You had high hopes for your first business trip — perhaps you’d spend the evenings sipping coffee at a trendy espresso bar with some friendly locals, or maybe you’d hit up some touristy must-sees during your free hours. But the reality of going on a work trip is that you usually end up spending more time grinding away in muted-colored business centers and three-star hotels than you actually spend enjoying the city you’ve traveled miles and miles to visit. While this may be true for folks who chose a typical travel job (think business professionals, retail buyers, and consultants), there are certain less conventional jobs that will pay you to travel the world without ever having to be stuck in a dingy airport hotel. Here are a dozen out-of-the-box travel jobs — from professional mermaiding to expert dog sitting — that’ll allow you to see the globe, sans desk. Bon voyage!
1. Professional Mermaid: If you’ve always dreamed of becoming one of Ariel’s many sea-faring sisters, you may want to look into becoming a professional mermaid. Dream Cruises employs professional mermaids to teach their guests everything from ocean conservation to how to swim with fins, on board their mermaid-themed cruises. While you’ll probably need a fair bit of experience to score a gig on one of these high-occupancy cruises, less experienced mermaids can also book gigs at children’s parties, water parks, and luxurious resorts around the world. (Photo via Dream Cruises)
2. Secret Hotel Inspector: Small Luxury Hotels of the World was recently hiring a mystery inspector to join the SLH Secret Service (we swear we didn’t make that title up). Traveling to many of their 520 hotels across the world, the mystery inspector is in charge of making sure every aspect of the hotel is up to their high standards. How do they do this? Well, inspectors must sip poolside martinis, get luxurious massages, and dine at delicious Michelin-starred hotel restaurants… all in the name of inspection, of course. While the role unfortunately doesn’t cover travel expenses, inspectors do get one or two nights at the hotel for free, and all your meals and experiences comped in exchange for their feedback.
3. Stock Footage Videographer: If you’re the type of gal who loves filming everything you do (be honest — you’ve thought about creating your own YouTube channel a million times), becoming a stock footage videographer might be a great travel career option. Pro tip: Stock footage of bustling cities, serene landscapes, and aerial footage are all great things to have in your repertoire when selling to websites like Shutterstock and Videoblocks.
4. Professional Dog Sitter: If you’re guilty of treating fur babies like human babies, becoming a professional dog sitter might be a lucrative business that could take you across the globe. TrustedHousesitters is a travel website that enables animal lovers to stay for free at homes across the world just for watching the homeowners’ pets. While members have to pay $119 per year to join the program, it’s definitely worth the investment, as previous sitters have been hired to stay in Irish castles, Australian beach houses, and English countryside homes.
5. Au Pair: If you don’t mind staying in the same city for up to a year and you love hanging out with kiddos, consider becoming an au pair. Au pairs are domestic assistants, usually assigned to take care of small children, housework, and various familial responsibilities. Along with usually getting a free place to stay, au pairs are also given a salary to spend or save for a rainy day. If taking kids out on adventures in a foreign town sounds like your cup o’ tea, check out AuPairWorld for more information.
6. Professional Roadie: The term professional roadie encompasses a lot of different roles, all with the main goal of getting a concert or gig ready. Roadies can be tour managers, stage managers, lighting directors, or guitar techs. While there are different qualifications for each of these specific gigs, if you do land a job as a roadie, you’ll be traveling with the band to each stop on their tour while earning a sweet paycheck at the same time. Rock on!
7. Virtual Assistant: Virtual assistants do myriad tasks for their clients, from providing administrative assistance to brainstorming new ideas, and their job can be done anywherethere’s WiFi. So if you want to spend your workday on a sandy beach, no problem! How about chillin’ in a luxury hotel? That’s totally fine! Plus, because you can tailor your gigs based on your personal skills and schedule, becoming a virtual assistant means you can always say yes to an exciting next adventure or travel opportunity if your budget allows for it.
8. Disney Character Performer: Calling all Disney lovers! While becoming a Disney character performer involves an extensive application and audition process, it’s certainly a magical way to travel the world. Along with working in California at Disneyland or Orlando at Disney World, the Disney Cruise Line also employs character performers to work on their themed ships.
9. Trip Manager: If you’re the type of traveler who loves planning every aspect of your vacation months in advance, you may want to consider becoming a trip manager. Currently, Contiki is hiring for Trip Managers, who would be responsible for running the day-to-day happenings of their European trips as a guide and chaperone — including getting participants from city to city, serving as their personal tour guides, and making sure everyone on the tour has a great time.
10. Flying Nanny: If you were to search common travel jobs, flight attendants would top most of the lists you find. But aboard Etihad Airways, not only can you become a regular flight attendant, but you can actually score a gig as an aptly named Flying Nanny, taking care of jet-setting kiddos during long-haul flights. Once they’ve landed, high-flying nannies can explore the world wherever they’ve touched down. Sounds like our kind of gig!
11. Teaching English Abroad: Do you commonly get referred to as the grammar police by your friends and family? Teaching English abroad is an awesome way to travel the world and earn a little extra moola at the same time. With opportunities all across the globe — South Korea, Gulf Arab States, and Japan, just to name a few — we’re definitely getting TEFL-certified and putting this awesome career on our bucket list.
12. Cruise Ship Disc Jockey: Celebrity Cruises is currently hiring a disc jockey to provide entertainment on board one of their luxury cruise ships. Since cruise ship entertainment staff are known for being the life of the party, applicants should be ready to get the crowd pumped and create a family-friendly atmosphere while cruising around the world in a luxury vessel.