I 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.
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 www.idealist.org, 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.
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.
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.
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.