i have stayed here permanently i want to do a job in hotels n motels after my high school.,i hve good comand in spoken english so i don’t to continue my studies getting diplomas i jst wanna do plz give some advice will i’ll be perfect for job?

  16. i am only13 years old and i love traveling and do does my family. we go to vacations out of the city all the time. but i really hope i can find a good paying job with fantastic traveling. plz help me make a decision. and oh do NGO or travel writing/ entertainment pay more? hope u reach me. bye.

    p.s. u can find me on facebook too.

  17. Working in the dredging industry…as Engineers, Surveyors, Project Managers, Site Masters, Accountants etc. would be the best travel experience…believe me…coz you not only get to travel but also get to know the in-depth local reality with a lot of interactions with locals….

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