15 Jobs that Allow You to Travel

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Explore the exciting career possibilities that let you travel while earning an income.

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If you have been dreaming of exploring a new city and tasting food from different cultures, you’re not alone. The ongoing pandemic brought travel to a halt for a time, leaving many of us yearning for an escape. 

A study conducted by researchers from Washington State University found that those who traveled multiple times a year at least 75 miles from home were 7 percent happier than those who did not [1]. Incorporating travel into your life can be beneficial for your career as it can foster empathy, creativity, adaptability, and resiliency—invaluable skills in any workplace.

In this article, we’ll cover the different types of jobs that are both in-demand and may offer the flexibility to allow for more travel.

Types of jobs that allow you to travel

There are plenty of opportunities to incorporate travel into your career. You might not be ready to take the leap of quitting your job to become a dive instructor in Fiji, but perhaps you want to work remotely to explore a few different locations. Others might be opting for a career that allows for occasional travel, to conduct research or to execute an event.

Here are the different types of jobs that can be conducive to travel:

  • Fully remote jobs

  • Trade jobs that allow continual or frequent travel

  • Jobs that offer long breaks or sabbatical leave

  • Jobs based in a foreign country

*All salary and job outlook data represents median salaries in the United States and is sourced from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (January 2022), unless otherwise stated

Fully remote jobs

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped make remote work the new norm, especially among “knowledge workers.” Having the freedom to work remotely means you may be able to work just about anywhere with an internet connection. This may require you to be extra vigilant of time zones so you don’t schedule meetings with your clients or colleagues at odd hours. Remote jobs can be an excellent way to stay employed while traveling.

Read more: 10 Remote Work-From-Home Jobs that Pay Well

1. Web/graphic designer 

Like many others on this list, plenty of web and graphic designers today are becoming digital nomads, meaning they are location-independent. Whether you’re a freelancer with your own clients or working under a fixed contract with a company, design work can typically be done anywhere with a good internet connection.

  • Median salary: $77,200 

  • Job outlook: 13 percent (faster than average)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Read more: What does a graphic designer do?

2. Software developer 

This in-demand career is a great option for analytical, detail-oriented individuals with a background in computer science or information technology. Software developers write code to create or update computer applications and programs, work that can often be done remotely. 

  • Median salary: $110,140 

  • Job outlook: 22 percent (much faster than average)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

3. Cybersecurity analyst 

As a cybersecurity analyst, you are responsible for executing security measures to protect a company’s computer systems. Like web-based designers and engineers, this work can be done remotely. Take advantage of this by working from home and taking short trips, or switching up your location every few months.

  • Median salary: $103,590

  • Job outlook: 33 percent (much faster than average)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Read more: 10 Popular Cybersecurity Certifications

4. Writer 

As a writer, you have the opportunity to work from anywhere. Your salary can vary depending on whether you are a content or SEO writer, copywriter, grant writer, academic researcher, journalist, or novelist. Since writing tends to be done on a computer, you can typically continue working while you travel.

  • Median salary: $67,120

  • Job outlook: 9 percent (as fast as average)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Trade jobs that allow for frequent travel

Some trade jobs enable you to continually be on the move or to be assigned to a location for a few months at a time. Some of these jobs require only a high school diploma plus training. If you crave continuous movement and change, then these may be a good fit for you.

5. Flight attendant 

As a flight attendant, you can travel to many cities around the world in addition to receiving flight benefits for you and your family. To become a flight attendant, you must be physically fit to stand for long periods of time and help passengers with luggage, have experience with customer service, and be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Flight attendants often start with domestic flights before moving on to desirable international routes. 

  • Median salary: $59,050

  • Job outlook: 30 percent (much faster than average)

  • Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent and FAA certification

6. Travel nurse 

Travel nurses are employed by a nursing staffing agency instead of a hospital, which means you can travel domestically or internationally to a new location when hospitals need temporary nurses. To become a travel nurse, you need to be a licensed and registered nurse with at least a year of experience working in acute care. Salary depends on location and demand. During COVID-19, for example, travel nurse pay increased to over $10,000 per week.

  • Median salary: $75,330 (registered nurse)

  • Job outlook: 9 percent (as fast as average)

  • Entry-level education: Associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, plus licensure exam

7. Pilot 

A huge perk of becoming a pilot is being able to travel to different destinations. Depending on the airline, pilots tend to have a minimum of 12 to 15 days off per month, called “reserve days,” that are often spent in hotels far from home. Becoming a commercial pilot requires a license from the FAA. Pilots tend to start out flying charter flights and tours before they can fly customers on domestic and international routes.

  • Median salary: $130,440

  • Job outlook: 13 percent (faster than average)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

8. Yoga or sports instructor 

This is perhaps one of the most exciting jobs with flexible hours and travel potential. Teaching yoga, sports, or recreational activities like diving, skiing, ziplining, surfing, or soccer can be a fun way to live in a new place. These jobs tend to be popular in tourist destinations—think living in the mountains or dreamy beach locale while earning an income.

  • Median salary: $40,510

  • Job outlook: 39% (much faster than average)

  • Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent, plus yoga teacher training or other sports certification

Jobs that allow you to take long breaks

These jobs operate either on a school timeline or a project basis, allowing for weeks or months of free time. Pursue one of these jobs, and use that extra free time for travel.

9. Professor

Becoming a professor usually requires a PhD, making this job a good fit for someone already pursuing a graduate or doctoral degree. Professors often get summer and winter breaks during which they may attend conferences, plan classes, prepare budgets, or go on vacation. Sabbaticals are typically six months and are available every seventh year, unless the university’s policies allow otherwise. This time can be used toward conducting fieldwork abroad (researching sea turtles in Costa Rica or archival studies in Egypt, for example), writing a book, or developing new programs and pedagogies.

  • Median salary: $80,560

  • Job outlook: 12 percent (faster than average)

  • Entry-level education: Usually a PhD, but sometimes a master’s degree is enough for community colleges

10. K-12 teacher 

As a K-12 teacher, your summer breaks provide a relief from 180 days of teaching. During the school year, teachers spend a lot of extra time planning classes, grading papers and exams, and developing fun activities for students. When summer rolls around, take advantage of the extended break to travel. 

  • Median salary: $62,870 (high school teacher)

  • Job outlook: 8 percent (as fast average)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree, plus state-issued certification or license

11. Management consultant 

Management consultants take on projects with companies where they lead strategy and business analysis to improve efficiency. For some consultants, this requires traveling up to four days a week (Monday to Thursday) or being based in a new location for months at a time. 

Management consulting is notoriously competitive because it is considered prestigious, well-paid, and good training for entrepreneurship, at the cost of long hours. If you don’t mind a bit of grind while you explore a new city or location, this might be a good career choice for you.

Further, there is a growing trend of companies providing benefits such as flexible paid leave and sabbaticals.

  • Median salary: $87,660

  • Job outlook: 14 percent (faster than average)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Jobs based in a foreign country

These jobs allow you to live abroad for months or years. Often, these jobs require you to teach, research, or work collaboratively with the local community. If you are excited about a purposeful career advocating for a social issue or an adventurous job reporting news on global politics and the economy, then this might be a satisfying career option.

12. Non-governmental organization (NGO) worker 

As an NGO worker, you may be in charge of implementing programs in countries with developing or emerging markets, usually addressing social or political issues such as poverty, hunger, disaster relief, environment, or peace and security. You might be in charge of communications, partnerships, or fundraising. The exciting part is that you get to live in the country for an extended time, fully immersed in the local culture. It can be a life-changing and rewarding experience.

  • Median salary: $69,600 (social and community service managers)

  • Job outlook: 15 percent (faster than average)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

13. English teacher 

Teaching English can be a fulfilling way to spend a year living in a foreign country. Outside of the classroom, enjoy sightseeing, attending local festivals, eating street food, and embarking on adventures with new friends. Typically, a TESOL or TEFL certification is required.

There are many teaching exchange programs, such as Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET), English Program in Korea (EPIK), and the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) that hire young adults to teach English abroad. Other similar reputable programs include the British Council and Council on International English Exchange. Another option is to teach subjects like history, literature, science, art, or math at international schools, which tend to be located in cities globally.

  • Median salary:  $50,953 (average salary from Glassdoor)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

14. Foreign correspondent 

If you are trained as a journalist or photojournalist, you may be interested in taking your career abroad. There is a great need for reporting on the political and economic situation in other countries. As a journalist based overseas, you have the opportunity to interview and interact with locals on a daily basis to understand what’s really happening on the ground, while enjoying an unconventional and exciting lifestyle.

  • Median salary: $49,300 (news analysts, reporters, and journalists)

  • Job outlook: 6 percent (as fast as average)

  • Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

15. Anthropologist 

Conducting fieldwork and ethnographic research is a significant part of studying the development and behavior of humans and their environment. Fieldwork for research organizations, government agencies, consulting firms, and universities often requires traveling for extended periods. While some anthropologists today are beginning to study local cities and towns to create sustainable social change, many conduct participant observation in foreign contexts for an unbiased perspective.

  • Median salary: $66,130

  • Job outlook: 7 percent (as fast as average)

  • Requirements: Master’s degree or PhD

Tips for transitioning into a travel-friendly job

Traveling more does not necessarily mean losing your place in your career. These options offer opportunities for you to continue working while satiating your desire for new adventures.

When considering whether to switch careers or plan ahead for a future role, it is important to understand whether you want to travel with your work or simply have a job that offers more vacation time to travel for pleasure. Here are some tips to help you decide what feels right:

  • Start small. If you are considering a remote job or living in another country for an extended amount of time, perhaps you can visit that country first on vacation before committing to a year. Or, take a weekend trip nearby to know whether you seek an urban or rural outdoorsy lifestyle.

  • Understand what type of job works best for you. Consider your lifestyle and family needs, and figure out what your transferable skills are.

  • Don’t quit your day job right away. If you are hoping to transition into a remote career, such as graphic design or writing, start by taking classes to brush up on your skills or creating a portfolio in your spare time. 

  • Take the leap. Once you have decided on a financially responsible plan, pushing your comfort zone can be scary. But oftentimes, a calculated risk can reap positive rewards. Try to adopt a growth mindset. It may be a tough adjustment moving to a new city or country, but trust that you can make it work.

Next steps

Start building the skills you need for an in-demand, remote-friendly job with a Professional Certificate in user experience (UX) design, cybersecurity, social media marketing, or teaching English as a second language (TESOL). Learn from industry leaders at your own pace, and earn a credential for your resume.

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Article sources

1. Tourism Analysis. “Would You Be More Satisfied with Your Life If You Travel More Frequently?, https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ta/2021/00000026/00000001/art00006;jsessionid=1djuiwphlb0fg.x-ic-live-03.” Accessed February 10, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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