Some people can park themselves on the couch and binge-watch their favourite television series for days, while others can barely sit still for a full twenty minutes. The same is true for careers and living situations. Some can be happy living in the same city with the same job their entire lives, while others eventually start to fidget and will need to make a change and move around.
Everyone has their own idea of comfort, and for some, consistently placing themselves in new and uncomfortable positions is their comfort. If that’s you, you’ve got the wanderlust. Sure, there are lots of temporary travel career options, like the Peace Corps, which is only available to college students and recent graduates.
But, did you know, there are lots of different careers that will allow almost anyone to sate their longing for travel without requiring them to uproot their jobs every time they uproot themselves? These are the top four options for any individuals from all walks of life:
1. Long-Haul Truck Driver
If road trips are your game, this is definitely the career for you. Long-haul truck drivers spend anywhere from days to months at a time on the road, and they get a chance to see both urban epicentres and kitschy small towns that are off the beaten path.
It’s still a job, and you might have to pass through some of your destinations, but it’s not just sleeping and driving. Long-haulers do have time to explore their surroundings and to get some much needed R&R. This is an especially lucrative career right now, as the U.S. is facing a severe truck driver shortage that needs to be filled.
Your destinations and trip lengths will depend entirely on who you end up working for, but this is also an industry full of self-employed drivers who work for themselves. If you’d like a little more control over where you end up, how long you’re out and about, and how much time you get to spend enjoying your stops along the way, you should consider buying or leasing your own truck and working for yourself.
Some self-employed truckers even live in their rig year-round, even if they’re only working half that time. Either way you go, you’ll need to get a CDL (commercial driver’s license,) which 1. Long-Haul Truck Driver.
Caveats: The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) have strict standards for commercial drivers.
First off, you will need to pass a medical examination to maintain your CDL, and some conditions (like epilepsy or diabetic seizures) will preclude individuals from obtaining their license.
Second, those who hold commercial driver’s licenses are expected to maintain high safety standards while on the road, regardless of whether they’re driving their personal vehicle or working. Certain types of traffic tickets can result in a suspension or revocation of your CDL, depending on where you live. Most states issue a DUI (driving under the influence) ticket when your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level is above 0.08%, but those with a CDL can be arrested at a BAC level 0.04%, which means not even one beer before driving.
While individuals have the right to refuse to consent to a blood, breath, or urine test in most states, keep in mind that a refusal to consent is an automatic license suspension, which will include your CDL. If you’re not in good health and ready to be an excellent safety example both on and off the job, this might not be the career for you.
2. Work on a Cruise Ship
Working on a cruise liner is such a great way to see the world. Cruise ships also need everything from entry-level hospitality employees, for experienced management and human resources specialists, to professional entertainers, which means there’s a career for almost everyone aboard the ship.
A job in retail, room service, the bars, or the kitchens and bakeries on board are usually entry-level and easily attainable with little to no experience. There’s also all the operational stuff; from the ship’s captain all the way down to the engine maintenance specialists and deckhands, the ship needs people to keep it on course.
Most vessels have spas, salons, gyms, and casinos that need trained professionals from each field. They also have all sorts of administrative jobs, from management and accounting to event planners and promoters, and everything in between. If you’re a musician, dancer, comedian, or even an experienced KJ (karaoke DJ,) you might be able to secure one of the highest-paying entertainment gigs.
There are millions of job vacancies each year. A cruise ships ratio of employees to cruisers is usually two to one, which means each ship has twice as many employees as it does cruisers. That’s a lot of jobs!
There are several cruise fleets that operate liners out of almost every major U.S. port, with destinations all over the world. Your meals and boarding while on the ship are free, which means you can put every penny you make toward other things (like exploring all the exotic destinations the ship docks in!)
If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know that almost every staff member you encounter can be described in one word: fun. Every single cruise company wants to offer its guests the most accommodating and enjoyable experience possible, which means they need social, outgoing individuals who can get a party started at the snap of their fingers.
If you’re more of an introvert, one of the behind-the-scenes jobs in the kitchen or deck maintenance crew might be a better fit. But if you’re a social butterfly who would love to get paid to encourage fun and frolicking, you’d be a great fit for any of the guests-facing position on a cruise liner.
Caveats: You will definitely need a passport for this job. On top of that, you will likely have to relocate to a coastal city at or near the company’s departure ports. Most cruise employees work a few weeks on and a couple weeks off, so you’ll need a place to live in your off time that isn’t too far from work. While your on-the-job accommodations will be free, you’ll need to find at least a small place to call home in your off weeks.
3. Flight Attendant
If you’re more of the fast-paced jet-setter type, an airline career just might be your calling. It’s not for everyone, even those with a wanderlust, because waking up in one city and going to bed on the other side of the world can be a bit taxing for laid-back individuals. But if you’re yearning to see every corner of the world is insatiable, you’ll love working for an airline.
If you’ve already got an established home near a major airport, your home base is set and you can start applying for airlines that service your local airport. If not, you might have to relocate, as you’ll likely be set up as part of a specific city-based crew. This doesn’t mean your destinations will be limited, but you might want to look into different airlines, as some service cold areas more often, some are only domestic (within the United States) and others are international.
Overnight stays in any city you end up in are covered by your employer, as are in-flight meals and ground transportation, should you need it. You’ll also receive discounts and free flights for you and your immediate family, for those times you want to set up your own travel plans.
The median salary for flight attendants is $50,000 a year, and they only work about 75 hours a month, though this does not include time spent in other cities. Flight attendants also make up one of the biggest job categories in the travel industry, and about 8,000 new jobs open up each year. They also receive great benefits and are unionized, which means there are support and job security to boot.
Caveats: Flight attendants sometimes have to work very long shifts, upwards of 12-16 hours, so if you can’t be on your feet for long periods of time, this might not be a good fit for you. There are also a few basic requirements for the job, regardless of which airline you work for.
You must be at least 19 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. You can’t have any visible tattoos or piercings other than ears (non-gauged,) and you should be at least close to height-weight proportionate guidelines. This is another career where good physical health is a must: severe heart or breathing conditions can preclude one from becoming a flight attendant.
4. Find Work in a Resort Town
“Resort town” can mean a lot of things, but for the purposes of this article, it means a place that really only exists for tourism. There might be the makings of a town there: grocery store, doctor’s office, etc., but it wasn’t ever a real city that people just lived in. I’m talking about gambling towns, resort islands, and some of the larger national and state parks.
In places like this, the hotels, restaurants, and sometimes the entire resort itself is run by a large, national company who also owns other resorts across the country (and the world.) This means that you can stay where you are initially hired, or you will have the option of working your way through the ranks and bouncing around from place to place, staying for months or years at a time.
If you end up taking a summer influx job that is only temporary, you can always balance it out by finding seasonal holiday jobs in the wintertime.
Resort towns also offer extremely cheap housing and meal programs, because it’s difficult to attract people to their remote locations to work. Most of the jobs available are entry-level positions in the service sector, but if you’re a good employee and willing to either stick around for the long-haul or bounce around from resort to resort, you’ll quickly move your way up the ranks and secure a high-paying career.
If that sounds a little fuzzy, I’ll give you a few jumping-off points. Xanterra is in charge of several parks across the U.S., including our two biggest national parks (Yellowstone and The Grand Canyon.) They need a huge influx of employees for their busy season, which means they hire people from all over the world on short-term contracts.
If you get hired on under a short-term contract that isn’t attached to a work visa granted for international employment, you have many options for starting another contract at your current location, or for moving around to one of their other locations.
They always have lots of job openings, especially this time of year! I personally worked at The Grand Canyon’s South Rim for a summer, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Another example would be a company like Pinnacle Entertainment, who owns several different gambling resorts across the country, and always has a range of jobs available. Again, many of the positions are service-oriented, but once your foot is in the door, you’ll have a lot of options for advancement, moving around, or even both at the same time!
These are definitely slower-paced options, travel-wise, but if you’re short on funds and would like to relocate with minimal cost and effort, companies like this will make it completely feasible for almost anyone on any budget.
Good Luck Finding Your Travel Career!
I hope that this article has given you some things to think about, and some options to satiate that wanderlust of yours without having to save up money to take time off work.
If you’d like to take the next step, check out this list of awesome niche-specific job posting sites, which includes on just for professional drivers, a couple of restaurant jobs all over the country, as well as one that posts jobs in all sorts of cool resort destinations around the world. Whatever it is you want to do, and wherever it is you want to go, the next step is just a click away…