8 jobs you can do while travelling

Ever dreamed of working in a hotel room with a view of the Mediterranean, or in a combi van exploring Australia's tropical north?

The flexibility in today’s job market, spurred by the remote working revolution, has opened doors globally, allowing people to blend work with travel.

From backpackers to middle-aged professionals and semi-retirees, there's never been more people wanting to make money on the road, says Mary Savova, Team Leader at People2People.

"Lots of people want to go overseas, whether it's for three months or longer term. We're seeing people resign from roles to pursue other things that they've always wanted to do. For many people, that's travelling abroad.

"And many of them want to work while they do it. And why not?" she adds.

"In 2024, you no longer have to be anchored to a single location to be productive and successful."

So, what jobs can be done while travelling?

If you’re looking to continue in your current profession, networking to find flexible or remote opportunities is key. "We see engineers and accountants find roles globally through their contacts," Savova advises.

Others might seek a complete career pivot, exploring jobs in teaching, bartending or virtual assistance. It’s important to research and prepare well for a career change – whilst some jobs can accommodate people with transferrable skills, others need specific skills, experience and qualifications.

Here are some jobs that mix well with travelling.

  1. Hospitality

    From receptionist, chef, bartender and waiter to event planner and marketer, there's no end of opportunities in hospitality.

    "This industry relies on people who are travelling to step into those roles during peak periods," Savova says.
     
  2. Virtual assistant

    Providing administrative, technical or creative assistance from afar is perfect for those wanting to be self-employed on the road.

    "Most people have done aspects of VA tasks in their roles already," says Savova. "And being in a different timezone to the person you're assisting can be beneficial because you can work on tasks during their overnight."
     
  3. English-as-a-second-language teacher

    Many Australians are native English speakers, which is a golden skill to have in the global workforce, Savova says.

    Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Teaching English as a Secondary Overseas Language (TESOL) courses can be done in 180 hours or less, though some English teaching work requires no qualification at all.
     
  4. Translator

    Whether you're translating from English or to English, translating is more specialised than English teaching, though there's plenty of ad-hoc work available that requires no qualification, Savova says.
     
  5. Au-pair or nanny

    With many families requiring the income of two parents, the demand for au pairs and nannies is growing. Many families overseas welcome an English speaker to boost their children's language abilities.

    You may need specific qualifications or documentation, Savova advises.

    "Working-with-children checks plus local or global police checks can take time to organise so plan ahead."
     
  6. Social media manager

    Managing a person or brand's PR and publicity can easily be done on the road.

    "Many small businesses need someone to look over their content or post periodically. This is something you can do outside of core business hours, so you can get out and about during the day and log on in the evening," Savova says.

    But the sector is more sophisticated than it used to be, she warns.

    "You'll want to be savvy with different platforms and have some sort of experience."
     
  7. Freelance creative

    A freelance creative role such as content writer, SEO specialist, graphic designer or photographer is ideal for a flexible lifestyle, Savova says.

    "Some companies require ad-hoc assistance or help with fixed-term projects, which can be also done outside of standard working hours."
     
  8. Flight attendant

    "This is the perfect opportunity to see the world and get paid for it," Savova says, though she adds there are some physical tests people must undergo during the recruitment process.

    "Then when you're ready to settle in a place for a while, you would have banked lots of transferable skills in organisation, logistics and customer service."

Research before you travel

When exploring which roles align with your interests and lifestyle, you also need to consider visas and local employment laws, Savova advises.

Some countries restrict foreigners from undertaking roles that locals can fulfil, while some outright prohibit it.

"In Bali, for example, you can't just rock up and start work as a wedding photographer. You'll need to purchase a work permit, and these aren't always easy to obtain," Savova warns.

If you're working for an Australian company while abroad, you remain liable for taxes in Australia. If your employer is based overseas, you'll likely be subject to local taxes, so it's worth seeing advice from a local tax accountant.

As for healthcare and benefits, check with potential employers, and use the resources of New Zealand embassies or agencies like the Ministry of Foregin Affairs and Trade and SafeTravel.

Recruitment agencies, especially those with foreign branches, can be helpful in seeking out opportunities, while online communities, jobs boards and forums can offer fantastic firsthand insight into local job markets, Savova adds.

"Doing your homework on the local scene is essential. This gives you a very good sense of what you're stepping into."

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